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Black and Blue

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“Stiles, this has got to be the worst idea you’ve ever had!” Scott says, running an agitated hand through his dark hair. Stiles rolls his eyes animatedly, watching as his partner continues to pace.

“Worst idea ever, huh? You remember that summer I decided I wanted to become a superhero? I set myself on fire, got bit by a black widow, jumped off of my roof, and…my favorite, managed to actually locate and buy nuclear waste. If my dad hadn’t caught me I probably woulda bathed in the shit.” Stiles gives Scott a pointed look, one eyebrow arched arrogantly.

Stiles vividly remembers the look on his father’s face when the Dom found him paying for the yellow barrel, grinning from ear to ear. John promptly arrested the man and grounded Stiles for eternity. A dull ache starts up in Stiles’ chest, spreading through him. It happens every time he thinks about his father, threatening to destroy him.

Fuck. He needs to be put down, needs it bad.

“Okay, fine, so maybe it’s not the worst idea you’ve ever had. But, it’s pretty fuckin’ stupid!” Scott takes a step towards him, brows furrowing in concern. Stiles takes a cautious step back, careful to keep his distance. He knows Scott just wants what’s best for him, but Stiles doesn’t need to be coddled. “I know you’re hurting, but taking down the Blood Wolves isn’t going to bring him back.”

Stiles clenches his hands into tight fists, eyes narrowing. Scott may be his best friend and his partner, but he’s not his Dom. He has no right to tell Stiles what to do. “You don’t think I know that! He’s dead, Scott! Nothing’s gonna bring him back!” Stiles yells, closing the distance between them and fixing Scott with a vicious glare. The Dom squares up, studying Stiles with practiced ease.

“When’s the last time someone put you down?” Scott asks, voice low and even.

Stiles crosses his arms over his chest and takes a step back, defensive. “That’s none of your business,” he says forcefully, arching his neck. And yeah, it kind of is Scott’s business, but damn if Stiles is going to admit it. They aren’t kids anymore. Scott doesn’t need to watch out for him.

“Yes, it is! You’re my partner! You and I both know what happens to a Sub if they aren’t taken down regularly. Dammit, Stiles, it could kill you!” The ache in Scott’s voice cuts away at Stiles’ resolve. He knows he’s being stubborn, but if Scott finds out how he’s been putting himself down, he’ll kill him.

“I’m fine!” Stiles says, shrugging it off like Scott’s overreacting.

“No, you’re not! You’ve been on edge for months, jittery and impulsive. And now you tell me you’ve talked Deaton into sending you undercover! With the fucking Blood Wolves! None of this is okay!” Scott forces himself to exhale, taking a precautionary step away from Stiles. It’s rare that they get into it like this. They’re both normally so easy going, personalities playing off of one another effortlessly.

“You can’t stop me,” Stiles says, jaw clenched. Their partnership is equal, just because Scott’s a Dom, doesn’t mean he’s in charge.

“You’re losing it, Stiles. I can see it; everyone can see it! All I have to do is tell Deaton that I’m worried about you and he’ll take you off the case. No questions asked.” Scott grits his teeth and sighs, shoulders curled protectively around the Sub.

Stiles takes a step towards him, practically vibrating with anger. Who the fuck does Scott think he is? He has no right to take this from Stiles. It’s his revenge. His. “You wouldn’t fucking dare!” he growls, glaring at his partner.

“I’m not gonna let you get yourself killed! You’re too close to this! At the very least, it’s a conflict of interest! That’s more than enough to get you thrown off the case. I can’t believe Deaton signed off on it,” Scott says, shaking his head in disbelief. Their captain is usually so mindful of them, especially Stiles and Lydia, who are the only Subs in the Los Angeles Police Department.

“I need this! He knows that,” Stiles says, teeth clenched.

“No! What you need is to be dropped!” The anger slips from Scott’s face, quickly replaced by concern. They’ve been best friends since kindergarten and have remained so through high school, college, and the past two years in the LAPD. “Seriously Stiles, how long has it been? You look like shit.”

Stiles swallows, dropping his gaze to hide the guilt in his eyes. The answer to that question honestly depends on your definition. If you’re talking being dropped in a purely chemical sense, Stiles dropped last night. One tiny prick of a needle and he was on his knees. But as for being dropped naturally, without the aide of drugs, Stiles hasn’t been down since his father was killed. And that was eight months ago.

“I can take care of myself,” Stiles says, worrying his bottom lip anxiously. He’s not sure if he’s lying. Because in an effort to ‘take care’ of himself, he’s been putting himself in danger. The only drug capable of forcing a Sub down is illegal. And for good reason.  

They call it Babydoll, the endearment easy to slip into casual conversations. It’s a play on the chemical formula, one Stiles doesn’t know and doesn’t care to know. After his father was killed, he managed to make it almost a month without dropping. But his world slowly started to crumble, everything around him becoming too much. Too much noise, too much pressure, all weighing down on him. Eventually, he broke. He combed through his father’s records, found the nearest dealer, and set up a meet.

For the first few months, everything was fine. Babydoll kept him level without the aide of a Dom. But eventually, his tolerance grew. He had to up his dosage and, with that came the irritability, the mood swings, the loss of appetite, and the fifty or so other pain in the ass side effects. If he weren’t so worried about overdosing, he’d have upped the dosage again a few months back, but he’s already using more than he probably should.

“I’m not saying you can’t take care of yourself, Stiles. Fuck.” Scott exhales unsteadily, carding his fingers through his hair. “We both know you’ve always been able to do that. But, you shouldn’t have to! You deserve to be taken care of.”

Stiles scoff, rolling his eyes. This isn’t the first time they have had this talk. Every year or so Scott gives him the ‘you deserve a good Dom who takes care of you’ speech. And every year Stiles brushes him off and struggles to ignore the growing void in his chest. It’s not like he hasn’t tried to find someone, but level 10 Doms aren’t easy to come by. Other than his father, Stiles has never met one.

“It’s not like I can just go to a bar and pick up a level 10! They’re as rare as I am,” he says, throwing his arms up in the air. As a level 10 Sub, nothing less than a level 10 Dom will work. Lower levels don’t have enough dominance to affect Stiles.

“Yeah, they’re rare, but they exist,” Scott says with an irritated groan.

“You sound like you’re talking about a fuckin’ unicorn,” Stiles says with a dry laugh, rolling his eyes. It’s not like he hasn’t tried dropping with other levels, even other Subs, but nothing works, nothing except the Babydoll. “I’m good, Scott. Lay off.”

Scott shakes his head in disbelief. Arguing with Stiles is like arguing with a brick wall, utterly useless. Stiles is stubborn, opinionated, brilliant, and ruthless, all traits that make him an excellent detective…and an awful Submissive. A fact that Stiles is painfully aware of.

“Fine I’ll back off, but I’m not letting you go undercover. No way!”

“Not letting me?” Stiles scoffs, laughing humorlessly. “Fuck you, Scott! I’ve already got clearance! I didn’t come over to ask for your permission, I came to say goodbye!” Stiles yells, advancing on Scott. The Dom holds his ground, but only just. The knowledge that Stiles is about to infiltrate the most bloodthirsty gang on the west coast is like a knife to his stomach. And he’s doing it alone, not because it’s his job…but to get revenge for the murder of his father.

“Don’t do this. You’re gonna get yourself killed,” Scott mutters, pleading with Stiles.  

“Take good care of Kira, she needs you…” Stiles says as he stalks past Scott. The Dom watches his partner leave, terrified that it’s the last time he will ever see him.

Stiles gets into his car, slamming the door shut behind him. His body starts to shake as he loses control, the fragile hold he has on his emotions slipping. Submissives need Doms to keep them grounded, to keep them sane. Without one, Stiles constantly feels like he is drowning. Taking Babydoll helps, but only for a few hours. After that, the he’s left feeling paranoid, alone, with the weight of the world crushing him.

“Fuck,” he says, fisting his shaking hands. He knows that Scott’s right, he shouldn’t be going undercover right now. What he should be doing is finding a stable Dom and a good therapist…but he can’t. Not after seeing what those fuckers did to his father, bones broken, skin slashed, the Blood Wolf brand burned into his back.

Stiles clenches his eyes shut and fishes his keys out of his pocket, starting up his car. Somehow, he manages to make it home without crashing. Stumbling inside, he falls to his knees before his bed. He opens the side table, grabbing the Batman lunchbox that his dad gave him on his first day of kindergarten. Inside, carefully labeled, are two vials of Babydoll and number of clean needles.

Exhaling in relief, Stiles opens up one of the needles, fills it, and sets it down next to him. He fists a hand around the neck of his shirt and shrugs it over his head, tossing it into the hamper. Something inside of him breaks when he glances down at the track marks that pockmark his arms. His chest constricts and he can’t breathe.

Aware that he’s painfully close to a panic attack, he grabs the needle and sticks it into his arms, pressing down on the plunger. The drug floods his system, calming him in seconds. He feels himself dropping, the ache in his chest fading away like it was never even there. The hurt, the disappointment, are gone and he can just breathe.

He comes to a few hours later, knees screaming at him. One of the downsides of Babydoll, no one can bring you out of a drop. With a Dom, they can ease you out of it in a matter of seconds. But with Babydoll, the length of drop time depends on how much you take. And Stiles needs more than just a few minutes worth.

Groaning, he stands up and slumps down onto the bed. He’s bound to have bruises on his knees tomorrow. Guess that’s what he gets for not bothering to grab a pillow. If he had a Dom, he wouldn’t have to remember things like that. But that’s never going to happen. Even if he could find a level 10 Dom, chances are the Dom wouldn’t want him. It’s not like Stiles is well behaved. He’s mouthy, stubborn, and a total workaholic. No Dom wants a Sub that they can’t control…and Stiles isn’t about to let someone control him.

Stiles walks into his living room, grabbing his phone off of the counter. A text from Allison, who will be acting as his handler, gives him the go ahead. They’ve been planning this op for months, gathering as much information as possible before bringing it to Deaton.

The Blood Wolves’ territory covers half of California, but is based in LA. They run everything from guns to drugs to prostitutes. And, up until recently, the LAPD had no idea who was in charge. That is until Stiles’ father cracked the case open by discovering that the last name of the family at the heart of the gang, the Hales.

All he knew was their last name, nothing else. But it was more than enough to get him tortured and killed. That’s who these people are, ruthless, murdering psychopaths. A family of serial killers.

And they are a family, related by blood and everything. It’s taken Stiles eight months, but he finally figured it out. At the head of the family is a man named Peter, who, as far as Stiles can tell, is a fucking ghost. No one’s ever even seen him. Below Peter, is his nephew, Derek, a tattooed hitman who does his uncle’s dirty work. Below Derek are the twins, his sisters Laura and Cora, one who runs the city’s prostitution ring and the other who controls the drug trade.

Once he figured out the layout of the Hale family, Stiles started working his dealer for a meeting. At first Marcus was obstinate. But he caved when Stiles brought him twelve thousand dollars and a couple pounds of weed. He’s supposed to meet Cora tomorrow at noon, Santa Monica pier.

Stiles’ plans on making her an offer she can’t refuse. Though Cora runs a lucrative business, she has trouble getting her hands on cocaine. A few months back Stiles and Scott destroyed the pipeline from Mexico, ridding LA of the shit. The cocaine they raided from store houses and drug dens is still sitting in lock up, ready for Stiles to use. Cora needs the cocaine. If he goes in a supplier, she’ll have no choice but to welcome him.

Glancing at alarm clock, Stiles carefully places his Batman lunch box into his duffle and zips it up. Allison wants him at the apartment by 10. Which gives him just under half an hour to get there. He shoulders his bag, glances down at the photo of his parents on his nightstand, and makes his way outside.

Allison meets him at the apartment he’ll be living in for the next God knows how long. They ride up the elevator together and she hands him the key to the door. He unlocks it and steps inside. The apartments small, but nice. It says that he has money, but isn’t a total douchebag about spending it.

“Nice digs,” Stiles say, shrugging off his duffle.

“Took it off a mobster,” Allison says with a smirk. “Lydia insisted on having it refurnished, said she wouldn’t have you living in…” she pauses, thinking. “I think she called it a pimped out godfather crack den.” Stiles laughs, endlessly enthused by the other Sub. He and Lydia have been friends since high school. He had a crush on her for a while. When she finally found out, she very gently told him that, while she did love him, dick did absolutely nothing for her. A few years later she met Allison and the two have been in love ever since.

“She may be insane, but Liddy’s got taste,” Stiles says, circling around the living room. It’s decorated in dark colors, burgundy and charcoal. A large TV sits on the far wall, facing a grey sofa and a coffee table.

Allison rolls her eyes at him, too in love with Lydia to care that she can be a bit neurotic. “She’s worried about you, you know. I’m worried about you,” Allison says rapidly, brows furrowing in concern. Stiles twists around to face her, smirking playfully. He’s already got Scott on his case, he doesn’t need Allison and Lydia too.

“I’m fine, Ali,” he says, shrugging.

She exhales resignedly, studying him. “I’m not gonna push you, Stiles, but I’m trusting you to be honest with me. I’m your handler. I need to know if you aren’t okay.” She keeps her voice easy, but stern. Stiles nods curtly, turning and walking into the dining room.

“We got anything to eat,” he says, opening the fridge. Inside, is a plastic bag full of Chinese takeout. Stiles groans, pulling it out and turning to face her. She grins at him, watching as he fishes out the boxes and sets them down on the counter. “You, Allison Argent, are a fuckin’ goddess!”

“I try,” she says sheepishly, smirking. She hasn’t seen him like this since before his father died. It’s nice to know that the Stiles she loves is still somewhere inside of him, the Stiles that’s constantly making jokes and never stops eating.

Stiles takes a massive bite of sesame chicken and moans, closing his eyes to relish in the taste. He so rarely gets hungry anymore, thanks to the Babydoll. Eating has become something of a chore for him. But right now, he’s fucking starving, and Chinese is his favorite. He grabs an eggroll, tearing into it animatedly.

“Let’s go over your cover one more time,” Allison says, seating herself on a barstool and grabbing an eggroll.

Stiles finishes chewing and swallows, annoyed. They’ve gone over it a million times, he knows his cover identity better than his real one. Allison fixes him with a forceful look and he caves, exhaling. “My name is Stiles, no that’s not my real name, I grew up in San Diego. My parents are dead and I’m an only child. I started dealing in high school, made some connections across the boarder. I dropped out of high school and made cocaine my full time job. There, good enough for you?” Stiles asks, shoving another piece of chicken into his mouth.

“You’re an idiot,” Allison says with a laugh, earning a grin from Stiles. She wishes Lydia and Scott were here to see him like this. It’s been a long time since she’s seen him smile. “Okay, I’m gonna head home. Call me after your meet with Cora tomorrow.”

“Yes, mom,” Stiles says as she stands up. She pulls a Glock from her purse, double checking to make sure that the serial numbers are gone, and sets it down on the counter.

“Please be careful,” she says, holding Stiles’ gaze. The quiet yearning in her ebony eyes cuts away at Stiles. Because, to be completely honest, being careful is the last thing on his mind. He doesn’t care if this op costs him his life, as long as he finds out who killed his father and makes the bastard pay.

“I will,” he mutters, and it’s a lie. She pulls him into her arms, holding him tight. He stiffens for a moment, but then exhales into it. It’s been a long time since someone held him, in any way. He drinks in her soft touch, the sensation calming his aching muscles. When she pulls back he has to bite his lip to keep from whimpering. He didn’t realize how touch starved he was, in desperate need of contact.

She flashes him a smile and disappears around the corner, the door closing behind her. Stiles glances down at his food, his sudden appetite gone. Stuffing the leftovers back into the fridge, he exits the kitchen and grabs his duffle.

It only takes him a few minutes to unpack, Allison made it painfully clear he was only to bring essentials. He tried to tell her that his box set of Harry Potter DVDs were ‘essential,’ but she didn’t buy it. Once he’s finished, he settles himself down on the couch, grabbing the remote from the coffee table.

He pulls up Netflix and locates Criminal Minds, pressing play on an episode he’s already seen. Letting it play in the background, he turns and lays down on the couch. Trouble sleeping isn’t a side effect of the Babydoll, but Stiles is sure that it’s a side effect of something. Maybe he’s got PTSD or maybe he’s just fucked up. Either way, his nightmares make it almost impossible to get any sleep. Almost every night he dreams about his father being torn apart by wolves, a nice fuck you from his subconscious.

Stiles is sure that if he can just find the person who killed his father, everything else will figure itself out. He’ll find a Dom he can trust, get leveled out, and maybe see a few dozen therapists. He tries not to worry about kicking the Babydoll, a drug notoriously hard to get clean from. Without the helps of a Dom, the process can kill a Submissive.

“Fuck,” Stiles mutter, running an exhausted hand down his face. He glances over the clock. It’s been hours and he’s still awake, the television playing in the background. He’s not sure what’s worse, closing his eyes and accepting the nightmares, or keeping them open in fear. God, he’s fucked up.

Teeth clenched, he forces himself to close his eyes. He tries to conger up his father’s voice, deep and soft. Listening to his dad talk always used to help him sleep. It was like a comforting weight on his body, a warm blanket. But now, now there’s nothing…he can’t remember and he hates himself for it. What kind of son forgets his father’s voice? Before long, he’ll forget everything else.

Tears brimming in his eyes, he turns into the couch and curls up in a tight ball. As his body starts to shake, he thinks about doing more Babydoll. But he quickly decides against it, he’s already more than addicted to the shit. And it would just put him down. What he really needs is to sleep. But he can’t.

His father would be ashamed of him; of what he’s let himself become. He used to be someone his father could be proud of, a good detective and a good man. But now, now he’s just an angry cop, strung out on drugs, and desperate for his revenge.

Chapter Text

Derek slams his fist into the man’s face, over and over and over again. Blood sprays the walls, painting them red. The man screams obscenities until he can’t scream anymore. And still, Derek continues until the man’s skull gives and he goes limp, nothing but a pile of empty bones.

Standing up, Derek grabs a towel and cleans his hands, glaring down at what’s left of the man. Derek’s good at his job… maybe a little too good. He’s never had any problem killing, but he makes a point of only killing those who deserve it. He’s aware that his fucked up code of conduct doesn’t make him a good person. Killing is killing, whether you’re putting a bullet through a rapist or mother fucking Teresa. 

He stalks out of the room, pulling his phone out of his pocket to text Felix, their clean up guy. He’ll have the body gone in a matter hours, no trace of left. Derek has no idea how he does it and no intention of ever finding out. It probably involves a power saw, a shit ton of bleach, and a vat of chemicals.

“Please tell me you cut off his dick and fed it to him,” Laura says, kicking off the wall and closing the distance between them. She tosses her dark hair over her shoulder, fixing him with her green eyes.

“Worse,” Derek says without elaborating.

Laura grins, pleased with her retribution. The man Derek just beat to death nearly killed one of her girls. The poor thing is going to have scars from the attack for the rest of her life. They may be prostitutes, but Laura considers her employees family. She goes out of her way to make sure that they are taken care of, that they are fed, clothed, and happy.

“Thanks, Der!” she says with a smile. He nods curtly and then strip off his bloodstained clothes. He’ll leave them for Felix, who will probably burn them. The little bastard can make just about anything disappear.

“You heard from Cora today?” Derek asks as he steps into the shower and turns it on. At first the water comes out rusty, but after a few few seconds it clears. He steps beneath the spray, letting it wash the carnage from his body.

“Saw her this morning. She’s gonna meet us at home before she goes to see that coke dealer,” Laura says as she fixes her hair in the bathroom’s broken mirror.

“What’d we know about this guy?” Derek asks, stepping out of the shower. Laura hands him a towel and proceeds to reapply her pink lip gloss. Derek rolls his eyes, in awe of how different his twin sisters are. Though both are ruthless, Laura is a poised princess and Cora is a total punk.

Laura finishes with her lip gloss and turns to him, shrugging. “I donno, but who the fuck cares. We need coke and he’s got it. As long as he’s not a psycho, we’re fine.”

“What if he’s a cop?” Derek asks as he pulls on a clean pair of jeans. Laura hands him his shirt and he shrugs it on, concealing the majority of his tattoos.

“A cop who’s been buying Babydoll off Marcus for almost a year? I doubt that,” Laura says with a scoff, rolling her eyes at him. Derek is and always has been the calm to his sisters’ storm. As the oldest, it’s his job to take care of them, to make sure that they are safe. And yeah, he knows that they don’t need looking after, they’re both Doms and are completely capable of of handling themselves. But he’ll always take care of his family.

“Just because he buys Babydoll, doesn’t mean he’s not a cop. Some of LA’s finest are our best customers.” Derek gives her a pointed look. Laura is on a first name basis with more cops and lawyers than Derek can count. All of which are taken very good care of when they walk into one of her hotels.

She chews on her red nail for a second, eyeing him. “Fine, you’ve got a point. Now, come on, this place is giving me rabies,” she says with a shudder. Derek chuckles as he follows his sister out of the tiny bathroom. He grabs his boots from where he left them at the door, walks out onto the street, and gets into a car. Seconds later, it pulls out onto the street, their driver taking them home.

Derek closes his eyes, ignoring the sounds and sights of the city until the car comes to a stop. He sighs, glancing up at the iron gates that precede their mansion. And yeah, it’s a fucking mansion. Peter’s tastes are…extravagant.

The gates open and the car creeps up the drive. Their butler, Charles, opens the door for Laura, earning a lovely smile from her as she saunters past him. Derek exit the car before Charles has time to get to him. As far as Derek is concerned, doors should be opened for women and Subs, but Charles will hear none of it.

Making his way inside, he glances around. The floor plan is open and modern, all sleek glass and clean lines. The house has five floors. Peter’s, Derek’s, Laura’s, Cora’s, and the main floor, which is considered neutral territory. They stay off of each other’s floors, careful to let every member of their family have his or her personal space. But, the only one who insists on the privacy is Peter. No one is allowed on his floor unless he expressly asks for them to be there. No exceptions.

Derek makes his way into the living room, where Laura is sprawled out on the couch, watching Vampire Diaries. She’s been obsessed with Nina Dobrev lately, professing to Derek time and time again that the little Sub is the sexiest thing on two feet. Laura’s adores Derek and her male employees, but she is exclusively into girls. Cora, on the other hand, prefers men.

“Seriously, Der! I’m gonna make her my wife!” Laura says with an exaggerated groan, fawning over the beautiful actress.

“Is she still on this?” Cora asks, strutting out down the stairs in her leather and combat boots. Her hair, unlike Laura’s, is chopped off at her shoulders and streaked with pink and feathers. Where Laura has lip gloss and fake lashes, Cora has dark eyeliner and a pierced eyebrow. Their senses of style are as opposite as their personalities. A subject of endless amusement for Derek. 

“Shut up, bunny! Derek thinks she’s hot, dontcha, Der?” Laura asks, fixing him with a persuasive look. Derek groans, not wanting to get in the middle of one of their arguments. Though they are rarely serious, they often end in hair pulling and the destruction of furniture. “Besides, it’s not like you even like girls.”

Cora slumps down into an armchair, kicking her boots up onto the glass coffee table. If Peter were here, he’d beat her for it, but he’s not. And for that Derek is eternally grateful. He takes the blunt of Peter’s wrath, but he can’t be around to protect his sisters constantly.

“Just because I don’t like pussy, doesn’t mean I have shitty taste!” Cora says, more annoyed than angry. They’ve had this argument before and neither one ever wins. But Derek figures it gives them something to do when they aren’t at work. He’s honestly surprised they get along as well as they do, their personalities as different as they are.

“You’ve seen what you’re wearing, right?” Laura asks patronizingly, eyes traveling down and then back up Cora’s grungy outfit.

Cora gasps indignantly, brows furrowing. “At least I don’t dress like a whore!”

“Aw, thanks, bunny! That’s exactly what I was going for!” Laura says with a confident smirk. Cora grits her teeth, glaring at their sister.

Aware that Cora is going to break and attack Laura, Derek steps between them, breaking their eye contact. Then he turns to face Cora, catching her gaze. “What do you know about this coke dealer you’re meeting?”

“Not much,” Cora says with a shrug. “He’s been buying Baby off Marcus for eight months, always a generous tipper. He bribed Marcus to set up the meet, cash and pot. You know how much he loves his weed, little fucker.” Derek nods, well aware of Marcus’ not so little pot problem. It’s how Derek met him, they used to get baked together back in college. Derek grew out of it, Marcus didn’t.

“That’s it? You let Marcus talk you into a meet and you know-”

“Derek thinks your dealer is a cop,” Laura says, interrupting him. He turns, glaring at her, annoyed. But, as usual, she shrugs it off with a knowing smirk.

“He’s not a cop,” Cora says, scoffing. “Dude’s been buying buying Baby off Marcus for months. A cop would’ve arrested him, not asked for more.” She laughs, as if the idea is absolutely absurd.

“There are plenty of cops on our payroll and even more in Laura’s little black book. Just because he uses, doesn’t mean he’s not a cop.” Derek arches an eyebrow, daring his sisters to argue with him. But neither does, because they both know that he’s right. It’s a lesson their father taught them young, anyone can be a cop. And all it would take is one to destroy their empire.

“I’ll be careful, Der,” Cora says with a soft smile, hoping to reassure her protective older brother. It helps, but not much. Derek remains ridged, shoulders taut.

“Marcus sure he’s a Sub?” Laura asks, one eyebrow arched.

Cora nods. “He said the poor thing’s been strung out for months, slowly upping his dosage. He’s been buying two vials a week…which would mean he’s shooting up at least twice a day.”

Derek grits his teeth, fisting his hands at his sides. If it were up to him, he’d make sure that Cora didn’t sell Babydoll. It’s notorious for destroying Subs, eating them alive until they either overdose or starve to death. It fucks with their heads, making them impulsive and angry, violent. And it’s addictive as fuck, requiring more and more to put a Sub under. As far as Derek’s concerned, taking advantage of Subs is wrong, but Peter isn’t so moral.

“Breathe,” Laura says sharply, pulling him out of his own head. He exhales, blinking rapidly. “God, I hate it when you do that. You’re supposed to be my sweet big brother…it wigs me out when you go all angry Dom.”

“He probably just needs to get laid,” Cora says nonchalantly. Derek groans. His sisters are way too happy discussing his sex life. But if he so much as mentions them going on a date, it’s a hairbrush to the back of his head.

“There’s this cute little Sub that goes to my gym, her name’s-”

“No, Laura! I can find my own Subs, thank you,” Derek says abruptly, cutting her off. Laura scoffs, pursing her lips. Derek knows she’s just trying to help, but the last time he went on a date with someone she recommended, he woke up in the Bora Bora with a fucker of a hangover. The girl was sexy as hell, but it was so not worth it.

“Well…I know an adorable barista-”

“The same goes for you!” Derek growls, cutting his other sister off. The last time he went out with someone Cora recommended, he ended up with a knife through his hand and a tattoo he later got covered up. The boy was adorable, but he was also crazy as fuck.

As a level 10 Dom, he’s dominant enough to put any Submissive down, but none of them have ever felt right. He knows it’s because, ideally, level 10 Doms belong with level 10 Subs, but he’s pretty sure they’re extinct. He’s never seen, met, or heard of one. And yet, here he is, holding out hope for a fucking myth.

“Aw, you’re no fun, Der!” Laura says, standing up and walking into the kitchen. She returns a moment later, stilettos clicking on the hardwood, a bag of Cheetos in hand. She hops back down onto the couch and pops the bag open, gesturing Cora over. Cora smirk, standing up and walking over to sit down next to Laura. They may be as different as night and day, but their love of snack food transcends all of it.

Derek sits down next to them, grabbing the bag and pulling out a few Cheetos. But just as he puts the first one in his mouth, Peter’s deep voice rings out over the intercom system. “Derek, would you please come upstairs,” he says politely. But Derek knows that his manners are his way of hiding the monster within.

“You want my gun?” Cora asks as he hands her his remaining Cheetos.

He chuckles, standing up. “I’ll be fine.”

“That’s what you said last time,” Laura mutters, worrying her bottom lip anxiously. The last time Peter called him upstairs, the Dom promptly beat the shit out of Derek. He’d been furious with Laura for tossing out her best client, a man who punched one of her boys for refusing to kneel. Derek took the beating, like he always does. Because if he doesn’t take it, his sisters will.

“You did the right thing, Lulu,” Derek says softly, using his childhood nickname for her. He used to get Laura and Cora mixed up, their names already so close to one another. So he promptly dubbed Laura, Lulu and Cora, bunny. Lulu because it sounded like tutu, a very Laura thing to wear. And bunny because Cora, at the time, had been obsessed with rabbits.

“If I’m not back in a few hours…” Derek trails off, smirking humorlessly.

“We’ll set the house on fire,” Cora mutters, making him laugh.

His sisters’ eyes dig into his back as he makes his way over to the elevator, stepping inside. He presses the button for the top floor and doors close, taking him up. He leans back against the wall, exhaling in preparation.

Derek, Laura, and Cora have been plotting Peter’s downfall for years. They vowed to kill him and take his empire the moment they found out he murdered their parents. Peter made it look like a hit from a rival gang, but it wasn’t. He paid off everyone who was loyal to them, and then took them out.

But just because Derek and his sisters want him dead, doesn’t mean they can just kill him. Peter pays his employees well, demanding absolute loyalty. After he killed their parents, he took the fortune that was meant for them, forcing Derek, Laura, and Cora to live off of off their uncle. He uses money to control them, regulating where they go and what they do. If Derek goes after Peter, his uncle’s men will kill his sisters, and vise versa. It’s a fact that Peter has made crystal clear to all three of them.

Their solution, gather enough cash to buy an unchartered flight to the Caribbean for Laura and Cora. Then, once his sisters are safely out of the country, Derek plans on making Peter pay for everything he has done. He’ll take back the empire that is his birthright and, once it’s stable, bring his sisters back.

And, yeah, it’s not a perfect plan. Peter watches them constantly, making earning the cash almost impossible. Almost. It took them a while, but they figured a way around it. Derek fights in the underground MMA circuit, while Laura and Cora skim money from their respective businesses, careful to give their brother alibies for his fights. It’s working, but slowly. They’ve been running the con for almost two years and only recently earned enough cash for one of his sisters.

Derek’s not entirely convinced that he will live through killing his uncle. But so long as his sisters are safe, he doesn’t really care. It’s not like he has anyone else to live for. Laura and Cora are his life. 

The elevator dings open and Derek walks in into the living room, fists clenched at his sides. He turns left and makes his way to his uncle’s office, ignoring the men in suits that flank him as he moves.

The door to Peter’s office is closed, as always. Derek lifts his hands, rapping two knuckles lightly against the dark wood. “Come on in, Derek,” Peter says tonelessly and Derek knows, in that instant, that he’s fucking screwed. Somehow Peter must have found out about the man Derek killed today, a man he wasn’t supposed to kill.

A politician.

Peter’s body guards move to stand on either side of the door as Derek opens it, stepping inside the office. His uncle is seated at a high-backed chair, hands resting neatly on his granite desk. His face is a mask of stoicism, giving nothing away.

“What makes you think you can kill one of our best clients?” he asks, ice-cold voice turning Derek’s stomach. He swallows hard, squaring his shoulders proudly. He’s not scared of Peter, but he is scared of what the man is capable of.

His uncle is fucking insane. Once a week, like clockwork, a young Submissive girl is brought through the house and sent up to see Peter. A few hours later she is brought down, battered and bloody, the light gone from her eyes. The following week, a new girl shows up, wide-eyed and innocent. So has been the pattern for the past God knows how many years. And no one’s ever said a thing.

“Well?” Peter demands, slamming his fist down on the desk.

Derek grits his teeth, wishing, not for the first time, that he could pick up his uncle’s letter opener and stab him with it. “He abused one of Laura’s girls,” Derek says curtly, painfully aware that no excuse is going to matter. Peter wouldn’t care if the man cut Laura into tiny pieces and fed her to a dog. Money is all that matters to him.

He stands up slowly, muscles taut. Derek exhales, mentally preparing himself for what’s about to happen. It’s ironic, that the best MMA fighter the underground has ever seen, just lets his uncle beat the shit out of him. As a level 10 Dom, submitting in any way goes against every fiber of Derek’s being. But he does it and he’ll continue to do it, as long as it keeps his sisters safe.

“How many times do I have to tell you, Derek…” Peter closes the distance between them, punctuating each word with a deliberate step. “You are not in charge!” He punches Derek. Hard. The blow knocks Derek’s head to the side, splitting his lip open, and spraying the wall with blood.

Swallowing a vicious growl, Derek turns back to face his uncle. He hates this, hates that Peter thinks he’s immortal. Because he’s not. No one is. And one of these days, Derek is going to show him just how human he really is.

Derek meet’s his uncle’s gaze defiantly, careful to keep his expression blank. He’s learned not to show weakness around Peter. His uncle hates it, he says that if a Dom can’t maintain control, he deserves to die for the loss of it. It’s an archaic belief. One Derek wholeheartedly disagrees with. In his eyes, it’s the Sub who has all of the control.

“You think just because you’re a level 10, that you deserve to be the head of this family?” Peter asks, voice little more than a whisper. Derek remains silent. Answering will only antagonize Peter. The bastard just needs to get it out of his system.

Derek licks his split lip, watching as his uncle slowly comes undone. He’s seen it happen so many times that he knows exactly what to look for. Peter glares at him, chest heaving. Fury cuts a path across his face, destroying the mask of indifference. His eyes narrow, darkening as he looks Derek up and down. He curls his lip in disgust.

“You don’t deserve to be a level 10,” Peter hisses and Derek has to bite back a smile.  Because that, that right there, is real reason his uncle is punishing him. It’s not because of some fucker of a politician. It’s because Derek is a level 10…and Peter is only a level 6.

He’s always been jealous of Derek, who was born with more power than Peter will ever be able to buy. Derek’s a natural leader. If he were the head of the family, as he should be, he wouldn’t have to pay for loyalty. All he’d have to do is ask for it. People naturally respect him, submit to him, and Peter hates him for it.

“Are we done?” Derek asks, deliberately pushing his uncle.

And, just like that, Peter breaks. He smashes his fist into Derek’s face, over and over again. Derek holds his ground, which only makes his uncle even more angry. He turns his fury to Derek’s ribs, sending pain shooting through his veins. He broke three ribs in his last underground fight and they haven’t had time to heal.

Fists clenched at his sides, Derek struggles to suppress the urge to bash his uncle’s skull in. Fuck, the armatures he’s seen fight are better than Peter. His form is weak, his breathing is erratic, and he is constantly on the offensive. Were Derek to face him in the octagon, he’d take his uncle out in a matter of seconds.

“Stupid! Useless!” His uncle punctuates each word with a blow. Derek takes every hit, giving nothing away until a well-placed blow sends one of his broken ribs into a lung. Gasping, he doubles over. Peter kicks him hard, sending him to his knees.

Peter lets out an arrogant laugh. “Look at you. You’re no better than those bitches they bring me every week!” He grabs a paperweight and hits Derek over the head with it, knocking him to the ground. “You belong on your knees, just like those sisters of yours!” Derek clenches his teeth, fury raging through him.

He puts his hands on the cold floor, intent on getting up. But before he can, Peter starts to kick him. He doubles over, pain overwhelming him. Minutes pass, but Peter doesn’t let up. He continues to yell and kick, raging until Derek passes out.

Chapter Text

Stiles tightens his grip on the pier’s metal railing, making it look like his knuckles are about to burst through skin. It’s a beautiful day, but Stiles can’t feel anything. Not the warmth of the sun shining down on him or the taste of the salt spray. The sound of people milling around him is nothing but a buzz in the back of his head. He’s empty, an aching void.

“You look like shit, cupcake,” a woman says as she moves in next to him. Stiles glances over at her, unsurprised to see Cora Hale.

Stiles has seen her before, in pictures and while on surveillance. She’s in her usual getup, skin-tight jeans, leather jacket, and combat boots. Nothing new there. What takes him by surprise, is how beautiful she is. Her eyes are the color of green sea glass, taking him back to when he and his mom used to gather it on the beach. Her face is angular and fierce, brows arched proudly. She’s got the body of a dancer, muscles lithe. But Stiles knows better than to underestimate her. He’s seen her take down men twice his size.

“So says the girl who’s never met me,” Stiles mutters, barely managing to conceal the raspy, almost-whimper in his voice. God, he’s a fucking mess. She can probably see right through him. He’s going to screw up this op before it even starts. “Maybe I look like this all the time.”

Cora scoffs, looking him over with the practiced ease of a skilled Dom. “I doubt that,” she says tonelessly, turning back to face the ocean. “Then again, no one looks good when they’re fucked up.”

Stiles grits his teeth, struggling to control the shaking in his hands. It’s a side effect of being touch starved. And the Babydoll only makes it worse. But it’s not like there is anything he can do about it. He’s undercover, alone. And the last thing he wants to do is admit how much he needs it, how deeply he craves being held. Because the last person that held him like he really mattered was his father…and a few hours later he was dead in the street.

“I was fucked up way before I stared using,” Stiles says coldly, teeth clenched.

Cora laughs, dry and sardonic. “Of course you were. No one takes Babydoll for fun. It’s addictive as fuck, has more side effects than benefits, and it’ll kill you…even if you’re careful.” She glances over at Stiles and then shrugs nonchalantly. Her devil may care attitude does its job, people respect her, but Stiles doesn’t miss the fleeting glimpse of concern in her eyes.

A lesson in tolerance is the last thing Stiles expected to receive from LA’s drug queen. She sells everything from weed to heroin, no questions asked. And yet, here she is eyeing him like he’s something broken, like she’s the one who broke him.    

“Are my…vices going to interfere with us doing business?” Stiles asks, meeting her gaze. She purses her lips for a moment, studying him. Stiles shifts his weight, fighting the urge to drop his gaze. She’s an upper level Dom, maybe 7 or 8, powerful enough to sway him, but nothing more.

She sighs, turning to face the crowd. “I’m hungry. You wanna grab some food?” Her question takes him by surprise. What the fuck is she playing at? Does she make a habit of wining and dining potential suppliers? Doubtful. Still, he knows better than to turn her down. The closer he gets to Cora, the closer he gets to the person who killed his father.

“Alright. But, fair warning, I probably won’t eat,” Stiles says, anxiously fiddling with his fingers. He stops the moment he realizes he’s doing it, but Cora catches the motion and smirks ever so slightly.

She kicks off the railing and turns, closing the distance between them. “I bet you’d eat if a Dom was feeding you,” she says, voice her signature mixture of blunt and blasé. Stiles swallows hard, a knot forming in his stomach. Because he wants that…fuck, he wants it so bad it hurts. But he can’t have it and thinking about it, about being cared for and loved, only makes not having it that much worse.

“Fuck…” Stiles mutters, exhaling.

Cora chuckles as she backs up, a knowing look in her green eyes. She motions for Stiles to follow her and he complies, falling into step beside her. They make their way to a little diner, seating themselves in a corner booth, facing one another.

“What can I getcha?” the waitress asks, pen poised above her notepad.

“Two burgers, extra bacon. Oh, and a strawberry shake,” Cora says, glancing over at Stiles. Her eyes pierce him and he drop his gaze, chest hitching. It’s been a long time since anyone has made a decision for him. Warmth spreads through his body and, for the first time in months, it feels like he can breathe.

“Anything else?” the waitress asks, one eyebrow arched.

“No. Thanks.” Cora flashes the woman a smile and then turns back to Stiles as the waitress walks away. Stiles forces himself to look up, meeting her gaze. She smiles gently as she shrugs off her leather jacket, setting it down next to her. “I hope you don’t mind that I ordered for you. The burgers here are fuckin’ fantastic and…you are in serious need of some Domming.”

Stiles shakes his head in disbelief. She is nothing like he expected her to be. Behind her punk rock exterior, is a kind heart. She’s looking at him like she cares, like he matters. And they just met. Stiles isn’t sure how to take it, how to take her.

“You’re not what I expected,” he says after a few minutes of silence.

“What’d you expect, cupcake?” she asks with a giggle. A few days ago, if anyone had referred to him as ‘cupcake,’ Stiles would’ve promptly told them to fuck off. But, for some reason, Cora makes it work. It’s teasing, but sweet…almost like Stiles is her kid brother.

“I donno. I’ve heard rumors about you and your family. People talk about you like you’re gods or something…” Stiles trails off as the waitress sets their food down in front of them. Cora was right, the burgers look amazing. Stiles’ mouth starts to water as she sets the strawberry shake. He eyes it hungrily, suddenly starving.

Cora laughs, jolting him out of his head. He lifts his gaze from the shake and blushes, embarrassed. “Go ahead. I ordered it for you.” Stiles has a spoonful in his mouth before she finishes her sentence. She smirks, watching him eat. “You know…you’re not what I expected either. You’re cute, in a kicked-puppy sort of way.”

“Was that supposed to be a compliment?” Stiles asks, chuckling.

She rolls her eyes and takes a bite of her burger, glancing out the window. Stiles swallows his ice cream and takes another bite, trying to suppress the sudden affection he feels for her. God, why couldn’t she have been a total bitch? Fuck. Of course she had to be funny and kind, taking care of a total stranger without expecting anything in return.

He forces himself to refocus. This isn’t about whether or not he likes Cora Hale. This is about finding the person who killed his father. Cora is just his in, she is the means to an end, nothing more.

“So…cocaine…” Stiles says awkwardly, cocking his jaw to the side.

Cora bursts out laughing, taking him buy surprise. “Oh my God, you are adorable! Yes, I’ll buy your coke.” She chuckles, shaking her head as she gets down to business. “We’ll set you up an offshore bank account where your money will be deposited each month. It’ll be a lump sum; I don’t do percentages. Too messy.”

“Makes sense,” Stiles says with a curt nod.

“Oh, and if you nark to the cops, I’ll gut you,” she says venomously, a promise in her eyes. Stiles fists his hands under the table, realizing, all of the sudden, where those stories about her on the streets come from. She may be genuine, but she is also a Hale. Her family didn’t just rise to power…they clawed their way up, with blood and violence. Just because she’s kind, doesn’t mean she hasn’t killed someone, doesn’t mean she didn’t kill his father.

Stiles’ hands start to shake, the memory of his father’s body, broken and bloody, playing before his eyes. He takes a deep breath and exhales, dropping his gaze. Fuck. He needs to get ahold of himself before he screws everything up. If he can just get through this meeting…then he can go home and shoot up. And for a few hours his father’s body won’t haunt him.

“I doubt the cops would trust the word of a junkie,” Stiles says, chuckling humorlessly. Cora smirks and shrugs in agreement, the tension between them dissipating. They eat in silence for a few minutes, Stiles merely playing with his food.

“So, Stiles…where you from?” she asks, sticking a fry into her mouth.

“San Diego,” Stiles says automatically. Allison would be proud.

“Hm, that’s Savage territory. Any affiliation?”

“I ran coke for Jax back when he was in charge, but I got out after Alexei took over,” Stiles says, thinking back to everything he’s ever read about the Savages. Their old leader Jax was an asshole, but their new leader, Alexei, is a psychopath. The San Diego Police Department is currently investigating a number of Submissive murders with ties to the gang. Murders that started when Alexei took control.

“Alexei is a sadistic motherfucker. You’re lucky you got out when you did. He likes to cut up his Subs, likes to make them scream.” Cora swallows and then drops what’s left of her fry, her appetite gone. “You shoulda seen Jax when Alexei was done with him. It was a fuckin’ mess.”

“So Alexei killed him?” Stiles ask, trying to sound casual.

Cora nods. “I’m as progressive as they come, but the fact that Jax was a Sub didn’t sit well with most of his men…Alexei included.”

Stiles sits back, digesting that information. Jax was listed as Dominant in his file, an assumption made by San Diego PD. One with years of data to back it up. Most criminals are male Doms. The fact that Jax was Submissive, and the leader of a notorious gang is unheard of. Times are changing, but most people still view Submissives as inferior. They are rarely allowed to hold positions of power. Hell, the only reason Stiles made detective was because Scott vouched for him.

“Stiles?” Cora asks.

“Yeah,” he mutters, lifting his gaze from his plate. Cora cocks her head to the side, eyes narrowing as she studies him. He wrings his hands anxiously, fighting the urge to drop his gaze. She’s looking at him like she knows him, like she can see right through him. And it makes Stiles want to hide.

“Can I ask you something?” she asks politely, eyes suddenly heavy with concern.

“Sure,” Stiles says automatically, regretting it instantly. God, one of these days his lack of brain-to-mouth filter is going to get him killed. He knows what she’s going to ask, he can see it in her eyes. And it scares him.

She takes a deep breath and exhales, like she’s preparing herself. Stiles braces himself, tensing up. “Why are you taking Baby? You’re adorable, I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard for you to find a suitable Dom,” she says with a reassuring smile.

Stiles drops his gaze, glaring down at his fisted hands. She has a right to know. They are going to be doing business and the fact that he is using is a liability. But still, the thought of answering, lying or telling the truth, makes him sick. What is he supposed to say? His father, the only Dom he’s ever really loved, was murdered. And, even if he was ready to put himself in someone else’s hands, it’s not like there are level 10 Doms around every corner.

“You don’t have to answer,” she whispers, catching Stiles’ gaze. She holds it softly as she reaches over, giving him plenty of time to pull back, and takes his hand. The second her skin makes contact, he sighs and closes his eyes, relaxing under her gentle touch. She strokes his hand, her touch light and non-sexual. “Fuck, you’re really starving for it, aren’t you?”

Stiles pulls back and opens his eyes, aware that his pupils are probably blown. Fuck. What the hell is wrong with him? He’s supposed to be working. He’s supposed to be taking down a gang for fuck sakes. Not this…never this.

Stomach tying itself in knots, he stands up. Cora moves with him, catching his gaze and giving him a concerned look. It makes Stiles want to curl up and cry. His hands start to shake, a combination of being touch-starved and itching for a hit. Cora’s brows furrow as she watches him come apart, chest hitching.

“I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable. Are you alright?” she asks gingerly. Stiles hates that he believes her, that he believes she’s sorry.

Stiles clenches his hands into tight fists. He turns, grabbing a napkin off of the table and writing down his number. Then, he turns and hands it to her, careful not to touch her. Cora stares at him, face a mask of worry and grief. She thinks he’s running because she touched him. She thinks this is her fault.

“I’m fine. Call me tomorrow, we’ll set something up,” Stiles says coldly, ignoring the ache in his chest. He fishes some money out of his pocket, tosses it onto the table, and walks out the diner.

 

 

 

Derek watches his sister pace back and forth, seething. She’s been doing it for the past hour, all the while going on and on about how she’s going to take Peter’s head off. It was entertaining for the first fifteen minutes, but now it’s just sad. Sometimes he forgets how much she and Cora love him.

“…or I could stick him in a wood chipper. I bet that would be fun. You can rent them, at least I think you can rent them. Do people actually buy wood chippers?” She purses her lips, brows furrowed. “They must. I mean-”

“Laura, please,” Derek says sharply, cutting her off.

“What, Der? Please what? Please stop being angry that our bastard of an uncle beat you within an inch of your life? No! I won’t!” she says, glaring at him.

Derek scoffs, the sudden loss of air making his ribs ache. He winces and, just like that, Laura’s anger is gone. She closes the distance between them, taking his hand and holding it tight. Derek smiles reassuringly, wanting to make her feel better. This isn’t the first time they’ve been here and it won’t be the last. Eventually Derek or his sisters will make a mistake and he’ll pay for it with bruises and blood.

“I hate this,” Laura mutters, slumping down into the sofa next to his bed.

“I know, Lulu,” Derek says, hating that he can’t protect her. Despite his best efforts, his sisters are still in danger and, unless something changes, it’ll get them killed before he has a chance to take Peter out.

The door to his room opens and Cora comes stalking into the room, frowning like someone just offed her favorite dealer. She slumps down onto Derek’s California King and lets out a groan, tossing an arm over her eyes. Cora’s not one to exaggerate, so Derek instantly knows something is wrong.

“What is it?” Laura asks, pursing her lips.

Cora twists onto her stomach, head propped up in her hands. “Am I a bad Dom? Be honest…because I think I just fucked up.” Tears fill her eyes as she stares at them, as defiant as ever. Laura crosses the room and has Cora in her arms in a matter of seconds, holding their sister tight.

“You’re not a bad Dom. Why would you say that?” Laura asks, running a hand through Cora’s short curls. Cora clenches her eyes shut, sending tears down her cheeks.

“Is this about that new supplier? What’d he do? I’ll kill the little-”

“It wasn’t his fault,” Cora says, cutting him off. Derek swallows, holding his sister’s gaze. She gently pulls away from her twin, but keeps her fingers laced with Laura’s. “He’s strung out…like Marcus said. But it’s so much worse than that, Der. The poor thing couldn’t stop shaking and he’s so thin!” Her voice breaks and she clenches her eyes shut.

Derek rages in silence, furious. Submissives are meant to be cared for, to be cherished. Knowing that this boy is out there, alone and wasting away, eats at him. It’s fucked up. Subs don’t take Babydoll because they want to. They take it because they have no other choice. What happened to him that pushed him to this point? Why not just find a stable Dom who can care for him?

“Why’s he using?” Derek asks, his question lifting Cora’s gaze.

She shrugs, exhaling unsteadily. “I asked, but he refused to answer. I think the question freaked him out because he started to shake. I took his hand, thought the contact would make him feel better…”

“Did it?” Laura asks gently.

“For a minute. He sighed and sunk into it, but then he realized what he was doing and it kinda went downhill from there.” Cora drops her gaze, ashamed.

Derek sits up and takes Cora’s hand. “You didn’t do anything wrong. This kid…what’s his name?”

“Stiles,” she says.

“Stiles. He’s been on Baby for months. You know what it does to Submissives. It fucks with their hormones, makes them touch-starved and hyper vigilant. They can’t focus, they’re jumpy and impulsive.” Cora nods solemnly, brushing the tears from her cheeks. Derek’s done his best to teach his sisters how to be good Dominants, and they are, but it’s never too late for a lesson. “Subs are extremely tactile, they need touch. You know that. So when you touched him, it probably scared him. It probably reminded him of what he needs.”

“I thought maybe I hurt him,” Cora says, swallowing.

Derek shakes his head. “No, I’m sure you didn’t.” She sighs, relieved. Laura squeezes her hand, catching Cora’s gaze and giving her a warm smile.

Derek grits his teeth, wishing he had the authority to stop Cora from selling Baby. But, only Peter has that power. It’s not an overly popular drug, but if a Sub is put in the position of needing it, they will give just about anything. Peter calls it slut-space, because it puts Subs down, into subspace. Derek’s stomach churns in anger, his uncle’s laughter ringing in his head. The one, and only, time Derek asked him to stop selling it, all Peter did was laugh. 

“What level is he?” Derek asks, curious.

“He’s definitely high. He responded to me, but not the way he would have if our levels matched. So I’d say he’s a 9 or 10.” Her green eyes, so like their mother’s pierce him. Derek suppresses the jolt of electricity that burns through his veins. No. There’s no way he’s a level 10 and hoping is a waste of fucking time.

“No one’s a level 10,” Derek growls.

“You’re a level 10,” Laura says, rolling her eyes at him.

“Fine. No one but me.”

“Oh, what…so you’re the only level 10 on the planet? I highly doubt that!” Laura scoffs, laughing at him. Derek clenches his hands into tight fists, fighting the slight glimmer of hope blooming in his chest. Fuck.

“Would it be so bad, Der?” Cora asks gently.

“Yes, it would. I’ve got enough to worry about right now. The last thing I need is a Submissive to take care of,” Derek says, a little too defensively. Laura and Cora smirk at him, the knowing looks in their eyes identical in every way. Derek groans, reaching up to run a hand down his jaw. “I know what you’re thinking. But, don’t! The last thing I need is another person that Peter can hold over me.” Their smiles slip, sadness filling their eyes. Guilt slices him open. He shouldn’t have phrased it like that.

“Is that all we are?” Laura asks, voice cold.

“No!” Derek growls. “You know I love you…both of you! How could you even ask that?”

Cora drops her gaze and Laura blushes, shifting uncomfortably. “I’m sorry. It’s just, sometimes, it feels like you’re just trying to get rid of us. Like we’re just an obstacle between you and what you want.”

“What I want is to keep you safe!” Derek says sharply, making them both look at him. “And getting you out of the country is the best way to do that.” They nod solemnly, agreeing with him. “But…it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen anytime soon.” Derek clenches his eyes shut, spine caving as he berates himself. Taking care of them is his only job, and he’s fucking it up.

Cora clears her throat, gaining his attention. “I actually had an idea about that,” she says. He nods, silently urging her to elaborate. “So, I haven’t told Peter about Stiles. I wanted to make sure he was the real deal first. But, I was thinking, what if we just, don’t tell him?”

“Oh my God, bunny! You are a fuckin’ genius!” Laura yells, pulling Cora into a quick back-breaking hug. Cora groans, shoving her sister off.

Derek smiles, because Laura is right, Cora’s a fucking genius. “If we don’t tell him, we can pocket the money for ourselves.” Derek shakes his head in disbelief, adrenaline flooding his body as he contemplates taking Peter apart…piece by fucking piece.

“Exactly. I’ll have Ari and Carlos deal on the side. Neither of them would ever betray me. We’ll give them a cut and take the rest for ourselves,” Cora says, beaming.

It is a fantastic idea, with a few glaring problems. First and foremost, it’ll be much easier for Peter to find out that they are double crossing him. And if he does find out, he’ll make an example of all three of them. He’ll torture them, brand them with the Blood Wolf, and string them up in the streets. A blatant warning to his enemies. And second, they’ll be placing their lives in the hands of a strung out Submissive. One they know next to nothing about and who could overdose at any time. It’s not exactly a sound investment.

“You really think we can trust Stiles?” Derek asks sternly.

“I think so. But it doesn’t matter…he doesn’t need to know. He’s just a supplier, what I do with the coke after I buy it is my business,” Cora says, shrugging. Her ability to compartmentalize never ceases to amaze him. She’s actually very sweet, but only he and Laura know that. To everyone else she’s cold-hearted, impassive, ‘fuck with me and die’ Cora Hale.

“And if he overdoses and dies?” Derek asks, fixing her with a pointed look.

She cocks her jaw to the side, thinking. “Hm…I guess I could cut him back to one vial a week. He’ll go into withdrawals, but shooting up once a day won’t kill him.” She sighs, regret gleaming in her eyes. Cutting Stiles back to one vial a week will prevent him from overdosing, but Babydoll withdrawals are bad. Really fucking bad.

“It’s our only option,” Derek says rapidly, aware that there is another, glaringly obvious option. One that he is not willing to take. No way.

His sisters are quiet for a few painfully slow moments. Derek focuses on the far wall, struggling to ignore the screaming that is his body. Fuck, Peter really did a number on him. And he’s got a fight this Friday, one he needs to make. He can’t afford to miss it.

“You’re a good Dom, Der. You could help him,” Cora says, breaking the silence.

Derek groans, running an agitated hand through his hair. He’s always had trouble saying no to his sisters. Usually, all they have to do is say please and he caves. But this isn’t something he can let them talk him into. Any Sub in his care would be a target for his uncle, a walking, talking, weakness. And Derek already has more than enough weaknesses.

“I said no, Cora,” Derek says tonelessly, fixing her with a sharp look. She sighs reluctantly, knowing better than to argue with him. “Cut Stiles back to one vial and get that coke out onto the streets. The sooner we make that money, the sooner I can put a bullet through Peter’s heart.”

Chapter Text

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” Stiles growls, fixing Cora with a glare. She signs resignedly, leaning back against the hood of her black 69’ Chevelle. Stiles shakes his head in disbelief and starts to pace, fiddling with his fingers anxiously.

“You’ll be fine,” Cora says, her calm voice only infuriating him further.

Who the fuck does she think she is? Doesn’t it go against some drug dealer code to demand a customer cut back? Seems kind of counter productive. Stiles clenches his hands into tight fists, unable to stop them from shaking. He’s terrified. Even though he won’t be detoxing, he’ll still experience withdrawals…withdrawals that could kill him. 

Fuck.

“I can’t…” Stiles whimpers, the admission slipping out of his mouth before he has a chance to swallow it. He reaches up, running his hands down his face. God, why won’t they stop shaking?

Before he knows what’s happening, Cora pulls him into her arms. She presses his head down onto her shoulder, running her fingers through his hair. He stands stock-still for a moment, but caves the second her fingers brush the back of his neck. Exhaling, he relaxes into her. It’s been a long time since someone just held him like this, no expectations or obligations. It feels good. Safe.

“You’re okay…I’ve got you…” she says softly, soothingly. Stiles closes his eyes, breathing in the sweet coconut scent of her perfume. She continues to whisper to him, her tone of voice affecting him more than her words.

He knows that he should pull back, that this is fucked up. He’s a cop. An undercover cop trying to take down her family business. This is the exact opposite of what he should be doing, how he should be acting. She’s a goddamn drug dealer, not his friend. But, for some reason, he can’t talk himself into pulling away from her. Not when, for the first time in months, he isn’t shaking. The tightness in his chest is still there, Cora’s not dominant enough to soothe that away, but it has eased. And he can breathe again.

“I know you don’t wanna do this, that you’re scared…but you don’t have to do it alone,” she whispers, carding her fingers through his hair. Stiles’ chest tightens up, because he is alone. He will be doing it alone.

Cora shushes him softly, sensing his fear. Body screaming in protest, he jerks out of her arms and puts some distance between them. Cora sighs, squaring her shoulders as she watches him put his hands a brick wall, leaning down and taking a few deep breaths. The dull ache in his chest returns, worse than before. He gasps, hands staring to shake again.

“Are you okay?” She takes a step towards him, but he stops her with a sharp look. She swallows, taking two deliberate steps back.

After a few moments, Stiles turns back to face her, fighting the urge to urge to fall to his knees and curl up in a little ball. Fuck…everything hurts. And he fucking hates how easy it was for her to ease his pain. It’s sadistic, that he has to live like this, when all it would take is one person’s touch to make it go away. Too bad that one person doesn’t exist.

“Please…don’t do that again…” Stiles mutters, having to force the words out of his mouth. Guilt cuts across Cora’s face and she turns her head, looking resolutely at anything but Stiles. It’s the right thing to do, the only way to ensure that their relationship remains strictly business. But that knowledge doesn’t make him feel better about hurting her. She’s done nothing but try and help him. She doesn’t deserve to be treated like this. “I’m sorry…” Stiles whispers, unable to help himself.

Cora turns back to face him, expression impassive. The humanity that inhabited her eyes a few moments before is gone. Stiles should be grateful, it’s what he wanted, but he’s not. “Don’t apologize. I was the one who touched you without asking. I shouldn’t have done that.” Her tone is precise and practiced, all Dom.

“It’s not your fault. None of this is your fault,” he says, toying with his shaking hands. “I’m fucked up…that’s not on you.” He chuckles humorlessly, glaring at the asphalt.

“I’m not gonna argue with that. You’re pretty fucked up,” Cora says, scoffing as she leans back against her car. Stiles lifts his gaze tentatively, hoping she doesn’t hate him. God, he basically accused her of being a bad Dom…twice in one week. She should hate him. “What the fuck happened to you, anyway? Your Dom die or something?” she asks, green eyes boring into him, demanding an answer.

Stiles swallows hard. He shouldn’t answer her, but she deserves an explanation. He needs her to trust him. If she doesn’t, his op is dead in the water. He clears his throat, lifting his gaze. “Yeah…he did.” He keeps it short and sweet, it’s better that way.

Cora’s expression falters. She stares at him, brows furrowing in concern. “I’m sorry. That must have been really hard for you,” she says, gently holding his gaze. Stiles must have heard the words ‘I’m sorry’ a thousand times in the weeks following his father’s murder. But he never believed the person was actually sorry, for some reason it all felt fake. But Cora he believes…something in her eyes lets him know that she’s felt that kind of pain, the loss of someone she loved.

“Yeah, it was,” Stiles says, voice breaking as the image of his father’s body flashes before his eyes. Hatred and grief overwhelm him and he reminds himself again that Cora could be the person who killed his father. He doesn’t want to believe it, but it’s the truth.

“Are you…” she trails off, shaking her head.

“Am I what?” Stiles asks, chewing on his bottom lip.

She fixes him with a piercing look, eyes steady. “Are you uncomfortable around other Doms or…is the Baby your way of punishing yourself?” she asks rapidly, throwing the questions at him like a bomb.

Stiles drops his gaze, frown deepening. He’s never thought of it that way, but maybe she has a point. Is he punishing himself for what happened to his father? Maybe. Stiles isn’t so naïve as to say no. He’s always been self-deprecating, hyper aware of his flaws, using humor to deflect unwanted attention. It wouldn’t be the first time he’s blamed himself for something he didn’t do.

“You don’t have to answer that. It’s none of my business,” Cora says calmly, turning to look at the coffee shop across the street. It gives Stiles a moment to breathe, to think.

He shouldn’t tell her. Getting close to Cora will fuck up his op, there’s no question about it. Undercover agents aren’t supposed to become attached to their targets. It screws everything up, makes things complicated. But still, he wants to tell her. He’s not sure why, but for some reason, he wants her to understand.

“You’re right. It isn’t any of your business,” he says, hating himself as he watches Cora tense up. After a few agonizing seconds, she turns back to him, expression blank. She stands up, squaring her shoulders and arching her neck.

“I didn’t mean to pry. Forgive me,” she says with a curt nod. The emptiness in her eyes eats away at him. God, he’s such a fucking asshole. She’s gone out of her way to care for him, a total stranger, and all he’s done is throw it back in her face. “I’ll text you the drop location on Friday. Let me know if you have any trouble with the Baby.”

“Okay,” Stiles mutters, chest aching as he watches her get into her car. She starts it up and takes off down the road, leaving him feeling more alone than he has in months.

Gritting his teeth, he turns the corner and walks back to his apartment. Once he’s inside, he locks the door and walks into his bedroom. He pulls out his Batman lunchbox, grabs a clean needle, and fists what’s left of his second vial of Baby.

The shaking in his hands increases as he sticks the needle into the vial and tips it upside down, filling it up. Carefully, he sets the vial down next to him and pushes up the sleeve of his shirt. This will be the last time he’ll get to shoot up twice a day. Cora is cutting him back to one vial a week, enough to put him down once a day. It will get him through, but only just.

Tears brimming in his eyes, Stiles sticks the needle into his arm. The drop takes him, just like that. Everything fades away as his heartbeat slows. He sighs, the needle slipping from from his fingertips as his eyelids drop. The ache in his chest disappears, his body flooding with warmth. He feels whole…safe.

 

 

 

“Come on, Der, don’t be an idiot,” Laura says, sighing exaggeratedly. Derek rolls his eyes at her, settling himself down on the paint-chipped bench. The rusty lockers on either side of them aren’t enough to conceal the roar of the crowd outside.

“Shut up and wrap my hands,” Derek says, holding out the long strips of black material. Laura glares at them for half a second, then scoffs, grabbing them out of his hand. She kicks off the lockers and closes the distance between them. She lifts a heel over the bench and sits down, straddling it in her impossibly tight dress.

She gestures for his hand and he gives it to her. He watches as she carefully wraps it, her movements practiced and effortless, hiding the scars and tattoos beneath. She’s been wrapping his hands ever since he started fighting. He can do it himself, but Laura is much better. She’s a perfectionist, always has been. It’s a trait that makes her excellent at what she does, keeping a watchful eye on her employees and dealing with asshole clients, but it also leaves her prone to obsessing.

When she was little she used to do ballet. She was incredible, a natural. But she never thought she was good enough. And by the time she hit high school, she was practicing 5 hours a day. Derek found her a few weeks before her 16th birthday, her feet bleeding on the floor, sobbing as she struggled to put on her ballet shoes. He picked her up, took her home, and held her until she finally admitted that she didn’t want to do it anymore…that she’d never be as perfect as she wanted to be.

“There,” Laura says, eyeing her handiwork with a pleased expression. Derek clenches and flexes his hands a few times rhythmically, in awe of her.

“Thanks, Lulu,” he says with a smirk.

She purses her lips, eyes slicing into him. “I still think this is a stupid fucking idea. You’re not healed. The last thing you should be doing is letting some dick-”

“I’ll be fine,” Derek mutters, cutting her off. Then, before she can object, he changes the subject. “You heard from Cora today? She’s been avoiding me.” Derek’s sure it has something to do with Stiles. She came home from their last meeting looking like someone had punched her in the gut. And when Derek asked about it she promptly told him to fuck off. Not exactly a subtle message.

“You’re not the only one she’s ducking,” Laura say, tossing her hair over her shoulder. “I think this kid’s really gettin’ under her skin.”

Derek nods, agreeing with her. It’s odd, because Cora is usually so detached about business. She’s always been careful to keep her feelings out of it. What is it about Stiles that made her cross her strategically-placed boundaries? Maybe she likes him? Doubtful. Cora exclusively goes for the strong, silent types. And Stiles doesn’t sound like either. So, what the fuck is it?

  “She doesn’t like him, does she?” Derek asks, brows furrowed.

Cora shakes her head. “No, I don’t think so. But she is protective of him, the way she is with you and me…” She drops her gaze, pursing her lips in thought. “It don’t know what to think of it. She’s always so…flippant about everything. Well, except her car,” she scoffs, baffled by Cora’s devotion to her Chevelle. “It’s weird to see her care so much.”

“Yeah,” Derek says with a nod. Unlike Laura, who falls in love with anything and everything, Cora is much more cautious. She’s got more walls than a fucking castle and she uses them well. Why is she letting this kid affect her? It doesn’t make sense.

“You think we should kill him?” Laura asks, expression cold and detached. Derek and his sisters are usually selective about the people they kill, only offing those who deserve it. But their fucked up code doesn’t apply when it comes to them protecting each other. Laura and Derek will do anything to keep Cora safe, anything. “She’d never have to know. After Felix is done with him, no one will ever find his body.”

Derek sighs, thinking it over. It’s true that Cora has become attached to Stiles, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Derek doesn’t get the impression that the kid is dangerous. The opposite, actually. He’s fucked up on Baby, strung out. He probably can’t even hold a gun, let alone kill their sister. He’s not saying that Stiles isn’t a threat, but, as of right now, he’s not a big enough one to warrant murder.

“No. He’s not a threat to her, at least not right now,” Derek say, fixing Laura with a forceful look. She won’t hunt the kid down and kill him, not without Derek’s permission. But she would hunt him down and scare him. “If that changes, we’ll take care of it.”

“Okay,” Laura says, nodding.

The door to the locker room opens and a man comes walking in, expression stern. “You’re on, Wolf,” he says, using the name Derek’s known by down here. Though many of the people who frequent the underground MMA circuit know Derek, none of them are dumb enough to reveal his identity.

Derek stands and holds a hand out to Laura, helping her up. She dives into his arms, giving him a quick hug. He kisses the top of her head, ruffling her curls, and then releases her. Rounding the bench, Derek lets the security guard lead him out of the locker room and down an empty hall. Laura trails closely behind him, her heels clicking on the pavement.

The noise of the crowd intensifies as they approach a black door. The security guard opens it up, assaulting Derek’s ears with unintelligible screaming. People have been waiting for this fight all year, watching as Derek and his opponent, James ‘The Mad Man’ McAlister, climb the bouts to reach one another. If Derek wins, it’ll mean at least 10 thousand dollars.

“Welcome back, ladies and gentleman!” the announcer says loudly. His exclamation is met with screaming and applause. “We’re in for a treat tonight!” The screams intensify, drilling their way into Derek’s skull. He takes a deep breath and exhales, centering himself, and then lifts his mouth guard up, slipping it over his teeth.

Laura rounds his shoulder and kisses his cheek. “Kick his ass,” she says and then she’s gone, making her way up to the VIP booth. Derek flashes her a smirk and then turns to face the dimly lit entrance way. Careful to control his breathing, he jumps up and down, pumping his fists at the air.

“To your left we have…James ‘The Mad Man’ McAlister!” the announcer yells. Applause erupts through the warehouse, making it ring. Derek takes another deep breath and exhales, making his way to the front of the tented entrance. “And to your right, your undefeated champion…The Wolf!”

Derek walks into the light. The ensuing screams and applause are enough to make him dizzy. He lifts his gaze and smiles, playing for the crowd. They eat it up as he crosses the podium to the octagon. He throws a few mock-punches, winking at a group of fawning girls to his left. They scream, jumping up and down excitedly.

It’s all a lie. Down here Derek isn’t Derek. He’s not a Hale. He’s not a Blood Wolf hitman. Down here, he’s just The Wolf, a douchebag playboy who’s really good and fucking shit up. It’s a persona meant to protect his identity, shielding him from Peter.

Derek is let into the octagon, lifting his gaze to look at his opponent. The noise of the crowd fades away as he studies James. He’s taller than Derek, but not as muscular, and he hasn’t got a single tattoo on him. A far cry from Derek, who’s covered in them. Derek takes careful note of how he walks as they approach up to the referee.

They square up, raising their fists. James’ gaze flits to his ribs, the bruises there half-hidden by his tattoos. Derek grits his teeth, adrenaline splitting him open, baring him for the monster that he really is. If James thinks he can exploit Derek’s existing wounds, he’s wrong. Over the years, Derek’s learned to ignore pain. It’s meaningless, empty. All he has to do is steady his heartbeat and focus, letting his instincts take over.

Derek’s always been a killer. That’s what his dad used to call him, his ‘little killer.’ He was small in elementary, the rich kid that everyone hated. They were cruel to him. Derek was patient for years, his mother’s words, ‘they’re not worth it, baby,’ kept him at bay. That is until until they didn’t. One day he just broke, sent twelve boys to the hospital and came home black and blue, grinning. No one fucked with him after that.

“Let’s keep it clean, boys. You know the rules,” the referee says, giving them each a curt nod. Derek flashes James a wicked smirk as the referee starts the first round and backs up.

Derek bounces on his toes, hands held high. He keeps his stance light, but centered, as he and James circle one another. James glares at him, unenthused by Derek’s teasing smirk. But it is doing its job, unnerving his opponent. Most MMA fighters are painfully serious. Derek’s arrogant playfulness freaks them out.

James shoots in first, hitting Derek in the ribcage and shoving him back against the fence. Taking advantage of his position, Derek knees him in the stomach, hard. James gasps, reeling backwards, his chest heaving.

The man lacks patience. It’s a weakness that Derek intends to exploit.

Derek lunges, slamming his fist into the other man’s face. The blow throws his head to the side, spraying blood across the octagon. Before he has time to gain his bearings, Derek hits him again, a quick combination that leaves James reeling. He keeps on his toes, bouncing as he backs away from the other man.

“That the best you got?” Derek asks with a laugh, taunting him.

James lunges at him again, furious. This time, however, Derek is ready for it. He shifts to the left, grabbing James’ arm as he moves past him. Derek uses it to control him, twisting it around and shoving the other man to his knees.

James scrambles, jerking out of Derek’s grip and throwing his weight into the other man. It knocks Derek down. James gets in a good punch, opening the cut on Derek’s lip, before he shoves him down and starts hitting him. Derek is fucking relentless, his blows precise and powerful. Blood coats his hands, spraying off of them as he moves.

The buzzer rings and Derek clenches his teeth, irritated. Another few more seconds and he’s sure James would’ve passed out. Sighing, Derek backs up and moves to his corner of the octagon.

One man squirts some water into Derek’s mouth and hands him a towel as another tapes a butterfly Band-Aid across his split eyebrow. Derek wipes his face with the towel and tosses it to one of them, turning his gaze to James. The other Dom looks like shit. Derek did a number on his face. One of his eyes is swelling shut and there is a large gash on his cheek.

They square up, the referee calling another round. The buzzer goes of and, this time, it’s Derek who makes the first move. He slams his fist into James’ cheek, reopening the cut there. The man groans, blindly throwing a few punches. One makes contact, but Derek ignores the jab of pain that shoots through him. This is nothing compared to what Peter did to him a few days ago. Mostly because here, here he can fight back.

“Poor baby. Is this your first time?” Derek asks with a grin, backing away from James. The other man growls in fury, closing the distance between them and hitting Derek with a wicked kick. It meets his broken ribs and sends him to his knees.

James takes advantage, throwing a punch that sends Derek onto his back. Then he kneels over him, smashing is fists into Derek’s face.

Derek breaks, the careful leash he keeps on his inner demon coming undone. He roars, rearing upward and flipping them around, placing himself on top. Teeth clenched, he rains down hell on James, blow after blow after blow. Blood paints his body, a sadistic canvas. He relishes in it, in the feel of bones breaking under his fists. In his head, it’s Peter he’s tearing apart, Peter he’s destroying.

Before he knows what’s happening, he’s being dragged off of the other man. Derek blinks, shaking the men off and standing up. Slowly, the room comes back into focus. James is unconscious, being dragged out of the octagon by a couple of security guards.

“And there you have it, ladies and gentleman, your undefeated champion!” the announcer yells, his voice cutting through Derek’s head as the noise around him comes rushing in, a tidal wave. He wants nothing more than to get out of here, to go home and have dinner with his sisters, but he’s not quite done.

Circling the middle of the octagon, Derek throws his hands up and howls. The noise is met with ear-splitting screams. The crowd goes wild, howling and roaring his name. 

Smiling, he exits the octagon and walks across the podium, ducking beneath the safety of the overhanging tent. Tension bleeds out of him as he walks through the black door. It closes behind him, drowning the noise out. He makes his way into the locker room, tearing off his wraps and tossing them into his gym bag.

“That was incredible!” Laura says, strutting into the locker room.

“Thanks,” Derek says, chuckling. He’s always found it odd that people are impressed by his capacity for violence. To be honest, the ease with which he can take a life terrifies him. It shouldn’t be that easy to decimate someone. But he’s never had any trouble.

“How are your ribs?” she asks, closing the distance between them. Derek sighs, allowing himself to feel the pain that he knows is there. He gasps as it rockets through him, threatening to take him down. Laura tucks an arm around him, gently easing him down onto the bench.

She grabs his gym bag and pulls out the brace he uses for broken ribs. He lifts his arms, allowing her to wrap it around him. “Fuck,” Derek mutters, clenching his eyes shut.

“Oh, don’t be a baby,” Laura says with a playful smirk. Derek groans, smiling despite himself. She and Cora somehow always manage to make him feel better. A teasing joke or a smile and Derek forgets the agony that is is life. They are his heart, two halves made whole. He’s not sure what he would do without them. But if he has anything to say about it, he’ll never find out.

“You heard from Cora yet?” he asks as Laura shoulders his gym bag and helps him to his feet, tucking an arm around him. “She was supposed to check in.”

“She hasn’t texted me…but there’s still time,” Laura says, glancing down at her phone.

Worry gnaws at Derek. Cora never comes to his matches. She hates seeing him get hurt, says it’s worse than being hurt herself. Instead, she set up a meeting with Stiles tonight. She’s meant to be picking up her first shipment of coke. God, if something happens to her, he’ll never forgive himself. She’s strong, but not like he and Laura are strong. It’s different, not better or worse, but different.

“You don’t think…” Derek trails off, anxiety gnawing at him.

“She’s fine, Der. Cora packs more heat than half of the gun runners on the west coast. She’s insane,” Laura says with a laugh, easing Derek’s fears. “Now…let’s get you home.”

Chapter Text

Stiles glares out at the ocean, the sun setting behind it. He and his mom used to walk on the beach, collecting sea glass and waiting for the sun to set. The view is beautiful, all pinks and purples. It should make him feel something, anything. But he’s hollow, like someone took an ice cream scoop to his insides.

Turns out, only shooting up once a day is a total fucking bitch. What used to be an ache in his chest, is now a gaping wound, a bullet hole. He thought it would pass, that he would get used to it, but it’s only gotten worse. He has no apatite whatsoever, but he can’t stop puking. The shaking that used to be localized to his hands, now affects his entire body. He can’t sleep, between the shaking and the nightmares it’s impossible. And his emotions are fucked to hell, he can’t decide whether to cry or scream.

At first, he was furious with Cora. She took away the only thing that was keeping him sane. But his anger dissipated when he remembered that she did offer to help him…and he threw it back in her face. He basically called her a bad Dom. She didn’t deserve that. She was just being kind.  

Fuck. Maybe he should just drive upstate and find another Babydoll dealer. It wouldn’t be hard. California is crawling with drug dealers. Yeah…that’s a stupid idea. He’s a cop for fuck’s sake. He shouldn’t be taking it in the first place. Still, knowing that doesn’t make him feel better. Only Baby does that.

Cora’s Chevelle pulls up next to Stiles’ car. She kills the engine and steps out of it, pulling off her dark sunglasses. Stiles lifts a shaking hand and opens his car door, stepping out into the cool night air. He shivers, pulling his hands into the sleeves of his jacket. Oh yeah, another fun withdrawal symptom, he can’t seem to get warm. No, scratch that, he’s fucking freezing. All of the time. It’s been fun.

“Fuck, Stiles, you-”

“I swear to God, if you tell me I look like shit, I’m gonna kill you,” Stiles says sharply, cutting her off. Cora gapes at him, too surprised to be angry. He knows how he looks, half-starved, with dark circles under his eyes, unable to stop shaking. It can’t be a pretty sight, but Stiles so doesn’t want to hear it.

Cora cocks her jaw to the side, taking a few steps towards him. She looks him over slowly, taking him in inch by inch. Stiles struggles with the urge to drop his gaze. Concern creeps across her face, her green eyes deepening as they are flooded with emotion. He matters to her, and Stiles has no fucking idea why. They’ve known each other a grand total of a week, Stiles has had a longer relationship with a box of cereal.

“You could’ve called me,” she whispers, a quiet pleading in her voice. It cuts away at him, making him wish he actually had called. It wasn’t like he didn’t think about it. He spent hours staring at his phone. But, in the end, he couldn’t do it.  

“I also could’ve found another dealer,” Stiles says tonelessly, arching his neck. He’s being an asshole, but she did this to him. Okay, so it’s not like she shoved that first needle into his arm. That’s on him. But she’s not helping.

“I can see that you didn’t,” she says, voice cool and even. It settles in the pit of Stiles’ stomach, making his skin ache. Who knew wanting to be touched could actually hurt?

“What gave it away?” Stiles laughs sardonically.

She sighs, pity burning in her sea green eyes. It makes Stiles want to tear off his own skin, desperate to hide. This isn’t who he is. He’s a fucking cop, one of LA’s finest. He’s works hard, always striving to earn the respect that people give an officer of the law. And yet, here she is, a criminal, looking at him like he’s a dying puppy…like she wants to save him.

“It’s not funny, Stiles,” she mutters, voice breaking ever so slightly. That small crack destroys his resistance, forcing him to give in.

“I know. I’m sorry,” he whispers, wrapping his arms tighter around himself. It’s not that cold, but he’s freezing. And nothing helps, it’s like the cold is radiating from inside his body, like his bones are frozen.

Cora’s brows furrow, her expression an odd mixture of curiosity and concern. She turns and walks back to her car, opening the door and grabbing something from the backseat. Stiles watches warily as she approaches him, a black leather jacket tucked over her arm. She takes it in hand and holds it out for him. “It definitely won’t fit you, but it’ll be better than that,” she says, gesturing to his thin coat.

Stiles stares at her outstretched hand for a moment, debating, then he reaches out and takes the jacket. Teeth clenched, he slips it on and sighs. She’s right, it’s much to big for him, but he doesn’t care. It’s heavy, lined with soft fur, and it smells fucking amazing. The scent, a dark, spicy cologne, makes Stiles’ gut clench. His cock jumps, confusing him. His sex drive has been nonexistent for months. He can’t decide whether to tear the jacket off, or demand Cora have him buried in it.

“Thanks,” he says softly, lifting his gaze.

Cora smiles, beaming at him. “You warmer?”

“No…but I feel better,” he says, the truth slipping out of him before he has a chance to overthink it. Cora cocks her head to the side, eyes narrowing as she studies him. Stiles curls in on himself, tucking his nose against the collar of the jacket. Fuck, that cologne is going to be death of him.

“Smells good, huh?” she says with a giggle. “It’s Burberry, my sister buys it for our brother on his birthday. He loves it, but he thinks spending money on cologne is ridiculous.” She rolls her eyes, a warm light brimming in them. She loves him…her brother.

Derek Hale.

It’s a name synonymous with violence. He’s Peter’s right hand man, the Blood Wolves’ best hitman. Stiles has never actually seen him, despite his best efforts. The LAPD has a few grainy photos, but nothing identifiable. Derek keeps to the shadows, working with and around them.

But Stiles has seen what he’s capable of. The crime scene photos will forever be burned into his eyes. The Wolves are usually very thorough, getting rid of blood and bodies, making it look like nothing happened. But a few years back, a rival gang, M12 breeched the Blood Wolves’ territory and all hell broke out. It was a massacre, like someone had painted the walls with blood. There were body parts everywhere, a garish puzzle the medical examiner hand to piece back together. The only witness, a homeless man across the street, said that only one person came out. He said the man had dark hair and tattoos, and that he was covered in blood. Unfortunately, that description wasn’t enough to bring Derek in.

Fists clenched, Stiles fights the urge to tear the jacket off. God, he’s so fucked up. Figures, that the scent of a murder’s cologne is the first thing to turn him on in months. Why the fuck not? As if his life isn’t already enough of a shit show.

“So…you got the goods?” Cora asks, pursing her lips.

“In the trunk,” Stiles mutter, voice deadpan. She motions for him to open it and he obliges, his hand brushing against the fur lining of the jacket. It makes him shudder and sigh, then, half a second later, nauseous.  

“Nice,” Cora says as Stiles rounds the back of his car, watching as she loads the white bricks into her trunk. He grabs a couple, helping her move the drugs. He tries not to think about all the people that are going to die because he’s returning this coke to the streets. Cora may not be a psychopath like her brother, but she’s a murderer, same as him. She just kills in a different way.

Once all of the coke is loaded, Cora slams her trunk shut and twists around to face him. “The money will be in your account in a few hours. Feel free to buy yourself a real jacket,” she says with a sweet smile.

So, that’s it? For some reason, he thought this whole drug dealing thing would be more complicated, more high stakes. He was picturing gun fights and seedy nights in coke dens, not loading a car in a quiet port. Then again, Cora herself isn’t what Stiles expected. She’s ruthless, there’s no disputing that fact, but she’s also really fucking nice. It’s a strange combination.

Stiles starts to shrug off Derek’s jacket, relieved to be getting rid of it, but she stops him with a shake of her head. “Don’t take it off just yet, cupcake,” she says, smirking. “There’s a diner around the corner that’s got the best pie in California. And you are going to buy me a slice because I just made you filthy rich.” She laughs, starting off down the road.

Stiles stands stock-still for half a second, then closes his trunk and falls into step behind her. He can’t afford to loose his relationship with Cora. She’s his only in with the Wolves. And, chances are, she knows who killed his father. But it’s not like a slice of pie is going to convince her to rat on her family. He’s going to have to work a lot harder than that.

They walk for a few minutes, round a corner, and step into a brightly lit diner. It’s mostly empty, but for a group of douchey frat boys in a corner booth and the waitress setting down their food. They look over at Cora and Stiles, eyeing them both hungrily. Stiles is taken with an odd urge to tuck an arm around Cora. Odd, mostly because she’s a level 8 Dom, but also because she so doesn’t need his protection.

Cora sits down at a booth near the kitchen window. Stiles wonders if she chose it because of the heat wafting over the bar. Probably. She’s a good Dom, a really good Dom. That much is easy to see. She shows it in the way she treats him…like he’s special, like he matters. And though he isn’t attracted to her, he can’t deny their connection.

“What can I get for you tonight?” the waitress asks, shifting from one foot to another.

“We’ll have two slices of apple pie,” Cora says with a smile. The waitress nods and then rounds the bar, disappearing into the kitchen. She returns a few minutes later, a plate in each hand. Setting them down, she makes her way back over to the college kids.

Stiles turns his gaze to the pie. It looks fucking amazing. The warm pie already melting the vanilla ice cream next to it. But he has no apatite whatsoever. He should be starving; he hasn’t eaten much all week. And what he did eat, he threw up. But his stomach is lifeless, as lifeless as the rest of him.

Cora looks up from her pie, licking her lips. She catches his gaze, holding it fixedly. “Eat, Stiles,” she says, her voice stern, but gentle. The command rolls over Stiles’ body, easing the fierce ache in his chest. She’s not dominate enough to force him. He could ignore her command if he wanted to…but he doesn’t.

Biting his lip, Stiles picks up his fork and takes a bite. When the pie touches his tongue, he moans. God, it’s amazing. No…that’s a lie, it’s beyond amazing. It has ruined him for all other pies. Suddenly ravenous, Stiles takes another five bites in rapid succession.

Cora laughs, startling him out of his frenzy. He lifts his gaze, cursing the slight blush that warms his cheeks. “Good, huh?” she asks with a knowing smirk.

“Really good,” Stiles says, mouth full.

“I’m glad you think so.” She drops her gaze, expression slipping. “I’m sorry I ordered you to eat it. It’s just…you’re so skinny and I hate-”

“It’s okay,” Stiles says with a shake of his head, cutting her off. He gives her what he hopes is a forgiving smile. She sighs, relief rolling off of her in waves, and turns back to her pie. Stiles follows her lead, digging in.

They eat in silence, well at least between the two of them. The frat boys in the corner won’t shut the fuck up. Cora ignores them like a fucking pro, eating and toying with her phone. But Stiles catches every word. They’re talking conquests, bragging about Subs they’ve fucked. They rate them, as if they were animals, telling one another every explicit detail. Stiles wants to pull out his badge and arrest every single one of them. But he can’t.

“Be right back. I’m gonna hit the ladies,” Cora says, standing up. Stiles keeps his eyes on her as she crosses the diner, infuriated by the looks that the college kids give her. 

“Look at the ass on that bitch,” one says, grinning.

“Bet those tits would fit right perfect in my hands,” another says with a laugh, holding up his hands and cupping them. They burst out laughing, turning Stiles’ stomach. Any other day, Stiles would take them in on some bullshit charge, make them spend a night in the pen. But not tonight.

He holds his breath, staring resolutely at his melting ice cream as the college kids shuffle out of their booth. Ignore them. Just fucking ignore them. They start past him and, for half a second, he thinks it’s over. But then one of them stops.

“What’d we have here, boys?” he asks, grinning.

“Nice eye, bro…what a pretty little thing,” another croons, making Stiles want to throw up. He takes a deep breath and lifts his gaze, expression indignant. He’s had to deal with douchebag Doms his whole life. This is nothing new.

“You wanna come home with us, baby?” one asks, his eyes raking Stiles’ body. “We’ll tie you up and fuck you good. Looks like you could use some dick.”

“No,” Stiles says, keeping his answer short and precise.

“What the fuck did you just say?” the first man demands, eyes digging into Stiles. He’s the only one with any hope of forcing Stiles. The rest of them are low level Doms, but this one, their leader, is a level 8. Normally, Stiles wouldn’t worry, but it’s been so long since he was put down naturally, by a real Dom. There’s no telling what kind of damage a level 8 could do to him. Best he doesn’t take any chances.

“I’m not interested,” Stiles says, painfully polite.

The level 8 throws his head back and laughs, the sound like sandpaper on Stiles’ skin. Then, before he knows what’s happening, they’re grabbing him. He acts on instinct, punching one in the face and elbowing another in the kidney. They fall back, but the others only tighten their grip. He struggles, but it’s no use. He’s weak, emaciated, and there are too many of them.

The level 8 fists a hand in Stiles’ hair, forcing the Sub to look at him. “Kneel,” he growls, the command slicing through Stiles, a sharp blade that splits him open. The urge to obey is overwhelming. His head spins as he fights it. “Now, bitch!” he roars, forcing Stiles to his knees.

Stiles struggles against their hold, his body confused by the fact that he is kneeling. It wants to respond, his muscles relaxing as dopamine floods his brain. But it is also coursing with adrenaline, the two hormones warring with one another and leaving Stiles a mess of yes and hell fucking no.

“There you go,” the 8 says smugly, reaching for the button on his jeans. “You’re gonna take my cock like a good little boy. Then, maybe we’ll let my friends have a turn.” He pulls out his cock and forces Stiles to tip his head back.

“Get your fucking hands off of him!” Cora’s voice ring through the diner, fury making her words clipped and sharp. “Do it or I’ll kill every single one of you!” There’s the resounding click of two guns being cocked. Stiles glances over at her as the men back up, releasing him. She’s standing at the door, a pistol in each hand.

“Bitch was askin’ for it,” one of them says. Cora promptly shoots him in the knee. He falls to the ground, screaming.

“Now, this is how it’s gonna go. I’m sure the cops are already on their way. You little bastards are going to sit and wait for them. Then, when they get here, you are going to admit that you tried to rape someone.”

“Why the fuck would we do that?” the level 8 asks, glaring at Cora.

She smirks maliciously, a wicked glint in her eyes. “Because if you don’t, the Wolves will hunt you down and tear you apart.” She lifts one hand and pulls back the sleeve of her jacket, baring the Blood Wolves tattoo on her wrist. It’s a wolf’s head, a dagger sticking through its skull and out its mouth. The tattoo is glaringly similar to the brand burned into his father’s body.

The men’s demeanor changes immediately. Only high-ranking Blood Wolves are allowed to have the tattoo. But it is a mark every person in California is familiar with. The men instantly know that Cora’s threat is anything but empty.

“Well?” Cora demands, fixing them with a glare.

“Fine!” the level 8 growls, speaking for all of them.

“Good! If I hear that anyone failed to fess up or mentioned the Blood Wolves, you’ll die and so will your families!” she screams, jaw clenched tight. “No sit the fuck down!” They do as instructed, shuffling into an empty booth.

She keeps her guns pointed at them as she slowly approaches Stiles. He stands up mechanically, his body going numb. He wants to freak out. He can feel it coming on, like a snake curling its way up his spine. But he can’t…not right now. Once they are safe, away from these men, then he can fall apart. Then he can curl in on himself and suffocate.

She ushers Stiles out of the diner, keeping her guns on them. “Oh, and if you ever touch someone without their permission again, I’ll find you and cut your dicks off!” The door closes in front of her as the ring of sirens starts up down the road.

She grabs Stiles’ hand and pulls him into a run. He follows her through a back alley, up a flight of stairs, through an apartment, and down an elevator. Before he knows what’s happening, they are back at their cars. She directs him into the back of her Chevelle and then clambers over the dash to start it up, blasting the heat.

As if that were his cue, Stiles starts to hyperventilate. He pulls his knees up to his chest, his instincts demanding he become as unassuming as possible. His chest slowly becomes tighter and tighter, a vise constricting his lungs. He gasps frantically, tears brimming in his amber eyes. It hurts…it fucking hurts. He can’t breathe, but it feels like he’s drowning, a steady weight pressing him down.

“Stiles. Stiles…what’s happening?” Cora asks, frantic. Her voice is muffled, as if it were behind a layer of glass.

Stiles’ skin crawls as the men’s words ring in his ears. He can feel them everywhere, hear them everywhere. It’s like there on top of him, inside of him, shoving him to the ground. Little bitch. Gonna take my cock like a good little boy. Kneel. Kneel. Kneel. Stiles claws at his throat, his brain screaming with the lack of oxygen. Fire sears his neck as his nails slice through skin, blood welling to the surface.

“Stop it! God, fuck…please stop it!” Cora yells, tears in her voice. But Stiles doesn’t stop, he can’t stop. He needs to breathe, but he can’t. He can’t and it fucking hurts. He rakes his shaking hands down his neck, gasping, desperate for oxygen.

He’s vaguely aware of Cora unlocking her phone, the light of it illuminating the car. She dials a number and sets it down. The phone, on speaker, starts to ring. “Hey, bunny. How was your night with-”

“Derek!” Cora screams, cutting her brother off.

“What is it?” he asks, curt and precise.

“It’s Stiles! Some assholes in the diner forced him to kneel while I was in the bathroom. I got him out but…but he’s freaking out!” She’s crying, Stiles can hear it in her voice. He wants to calm down, to stop scaring her, but he can’t. Not when his head is full of their voices. Not when all he can feel is them holding him down, suffocating him. Was he really asking for it? Could those bastards tell how much he needs a Dom? Is this his fault? It is, right? It has to be.

“What exactly is he doing?” Derek asks.

“He’s all curled up and shaking and it’s like he can’t breathe. He keeps clawing at his neck. But…I haven’t touched him…I thought that might make it worse,” Cora says, a quiver in her voice. Clearly, she’s never dealt with something like this before.

“I think he’s having a panic attack,” Derek says. “I’m gonna tell you what to do and I want you to do exactly what I say. Are we clear?”

“Yes,” she says rapidly.

“Okay. First, I want you to reach around and grasp the back of his neck, firm enough that he’ll feel it, but not enough to hurt him.” Cora does as instructed, reaching up to hold the back of Stiles’ neck. He cowers until her fingers makes contact. The second they do, his body goes lax, easing the compression around his lungs. He leans into her touch, her hand an anchor locking him in place…making him feel safe.  

“Wow…” Cora says under her breath.

“Alright, now get him to look at you and then tell him to close his eyes,” Derek says.

Cora leans down, her sea green eyes finding his. She smiles, warm and soft, almost motherly. “Stiles, close your eye for me.” He lets his eyelids fall, her gentle command filling his body with warmth.

“Pick up the phone,” Derek says. Stiles feels Cora move, grabbing the phone. “I’m gonna talk him down. So hold it where he can hear.”

She shifts and then settles. “Okay, you’re good.”

“Stiles,” Derek says, his deep voice rolling down Stiles’ spine like hot water. “I want you to focus on the sound of my voice. You’re going to do exactly what I say.” The aching void that Stiles has been living with for months, the gaping wound in his chest, eases. “Breathe in.” Stiles takes a short, shallow breath. “Good boy,” Derek croons, voice a deep rumble. Stiles flushes, the praise sending a flurry of sparks through his stomach. He fights the urge to whimper. “Breathe out. Breathe in. Breathe out. Again. Good. You’re doing beautifully, Stiles. Again. Again. There you go. I’m so proud of you…”  

Cora keeps a tight hold on his neck, securing him, as Derek talks. Stiles feels himself slipping. It’s almost like he’s falling asleep, but so much better. The pain he’s been living with, the demon that’s been eating him alive, just disappears and he can breathe again. His head is a flurry of cotton candy and warm sweaters and Derek’s soft voice. His muscles give and he sighs, letting Cora take his weight. Everything fades and he’s just floating.

God, he could listen to Derek talk for days. His voice is like a crackling fire, somehow comforting and dangerous at the same time. It wraps Stiles up, circling him, enveloping him in warmth.

Cora gently eases him down, settling him onto his side. Stiles curls up, burying his face into the collar of Derek’s jacket, inhaling the scent of his cologne. It fills his lungs as the soft fur brushes his cheek. He whimpers softly, wishing Derek were here. He wants someone to hold him, wants to feel the heat of Derek’s body against his.

“Oh, my God, Der…” Cora whispers.

“What is it? Is he okay?” Derek asks, a tightness in his voice.

“Yeah…it’s just…I think you put him under.”

“With just my voice? No way,” Derek scoffs.

“Yeah, there is.”

“He’s not a level 10, Cora.”

“You just dropped him without even being here!” she says indignantly. Stiles flinches, her loud voice startling him. She reaches over and strokes his cheek, settling him back down. He sighs, leaning into her touch.

“It’s impossible,” Derek growls, his anger causing Stiles to curl in on himself. Why is Derek mad? Did he do something wrong?

Cora shushes him softly, carding her fingers through his hair. “You’re okay. Derek’s not mad at you. Settle down…that’s it, Stiles. You’re being so good.” Stiles relaxes and she pulls her hand back. Stiles whimpers at the loss of contact, burrowing deeper into Derek’s jacket.

“Where are you?” she asks Derek, climbing into the front seat.

“You are not bringing him to me,” Derek growls. Stiles flinches, stomach turning.

“What else am I supposed to do! I can’t bring him up.”

Derek sighs. “Fine. We’re at the safe house in Long Beach.”

Chapter Text

Derek paces back and forth, anxiously running a hand through his hair. Laura’s gaze follows him, her lips pursed, an open People magazine in her lap. She flicks a page, sighing dramatically. He’s been at it since he got off the phone, back and forth, back and forth, for half an hour.

“Would you calm the fuck down?” Laura mutters, rolling her eyes at him. “So what if he’s a 10? Would it be so bad?”

Derek twists around to face her, clenching his aching fists. He fixes Laura with a stern glare, silently demanding she shut the fuck up. This is the last thing he needs right now. He should be sleeping, healing. Instead, he’s waiting around for some junkie Sub he accidentally put down. Accidentally. Fuck. Since when does he accidentally do anything? Derek is always careful, always. One mistake, one little misstep could destroy everything that he and his sisters have worked for.

“God, Der, you’re such a head case!” Laura says sharply, tossing her magazine onto the coffee table. “You’re allowed to be happy for five fucking seconds!” She stands up, closing the distance between them. “It’s not gonna fuck up the plan.”

Derek shakes his head in disbelief. He’s done his best to keep his sisters out of the line of fire, but because of his actions, they don’t understand how dire the situation is. If they don’t get out soon, Peter will break and kill one of them. Chances are, it’ll be Laura. Of the three, Peter is most involved in her business. And it doesn’t help that she’s an easier target than Derek and Cora, both of whom have combat experience.

“That’s exactly what it would do,” Derek growls, turning away from her. He clenches his eyes shut, furious with himself. How could he be so stupid?

Fuck.

It’s not like he doesn’t want a Sub, someone to care for and protect. He craves it, the phantom touch of a lover he doesn’t even know. It haunts him; the possibility follows him around, wordlessly pleading with him. But, it’s a risk he can’t afford. It’s a weakness he isn’t willing to let himself have. No matter how much it hurts.

Laura sighs, her anger slipping as Derek turns to face her, grief burning in his forest green eyes. She reaches up, lightly cupping his bruised cheek. “You deserve someone amazing. Whether you meet them today or ten years from now, I don’t care. I just want you to know that.” She smiles gently, an ache in her voice. She knows how much he wants someone, how could she not? His sisters always know what he needs, usually before Derek does.

Derek pulls her into his arms, burying his fingers in her dark hair. She curls up against his chest and he holds her tight, even thought it makes his ribs throb. At the sound of the doorknob, they separate. Laura bends down, pulling a knife out of her boot and Derek grabs the gun tucked into the back of his jeans.

The door swings open and Cora walks into the living room, a tiny boy curled up in her arms. Derek drops his gun and sidesteps, allowing Cora to move past him. She gingerly lays the boy down on the couch. He whimpers as she pulls back, burying his face in the overly large jacket he’s wearing…Derek’s jacket. His favorite.

Cora steps back, allowing Derek to look at the boy. He stares, brows furrowed and jaw clenched. He isn’t sure what he expected, but it sure as shit wasn’t this. The boy, Stiles, is so thin that it makes Derek’s stomach hurt. His dark hair stands out in striking contrast to his pale skin. He shifts, giving the Dom a clear view of his face. And fuck if it doesn’t ruin Derek. The boy’s features are almost angelic, high cheekbones and sharp brows. And his lips…fuck, Derek wants to do sinful things to those lips.

“He might be the cutest thing I’ve ever seen,” Laura says, flashing Derek a playful smirk. He glares at her, mostly because she’s right. Stiles is fucking adorable. Derek’s instincts are screaming at him. Protect. Protect. Protect. It’s unlike anything he’s ever felt before. It’s bone-deep, a heavy weight pressing down on his chest.

“I’m sorry, Der,” Cora says, slowly lifting her gaze. The fear in her eyes destroys his anger. She’s terrified. Derek shakes his head and pulls her into his arms. She starts to cry, quiet little sobs that shred his skin and leaving him bleeding. “I should’ve killed those fucking bastards!” she sobs, fisting a hand in Derek’s shirt.

Derek grits his teeth and arches his neck, looking own at Stiles. Fury rages through him at the thought of anyone hurting him. And it’s not like he could’ve fought back, Babydoll eats away at anyone who takes it. It decimates them from the inside out, leaving them a shaking, needy mess in a matter of weeks. Overwhelming guilt washes over Derek, drowning him. He should’ve protected Stiles. He knew the situation the boy was in and chose to ignore it rather than help. Even after Cora asked.

Derek catches Laura’s gaze, giving her a pleading look. “Take her home. If Peter asks, tell him I’m making a drug run.” Laura nods, grabbing Cora’s hand and gently pulling their sister towards the door.

Cora stops short and turns to look at Derek, tear-filled eyes ripping him open. He hates seeing his sisters in pain, hates it. “Please take care of him, Der. Please,” she begs, tears spilling down her cheeks. “Promise me you’ll take care of him.”

“I will. I promise,” Derek says rapidly, pulling her in for a quick hug. He can’t decide whether or not it’s a lie. Maybe. He wants to protect Stiles, but he’s not sure if he can. Not when he’s already got his sisters to worry about.

Cora shudders as he kisses her head. He releases her and watches as Laura usher their sister out the door. He listens to them make their way down the stairs, waiting until he hears the car pull onto the street, then he turns to face Stiles. The boy noses deeper into Derek’s jacket and whimpers. The sound goes right to Derek’s cock.

He sighs, finally accepting the fact that his sisters were right. Stiles has to be a level 10, it’s the only explanation. Derek’s never felt such a strong pull towards a Sub, never. And frankly, it scares the shit out of him.

After a few minutes of freaking the fuck out, Derek stalks into the kitchen, fishing around until he locates a box of Poptarts. Most Subs have a sweet tooth and, from what Cora has told him about Stiles, the boy is no different. Opening one of the packages, he sticks them in the toaster and grabs a bottle of water from the fridge. They pop up and he sets them on a plate, careful to make sure they aren’t too hot.

Plate and water bottle in hand, Derek walks back into the living room. His stomach churns anxiously as he sets them down on the coffee table. Part of him wants to bring Stiles up right now and demand the boy get the hell out. But an even larger part demands Derek allow the boy to stay down, demands he feed and care for Stiles while he has the chance.

Needing something to distract him, Derek turns on the TV. Ion is playing reruns of Blue Bloods, an old-school cop drama. He turns it down until it’s barely a whisper, sets down the remote, and then turns to Stiles.

He takes a deep breath and exhales, letting the anxiety roll off his shoulders. He can do this. It’s nothing new. Caring for Subs is easy, instinctual. And Derek is damn good at it, always has been. The fact that Stiles is a 10 doesn’t change that. He can handle this. He’ll get the boy on his feet, send him home, and then do his best to forget he exists. It’s the only way.

Aware that the boy will need skin-to-skin contact, Derek strips off his shirt and moves to sit at Stiles’ feet. The boy’s Iron Man sneakers are beat to hell, the red and gold pattern scuffed and dirty. Gingerly, Derek reaches over and eases back his jacket, baring the boy’s face. Stiles’ beauty hits him again, a bullet tearing through Derek’s chest.

Why the fuck is Stiles taking Babydoll? He could have any Dom he wanted. The answer comes to Derek all of the sudden, and he feels like a total dumbass for not putting two and two together. Stiles is a level 10. And while being a level 10 Dom means Derek can put anyone down, being a level 10 Sub means that Stiles can only be dropped by a level 10 Dom. Fuck. Stiles has been taking Baby to stay alive. If Subs aren’t dropped regularly they fade into themselves, they waste away like ghosts.

Stiles shifts his head, baring his neck. The sight of it, scratched and bloody, infuriates him. He’s taken with a violent urge to hunt down those men and tear the apart. Someone should pay for this, for hurting him.

Needing to care for him, Derek walks back into the kitchen, wetting a rag with warm water and grabbing some antibiotic cream. Then he returns to Stiles. Gently, he washes the blood from his neck, hyperaware of the little whimpers emanating from the boy’s mouth. He hates that Stiles is in pain, wants to make it go away, but this can’t be avoided. Setting down the rag, he uncaps the cream and carefully applies it to the abrasions. Stiles tries to shy away from his touch, whimpering, but Derek holds him in place until he’s finished.

Once the scratches are clean, he gingerly reaches out to take one of Stiles’ hands. The contact pulls a sigh from deep in the boy’s throat. Struggling to remain focused, Derek quickly cleans the blood from his hands. He’s unable to get it out from under Stiles’ nails, but he does his best. Wiping his hands, he tosses the rag onto the table and straightens up.

He looks the boy over carefully, wanting to make damn sure his wounds have all been taken care of. Stiles looks better, clean and calm. Pride swells in Derek’s chest at the sight of him, the sensation familiar and yet somehow foreign. He’s felt it before, but never like this.

“Hey, baby boy,” Derek whispers, the nickname slipping effortlessly off his tongue. Stiles sighs, as if the sound of Derek’s voice is the most beautiful thing he’s ever heard.

Derek cards his fingers through Stiles’ hair and the boy whimpers, arching into Derek’s touch, wordlessly begging for more. Derek obliges, stroking his face, using his thumb to frame the boy’s eyebrow. Stiles’ eyelashes flutter and he opens his eyes, turning his head. When his eyes find Derek’s, it’s like someone hitting him in the chest. The sight of them, their color a bright amber, knocks the air from his lungs.

“Derek,” he says so softly that it’s almost inaudible. But Derek hears it and the sweet softness of Stiles’ voice makes him hard.

“Yeah, I’m here,” Derek murmurs, smiling tentatively.

Subspace is different for every Sub. Some shut down completely and it’s like they are asleep, others are simply a little needy. Stiles seems to fall somewhere in between, conscious enough to talk to Derek, yet not so aware that it would be safe to leave him alone. Not that Derek would do that. It goes against everything his father taught him about being a good Dom.

Being dropped naturally enables Subs to relax, to center themselves. It releases hormones that calm them, make them feel safe and protected. Research has shown that it even alters their brain chemistry, makes them happy. A synthetic drop, like the one caused by Babydoll, has the same instantaneous effect, forcing the Subs body to release those hormones. But they react to it differently, their bodies shutting down. And when they do come out of it, they are left with a temporary calm that fades rather than lasts.

“Hold me?” Stiles asks, dropping his gaze and biting his lip. Derek swallows hard, trying to ignore his cock. The fucker is already obsessed with Stiles.

“Of course,” Derek says, gesturing the boy over. Stiles sits up, a little shakily, and crawls into Derek’s lap. Derek inhales sharply when the boy touches him, his long fingers trailing the length of Derek’s neck. A shiver runs down Derek’s spine as Stiles settles himself down, tucking his head against Derek’s chest. It hurts, Derek’s broken ribs throbbing with the added weight, but he doesn’t care. Not when Stiles fits so perfectly in his arms, like the boy was made to lie there.

“Touch me,” Stiles whispers, nosing the tattoo just under Derek’s collar bone. Shifting to get more comfortable, Derek lifts his hands, wrapping one hand around Stiles’ back and burying the other in the boy’s dark hair. Stiles moans, wiggling his way deeper into Derek’s warmth. The Dom smirks; that might just be the cutest thing he’s ever seen.

Spotting the half-forgotten Poptarts, Derek shifts the boy in his lap. God, he weighs next to nothing, his body emaciated by the Babydoll he’s been shooting into his veins. Derek reaches over, grabs the plate and the water bottle, and sets them down next to him. Stiles needs to eat, the weigh he’s at right now is far from healthy. And all Derek wants to do is hand feed him until his bones no longer look like they’re about to tear through skin.

“Stiles, can I feed you?” Derek asks, stroking the boy’s back. Stiles nods into his chest and then eases back, glancing up at Derek. The Dom carefully rids both Poptarts of their unfrosted edges, pushing them to one the side of the plate. Then he breaks off a bite-sized piece and lifts it to Stiles’ mouth. The boy takes it from his hand, his tongue darting against one of Derek’s fingers. The sight is enough to make Derek moan.

Stiles chews happily, eyes slightly unfocused. Derek continues to feed him, in love with the little sounds of pleasure that Stiles makes. Every now and then, Derek gives him a drink. When both Poptarts are gone, Stiles sighs, smiling sweetly. Pleasure shoots through Derek’s veins. He’s always loved taking care of Subs, it’s an instinct ingrained in every Dom, but with Stiles it’s so much more. The barrier that’s been between him and every Sub he’s ever been with, the disassociation, isn’t there with Stiles. The boy reacts to him better than anyone ever has, completely attuned to Derek.

“Good boy,” Derek hums, reaching up to cup the boy’s cheek. Stiles drinks in his praise, closing his eyes and leaning into Derek’s touch. The Dom looks him over, brows furrowed. When was the last time someone praised him, held him, really held him? It’s clearly been a while, because Stiles is desperate for it, sighing as Derek presses the boy back to his chest.

Derek wants some answers, but asking Stiles personal questions while he’s under would be an invasion of privacy. It might be different if they were lovers, or even friends, but they aren’t. Hell, a few hours ago Derek was contemplating killing the boy. The thought of it now, with Stiles all curled up in his arms, makes him sick. And though he wants answers, he’s going to have to wait until Stiles is up, until he can decide whether or not he wants to answer them.

“I’m gonna let you stay under for a few more hours. You need it.” The only response Stiles gives is to burrow deeper into Derek’s chest. One of his hands slips down the Dom’s chest, causing Derek to shudder. His skin burns everywhere the boy touches him. It’s like wildfire, brilliant, untamable, and terrifying.

Stiles strokes the edge of the brace Derek has wrapped around his broken ribs. Derek exhales unsteadily, closing his eyes. Stiles lifts his head, his amber eyes finding Derek’s. He glances down at the brace and then back up. “You’re hurt,” Stiles says, brows furrowing in concern. The sight of it makes Derek’s chest ache. It’s been years since he’s allowed anyone close enough to care about him. Not since before he and his sisters found out Peter murdered their parents.

“I’m alright, just a few scratches…nothing to worry about,” Derek says, giving Stiles a soothing smile. Upsetting a Sub while they are down can lead to them hurting themselves. Their senses are heightened while in subspace. Worry can rapidly shift into terror. Stiles could have another panic attack, and that’s the last thing Derek wants.

Stiles shakes his head, eyeing the cut that runs through Derek’s eyebrow. Derek holds completely still as the boy lifts his hand, circling the cut with his middle finger. The Dom fights the urge to close his eyes and sigh. God, he’d let Stiles touch him for days.

“I’m fine, baby boy. I promise,” Derek says, reaching up to take Stiles’ hand. The boy blinks, Derek’s assurance more than enough to calm him. Unable to help himself, Derek lifts Stiles’ hand to his mouth, brushing his lips across the boy’s fingers. Stiles smiles blearily, lowering his head to Derek’s shoulder. He noses Derek’s neck as the Dom studies his hand, trailing his fingers across the scars on his knuckles.

Derek kicks his feet up, intent on letting Stiles lay in his arms for a few hours. He slips a hand beneath his jacket, cupping Stiles’ hip. The boy makes a small, pleased noise, Derek’s hold keeping him firmly in place.

An hour passes and Derek’s phone rings, startling Stiles. He jumps, clinging to Derek, nails digging into the Dom’s skin. Derek strokes the strip of skin where Stiles’ shirt has ridden up, the contact calming him. “It’s okay, Stiles. Just my phone,” Derek says as he reaches over, grabbing it off of the coffee table.

It’s Cora, a picture of her sticking her tongue out at him fills the screen. He presses send and lifts it to his ear, using his other hand to hold the back of Stiles’ neck. The boy sighs into his touch, eyes falling shut.

“Hello,” Derek says, glancing over at the TV.

“Is he okay?” Cora asks gingerly, voice frayed with worry.

“He’s fine, bunny. I fed him and he’s resting, I’ll pull him up in an hour or so.”

She sighs, cutting away at his heart. She really cares about Stiles and, now that he’s met the little Sub, he can see why. Everything about him calls out to Derek, demanding he protect the boy. He’s innocent, strung out, in desperate need of someone to care for him.

“Thanks, Der. I know it’s not what you wanted…” she trails of, guilt hanging in the air between them. “But, God, you should’ve seen him. He was crying and he couldn’t breathe and he was scratching at his neck. And you’re the best Dom I know,” she says so rapidly that it takes Derek a minute to catch up. His chest constricts, Laura and Cora know him, every facet of him, but they see him behind rose-colored glasses. Their love for him is often blinding, enabling them to ignore the pit of rage he lets fester inside of him.

“Those men who hurt him. I want their names,” Derek says, the words spilling out of him before he even knows what he’s saying. He grits his teeth, berating himself for acting like Stiles is his, like the boy belongs to him. He doesn’t.

“I called Detective Childs. He’s charging them with attempted rape and Submissive abuse. They’re going to jail,” Cora says calmly, sensing her brother’s fury. Derek pulls Stiles in closer, needing to feel the boy against him, safe in his arms. Stiles hums, lips brushing Derek’s neck. Cora reads into his silence, cuing in. “I was right, wasn’t I? He’s a level 10.”

Derek contemplates lying to her, but decides against it. Unlike Laura, she’s always been able to tell when he’s lying. “Yeah…you were right…” he says, voice breaking slightly.

Cora inhales sharply, her excitement bleeding into the phone. “That’s amazing, Der! You can lie all you want, but I know you want someone to take care of. And he needs that, he needs you,” she says, voice full of promise and possibilities. She does her best to hide it, but Cora is something of a romantic. The stacks of romance novels in the back of her closet are proof of that.

He can’t lie to himself and say that he doesn’t want Stiles, because he does. Fuck, does he want him. But it can’t happen. Being with Derek would put the little Sub in far more danger than he’s already putting himself in. As much as he loathes the thought of allowing Stiles to walk away, to keep shooting up Baby, it’s better a better alternative than Peter getting his hands on him. He’d torture the boy, cut him apart until his heart gives out, then wrap him up and deliver him to Derek as a present.

“No, Cora. I’m sorry, but…I can’t,” Derek says, aware that he’s probably breaking her heart. But he can’t give her hope where there is none. As fucked up as it sounds, letting Stiles slowly kill himself is a better fate than handing him over to Peter.

Cora exhales shakily and Derek can hear her tears. “He’s gonna die. Dammit, Derek, he’s gonna die and you don’t even care! What the fuck is wrong with you!” she screams, tears threatening to choke her. Derek drops his gaze to Stiles, watching the steady rise and fall of his chest. The thought of this boy, this beautiful boy, lying dead somewhere, alone, is enough to destroy Derek. It makes his body ache, his instincts demanding he make damn sure that never happens.

“He’ll have you. You’re dominant enough to help him off the Baby. Then…we’ll find him a suitable Dom.” An image of Stiles curled up next to someone else, flashes before his eyes, filling him with jealousy. He tightens his hold on the boy, teeth clenched.

“I’m not enough and you know it!” Cora yells indignantly.

“You’re gonna have to be. Because there is no fucking way I’m letting this boy anywhere near me ever again.” Stiles reacts instantly, tensing up, his body starting to shake. Derek sighs, carding his fingers through the boy’s hair, whispering softly until Stiles settles back down.

“I saw the way you looked at him. You can’t tell me you don’t want him.”

He takes a deep breath and exhales. There’s no point lying to her. “It’s not that I don’t want him, Cora. I do…I really do. But can you imagine what would happen if Peter got his hands on him?”

She’s quiet for a long time, thinking it over. He’s right and she knows it, but that doesn’t make it any easier to admit. “Fine. I get it…point made. But I still don’t think I’ll be enough to help him. Maybe if I was a level 9, but I’m not. What if I can’t do it?”

“I’ll help, but I can’t be near him. If Peter found out I had a Sub, he’d hunt him down and string him up,” Derek says curtly, wanting her to understand how dangerous it is for Stiles to be around him. It’s a far worse death sentence than that Babydoll he’s been fucking with.

Cora sighs, deliberating. “Fine.”

“Good, now go to bed. It’s late.”

“I’m twenty-two, Der, you’re not allowed to tell me when to go to bed,” she says, scoffing indignantly. Derek is sure that she’s rolling her eyes at him. “Night. Love you.”

“Love you too, bunny.”

He starts to hang up, but she catches him before he does. “Oh, and, just a warning, you might wanna brace yourself when you pull him up. Stiles isn’t exactly the sweet little Sub you’ve got wrapped in your arms. He can be, but…let’s just say his sarcasm is on a level with mine and, when he gets talkin’ about something he loves, it’s like Laura on crack.” Derek smiles, picturing he boy in his arms, bright and animated, going on and on about the comic books his wardrobe say he’s obsessed with.

“Thanks,” Derek says with a chuckle, hanging up the phone. He holds Stiles until 2 A.M., until the thought of letting him go is worse than the thought of someone cutting off Derek’s arms. But he has to. He has no other choice. It’s let him go or watch him die.

Chapter Text

Stiles is floating, surrounded by warmth. Derek’s scent clings in the air around him, the Burberry cologne on his neck and mint of his toothpaste. It’s intoxicating. Stiles curls tighter around the Dom, trying to memorize the feel of him.

He’s never been held like this before, like he’s cherished…like he belongs. And he’s too blissed out to care that the man who’s holding him is a murderer. His conscience is buried beneath layers of dopamine.

Derek lifts a hand, wrapping it around the back of Stiles’ neck, firmly holding the Sub in place. Stiles shivers, Derek’s hold a quiet reminder of his control. For the first time in months, Stiles isn’t scared. The weight of his father’s death isn’t pressing down on him. His head is a blurry, fucked up…and it’s beautiful.

Stiles noses Derek’s collarbone, the steady beat of the Dom’s heart pulsing against his cheek. He loves this: loves the way Derek’s muscular arms tighten around him, loves the deep rumble of the Dom’s voice. He convinced himself that he didn’t want this. That he didn’t need it, but he does. He needs it more than anything else. He wants to stay here forever, curled up against Derek, the Dom whispering to him.

“Hey, baby boy,” Derek murmurs, carding his fingers leisurely through Stiles’ hair. The Sub whimpers, pressing into his touch. “I need you to come back to me. You’ve been under long enough.” The command is gentle, but firm enough that Stiles has no choice but to obey. He slowly starts to come up, head clearing.

Tears fill his eyes as he struggles to cling to the quiet warmth ebbing from his mind. No. No. No. He doesn’t want to wake up. He wants to stay here, safe in Derek’s arms. Where no one can hurt him. Where he doesn’t have to feel the gaping wound that is his father’s absence. The thought of going back to the Babydoll, to the throbbing, screaming void in his chest, is terrifying. Why can’t he just stay here? Why doesn’t anyone ever want him to stay? Is there something wrong with him?

Derek shushes him softly, taking Stiles’ face in his hands and forcing the Sub to look at him. Stiles blinks, sending tears down his cheeks. “It’s okay, I’ve got you. You’re safe. I’m not going anywhere, but I need you to come up.”

“No…please, no…” Stiles whimpers, staring deep into Derek’s green eyes, so like the boughs of a pine tree. The Dom’s brows knit together, concern cutting across his handsome face. He swallows, jaw clenched.

“I can’t just leave you under, Stiles. I’m sorry, but you need to come up.” Derek’s voice, strong and sure, is more than enough to push Stiles over the edge. His head clears and it’s like he’s breaking the surface of a lake. He inhales sharply, mind stepping into overdrive as he struggles to process everything that’s happened. It’s like watching a movie in reverse, flashes of time and feeling.

The diner.

Those men sending him to his knees.

Struggling to breathe.

Cora calling…Derek.

Derek Hale.

And then everything goes sort of blurry. Remembering subspace is like remembering a dream. It’s there, but only in the purest of senses. Derek’s voice, smooth as aged whisky, echoes around in his head, his words a sweet mess of praise and baby boys and deep chuckles. Stiles shivers, overwhelmed by the memory of the Dom’s callused hands stroking his skin. He was so warm, so safe.

“Are you alright?” The question jolts Stiles out of his head. He lifts his gaze, meet’s Derek’s dark eyes, and realizes what he just did…what he just let happen.

Fuck.

Reality hits him like a bullet, slicing it’s way deep into Stiles’ rib cage. Derek Hale. Derek fucking Hale. The Blood Wolves best hitman put him under with just his voice. Is that even possible? Guess so. And Stiles went down without a fight, letting himself be held and cared for. The image of Derek holding up a piece of a Poptart flashes before his eyes, confusing him. Did the Dom feed him? Stiles thinks so, but…that doesn’t make any sense. Why would a cold-blooded murderer bother? Why would he care?

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

This can’t be happening.

He scrambles off of Derek, trips over a coffee table and lands hard on the carpeted floor. Derek stands up and takes a step towards him, shoulders tense. Stiles lifts his gaze and fixes the Dom with a fierce glare, breathing hard. “You…you stay where you are.” He holds a hand up and Derek stills instantly, arching his neck as he studies Stiles.

Stiles looks the Dom over, heartbeat skipping. The image he created of Derek in his head, ruthless and senseless, is nothing like the man standing before him. The man who just held him, a complete stranger, for half the night. Derek’s…well he’s fucking handsome. With his dark hair and his stubble and his muscular body, all covered in gorgeous tattoos. Were he anyone else, Stiles would be all over him.

But he’s not someone else. He’s Derek Hale. Derek fucking Hale.

Stiles tries to picture the crime scene photos, the warehouse painted in blood and littered with body parts. But the image does nothing to distort the memory of Derek’s gentle touch, the way he held Stiles.

And what’s really fucked up is the fact that Stiles wants it back. He wants it like he’s never wanted anything. God, Derek’s worse than the Babydoll. At least the drug has the decency to hurt Stiles in the process, reminding him that it’s fucked up, that it’s wrong. But with Derek, there aren’t any side effects. Subspace was ecstasy and, now that he’s awake, Stiles feels amazing. His hands are steady, he’s calm, and nothing hurts.

And fuck if he doesn’t resent Derek for it. Stiles has been in agony for months, suffering in silence. And this bastard took that all away with a few pretty words, like it was nothing.

“You really should let me hold you. Subs need contact while they’re-”

“No. Fuck that,” Stiles growls, forcing his legs to take his weight. His muscles give, but he manages to catch himself on the wall. Derek takes a step towards him, jaw clenched, but Stiles fixes him with another glare, stopping him. The Dom exhales, eyes dark with fury.

And yeah, Stiles gets it. Doms are hardwired to take care of their Subs. When a Dom puts a Sub down, the Dom’s brain is flooded with a potent mixture of chemicals, sending their protective instincts into overdrive. But just because Derek put him down, doesn’t give the Dom the right to act like Stiles is his…because he’s not.

“Please, Stiles, this is-” Stiles closes the distance between them and punches the Dom square in the jaw, cutting him off. The blow knocks Derek’s head to the side, reopening the cut on his bottom lip. Stiles squares his shoulders and arches an eyebrow defiantly. He doesn’t care how well Derek took care of him, the bastard still put him down without his permission.

The Dom turns slowly back around, expression torn between disappointment and rage. Stiles fights the urge to drop to his knees and apologize, his actions going against his instincts. It’s not an unusual feeling for him. He’s used to the ongoing war between his head and his heart, too stubborn to admit what he wants or what he needs. His refusal to back down, to give in, makes him a shitty Sub…but a damn good cop.

Derek cocks his jaw to the side once, twice. Blood runs from the cut on his lip. Stiles fights a psychotic urge to lean in and lick it clean. God, he’s so fucked up. “You wanna tell me what that was for?” Derek growls, a command in his voice. Stiles’ hands start to shake as he fights to ignore the order. “Now.”

Stiles caves, unable to help himself. Derek’s Dom voice is pure sex, filling Stiles’ body with heat. He exhales, fiddling anxiously with his hands. “I just…you can’t just…I don’t…”

“Look at me.” Stiles lifts his gaze, getting instantly caught up in Derek’s eyes. God, they’re beautiful. He grits his teeth, trying to ignore the sudden pressure of his cock against his jeans. The fucker’s obsessed with Derek. Obsessed. Stiles blames it on the tats. “You’re allowed to be upset with me, but I can’t help you if you don’t talk to me. Now, tell me what’s wrong,” he says calmly, taking a step towards Stiles. The Sub exhales shakily, a tight knot forming in the pit of his stomach.

“You can’t just put someone down without their permission. It’s illegal,” Stiles says, his fury fading into a whimpered plea. Derek’s presence is fucking with his head. He’s overcome with the urge to climb into the Dom’s arms, to get lost in the feel of him.

Derek nods solemnly, agreeing with him. “I’m sorry. I didn’t intend to put you under. But, honestly, I’m glad I did.” He reaches up, giving the Sub ample time to pull back, and takes hold of the back of Stiles’ neck, fingers splayed there. Stiles sighs into Derek’s touch, breathing it in like oxygen. It’s intoxicating. His skin burns, stomach a flurry of sparks, cock hardening. “You needed this.”

Derek’s words tear into Stiles. He jerks out of the Dom’s grip, distancing himself. Derek shakes his head in disbelief, clenching his hand into a tight fist before dropping it back to his side. The aching void in Stiles’ chest returns as he glares at Derek, the Dom’s expression taut with pain. He hates that he’s hurting Derek, but even more, he hates that he cares. Because he shouldn’t. He doesn’t even know Derek, but what he does know is monstrous. He’s a murderer and…Stiles is a cop. God, what is he doing?

“You’re not my Dom! You don’t get to tell me what the fuck I need,” Stiles says venomously. Then, before Derek can object, he stalks out of the apartment. He expects Derek to let him go, the Dom doesn’t owe him anything, but when he reaches the lobby, Derek is leaning against the glass door. His eyes are empty, expression emotionless. And it makes Stiles ache.

“I’m driving you home,” he says plainly, opening the door for Stiles.

“What part of ‘you’re not my Dom’ don’t you understand?” Stiles demands, walking out into the night air. He shivers, curling into his jacket…Derek’s jacket. He starts to strip it off, irritated, but Derek catches his gaze and shakes his head, eyes cutting into Stiles.

“You’re right. I’m not your Dom, but I’m the best you’ve got right now, baby boy,” he says, his deep voice and the use of that nickname, that fucking nickname, threaten to destroy Stiles. He fights the urge to whimper, body suddenly screaming for contact.

“I don’t need a Dom, asshole,” Stiles mutters as Derek directs him to a gorgeous black Harley. It’s as pretty as Derek, matching his tattooed exterior perfectly. Stiles curses his cock for being turned on by this, his head a flurry of images. Primarily Derek fucking him on top of the beautiful machine.

Derek hands him a helmet, watching as Stiles slips it over his head. The Sub rolls his eyes, annoyed. “You need a Dom more than anyone I’ve ever met,” Derek says as he puts on his own helmet, flipping down the dark visor.

“Whatever,” Stiles mutters, too caught up in watching Derek mount the motorcycle to think of a witty retort. Damn, he has a fine ass. It’s perfect, all wrapped up in faded denim. Stiles bites his lip, trying to picture the Dom naked. He can’t remember much from being under, just tattoos and muscles. More than enough to entice him.

“What’s your address?” the Dom asks, all business. Stiles contemplates refusing to tell him, but decides against it. He has no idea where he is and he really doesn’t want to have to wait for a taxi. Cursing inwardly, he relays the address to Derek, painfully aware that he’s going to regret it.  

Derek nods and motions for him to get on. Stiles hesitantly complies, swinging his leg over the bike. Before he can object, Derek reaches around, grabs Stiles’ arms, and wraps them around his muscular abdomen. Stiles shudders, the Dom’s touch steadying his heart and sending heat straight to his cock. He tries to pull back, embarrassed, but Derek just chuckles and tightens his grip.

“It’s good to know there’s at least a part of you that likes me,” Derek says as he moves his hands to the handlebars, starting the engine. The bike roars to life and Stiles tightens his grip on Derek, the Dom shooting down the road.

Cool night air whips past Stiles. He buries his head into Derek’s back, soaking in the warmth of the Dom’s body. Thankfully, Derek seems to know what he’s doing. He controls the bike effortlessly, making clean turns as he weaves between vehicles.

Stiles tries to ignore the pressure of his cock, but it’s no use. Being pressed up against a wall of tattooed muscle is way too much of a turn on. With every breath, Derek’s scent burns in his lungs, making his head fuzzy.

Nervous, Stiles shifts his hands, accidentally pressing up the hem of Derek’s Henley. His hands brush against hot skin and he clenches his eyes shut, the sensation jolting through him. He tries to lift his hands, but Derek grabs them, pressing them back down. The Dom exhales shakily, startling Stiles. He’s never had this kind of effect on anyone. One touch and Derek’s leaning into him, silently demanding he continue.

He shouldn’t do it, but he can’t resist…not with Derek sighing into him. Conscience screaming, Stiles moves one of his hands upward, sliding it beneath Derek’s shirt. The Dom arches into him, growling when Stiles rakes his nails lightly across his abs. The Sub continues his exploration, Derek’s skin pulled tight across layers of muscle. He’s covered in scars, an array of violence written all over his body. And fuck if it’s not a turn on.

He lifts his other hand, running them both slowly down the expanse of Derek’s chest, across his abs, and around his hips. Stiles presses his cock harder against Derek’s ass, making the Dom growl. It feels amazing, the pressure, the heat. Stiles fights the urge to rut up against the Dom, wanting to come for him.

The screech of a distant horn knocks Stiles back into reality. He grits his teeth and jerks his hands out from under Derek’s shirt. The loss of contact makes his skin itch, but he ignores it, furious with himself. God, what the fuck is he playing at? Derek isn’t some guy he picked up at a bar. He’s a fucking gangster, one who probably killed Stiles’ father.

That thought sends ice through his veins, killing his hard on. He takes hold of Derek’s arms and eases away from the Dom, berating himself. How could he be so fucking stupid? What would his father think of him? What kind of son wants to fuck his father’s murderer? That’s twelve different kinds of fucked up.

The image of his father’s body, mangled and bloody, burns through his skull. He closes his eyes, but the image remains, the Blood Wolves brand standing out in stark contrast to rest of his father’s pale skin. Stiles exhales, focusing on the rage that lives inside of him, harnessing it. This isn’t a fucking game. He’s here for a reason and he doesn’t have time to play ‘will they won’t they’ with Derek Hale. He needs to do his job. He needs to find the man who killed his father and put him behind bars. If that means taking down the Blood Wolves, then that’s exactly what he’ll do.

Derek pulls up in front of Stiles’ apartment building. Terrified that one look at the Dom will send him back over the edge, Stiles scrambles off of his bike. He yanks off his helmet, sets it down on the seat, and turns, starting towards the door. If he can just get inside, get away from Derek, everything will be fine.

A hand on his arm stops Stiles in his tracks. The whisper-soft touch moves through his body like electricity, reverberating inside him. He sighs, willing himself to walk the fuck away, to leave Derek out here in the cold. But he can’t…he can’t fucking move.

The Dom rounds him, all the while keeping his hand on Stiles’ forearm. Before Stiles knows what’s happening, Derek is standing before him, body curled protectively around Stiles. He lifts his other hand, brushing his fingers down Stiles’ cheek. Stiles bites his lip, a whimper caught in his throat. Fuck, that feels good. He wants to beg Derek to do it again, to touch him there…anywhere.

No. Fuck. He’s letting himself get pulled in again. Derek is like his fucking kryptonite. He just can’t seem to get enough of the Dom. It’s like Stiles is addicted to him, practically begging for a hit.

Derek holds his gaze, green eyes boring into him. The sadness in them cuts away at Stiles. Why does he look like someone just punched him in the guts? This was all just a fucked up accident. It didn’t mean anything. Right?

“Stiles, I can’t-”

“Spare me the speech, sourwolf,” Stiles says, the nicknames slipping out of him before he has a chance to quell it. Surprisingly, it takes Derek off guard. He actually smirks and the sight of his playful smile takes Stiles’ breath away. He wants to see it again, wants to be the cause of it again.

“What makes you think I have a speech?” Derek asks, brows furrowed.

“You looked in a mirror lately?” Stiles mutters, making the Dom laugh. The sound of it runs down Stiles’ spine like hot water. It’s beautiful, deep and low. He drinks it in, wanting, no needing, to hear it again.

They stand in silence for a few moments, a million unsaid things hanging in the air between them. Stiles wants to thank him for helping him through his panic attack, for taking care of him while he was under, but he’s not sure how. His mouth won’t move and all he can think about is the fact that Derek, this man who protected and cared for him, might be the person who killed his father. And it’s tearing him up inside, shredding him at the seams.

Derek takes Stiles’ face in his hand, fingers splayed along the Sub’s neck. He uses his thumb to lift Stiles’ gaze. Derek’s eyes pierce him, quick and deep, heavy with emotions that Stiles can’t even begin to put names to. The Sub exhales unsteadily, terrified by the way Derek is looking at him…like he cares.

“I’m not your Dom,” he says, his words knives to Stiles’ stomach. “But, if I were, I’d tell you to get clean.” His voice is firm, but genuine. It’s not an order, but Stiles would have preferred it were. This is so much worse. This is Derek asking him to get clean.

His body starts to shake, the intimacy of this, of Derek holding him, of Derek caring about him, is earth-shattering. Chest hitching, he tears out of Derek’s grip and rounds the Dom, desperate tears brimming in his eyes. This can’t happen, he can’t let it happen. He isn’t sure why his reaction to Derek is so volatile, maybe he’s a level 10 or maybe it’s just some sort of sick joke. Either way, it’s wrong and dangerous and fucked up.

He reminds himself that Derek probably killed his father, but all that does is increase the ache in his chest. Because he just let that man touch him, hold him…and he touched him back. It’s like every move Stiles made tonight was a direct insult to his father’s memory.

“Stiles,” Derek murmurs as Stiles grabs the door.

“Don’t…just don’t,” Stiles says, hating the slight quiver in his voice. He walks into the building, letting the door close behind him. A deep sense of emptiness settles on him as he rides the elevator up to his apartment. He unlocks the door and steps inside, slumping down onto his bed.

Fuck.

He has got to be the world’s worst cop. It’s true that being undercover is about building relationship and making connections, but undercover doesn’t literally entail getting under the covers. He’s got excuses…grief over his father’s death, the side effects of the Babydoll, the panic attack, but they’re thin and hollow. And they don’t excuse his actions. Nothing can do that.

Realizing he’s still wearing Derek’s jacket, he strips it off and tosses it to the floor, hating that he immediately misses it. He was getting used to the weight of it, to the soft scent of Derek’s cologne that clings to it.

He fists his hands in the sheets, glaring irately at the ceiling. What happened today can never happen again. He cannot afford to put himself in that position again. Honestly, he got off lucky. Cora brought him to Derek, who took care of him. But she could just as easily have dumped him in an ally and taken off…or left him for those men. The thought of it turns his stomach.

Were he not strung out on Baby and half-starved he could have put up quite the fight. Stiles is well trained and he’s an excellent shot. The outcome probably would have been the same, but he definitely would have taken down more than just two of them. He grits his teeth, furious with the Babydoll for making him so weak.

He turns, glaring at his nightstand, picturing the Batman lunchbox hidden within. Derek’s words echo around in his head, quietly pleading with him to quit the Baby, to get clean. Stiles exhales shakily. If only it were that simple. As much as he hates the shit, he has no choice but to go back to it. Hopefully, the effects of Derek putting him down will last a few weeks, but Stiles doubts it. And when they inevitably fade, he’ll have no choice but to stick a needle back in his skin. 

Chapter Text

Derek grits his teeth, Stiles’ absence an emptiness in his chest. He can feel it there, breathing him in, eating him alive. The urge to get on his motorcycle and drive back to the Stiles’ apartment, to wrap the boy up in his arms, is devastating. He’s never felt this way about anyone. He tells himself that it’s just because the little Sub is a level 10, but it’s more than that. Stiles is electric, irritating and amusing, effortlessly getting under Derek’s skin.

The memory of him scraping his nails across Derek’s chest makes the Dom shudder. They’re lucky they didn’t crash. One touch from Stiles and Derek was fucking gone. He couldn’t focus, couldn’t think. Nothing mattered except the gentle brush of Stiles’ fingers as they mapped his skin, traced his scars. He’s never been so hard, so fucking needy. And all the boy did was touch him, light and tentative, nothing overtly sexual. The ghost of it echoes across his skin, taunting him.

Letting Stiles walk away, tears streaming down his cheeks, was the hardest thing Derek’s ever had to do. It took all of his willpower, everything he had, to stand still and let it happen. When all he really wanted to do was lift the boy into his arms and hold him, tell him that he’d take care of him.

He’s never met anyone so vulnerable, so damaged. His amber eyes radiated grief, as if someone had stuck their hand into his chest and torn out his heart. He did his best to cover it up, to hide it. He was defensive and angry, but Derek saw it for what is was. And the urge to make the hurt go away, to balm his wounds, was absolute.

Derek sits up and gets out of bed, his aching body screaming at him. Fuck, Laura was right, he really shouldn’t have taken that beating. He’s black and blue, his tattoos doing little to hide the bruises. And having Stiles lay on him for half the night didn’t help…not that he’s complaining. If it were up to him, he’d gladly let the little Sub lay on him for the rest of his life. It was that fucking good.

He walks out of his bedroom, unsurprised to see both of his sisters sitting in his kitchen. Cora is seated at the table, a bowl of cereal in front of her. And Laura is sitting on the counter, watching something on her phone.

“Mornin,’” Derek says, grabbing the orange juice out of the fridge.

“Seriously, Der?” Laura mutters indignantly, setting down her phone and hopping off the counter. Derek shrugs, grabbing a glass from the dishwasher. They want details, a fucking play-by-play, but Derek’s not sure he wants to talk about it, or even how to talk about it. It was too deep, too intimate. And it shouldn’t have been. Derek put himself and Stiles in danger by letting it go so far. That can’t happen again.

“Is he okay?” Cora asks as she stands up, walking over to him. The concern in her eyes shreds his resolve. She’s just as worried about Stiles as he is. She deserves to know that he’s okay…at least for now.

Derek sighs, carding a hand through his hair. “He’s fine, bunny. I pulled him up and drove him home. Nothing to worry about.” He does his best to sound nonchalant, not wanting them to get the wrong idea. The last thing he needs is his sisters meddling in his love life, or lack thereof. Derek doesn’t have room for complications. They’re situation is already more than fucked up.

“That’s it? That’s all you’re gonna give us?” Laura scoffs, glaring at him.

“What else do you want?” Derek asks, shaking his head at them. They watch as he pulls out a carton of eggs and some bacon. He gets the bacon started before turning back to them. Laura lets out an exaggerated sigh, rolling her eyes. Cora purses her lips, studying him through her narrowed gaze. He’s lying to them, being evasive, and Cora knows it. She’s always been able to see through his bullshit.

“He’s special, isn’t he?” she whispers, eyes digging into him.

Derek frowns at her, unsure what to say. She’s right, Stiles really is something else, but admitting that isn’t going to change anything. It’s not going to make it easier to kill Peter or protect his sisters. If anything, admitting Stiles made him feel something, something he wasn’t sure he could feel, will only make things worse. Because if he says it out loud, it’s real. And if it’s real, he let that reality walk away from him.

He turns back to his bacon, flipping it over. Giving them anything will just encourage them and Derek can’t have that. His focus needs to be on earning enough cash to get his sisters out of the country. Once they’re safe, he’ll kill Peter and take back the business that rightfully belongs to him. As much as he wants to, he doesn’t have time to take care of a Sub. And he’d only be putting Stiles in more danger.

“Dammit, Derek! He got to you, just admit it!” Cora demands, jaw clenched tight. Derek glances over his shoulder at her. She’s got her ‘I’ll fuck you up’ face on, one she learned from Derek. He smirks, infuriating her further. She scoffs exasperatedly, glancing over at Laura, silent words passing between them.

“We’re just gonna keep bothering you until you tell us,” Laura says with a wicked smirk, her red lipstick dark against her teeth.

Derek takes his bacon off and cracks two eggs into the pan, irritated. It’s not an empty threat. Laura and Cora can, and will, annoy him into opening up. They’ve been doing it since they were little, a constant onslaught of Laura’s jibber jabber and Cora’s angry threats. He sighs, turning to face them. Keeping this to himself isn’t worth that kind of torture, not when they’ll inevitably get it out of him.

“Fine. He got to me,” Derek growls. Admitting it, saying it out loud, causes the aching chasm in his chest to grow. “Is that what you wanted to hear?” He shakes his head, furious with himself for letting this happen, for letting himself care. “But it doesn’t fucking matter.”

“Doesn’t matter?” Laura asks, brows furrowed. “Of course it matters, Der! All you had to do was pull him up and take him home. Instead, you spent half the night holding him, taking care of him. I’d say that matters!” She fixes him with a sharp glare, silently demanding he lay his cards on the fucking table.

He licks his lips, sighing. She’s right and he knows it, the truth terrifying him. Stiles managed to worm his way under Derek skin, digging into his heart. He can still feel the boy there, a quiet vibration in Derek’s bones, the steady thrum of a second heartbeat. He tells himself it will fade over time, that the ache in his chest will ease, but he has no way of knowing. Still, he’s willing to live like this, empty and in pain, if it means his sisters are safe.

“It can’t happen, Laura,” Derek mutters, turning back to his eggs. He puts them on a plate with his bacon and walks over to sit at the table. His sisters stare at him as he eats, their annoyed expressions mirroring one another. Derek pointedly ignores them, eyes on his food.

“You protect us from Peter. You could do the same for Stiles,” Laura says, folding her arms across her chest.

“I am protecting him. This is me protecting him,” Derek says forcefully. What about this don’t they understand? It’s not a hard fucking concept. Stiles isn’t safe with him; no one is safe with him.

Laura struts up to him, heels clicking against the tile, and takes his jaw in her hand, forcing him to look at her. “No, Der. This is you running away. Don’t use us as an excuse. If you’re too scared to take a risk, then just fucking say it. But don’t pretend like it’s anything else,” she says ardently, green eyes burning.

Derek jerks out of her grip and stands up, taking his plate to the sink. As much as he hates to admit it, she’s got a point. He’s been running from his own happiness for years, terrified that he’ll find it and that Peter will take it away. Just like he took their parents away. It would be easy…too easy. One bullet, a knife, a well-placed blow. And as much as Derek wants to feel whole, wants to feel the warmth of Stiles curled up in his arms, he can’t risk it. Not as long as Peter is alive.

“If Peter finds out, he’ll kill him,” Cora says, eyes on the floor, brows drawn in concern.

Laura scoffs, tossing her hair over her shoulder. She looks from Cora to Derek and then back, expression indignant. “God, you two are so caught up in what might happen that you don’t see what’s right in front of you! That boy is going to overdose before any of us can kill Peter.”

“I’m not gonna let that happen,” Cora says stubbornly.

“That’s sweet, bunny. But we both know you’re not dominant enough to make that boy get you a glass of fucking water, let alone help him detox.” She arches an eyebrow and purses her lips as if to say ‘you know I’m right.’

Cora glares her, furious. Laura’s complete lack of filter makes her good at what she does, smooth talking rich Doms, but it also gets her into trouble. She says exactly what she thinks and sometimes that’s not what Derek and Cora need to hear. Her sharp tongue is sometimes a little too wicked for Cora’s gentle heart.

“And what else are we supposed to do?” Cora asks frigidly, shoulders taut.

“As far as I’m concerned Peter can go fuck himself. If you can help that boy, you should,” she says to Derek, neck arched proudly. He exhales, glancing from one sister to the other. Cora’s jaw is clenched, expression livid, and Laura looks ready to tear someone in half. Derek’s not the only who’s tired of living in this hell. They’ve been dealing with Peter’s wrath for years, biding their time while they slowly earn money. And they’re all wearing thin.

“Cora will have to do for now. I’m not going to put Stiles in danger,” Derek says, expression unyielding. They nod, aware that he’s made his decision and that there’s no use arguing. “You’re sick of this shit, I get that. But we’re almost there. All Cora has to do is sell that coke.” He gives them a soft smile, hoping to calm them. It works, Cora unclenches her fists and Laura exhales.

“It shouldn’t take me more than three weeks,” Cora says with a curt nod. “I’ve got Ari and Carlos rollin’ it hard.”

Laura smirks ever so slightly, a wicked glint in her eyes. Derek isn’t sure, but it’s probably got something to do with Ari. Laura’s been enthralled by Arianna for years, but the little Sub is all fucking business. Which only makes Laura want her more. And it doesn’t help that Ari is Cora’s best friend.

“How is Ari?” Laura asks, trying to sound innocent.

“Still way too good for you,” Cora says with a sneer.

Laura glares at her. “Bitch.”

“Slut,” Cora bites back, clenching her hands into tight fists.

“Just because you couldn’t pry your legs open with a fucking crow bar, doesn’t mean I’m a slut!” Laura screams, closing the distance between them. They square up, Laura tossing her hair over her shoulder.

“At least I can close mine!” Cora growls, ice cold.

Laura scoffs indignantly, eyes raging. “You’re just jealous! Maybe if you got over yourself and actually talked to Luka-”

“Shut the fuck up! You have no idea what you’re talking about!”

“The fuck I don’t! What, you think just because he works for me, he’s not good enough for you? Being a prostitute doesn’t make him less of a person, Cora!” Laura growls, throwing words like knives.

“I never said that!” Cora says, her fury fading to hurt. Grief fills her eyes, making her look younger than she is, making her look vulnerable.

This is the first Derek’s heard of Cora’s feelings for Luka. He’s met the Sub before, but only once. Luka is beautiful, with dark curls and grey eyes, but he’s angry. He fell in with an abusive Dom, a man who almost killed him. Laura got him out, but his scars run deep and he’s prone to self-destruction.

“You didn’t have to!” Laura mutters, jaw clenched. “It’s obvious! You avoid my hotels like the fucking plague!” Laura advances on Cora, who takes a step back, dropping her gaze. “What’s wrong, Cora? Don’t like seeing people getting what they need? You jealous?”

“No! I just…I…don’t like seeing people hurt him!” Cora yells, voice breaking, tears brimming in her eyes. Laura caves, her anger shifting to concern, but it’s too late. Cora sidesteps Laura and dashes out of the room. Laura turns to go after her, but Derek catches her arm, stopping her.

Laura turns to face him, shaking her head is disbelief. “God, I’m such a fuckin’ bitch.”

“Not always,” Derek says with a shrug.

“You’re supposed to say, ‘no, Lulu, you’re an angel,’” she says, sighing.

“You’re a lot of things, but an angel isn’t one of them,” Derek says pointedly.

“Yeah.” She nods, glancing over at the door Cora disappeared behind. “I just wish she would talk to him. He needs someone like her, someone kind.” She sighs, worrying her bottom lip. “I can’t get him to revise his contract. I know he hates pain, but he’s determined to punish himself.” She drops her gaze, guilt eating away at her.

Derek pulls her into his arms, giving her a tight hug. She clings to him, burrowing into the warmth of his chest. “So send Luka to that coffee shop she loves, have him buy her something with whipped cream. Yelling at her isn’t going fix anything,” Derek says as he fingers one of her long curls.

Laura nods. “She just makes me so mad. She knows that I have a thing for Ari, but she won’t give me a chance. No one’s good enough for her best friend, not even me!” She tenses in Derek’s arms, furious.

“Lulu, you’re with a new girl every week. She just doesn’t want Arianna to get hurt,” Derek says softly, not wanting to upset her. As long as Laura’s safe, he doesn’t care who, or how many people, she sleeps with. But he’s not going to lie and say that there aren’t a lot, because there are. Laura’s perfected casual sex.

“It’s different with Ari,” Laura says, voice softening. A sudden image of Stiles, all curled up against his chest, flashes before Derek’s eyes. He knows just what she’s talking about, not that he’d admit it.

“Then tell her that. And apologize while you’re at it,” he says, giving her a little squeeze. She nods, pulling out of his arms. He reaches up, brushing the hair from her face.

His sisters love each other, but their drastically opposite personalities make fighting inevitable. Usually it’s just back and forth, harmless banter, but sometimes one of them crosses the line. This time it was Laura, next time might be different. Derek used to break them up, but he’s learned over the years to let them hash it out. It’s healthier that way. Otherwise they bottle everything up, just like him.

“Will you go check on her? She probably doesn’t wanna see me right now,” Laura says, turning to face the sink. Derek nods as she grabs his dirty plate, proceeding to wash it.

Derek crosses his apartment, knocks politely on his bedroom door, and then walks inside. Cora is sitting on his bed, legs crossed, glaring down at her hands. She’s been picking at her nails. Little flecks of purple nail polish cover Derek’s bedspread. It’s an anxious habit of hers, one that annoys Laura to no end.

“She didn’t mean it, you know how she gets,” Derek says as he sits down on his bed.

“Yeah, she did,” she whispers, shoulders caving inward. “And she’s right. I’m a fuckin’ prude. It’s just…I can’t…I can’t be with someone I don’t care about.” She drops her gaze, ashamed.

Derek wraps an arm around her and pulls her against him. She tucks her head under his, sniffling softly. “There’s nothing wrong with that, bunny. Not everyone is made for casual sex. I’m not,” he says, toying with one of the feathers in her hair. She nods, but doesn’t say anything. So Derek just holds her, letting her breathe, letting her settle. She’ll talk to him when she’s ready.

After a while, she pulls out of his arms and turns to face him. Her eyes cut him deep, brows drawn. “You’ve met Luka, right?” she asks tentatively.

“Yeah, I have,” Derek says with a soft smile.

“And?”

“And he needs someone like you. Laura thinks so too, that’s one of the reasons she’s upset. You know how much her employees mean to her, they’re like her family.” Derek gives her a stern look, hoping that she understands, that she can see past Laura’s rage.

“He’s special to her. She saved him,” Cora whispers, glancing down at her nails and then back up. The grief in her eyes is all-consuming. It takes Derek by surprise. She really cares about this boy. And Derek had no idea. Then again, Cora is an expert at covering up the things that matter to her. That way, no one can use them to hurt her. It’s a technique Derek’s sure she learned from him.

“Your right, Luka is important to her, but she’s still willing to let you have a chance with him. You, on the other hand, won’t let her anywhere near Arianna.” Derek arches an eyebrow, furthering his point.

Cora nods solemnly, sighing. “It isn’t that I think Ari’s too good for her. It’s just…Laura falls in love like kid in the toy isle at Walmart. Ari acts tough, but she’s not, Der. And she really likes Laura, she has since we were in high school. If Laura were to fuck her and dump her, it would destroy Ari.”

“You really think Laura would do that to your best friend?”

“No,” Cora says gingerly.

“Alright then, give Laura a chance. I bet she’ll surprise you.” Derek gives her a gentle smile, cocking his head to the side. Cora nods, a thank you in her eyes.

Derek doesn’t get to talk to them like this very often. The three of them are usually too busy, Cora and Laura running their businesses, Derek destroying their family’s enemies. He misses it, being involved in their lives. They’re everything to him, he wants to be there for them, wants them to feel like they can talk to him.

“Oh, and you might want to apologize,” Derek says as he stands up, walking into the bathroom. Cora scoffs at him, hopping off the bed.

“That’s more than enough big brothering from you, thanks,” she says with a giggle. Derek rolls his eyes as she walks out of his bedroom, closing the door behind her.

He strips off his sweats and turns on the shower, stepping inside. The heat slowly seeps into his bones, calming him. He puts his hands up on the wall and ducks his head, letting the water run down his spine. His tense muscles slowly unclench, giving him the chance to breathe.

An image of Stiles fills his head, the boy smirking playfully, amber eyes wild. And it goes straight to Derek’s cock. He groans as it hardens, rapidly becoming a painful ache. He ignores it at first, determined not to make this a thing, but his mind has other ideas. He clenches his eyes shut, plagued by image after image, the ghost of Stiles’ hands sliding across his skin. It’s torture, delicious torture.

Groaning, Derek drops a hand to his cock. He takes it in hand, squeezing and stroking. Heat builds in his stomach, the water caressing his skin. He pictures Stiles on his knees before him, eyes lowered, waiting for Derek’s command. Fuck. The boy would look so beautiful with Derek’s cock in his mouth, taking him deep.

Biting his lip, Derek leans back against the wall, pretending his hand is Stiles’ mouth. His body is a flurry of sparks and heat, his cock throbbing as he quickens his pace. He can almost feel the boys tongue on him, one of his hands cupping Derek’s balls. He would lift his gaze, silently asking for permission to make Derek come. Derek has to bite back the command, muscles tensing.

Fuck.

He comes, hard. It racks his entire body, pulling a muffled groan from deep in his chest. It takes him a few minutes to come back to himself, chest heaving. God, he can’t remember when, or even if, he’s ever come that hard. He feels amazing, until he realizes what he just did. Fuck, he had no right to use the boy like that. Stiles isn’t his and, as much as he wants him to be, that’s never going to happen.

He steps deeper into the spray, rinsing the cum from his abdomen. Guilt gnaws at him as he finishes his shower, washing his hair and body. This shit cannot happen again, never again. As amazing as it was, he’s not willing to delude himself.

Grabbing a towel, he steps out of the shower and stalks into his bedroom. He dresses mechanically, trying like hell to push the image of Stiles on his knees out of his head. The boy deserves better than this. He deserves a real Dom, one who can actually take care of him. Not Derek, not an asshole who’s more interested in taking care of himself.

He tells himself that this is the way it has to be, that he can’t take that risk. But that knowledge doesn’t ease the empty ache in his chest. It doesn’t stop him from worrying, from picturing Stiles dead in his apartment, a needle sticking out of his arm.

Hands shaking, he walks out of his bedroom. Laura is gone, but Cora is sitting in the living room, scrolling through Netflix. She hears him walk in and turn to face him, concern cutting across her face. Derek tries to right his expression, but it’s too late. She stands up and crosses the room, brows furrowed.

“What’s wrong, Der?” she asks, reaching up to feel his forehead.

He steps away from her, jaw clenched. As much as he wants to pretend that he doesn’t care, that Stiles doesn’t matter, he can’t. For some reason, the boy is important to him. And he needs to know that Stiles is safe. His protective instincts are wired, on high alert. He can’t breathe, can’t focus.

He runs a shaky hand down his jaw, watching as Cora pulls her phone out of her pocket, dialing a number. She puts it on speaker and it rings, the noise digging into Derek’s skull. He’s taken with a violent urge to grab it and throw it against the wall.

“Fuck you, Cora,” Stiles mutters, furious. The sound of his voice is more than enough to settle Derek down. He exhales, shoulders caving inward. He’s safe, his boy is safe. No. Stiles isn’t his…and he never will be. “Oh, and fuck your super hot brother! Has no one told you that putting a Sub down without their permission is illegal! Just because you’re Wolves, doesn’t mean you can-”

“God, Stiles. I’m sorry, okay! What else was I supposed to do?” Cora asks, her steady eyes on Derek. He sighs, taking in Stiles’ voice like a fucking drug. He could listen to the boy talk for days. It’s that fucking good.

“I donno! How about not tossing me to your brother!”

“Did he hurt you?”

“No! He was…well…he…” Stiles trails off, voice breaking.

“Derek’s a good Dom. He’d never mistreat a Sub,” she says, smiling at her brother. Warmth seeps into his chest. God, he loves her. She’s always had a way of knowing exactly what he needs to hear. “I called him because I knew he’d take care of you. It’s what he does.”

Stiles remains silent. Derek can almost see him, pacing with the phone pressed to his ear, anxiously fiddling with his fingers. It’s a nervous habit that the Dom finds absolutely adorable. Stiles’ fingers are gorgeous. Derek can still feel them, burning a path across his skin, making him ache. He wants to worship those fingers, wants to suck them into his mouth, get them nice and wet…

Fuck. He shoves down that thought, teeth clenched.

“Listen, Stiles, I’ve gotta take a trip to Santa Barbara. Why don’t you come with me?”

“Why, so you can babysit me?” Stiles asks patronizingly, his tone setting Derek’s teeth on edge. The boy could use spanking. Derek’s not really into sadism, but he’d love to take Stiles over his knee.

“Call it whatever you want, cupcake. I’m picking you up in twenty,” Cora says with a smirk, giving the Sub no room to argue. It’s not an order, but it’s also not a request.

Stiles is quiet for a moment, then he lets out an exaggerated groan. “Fine, but for fuck’s sake don’t bring your brother.” There’s a click and the line goes dead.

Chapter Text

Stiles slips the Glock into the waistband of his jeans, taking comfort in it’s weight. He’s not interested in repeating what happened at the diner. He should’ve been armed, but the thought never even crossed his mind. He was too strung out, too caught up in his own bullshit. And it almost cost him his life.

Not again. Never again.

There’s a curt knock on his door. He takes a deep breath and exhales, crossing the room to open it. Cora steps into his apartment, taking it in with a sweeping glance. Stiles folds his arms across his chest, defensive.

“Nice place,” Cora says with a half-smirk.

Stiles shrugs, turning away from her. “I really don’t need a babysitter, Cora.”

“Clearly.” She gestures to his gun, eyes darkening. “You even know how to use that?” she asks as she follows Stiles into his living room.

“No, it just goes with my outfit,” Stiles hisses, grabbing his jacket.

Cora burst out laughing, taking him by surprise. He turns to face her, brows furrowed, and she rolls her eyes. “You’re a cocky little shit. I like it, but…” She reaches around to grab his gun, a wicked glint in her eyes. Stiles acts on instinct; his reflexes a thousand times faster than they were yesterday. He sidesteps, using his left arm to block hers as he reaches up, curling his fingers around her neck.

“So?” Stiles asks, releasing her. 

She smirks, green eyes wild, full of something akin to pride. Stiles isn’t sure what to think of it. “I’ll give, cupcake. You’ve got skills.” She reaches up, brushing her fingers down her neck. Stiles is sure he didn’t hurt her; he didn’t apply enough pressure. But the action concerns him. He takes a step towards her, swallowing anxiously.

“Did I hurt you?” he asks, the question slipping off of his lips.

Cora shakes her head, expression softening. “No. You’re fine. It just…it reminded me of something.” She drops her gaze, but it does nothing to hide the grief there, the longing. Stiles is taken with an urge to wrap her up in his arms, but he quickly quells it. Business. This is business. He cannot afford to get caught up in the Hales. They are the enemy.

Cora turns away from him, shoulders taut. Stiles fiddles nervously with his fingers, the question eating away at his insides. He wants to ask her what she’s taking about, who she’s talking about. But he shouldn’t.

Fuck. Why does she have to look so sad?

“Did someone hurt you?” he asks, voice cracking as memories from yesterday flood his brain. He can still feel their hands on him, forcing him to his knees. And yeah, it would be different for Cora. She’s a Dom. But abuse is abuse.

“Come on, I’ll tell you in the car,” she says, gesturing him out into the hallway. Stiles follows her through the doorway and down the stairs. Her Chevelle is parked level with the street, its dark paint soaking in sunlight. They get into the car and Cora starts her up, taking off down the road.

Stiles keeps silent for as long as he can, working his way down his list of anxious habits. Finally, he breaks, turning to Cora. “If someone hurt you, you should report it. Or at least tell Derek…” Stiles trails off, Derek’s name cutting a hole in his chest. The memory of soft whispers and gentle touches assault him. He can almost feel Derek’s hot breath on his neck, a ‘baby boy’ on the Dom’s lips, his arms wrapped protectively around Stiles. Fuck. Stiles pushes everything down, holding his breath in an effort to keep in a whimper. The ache in his chest deepens to a throbbing beat. God, Derek’s worse than the Babydoll. Way fucking worse.

Cora studies him as he struggles to suppress his instincts, her eyes narrowed. Stiles has a feeling she knows exactly what’s going through his head. Well, other than the undercover cop bullshit. If she knew that, he’d be in a ditch right now.

“No one hurt me, Stiles. Kinda the opposite actually.” Cora turns back to the road, chewing on her bottom lip. Stiles gives her a minute to process, not wanting to push her. “His name’s Luka and he works for Laura.” She glances over at Stiles, eyes burning with a mixture of fury and sadness.

“Laura?” Stiles asks, remembering that he’s not supposed to know who Cora’s sister is or what she does. He saw her yesterday, or at least he thinks he did, but he’s not sure. He was too far under to notice.

“My twin sister. She runs LA’s prostitutes,” Cora says bluntly, as if she were talking about something normal, something boring. But, then again, it is normal for her. Derek and his sisters are Blood Wolves, born and fucking raised. The gang is all they’ve ever known, it’s their home.

“So he’s a prostitute?” Stiles asks, cocking his jaw to the side.

Cora nods solemnly. “Yeah, one of her best. He’s…well he’s fuckin’ beautiful.” She smiles every so slightly, eyes going heavy lidded. Stiles has seen that look before. It’s how Derek was looking at him yesterday, all adoration and promises. He exhales shakily, trying not to think about it, trying not to wonder why. He reminds himself Derek is a killer, that he probably killed Stiles’ father. It helps, but not much.

“You hurt him?”

“Not on purpose. Laura opened up a new hotel and she asked me to scope the place for security risks. I went into the wrong room and…some guy had him strung up and was whipping him with a cat o’ nine. There was blood everywhere and Luka was crying. I…kinda over reacted…” Cora trails off, clenching her hands around the steering wheel.

“Are Laura’s employees contracted?” Stiles asks, voice breaking. He can almost see the boy, Luka, strung up and bleeding. The thought of it terrifies him. Stiles is down for just about anything kinky, but he isn’t into severe pain. And definitely not blood.

“Yeah, they lay out their limits and Laura is careful about keeping to them. But Luka, he…well he was abused. Laura got him out of it, but he’s angry and he’s punishing himself. He hates pain, I knew the second I looked at him.” She shakes her head like she’s trying to rid herself of the memory, teeth clenched tight.

“What happened?” Stiles asks, unable to help himself.

“I almost killed the john. Luckily, Laura got him out. But afterwards I went all psychotic Dom and refused to leave Luka. I shoved Laura out of the room and spent the next couple of hours taking care of him. He was passed out for most of it. When he woke up, I freaked and ran out…haven’t been back since.” She takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, eyes firmly fixed on the road.

Stiles keeps quiet for a while, letting her breathe. She has no reason to feel guilty over something like that. Prostitute or not, that man shouldn’t have been hurting Luka. “Why hasn’t Laura revised his contract?” Stiles asks, surprise at the fury in his voice.

“He won’t let her; says he’ll go to someone else if she tries.”

Stiles nods, the boys threat a genuine one. Laura may be ruthless, but she’s notorious for taking care of her employees. Word on the street is, you break contract and she breaks you, something Stiles wholeheartedly believes. There are other rings in the city, smaller ones, places where Subs are tortured to death under the guise of pleasure. If Luka were to go somewhere else, chances are he’d end up dead.

“You should talk to him,” Stiles says, toying with the hem of his shirt.

“That’s what Laura says.” She shakes her head, chuckling sheepishly. “But I kinda suck at that shit. There’s a reason I deal with drugs…” Stiles watches as she chews on her bottom lip, evading his gaze self-consciously. For someone who puts on such a strong front, Cora Hale sure is a sweetheart.

“Well you’ve taken good care of me and it’s not like I’m apple pie,” Stiles says with a shrug, making her smirk. Stiles arches an eyebrow. “What?” he asks, missing something.

“Derek fucking loves apple pie,” she says with a wicked grin. Then, just like that, she drops the subject and turns back to the road, leaving Stiles to stew in it. The Sub exhales unsteadily, glancing out the window.

Fuck Derek for being so fucking perfect. He’s everything Stiles has ever wanted, everything he’s ever needed. There’s just one problem, one glaring, flashing in the middle of the night, problem. He’s a murderer. The image of Derek looming over his father’s body, a red-hot brand in his hand, sears its way through Stiles’ skull. His stomach gives and he clenches his eyes shut, agony electric in his veins. He doesn’t want to believe the man who held him, cared for him, would do that to his father. But the truth is, he doesn’t know Derek. And he’s seen what the man is capable of.

“What’s in Santa Barbra anyway?” Stiles asks, trying to distract himself.

“Rich people and beaches,” Cora says, flashing him a smirk. Stiles rolls his eyes. There aren’t many people who can level with his sarcasm, but Cora sure as hell can. “I’ve gotta meet with my heroin supplier. He’s got a shipment for me.”

“And I had to come with you because?” Stiles asks, arching an eyebrow.

Cora laughs shamelessly. “Would you believe me if I said I just wanted the company?”

“Nope.”

She smirks, glancing over at him. “Fine, I wanted to keep an eye on you,” she says.  “God, Stiles, you should’ve seen Derek today. He actually slept in and, for once, he didn’t have that paranoid ‘everyone’s out to get me’ look in his eyes. You have no idea how long I’ve been living with that look.”

“So your storing me for safe keeping, like the last ice cream sandwich?” Stiles mutters indignantly. “Your bother’s not my Dom, Cora. And he’s never gonna be.” He fixes her with a glare, surprised at the hurt that fills her eyes.

“I’m not…I wasn’t…” she breaks off, blushing. “Is it so hard to believe that I’m taking care of you because I want to, because you matter to me?” She sighs, staring pointedly out at the road. “And it’s none of my business what’s going on between you and Derek.” Guilt starts to gnaw at Stiles. She’s been nothing but kind to him, taking care of him when others would have run.

He clears his throat, wringing his fingers. “Look, Cora, I’m sorry. I’m a fuckin’ ass.”

“No…well yeah, you are, but you have a point. I know I don’t have a right to be, but I was worried about you after everything that happened yesterday. I wanted to make sure you were okay,” she says, slipping him a concerned glance. What’s left of his anger fades away. Cora’s a Dom. Taking care of Subs is instinctual. He can’t blame her for doing something that’s ingrained on her very bones. It’s like being angry with a Sub for needing to drop.

“I get that,” he says, nodding. “You’re sweet, Cora, real fuckin’ sweet.” The blush that tinges her cheeks is adorable. Whoever this Luka kid is, he’s one lucky bastard. Cora’s strong, sweet, and fierce. She’ll make him one hell of a Dom.

“I’d tell you to keep that to yourself, but it’s not like anyone would believe you,” she says with a wink, smirking. Stiles chuckles, well aware that the youngest Hale has quite the reputation out on the streets. Let’s just say if they’re to be believed, Cora does more than her fair share of cracking skulls. And Stiles is sure that Derek’s the one who showed her how.

They drive in silence for a while. Eventually, Cora pulls into the driveway of a mansion that is straight out of Beverly Hills. They get out of the car and start up the sidewalk, palm trees cutting off the sunlight in long strips.

“Your heroin dealer is a Real Housewife?” Stiles asks sardonically as Cora rings the doorbell. She giggles, slipping him a smirk, but doesn’t answer his question. Wait a second, did Cora just giggle? Fuck.

The door swings open, revealing a handsome Sub with pink hair, dressed only in a pair of baby blue boxer briefs. In his hand is a pink and yellow cocktail, complete with a lime wedge. His appearance takes Stiles so off guard that he just stands there, staring at the man, brows furrowed. He’s not sure what exactly he was expecting, but it sure as shit wasn’t this.

“I think I broke Derek’s boy,” he says with a smirk. Cora laughs, grabbing Stiles’ hand and pulling him into the mansion. Everything inside is gilded and gold, it’s lavish as fuck and Stiles feels completely out of place. Cora maneuvers him into a sitting room and presses him down onto a couch, turning to hug the man.

“Stiles, this is Daxton, Dax this is Stiles,” she says gesturing between them.

“Oh, I’ve heard,” Daxton says with a sly smirk.

“Hailey at work?” Cora asks as Daxton takes a sip of his drink.

He nods. “Yeah, she’s just took on a big case. I think it’s a murder, but I’m not sure,” he says, shrugging. Cora scoffs as Stiles studies the photographs on the fireplace. Most of them feature Daxton with a pretty blond woman, her arms wrapped around him. Stiles slips a glance over at the other Sub, noting the golden chain hanging around his neck. He’s collared. Cora’s heroine supplier is a collared Sub, a lawyer’s collared Sub.

Sweet fuck.

“Poor baby, does she leave you at home all alone?” Cora asks, playfully taunting him. Daxton rolls his eyes at her, pouting before turning to face Stiles. He looks Stiles over, brown eyes a stark contrast to his pink hair.

“He’s adorable,” Daxton says, grinning. “I mean, Lulu said he was adorable, but you never really know with her. She’s-”

“What the fuck is going on!” Stiles demands, unable to take it anymore. How the fuck does this little Sub, Cora’s heroin supplier, know anything about him? “How the hell do you know anything about me?”

“Dax is Laura’s best friend,” Cora says and, just like that, it all clicks into place.

“Oh…” Stiles says awkwardly. Daxton laughs, dark eyes gleaming menacingly.

“Lulu said Der Bear’s still being a total dick about the whole Peter thing,” Daxton says, the mention of Peter Hale putting Stiles on high alert.

“Nothing new there,” Cora says with a shrug. “You got the heroin?”

“Yeah, it’s in the duffels by the door, tell Lulu that I love her stupid face,” Daxton says with a grin. Cora nods and pulls him in for another quick hug. He snuggles up against her for half a second and then pulls back.

“Come on,” Cora says, gesturing for Stiles to stand. He gets up and moves past Daxton, who is smiling at him like he knows something Stiles doesn’t.

“Bye, bunny!” Daxton says as Laura hands Stiles a black duffel, pushing him outside.

“Bye!” Cora yells, closing the door behind her. They put the duffels into the back of Cora’s Chevelle and get into the car. She starts her up and pulls out of the drive, taking off down the road.

“Well…that was super fucking weird,” Stiles mutters, pursing his lips.

“That’s Daxton. Super fucking weird just about covers it.” She laughs, turning off onto the highway. “But, his shipments are always on time and Laura fucking adores him. He’s high maintenance, she’s high maintenance, it works.” She rolls her eyes, smirking. It’s clear that she loves her sister, even if Laura is as crazy as she sounds.

They drive deeper into the city, Cora trying to decide where to stop for lunch. They’re turning another corner when Stiles notices the black Denali three cars behind them. It’s been following them for a long time, too long.

“We’re being tailed,” Stiles says, glancing into the mirror. When he looks away, Cora does the same, her expression hardening. The warmth in her eyes disappears, giving Stiles a glimpse of what she’s really capable of.

“It’s gotta be the Savages. Hold on.” She floors it, her Chevelle shooting through a red light and into oncoming traffic. Stiles puts a hand up on the dash, heartbeat kicking into overdrive. Cora turns up the music and twists the steering wheel, drifting around a number of parked cars.

The Savages are a car length behind Cora, but doesn’t seem worried. Her eyes are fixed on the road and there’s a slight smirk on her lips. So this is the Cora that everyone on the streets is scared of.

Stiles scans the horizon as Cora takes them out of the city. She’s pushing her car to it’s limit, tires smoking as she drifts around corners. Stiles has to give it to her, she sure knows how to drive. She moves between cars like she’s flying, her chest rising and falling slowly. She’s calm, collected.

“Where the fuck are we going!” Stiles asks, trying not to sound as scared as he is.

“Away from civilians. This is gonna get bloody,” Cora says, flashing him a truly wicked smirk. Stiles swallows. He has no choice but to go with this, he can’t risk blowing his cover. But if Santa Barbra PD shows up, he’s fucking screwed. They’ll run him through the system, ruining the op he’s spent almost a year on. And once Cora finds out he’s a cop, she’ll kill him. She made that crystal clear the day they met. As far as Cora Hale is concerned, snitches don’t get stitches, they get dead.

“This isn’t Fast and Furious!” Stiles yells as she banks around a corner, a classic rock song blaring in the speakers. She laughs, veering off onto a dirt road. The Denali follows her, now a few car lengths behind.

“Alright, cupcake. Time to prove you really know how to use that gun. I’m gonna get us some cover and we’re gonna get out of the car. If they shoot at us, we kill them.” She gives Stiles a fierce look, green eyes gleaming. Stiles has killed people before, but not like this, that was him doing his job. This, this is different. He’s not sure if he can do it…but he has to. They are outnumbered. If he doesn’t help Cora, they’re both dead. It’s as simple as that.

Stiles pulls out his Glock, checks the mag, and cocks it. He slips into cop mode, zeroing in on the vehicle behind him and taking note of the license plate, the clean paint, and the tinted windows. They could be Savages, but then again maybe not. Santa Barbra is Blood Wolves territory. Savages shouldn’t be here. Not unless they’re looking to start a gang war.

“You good?” Cora asks, glancing over at him. He nods and she veers sharply to the left. The Denali shoots past her as she and Stiles get out of the car. As Stiles rounds Cora’s Chevelle the Denali comes to a screeching halt and eight men exit the vehicle. Each one is carrying an assault rifle.

Stiles acts on instinct, moving down to use Cora’s car as cover. She does the same, cocking her twin Berettas, but keeping them low. She catches Stiles gaze and nods, both of them listening as the men move in behind them.

“Well if it isn’t the littlest wolf,” a man says with a laugh.

“Fuck you!” Cora yells as bullets start to tear into her car. She grits her teeth, overcome with fury. Twisting around, she shoots three in quick succession. They fall to the ground as she crouches back down. She nods to Stiles, who moves around the back of the car, making two clean head shots. Their bodies fall, blood pooling around them. He tells himself that it was justified, that he had to do it, but he’s not sure. It’s different than killing in his uniform. That’s him protecting people, keeping the city safe. This is just gang violence; this is just murder.

Cora rounds the corner again, taking one out. But before she can take cover, a bullet rips through her shoulder. She screams, falling back against the wet leaves. “Cora!” Stiles yells, moving towards her. She holds a hand up, shaking her head.

“Kill them!” she hisses, livid.

Fury rages through Stiles, a fury that he doesn’t understand. He grabs one of Cora’s dissuaded guns and stands up, advancing on the Savages. The guns kick hard against his hands as he pulls the triggers. Bullets spray around him, one grazing his ribcage. He clenches his teeth, taking them out one by one. Body after body hits the ground, slumping into lifeless heaps.

He stands stock-still in the middle of the dirt road, surrounded by death. The numbness in his body dissipates and guilt crashes over him. This isn’t who he is. As childish as it sounds, he’s supposed to be one of the good guys. These men belong in jail, they should have been judged for their crimes by a jury. Not by him. He had no right to act as their executioner.

Fuck.

“Stiles!” Cora’s broken scream slices through Stiles’ head. He tosses his guns into her car and rushes over to her. She’s leaning against a tree, her shirt covered in blood. Panic sets in, closing a hand around Stiles’ throat. He can’t breathe. “Calm down. I’m okay,” she says in her Dom voice, strong and sure. It helps, but only just.

“We need to get…you…to a hospital…” Stiles mutters, breath hitching.

“No. Bullet wounds have to be…to be…reported. Just…take me home,” she says, fading in and out of consciousness. Stiles picks her up and carefully lays her in the back seat of her Chevelle. He finds a first aid kit in the trunk and does his best to patch her up, but it’s not enough, she needs someone who knows what they are doing.

“Cora, I have no idea where you live,” Stiles says forcefully, trying to wake her up, but she’s completely out. Swearing animatedly, he gets into her car and starts it up. Calling Derek is his only option. And fuck if he wants to do that.

Chapter Text

“You think you can steal from the Wolves, motherfucker!” Derek growls, slamming his fist into the man’s face. The blow knocks his head to the side, hard. He turns back to Derek and spits a mouthful of blood into the Dom’s face. Derek grits his teeth, wanting nothing more than to bash the man’s skull in.

He is…or rather was, their accountant. Come to find out, he’s been stealing from the Hales for a year. Millions of dollars. Millions. And yeah, Derek’s family is rich, filthy fucking rich, but it’s wrong to take money that doesn’t belong to you. Especially when said money belongs to the most powerful gang on the west coast. Then it’s not just wrong, it’s stupid.

“What, were we not paying you enough? Is two hundred thousand dollars a year not enough for you?” Derek demands, wiping the man’s blood from his face. He hates greedy people, fucking hates them.

“It’s not like you missed it,” the man mutters, glaring up at Derek. The hatred in his eyes is absolute. They’ve been at it for hours, Derek finally getting the bastard to confess. Laura caught the error in their books a few weeks back, her practiced eye spotting it easily. Peter was furious, demanding Derek get the man to confess and then kill him.

“Stealing is a betrayal and the penalty for betrayal is death,” Derek says, voice utterly deadpan. If it were up to him, he’d send the man to jail, let him rot away. But it’s not up to him. Peter wants him dead and Peter always gets what he wants.

“Fuck you and fuck your uncle!” the man yells, struggling against his bonds.

“Fuck you too.” Derek pulls out his Beretta and shoots the man in the head. Blood pools on the ground, painting it red. Derek puts his gun back into its holster and pulls out his phone, texting Felix. He’ll have the place Clorox-clean in an hour.

Pocketing his phone, he walks out of the living room and into the bathroom. He’s drying his hands when his phone rings. He fishes it out of his pocket, Cora’s face on the screen. Anxiety curls in his stomach like a snake. She shouldn’t be in trouble. Daxton is the safest supplier she’s has. It’s the reason Derek let her take Stiles with her. Maybe she’s just checking in. Teeth clenched, Derek presses send and lifts the phone to his ear.

“Cora, are you alright?” he asks promptly.

“We got gunned down. Cora got shot through the shoulder. She passed out,” Stiles says so rapidly that Derek can barely understand him. But the fear in his boy’s voice is more than enough. Fury burns through Derek, giving him tunnel vision. His instincts rage, demanding he protect what’s his. Whoever did this is going to pay. Severely. He’ll make damn sure of that.

“Where are you?” Derek asks, walking out of the apartment and down the stairs.

“Sherman Oaks. Should I head into LA?”

“No, we’ve got a safe house in Santa Monica,” Derek says, giving Stiles the address to the beach house. It’s not exactly a safe house, but it’ll have to do for now. “I’m on my way. Do you need me to stay on the line with you?” He wants Stiles to say yes, but he knows the boy well enough to know that he won’t. Stiles is stubborn. Too stubborn.

“I’m fine,” the boy mutters, voice raw and shaky. It cuts away at Derek, making him ache in ways he never has before. Stiles isn’t fine, he’s falling apart. He has been for God knows how long. And Derek can’t do anything to help. Not without risking the boy’s life.

“Alright, but I want you to call me if her condition changes,” Derek says firmly.

“Okay,” the Sub says, sounding close to tears. The line goes dead and Derek’s stomach seizes. The Dom fists a hand around his steering wheel and punches the gas, weaving through traffic at speeds that are anything but legal. He has to get to Stiles and Cora. He has to make sure that they are safe. Nothing else matters. It’s all-consuming, the urge to protect overwhelming him.

How could he have been so stupid? He normally sends a protective detail with Cora when goes to meet suppliers. But he never even considered it with Daxton. Santa Barbara is Blood Wolves territory and Dax is like family. He would never betray the Hales. So, if it was the Savages, the question is, how did they know Cora was meeting Dax today? Only Derek, Cora, Peter, Stiles, and Dax knew about the meet. So the Savages have either been watching them or someone sold Cora out. But who?

He presses his Camaro to the limit, the engine roaring. The tension in his body is doing a number on his broken ribs. Everything fucking hurts and he can’t seem to calm his breathing. He’s terrified, terrified that he’ll show up to the beach house and find Cora dead in Stiles’ arms, blood pooling beneath her. The mere thought is enough to choke him. He can’t let that happen.

No fucking way.

He drifts around a corner, tires smoking. He can see the beach house in the distance, sitting just off the coast. The house and the surrounding 5 miles of coastline were a present from Derek’s father to his mother. It was her haven, her escape. Derek hasn’t set foot in the house since before they died. He couldn’t bare the thought of it, of walking inside without them.

Pulling up next to Cora’s Chevelle, Derek kills his engine and runs up the sidewalk. Waves crash to his left, reminding him of his mother. She loved it here, so fucking much. And Derek has ignored it for years. Chest tight, Derek throws open the door and stalks inside. He keeps his gaze straight ahead, refusing to look at the family photographs that line the walls. They’re lies, pictures of a happy family that doesn’t exist anymore.

“Stiles,” Derek yells, making his way into the living room.

The boy is kneeling next to the couch, Cora’s hand clutched in his. Derek rushes over, taking Cora’s face in his hands. Fear slices him open as he feels for a pulse. It flutters against his fingertips, slow but strong. Confused, Derek glances down at her shoulder. It’s bandaged and there’s an IV in her arm. Stiles is giving her a blood transfusion, one that’s probably saving her life.

Acting on instinct, Derek falls to his knees and pulls Stiles into his arms. He expects Stiles to fight it, to shove him away. Instead, the boy clings to him, fisting his hands in Derek’s shirt. He’s shaking, eyes clenched shut.

Derek shushes him softly, running a hand down the boy’s neck. “You’re okay, baby boy. I’ve got you,” Derek whispers, glancing over at Cora. She looks good. There’s color in her cheeks and she’s breathing steadily. Stiles didn’t even need him, he saved Cora all by himself. Pride swells in the Dom’s chest. “You did so good. You’re such a good boy.” Stiles preens under the praise, nosing deeper into Derek’s chest.

The boy is dropping, fast. Derek wants to let him go under, wants to give him that calm, but he can’t. He needs to talk to Stiles about what happened. And it wouldn’t be right to drop him. Stiles isn’t his Sub. They don’t have a contract and Stiles hasn’t given Derek permission. It would be unethical.

“I need you to stay with me, Stiles,” Derek murmurs, a command in his voice.

“No, please…no…” the boy whimpers, practically begging. “Let me stay…please…” His words cut away at Derek, closing a hand around his throat. His instincts are demanding he give Stiles what he so obviously needs. But his conscience says differently. Stiles isn’t lucid enough to give his permission. As much as Derek wants to, taking the boy down now would be wrong.

“I’m sorry, baby boy, but I need you here with me.” Derek keeps his voice soft, but firm. “Come on, come back up.” He takes Stiles’ face in hand, forcing the boy to look at him. His gorgeous amber eyes bore into Derek, pupils blown. He blinks rapidly, coming back to himself. Derek knows the second he’s up because Stiles jerks out of his arms and scrabbles away from the Dom, chest heaving.

“Fuck,” Stiles hisses, running his shaking hands down his face. “You gotta stop doing that. I’m losing my fucking mind!” He lets out an unsteady breath, struggling to bring himself up without skin contact.

Derek is taken with a fierce urge to pull the boy back into his arms, but he quells it. That wouldn’t help the situation. Stiles is so touch starved that merely being in Derek’s arms is enough to send him into a drop. A few words of praise from the Dom, and Stiles is gone. Derek’s never seen anything like it. He’s not sure if it’s sad or beautiful.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to send you into a drop,” Derek says, standing up. Stiles moves to sit on the coffee table, busying himself with disconnecting the IV and setting it aside. He puts a Band-Aid over the needle prick on Cora’s arm and sits back.  

Derek watches the Sub as he wrings his hands anxiously, long fingers curling and twisting. They’re as gorgeous as he remembers. He shudders, recalling the way Stiles slipped them beneath the hem of his shirt, raking his nails across the Dom’s abs. Derek wants those hands everywhere, wants to feel them on him as he pounds into the boy. He can already feel Stiles writhing against him, begging for permission to come. Fuck. Cock hardening, Derek forces himself to focus. Stiles isn’t his, he has no right to keep thinking of the boy this way. It’s wrong.

“It’s okay…not really your fault,” Stiles mutters, dropping his gaze in shame. It takes everything Derek has to keep his distance. Seeing the boy in pain hurts him, makes him fucking ache. He wants to take Stiles into his arms and hold him until the boy feels whole.

Muscles taunt, Derek moves over to Cora, who is still passed out. He carefully checks her bandage, finding two neatly sewn bullet wounds beneath, one in the front and the other in the back. He studies the stitches. Stiles knows what he’s doing, that’s for sure. They’re tight, but not overly so. Gratitude swells in his chest as he glances over his shoulder at Stiles, the boy’s eyes fixed on his hands.

“Thank you,” Derek says softly, catching Stiles’ gaze. “My sisters are everything to me. If you hadn’t been there today, Cora would probably be dead. You saved her.” The boy’s amber eyes burn, his expression shifting subtly from surprise to relief to fear. Derek clenches his fists at his sides, determined not to touch the little Sub. As much as he wants it, needs it…it’s not his right. And it never will be.

Stiles clears his throat, dropping his gaze. Derek has to bite back a command, wanting the boy to look at him. “She saved me first…” Stiles whispers, voice trailing off. He scoffs, shaking his head. “We don’t even know each other, but she’s gone out of her way to take care of me. She’s…special.” He runs hand down his jaw, shoulders curled inward self-consciously.

Derek can’t help but smile. Cora doesn’t show many people who she really is. But for some reason, she let Stiles see her, really see her. And how could he not love her after that? She’s fierce, loyal, and kind, the sweetest person Derek knows.

“Yeah, she is,” Derek murmurs, brushing a lock of hair back from Cora’s face. He turns back to Stiles, moving to sit before the boy. After a few seconds, Stiles lifts his gaze, letting out an unsteady breath. Derek gives him a pointed look, wordlessly demanding answers.

“We were in the city when I noticed that someone was tailing us. She led them into the forest and-” Stiles drops his gaze to his hands, watching as the start to shake. Derek fights the urge to reach out and take them. He can’t risk it, one touch from him could send Stiles straight to his knees. “They started to shoot at us and Cora got hurt and…I…I…killed them…” Tears start to stream down the boy’s face, destroying Derek’s resolve. His body aches, instincts screaming at him.

“Stiles, can I hold you?” Derek asks, voice raw. The boy nods and, before Derek can pull him in, Stiles climbs into his lap, curling up there. Derek wraps him up tight, one hand cradling the back of the boy’s neck. The hold anchors him, calming him instantly. He nuzzles Derek’s neck, fisting his hands in the Dom’s shirt.

Stiles’ body shakes with silent sobs, the grief from taking a life overwhelming him. It’s a pain that Derek is very familiar with, one he endured for years. Eventually it faded. He’s not sure why, maybe he just got used to the bloodshed, the violence. Or maybe it didn’t actually fade, maybe he did. Shifting from a good man with a good heart to what he is now: a killer, a weapon. 

“You did so good, Stiles. You took care of Cora, brought her back to me. I’m sorry you had to kill those men,” Derek whispers, carding his fingers through the boy’s dark hair. Stiles instantly stiffens, pulling out of Derek’s arms. He stands up and takes an unsteady step back, brushing the tears from his face. “What is it?” Derek asks gently.

Stiles slowly lifts his gaze, the warmth in his eyes fading to darkness. He fixes Derek with an empty glare, expression blank. “You’re sorry?” he demands, jaw clenched tight. His tone is clipped and forceful, dripping with distain.

Derek swallows, lacing his fingers before him. He should’ve expected this, should’ve been prepared for it. But he’s not. And it fucking hurts, to see the boy looking down at him with such hatred. Derek’s not exactly proud of what he does, but he’s good at it. Really fucking good at it. And he doesn’t know much else. He was raised to kill…born to kill.

It’s better this way. It is. It’s safer for Stiles if the boy hates him. And it’s not like Derek’s short on faults. If Stiles is uncomfortable with killing, and he obviously is, Derek can use that. He doesn’t want to, he wants to tell Stiles that he only kills those who deserve it, but he can’t. The boy almost died today and it felt like Derek’s world was caving inward, crumbling to pieces. He never wants to feel that way again. Never.

“I’m sorry you had to kill them…I’m not sorry that they’re dead. I couldn’t care less,” Derek says tonelessly, a sharp arrogance in his voice. Stiles locks up, squirming under Derek’s intense gaze. “You gonna judge me, Stiles? Really?” The boy flinches, the action burning Derek to his core. “So what if I kill people? So do you. You just do it with needles instead of bullets.” Stiles lets out a shaky breath, shoulders caving.

Derek fists his hands in the sofa beneath him. He’s such a fucking ass. The boy deserves better than this, better than him. He’s unstable, the Babydoll fucking with his hormones. Derek shouldn’t be pushing him. But this is the way it has to be. It’s make Stiles hate him or risk the boy’s life.  

Stiles slowly lifts his gaze, the light gone from his amber eyes. His expression is livid, furious. Derek can’t decide what he wants to do more, fuck him or throw down with him. Then again, throwing down with him and then fucking him sounds pretty damn good.

“You’re a real fucker, you know that!” Stiles hisses, arching his neck stubbornly.

Derek chuckles. “Oh, I’m well aware,” he says, effortlessly nonchalant.  

The boy scoffs. “Tell Cora to call me when she wakes up.” Stiles turns, walking away. “Oh and, just so you know, it wasn’t the Savages that attacked us.” Derek stands up and grabs his hand, brows furrowed in confusion. What the fuck is he talking about, not the Savages? Who else could it have been?

Stiles wrenches out of his grip and twists around to face him, breathing hard. “How do you know it wasn’t the Savages?” Derek asks, eyes narrowing. Stiles is one of the few people who knew about the trip to Santa Barbara. There’s a chance he’s the one who set Cora up. But, if it was him, why did he save her?

“The Savages are being investigated by the police, something about Alexei killing Subs. They’re not in any position to be starting a gang war. And the men who attacked us, they were well-dressed, clean cut. Hell, the fuckin’ Denali looked like it had just been washed. They looked like M12, not Savages,” Stiles says arrogantly, impressing Derek. Just when he thinks he has the little Sub figured out, the boy turns around and surprises him.

Derek licks his lips, carefully processing the information. He has to give it to the boy, he’s fucking observant. In a high-intensity situation most people blur details, too lost in adrenaline to notice. But not Stiles, he seems to have gone hyper-focused. It’s not a skill you can teach someone; you either have it or you don’t.

  If he trusts the boy, and for some reason he does, then it sounds like Darius, the leader of M12 is finally retaliating for what Derek did to his last crew. It was a fucking massacre, but they had it coming. They’d been encroaching on Blood Wolf territory, taking out anyone that got in their way, civilians included. Cora lost three dealers, their bodies strung up with wolf hides, a message for the Hales.

Cora was furious. She wanted revenge and Derek was all too happy to oblige. He located their base of operations and fucked their shit up. Then, not only did he leave the place bloody and body-strewn, he got away with it. Darius vowed to destroy them for it, but up until now, he hasn’t had the numbers. Not after Derek killed almost all of his men.

“How’d they know Cora would be in Santa Barbara?” Derek asks, more to himself than to Stiles. She is always careful to take different routes, never stopping at the same gas station or restaurant. Cora’s not an idiot, she’s been playing this game since she was sixteen years old. To say she has it down would be a fucking understatement.

The boy scoffs, rolling his eyes at Derek. “Her car isn’t exactly hard to spot. All you’d have to do is pay a few people to watch out for it. You’d be surprised what someone would do for a hundred bucks.”

Derek nods. Her car something that he and Cora have discussed, multiple times, but she refuses to budge. It’s her baby and she adamantly refuses to leave it covered in a garage somewhere. He sees where she is coming from, but driving a classic muscle car isn’t exactly inconspicuous.

“Did they say anything?” Derek asks, frowning.

Stiles shrugs. “One of them called Cora the littlest wolf, but other than that, not really.”

“That’s good, that tells us that it wasn’t just a random hit. They were after Cora,” Derek says glancing over his shoulder at his sister. She’s still passed out, but her breathing is steady and there’s color in her face.

“Well they sure as shit weren’t after me,” Stiles says with a humorless laugh.

“I thought it would be safe,” Derek whispers, the words slipping off his tongue before he has time to bite them back. Stiles inhales ever so slightly, brows furrowing. He takes a step towards Derek, eyes boring into the Dom. There’s a curiosity there, a yearning that Derek wants to exploit. He wants the boy on his knees, in his bed, in his fucking life. But that can’t happen.

It can’t.

“You couldn’t have known,” the boy says, his sudden gentleness taking Derek aback. He’s not sure what to think of it. Stiles is a mess of contradictions, sweet but fierce, blunt but considerate, friendly but isolated. Derek wonders, briefly, if anyone actually knows the boy. Has Stiles ever let anyone close enough to do that? For some reason, he doubts it. The little Sub has more walls than a fucking castle. 

“It’s my job to know,” Derek says flatly, fighting the urge to reach up and brush the boy’s cheek. “I’m supposed to take care of you.” The admission slips out of his mouth before he can swallow it, but damn if it doesn’t taste good. God, he wants to touch Stiles. The urge is eating away at him, taking him piece by fucking piece. Keeping his distance is getting harder with every passing minute. It’s like he’s addicted to the boy, strung out on him.

Stiles studies him, amber eyes narrowed, taking in a thousand different minute details. He doesn’t believe Derek, that much is obvious. It’s like he’s looking for a lie in the Dom’s expression, desperate to gain some of the ground he’s lost. Derek takes a step towards him, but the boy takes two steps back, determined to keep his distance.

“Would you stop toying with me?”

“I’m not toying with you,” Derek says softly, glancing down at the boy’s lips. They’re gorgeous, full and pink. He wants to taste them, wants to feel the wrapped around his cock. The boy’s perfect, just fucking perfect.

“Yes, you are!” Stiles hisses, clenching his hands into shaking fists. “One minute you’re treating me like I’m your Sub and the next I’m just some stray Cora brought home!”

Derek swallows hard, carding his fingers through his hair. Fuck. What the hell is he playing at? He shouldn’t even be in the same room with Stiles, let alone treating him like his Sub. He’s put the boy in more than enough danger already. As much as Derek wants him, taking this any further will only get the boy killed. Peter would just love to get his hands on another one of Derek’s weaknesses.

“I can treat you however the fuck I want,” Derek says with a wicked smirk. Stiles breaks beneath his words, expression shifting from surprise to fear to rage in a matter of seconds. He closes the distance between them, shoving Derek away from him. Derek takes a step back and laughs, giving the boy a patronizing smile.

God, he hates himself. Subs are meant to be cherished, to be loved. Talia, Derek’s mother, was a Sub and Derek fucking adored her. She didn’t raise him to act like this. She’d be ashamed of him. But it’s the only way. If Stiles sees him as a passive aggressive dick, he’ll probably stay away from him. And as long as the boy keeps his distance, he’s safe from Peter.

Stiles seethes, jaw clenched. “Fuck you,” he mutters, dismissing Derek with a glance.

“You’d like that, wouldn’t you, baby boy?” Derek says, arching an eyebrow.

Stiles scoffs, disgusted, and turns, starting towards the door.

Derek clenches his fists, exhaling. He’s not going to lie and say that it doesn’t hurt to see Stiles walking away from him, the boy’s hatred ringing in his ears. It does, it’s agony. But it’s better than the pain he would feel if Peter were to get his hands on Stiles. He’d never forgive himself for that.

He’s not sure why the boy means so fucking much to him. He doesn’t even know Stiles, not really. And yet, the little Sub has worked his way under Derek’s skin. It’s a throbbing, an ache, the steady beat of something he’s always wanted, but never allowed himself to have.

He has to do this.

He has to let the boy walk away.

Fuck.

“Der,” Cora whispers, voice breaking. Derek is by her side in a matter of seconds, taking her hand. She gives it a light squeeze, smiling. She catches Stiles on his way out, confusion cutting across her face. “Stiles, please don’t go.” The boy stops in his tracks and exhales, unable to walk away from her. 

Chapter Text

Stiles fists his hands at his sides, utterly torn. He wants to stay, wants to be there for Cora, but at the same time, he needs to get away from Derek. Fuck him. Fuck him for being so sexy, for taking care of Stiles, making him feel like he matters, only to drop him on his ass. Who the fuck does he think he is? He has no right, no fucking right. The self-righteous prick doesn’t deserve him.

Exhaling shakily, Stiles turns to face them. He will not let Derek Hale run him off. He’s better than that, stronger than that. The Dom can go fuck himself, Stiles is staying. Cora is his friend. If she wants him here, this is where Stiles will be.

“I’m here,” Stiles mutters, giving her a soft smile. She motions him over and he closes the distance between them, falling to his knees before the couch. Derek inhales sharply, staring at Stiles, eyes heavy with lust. Stiles fixes him with a vicious glare and the Dom tears his gaze away, shaking his head at himself.

Why does he keep doing that? It’s giving Stiles emotional whiplash. He doesn’t know what to think or what to feel. One minute, Derek’s looking at him like Stiles is the center of his fucking universe and the next he’s just some guy. He goes from wrapped up in the Dom’s arms, comfortable and safe, to being pushed away, useless and unwanted.  

And yeah, it’s better for him and his operation if he stays away from the Dom. He knows that. Fuck, does he know that. But knowing and feeling are two entirely different things. Knowing that Derek is a murderer doesn’t stop the flurry of sparks across his skin when the Dom touches him. It doesn’t lessen his memory of how good it felt when Derek took him down. It doesn’t stop him from wanting Derek, wanting him with every fucking bone in his body.

“Are you okay?” Cora asks, looking him over, her eyes settling on his side. “I saw you get shot. One of them grazed you.” She tries to get up, brows furrowed with worry, but Derek presses her back into the couch. She flashes him an irritated look, but he just chuckles. The sound reverberates down Stiles’ spine, settling in the pit of his stomach.  

“You stay where you are, bunny. I’ll take care of him,” Derek murmurs, calming his sister. She nods, settling back down into the couch.

“I’m fine,” Stiles says through clenched teeth, looking determinedly at anything but Derek. The Dom makes a disappointed noise and it hits Stiles right in the stomach. He lifts his gaze expectantly, apologetically, cursing his stupid fucking instincts and his stupid fucking body. Both of which are obsessed with Derek.

The Dom gives him a nod of approval, flooding Stiles’ body with chemicals. He’s overwhelmed by the sense of calm and right that comes over him. Derek motions for him to stand and he does, just like that.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

He’s better than this. Derek isn’t his Dom. Stiles doesn’t have to do what he says. But it feels so good, so right, to follow the Dom’s commands. He gestures for Stiles to sit down on the coffee table. “Would you take your shirt off?” It’s a request, not a command.

He strips off his shirt, perplexed. What the fuck is Derek’s deal? He shifts from total ass to complete sweetheart like it’s nothing, the act second nature to him. Who’s the real Derek? And why the fuck is he hiding from Stiles, throwing walls up like he’s building a damn house? He has no reason to be wary of the Sub. And it’s not like he’s not attracted to Stiles. Because, he is, Stiles knows that for a fact. He’s felt Derek’s cock pressed against him, long and hard. God, it would feel so good inside of him. He wants that, so fucking bad.

Fuck.

He can’t keep doing this. He’s a cop, not some street thug. He can’t keep wanting things, fantasizing about things that are never going to happen. Derek Hale is a hitman, a criminal, and Stiles is a cop. There’s no scenario where them getting together doesn’t end in death and heartbreak. None. And pretending any different will only make things worse.

Stiles lifts his gaze, surprised to see Derek staring at him. The Dom’s dark green eyes are scanning the Sub’s skin, mapping the pattern of freckles and scars that mar his body. There’s a stubbornness in his gaze, like he’s determined to memorize every single one because he’s never going to see them again. Stiles lets out a quivering breath, wringing his hands anxiously in front of him. He’s never had anyone look at him so intently before and, frankly, it’s fucking terrifying.

He fights the urge to grab his shirt and shrug it back on. He’s never been overly self-conscious, but he is now. Derek looking at him like he’s beautiful, but he’s not. He knows he’s not. He came to terms with that fact back in high school, when people started to look through him rather than at him. He’s ordinary, nothing special.  

Derek moves down so that he’s on a level with Stiles. He catches the Sub’s gaze, eyes boring so deep into Stiles that it almost hurts. He gets the sense that Derek sees him, really sees him, in a way no one ever has. And he has no idea why. “You’re beautiful, really fuckin’ beautiful. You know that right?” the Dom whispers, voice deep and slow. It runs down Stiles’ body like hot water, causing him to sigh involuntarily.

He grits his teeth, feeling reality slipping around him. God, this is all so fucked up. All Derek has to do is say a few pretty things and Stiles tips head-first into subspace. It shouldn’t be that easy. And yeah, it’s not like Derek is doing it on purpose. But he’s still doing it and he has absolutely no right to. Stiles isn’t his.

“Don’t patronize me,” Stiles hisses, tearing his gaze away from the Dom.

“I wasn’t,” Derek says softly, smiling sweetly. Stiles tenses up, determined not to fall for this ‘you’re beautiful’ bullshit. Derek’s toying with him, always fucking toying with him. This is all a game to the Dom, something to keep him entertained.

“Whatever,” Stiles mutters, too furious to think of a witty comeback.

Derek sighs, sounding disappointed again. Stiles has to fight the urge to apologize, the instinct washing over him. “I’m gonna touch you. Is that okay?” Derek asks gingerly, Cora’s first aid kit open on the floor beside him. Stiles nods, but that’s not enough for Derek. The Dom gives him a pointed look, wordlessly demanding a better answer.

“Yes, you can touch me. Fuck…” Stiles growls, once again tearing his gaze away. Derek chuckles, infuriating him further. He really wants to punch the Dom in his stupid beautiful face. But, chances are, if he did that he’d end up dead. Pissing off a Hale will get you killed. Just ask Stiles’ father.

Images of John’s body flood Stiles’ head, a surge of agony. They tortured him for days, killed him, branded him, and then tossed him into a gutter. That’s who these people are. That’s who Derek is. God, Stiles is sick, to be fantasizing about a man who probably killed his father. To be thinking about the Dom touching him, loving him with the same hands he used to torture Stiles’ father. There’s something wrong with him.

Derek places a hand on Stiles him and the Sub almost jumps off of the table. The touch jolts him out of his head, replacing the gruesome murder scene with heat and warmth and please, right there. It’s incredible, like Derek’s hand is anchoring him to the ground, calming him instantly. He closes his eyes and exhales, Derek trailing his fingers up Stiles’ side, ghosting across his ribs.

Fuck…

His heartbeat kicks into overdrive. But, at the same time, he can’t breathe. Where Derek touches him, he burns, flames licking his skin, leaving a throbbing heat in their wake. It’s unlike anything he’s ever felt before. And he never wants it to stop.

His cock hardens, pressing against his jeans. He bites his lip, picturing Derek, unzipping his jeans and pulling out his cock, taking Stiles into his mouth. He can almost feel the heat of the Dom’s mouth as he takes Stiles deep. He fights the urge to beg, wanting Derek’s to drop his hands, to cup Stiles through his jeans. To touch him, just once. That’s all he wants. He’ll take it if that’s all he can get.

Please.

“Doesn’t look too bad,” Derek whispers, gently probing the wound on Stiles’ side. The Sub gasps, pain searing through him. Derek clenches his teeth, fury and guilt cutting across his face. “I’m sorry, baby boy,” he croons, reaching up to cup the back of Stiles neck, stroking the heated skin there. Stiles sighs, leaning into the Dom’s touch. His mind starts to blur, heart slowing to a steady tattoo.

He’s slipping and all it took was a few words and a gentle touch. Stiles has never met anyone who could take him down so easily, so effortlessly. There’s a part of him that knows why, that knows Derek has to be a level 10, but there’s another part that adamantly refuses to believe it. He’s been living in this hell for almost a year. And no level 10 Dom ever came to rescue him. Why the fuck would it happen now? And why the fuck would it be Derek Hale, a murderer? What a sick fucking joke.

Derek gently cleans his wound and presses on a large bandage, his touch light and gentle. Stiles fists his hands around the edge of the coffee table, struggling to stay present. But it’s a losing battle, especially with Derek’s hand wrapped around the back of his neck. His instincts are screaming at him, demanding he kneel for the Dom, his Dom.

Fuck. He can’t do this. Not again.

“Derek…let go of me…” Stiles mutters, his words a breathless plea. The Dom releases him instantly and Stiles has to bite back a whimper. He shrugs on his shirt and stands up, legs shaking. Then he crosses the room, putting some distance between them. Slowly, he comes back to himself, head clearing. But even as reality comes rushing back, so does the throbbing ache in his chest, the need that he just can’t rid himself of. The need that only Derek can sate. And fuck him for that.

“Are you okay, Stiles?” Cora asks gently, drawing his attention.

He lets out a quivering breath and turns to face them, looking down at Cora. “Yeah, I just need a hit is all,” he says dryly. And it’s not a lie. He could do with some Baby right now, something to take his mind off the gorgeous tattooed Dom that’s haunting him. “Nothin’ to worry about.”

Derek growls, drawing Stiles’ gaze. The fury in the Dom’s green eyes is so intense that Stiles takes a step back, dropping his gaze instinctually. His chest constricts, the urge to apologize choking him. He hates that Derek is angry with him. He wants to make the Dom happy. He needs it.

“Stop it, Der!” Cora says sharply, her words ringing around in Stiles head. “He’s not yours, you made that crystal clear. And you have no right to treat him like he is.” There’s the sound of a scuffle, followed by Derek telling his sister to get back on the couch. Stiles grits his teeth, forcing himself to look up.

Derek catches his gaze, an apology there. “I’m sorry,” he murmurs, his words instantly calming Stiles’ fears, allowing him to breathe again.

Stiles reaches up, running a shaking hand down his jaw. Fuck. No one should be allowed this much control over him. Not without Stiles’ permission. As good as it feels, as right as it feels, Derek isn’t his Dom. He has no right to command Stiles in any way. No one does. Not anymore.

“Sorry isn’t good enough. Do it again and I’ll shoot you,” Stiles hisses, glaring at the Dom. To his surprise, Derek simply smirks, infuriating Stiles further. The Sub advances, ready to rip his stupid beautiful face off. Who the fuck does he think he is? “You think that’s funny? I’m gonna fuck you-”

“Der, why don’t you go call Lulu?” Cora says, cutting Stiles off. Derek nods, chuckling as he walks out of the room. Stiles glares at him until he’s gone, then he just glares at the door he disappeared behind.

This is all so fucked up. And, despite his best efforts, it just keeps happening. It’s a vicious circle, beautiful and breaking. Stiles submits to him, realizes what he’s doing, and then calls Derek out on it. Even though he knows it’s not really the Dom’s fault. He’s just doing what his instincts demand, taking care of a Sub he’s compatible with. He’s been cruel and kind, but he’s never physically hurt Stiles. To be honest, Stiles kind of wishes he would. That way he’d have something to hate the Dom for, something to blame him for.

“Sorry about that,” Cora says, knocking Stiles out of his head. He exhales, slumping down onto the coffee table before her. She graces him with a soft smile, trying her best to comfort him. “You probably won’t believe me, but Derek means well.”

“You’re right. I don’t believe you,” Stiles says tonelessly, wrapping his arms around himself. He aches, his body vibrating with want.

Cora nods solemnly, sighing. “He’s a level 10. It’s only natural he’d wanna take care of you,” she says, trying like hell to defend her brother. Stiles swallows, letting the truth sink into his skin. He assumed that Derek was a level 10, but guessing it and hearing it are very different. Now he can’t deny it, can’t lie to himself about it. But it does explain a lot, giving a reason for their behavior towards each other.

“I don’t need to be taken care of,” Stiles growls, aware that it is a lie.

Cora scoffs. “Yes, you do. And you don’t just need it. You deserve it, Stiles.” She catches he gaze, beaming at him. “You saved my life today…”

Stiles blushes, chewing on his bottom lip. He wants to be angry, at himself and at her, for making him kill those men. But her gratitude overwhelms him and his anger slips away. If he hadn’t killed them, she’d be dead. And as much as he hates to admit it, Cora is important to him. He’s let her in more in the past week than he as anyone over the past year.

“You saved mine first,” Stiles mutters sheepishly, staring at the hardwood.

Cora chuckles. “You wouldn’t have needed saving if you weren’t on Baby. God, Derek puts you down and then suddenly I find out you’re a badass.” She grins at him, making him smile. “Where’d you learn to shoot like that?”

Grief slices through Stiles, a delicate knife. The memory of his father teaching him to shoot a BB gun burns his eyes. John set up a bunch of pop cans in their back yard and spend the next five hours patiently teaching Stiles to shoot. Not an easy task, given that Stiles’ ADHD was much worse when he was younger. He kept getting distracted and waving the gun around. But John was patient with him, always so patient with him.

“My father taught me,” Stiles says, voice breaking.

“He passed away?” Cora asks gingerly, brows furrowed in concern. There’s something in her eyes, an understanding, like she knows what it feels like. And she does. Stiles has seen the crime scene photos. He studied her parent’s murder case back to front, memorizing it. The cops who worked the case put it to bed pretty quick. It looked cut and dry, a rival gang hit. Little did the cops know it was one gang hitting the heads of another, taking out the enemy.

“Yeah. Eight months ago…”

“He was your Dom, wasn’t he?” Cora asks, cuing in, the time frame too coincidental. He nods solemnly, regretting the action instantly. Telling Cora about his past could blow his cover. And then he’ll never find out who killed his father. He can’t risk that.

“I’m sorry. You must miss him,” she says softly, giving him a comforting smile. “I know I miss my parents. Especially when I’m here.” She gestures around the room. Stiles looks around, really taking in his surrounding for the first time. Normally, he’s very perceptive. But he was too worried about Cora to pay attention before.

The house is quaint and warm, decorated mostly in white and blue. The walls are lined with photos, some framed and some not. Stiles stands up and walks over to the fireplaces, studying the faces in them. Derek, Cora, and Laura are all younger, but easily recognizable. As are their parents, Talia and Richard, whom Stiles has seen pictures of. What takes him by surprise are how different the Hale siblings look now, their eyes harsher, darker. Its like they lost something when their parents died, some kind of hope. Now they look battle-worn, angrier, as if they’ve been to war. And Stiles can’t help but wonder, why?

“They look nice,” Stiles mutters, chest constricting as he scans over a picture of a little Derek in his mother’s arms. He looks so happy, happier than Stiles has ever seen him. Will he ever be that happy again? Will anyone ever make him that happy again?

“They were,” Cora says, sitting up. Stiles turns to face her, taken aback by the tears in her eyes. “They kept everything from us, gave us this sweet little bubble to live in. And then they died and we found out who we really are…what we really are.” She blinks, sending tears streaming down her cheeks. Stiles closes the distance between them, sits down, and wraps an arm around her. She burrows into his neck, sniffling.

“It’s okay,” Stiles croons, stroking her curls. “No one really leaves you. Not the people you love.” Stiles closes his eyes remembering his father saying those words to him. Stiles was crying in the hospital hallway, his world caving in on him, and his father knelt down before him and told him that his mother would always be with him. It didn’t make the hurt go away, but it made it somehow better, meaningful.

She pulls back, giving him a tearful smile, eyes alight with love. It hits Stiles like a bullet. She’s looking at him like he matters to her, and maybe he does. “Thanks, cupcake. I really needed to hear that.” She leans up, brushing a kiss across his cheek. He blushes again, making her laugh. “You’re adorable,” she says, standing up.

“You probably shouldn’t be-”

“I’m alright, Stiles. You made sure of that,” she says, cutting him off. Stiles nods, knowing better than to argue with her. The Hales are a stubborn bunch, unwilling to bend or yield. It’s no surprise they command a fucking empire.

Derek comes stalking back into the room, phone in hand. His mere presence sends a shockwave through Stiles’ system. The Dom takes his fucking breath away, his green eyes unyielding, but kind. Stiles glances at the tattoos that line his arms, wanting to get a better look at them. The only one he recognizes is the Blood Wolf symbol on his inner arm and that’s because he’s seen it before. The rest blur together, crafted to look like one flowing piece. Stiles mouth goes dry as he thinks about running his tongue across them, memorizing them. He hates himself for it, but he wants to know every single one by heart.

Derek catches him staring and smirks arrogantly. Stiles fixes him with a glare, making Derek laugh. Stiles scoffs, tearing his gaze away. Sometimes it’s so easy with Derek, like breathing, but the rest of the time its utter hell. It’s Stiles trying to stay away when all he wants to do is get close and Derek with his incessant push and pull, never letting up. It’s enough to dive the Sub insane.

“You okay?” Derek asks, watching Cora brush a tear from her cheek.

“Yeah,” she says, giving Stiles an appreciative smile. Derek pulls her into his arms, holding her tightly against his broad chest. He buries a hand in her hair, whispering to her softly. Stiles drops his gaze, wishing he were the one in Derek’s arms. He loves the way the Dom holds him, the way his body curls around Stiles.’ It’s incredible, like being wrapped up in warmth and safety, the scent of Burberry cologne filling his lungs.   

Stiles shakes his head and turns away from them, reminding himself that this isn’t who he is. He’s a cop, not a coke supplier. He’s here for a reason and it’s not to end up in Derek Hale’s bed. He pictures his father’s face in his head, clinging to it, focusing on it. This isn’t a game. He’s got a job to do.

“I’ve gotta go,” he says awkwardly, carding a hand through his hair. The siblings break apart, eyeing him concernedly. Derek takes a step towards him, but Stiles shakes his head, stopping the Dom in his tracks. Hurt burns in Derek’s eyes, his dark brows furrowed. “Call me tomorrow,” Stiles says to Cora, who nods.

“If you need anything…” she trails off as Stiles turns away, shoulders tense.

“I won’t,” he mutters, walking out of the room. He closes the front door behind him and pulls out a phone, calling a taxi. It shows up a few minutes later and Stiles slides inside, ignore the driver when he tries to start up a conversation.

The drive is slow, agonizingly slow. By the time they reach Stiles’ apartment, it’s dark outside. Moving mechanically, Stiles pays the man and makes his way upstairs. His apartment feels empty and cold compared to Hale house. His chest constricts, tears burning his eyes. Fuck. He’s digging his own grave, but he just can’t seem to stop. Not when it feels so fucking amazing.

Tears spill down his cheeks as he goes into his room and pulls out his Batman lunchbox. His hands start to shake and he can’t breathe. He glares down at the little vials, teeth clenched. He doesn’t want it. He doesn’t.

He wants Derek.

Fuck, he wants Derek.

Sobbing, he grabs a vial and a clean syringe, filling it up. The sight of the track marks on his arms only makes him cry harder. It’s the only way. He sticks the needle into his vein, gasping at the bite of pain, and presses down the plunger.

Everything fades and he’s floating.

Chapter Text

Cora turns to face her brother, lips pursed. “Well, you blew that!” she says with a humorless laugh. “You blew that hardcore!” Derek shakes his head at her, but she doesn’t miss the hurt in his eyes. He wants Stiles, she knows he does. He’s just scared, scared that the boy will make him happy and that Peter will take that happiness. Just like he took their parents.

God, Cora wants to take off Peter’s fucking head. If she thought she could get away with it, she’d have killed the bastard ages ago. But she can’t risk what might happen to her siblings if she were to take that shot. Peter’s men have and will continue to kill for him.

“There’s nothing to blow, Cora,” Derek mutters, expression blank.

“Whatever, Der! You can lie to yourself all you fucking want, but you can’t lie to me. You want him. You want him bad!” She wiggles her eyebrows suggestively and Derek rolls his eyes, sidestepping her. She sighs, watching him disappear into the kitchen. He’s so fucking stubborn, always has been. He reminds her so much of their mother, he’s so strong, forever trying to take care of everyone.

He returns a few seconds later, handing her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a glass of ice water. She thanks him, sitting down to eat. She’s taken three bites when the door flies open and Laura comes storming in, stilettos clicking on the hardwood.

“Thank God you’re okay!” she says as Cora stands up. Laura pulls her sister into her arms, holding Cora tight. “I was so worried!” There are tears in her voice, cutting away at Cora. Though she puts on quite the front, Laura is stronger than her, always has been. Seeing her sister hurting is far worse than hurting herself. She hates it, hates that she’s the cause of it.

“I’m alright, Lulu. Don’t cry,” Cora says, easing out of her sister’s arms. She reaches up, brushing a tear from Laura’s cheek. Laura smiles, grabbing her wrist and giving it a gentle squeeze.

Someone walks into the room behind Laura. Cora grabs her gun from the coffee table and has it pointed at Luka before Laura has a chance to move. He arches an eyebrow and she drops the gun, heart stopping at the mere sight of him.

Fuck, he’s beautiful. With his dark curls and his haunting grey eyes, and those cheekbones, God, they could cut steel. He’s got the body of a swimmer, all lithe muscle and sharp bones. He’s dressed in a grey sweater and ripped jeans, his black combat boots coming to pieces. She could look at him for days, just drinking in the sight of him. Beautiful, so fucking beautiful.

Her throat goes dry as she remembers what he felt like in her arms, the heat of his skin pressed against hers. It was wrong to intervene, she had no right, but she’s glad she did. Luka won’t admit it, absolutely refuses to, but she knows he hates pain. One look at him strung up and crying, and she knew. Any Dom with a bit of common sense would’ve. That fucker deserved what he got, and worse. If she could go back, she’d kill him.

“Luka,” Cora whispers, voice breaking over his name.

He takes a step towards her, but only one. “Laura said you got shot. I…uh…made her take me with her,” he says, glancing over at his boss. Cora drinks in the sound of his voice, deep and smooth, too drunk on it to be angry with Laura.

She doesn’t care how he got here or why, all that matters is that he’s here. She’s been thinking about this moment for months, playing it over and over in her head like some sick movie. Ever since she laid eyes on him, she hasn’t been able to get him out of her head. It’s been a constant onslaught of worry and lust and guilt. She’s almost gone to the hotel a hundred times, but she just can’t. Not when she knows what she’ll find there, Luka getting hurt and…fucked.

He’s not hers and she has no right to want him, but she does. She wants him like she’s never wanted anything. It’s been eating away at her, the ever-present fear that he’s in pain and that she won’t be able to save him. It’s terrifying, to care for someone so much.

She knows what happened to him, what his last Dom did to him. Laura was decisively vague about it, but it was easy for Cora to read between the lines. Especially after seeing the scars that mar his body, from the lash marks on his back to the cigarette burns on the underside of his arms to the brand on his lower abdomen. The abuse is written all over his skin, mapped there for everyone to see.

“I’m okay…promise,” Cora says, smiling gently. To her surprise, Luka actually sighs, shoulder caving inward in relief. She studies him, eyes narrowed. He’s never given her any indication that he’s interested in her, then again she hasn’t really given him the chance to. Like Laura said, she’s been avoiding the hotels like a plague.

Luka worries his bottom lip, looking her over carefully. She flushes, suddenly out of breath. “Can I?” he asks, holding her gaze. She nods before she has time to over think it. He slowly approaches her, giving Cora time to realize that Derek and Laura are gone. She’s not sure when they left, but she’s thankful for the privacy.

Luka stops in front of her, his height taking her by surprise. The last time she saw him, he was on a bed, a bed he never left. She didn’t have the chance to see him at his full height. He’s at least a foot taller than her, his head inclined as studies her bandaged shoulder.

“You’re taller than I thought you were,” Cora says, instantly regretting her words. God, she’s such a fucking dumbass. To her surprise, Luka actually chuckles. The deep sound hits her right in the stomach, stealing the breath from her lungs. She’s never seen him smile before and, though it’s nothing more than a smirk, she relishes in it, promising herself that she’ll see it again.

“Maybe you’d know how tall I am if you didn’t spend your time avoiding me,” he says, smooth and sure, simply stating a fact. He’s not angry, just hurt. Cora can see it buried in his grey eyes, an ache. One she’s been living with for months.

“I’m sorry. It’s just…” she trails off, unsure how to phrase it. She has no problem with what he does, but she is not okay with his existing contract. A Sub who hates pain as much as he does, who couldn’t possibly reach subspace while in pain, should not have pain play in his contract. It’s a given. And yet, he does, desperate to punish himself for his past, for what that bastard did to him.

“I get it,” he says curtly, dropping his gaze. She doesn’t miss the grief that cuts across his face. It’s heartbreaking, enough to ruin her.

Acting on instinct, she takes a step towards him, catching his gaze. “No, you don’t. I’m sure you don’t,” she says softly, gesturing for him to sit down. He debates for half a second before caving and descending to the couch. Cora seats herself on the coffee table across from him, heart hammering in her chest. She can’t fuck this up, not again.

“Is it the scars?” he asks through clenched teeth, a sudden fury raging in his voice.

“No!” Cora says sharply, taking him by surprise. He lifts his gaze, brows furrowed. “How could you even…no.” She shakes her head furiously, infuriated with herself for giving him the impression that she stayed away because of something so insignificant.

“Is it my job?” he asks, toying with the hem of his sweater. Cora struggles with the urge to reach out and take his hand, to run her finger across the lines on his palms. She wants to memorize them, to memorize him.

“Indirectly,” she says, glancing up at him. His jaw tenses and he swallows, expression a mask of stoicism. It makes her ache, seeing him shut down, his walls raising around him.

“It’s okay, you don’t have to say it. Been there done that,” he says, standing up. “I just wanted to thank you for what you did for me. It probably didn’t mean anything to you, but…” he trails off, clearing his throat awkwardly. “It’s just nice to know that not all Doms are assholes.” His words shred her heart, destroying her.

He starts towards the door, shoulders tight. Cora stands up and rushes him, grabbing his arm before he can make it through the doorframe. He stills instantly, a shudder running through his body at her touch. She eases her hold, but doesn’t let go. Instead, she trails her fingers slowly down his bicep, curling them inward when she reaches his elbow. He sighs when she touches the bare skin of his wrist. His finger twitch towards hers, like he wants to touch her, but can’t.

“I don’t like seeing them hurt you,” she whispers, pulling her hand back.

Luka turns to face her, expression shifting from confusion to disbelief. “That’s it? That’s why you’ve been torturing me for months? Because of a little pain?” he asks with a dry laugh, voice tight with fury.

Cora clenches her fists at her sides, taking a deliberate step towards him. “A little pain? Is that all you think that is?” she asks indignantly, more hurt than angry. He deserves to be cared for, to be put down gently, by someone who knows his body and cares about him. “A little pain is a light spanking, Luka! You’re letting them whip you!” her voice breaks, tears brimming in her eyes. His brows furrow at the sight of them, at the sight of someone caring enough to cry for him.

“It’s nothing,” he says, shaking his head.

“It’s not nothing. It’s not,” she mutters, fixing him with a fierce look.

“Why do you care?”

“Why do you?” she asks, gesturing to her injured shoulder. Luka arches his neck and squares his shoulder, expression impassive. She hates it, hates how easily he can just shut down. It’s impossible for her to know what he’s thinking, for her to know what he needs. She wants to tell him to stop, to stop hiding from her, but she swallows the command. He’s not her Sub. To command him would be wrong.

“I…I’ve…never dropped like that. It normally takes hours to get me down. But with you…it was easy,” he says, expression still blank. She gapes at him, eyes wide.

“I thought you passed out.”

“I did. It was that fucking good.” She fucking melts beneath his words, sighing as a soft smile pulls at her lips. The sight of it destroys his resolve, fucking up his perfect walls. He takes a step towards her, closing the distance between them.

She wants to touch him again, wants to fist a hand in his dark hair and kiss him. But she can’t, not without his permission. He’s been controlled his whole life, been forced to do things he didn’t want to do. She refuses to take anything from him, not unless he wants her to, asks her to.

“You’re so beautiful,” he says, reaching up to slowly caress her cheek. She closes her eyes, trying to memorize the way his hand feels as he moves to frame her neck.

Before she knows what’s happening, he’s kissing her, lips pressing against hers. He buries his hands in her hair, gently pulling at the roots. She sighs into his mouth, their lips moving against one another slowly, so fucking slowly. He opens his mouth and his tongue darts out, licking her bottom lip. She moans and moves closer, deepening the kiss.  

Fuck. Never did she think it would feel like this, this perfect. Everywhere he touches her, she burns. Her stomach is a flurry of sparks, heart trying to beat it’s way out of her chest. He’s everywhere, in her lungs, across her skin, invading her mind. It’s like a puzzle piece sliding into place, like something clicked and it’s right there. She can see it, feel it. He’s hers, he was always meant to be hers. She knows that now. 

She fists her hands at her sides, struggling not to touch him. She wants to, wants it so fucking bad. But she refuses to take that from him. She refuses to be anything like his last Dom. She’s better than that.

He pulls back, pupils blown. “Touch me, please fucking touch me.” And then his lips are back on hers. That’s all it takes. Cora fists one hand in his hair, relishing in the feel of his soft curls, and wraps the other around the back of his neck. He stills instantly and then shudders, pressing into her touch, the action having ten times the affect on him that it had on Stiles. “Fuck,” he murmurs, before diving back in, lips melding with hers.

He drops one of his hands to her hip, curling it around the bone. Her shirt rides up, giving him access to the skin there. She shivers as his fingers ghost across her back, his touch as gentle and hesitant as his kiss.

Who the hell could look at him, look at the way he’s reacting to her soft touches, and say he needs pain? Some Subs do and there’s nothing wrong with that, but not him, not after what was done to him. What he needs is someone kind, someone who can talk him down with quiet praise and light touches.

Cora slips her tongue into his mouth, taking control of the kiss even as she tightens her hold on the back of his neck. He pulls back, gasping for breath as he gapes at her. She gives him a piercing look and pulls him down, capturing his lips in an earth-shattering kiss.

His cock presses against her stomach, hard and insistent. She wants to reach down and cup him, to feel him in her hand, but she forces down the urge. He’s not there yet, if they’re going do to this, she wants to do it right. She wants to show him how he deserves to be treated, how fucking important he is.

She pulls back, completely out of breath. He lowers his head, kissing his way down her neck, licking the skin there. Fuck, it feels amazing. She drops her head back, sighing as he nips a pulse point.

She’s wet, aching. She wants him inside of her. Teeth clenched, she arches into him and he groans, the friction making him even harder. He lifts his head, a fire in his grey eyes, and kisses her again, this time harder. Cora drops her hand from his hair, fisting it in his sweater, using it as leverage to pull him in closer. He gets the message, moving his other hand so that they’re both on her hips. Then he shifts them down to cup her butt and lifts her into his arms.

She groans as his cock presses hard against her pussy. He gently eases her down onto the couch and she rewards him by scraping her nails across the back of his neck. He groans into her mouth, pulling back to look down at her.

The adoration, the need, in his eyes is unlike anything she’s ever seen before. She’s always careful to hide what she loves, terrified that she’ll lose it like she lost her parents. She tried to keep her feelings for Luka a secret too, but Laura knew, she always does. And thank God for that. If it weren’t for her sister’s inability to butt the hell out, Cora wouldn’t be here. She wouldn’t be breathless on a couch with the most incredible Sub she’s ever met. To think, she almost lost him.

“You don’t need that, Luka. You need this,” Cora says, reaching up to run her fingers down the stubble on his cheeks. He closes his eyes, drinking in her soft touch. She brushes her thumb across his bottom lip, noting a thin scar there from where his lip was split. “What he did to you is not your fault.” The words tumble out of her, the need for him to know that, and understand it, is overwhelming.

He stills instantly and opens his eyes, brows furrowing. “You say that, but you don’t know. You don’t know what I am,” he says dejectedly, expression a mask of agony. Cora opens her mouth to say something, anything, but before she can, he releases her and stands up, putting some distance between them.

She sits up, worried. He was slipping for a moment there; he may need her to pull him up. Subs need physical contact when coming out of a drop. She takes a step towards him, but he shakes his head, stopping her. Her heart aches at the sight of him like this, tearing himself apart at the seams, desperate to punish himself for the past. A past that wasn’t his fault, despite whatever it is he thinks he did to deserve it. No one deserves abuse. No one.

“Luka?” she whispers, biting her lips.

He turns to face her, distraught, torn between anger and grief. “I’m bad, Cora. I always have been. I deserve it…I do. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have come,” he says, deep voice fraying around the edges, letting her know just how much agony he’s in. 

“You’re not bad. You’re such a sweetheart, my good boy,” the endearment drips off her tongue and there’s nothing Cora can do to stop it. To her surprise, Luka whimpers, actually fucking whimpers, shoulder caving inward. Needing to hold him, Cora takes a step towards him, but she stops her with a forceful look, lifting his gaze.

“I can’t do this,” he says, voice breaking. And then, just like that, he’s gone, the front door slamming shut behind him. Cora is left with an aching void in her chest, threatening to consume her. She wants to go after him, wants to show him how good he is, how perfect he is, but she knows better. He needs time to process, time to think over what just happened. And so does she.

Sighing, Cora slumps down onto the coffee table, staring at the couch. She shouldn’t have pushed him. She got caught up in the moment and said something stupid, typical. This is why she deals with drugs rather than people; you can’t say the wrong thing to a brick of cocaine.

“You okay?” Laura asks, stepping cautiously into the room. Cora looks up at her sister, furious tears brimming in her eyes. She should’ve just kept her mouth shut. Now, chances are, she’ll never see Luka again. The mere thought threatens to ruin her, cutting away at her heart. She’s not sure why he means so much to her, but he does. And she wants him with her, where he’s safe. “Oh, bunny…” Laura closes the distance between them, sits down, and pulls Cora into her arms, holding her sister tight.

“I said the wrong thing. I always say the wrong thing,” Cora says, tears distorting her voice. Laura shushes her softly, carding her fingers through Cora’s short hair.

“You didn’t say the wrong thing, bunny. You didn’t,” Laura croons gently. “I was kinda listening at the door. You know me, never minding my own business. Anyways…” she trails off, amusing Cora despite her anger at being spied on. “You didn’t say the wrong thing. You said exactly what Luka needed to hear. You just scared him is all, made him realize that he’s more than just a whipping post.”

The image of him strung up and bleeding invades Cora’s brain, searing through her. She’s overcome with fury. It closes its hand around her neck, threatening to choke her. No one is ever going to do that to him again, never. She’ll make sure of it. She’s going to protect him, even if he hates her for it.

“Would you do something for me, Lulu?” she asks, lifting her head to look into her twin’s face. Laura smiles gently, nodding. “Will you call me the next time he thinks he need to be hurt?”

“What are you going to do?” Laura asks, a wicked glint in her eyes.

“I’m gonna show him what he really needs…” Cora says curtly, a plan already weaving in her head. She’ll blindfold him so that he doesn’t know that it’s her, then she’ll kiss him and touch him until he’s so far under that all he can do curl up in her arms and let her hold him. And if that’s not enough to show him that she can take care of him, maybe she doesn’t deserve him. But damn if she’s not going to try.

“Good,” Laura says, practically beaming. “I’ll call you the second he comes to me, I promise.” She gives Cora a curt nod, backing up her promise. After a few moments of silence, she purses her lips, eyeing Cora arrogantly. “So, you gonna thank me?”

Cora rolls her eyes, but she is thankful. Laura pushed her off the bridge she’s been walking for months. Cora smirks, reaching over to grab a pen and paper from the coffee table. Laura watches, brows furrowed, as Cora scrawls a phone number across the little note pad and hands it to her sister.

“What’s this?” Laura asks, scanning the number.

“It’s Ari’s number.”

“Seriously?” Laura asks, a grin cutting across her face. She glances down at the little piece of paper and then back up, vibrating with excitement. Cora had no idea that Ari meant this much to Laura. Her sister has never been serious about anyone. She’s the queen one one nights stands, moving from girl to girl effortlessly. If she’d have known Laura was this serious about Ari, maybe she wouldn’t have been so obstinate about keeping the little Sub from her. She just doesn’t want Ari getting hurt.

“Seriously. If you hurt her I will burn all of your clothes and put your shoes through a wood chipper,” Cora says, her threat far from empty. Laura loves her clothes as much as Cora loves her car. And all in all, Laura’s clothes are worth way more. Everything she owns is designer, straight off the fucking runway.

Laura purses her lips, too happy to be angry with Cora for threatening her clothes. She takes out her phone and carefully puts Ari’s number into her contacts, slipping the paper into her pocket just in case. Cora watches her, brows furrowed. It’s baffling, she’s never seen Laura like this. Never.

“You really like her, don’t you?” Cora asks.

“She’s adorable, all ‘shoot first ask questions later.’ I’ve never been ignored by anyone, except her. It’s…intriguing,” Laura says, smirking.

Cora nods, sighing. Ari puts up quite the front, especially for Laura. But, she’s actually really sweet, though only Cora knows that. The poor thing’s been in love with Laura since freshman year. Secretly fawning over her while feigning blatant disinterest.

“Just please be careful,” Cora says, practically begging. Laura nods solemnly, fisting her hand around her phone, clinging to it like it’s a lifeline.

Chapter Text

Laura paces the length of her bedroom for the twentieth time, cell phone fisted in her perfectly manicured hand. She’s stalling, has been for the past hour. This isn’t her. She doesn’t agonize over making a phone call. Agony requires feelings and Laura’s not really a feelings kind of girl. Fuck and forget, now that sounds more like it. She’s LA’s pussy princess, queen of the streets. Women fall into her bed, no effort on her part. That’s the way it’s always been. With everyone.

Everyone except Ari.

Arianna Marie Creed. Cora’s best friend since kindergarten. Laura didn’t pay her any attention until high school. She was just one of Cora’s punk friends. Someone who smoked weed with her twin behind the baseball dugout. Then, senior year, Laura needed a math tutor and Ari showed up at the library, books in hand, looking like she’d rather shoot herself in the face than help Laura. They spent months together, Laura flirting shamelessly and Ari ignoring her, determined to help Laura with her math. Then, after Laura aced the class, Ari faded back into the shadows. Laura’s tried to catch her a few times, but the little Sub knows the streets better than Cora, which is saying something.

Biting her lip, she tosses her phone onto her bed. Fuck. Why can’t she just push send? It’s not like she hasn’t talked to Ari before. Well, talked is a relative way of putting it. Really, it was her talking and Ari frowning, the Sub’s Caribbean-blue eyes digging into Laura disapprovingly. Laura’s never been turned down, never been blatantly ignored. To say that it’s a turn on is a fucking understatement.

And it doesn’t help that Ari, perpetually dressed in ripped jeans and cheap band t-shirts, is fucking adorable. She’s got a gentle face, with big eyes and full lips. Lips that Laura has wasted hours thinking about. And her hair, Jesus Christ, her hair…it’s gorgeous, the color of spun gold. Laura’s never actually seen it down, but damn she wants to. She wants to run her fingers through it while she presses the girl to her knees.

Fuck. This is so not helping.

Before she can talk herself out of it again, she grabs the phone and presses send. There’s half a second of complete panic before she lifts it to her ear. No going back now. The phone rings four times before Ari picks up.

“This better be good, I’m in the middle of something,” Ari says, her voice muffled like she’s chewing. Laura grins, remembering something, a little detail she’s forgotten over the years. Unlike Cora, who would rather read than watch TV, Ari is just as obsessed with television as Laura. It’s one of the only things Laura could actually get her to talk about. It wasn’t much, but it was something.

Laura opens and closes her mouth a few times, suddenly lost for words. Fuck, she’s rehearsed this conversation a hundred times. And now, nothing. Fucking nothing. God, could this get any worse? No, probably not.

“I…uh…” Laura trails off, mouth going dry.

“Laura?” Ari mutters, a question in her voice. She lets out a shaky breath and then starts to hyperventilate. “Oh my God, is Cora dead? She is, isn’t she?”

Laura shakes her head a few times before she remembers that she’s on the phone. The mere thought of losing Cora is enough to destroy her. Though they rarely get along, her sister is and always has been, everything to Laura. To lose her would be to lose herself.

“No! God, no! Cora’s alright. She got shot, but what else is new? I swear, that girl gets herself into a gun fight at least once a week. You’d think the black clothes would make her harder to spot, blend in with the shadows and all that, but they always seem to find her. Then again you probably know-”

“She’s okay?” Ari says, cutting Laura off. The Dom silently berates her inability to shut the fuck up. It’s always been a problem of hers, that and her addiction to shopping. She could say she’s been working on it, but she hasn’t.

“Yeah, she’s fine. Better, actually, I finally got her to talk to Luka. It was so cute, but also fuckin’ sexy. Like in the movies. He was all, ‘you’re so beautiful’ and then he kissed her. It kinda spiraled from there, but I think they’ll figure it out. Cora’s got a plan.” Laura shuts her mouth, clenched her teeth. Conversations involve one person talking and then the other person talking back. It’s two sided, a fact Laura often forgets.

“You called me to talk about Cora’s love life?” Ari asks, her derisive tone of voice cutting Laura like a knife. For half a second she thinks about hanging up and tossing her phone across the room. But she can’t, not after two years of pining.

Laura clears her throat and arches her neck, determined to just ask Ari out. It doesn’t have to be a complicated thing. It’s simple, easy. Yeah, right. “No, that’s not why I called you. I…uh…I know we haven’t really talked since high school and-”

“If you’re looking for someone to hook up with, Laura, then just fuck off. I wasn’t interested then and I’m not now,” Ari says a little too rapidly, her words almost rehearsed. It’s sounds like a mantra, something the Sub has told herself a hundred times, just trying to drill the words into her head. Laura smirks. She wasn’t sure before, but she is now. Cora’s best friend likes her. Maybe only a little, but Laura can work with that.

“Go out with me,” Laura whispers. It’s not a command, but it’s also not a question.

Ari is quiet for a few agonizing seconds, giving Laura ample time to freak the fuck out. What is she going to do if Ari says no? What can she do? Fuck. She’s been hung up on the little Sub for years, trying to bury her feelings in pretty models and alcohol. She thought it was just a stupid crush, that she’d grow out of it. But she hasn’t and she’s not sure that she ever will.

“Cora put you up to this?” Ari mutters venomously.

“No. Can’t I just wanna take you on a date?” Laura asks, worrying her bottom lip.

Ari scoffs. “Fuck no! You’re Laura fucking Hale. You take home a different girl every night. Subs, Doms, you don’t care. So why the fuck would you wanna go on a date with me when you could have a Victoria’s Secret model with little to no effort?” It’s the most Laura’s ever heard her talk, and she drinks it in. She doesn’t even care that Ari is calling her a slut, not when the girl sounds so fucking hot doing it.

And so what if she is a slut, Laura’s never been ashamed of what she is. What she is ashamed of, is the hurt in Ari’s voice. The hollow ache that lets Laura know the little Sub has watched as Laura led beautiful girls into her car, that lets her know that seeing that, hurt her. If Laura had known that Ari wanted this, or anything for that matter, she would have stolen the Sub’s number out of Cora’s phone years ago. The only reason she never did was out of respect for her sister. Not to mention the fact that Cora probably would’ve shot her. Which wouldn’t be fun.

“So you’ve seen me take girls home before?” Laura asked, words clipped. “Have you ever seen me go on a date with anyone?” Ari answers with complete silence, letting Laura know that she made her point. She may sleep with a new girl every night, but she doesn’t want to get to know them. They don’t matter to her. Not the way Ari does.

“I don’t do one night stands, Laura. And taking me on a date beforehand isn’t going to change that. God, you haven’t changed at all,” Ari says with a furious huff.

Laura bites her lip anxiously. “What’s that supposed to mean?” she asks even though she’s sure she doesn’t want to hear the answer. She’s always been a bitch, but back in high school she took the term to a whole new level. She ran that place like a damn prison, using and abusing left and fucking right. A fact she regrets now.

“You’re still that same self-centered, egotistical, Barbie doll. You know what, if you can find me, I’ll go on a date with you. But I bet you can’t, because you don’t really know me. And you don’t really want to.” And, with that, she hangs up.

Laura slumps down onto her bed, dropping her phone into her lap. Well, that could have gone better. But, then again, it also could have gone worse. She at least got Ari to agree to go out with her, sort of. All she has to do is hunt the little Sub down. Something she hasn’t been able to do in two years. Fantastic.

Fan-fucking-tastic.

She purses her lips, trying to recall every personal detail Ari ever let slip. She likes TV shows, mostly Syfy. She’s addicted to Snickers. She’s wicked smart, amazing with numbers. She loves music. Music. A band. That’s right, she’s the lead singer in a band. But what was it called? Fuck. Cora probably knows.

Heartbeat kicking into overdrive, Laura steps into her heels and makes a mad dash to the elevator. The doors close and then reopen on Cora’s floor. Her sister is sitting on her kitchen counter, a microwave burrito in one hand and her phone in the other.

“That bad, huh?” she asks with an evil laugh.

“I love a challenge,” Laura says, smirking. And it’s not a lie, hell the fact that she’s a challenge is what drew her to Ari in the first place.

“Oh, I know. Please don’t tell me this is just about winning to you. I know you have a fetish for it, but this is my best friend, Laura.” Cora fixes her with a fierce glare, wordlessly promising to do awful thing to her if she hurts the little Sub.

“It’s not. I promise. Now tell me the name of Ari’s band.”

“Why?” Cora says, arching an eyebrow.

“Because I asked you to,” Laura says, getting annoyed.

“Not good enough.”

“Uh, fine! She said she’d go on a date with me, but only if I can find her. Now I know she’s in a band and I know they play in one of the bars along Sunset. But I can’t remember the name.” Laura cocks her jaw to the side, struggling to remember. She tried to memorize everything Ari ever said to her, every tiny little detail, but some things just slipped between the cracks. Fuck.

“God, you really like her don’t you?” Cora says, taking a bite of her burrito.

“Yes! Now please tell me!” Laura says, practically begging.

“Only because you asked nicely,” Cora says, grinning. “They’re called Dead Roses. They play at The Lux on Friday and Saturday nights. She’s probably on her way over to set up.”

“Thanks, bunny,” Laura says, practically vibrating with excitement. Maybe asking Cora was cheating, but Ari never said she couldn’t ask Cora. No rules, no cheating, it’s that simple.

“Anytime. Oh, and, word of advice, don’t interrupt her performance. Hang back until she’s finished then…take her to that pizza joint around the corner. She’s obsessed with that place.” Laura crosses the room and pulls Cora in for a quick hug, silently thanking her for her help. Cora scoffs, mumbling something about squishing her burrito, and Laura pulls back, grinning.

“Wish me luck!” Laura says, starting towards the door.

“You got it easy! All you have to do is go on a date with my hot best friend. I have to figure out a way to detox Stiles. You should be wishing me luck!”

“Good luck!” Laura says with a playful wink. Cora tosses her paper plate at her sister, but Laura is already in the elevator. “Have fun!” The doors close in front of her, obscuring Cora’s long string of curses. Laura laughs as the elevator descends. If nothing else, her sister does have a talent for obscenities.

Smiling, Laura walks out of the house and is ushered into a black car by Edward, their driver. He closes the door behind her and gets in front, promptly asking her where to. She directs him to the strip and sits back, trying to control the thundering beat of her heart. She hasn’t been this excited to see a girl since, well, ever. One major problem with being gorgeous, rich, and powerful, everyone wants a piece of you, but no one really wants you. With Ari, it was never about getting hers. She’s genuine in a world of plastic.

Before Laura knows what’s happening, Edward pulls up in front of The Lux, a sleek little club in the center of the strip. Laura’s heard of it, but she’s never actually been here. The clubs she frequents are a bit more…tailored.

Heart in her throat, she steps out onto the sidewalk. The line for the club runs down the block, but Laura has no intention of waiting out in the cold. Tossing her hair over her shoulder she struts up to the bouncer. He gives her a once over, taking in her tight black dress and her Louis Vuitton’s. Everything about her screams old money and she knows it. She twists her wrist, baring the Blood Wolves tattoo there. And, just like that, he pulls back the tether and lets her in. There’s perks to being killer.

The club is dimly lit in whites and purples, a massive wrap around bar in the corner. Opposite it, is a large stage, a mosh pit, and a dining area. Each is a tier higher than the last, giving everyone in the club equal view of the band. It’s nice, in a sexy, grunge sort of way. Laura can see why Ari plays here, this place fits her.

“Dead Roses?” Laura asks the bartender.

“They’ll be on in fifteen. You want a drink?”

“Water, please,” Laura says promptly. Though some liquid courage would probably do her good, she wants to have her head on straight tonight. Ari deserves a Dom who is present, who cares about her. And that’s exactly what Laura intends to be.

The bartender hands her a glass of water and she makes her way over to the dining area. She picks a table with a great view of the stage and settles herself down, trying to be patient. The stage is dark and she can’t see anything, but just knowing that Ari is close, is enough to tie her stomach in knots.

By the time the stage lights up, Laura is going out of her fucking mind. The crowd roars and Laura grins at the sight of her little Sub. No, Ari isn’t hers. But, if Laura has anything to say about it, she will be.

God, she’s still as beautiful as Laura remembers her being. Her tight little body is clothed in nothing but a black bralette and a pair of ripped skinny jeans. Her hair, to Laura’s surprise, is blue. It’s a bit of a jolt, but after a few seconds, Laura decides that the dark aqua color suits her. She does wish, however, that it were down. As of now, it’s tied up in a messy bun, stray pieces hanging about her gorgeous face.

Laura fights the urge to stand up and cross the mosh pit full of screaming fans. The instinct to go to Ari, to hold her, is strangely overwhelming. She remembers sort of craving the girl back in high school, but it was never like this, it was never this strong. Teeth clenched, she forces herself to sit still. Cora warned her against interrupting and her sister knows Ari better than anyone.

“How is everyone tonight?” Ari asks, smirking playfully. Laura wants to kiss her; God she has beautiful lips. All full and lush and pouty. Fuck. They’d look beautiful wrapped around one of Laura’s nipples or kissing their way down her neck or buried in her pussy. The mere thought is enough to make her wet.

“Fuck,” Laura mutters, clutching her empty glass.

“This first song is one of my favorites. The guys and I wrote it back in high school, it’s about this girl I was totally in love with. Broke my heart…you know the story. Anyways, enjoy!” Ari yells and the music starts up. Laura purses her lips. She’s going to hunt down the bitch that hurt Ari and take her head off. No one breaks her baby girl’s heart.

And then Ari starts to sing, the beat smooth and sensual. Her voice is like sex. It runs down Laura’s spine and settles in the pit of her stomach. She closes her eyes and drinks it in, getting lost in the beauty of it. As the awe fades, Ari’s lyrics start to permeate her brain.

“You’re that black dress hitting the floor, those heels kicked to the door. You’re those satin sheets I can’t afford. And baby, I just can’t take it anymore. Because you run with wolves and I’m flesh and bone. You wouldn’t wanna take me home. So I’ll keep to the streets…”

The realization that Ari is talking about her hits Laura like a bullet through the heart. She’s so taken aback that she just stares at Ari, mouth agape. She’s the girl who broke Ari’s heart. But when? When the fuck did she do that? She doesn’t remember taking a hammer to the little Sub’s vital organ. Their tutoring sessions were mostly just that, Laura flirted, but she flirts with everyone. Ari, for the most part, remained silent, except to redirect and teach when Laura did a math problem wrong.

Laura spends the next two hours in a state of suspended animation. She’s so fucking confused. Ari ignored her back in high school, kept it strictly professional during their tutoring sessions, and then went out of her way to avoid Laura after they graduated. When and how exactly did Laura break her heart? She’s pretty sure she would remember doing something like that.

People mill back around the bar, headed outside, their movement causing a gust of wind to brush past Laura. It jolts her out of her head and she stands up, skin bristling. There’s a part of her that wants to just leave, that doesn’t want to face Ari after witnessing something so deeply personal. But she can’t go, not now. Not without knowing.

Anxiety clawing at her, she walks across the empty mosh pit, flashes her tattoo at the bouncer guarding the stage, and makes her way up the stairs. She follows the sound of voices to the back, where Ari and her band mates are loading up their gear.

“Well, I found you,” Laura says, eternally grateful that her voice is smooth.

Ari straightens up and turns to face her, giving Laura an annoyed once over that the Dom sees straight through. She can’t believe she fell for Ari’s ‘I don’t give a shit’ attitude back in high school. It’s not hard to pick apart once you know it’s there. Laura can’t help but wonder what and who she’s hiding beneath all of her walls. She wants to tear them down, wants to really know her.

“You asked Cora. That’s cheating,” she says, voice quivering ever so slightly. Laura takes a step towards her and Ari stumbles backwards, nearly falling over a guitar.

“You never said I couldn’t ask her. No rules, no cheating,” Laura says with a shrug.

Ari scoffs. “Spoken like a Hale.”

“I play to my strengths,” Laura says smugly, eyes trailing over the little Sub. Fuck if she isn’t the cutest thing Laura has ever laid eyes on. She wants to pull the tie from her hair and watch it fall around her face, wants to press her into a wall and kiss her. The urge to take, to possess, is unlike anything Laura has ever felt before.

“You always have. Look, I’ve got shit to do. There were plenty of hot girls in the crowd tonight, go find yourself a groupie,” Ari says indignantly, blue eyes flaring. There’s a fury there that Laura doesn’t miss. Ari would never admit it, but she hates the thought of Laura going home with some random groupie. That much is obvious. How did Laura miss Ari’s feelings for her? It’s not like the girl is good and hiding them.

“I don’t want a groupie. I want you,” Laura says, voice like sugar.

Ari scoffs again, rolling her eyes. “I’ve heard all of your lines, Laura. Go find someone else to play with.” She turns and starts towards the door.

Acting on instinct, Laura closes the distance between them and wraps a gentle hand around Ari’s neck, stopping her in her tracks. Then she presses herself against the girl’s back, curling her head around Ari’s neck. Fuck, she smells amazing, a mixture of sweat and cherry blossom perfume. Laura exhales, breath dusting across the Sub’s shoulder and making her shiver. She presses back into Laura, unable to help herself and Laura relishes in the action.

“Do you really want me to go home with someone else? Tell me the truth,” Laura says, using her Dom voice. Ari sighs, practically whimpering as she leans back against Laura. Sensing her need for touch, Laura lifts her other hand, brushing it down the girl’s arm. Ari clenches her eyes shut, fighting her instincts. “Tell me.”

“No…” she whimpers as Laura’s lips brush the column of her neck. “I don’t want you to go anywhere.” Laura smiles, giving the girl’s neck another whisper-soft kiss. That’s exactly what she wanted to hear, needed to hear.

To think, all these years, she never saw through this carefully constructed front of Arianna’s. How long has the little Sub been hiding her feelings for Laura? For some reason, Laura gets the impression it’s been a long time, far longer than she’s been hiding hers. Cora probably knows and she should’ve told Laura. But Laura understands why she didn’t. She’s done a lot of growing up over the past two years, learned that money and power aren’t everything. She wasn’t ready for Ari back in high school, but she is now.

“Good, because this is where I wanna be. Now, Cora said you like that pizzeria around the corner. Would you like to go with me?” she asks as she circles Ari, keeping her hand on the Sub’s neck. She catches Ari’s gaze and gives her a comforting smile, wanting to calm her fears.

“I can’t do this again,” Ari whispers, voice raw. Then, before Laura can say a word, Ari pulls out of her grip and disappears behind a door. It slams shut and Laura swears loudly, cursing herself for letting the girl walk away. Again.

Chapter Text

Derek exhales, closing his eyes. Images haunt him, flashes of broken bodies, his sisters, Stiles, twisted and lifeless. Fury burns in his chest, demanding blood. He fists his hands around his guns and squares his shoulders. No one hurts what’s his and lives through it. He’s going to destroy M12 and, this time, he’s going to make sure they stay dead.

Opening his eyes, he makes his way up the final flight of stairs. There’s only one way to ensure that M12 dies and that’s to kill Darius. He’s a strong Dom, strong enough to maintain power, but not strong enough to ensure loyalty. Once he’s dead, his ranks will fall apart, enabling Derek to take them out one by one.

Derek opens the door to the roof of the luxury apartment building. Darius lives in the penthouse. He, like Peter, has expensive tastes. Derek scans the roof, taking in the pool, cabana, and bar. There are five men guarding Darius, who is lounging poolside with a glass of vodka in his hand. Derek fights the urge to scoff, fucker thinks he’s a damn mobster.

Holding his guns up, Derek takes aim. He’s an expert shot, his father made sure of that. He practiced for hours and hours, perfecting the art. Pulling the triggers in quick succession, Derek takes out all five of Darius’ guards. It’s almost too easy, but then again, maybe Derek’s just that fucking good.

Jaw clenched, Derek steps out of the shadows. Darius scrambles out of his lounge chair and pulls out a gun. He shoots at Derek, but his shots are erratic and undisciplined. Derek advances on him, eyes narrowed. Before Darius knows what’s happening, the other Dom has his gun pressed against Darius’ heart. Derek grits his teeth, fury searing his very bones. This man tried to kill Cora. He tried to kill Stiles. Derek’s going to make him feel the pain that loss would have caused. He’s going to make him hurt.

“You think you can come after my family?” Derek growls, lifting his other gun to Darius’ head. The other Dom glares at him, seething.

“I learned my lesson, Wolf. You killed thirty-five of my men that day. Why the fuck would I go after the wolves again?” Darius asks sharply, shaking his head in disbelief. Derek swallows, overcome with pent up rage. Darius is lying, he has to be. Who else would try to kill Cora? It was either M12 or the Savages, they are the Blood Wolves closest competition. And Stiles said it wasn’t the Savages.

“Why the fuck should I believe you? You vowed to destroy my family that day.” Derek says, pressing the guns harder into Darius’ flesh. The man makes to lift his own gun, irate, but Derek shakes his head, wordlessly warning him to back the fuck off.

“No one fucks with the Wolves and lives. I value my life a hell of a lot more than my business. I tried to take your territory and it cost me most of my men. I say a lot of shit, but I wouldn’t go after the Wolves again,” Darius says rapidly, sweat beading on his forehead.

He’s scared, and he should be. Derek Hale is a name synonymous with death. Everyone on the streets knows that the Blood Wolves employ the best hitman California’s ever seen. Derek’s got a talent for carnage, always has. Killing is easy for him, all he has to do is release the rage he keeps caged within himself. The fury at what happened to his parents, at what Peter did. With that running through his veins, murder is as easy as breathing.

“They were dressed in suits and driving a black Denali. That sounds a hell of a lot like your men,” Derek says tonelessly, glaring into the man’s dark eyes.

“That could be anyone!” Darius hisses.

“You’re right. It could be anyone. But it could also be you. And that’s good enough for me.” Derek drops his guns and punches Darius in the face. The other Dom lurches backwards, lifting his own gun. Derek knocks it out of his hand and punches him again, a wicked combination that nearly takes Darius down.

Damn this feels good. It’s exactly what Derek needed, to feel bones crushing beneath his fists. Guns are efficient, but there’s nothing like flesh hitting flesh. Yeah, maybe he’s fucked up, but so is everyone else.

Darius lunges at him, punching Derek in the jaw. The blow knocks his head to the side, opening the cut along his bottom lip. He licks it as Darius throws another punch, this time hitting Derek in the ribs, his broken ribs. He swallows a gasp. It hurts like a fucker. He has to give it to the other Dom, he does know how to throw a punch, but he’s got nothing on Derek. His form is great, but he just hasn’t got the speed.

Smirking, Derek delivers a wicked upper-cut, throwing Darius back against the cement. His head hits it with a sickening crack. Definitely his skull. Darius struggles to get up, but before he can, Derek is on top of him, laying a little ground work. Blood sprays the cement, mixing with water in the pool. Derek relishes in it, adoring the sight of it. It’s like he can breathe again; the tight tether he keeps on his rage finally let loose.

“No one touches what’s mine,” Derek growls as he lifts the man’s head and slams it back down into the cement. There’s another crack and then nothing, he’s dead.

Blood dripping from his fingers, Derek stands up. He glances down at Darius’ mangled corpse, exhaling. It’s a fucking mess, broken bones and split skin. He knows that he should feel something, some kind of remorse for taking a life. An image of Stiles, distraught from doing the same, flashes before his eyes. That’s normal, Derek gets that. And yeah, maybe that makes him some kind of psychopath. But it also makes him damn good at what he does.

He pulls out his phone and texts Felix the address. He’ll have this place cleaner than Bleach in a few hours. Slipping his phone back into his pocket, Derek makes his way downstairs and out the back door.

Adrenaline still coursing through his veins like a fucking drug, he gets into his car and drives to one of the two M12 hideouts. Killing Darius felt good, but he wants them all dead, every single one. They could’ve killed his sister and his boy. He doesn’t care that there’s a chance it wasn’t them. All that matters is that they pay.

He pulls up to the warehouse, parking in the shadows and killing his engine. Guns in hand, he circles the building, taking out the four exterior guards. Stepping inside, he unleashes hell on ever person in the building. Bullets spray the wall, forcing Derek to duck around it.

He quickly reloads and cocks his guns, turning the corner. He takes the men out one by one, smooth and practiced. They fall like they were never meant to stand and, with every body on the floor, Derek feels a bit better.

He gasps as a bullet sears past his shoulder, cutting into his flesh. Flexing his fingers, he rounds the corner again, killing the man who shot him. Fuck, that hurt. He takes out three more, the pain intensifying his anger. He wants to drop his guns and go at them with his fists, but he knows better. He’s outnumbered, his guns are a better bet.

“It’s the Wolves!” someone yells, terror echoing in his voice. He must have seen the tattoo on Derek’s inner arm, marking him as a Blood Wolf. With that, the remaining men try to escape, but Derek advances on them.

He reloads mid-stride, cocks his guns and takes out all seven off them before they can make it through the front door. Their bodies hit the floor with dull thud, one after another. Derek drops his guns and glances around the warehouse. It’s a mess of blood and bodies and heroin. Looks like Darius was running quite the business. Not as cleanly as Cora, that’s for sure, but he did have something going.

Derek texts Felix the address. Poor bastard is going to be working overtime today, not that he’ll mind. He loves blood, gets off on it. So really, Derek’s doing him a favor. Slipping his phone back into his pocket, he exits the warehouse and makes his way back to his car.

He quickly grabs a few extra mags from his trunk, gearing up, and gets into his car. The drive to the second warehouse isn’t long, but it feels like ages. Derek is gnawing at the bit. He wants them dead, every one. If a single M12 is left alive, his family will be in danger. And there’s no fucking way he’s letting that happen. Almost losing Cora was bad enough. He never wants to feel that weight, that crushing grief, ever again.

He parks a half a block from the warehouse, advancing on it fearlessly. He keeps to the shadows, more out of instinct than anything else. He’s comfortable there, used to being concealed.

This warehouse is more heavily guarded, but it’s no trouble for Derek. He takes out all six guards and the busts open the back door. People start to scream, jolting him out of his head. He glances around the room, taking in the Subs caged in the corner. Fury sears through him as he lifts up his guns and lights the place up.

They retaliate, forcing Derek to dive behind an overturned table. He quickly reloads and veers around the corner, taking out one after another. There are more men here and they are a lot better equipped. The reasons for which are obvious.

Since when has Darius been in the slave business? This isn’t prostitution, no fucking way. Derek glances over at the caged Subs, bloody and malnourished. They aren’t prostitutes. Darius has probably been taking them off the streets, training them up, and selling them to the highest bidder. The mere thought of it is enough to make Derek sick. How did he not know about this? Peter’s probably aware of it, but it’s not like he’d tell his nephew. According to him, Derek’s got a disgusting case of white-knight syndrome.

Overcome with fury, Derek stands up and advances on the remaining five men, taking each one out. When the final man hits the ground, Derek exhales, letting his rage stalk back into his mind. It’s not gone, never gone, but he has at least sated the beast.

Holstering his guns, he texts Felix the final address and then proceeds to let the Subs out of their cages. At first they are wary of him, as they should be, but he quietly calms them with his Dom voice. Once they are all free he gives them all a once over, counting them. There are twenty-seven, a near equal split between girls and boys.

“You’re all free to go. But say a word about what you saw today and Wolves will find you, you have my word on that,” he says, a quiet threat in his voice. They all nod and Derek directs them out the back door, careful to make sure that every single one has a place to go. Most are street kids, born and raised. It’s probably the reason Darius was able to take them. No one notices when a kid on the streets goes missing, no one cares.

Derek ends up driving three of them to the hospital, parking down the street and letting them walk up to the entrance. The Dom in him wants to take them right up to a doctor and demand help, but he can’t risk it. They thank him and he takes off around the corner, unwilling to risk being seen with three battered Subs.

Derek makes his way to one of the Blood Wolves many safe houses and unlocks the door, stepping inside. He starts towards the bathroom, strips off his clothes, and gets in the shower. Hot water rains down on him, washing the carnage from his body. He hisses as it bites his wounded shoulder.

Fuck.

He steps out of the shower and stalks into the bedroom, slipping on some clean clothes. He feels better now, and not just because of the shower. He’s been so angry that he hasn’t been able to sleep, hasn’t been able to eat. Taking out M12 is all he could think about and, now that it’s done, it’s like he can breathe again.

Maybe Darius didn’t go after Cora, but who the fuck cares either way? The bastard was selling Subs to the highest bidder. There’s a part of Derek that reminds him he killed the man before he knew that, but he ignores it. The man deserved what he got and ten times worse, it’s as simple as that. And if he is the one that went after Cora, then Derek just took out two birds with one stone.

He just decimated one of California’s most powerful gangs. Pretty damn good for one day’s work.

 

 

 

Cora knocks on Stiles’ door for the third time, gnawing anxiously on her bottom lip. Why isn’t he answering? Worried, she takes a step back and falls to her knees before the door. She pulls out her lock-picking kit and goes to work, unlocking the door in a matter of seconds. Easy, too easy. She’ll have to get him a better security system. The last thing she needs is Derek’s Sub getting hurt under her watch. And yeah, as far as she’s concerned, he’s Derek’s Sub. They can fight it all they want, but she sees it.

“Stiles, it’s just me,” Cora says as she sets her keys down on the counter. She glances around the apartment, searching for any sign of the boy. Her anxiety mounts as she glances into the bathroom, finding it empty. The only place left is his bedroom. She silently prays that he’s in there, trying like hell not to picture him dead in a ditch somewhere.

If Stiles were to die it would destroy her brother, utterly destroy him. He’s stubborn, too stubborn to admit how deeply he cares for the boy. But it’s obvious to Cora, she sees it like it’s written all over her face. Derek wants Stiles, wants him like he’s never wanted any other Sub. And yeah, she understands why he’s keeping his distance. The last thing she wants is to see the little Sub fall into Peter’s hands. But, at the same time, the hopeless romantic in her wants to see them together, her uncle be damned.

Luka invades her thoughts, searing through her like a bullet. Stiles isn’t the only Sub in danger. Yes, Peter hates Derek far more than he hates Cora and Laura. But he would see no problem with killing Luka if Cora were to step out of line. And the same goes for Ari. God, she can’t bear the thought of losing any of them, Stiles included.

Is it naïve of her to think that they can keep them safe? Maybe. But it’s best she can do right now. She’s not Derek, she can’t just ignore what’s right in front of her face. Luka needs her and she’s not going to pretend that he doesn’t. The same goes for Stiles. He needs off the Babydoll and she’s going to make sure that happens. For him and for her brother.

She knocks on Stiles’ bedroom door, but there’s no answer. Worried, she quickly opens the door and lunges inside. The sight of Stiles kneeling on the floor, an empty syringe to his side, nearly knocks her out.

Fuck.

Frantic, Cora falls to her knees before him, studying the little Sub. He’s under, way fucking under. And it looks like he has been for a while. His knees are red and angry, pressed against the hardwood floor. His breathing is slow, his every breath showing her just how emaciated he really is. His ribcage is sticking out, the skin hanging from the bones of his shoulders. How long has it been since he last ate?

“Stiles, honey, can you hear me?” Cora asks gingerly, reaching out to stroke the boy’s cheeks. He doesn’t respond to her touch or her voice and it’s fucking terrifying. “God, how much did you take?” she asks, more to herself than Stiles.

Gently, she lifts him into her arms, disgusted with how little he weighs, and carries him into the living room. She lays him down onto the couch, trying to ignore the blood-stained track marks that line his arms. She knows that it’s hypocritical of her, LA’s fucking drug queen, but she hates seeing the evidence of his abuse. It’s wrong. He’s Derek’s Sub, he’s a part of Cora’s family. He shouldn’t be doing this to himself.

She places a Spiderman blanket over him, smiling at the sight of it. Stiles is fucking adorable, so drastically her brother’s opposite. She can just see the boy dragging her brother to a superhero movie, all the while practically vibrating with excitement. Stiles could be so good for Derek. He rarely opens up and tends to internalize. Stiles could give him an outlet, a safe place to come home to. If only Derek would get his head out of his ass and take a risk. She knows that he could keep Stiles safe, he’s kept her and Laura safe for years now.

 She paces back and forth, debating. She knows that she won’t be able to pull him out of this drop. It’s synthetic. Doms can only ease Subs out of natural drops. It’s one of the dangers of synthetics, the fact that they leave Subs completely vulnerable. The thought of him here, alone and helpless, is terrifying to her.

God, Derek should be here. Stiles is his Sub, not hers. And yeah, she loves the boy, but this isn’t her place. Hell, she’s not even sure she’ll be enough to help Stiles out of this. She’s only a level 8 and he’s a level 10. She’s dominant enough to sway him, but not order him. And she has a distinct feeling that he’s going to need some ordering to get through this. Babydoll is almost impossible to detox from. Without the help of a Dom, it always kills Subs. Always.

She fishes her phone out of pocket, swears, and dials Derek’s number. She’s not sure where he is today but she doesn’t fucking care. Stiles isn’t okay and she needs to know what to do. Lifting it to her ear, she listens to it ring.  

“Hey, bunny,” Derek says, sounding calmer than he has in days. Ever since the attack, he’s been on edge, always seconds from exploding. So why does is he calm now?

“What did you do?” she asks, eyes on Stiles.

“Let’s just say, we don’t have to worry about M12 anymore,” he says tonelessly, as if the prospect of taking out an entire gang is nothing. And to him, it’s not. Derek’s done it before and he’ll probably do it again. He’s very good at what he does, Cora knows that. But that knowledge doesn’t stop her from worrying. She can’t count the number of nights she and Laura have laid awake, terrified they’d never see their brother again.

“Dammit, Der! We have no proof it was them!” Cora growls, pacing the room.

“They were selling Subs,” he says and, just like that, Cora is completely on board with whatever he did to them. Subs are meant to be cherished, Derek taught her that. And no one deserves to be dehumanized. It’s fucked up, wrong.

“You kill all of them?” Cora asks, a sadistic glint in her eyes.

“Every single one.”

“And the Subs?”

“They’re safe,” he says assuredly. Cora sighs, eternally grateful that beneath it all, her brother really does have a good heart. And he has a special place in that heart for Subs. It’s baffling sometimes, watching him go from psychotic killer to sweet Dom over the course of a few seconds. He makes the transaction seamlessly, effortlessly.

“Good,” Cora says with a nod. The sight of Stiles Spiderman blanket jolt her back to reality. Her heart skips into overdrive. “Listen, Der. I’m at Stiles’ house. I don’t know how much Baby he took, but it looks like he’s been kneeling all night. I can’t wake him up and I don’t know what to do.” She starts to pace again, frantic.

Derek is quiet for a few agonizing seconds. She can sense his fear, his rage, even though he’s miles away. He won’t admit it, but he sees Stiles as his. And a Dom’s instinct to protect their Sub is absolute. Cora has no idea how he’s stayed away this long. If it were Luka, she wouldn’t be able to do it. No fucking way. And yeah, their situation is different, but that’s no excuse for neglect.

“Der!” she yells

“It’s a synthetic drop. You won’t be able to wake him. Just…get him comfortable and make sure his breathing stays steady. I want him off that shit, Cora,” Derek growls, a blatant command in his voice. She shudders despite herself. Derek is so powerful. He’s commanded respect and loyalty since he was a child. And for the most part, he’s deserving of it. But not today, not here and not now.

“Fuck you, Der! He’s your Sub, you-”

“He’s not mine!” Derek growls, cutting her off viciously. She fists her hand around her phone, fighting the urge to chuck it out the fucking window. She and Laura are stubborn, but Derek takes the term to new heights. He’s immovable, a brick fucking wall.

“Yes, he is! He’s yours and you know it!” she yells, eyes on the boy. If anyone was made for her brother, it’s Stiles. She’s seen them together, seen how perfectly the Sub fits into her brother’s arms. One touch from Derek, and Stiles fucking melts. It’s chemical, instinctual. Stiles is smart and stubborn, able to keep Derek on his toes. And yet at the same time, he’s sweet and needy, giving Derek someone to care for.

“Fuck, Cora! I can’t do this! I want him, you know I do! But I can’t put him at risk like that. What if Peter got ahold of him? I wouldn’t be able to save him!” Derek growls, his voice alive with anguish. And, just like that, Cora’s anger fades. Derek wants to be here; he wants to help Stiles through this. But he can’t. So he’s asking his sister, whom he loves and trusts. It says a lot about how deeply he cares for the boy.

Cora sighs, sitting down on the coffee table. “I’m sorry,” she whispers.

“Don’t be. I know I should be there. And I want to. But I can’t,” he says softly, voice breaking ever so slightly. It tears at Cora. She hates that he’s hurting, hates that she can’t rip out Peter’s throat out for it. That would sure make their lives a lot easier. Still, as much as she appreciates impulsive attacks, she knows that the only way they’ll ever be able to take Peter out is with the long game. It’s excruciating, but it will work. It has to work. Otherwise, they’ll be stuck in this hell forever.

“Don’t worry, Der. I’ll take care of him,” she says, reaching out to brush the hair from Stiles’ face. He doesn’t respond and it scares her. Subs instinctually respond to Doms, it’s natural, healthy. This…this isn’t.

“Thank you,” Derek says, voice broken, wrecked.

Cora hangs up the phone and sets it down on the coffee table, fighting back tears.

Chapter Text

Stiles comes to pressed against someone’s chest, their heartbeat echoing around in his head. He inhales, the scent of Cora’s coconut perfume filling his lungs, warm and soft and comforting. They are on the couch, Stiles tucked between the cushion and Cora, her arms wrapped tightly around him.

She’s asleep and it’s dark outside. God, how long was he down? Fuck. He shouldn’t have taken so much Baby. It’s dangerous and he knows that. But he just couldn’t do it anymore, he couldn’t take all the noise, the knowledge that he killed people in cold blood.

He tries to shift out of Cora’s arms, but the action jolts her awake. She has her gun pointed at the door before Stiles can react. He gapes at her as she drops the Beretta, carefully setting it down on his coffee table. Guilt gnaws at him as she turns to face him, brows furrowed. She’s terrified and she has every reason to be. He hates himself for putting her through this, for taking too much, but it’s not like he has much of a choice. It’s take Baby or die. Derek’s made it painfully clear he’s not willing to help.

He pushes that thought out of his head. Even if Derek were willing to help, Stiles couldn’t allow it. That would cross a line. Fuck, as if he hasn’t already crossed that line. Derek has put him down, held him while cried, fought with him. They’ve crossed that line over and over again.

Fuck.

“What the fuck is wrong with you?” Cora asks indignantly, scrambling to her feet. The absence of her warmth, of her touch, makes Stiles ache. He wants it, wants someone to hold him. A sick part of him thinks he deserves this, thinks he deserves the Baby. Maybe it’s his punishment for letting his father die, for being unable to find his killer. For wanting Derek Hale like he’s never wanted anyone before.

“You want me to make you a list?” Stiles asks with a sardonic smirk. To his surprise, Cora bursts into tears. He stands up, tossing his Spiderman blanket aside and closing the distance between them. “God, Cora, I’m sorry.” He reaches out to touch her, but she backs up.

“You have to stop this, Stiles. You’re gonna get yourself killed. Please,” she says, voice breaking over her plea. It tears at Stiles, shredding his heart to pieces. Before he knows what he’s doing, he pulls her into his arms. She buries her face in his shoulder, sobbing softly. He holds her tight, one hand carefully cradling the back of her head.

He’s never seen her so upset before. It’s terrifying, to have such a fierce Dom crying in his arms, clinging to him. But there’s also something really fucking beautiful about it. Most Doms are so caught up in how they are supposed to act that they forget that, beneath all of it, Subs and Doms are just people. Everyone hurts and everyone cries. And there is nothing wrong with that. Cora understands that, she doesn’t hide it.

Stiles clenches his eyes shut, weighing his options. He wants to get clean, he does. But, even if she could get him through it, what happens afterward? He doesn’t have a Dom to take him down. Chances are, he’d make it a couple of weeks, then he’d inevitably relapse in an effort to stay alive.

If he were to detox, would it be worth it? No. Not for a week of sanity followed by absolute agony. Not if he has no choice but to relapse. And yeah, there’s a slim chance he could find a Dom to take care of him, but he’s not willing to bank on it.

“Don’t worry about me, bunny. I’m fine,” Stiles says gingerly, using Derek and Laura’s nickname for her. If Stiles didn’t know her, he’d say it was way fucking off. But he does and, beneath her leather and eyeliner, Cora is fluffy as all hell. Really, it’s perfect.

“No, you’re not okay,” she says, voice raw and aching. She pulls out of his arms, angrily brushing the tears from her face. She turns and walks out of the room, making her way into the kitchen. Stiles follows her, standing in the corner while she frantically goes through his fridge and then his cabinets. “You’re either gonna starve to death, or overdose. And I’m so not about to let either of those things happen.” There’s a conviction in her voice and, for some reason, Stiles believes her.

“Cora,” he says gently, watching as she grabs a lone box of macaroni and cheese from his cupboard and sets it onto the counter. She ignores him, grabbing a pan and filling it up with water. He seats himself at the bar, watching her work. Caring for Subs soothes Doms and she’s in some serious need of soothing right now. Stiles isn’t hungry, but he’ll eat if it makes her feel better.

Silence falls around them as Cora gathers ingredients, carefully cutting the butter and measuring the milk. Honestly, Stiles is surprised that they haven’t expired. He probably has Allison to thank for that. She tries to care for him as best she can.

He and Allison have met a few times over the past few weeks, discussing the op and relaying information. But, during their last meeting, Stiles was overcome with guilt at the prospect of handing over personal information about the Hales. He didn’t want to tell her about them. It felt wrong, like he was betraying them. He omitted everything concerning his relationship with Derek, unable to even voice those words. As much as he wants to find his father’s killer, he doesn’t want to hurt Derek or his sisters in the process.

“Eat,” Cora says, setting a bowl of macaroni in front of him. He picks up the fork as she hands him a glass of water, eyeing him expectantly. He glances down at the pasta, pursing his lips. He should be hungry, he knows that. Hell, his body is fucking eating itself. But he’s not and just thinking about eating his making him nauseous. “That wasn’t a request,” Cora says firmly, glancing down at the food and then back up.

Stiles nods solemnly, lifting the fork to his mouth and taking a bite. It’s good, but he doesn’t want it. He’s not hungry. Fucking Baby. He used to love eating, used to eat constantly. But now, now he’s lucky if he gets hungry once a week.

He expects her to get herself some, but she doesn’t. She just stands there, watching him eat. It’s weird, but also kind of sweet. She’s a good Dom, real fucking sweet. Any Sub would be lucky to have her. But she only has eyes for one.

“You’re a good Dom, Cora. Luka’s lucky,” Stiles says softly. The mere mention of the boy’s name makes her smile. It’s adorable, how taken she is with him. A pang of jealousy shoots through Stiles. He wants someone who smiles at the mention of his name. No, not someone. He wants Derek. Just Derek. Too bad that shit isn’t going to happen. Derek’s not interested, he made that painfully clear, and Stiles is a cop for fuck’s sake. It’s wrong to even want it.

“Thanks. Sometimes I’m not so sure,” she says with a sad smile. Stiles reaches over and takes her hand, giving it a comforting squeeze. She has no reason to worry, she’s one of the best Doms he’s ever met.

“Well, I think you’re amazing, but I’m the worst Sub ever so…” Stiles trails off, rolling his eyes. Cora giggles, taking him by surprise.

“You’re not…you’re exactly what he needs,” she says, her words a knife to Stiles’ stomach, digging in deep. Suddenly, he can’t breathe, can’t think for wanting that. He wants to be what Derek needs. He wants it so fucking bad.

“I’m not so sure about that,” Stiles mutters dejectedly, taking his empty bowl over to the sink. He washes it and sticks it into the dishwasher, more out of habit than anything else.

“Well I am,” she says ardently.

“Why?” Stiles asks, unable to help himself.

“Because he sent me here to get you off the Baby. Why would he do that if he didn’t care about you?” she asks, arching an eyebrow. Stiles struggles to ignore the coiling knot in his stomach, the ache. Did Derek really send her or is she just saying that? It would be a good way to coax him into getting clean, bringing the gorgeous, tattooed Dom into it. Stiles is defenseless when it comes to obeying him.

“He really wants that?”

“Yeah, he does,” she says. “Don’t you?”

Stiles nods solemnly. “I hate it, but even if I do get clean, what happens after? I don’t have a Dom to take me down. And don’t fucking say that Derek will, because we both know he won’t,” Stiles says, cutting her off when she opens her mouth. “I might make it a couple of weeks, but I’ll eventually relapse. Detoxing isn’t worth it.” There’s a finality in his voice, a hopelessness, like he’s already given up. And maybe he has.

“We’ll find someone,” Cora says, green eyes boring into him. They remind him so much of sea glass, taking him back to when he and his mother used to gather it on the beach. They’re comforting, safe.

“Besides my father, Derek’s the only level 10 I’ve ever met,” Stiles says forcefully. As much as he wants to believe her, to put his faith in her, he can’t. Level 10’s are rare. There are probably a few in California, but his chances of finding one are slim.

“Can we worry about that when we get there? Please?” she asks, practically begging. Stiles knows that he should say no, can already taste the answer on his lips, but he can’t do it. Not when she’s looking at him like her entire fucking world hinges on what he’s about to say. Not after she brought Derek into it. If the Dom wants him to do this, then he will. It’s fucked up, but Stiles wants to do this for him.

“Alright,” Stiles says, dropping his gaze.

Cora pulls him into her arms, hugging him tight. She’s talking, but he can’t hear her. He’s scared. It’s going to hurt, like really fucking hurt. There’s a reason Subs die detoxing from Baby. It fucks up your hormones, screws with your head. Having a Dom around can level the hormones, but Stiles isn’t sure Cora’s dominant enough to sway him. She’s powerful, but she’s only a level 8.

“How’s this gonna work?” Stiles asks, worried.

Cora pulls back, gracing him with a comforting smile. “We get rid of the Baby, lock all of the doors, and wait it out.” She nods, like it’s just fucking that simple, like they’re waiting out a storm. Stiles appreciates her trying to sugarcoat it for him, but he doesn’t need it.

“And by wait it out you mean watch me sweat and panic and puke and scream?” Stiles says with a dry laugh. She swallows hard and then nods, stepping away from him. Stiles shrugs nonchalantly, wanting to reassure her, but it doesn’t help. If anything the tension in her shoulders worsens. He clears his throat. “It’s in the Batman lunchbox next to my bed. You can toss the drugs, but leave the lunchbox. It’s…” he trails off, throat tightening as grief presses down on him.

“Alright,” Cora says and then she’s gone. A few minutes later, the front door closes, leaving Stiles completely alone.

He fists his hands at his sides, eyes clenched shut. What the fuck is he doing? Instead of doing his job, instead of avenging his father, he’s digging himself deeper into the Hales. And yeah, undercover operatives are meant to go deep, but not like this, never like this. They aren’t supposed to care about their targets. They aren’t supposed to sympathize with them. Maybe Scott was right. He’s too close to this, too emotionally invested. Scott’s voice rings around in his head, over and over, telling him that he’s going to get himself killed. And fuck if he’s not starting to believe it.

The door opens and closes again. Cora struts into the kitchen, a set of DVD’s in her hand. Among them are the Harry Potter series, the Batman trilogy, and the Avengers. She holds them up and grins. “I raided Laura’s collection. I’m not big into movies, but luckily she’s got everything categorized,” she says rolling her eyes.

“Categorized?” Stiles asks, a little afraid of her answer.

Cora laughs. “Yeah, Lulu’s a bit of a perfectionist. These were in the science fiction and fantasy section. She has labels and everything.”

“Wow,” Stiles says with a laugh. He hasn’t had much contact with Laura, but she seems very much the opposite of her twin sister. He’s always wanted a sibling, someone to tease and fight with, someone who’ll always be there. It would be nice. At least he thinks it would.

“Yeah, she’s a freak. Come on, we’ll pop one of these in and you can educate me on nerd culture,” she says with a scoff, directing him into the living room. He slumps down onto the couch, watching as she slips in the first Batman movie. The sight of the DVD makes him smile. He and his father used to watch them every Thanksgiving. It was their tradition. Stiles tried to watch the first one this past Thanksgiving, got five minutes in, and had a full blown panic attack. It wasn’t pretty.

Cora sits down next to him and kicks off her combat boots. To his surprise, she turns and lays down, settling her head in his lap. He looks down at her, brows furrowed, suddenly unsure what to do with his hands. Her only response is to roll her eyes and smile.

“Um…” Stiles trails off, biting his bottom lip.

“Watch the movie, cupcake,” she says, turning to face the screen. “I wanna know everything. Behind the scenes commentary me.” She flashes him a quick smirk, making him laugh. The tightness in his chest eases and he exhales, instinctually moving his free hand to her hair. He toys with a curl and she sighs, letting him know she’s enjoying it. His mother loved it when he played with her hair.

“You know his backstory, don’t you?” Stiles asks as the movie starts up. He expects to start panicking, for his chest to tighten up and cave inward, but it doesn’t happen. The weight of Cora’s head in his lap, her soft hair in his hand, is oddly reassuring.

“Nope,” Cora says with a guilty smirk.

“What! Isn’t it a staple that every American has to know how Bruce Wayne became Batman? How are you still allowed here?” Stiles asks, chuckling. Cora rolls her eyes at him. “Alright, alright…so first thing’s first. His parents, Thomas and Martha, are murdered outside of a movie theater. And Bruce sees it happen. So he’s got all sorts of emotional scarring from that.”

“Naturally,” Cora says, laughing.

“Oh, and he’s like super fucking rich, that plays into it a lot…”

They spend the next two days watching movies and eating what’s left of Stiles’ meager food supply. And at first Stiles is okay, it’s nice actually, being around Cora. She’s sweet and playful, but also very attentive. Always taking care of him. Then, the third day hits and everything goes to shit.

Stiles wakes up and runs into the bathroom, emptying his stomach into the toilet. He feels fucking awful. His body is aching and his head is pounding. It’s like he’s got the flu, but a thousand times worse. He lifts his hands, struggling to get them to stop shaking, but he can’t. He grabs the side of the counter and hoists himself up. His head spins and he hits the ground with a thud, head smashing against the tile.

“Stiles!” Cora yells, pounding on the locked door. “What’s wrong! Are you okay?”

He tries to answer, but nothing comes out of his mouth. The doorknob jiggles a few times and then twists. She must’ve picked the lock. The door flies open and she rushes in, falling to her knees beside him.

“Mmm,” he mutters as she takes his face in her hands, green eyes heavy with worry.

“Are you alright?” she asks, carefully prodding the back of his head. Stiles gasps in pain and fear instantly cuts across her face. She pulls her hand back, her fingers wet with blood. “Oh God.”

“I’m fine,” Stiles says, trying to sit up. His stomach turns again and he scrambles for the toilet, dry heaving until it feels like his insides are on the outside. His entire body is shaking now and his head fucking hurts. It’s throbbing, a hammer hitting his skull over and over and over again. Yeah, he’s fine, just fucking fine. This is the best idea he’s ever had. Because getting clean is so fun.

“You’re not fucking fine. C’mere,” Cora says gingerly, helping him to his feet. Seconds later, she’s laying him down on his bed. “Let me see you head.” Stiles turns to face the wall and closes his eyes, letting her clean the wound. “It’s not too bad. Head wounds bleed a lot. I don’t think you need stitches, but we should probably watch it.”

Stiles turns back around to face her, head spinning. He clenches his eyes shut, trying to get it to stop, but it won’t. Cora takes one of his shaking hands in her own, giving it a light squeeze. The contact feels good, safe, but he wants more. An image of Derek, eyes dark and muscles tense, flashes before his eyes. That’s what he wants, what he needs. Too bad Derek wants nothing to do with him.

Selfish fucker.

Furious tears well up in his eyes. God, his emotions are all over the place. He grits his teeth, trying to get ahold of himself. But he can’t and trying is only making it worse. He lets out a broken sob, instinctually curling up in a tight ball.

“Oh, baby,” Cora whispers. She climbs into bed with him and pulls his back against her front, securing her arms around him. He presses into her warmth. Her touch is soft and honest, but he needs more. He whimpers, fisting his hands in the sheet. Fuck, everything hurts. It’s like his body is eating itself, consuming every cell. “It’s okay, Stiles. You’re gonna be okay. You are such a good boy.” Her words are sweet and he loves her for trying, but it’s not her voice he wants to hear. It’s not her he wants holding him.

“Where’s Derek?” he asks, barely stifling a sob.

“Oh God, Stiles. I’m so sorry, baby, but he can’t be here right now. He wants to be. He wants to be here with you so bad, but he can’t,” she says and it’s like she’s stabbing him in the heart. He curls in tighter on himself, unable to stop crying. Why isn’t Derek here? Why doesn’t he want Stiles? What’s wrong with him? Is he a bad Sub, a bad boy? He is, isn’t he? Derek doesn’t want him because he’s bad.

Cora shushes him softly, carding her fingers through his hair. She’s talking to him, trying to calm him down, but her words are blurring together. He can’t stop crying. He’s so angry and sad. He wants Derek here and, at the same time, hates himself for wanting that. Derek’s probably the man who killed his father. What kind of son is he, to want his father’s killer to hold him? Fuck. He’s fucked up, so fucked up.

“What’s wrong with me?” Stiles ask, voice breaking.

“Nothing, cupcake, absolutely nothing. You’re perfect,” Cora says gently, tightening her arms around him.

“Then…then why doesn’t he want me?” Fresh tears spill down his cheeks.

“He does. I promise,” Cora says, infuriating him. He jerks out of her embrace and stands up, head spinning. He falls again, but this time Cora catches him. “Are you-”

“Don’t!” he yells, pulling away from her and scrambling to his feet. “Stop lying to me. That’s all you are, a bunch of fucking liars! Derek doesn’t want me! No one wants me!” He turns and stumbles away from her, fighting to get control of his shaking body. Fuck, why can’t he stop crying?

He makes it the couch, curling up there, arms wrapped tightly around his legs. He buries his face between them, letting out a broken sob. He just wants this to stop. It feels like his world is caving in on itself and he can’t breathe. Everything fucking hurts and it won’t stop. All of the emotions he’s been suppressing for years, the grief over his father’s death, come rushing back. His chest constricts, tightening.

It’s his fault. All of it. His father is dead and it’s his fault. Stiles pushed him to go after the Blood Wolves, encouraged him. And look where that got him. And now, now Stiles is half in love with their best hitman. A man who probably killed his father. God, Stiles is such a monumental fuck up of a son. His father would be so disappointed in him.

Stiles tries to breathe, but he can’t. The tightness in his chest is getting worse and his crying isn’t helping. Someone touches his shoulder and he suddenly realizes that Cora is sitting next to him, frantically trying to talk him down, but he hasn’t heard a word.

He shies away from her touch, lifting his hands to claw at his neck. It hurts. God, it fucking hurts and he can’t make it go away. Derek. He wants Derek. No. No. He shouldn’t want the Dom. It’s wrong. Derek probably killed his father. He should hate him. He should want to take his head off, not curl up in his arms.

Fuck, why is this happening?

The answer slides into place like a puzzle piece. Stiles stands up and runs into his bedroom, stumbling and skinning his knees on the hardwood. He digs through his side table, exhaling in relief when he sees his Batman lunchbox. He places it on the floor in front of him, hands shaking, and opens it up.

It’s empty. Why the fuck is it empty?

Fury rages through him, a fury like he’s never felt before. He stands up, grabs the lamp from his side table and smashes it into the far wall. The glass shatters, raining down on the floor. He moves to the edge of his bookcase, sticks his fingers in the crack and pulls, sending it and everything on it tumbling to the ground. Next is everything on his desk, the lamp, his computer, the paperweights and picture frames. Everything hits the floor and breaks. But with every sound, every crack, Stiles feels a bit better.

Where the fuck is his Babydoll? He needs it. Like right fucking now. He’s going to find who took it and tear their fucking throat out. He sees Cora out of the corner of his eye, standing in the doorway of his bedroom, tears streaming down his face. It was her, it had to be her. Who else could have done it?

Growling, he advances on her. “Where is it? Give it back or I’ll put a bullet through your head!” he yells, amber eyes burning. Cora holds her ground, but only just. He’s scaring her. He can see it in her eyes, in the slight quiver of her hands. Good. She should be scared of him.

“Stiles, calm down,” she says in her Dom voice. But instead of calming him, all it does is piss him the fuck off. He lunges at her. She sidesteps gracefully, sending him plummeting to the ground. He puts a hand on the wall, using it to help him stand.

“Give it to me!” he screams, advancing on her.

“I’m sorry, Stiles,” she says and then she shuts his bedroom door in his face, somehow locking it from the outside. He screams obscenities, slamming his fist against the door until they’re bloody, until he can’t feel them anymore.

He slumps down against the door, tears filling his eyes again. He just wants it to stop. Why won’t it stop? Why won’t she make it go away? God, he wants Derek. And he hates himself for wanting him. It’s fucked up and wrong and he knows that. But he still wants it, wants it with every bone in his body.

His chest starts to constrict again, stealing the breath from his lungs. An image of his father, glaring at him, flashes before his eyes. He can almost hear his father telling him he hates him, that Stiles doesn’t deserve to be his son, that he’s useless. And he knows it’s not really his dad, that his father would never say those things to him, but they still hurt. Mostly because they’re right. He is useless. Useless as a son, useless as a cop, useless as a Sub. No wonder Derek doesn’t want him. Why would he?

He tries to breathe, tries to force air into his lungs, but he can’t. He curls in tighter on himself, clawing at his neck until it’s bloody. His head starts to spin, vision blurring. Maybe it’s better this way. Maybe it would be best for him to just fade away. It’s not like anyone actually wants him here. No one wants him…

“Stiles! Stiles, honey, Derek’s on his way,” Cora says gently, right up against the other side of the door. “Just hold on. He’ll be here in a few minutes. Just breathe, cupcake. Just breathe.”

Stiles descends to cold hardwood, pressing his face into it. He struggles to focus on the sound of Cora’s voice, clinging to every word. It’s a weak anchor, but it’s the best he’s got. Derek’s coming. Just breathe. Just breathe. He tries to do as he’s told, to breathe, but he can’t. He’s just can’t.

Chapter Text

Derek pulls his phone out of his pocket, Cora’s face on the screen. When she checked in yesterday, she said things were going good. But for some reason, Derek has a feeling that’s changed. He presses send and lifts the phone to his ear, protective instincts screaming at him.

“Cora,” he says curtly. “What’s wrong?”

She’s frantic, out of breath and sobbing. Derek grabs his jacket and tosses some money onto the diner table. “I can’t do it, Derek. He needs more than me. He needs you. I’m not enough…please…” she says, voice breaking. Guilt gnaws at Derek. It was wrong of him to send Cora to take care of Stiles. The boy is his. He is. It’s time Derek admit that fact. It’s time he faces it like a man. No more hiding.

“I’m on my way, bunny. Just keep him breathing until I get there,” he says as he gets onto his motorcycle. He hangs up the phone, pockets it, and starts up the bike. It roars to life and he takes off down the road, weaving through cars at speeds that are far from legal.

What the fuck did he do? He thought he was keeping Stiles safe, but in doing so, he put the boy at risk. He can’t keep pushing him away. Yes, Stiles will be in danger if he’s around Derek, but at least he’ll be alive. Without him, Derek’s not so sure. The boy needs a Dom and Derek wants to be that Dom. The mere thought of him in someone else’s arms, of someone else kissing him and making him come, infuriates Derek. It makes him want to pull out his gun and do something with it.

He veers around a corner and pulls into the parking lot next to Stiles’ apartment building. Killing his engine, he starts up the stairs at a dead run. He reaches the door to Stiles’ apartment in a matter of minutes, chest rising and falling rapidly.

He knocks hard on the door, but before he can knock a second time, it swings inward, revealing distraught looking Cora. Her green eyes are wide with panic, tears streaming down her face. Derek wants to pull her into his arms, to comfort her, but Stiles needs him more right now. His boy is the priority.

“Where is he?” Derek ask, stepping past Cora.

“Bedroom. I locked him in there. He blew up, started throwing shit and screaming at me. I didn’t know what else to do,” she says frantically.

“You did good, bunny,” he says, his voice calming her instantly. He rounds the corner, advancing on Stiles door. Cora’s got it jerry rigged with a chair and a hair tie. He quickly removes the makeshift lock, hand on the doorknob, and turns back to Cora. “Go home, get some sleep. I’ll call you.” He gives her a curt nod. She smiles ever so slightly, expression a broken mixture of relief and regret, then she disappears around the corner.

Derek takes a deep breath and exhales, centering himself. Then he turns the knob and pushes the door open. Stiles’ room is a fucking wreck of broken glass and torn sheets. The boy is curled up on the floor, head in his hands, crying softly. His hands, feet, and knees are bloody. He must have crawled on the broken glass.

Heart breaking, Derek crosses the room, picks the boy up and carries him into the bathroom. Thankfully, it’s clear of broken glass. Stiles clings to him as Derek turns on the tap, filling up the tub with warm water.

“It’s okay, baby boy. I’ve got you now and I’m not going anywhere,” he says, hating the way that Stiles is shaking. He’s never seen anything like it before. He’s heard that Babydoll withdrawals are bad, but he never pictured this.

Stiles fists his hands deeper in Derek’s shirt, crying softly into the Dom’s shoulder. Derek holds him tight, fear coursing through him all white hot and stinging. He did this. Fuck, why did he do this? He should have been here. It was wrong of him to put Stiles through this without him. He’s sure Cora helped, but she’s not dominant enough to influence Stiles. He should have known that. Fuck, he’s an awful Dom. The boy deserves better.

Derek shushes him softly, one hand holding the back of Stiles’ neck. “I’m gonna take your clothes off and put you in the bath. Is that okay?” Derek asks gently, wanting to calm the boy. His breathing is erratic, chest rising and falling at an alarming pace. It’s unnerving, watching the boy come apart like this.

“Please…don’t leave me again. Please…” Stiles whimpers, tightening his grip on the Dom. It’s heartbreaking, soul-wrenching.

“Alright,” Derek stands up and sets Stiles down on the counter. The boy allows him to take off his clothes, but it isn’t easy, not with him holding on so tight. He leaves on Stiles’ Superman boxer briefs, smiling gently at the sight of them.

Derek does his best not to look at the boy. This isn’t about sex, this is about comfort and safety. Derek shrugs off his own shirt, kicks off his boots and socks, and lastly, his jeans. He leaves on his own black boxer briefs, not wanting to make the boy uncomfortable. Them being in the bathtub together is going to be intimate enough. Derek only hopes it’ll be enough to settle his little Sub, enough to ground him and bring him back to Derek.

Lifting Stiles up, he crosses the bathroom and steps into the large claw foot tub. He tucks a hand under Stiles’ butt, holding the boy steady as he descends down, immersing them both in warm water. The second Stiles hits the water, he exhales, relaxing completely into Derek. He noses Derek’s neck, making soft, contented noises. Derek drinks them in, using them to calm the raging storm inside of him. Stiles is safe. He’s safe and he’s going to be okay.

It feels amazing, the water, Stiles pressed up against him, all warm and pliant in his arms. He’s straddling one of Derek’s legs, his hands wrapped tightly around the Dom, like he’s terrified Derek’s going to walk away. Fuck. Derek hates himself for scaring the boy like this. His father would be disappointed in him. He taught Derek to be a better Dom, a better man than this.

Derek curls one hand tighter around Stiles’ butt, pulling the boy in closer, and lift his other hand to Stiles’ back, stroking the skin there. Warm water bends and sways around them, lapping at their skin. Stiles whimpers with Derek’s every touch, arching into him. If Derek weren’t so worried about him, he’d be turned on. It’s a pretty sight, Stiles pressing into the touch of his Dom’s hand.

“I’m sorry, baby boy,” Derek says softly, placing a kiss on Stiles’ head. He’s not sure how deep into subspace Stiles is right now, whether or not he’ll be able to understand him, but he wants the boy to know. Stiles shifts in his arms, nosing deeper into Derek’s chest, but he doesn’t say anything. “You did so good. I’m so proud of you.” Stiles hums contentedly, eyes fluttering open and then falling closed again.

He holds Stiles for what feels like hours and probably is. Eventually, the boy falls asleep against him. The fact that he’s completely helpless, allowing Derek to hold him above water while he sleeps, fills Derek’s chest with warmth. Stiles feels safe with him, safe enough to put his life in Derek’s hands. It says a lot.

Derek drains the water, now merely lukewarm, and lifts the boy back into his arms. He expects Stiles to wake up, but he doesn’t. Derek grabs a towel from the rack and tucks it around Stiles shoulders, carrying him into the living room.

Once he’s there, he carefully strips off the boy’s wet boxers, wraps him up in a massive blanket, and lays him down on the couch. While he’s sleeping, Derek searches his kitchen for food. Cora must have gone to the store, because the shelves are fully stocked. He smiles to himself. She has no idea how amazing a Dom she’s going to make.

Derek pulls out all the ingredients for chicken noodle soup. It always makes him feel better when he’s sick. And though Stiles isn’t exactly sick, it will have to do. He whips it up easily enough. It’s something he’s done time and time again, for his sisters and for himself.

Carefully, he spoons some into a bowl and carries it into the living room. Stiles is still asleep, chest rising and falling at a steady pace. He looks better, the color has returned to his cheeks and he isn’t shaking anymore. It’s baffling that just being held by a Dom can do so much for a Sub. Derek silently berates himself for his treatment of Stiles as he sets the soup down on the coffee table. He thought he was keeping Stiles safe by distancing himself, but all he did was make things worse. He won’t make that mistake again.

“Stiles, I need you to wake up for me. Can you do that?” Derek asks, gently stroking the boy’s cheek. Stiles’ eyelid flutter and open, revealing his gorgeous amber eyes. They’re clearer, far more alert. Derek takes a step back as Stiles sits up, glancing frantically around the room, brows furrowed in confusion.

“Where’s Cora. Did I hurt her?” he asks, voice alive with fear.

“No. No, you didn’t hurt her. She’s fine, Stiles. I sent her home to get some sleep,” Derek says, keeping his voice low and soothing. It does its job. Stiles exhales, the tension in his shoulders easing ever so slightly.

“What happened?” he asks, dropping his gaze.

“What do you remember?” Derek asks, wanting to get a sense of the boy’s headspace.

“Not much. I think I yelled at Cora. Oh God, did I make her cry?” he asks, looking up at Derek. The Dom doesn’t answer, but he doesn’t have to. “Fuck.” Stiles shakes his head, silently scolding himself. His expression shifts and he glances down at the blanket wrapped around him, brows furrowing. “Why am I wet and…and naked?”

“I needed to calm you down,” Derek says, studying the little Sub. He still needs to take a look at Stiles’ wounds, but he doesn’t want to push the boy too much. He’s been through more than enough today. He’ll take whatever Stiles is willing to give, as little or as much as that is.

“But…you’re wet too? Oh my God!” Stiles says, eyes widening.

Derek chuckles. Stiles is so fucking adorable. “All I did was hold you.”

“That’s it?” he asks, sounding almost disappointed.

Derek nods. “Yes, and what we do next is completely up to you.” He holds Stiles’ gaze, hoping the boy understands how deeply he means those words. Stiles’ frown deepens, eyes narrowing. Derek can’t blame him for being skeptical, it’s not like he’s given Stiles the clearest of signals. Over the past few weeks he’s gone from acting like the boy’s Dom, to treating him like shit.

“What do you mean?” Stiles asks, an edge to his voice.

“Let’s talk about it when you’re feeling better. Right now, I need to look at the cuts on your arms and legs. And you need to eat that soup,” Derek says, gesturing to the bowl of chicken noodle still sitting on the coffee table.

Stiles glances down at it and then back up at Derek. “Did you make that for me?” he asks, wide eyed, as if the prospect of someone cooking for him is astonishing.

“Yes. Now eat,” he says, using his Dom voice. He doesn’t like forcing Stiles to eat, it feels wrong. But not as wrong as holding his emaciated body and knowing he didn’t do anything about it. Stiles grabs the bowl and starts to eat. In seconds, he’s shoveling soup into his mouth so fast that it doesn’t even look like he’s chewing. Derek watches him eat for a moment and then walks into the kitchen, locating Stiles’ first aid kit.

The boy is finished with his soup by the time Derek walks back into the living room. He gives Derek and expectant look and the Dom smiles, taking his bowl to refill it. Returning to the living room, he hands Stiles the bowl and moves to kneel before him.

Stiles gasps, worrying him. He lifts his gaze to find the boy starting down at him, eyes wide with awe and something akin to terror. “You shouldn’t. I don’t…I don’t think that you should be doing that. You’re a Dom. You shouldn’t be kneeling. Not for me, not for anyone,” Stiles stammers so quickly that Derek can barely understand what he’s saying. When it finally clicks into place he smiles tenderly, amused.

“Do you feel in control right now?” Derek asks him, arching a dark brow.

“Well…no…” Stiles mutters, making Derek chuckle.

“Exactly. Dominance isn’t about who is kneeling and who is standing, baby boy. I can kneel if I want to because that’s my decision. No one tells me what to do. Even here, on my knees, I am in control,” Derek say, calm and collected. Stiles shudders, unable to help himself. His reaction to Derek is instinctual, instant. Derek talks and he listens, Derek moves and he moves with him. It’s chemical.

“I guess that makes sense,” Stiles says softly.

“Good, now let me see your feet.” Stiles lifts his feet up, moving them through the slit in the blanket. Derek takes on in hand and Stiles sighs, the skin contact instantly centering him. Derek strokes his leg as he looks over the boy’s wounds. His feet look good. Derek has to remove a few stray bits of glass, but it’s nothing serious.

Next he moves to the boy’s knees. The glass is deeper there. He has to dig out a few pieces. Stiles grits his teeth, trying and failing to remain quiet. His every gasp and whimper tears at Derek, infuriating him. He did this. He’s the reason Stiles hurt himself. If he’d been here, as he should have been, none of this would have happened. He gently swabs the blood from his knees and bandages them.

“Here,” Stiles says, setting down his empty bowl and giving Derek his hands. Derek takes them and Stiles closes his eyes, breathing in the Dom’s touch. Derek cleans them, picking out a few pieces of glass here and there, all the while trying to memorize them. Stiles’ hands are fucking gorgeous, fingers long and elegant, little scars across his knuckles. Derek fights the urge to lift them to his mouth and kiss them. He wants them there, brushing across his lips, across his skin. He wants them everywhere.

“There,” Derek says as he finishes cleaning the tiny abrasions on the boy’s neck. As much as Derek wants to keep touching him, he’s walking a thin line. And if he doesn’t stop now, he’s won’t be able to.

Stiles flexes his hands a few times, getting accustomed to the bandages. “Thanks,” he whispers. “For everything.” He gestures to the empty bowl on the coffee table, blushing. Derek clenches his teeth, fighting the urge to take the boy’s face in his hands and kiss him. God, he wants to know what Stiles tastes like.

“It’s the least I could do,” Derek says, standing up. “This was my fault.”

Stiles’ brows furrow, confusion cutting across his face. “No, it wasn’t.”

“Yes, it was. You and I both know the only reason you agreed to get clean was because I asked you to.” Derek holds his gaze, eyes steady and sure. Stiles sees Derek as his Dom. If he didn’t he never would have said yes to this. Derek exploited his power over the boy and that was wrong.

Stiles stands up, amber eyes darkening. He fists a hand in the blanket covering his naked body and advances on Derek. The Dom holds his ground, but the sight of Stiles, in nothing but a blanket, takes his breath away. He wants push it off the boy’s shoulders and watch it hit the ground. He wants to take his time studying the body beneath.

“You aren’t my Dom, Derek. Why the fuck would I do anything you asked?” Stiles asks, his voice clipped and sharp. He arches his neck, taking another step towards Derek. The Dom instinctively curls his shoulders around Stiles, wanting to protect him even as the boy hurts him.

Derek swallows hard, Stiles’ eyes cutting into him like razor blades. The boy has every right to be angry. Derek’s lead him on and strung him out, time and time again. He’s never been up front with him. And yeah, he had a good reason for keeping his distance. But, now, that good reason seems exceedingly black and white. It wasn’t okay for him to hurt Stiles under the guise of protecting him.

“You have and you will. You do what I want, not because I’m your Dom, but because you want me to be,” Derek says, finally letting the truth spill out of his mouth. And damn if it doesn’t feel fucking fantastic.

Stiles glares at him, but Derek doesn’t miss the slight glimmer of hope in the boy’s eyes. He wants this, he’s just not willing to admit it. “You don’t know me! You don’t know what I want! And you aren’t my Dom. I don’t have a Dom!” Stiles yells, slowly unravelling before Derek’s eyes. Sensing the boy’s need for comfort, Derek reaches a hand out to cup his face, fingers framing his neck. Stiles leans into him for half a second and then jerks away, taking a deliberate step back.

 “Why, Stiles? Why don’t you have a Dom? You obviously need one! I know it wouldn’t be easy to find another level 10, but you could do it. You’re brilliant, so why why haven’t you done it yet? Why are you killing yourself instead of just letting someone help you?” He cocks his head to the side, brows furrowed in concern. He doesn’t get it, none of this makes sense. Stiles is beautiful and intelligent; he deserves someone amazing. If he doesn’t want that someone to be Derek, it will hurt, but he’ll live with it. What he can’t live with is watching Stiles kill himself. “Please, Stiles, just talk to me.”

The boy slowly lifts his gaze, the tears in his eyes taking Derek by surprise. He takes a step towards him, but Stiles backs up, shaking his head. Derek stills, his every instinct screaming at him to comfort, to hold. He wants to give in, but he doesn’t. Because, really, he’s not in control, Stiles is.

“I figured Cora told you,” Stiles mutters, voice raw.

“Cora doesn’t tell secrets that aren’t hers. Laura, on the other hand, is a completely different story,” Derek says with a soft chuckle, thankful when Stiles smiles ever so slightly. He likes making the boy happy, making him smile.

Stiles clears his throat, fiddling anxiously with his fingers. “My father was the only Dom I’ve ever had. He…uh…he was murdered nine months ago.” He lifts his gaze, amber eyes piercing Derek deep. He hates the grief there, wants to make it go away, but at the same time he understands it. He’s felt that grief before, he lives with it every single day. And it’s not something you can just make go away. Hell, Derek’s not convinced it ever goes away, it just changes, gets better and worse as time passes.

Derek takes a step towards the boy, watching him stubbornly brush the tears from his eyes. “The man who killed him?” Derek asks, wanting to hunt down whoever it is that hurt his boy. He’ll take them apart, piece by fucking piece. No one fucks with what’s his.

For some reason, his question destroys Stiles. The boy’s shoulders cave inward, tears streaming down his pale cheeks. He takes a shaky breath, chest hitching as he struggles to conceal his crying. Derek fights the instinct to go to him, to lift the boy in his arms and tuck him up against his chest. Because, as much as he wants that, maybe Stiles doesn’t. And it isn’t about what Derek wants, it’s never been about what he wants.

“Just go, Derek. Please, just go,” Stiles says so softly that Derek almost doesn’t hear him. The boy’s gentle plea shreds his heard. Mostly because he can tell that Stiles doesn’t really want him to leave. He can see it in incline of his shoulders, the slight shaking in his hands. Maybe he doesn’t want Derek, but he sure as hell needs him.

Derek slowly closes the distance between them and then lifts the boy’s gaze with a gentle hand under his chin. Stiles eyes are heavy with a toxic mixture of grief and fury and self-loathing. It’s a combination Derek is very familiar with. He knows what it feels like to hate someone like that, to want to kill them over and over again. It’s exactly how he feels about Peter.  

“What was your father’s name? I’ll find the person who killed him. I’ll make them pay for what they did,” Derek says, a razor’s edge to his voice. It’s not a statement, it’s a fucking promise. And he knows that Stiles believes him, he can see it in the boy’s eyes.

“Why?” Stiles asks, lips parting.

“Because you’re important to me,” Derek says, surprised at how easy it is to admit. For some reason he thought it would be hard, that he’d have to dig the truth out of his throat. Instead, it’s like breathing, completely natural.

“Why?” Stiles asks again, this time more forcefully.

“Do I need a reason to care about you?” Derek asks, head inclined towards the Sub. What is Stiles playing at? Affection doesn’t require reasons. There shouldn’t be lists of pros and cons. It’s about the feeling. It’s the tightness in his chest when he’s around the boy. It’s the sense of rightness that comes over him when he holds Stiles.

“Yes, and you definitely need a reason to kill for me!” Stiles says ardently, more hurt than angry. Derek studies his expression, confused. “Or maybe you don’t. Do you kill whoever he tells you to, Derek?” Stiles’ eyes turn cold, the emotions there dissipating.

“Who are you talking about?” Derek asks defensively. There aren’t many people alive who know Peter’s identity, the identity of the leader of the Blood Wolves. How the hell could Stiles possibly have gotten that information? He can think of a few answers, each one worse than the last.

“Whoever it is that tells you what to do! Fuck if I know his name, but I’m sure there’s somebody. So tell me, Derek, do you heel like a good dog?” he asks venomously.

Rage blooms in Derek’s chest. Is that all Stiles thinks he is, a mindless weapon? It’s exactly what Peter would like him to be. Every word his uncle has screamed, every blow he’s delivered, has been in a vain effort to get Derek to fall in line. And, so far, Derek’s refused. How can Stiles not see that, not recognize that defiance in his eyes?

“Yes, I’m a killer, Stiles,” he says tonelessly, simply stating a fact. “But do you really think I’d kill someone who didn’t deserve it?” He holds the boy’s gaze, eyes earnest. He wants Stiles to understand, to see him for who he is rather than what he is.

“And what do you have to do to deserve it?” Stiles asks, voice shaking.

“Dammit, Stiles, what is this about? Are you uncomfortable with my job, is that it? If that’s what this is then just-”

“Answer the question,” Stiles say, cutting Derek off.

The Dom runs an agitated hand down his jaw, exhaling. “I kill rapists and murderers, men who steal and abuse. If given half the chance, they’d do the exact same thing to me,” Derek says forcefully. “And I’m not saying that makes me a good person, because it doesn’t. But there are worse men than me and those are the men that I kill.”

Stiles expression softens ever so slightly, the tension in his shoulders easing. He takes a step towards Derek, a plea in his eyes. “Promise me you’ve never hurt anyone who didn’t deserve it. Promise me that you’ve never hurt an innocent, someone who was just doing their job, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Promise me, Derek!”

The Dom pulls Stiles into his arms, tucking the boy up against him. He fists a hand in Stiles’ dark hair, suddenly terrified that he’s going to lose him. “I promise,” he whispers, closing his eyes. And it’s not a lie. Every life Derek has ended, he has ended for a reason. And every single one of those reasons were more than enough to get him to pull the trigger. He’s not a good man, he knows that, but he’s not a bad man either. And his only hope is that he is good enough for the beautiful boy in his arms. Because he’s not sure sure he can let go.

Chapter Text

Stiles is an open wound, bloody and raw. Derek sliced him open and now he’s licking at Stiles’ wounds. It feels good, sweet and slow. And he doesn’t want the Dom to stop. But at the same time, he knows that it’s wrong, that he’s still and cop and that Derek’s still a hitman. This isn’t a movie. Volatile combinations lead to volatile reactions. As much as he wants the Dom, he knows that this is bound to end with one of them dead on the floor.

Derek tightens his arms around him, making Stiles ache. The Dom’s promise echoes around in his head, over and over and over again. He hates himself for believing it. And he does, he believes him with all of his fucking heart. It’s terrifying how much he believes him. He’s sure Derek didn’t kill his father. And all it took to convince him was a simple promise.

Maybe Stiles has finally cracked or maybe it’s just instinct, because Derek is a level 10. Either way, Stiles is fucking gone. His reasons for keeping his distance are void. And the fact that he’s a cop isn’t enough to stop him, no fucking way. Not when every bone in his body, every muscle and every vein, is screaming at him, demanding he give the Dom anything and everything.

He can’t decide if giving in will betray his father’s memory, but it’s not like his dad is here to argue. He’s dead. Stiles is alone and he’s tired of it, so fucking tired of it. He’ll figure out the op and his job later. Right now, he just wants to belong to someone. He just wants to belong to Derek.  

Pulling out of the Dom’s arms, he lets the blanket slip off of his shoulders and fall to the floor, baring his naked body. A darkness fills Derek’s green eyes as he looks Stiles over, slowly taking in every inch of the Sub’s body. Stiles expects to be embarrassed, but he’s not. He can’t be, not when Derek’s looking at him like he’s never seen anything so fucking beautiful in all his life. It’s almost religious, a devotion without expectation. Pure and wild.

“Stiles,” Derek says, exhaling. His voice is deep and predatory. It’s a warning and Stiles is sure it’s the only one he’s going to get. He should send Derek away, he should forget about his op and move on with his life, but he can’t.

He wants this.

“You’re right…I do want you to be my Dom. Will you?” Stiles asks, surprised at how calm his voice is. It should be quivering. The rest of him is. His chest feels like it’s caving in, ribs splintering inward. It feels like his life is hinging on this moment, like he’s walking a knife’s edge and he’s about to fall.

“Are you sure that’s what you want?” Derek asks, expression tight with concern. “And think very carefully about your answer.” He fixes Stiles with a fierce look, so possessive that it’s almost threatening. The breath catches in Stiles’ throat, chocking him. “You’d me mine. All fucking mine.” He puts stress on each word, making Stiles shiver.

Fuck. He’s never heard anything so beautiful in all his life.

All Derek’s. Yeah, that sounds pretty damn good.

“I’m sure. But…what about you? Is it what you want?” Stiles asks, stumbling over the question. Derek shakes his head in disbelief, smirking softly. Stiles studies the Dom’s expression, searching for any sign or trepidation. But all he sees is devotion and surprise and relief. Stiles isn’t the only one giving in. And fuck if it doesn’t feel good.

“It’s the only thing I want,” Derek says, his deep voice rolling down Stiles’ spine and settling deep in the pit of his stomach. Fuck, the Dom has an amazing voice. Especially when he’s saying something like that.

“You sure, sourwolf?” Stiles asks, making the Dom laugh.

“Smartass,” Derek says with a deep chuckle. He takes a step towards Stiles, reaching up to brush the Sub’s cheek. Stiles sighs into his touch, Derek’s Burberry cologne filling his lungs. Fuck. “I wanna to do this right, baby boy. I want a contract.”

Stiles’ stomach clenches painfully, Derek’s words settling on his shoulders. He gapes at the Dom, terrified. “Really?” Stiles asks, the question slipping out of his mouth. He blushes furiously and tries to take a step back, but Derek catches the back of his neck, holding him firmly in place. He stares at the floor, stomach consuming itself. Contracts aren’t for flings or one night stands, they’re for relationships. Why the fuck would Derek want a relationship with him? He doesn’t even know Stiles. And if he did, he wouldn’t want this, Stiles is absolutely sure of it.

“Look at me,” Derek says forcefully. Stiles obeys the command instantly, lifting his gaze. Derek’s green eyes burn into him, reading him like a fucking book. Stiles swallows hard, fighting the urge to run. “Tell that head of yours to shut the fuck up for a second.” Stiles smirks, unable to help himself. Derek responds with a soft smile and it’s more than enough to end the Sub. Damn, that smile. “I know what I want.” There’s a surety in his voice, a conviction. And Stiles believes him. He knows that he shouldn’t, that he should question this, but he can’t. Because Derek is everything he’s ever wanted, everything that scares him.  

Stiles stares at him, torn between excitement and fear. The cop in him is screaming. Derek’s a criminal, a murderer. One who Stiles just so happens to be investigating. But the Sub in him is fucking purring. Derek wants him. Derek Hale, all tattooed and perfect with his whisky voice and his Burberry cologne, wants Stiles to be his Sub. Sweet fucking Jesus. It’s a war, a war his conscience quickly loses.

“Okay,” Stiles says, nodding curtly.

Derek grins, causing Stiles’ stomach to leap. “Good,” the Dom says with a nod, thumb stroking the nape of Stiles neck. Derek probably doesn’t even realize he’s doing it, but Stiles sure does. It’s making him dizzy. “One more thing, I want you looked over by a doctor before anything happens between us. The Babydoll fucked with your body and…and I need to know that you’re alright.”

Stiles stares at him, throat tightening with every word. Sudden tears burn his eyes, threatening to spill over. He’s used to people looking at him and making snap judgments, weighing him and trying to decide how best to use him. And here he is, standing naked and vulnerable in front of the most powerful powerful Dom he’s ever met. And instead of taking advantage, Derek Hale, a criminal, is asking him to see a doctor because he wants to make that Stiles is okay.

Un-fucking-believable.

“Is that okay with you?” Derek asks, brows furrowing.

“Yeah…I…I think I can do that,” Stiles says, voice fraying around the edges.

“Good boy,” Derek says as he brushes a tear from Stiles’ cheek, rewarding the Sub with a smile. Stiles drinks in the praise, preening. It’s incredible, filling his head with cotton candy and making his skin burn. He relishes in his Dom’s happiness, in the fact that he’s the cause of it.

The Dom removes his hand from Stiles. He has to bite back a whimper at the loss of contact. Derek takes a step back and squares his shoulders, back to business. He pulls out his phone, scrolling through it rapidly. Stiles cocks his jaw to the side, suddenly painfully aware that he’s very naked and Derek’s, well, not as naked.

“I’ll have a contract drawn up and get in touch with a doctor,” the Dom says, eyes on his phone.

“Now?” Stiles asks expectantly, causing the Dom to look up. Stiles’ gaze drops from Derek’s eyes to his lips. God, they’re beautiful. He wants to taste them, wants to feel them mapping the contours of his body. And he wants it now, not tomorrow or a week for today, now. Derek chuckles and the sound goes right to Stiles’ cock. It hardens, not going unnoticed by Derek. The Dom’s gaze drops and he smirks wickedly, that same darkness returning to his eyes.

“Now?” Derek asks, teasing him. Stiles groans and Derek laughs. “Alright, baby boy, now.” He shakes his head, smirking. “I’ll go make some calls. You…you go take care of that,” he says, glancing down at Stiles’ cock. His voice is as smooth as ever, but Stiles doesn’t miss the fact that it’s dropped an octave. And there’s no hiding the way he’s looking at Stiles, like he wants nothing more than to shove him into a wall and fuck him. He steps up to the Sub, strategically slipping his thigh between Stiles’ legs, pressing it against his aching cock. Stiles whimpers, biting his bottom lip. Derek drops his mouth to Stiles’ ear, breath hot fanning out across his neck. “When you come, you say my name.”

Stiles whimpers again and then, just like that, Derek is gone. The Dom walks out of the bathroom a few minutes later, fully dressed. His eyes rake down Stiles’ body, making the boy shiver and blush. Derek swears under his breath, turns, and makes his way out the front door. It shuts with a click and Stiles exhales, emptying his lungs.

“Fuck,” he says, glancing down at his aching cock. He pushes his doubts to the back of his mind, ignoring them. He’ll have time to analyze and regret his decision later, right now he wants to come. Derek told him to come.

Fisting his hand around his cock, he strokes it long and hard. His eyes fall shut, throat tightening. He pictures Derek, that wicked look in his dark eyes, pressing Stiles to his knees. Stiles falls to them subconsciously, tipping his head back. He can almost hear the Dom praising him, voice deep and gravely. It’s all ‘good boy’ and ‘you’re so beautiful’ and ‘right fucking there,’ pressing Stiles closer to the edge.

The ghost of the Dom’s touch skirts across the back of his neck, circling his nape, holding him in place. Stiles focuses on it until he can feel the weight of the Dom’s hand, the heat of it. He pictures Derek slipping two fingers into Stiles’ mouth, the Dom commanding him to suck on them. It’s everything Stiles can do to not put his own fingers in his mouth. He feels empty, wanting.

He exhales, imagining Derek directing him to his hands and knees. He’d prep Stiles nice and slow, the Dom’s fingers pressing into his hole, coated with lube. He’d play there, stretching and receding until Stiles is a fucking mess, begging for it. And then, he would lift the Sub into his arms, press him into a wall, and bury his cock deep inside Stiles’ ass. All softness would disappear from his expression and he’d pound into the Sub until Stiles comes so hard he…

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Stiles sighs, heat pooling in his abdomen. His cock throbs, balls tightening. He comes, thrusting into his hand, Derek’s names pouring out of his mouth, a broken groan, a blatant plea. Chest heaving, he places his hands on the floor, his mind a fuzzy mess.

God. He’s never come that hard. Never. And Derek wasn’t even there. How is it going to be when he is? Stiles is pretty sure you can’t kill someone with an orgasm, but if anyone can do it, it’s Derek Hale. With his tattoos and his sex hair and his ‘you’re going to regret this’ smirk. Fuck.

Feeling better than he has in months, he slowly gets to his feet. His head spins and he he grabs the side of the couch to steady himself, blinking rapidly. Derek would be proud of himself, he’s not even here and yet he still made Stiles come so hard he can’t even see straight. Now that’s talent.

Smirking, Stiles makes his way into the bathroom. He takes a quick shower and gets dressed, pulling on some jeans and an Avengers t-shirt. He’s got one sock on when someone knocks on the door. He slips on his other sock and darts into the living room, opening it. He’s expecting Derek, instead he finds Laura standing in the doorway, lips pursed.

“Uh…hi?” Stiles says awkwardly, blushing. He and Laura have never actually met. He’s pretty sure she was there that night Derek accidentally put him down. But he was too far gone to notice much.

Stiles cocks his head to the side, studying her. She’s beautiful, her features nearly identical to Cora’s. Both have sharp cheekbones, full lips, and the bodies of dancers. However, their senses of style couldn’t be more different. Where Cora is perpetually dressed in ripped jeans and band t-shirts, Laura is wearing a skin-tight black dress and pink heels that match her lipstick. It’s odd, that she and Cora can look so alike and yet so different at the same time.

“You done?” she asks, arching a dark eyebrow.

“Done with what?” Stiles asks, anxiety curling in his stomach. Cora and Derek are intimidating in a brute force kind of way, but Laura is scary in a completely different sense. He gets the feeling she could kill him with nothing but a few words.

She smirks a him, green eyes burning. “Done comparing me to Cora. I’ll make it easy for you…I’m prettier,” she says with a wink, making Stiles laugh.

“Where’s Derek?” Stiles asks, stepping aside to let her into his apartment. “I thought he was gonna come right back. Is he okay? Did something happen?” Fear slices him open, quick and deep, stealing the breath from his lungs. He drops his gaze, chest constricting as he pictures Derek lying dead somewhere. Alone.

Fuck. He can’t do this. He can’t lose Derek, not now that he knows what it feels like to be held by him, to be touched by him. He starts to panic, the breath slipping from his lungs. Before he realizes what’s happening, Laura takes his face in her hand and forces him to look up at her. Her gaze is steady and fierce, giving nothing away.

“Derek’s fine. He just had a few errands to run. Nothing to worry about,” she says, her voice slow and sure. It runs down Stiles’ spine, calming the rapid beat of his heart. He stares into her eyes, searching for something. She’s being decisively vague, lying without actually lying. And Stiles wants to know why. What is it that they’re hiding from him? What is Derek actually doing?

“And Cora?” Stiles asks, eyes narrowing. Laura smirks like she knows exactly what he’s doing, and maybe she does.

“Bunny’s meeting with her dealers. So…I guess you’re stuck with me.” She flashes him a truly gorgeous smile, tossing her dark curls over her shoulder. She scans Stiles’ apartment and nods, like she approves of the décor. Stiles has a feeling she and Lydia would get along just fine, that or they’d rip each other to shreds. It’s kind of a toss up. Either way, it would be fucking hot.

“Derek sent you to babysit me?” Stiles asks, slipping past Laura. He knows Derek probably meant well by it, but he’s not a child. He doesn’t need someone keeping an eye on him. He can handle himself.

She turns to face him, crossing her arms and leaning back on one heel. Stiles takes a step back. Damn, she’s intimidating. “My brother cares about you, more than I’ve ever seen him care about anyone.” She takes a step towards him, eyes like daggers. “He sent me here to take you to your doctor’s appointment because he didn’t want you to go alone.” Her eyes narrow as she looks him over skeptically. “I don’t know what it is about you that’s got my siblings all tied up, but know this, pretty baby, if you screw with them…I’ll destroy you,” she says, threat fading to nothing but a whisper. Stiles swallows against the tightness in his throat. And he thought Cora was scary. But she’s got nothing on her sister.

“Well, you’re terrifying,” Stiles murmurs, eyes wide.

She grins, all Cheshire cat. “Thank you,” she says with a little fake curtsy. Stiles gapes at her. Do all of the Hales have multiple personality disorder? The psychotic exterior and the sweet interior. Derek and Cora, for damn sure, but maybe not Laura. He’s not sure what to think of her. “Now, grab a jacket, it’s kinda cold outside and Derek will kill me if you get sick.” She rolls her eyes, but there’s love in her voice. If nothing else, the Hales all seem unfailingly loyal to one another.

Stiles slips on his sneaker and grabs his jacket, all under Laura’s watchful eye. He wonders briefly whether or not she has a Sub. With Cora, he could easily tell that she didn’t, but Laura is harder to read. She’s far more experienced than Cora, but that doesn’t mean she has someone in her life.

“Ready?” she asks, opening the door and directing him out into the hallway. He nods, letting her lead him downstairs and into a car. She slides into the drivers and pulls out onto the highway, heel revving the engine.

The drive in relative silence for a few minutes, the radio playing softly. Stiles fiddles with his fingers nervously, glancing over at her every so often. She, on the other hand, is completely relaxed, her eyes fixed on the road ahead. He tries to pin her down, tries to pick up some detail that will give him an edge. But she, and her immaculate appearance, gives nothing away.

“So, you run prostitutes right?” Stiles asks after a while, unable to keep his mouth shut for a moment longer. She glances over at him and then turns back to the road, the slightest of smirks pulling at the edges of her mouth.

Terrifying. Completely terrifying.

“I do,” she says smoothly, the admission rolling off her tongue. “Why, you need some attention?” She glances over at him again, causing him to blush and sputter. For half a second he thinks she’s serious, but then she laughs, turning back to the road.

He exhales, sliding deeper into his seat. She’s wary of him. The question is, is she wary of everyone or just him in particular? One Stiles can work with, the other, not so much. He slips her another glance, weighing his options. He quickly decides that he can’t afford for her not to trust him. Derek adores his sisters; they are his life. If one of them asks Derek to walk away from Stiles, he will, no questions asked. That’s how much he loves them.

“Did I do something wrong?” Stiles asks warily.

Laura turns to look at him, brows furrowing in confusion. Stiles swallows hard, toying with the hem of his jacket. His chest constricts, worry pressing down on him. What if he loses Derek because of this? “What are you talking about?” Laura asks, her voice softening every so slightly. It calms Stiles, but only a little. She’s like a snake, coiled and quiet, but still capable of such violence.

“I’m sorry if I said or did something to make you not like me. I didn’t mean-”

“Oh, honey, I’m sorry,” she says interrupting him. He clamps his mouth shut, confused as all hell. Now she’s apologizing? What’s with this girl? She chuckles humorlessly, shaking her head at herself. “I’m being a total bitch, I know. That’s not on you. I promise.”

“What’s wrong?” Stiles asks, fighting the urge to reach out and take her hand. He blames it on the fact that she looks like Cora, but he knows it’s more than that. There’s something in her eyes, an ache, one Stiles is very familiar with. It’s wanting something you can’t have, wanting someone who doesn’t want you.

“I’m in love with Cora’s best friend and she wants nothing to do with me. I mean, I get it. Apparently she’s had a crush on me since forever and I didn’t even notice. I didn’t pay any attention to her until she started tutoring me. Then, I fell for her and she just walked away.” She takes a deep breath and exhales slowly, eyes on the road. “I went to her gig last night, asked her go out with me. But she just went all ‘I can’t do this again’ and left. So, yeah, totally not your fault.” She sighs exasperatedly, fingers tightening on the steering wheel.

“Well…I’m glad it’s not me,” Stiles says with a half-hearted chuckle. He’s never met anyone who can talk for days and days the way he can. And he sure as shit didn’t expect Laura Hale to be that person. Still, he has to give it to her, she’s got a talent for it. “Have you told her that you’re sorry?” he asks, worrying his bottom lip. He’s not sure why he feels the need to help. But for some reason, he wants Derek and his sisters to be happy.

“Sorry for what?” Laura asks, taking a right turn.

“For ignoring her. You probably didn’t mean anything by it, but being ignored by a Dom you have feelings for. It’s…well it’s like someone’s cutting away at you, like your losing yourself because you want them so bad.” He turns to look out the window, not wanting Laura to see the hurt on his face. “I donno what it is, maybe its got to do with Submissive hormones or chemicals in the brain. Whatever it is…it hurts.” His voice breaks and Laura slips her hand into his, the skin contact making his breath catch.

He turns around to face her, glancing down at their entwined fingers. She smiles gently, reminding him so much of Cora that it’s scary. “Derek was just trying to keep you safe. That’s the only reason he kept his distance from you.” She gives him a curt nod, wanting to get her point across.

“Trying to keep me safe from what? From himself?” Stiles asks, unable to help himself. He wants to know why the Dom put him through this hell. He must have had a good reason. Otherwise, the agony that Stiles endured was for nothing.

“The world we live in isn’t safe, Stiles. We’ve got more enemies than we know what to do with. And Derek can only kill so many people in one day,” she says with a dry laugh. Stiles’ stomach clenches, making him want to throw up. That’s probably where Derek is right now, slicing into the throat of one of his family’s enemies. And this is the man Stiles wants to hold him at night, to take him down. Fuck. Why? Why doesn’t it change the way he feels? He should want to lock Derek up. That’s what he should want, but he doesn’t. “You okay?” she asks, eyes narrowed as she studies his body language.

“I donno…” he whispers, dropping his gaze.

She gives his hand a comforting squeeze. “Nothing’s going to happen to you. Derek will make sure of that.” She scoffs shaking her head in disbelief. “I’ve never seen him so protective of anyone before.” Stiles nods, unsure how to respond to that. He’s honestly doesn’t know why he and Derek are so connected. Maybe it’s just because they are both level 10s, but it feels like more than that. He wasn’t expecting to actually like the Dom, to care for him the way that he does. It just happened.

A little voice in the back of his mind reminds him that he is a cop, that he came here for a reason. He was going to find the man who killed his father and destroy the Blood Wolves. It seemed easy, before he met Derek or his sisters, when his life consisted of Babydoll and sleepless nights spent obsessing over the Hales. He thought he could do it, that he could just infiltrate their family and take them out. But it’s not that simple, it never was. He still wants to find out who killed his father, but the last thing he wants to do is hurt Derek or his sisters.

“And thanks for…listening to me. You’re right, I should apologize to Ari. She didn’t deserve to be treated that way, no one does,” Laura says as she pulls into a parking lot and kills the engine. She gives Stiles a grateful smile and pulls her hand from his, slipping out of the car. He follows her lead, letting her direct him into what looks like an office building.

Turns out, it is an office building, or at least it used to be. It’s empty, but for a few abandoned cubicles stuffed in a corner. Laura leads him downstairs and through a door. Stiles gasps, glancing around the large white room. It’s a makeshift emergency room, complete with thousands of dollars worth of medical equipment and five empty beds. Standing off to the side, her expression relaxed, is a blond doctor in a white coat. Stiles is surprised when he realizes that she’s a Sub; most doctors aren’t.

“Hello, Laura,” the doctor says with a curt smile. Laura nods and sidesteps, giving the doctor a full view of Stiles. She crosses the room, a clipboard in her hands. “And you must be Stiles. Derek’s very fond of you.” She smiles again and Stiles narrows his gaze, suddenly overcome with jealously. How does she know Derek? Was he with her before Stiles? She’s beautiful, and a doctor. How is Stiles supposed to compete?

Laura must have sensed his distress because she catches his gaze and gives him a comforting smile. “Stiles, this is Marie. She and her wife, Jane, patch us up when we need it. They’ve saved Derek’s life a few times now.” Stiles glances down at the woman’s neck, noting the silver chain tucked under her scrubs. At the sight of it, he exhales, relief washing over him. Fuck. He’s never been the jealous type; guess he is now.

“Alright, Stiles, why don’t you hop up on one of those beds and we’ll get started,” Marie says, smiling. Stiles nods, crossing the room. Marie turns to Laura, dropping her clip board to her side. “Laura, would you mind waiting outside?”

Laura shakes her head, heels firmly planted. “I told Derek I wouldn’t leave him.”

“He’s in good hands, I promise,” Marie says, opening the door for Laura. The Dom gives Stiles a forcefully look, wordlessly telling him she’ll be right outside, and then disappears behind the door. 

Chapter Text

Derek yanks hard on the chains, roaring at Peter. The cuffs around his wrists and ankles dig in deep, slicing away at his skin. His uncle’s only response is to throw his head back and laugh. Derek shakes with fury, chest heaving. He’s going to fuck Peter up for this, he’s going to destroy him.  

“I don’t appreciate you going rogue, Derek,” Peter says tonelessly. “And I don’t give a shit that M12 needed to be taken care of. That was not your decision to make!” He crosses one leg over the other and leans back in his chair. “You need to learn your place.”

“I know my place!” Derek mutters, glaring at the other Dom.

Peter shakes his head, smirking. “See, I don’t think you do. Because if you did, we wouldn’t be here right now. And I wouldn’t need to teach you a lesson.”

He stands up and circles slowly around Derek, eyeing him with disgust. Derek fists his hands around the chains, metal digging into his flesh. He wants to wrap them around his uncle’s neck. He wants to use them to rip him apart. And he will, he doesn’t care how long it takes. He’s going to take the crown from Peter’s unworthy head and bathe in his blood. He’s going to string Peter’s teeth and give them to his sisters as a necklace.

“They attacked Cora,” Derek says, even though he knows it won’t matter. Peter doesn’t care about his family, he only cares about money and loyalty. The only reason Derek’s here, is because he didn’t come to Peter before he took out M12. And, in his uncle’s eyes, that was an act of disloyalty.

“I don’t care what they did, Derek,” Peter says with a scoff. “I do, however, care about what you did. I’m getting tired of your blatant disobedience.” He stops in front of Derek, takes a deep breath and exhales slowly, like a disappointed parent. It makes Derek want to rip his head off. Who the fuck does he think he is? He took his empire from Derek’s parent, he killed them for it. And he has the audacity to act like it belongs to him, like he fucking earned it. No. No fucking way. The Wolves belong to Derek. This empire is his birthright.

“Get on with it then,” Derek growls, glaring at his uncle.

Peter chuckles, his empty eyes burning. Derek’s not scared of him, never has been. But he knows what Peter is capable of and the last thing he’s going to do is underestimate him. He’s a crazy bastard. One wrong move, one misspoken word, and Peter will go after Cora and Laura. And Stiles.

Fuck.

“This doesn’t have to end bloody. Apologize and I’ll release you,” Peter says with a sly smirk. Derek clenches his teeth. He doesn’t care what Peter does to him, how he hurts him, he’s never going to apologize for protecting the people he loves. He’d rather die. Peter’s smirk grows as Derek squares his shoulders, tightening his grip on the chains above his head. “That’s a no then?” Peter asks, grinning.

“Definitely,” Derek says, his instincts screaming at him. This is wrong, so fucking wrong. He’s a level 10 for fuck’s sake. No one chains him up without his fucking permission. No one. And Peter is going to pay for it.

“You’re as stubborn as your mother,” Peter says and, at the mere mention of Talia, Derek rages. He yanks hard on the chains, sending the cuffs deeper into his flesh. Peter laughs and Derek pulls harder, relishing in the pain, using it to center himself, using it like a weapon. “And just as stupid. She thought she was better than me, thought she was better than everyone, just because she was a level 10. You’re the same way, just as entitled!”

He’s breaking, Derek’s seen it happen enough to know what it looks like. He hides his madness well, behind a carefully controlled expression and expensive clothes. But when he reaches this point, everything crumbles around him, revealing the psycho within. He fists his hands at his sides, expression shifting subtly. A smirk curls on his lips as he circles around Derek again, a coiled snake.

“You gonna keep talking?” Derek asks, deliberately patronizing Peter. He’s sick of listening his uncle, he’d much rather Peter just beat the shit out of him and get this over with.

Peter scoffs, stopping in front of Derek. “Entitled, so fucking entitled…the wolf prince, mommy’s little wolf prince…” Peter slams his fist into Derek’s broken ribs. Derek locks his jaw shut, determined not to scream. But it’s agony, Peter raining down blow after blow. “You don’t deserve to be a level 10! You don’t deserve to be a part of this family! And neither do those bitch sisters of yours!” he screams, punctuating each word with a fist to Derek’s ribs. He can feel them breaking.

Peter eases back, laughing. Derek struggles to breathe, unable to fill his lungs. His body burns, ribs screaming at him. It’s all he can do to remain upright. He refuses to give Peter the satisfaction of seeing him weak. He’s better than his uncle, stronger than his uncle. He can take whatever Peter gives. It’s nothing he hasn’t had before.

“That all you got?” Derek asks, flashing Peter a smirk.

Peter’s smile slips, darkness filling his eyes. “You’re not the only one getting tired of this little game of ours, Derek. Though watching you bleed is enjoyable, I don’t think you get much out of it. What’d you say we take this to the next level?” He gestures to a video camera and a group of men make their way into the room, one of them pushing a cart. On it is a blowtorch, two boxes of cigarettes, and the Blood Wolf brand. Derek’s stomach drops, but he stills his expression.

He can do this.

He focuses on his family, on Cora and Laura, on Stiles. He closes his eyes, picturing their faces, his sisters teasing him as they have breakfast together, Stiles all curled up in his arms. This isn’t about him. It’s about them. It’s about keeping them safe. Whatever Peter does to him, whatever he puts Derek through, he can take it. What he can’t handle is the thought of one of them strung up here, at Peter’s mercy.  

“I had an idea last night. I figure, since your parents were burned alive, you probably have some issues with fire. But, that’s just a theory. What’d you say we test it?” Peter asks with a dry laugh. Derek swallows everything he wants to say, everything he needs to say. He wants to tell Peter that he knows what he did, that he knows his uncle tortured and killed his parents. He wants to whisper it into his ear as he pulls the man’s heart out. But not now. Peter will get what he deserves, just not now.

“Nice to know you think about me in your spare time,” Derek says tonelessly.

Peter responds by punching him in the ribs again, stealing the breath from Derek’s lungs. He fights to regain it, struggling to remain upright. Peter laughs again, walking over to the cart. Derek glares at him as he pulls out a cigarette and lights it, taking a long drag and blowing the smoke in Derek’s face.

“I love this brand. Imported from Italy,” Peter says arrogantly, flicking the ashes off of the cigarette. Derek opens his mouth to make a snide comment, but before he can say a word, Peter presses the butt of the cigarette down on Derek’s chest. It sears his skin, sending pain shooting through his body. He grits his teeth, refusing to scream. It’s a different kind of agony. Punches he can take, but this, this actually scares him.

Peter continues the process, going through both packets of cigarettes. Some he puts out on Derek’s arms, others across his abdomen. He targets sensitive places, taking pleasure in the way Derek’s body locks up, muscles coiling as he fights against the chains. By the time he’s finished, blood is running down both of Derek’s arms, the cuts on his wrists deepening. Somehow he’s still standing upright, but it’s a losing battle.

“Just apologize, Derek. That’s all I want,” Peter says as he picks up the blow torch and the Blood Wolf brand. Derek glares at the piece of metal, elegantly crafted to instil fear in whoever sees the mark it leaves behind. Derek’s used it before, knows what it feels like in his hand, how heavy it is. But he never thought it would be used on him. It’s like being run through with his own sword, elegant, but so fucking wrong. “It’s easy Derek, just say your sorry for being an ungrateful, entitled, little shit. Do that and I’ll let you run back to your bitch sisters,” he says with a laugh, infuriating Derek. No one insults his sisters and lives. Peter doesn’t deserve to call himself a Hale. He isn’t their blood.

“Thanks, but I’m not big into apologies,” Derek says, chuckling exhaustedly.

Peter punches him again, this time in the face. The blow knocks Derek’s head to the side, rattling the chains above his head. Peter takes a step back and Derek twists his head around, spitting blood onto the cement floor. It’s almost laughable how bad Peter is at hand-to-hand. The street kids in the underground throw better punches than him.

“You’re going to regret saying that,” Peter says as he lights the blow torch. Derek closes his eyes, unable to look at the blue flame. After his parents were murdered, Derek spent months living without sleep, unable to even close his eyes for fear of seeing their charred bodies. He had nightmares about being burned alive, about watching as his sisters were set on fire. The nightmares have ebbed with time, but he still has them. And he still hates being around fire. Other than losing the people he loves, it’s the only thing that really scares him.

Peter circles around him, scanning Derek’s body. Derek listens to him move, trying to prepare himself for what’s about to happen, for the feeling of his skin searing, burning, peeling away. He tries to keep his breath steady, tries not to think about his parents screaming as their bodies burned, but he can’t help it. What he’s about to feel, they felt all over, a thousand times worse. And Derek couldn’t save them. But he can save his sisters and Stiles, he can do this to save them.

“Where should we put it? The back is customary, but you’ve already got such a pretty wolf there,” Peter says, trailing one finger down the massive wolf tattoo that takes up most of Derek’s back. Peter hums as he circles around, thinking. “I think, yeah, it’ll do nicely there, no tattoos and it’ll hurt when you breathe.”

He chuckles like a little kid getting away with something and then he presses the brand down on Derek’s ribcage, just above his belly button. Derek screams, unable to swallow the sound. It echoes around the empty room, followed by the sound of Peter laughing. He holds the brand against Derek’s skin even as the other Dom screams and thrashes, desperate to get away.

It’s agony, pain unlike anything Derek has ever felt before. It’s all consuming, destroying everything the thought he ever knew. He’s strong, he knows that, but his strength is no match for this. It burns, melting his flesh and sending putrid smoke wafting up into his face.

And all the can think about is his parents. This is how they died. This is the man who killed them. But where he’s just branding Derek, he burned Talia and Richard alive. He destroyed them and that’s exactly what Derek is going to do to him. He decides, right then and there, that when he kills Peter, he’s going to burn him alive.

He’s going to set Peter on fire and laugh as he watches the flames consume him. 

 

 

 

Stiles chews on his bottom lip as he watches Marie put on a pair of latex gloves. He’s never been comfortable with hospitals, but it got worse after his mother died. For years, he wouldn’t even go near one. He broke his arm once and kept it from his father for a week, terrified of going back to the place where his mother wasted away.

And yeah, this place isn’t exactly a hospital, but it’s pretty damn close. It’s got a doctor, white walls, and all sorts of expensive equipment. Sounds like a hospital to him. He knows he shouldn’t be scared, that Derek would never send him somewhere unsafe, but he is.

“What are you gonna do?” Stiles asks, voice shaking.

Marie’s blue eyes widen, concern cutting across her face. She reaches out and takes Stiles hands in hers, holding them tight. The contact, even thought it’s not skin-to-skin makes him feel better. He quickly reminds himself that this isn’t Grey’s Anatomy, he’s not going to die during a routine checkup. He doesn’t have some secret Bulgarian plague that’s going to infect everyone here.

“We’re not going to do anything that you’re uncomfortable with, I promise. Derek just wants to know how best to take care of you. And I can tell him, but I need you to help me. Do you think you can do that?” she asks gently, gracing him with a sweet smile.

He exhales, heartbeat slowing at the mere mention of Derek. This is what his Dom wants, Derek is just trying to take care of him. He wouldn’t have insisted on this if it weren’t important to him. For some reason, Stiles matters to Derek. And if this is what his Dom wants, he’ll do it. Derek knows what’s best for him.

“Yeah, okay…I’ll try…” Stiles mumbles, nodding.

“Good,” she says with a smile. “I’m just going to run through your vitals, heart rate blood pressure, things like that. You just relax and let me know if anything scares you or makes you uncomfortable.”

Stiles nods and she pulls off her stethoscope, slipping her hand under his shirt to listen to his heart. Next she takes his blood pressure, fixing the cuff around his bicep and pumping it up. After that, its his temperature and respiratory rate. She keeps careful notes on her clipboard, giving Stiles the feeling that he’s taking a test. He’s not sure what happens if he fails. Is Derek looking for something in particular?

“Everything looks pretty good so far. Would you allow me to take a look at a few different areas? I’d like to examine your neck and abdomen.” Stiles nods and she asks him to take off his shirt. He strips it off, letting her lay him down on the hospital bed.

His chest constricts, the white walls slowly creeping in on him. His fear must be showing on his face because Marie places a hand on his shoulder, catching his attention. Her blue eyes dig into him, sweet and comforting. He takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, trying to calm himself down. If Derek were here it would be easy, all the Dom would have to do is touch him, say one word, and Stiles could breathe again.

“I’m okay,” Stiles says, even though he’s not.

Marie smiles, concerned. “It’s okay to be scared. But, I want you to know that you are doing so good. Derek would be very proud of you,” she says, playing expertly on his Submissive instincts. His chest swells, brain flooding with dopamine. He’s making Derek proud, he’s a good boy. He exhales and Marie nods curtly, pleased with him.

She moves her hands to his neck, gently probing his lymph nodes before moving her fingers down. He eyes her as she makes a quick note on her clipboard. He can’t help but wonder what she’s writing down. For all he knows, she’s drawing a picture of the Ninja Turtles between tasks. The thought makes him smile.

“So…uh…how long have you and Jane been together?” he asks as she moves down to his abdomen. He needs her to talk to him, needs to distract himself. What if he really does have a weird Bulgarian plague? Fuck.

She smiles, very aware of what he’s doing. “We’ve been married for five years now, but I’ve been collared for six. She took her sweet time proposing to me,” she says with a little giggle. Stiles smiles, in awe of her. That’s what he wants, to be with someone, to be loved by someone so completely that they have to collar him just so that everyone knows he’s theirs. He wants to belong to someone.

Logically, he knows that Derek shouldn’t be his Dom, that it’s a stupid fucking idea. He’s an undercover cop and Derek’s a criminal. They’re enemies in every sense of the word. But knowing that doesn’t change the fact that Stiles wants him, that the Sub’s heart stops when Derek walks into the room. Stiles needs him.

Marie gently probes his abdomen as she tells him about how she and Jane first met. He focuses more on the sound of her voice than her actual words. Her tone is slow and easy, allowing him to breathe. And, before he knows what’s happening, she’s pulling her hands back. He arches an eyebrow at her, too scared to spit out one of the many jokes playing on the tip of his tongue.

“You’re fine, Stiles,” she says with a soft chuckle. She gestures for him to sit up and he does as instructed, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. “Would you mind if I asked you a few questions? You don’t have to answer them, but being candid would be very helpful.”

Stiles nods solemnly, toying with his fingers. She glances down at them, taking note of his anxious habit. He separates his hands, but a second later, their back together. God, he’s never been good at sitting still. It used to be worse. He’s gotten a handle on his ADHD over the years, but it’s still impossible for him to keep his hands still.

“Do you have any medical conditions that Derek should be aware of?”

Stiles clears his throat. “I have ADHD, but I take Adderall and that helps. It’s not as bad as it was when I was little,” he says rapidly, watching her pen move across the paper. She’s probably in the middle of drawing Raphael’s mask.

“Derek told me that you’ve been taking Babydoll for almost a year, is that correct?”

“Uh…yeah…that’s correct,” he murmurs, dropping his gaze in shame. He didn’t want to do it, being a drug addict was so not on his to do list, but he didn’t have much of a choice. He did what it took to take care of himself. Even if it hurt him in the process.

“And where did you shoot up?” she asks candidly, glancing at the inside of his arms. He straightens them out, baring his track marks to her. She asks if she can examine them and he nods, letting her check for infection, even though he knows he’s fine. He was always very careful about using sealed needles and only buying Baby off of Cora. Hers is the cleanest in the state. “Derek mentioned that you recently detoxed?”

“Yeah…over the past few days,” Stiles says, biting his lip. He’s never hurt so much before; hell, he didn’t think he could hurt like that. His world caved in on itself, becoming nothing. Every part of him ached for something he couldn’t name. He wanted to scream and cry at the same time, torn between fury and absolute sadness.

“Well you look very good. You’re lucky Derek was there to drop you. Subs often pass away while detoxing from Babydoll. The ones that survive are the ones that enter subspace during the process. It levels out their hormones, enabling them to get through it.” She smiles gently, giving him another little nod. A tight pit forms in his stomach. He knew Derek helped him, but he had no idea the the Dom saved his life. Then again, it did feel like he was dying, he had wanted to die. “Derek really cares about you,” she says, blushing.

“You think?” Stiles asks, dropping his gaze. He knows that it’s true, he sees in the way Derek cares for him, the way he touches him. What he doesn’t understand, is why? Stiles isn’t anything special. He’s average at best and Derek, well he’s Derek, gorgeous and brilliant. He could to so much better than Stiles.

“Oh, I don’t think, I know. He only calls us if there’s an emergency, if someone is dying. But this time, he called just because he wanted someone to take a look at you. I think that says a lot.”

Stiles nods, grateful for her words. Even if he doesn’t understand why Derek cares, knowing that he does, makes Stiles feel better. “Anything else you need, doc?” Stiles asks with a smirk, finally comfortable enough to tease her. Marie smirks, resituating her clip board in her lap.

“I just need to weigh you and then you are home free,” she says, stepping aside. Stiles hops off the bed and takes off his shoes. She doesn’t ask him to undress completely, so he doesn’t. He steps onto the scale, letting her take his measurements. He knows that he’s skinny, too skinny. He sees it every day in the mirror. But there wasn’t anything he could do about it, not while he was on Baby.

Once she’s done she directs him off the scale. Stiles sits down, pulling on his shoes. She hands him his shirt and his jacket, averting her eyes while he finishes getting dressed. He exhales in relief, turning to face her. It wasn’t as bad as he thought it was going to be, but he’s glad to have it done.

“Thanks, doc,” he says with a smile.

Marie grins, blue eyes glinting with pride. “You’re very welcome. Everything looks pretty good, especially considering the fact that you just detoxed. The only thing I’m worried about is your weight. But a high calorie diet should fix that right up and as long as Derek’s taking you down regularly, your hormones should level out,” she says, her tone precise and practiced, getting each word across.

“Eat lots of bacon cheese burgers, can do,” Stiles says with a wink, making her laugh. It’s a sweet tinkling sound, perfectly matching her gentle personality. If she were his doctor, maybe he wouldn’t mind actually going to a hospital.

“I was thinking more along the lines of fruits and veg-”

The door swings open, cutting Marie off. Cora and Laura stumble into the room, an unconscious Derek balanced precariously between them. Stiles heart lurches at the sight of his Dom, battered and bloody, the Blood Wolf branded into his stomach.

Chapter Text

Stiles stands stock-still, unable to move. He watches, chest caving in on itself, as Cora and Laura struggle to get Derek over to one of the beds. Marie meets them halfway, doing her best to help them lay Derek down. He’s passed out, head rolling to the side as Cora steps out of the way, giving Marie room.

“I need Jane,” Marie says sharply, taking off her stethoscope.

Laura pulls out her phone and lifts it to her ear. “Yeah, it’s Derek. Hurry,” she says, voice breaking over her brother’s name. Her hand shakes as she pockets her phone, turning to look at Derek. Cora moves to stand next to her, taking Laura’s hand, their faces identical masks of agony.

Stiles wants to go to them, wants to demand they tell him what happened to him. Who would do this to Derek? Just looking at him, all broken and bloody, makes Stiles ache. Rage blooms in his chest as he studies his Dom’s wounds. He was tortured. There are cigarette burns all over his body, his ribs are covered in bruises, and the brand on his stomach stands out, red and inflamed. Stiles fists his hands at his sides, wishing he had his gun. Someone is going to die for this.

A dark haired woman barges into the room, dashing over to Derek. She and Marie move as a seamless team, talking back and forth as they work. Stiles listens to them, but nothing makes sense. The only words that he does catch are ‘internal bleeding’ and ‘surgery,’ but they are enough to break him.

His chest constricts painfully, fear replacing his anger. Aware that he’s about to have a panic attack, he starts towards the door. Everyone’s attention needs to be on Derek right now, not him. He’ll get out of their way and then he can fall apart. Ten steps and then he can tear himself to pieces. Ten steps.

He’s almost to the door when it hits him. His lungs give, deflating like balloons in his chest. He puts his hands on the wall, bowing his head. Tears blur his vision, but it doesn’t matter because all he can see is Derek, lying in that bed, dying while Stiles stands here, utterly useless. Stiles is going to lose him. That thought weighs down on him, crushing him, threatening to destroy everything that he is.

Fuck.

It’s like a hand closing around his throat. He tries to breathe, tries calm down, but he can’t. Because it doesn’t matter, Derek’s all that matters. And he’s going to die. Stiles’ head spins and he loses his balance, collapsing. His body hits the ground, the impact gaining Cora’s attention.

“Stiles!” she yells, rushing over to him.

He forces himself to his knees, head bowed. Instinct takes over and he lifts a hand to his neck, clawing away at it. He needs to breathe, but he can’t. It hurts, everything fucking hurts and Derek’s going to die. Stiles is going to be alone, all alone. He’ll never hear Derek’s voice again, never know what it feels like to have the Dom inside of him. Everything that could have been, that might have been, flashes before Stiles’ eyes, a sick movie. The hand around his throat tightens, tears spilling down his cheeks.

“Derek…needs you…” Stiles manages to say, not wanting to take Cora from her brother. He’s okay, he can handle this. She needs to be with Derek. He refuses to take her from him.

“No, what Derek needs is for me to take care of his Sub,” she says in her Dom voice. It calms him, enabling him to take the slightest of breaths. She takes his face in her hands, forcing him to look at her. She’s got mascara running in tear-tracks down her face, making her look broken and empty. “Derek needs you to breathe. Can you do that for him, Stiles? Be a good boy and breathe.”

Stiles focuses on that, clinging to her words like a damn lifeline. Derek wants him to breathe, his Dom wants him to breathe. He can do that, right? Breathing is easy and it’ll make Derek happy. With that, his lungs inflate and he gasps, choking as he struggles to refill them.

Before he knows what’s happening, he’s in Cora’s arms, curled up with his face buried in her neck. The soft scent of her coconut perfume calms him, makes him feel safe and protected. She runs one hand through his hair, keeping the other locked firmly around the back of his neck. He cries softly, trying to keep quiet as Cora’s tears fall from her chin onto his shoulder.

“Get him out of here, Cora, he shouldn’t see this,” Jane says forcefully, her powerful voice running down Stiles’ spine. She’s upper level, probably a 9.

“Laura, you go with them. They need you,” Marie says, the gentle to her wife’s storm.

“Save him or I kill you both,” Laura says viciously, a promise in her voice. And Stiles believes her wholeheartedly. She and Cora are terrifying when it comes to protecting their brother. And for that, Stiles is thankful. Derek’s safer with them around. They would die for him and he would do the same for them.

Laura’s heels click against the tile as she walks over to Stiles and Cora. She holds her hand out, helping Cora to her feet. Cora somehow manages to keep Stiles in her arms, one of her hands tucked under him. He clings to her, opening his eyes just long enough to get a glimpse of Derek, pale and broken, before the door closes behind them.

Stiles stifles a sob in Cora’s neck as she carries him up the stairs. Another door closes behind him and he gasps, a protectiveness like he’s never felt before washing over him. His instincts start to scream, demanding he stay with his Dom, demanding he protect Derek.

He struggles in Cora’s arms, wanting to go back. “I need…I need…” He hiccups, tears burning his eyes. He needs Derek. He needs to be with him. But all Cora does is tighten her grip on him. “Please, Cora…please…” his voice breaks painfully.

Cora shushes him, running her fingers through his hair. “Jane and Marie are taking good care of him, cupcake. I know you feel like you need to be with him, I wanna be with him too, but we’d only get in the way.”

“He’s gonna be fine,” Laura says firmly, trying to comfort him in her own way.

They walk up another flight of stairs and through a door. Cora carries him into a brightly-lit room and sits down on a couch. Before he has time to react, Laura curls up next to them, tossing fuzzy blanket over Stiles’ shoulders. He snuggles into them, reaching out to take Laura’s hand.

Silence descends around them, a dark wave. Stiles holds them tight, wanting to comfort them as much as they’re comforting him. He’s not sure if it works, but it makes him feel better about keeping them from Derek. They should be with him, standing guard beside his bed, instead they are holding Stiles. He reminds himself that they’re probably exactly where Derek would want them, but it doesn’t help much. He still feels wrong, like he’s intruding on something, like he has no right to be here.

“Who did that to him?” Stiles asks when he’s finally able to formulate words. They stiffen against him as he lifts his head, brushing the tears from his cheek. He studies their expressions. Cora drops her gaze, grief alive in her eyes, but Laura just stares at him, enraged. She wants blood for this, they both do. And they aren’t the only ones. Derek is his. Stiles doesn’t care if they haven’t signed the paperwork yet, that Dom is his and he’s going to keep him safe.

Stiles waits for them to answer them, expecting to hear the name of a rival gang leader, but they both remain painfully silent. He’s not sure why they won’t tell him. Maybe they just don’t trust him and that’s fair, they haven’t known him for very long. But he deserves to know, Derek is his Dom. He has a right to know.

“Tell me!” he demands, furious tears brimming in his eyes. Cora shakes her head and Laura turns away from him, looking resolutely out the window. Why won’t they talk to him? It doesn’t have to be a name; he’ll take anything at this point. He just needs someone to blame, someone to hate, a fixed point in the midst of this storm. “Please,” he asks, begging.

Cora opens her mouth, but Laura cuts her off with a piercing look. “If Derek wants him to know, he’ll tell him,” she says through clenched teeth. Cora nods, agreeing with her. Stiles’ stomach ties itself in knots. What if Derek never has the chance to tell him? What if he dies before he can? The thought claws at his heart, consuming him piece by fucking piece. He can’t do this; he can’t lose him.

Sensing his distress, Cora and Laura curl tighter around him, Cora shushing him gingerly. She holds the back of his neck, keeping him in place, while Laura runs her fingers up and down his back, trying desperately to calm him.

“Tell me, please just tell me,” Stiles whispers into Cora’s neck, pleading with her.

“I’m sorry, cupcake,” she says softly, letting out a shaky exhale.

Stiles whimpers, clenching his eyes shut. “He’s gonna die…”

“No, he’s not,” Laura says ardently, completely sure of her words. “He’s to fucking stubborn to die. And there’s no way he’d leave us…or you.” She gives Stiles’ hand a quick squeeze, brushing her thumb across his skin.

He exhales, eternally grateful that they are here with him. If they weren’t holding him, grounding him, he’s sure he’d be curled up hyperventilating right now. They’re treating him like he really is Derek’s Sub, like he is a part of their family, and it’s a little bit terrifying. Especially considering the fact that he and Derek haven’t even kissed yet. He shouldn’t feel like his world is ending, but he does. In the midst of their fighting, their back and forth, will- they-won’t-they shit, Stiles has started to fall for him. And he hasn’t stopped.

Hours pass, a clock ticking away to their left. Cora and Laura continue to hold him, hands brushing his skin, but neither says a word. It’s horrible, the waiting, like knowing someone is going to kill you, but not knowing when or where. Stiles’ body aches with Derek’s absence, his skin screaming for the Dom’s touch. He needs to be near him, needs to know that he is alive, that he’s breathing.

Finally, the door opens, Jane stepping into the room. Stiles turns to face her, heart already breaking. But then she smiles and, for the first time in hours, Stiles can fucking breathe. Thank fuck. Derek’s okay. Well, not okay, but at least he’s alive.

“It was touch and go for a while there, but we managed to find the bleed. He’ll be alright,” she says with a curt nod. “I shouldn’t have to tell you that this can’t keep happening. I’m not stupid, girls, this isn’t just street fighting.” She narrows her gaze, studying all three of them, searching for something.

“Mind your business, doc,” Laura says, her tone far less harsh than her words.

“What she’s trying to say is, thank you,” Cora says, standing up, Stiles still wrapped in her arms. He thinks about asking her to put him down, but decides against it. He doesn’t want to know what will happen if she stops touching him. As far as he can tell, she’s the only thing keeping him sane right now.

“We’ll throw in a trip to the Fiji with this month’s paycheck,” Laura says brusquely, trying to thank Jane without actually thanking her. “You’ve earned it.”

“That won’t be necessary,” Jane says, shaking her head. “You already pay us far more than you should.” She swallows, making Stiles wonder just how much the Hales pay their personal doctors. It has to be a lot, for her to turn down a trip to Fiji.

“Can we see him?” Cora asks, tightening her hold on the back of Stiles’ neck.

“Of course, but he needs to take it easy for a little while,” Jane says, stepping out of their way. They move past her, Cora carrying Stiles down the stairs as Laura follows closely behind, her sister’s shadow.

In seconds, they are back downstairs. Marie greets them at the door, letting them inside. The hypnotic beep of the EKG monitor rings in Stiles’ ears, taking him back to when he was little, to sitting next to his mother’s hospital bed. He tightens his grip on Cora, suddenly wanting to be anywhere but here. He can’t watch someone else die, not again, never again. Cora shushes him, carrying him further into the room.

“Can Stiles lay with him?” Cora asks softly, her concern cutting him deep.

“Yes, but be careful not to jostle him,” Marie says. Cora nods, taking Stiles over to stand next to Derek’s bed. He knows she’s expecting him to release her and curl up next to Derek. And he wants to, so fucking badly. But what if he hurts him? Stiles refuses to take that risk.

“I don’t wanna hurt him,” he whispers, so that only Cora can hear him.

She chuckles softly. “Trust me, cupcake, the last thing you are going to do right now is hurt him. He needs you,” she says, running a hand down his back. Her words sink into him. Derek needs him.

He slowly lets go of Cora, pressing a tentative knee down on the edge of the hospital bed. She keeps a careful hold on him as he turns to face Derek. The sight of his Dom, broken and bandaged, causes his instincts to rage. That same protectiveness comes rushing back tenfold, demanding he wrap Derek up in his arms and keep him safe. Cora chuckles as Stiles snuggles up next to Derek, burying his face in the crook of the Dom’s neck. He tucks an arm across Derek’s chest, laying his palm down on the Dom’s heart. The steady beat of it against his hand calms Stiles, gives him something to hold onto.

 

 

 

Derek wakes to the sweetest weight pressed against his side. He knows instantly that it’s Stiles, the scent of his baby boy’s shampoo playing against Derek’s nose. Stiles has an arm across his chest and a leg tucked between his, the boy’s head resting on Derek’s shoulder. A glance at the door lets him know that Stiles placed himself between Derek and the outside world, instinctually protecting him.

He smiles, adoring the feel of his little Sub all curled up next to him. This is how he always wants to wake up. Admittedly, he’d rather not be waking up in a hospital bed, feeling like shit, but you can’t ask for too much.

He spots his sisters, sleeping together in the bed next to his. They’re limbs are entwined, Cora’s head pillowed on Laura’s stomach. It’s how they used to sleep when they were little, but it’s been a long time since he’s seen them do it. He hates himself for putting them through this. He can only imagine how horrible it was for them, and for Stiles. He’s sure his sisters took care of his little Sub, and for that he’s grateful, but this never should have happened.

He exhales, fury coursing through his veins, white-hot. Even with morphine numbing his body, he can still feel every burn Peter left on him. He can still feel the heat of the Blood Wolf as his uncle pressed it into his ribcage. He nearly killed Derek, would have if Cora hadn’t found him, and all because of his uncle’s jealousy.

Derek’s not sure when or how, but he’s going to kill Peter for what he’s put them through. He’s going to douse his uncle in gasoline, light a match, and watch the fucker burn. He destroyed Derek’s family, killed his parents. He’s forced them to live like slaves, torturing them day in and day out. And Derek is going to make him pay for every second of it. 

He must have tensed up, because Stiles shifts, sensing his anger. He tries to calm down, not wanting to wake him, but it’s too late. Stiles makes a soft mewling noise and lifts his head, blinking sleepily.

At the sight of his amber eyes, Derek lifts his head and presses his lips against the boy’s. For half a second Stiles remains completely still, eyes blown wide. Derek chuckles against his mouth and tilts his head to deepen the kiss, enthralled with the little Sub. He moves his lips slowly, letting Stiles ease into it. And he does. His eyelids fall shut and he starts to respond to Derek, pressing when Derek gives and taking when the Dom pushes.

Derek lifts his hand up, curling it around the back of Stiles’ neck. The second his skin makes contact, Stiles sighs into his mouth, going lax against him. He places his other hand on the boy’s hip, wanting to lift Stiles up and set the boy down on his chest. But the movement causes a lance of pain to shoot through him. Derek gasps, pulling his head back and clenching his eyes shut. Fuck, that hurt.

“Are you okay?” Stiles asks, frantic. He starts to get off of the bed, worried he hurt Derek, but the Dom holds him firmly in place.

“Just moved too fast,” Derek says, his words instantly calming the boy. He shakes his head, in awe of how easy it is for him to affect Stiles. All he has to do is touch the boy, say a few words, and Stiles gives in completely. It’s incredible, to have so much power over something that’s so powerful in itself.

“You sure you don’t want me to move?” Stiles asks, chewing his bottom lip. The action makes Derek want to kiss him again. So he does. He uses his hold on Stiles, pressing the boy down and capturing his lips again. This time, Stiles breathes into the kiss, surprising Derek by slipping his tongue into the Dom’s mouth. He meets the boy stroke for stroke, intent on tasting him, on taking whatever Stiles is willing to give.

He pulls back, breathing hard. Derek smiles, carding his fingers through the boy’s dark hair. Stiles closes his eyes, pressing into Derek’s touch. “Hmm…feels good…” he says, sighing. Derek’s instincts purr, pleased that his baby boy enjoys being touched, as much as he enjoys touching him.

“My sweet baby boy,” Derek croons, making Stiles blush. The little Sub fights the urge to preen, burying his face in Derek’s pec. He lifts his head, lips brushing the Dom’s skin. Derek shudders, wanting those lips everywhere, on his, exploring his skin, wrapped around his cock. Fuck, he already knows the boy is an amazing kisser. He probably gives fantastic head.

His cock hardens, responding both to the ideas running through Derek’s head, and the warm body pressed against his side. But he ignores it, pushing down those thoughts. As much as he wants to be inside the boy, they aren’t there yet. He wasn’t lying when he said he wanted a contract. He wants the boy to be his, in every way.

“You scared me,” Stiles says, his voice barely a whisper. But it cuts Derek like a fucking knife, quick and deep. He clenches his free hand into a tight fist, furious with himself and furious with Peter. He wanted to spend today caring for Stiles, making sure he recovered safely. Instead, he scared the boy to death, putting him through hell. He probably hasn’t eaten since Derek fed him. The thought tears at him, urging him to find Stiles something to eat. But he knows there’s nothing here. “I thought you were gonna die.” He drops his gaze, like he’s ashamed he even contemplated it.

“I’m sorry, Stiles,” Derek whispers, moving his hand to cup the boys face, fingers framing his nape. He brushes his thumb across Stiles’ bottom lip, making him shudder. “I didn’t mean to scare you. But, hey…” he catches the boy’s gaze, “I’m not going anywhere.” Stiles lets out a shaky breath, tears brimming in his amber eyes. The sight of them terrifies Derek. The last thing he wants is to make Stiles cry. “Don’t cry, baby boy. I’m alright, just a few bruises.” He smiles softly, trying to comfort the boy.

A dark fury fills Stiles’ eyes, making him look wild and manic. If Derek weren’t so worried, he’d think it was hot. “This isn’t a few bruises, Derek,” he says forcefully, gesturing to the brand on Derek’s ribcage, the one hidden beneath a layer of bandages. “You almost died!” he yells, waking up Cora and Laura. They jolt upright, turning to look at Stiles and Derek.

“I’m fine, Stiles,” Derek says, trying to calm him, but all it does is infuriate him further.

“No, you’re not!” Stiles growls, his ire taking Derek by surprise. He knew Stiles had fire in him, but this is something else. This is a Sub protecting his Dom. Most people think that Doms are the crazy protective ones, and that’s because most people have never seen a Sub completely lose it. “Who did this to you?” Stiles asks, his question sending a shot of cold water through Derek’s veins. He stiffens, muscles tensing. “Tell me!” The boy demands as he stands up, pulling reflexively on his fingers. Normally, it’s a cute tic of his, but not tonight, not when his twisting so hard his skin is turning red.

“Stiles,” Derek says, a warning in his voice. He reaches out to grab the boy’s hands, wanting to ease his fears, but Stiles takes a step back, brows knitting together.

“Tell me who did this to you!” he says, desperation cutting away at his voice, making it sharper, harsher.

Derek swallows hard, fighting against the tightness in his throat. His instincts are clawing at him, demanding he give Stiles what he wants, demanding he tell the boy the truth and bring him back to bed. But he can’t. Not when telling Stiles could risk everything he and his sisters have worked for. He wants to trust the boy with this. He wants to believe that Stiles isn’t a liability. But, the truth is, as much as he cares for the boy, Derek doesn’t really know him.

“I’m sorry, Stiles,” Derek says through clenched teeth.

Tears spill down Stiles’ cheeks. He lifts a hand up, brushing them away angrily. Derek fights the urge to get up and go to him. Fuck. He hates seeing the boy cry. It’s worse than the torture he endured today, far worse.

“Fuck you,” Stiles whispers. And, just like that, he disappears behind the door.

Chapter Text

Cora kicks her boots up onto Derek’s bed, continuing to scroll through Tumblr. Derek’s ignoring her, glaring resolutely at the far wall. He knows what she wants, she’s made it very clear that thinks he should tell Stiles. But he refuses to listen.

Idiot.

“You trust him enough to be your Sub, but not with this?” Cora asks, scoffing. They’ve been at it for a few hours, passive-aggressively fighting with one another. And, so far, Cora is getting nowhere. Derek thinks that she and Laura are stubborn, but they learned from the best. He takes the term to new heights.

He turns to look at her, lips pinched with annoyance. “We don’t even know him, Cora. Why the fuck would I trust him with this?” he growls, clenching his fists in the sheets.

“Uh, because he’s trustworthy! You wouldn’t have asked for a contract if you didn’t think so! And don’t fucking lie to me, you know him! He’s sweet and fierce and brilliant, he’s obsessed with comic books, and he’s a better shot than even you!” Cora says, her tone clipped and severe. Over the past few weeks, she has come think of Stiles as a part of her family. And she’s not about to let Derek push him away again. Not again.

Derek takes a deep breath and exhales, running an exhausted hand down his face. Cora rolls her eyes at him. Why can’t he see how much Stiles cares about him? Then again, he didn’t see Stiles yesterday, he didn’t feel the boy clinging to Cora, terrified. No, that was her. She’s the one who held him as he cried, and he did the same for her.

“I can’t risk it,” Derek says tonelessly, shaking his head.

“If you don’t tell him, you’re going to lose him. You didn’t see him yesterday. He thought you were gonna die and he…he completely fell apart. It took Laura and I both to keep him level. And when I wouldn’t tell him about Peter, I thought he was gonna rip my fucking head off!” Cora says, glaring at her dumbass of a brother. She loves him. He deserves someone amazing, someone like Stiles, but she’s getting sick of him screwing everything up.

He lets out a shaky breath, eyes on his clasped hands. She can almost see everything she just said working its way through his head. His expression softens, but only just. And yeah, she gets it, Peter is a crazy motherfucker. If he gets even the slightest inclination of their betrayal, he’ll chop their heads off and string them up. But, at the same time, isn’t Stiles worth that kind of risk?

“He’s already a liability,” Derek mutters, more to himself than to Cora.

She scoffs at him. “Yeah, and he’s gonna be an even bigger one if you don’t tell him. If you think he’s just gonna let this lie, then you really don’t know him. He’ll dig until he figures it out…or until Peter gets his hands on him. You alright with that?” she asks bluntly, arching an eyebrow. Derek tenses, muscles coiling tight. She smirks. There he is, there’s the Dom intent on safeguarding what’s his. “I know you wanna keep us safe, Der. But we’re not the only ones you need to protect.”

“I can’t even keep you and Laura safe. How am I supposed to shield him from this?” Derek asks, his soft tone taking her by surprise. She reaches out and takes his hand, brushing her fingers across the tattoos that line his knuckles. Written across them is the word ‘RELIGION,’ as Derek’s fists are the only things he believes in.

“You don’t have to do it alone, Der. I adore him and I think he’s actually growing on Laura,” Cora says with a little giggle. “He’s yours…we’re gonna protect him with our lives. I can promise you that.” She nods, holding his gaze.

“I don’t know how much longer I can do this,” Derek says, the admission almost a whisper. It breaks her heart, seeing him like this, knowing that he’s here because he loves her. The only reason he took out M12 is because they tried to kill her. And if he hadn’t done that, Peter wouldn’t have gone so far. This is her fault.

She gives his hand a comforting squeeze, smiling at him. “Well, you won’t have to do it for much longer. Stiles’ coke is selling crazy. We should have enough money in a couple of weeks.” Derek nods, some of the tension spilling off of his body.

Cora’s phone rings, startling her so much that she almost reaches for her gun. Derek chuckles, releasing her hand. She picks it up, see’s Laura’s face on the screen, and presses send, lifting it to her ear.

“Bunny?” Laura says, a slight edge to her voice. Cora instantly knows that something is wrong. Her stomach tightens, anxiety clawing away at her.

“What’s wrong?” Cora asks frantically, glancing over at Derek. He’s already half-way out of bed. She stands up, struggling to push him back down. He glares at her, wordlessly threatening to send her to the ground.

“It’s Luka, he needs you,” Laura says softly.

Cora drops the phone, taking Derek’s face in her hands. “Laura’s fine! It’s Luka,” her voice breaks when she says his name. Derek’s anger fades as quickly as it came. He lets her press him back into the bed, cursing under his breath. She fixes him with a forceful glare, promising to do unspeakable things to him if he even thinks about getting out of bed. She grabs her phone, lifting it back to her ear. “What happened?”

“I’m not sure, he just breaks sometimes. I don’t know what causes it, but he came to me an hour ago and asked me to find someone…” she trails off, sighing.

“Someone to hurt him?” Cora asks, overcome with rage. Her protective instincts bare their teeth, threatening to kill anyone who lays a hand on her boy. No one’s going to touch him, no one but her.

Laura clears her throat. “I told him I booked a client, but I didn’t…just like you asked. He’s waiting,” she says, an ache in her voice. Luka is important to Laura; she cares for him deeply. And Cora is eternally grateful that her sister is watching out for him. She’s not sure what she would do if he left. Her only hope is that what she’s about to do, won’t lead to that. If Luka were to leave Laura, in the state he’s in, he’d be dead in a week.

“I’ll be there in fifteen minutes. Blindfold him for me. Oh, and Laura…”

“Yeah?” Laura asks, sounding younger than she is. She’s scared, really scared.

“Thank you,” Cora says and she knows that her sister is smiling. They say goodbye and Cora pockets her phone, turning to face Derek. She doesn’t have to say a word. He nods solemnly and gestures towards the door.

Heart in her throat, Cora makes her way outside, sliding into her Chevelle. Her baby roars to life beneath her, purring as Cora takes off down the road. Torn between excitement and terror, she presses the Chevelle for all it’s worth.

One wrong move, and Luka will run from her. And if he does that, he’ll leave the safety of Laura’s establishment and die on the streets. Some Subs need pain, they get off on it, but not him. He’s using it to punish himself for something that wasn’t even his fault. And it can’t keep happening. She refuses to let it keep happening. 

Stomach tying itself in knots, Cora pulls into the parking lot of one of Laura’s many hotels. Her sister splits her time between them, but this one is Luka’s. Cora’s been avoiding it, trying to force the images of Luka, strung up and bloody, out of her mind. But it hasn’t worked. They never disappeared, they just festered and grew. And now, now he’s all she thinks about, all she worries about.

Cora gets out of her car and makes her way to the office. When she gets there, she finds Laura standing in the doorway, expression pinched. The second she sees Cora, she exhales, relief washing over her.

“Thank God,” she says with a soft smile.

“He okay?” Cora asks, anxiously picking at her black nail polish. Laura grabs her hand, stopping her. Cora clenches it into a fist, aware that her nervous habit drives her sister crazy.

Laura shakes her head, green eyes burning with something akin to fear. Acting on instinct, Cora pulls her sister into her arms, fisting a hand in Laura’s dark curls. Normally, Laura’s the strong one, but she’s not perfect. She gets scared just like everyone else. And Cora makes a point of always being there to hold her.

“He’s just so angry, bunny,” Laura whispers, her breath bushing Cora’s ear. God, she’s shaking. Cora tightens her arms around her sister, anxiety blooming in the pit of her stomach. “I can’t keep doing this…” her voice breaks and she pulls away from Cora, brushing the tears from her cheeks. She squares her shoulders and rights her expression, exhaling.

“You won’t have to,” Cora whisper, reaching out to brush a stray tear from her sister’s cheek. Laura catches her hand and gives it a soft squeeze, silently thanking Cora for what she’s about to do.

Laura releases her hand and nods curtly. “He’s in room 201. I blindfolded him like you asked,” she says, gesturing Cora inside. Cora nods and makes her way past her sister, cutting through the office and the lobby. She keeps an eye on the room numbers as she walks down the hall, stomach an odd mixture of terror and relief.

  1. There it is.

She lifts her hand to knock and then thinks better of it. She’d much rather be doing this somewhere else, somewhere more…well more. But there’s no getting around it. Luka needs to be shown how it feels to be loved and Cora’s going to do just that. It doesn’t matter that it’s here, in a place where he has sex with other people. All that matters is Luka, and taking care of him.

Her hand shakes as she twists the doorknob and pushes it open. Not wanting anyone to see him, she quickly closes the door behind her. She takes a deep breath and lets it out nice and fucking slow. She can do this. She can do this.

Her fears fall away the second she sees him, kneeling naked at the foot of the bed, a black blindfold tied around his grey eyes. Her stomach seizes and she bites back a gasp. Fuck, he’s beautiful. Tall and muscular, all sharp angles and scars, his dark hair a mess of gorgeous curls. Its more than enough to take her fucking breath away. She could stand here for hours, drinking in the sight of him.

Beautiful. Fucking beautiful.

He lifts his head ever so slightly, wordlessly awaiting an order. Cora bites her lip. How should she play this? If he hears her voice he’s going to recognize her and she doesn’t want that to happen, at least not yet. She’ll have to use physical cues. Which isn’t going to be easy seeing as he’s blindfolded.

Fuck. She exhales, telling herself to get out of her head. She just needs to feel it. She’s a good Dom, she knows she is. It’s instinct. Just let it happen. Luka needs her. To hell with what she’s feeling. This isn’t about her.

This is about him.

And with that, a calm washes over her. She can do this. She can do this for him. Smiling to herself, she strips off her jacket and toes off her sandals. She wants to feel his skin against hers, but that can wait. Once he knows who she is, if he wants her naked, he can ask. Otherwise, she’s keeping her clothes on. The last thing she wants is to take advantage of him. No, what she wants is quite the opposite.

Crossing the carpeted floor, she places two fingers under his chin, directing him to his feet. He stands up, baffling her once again with his height. She has to stifle an excited little giggle. God, he makes her feel like she’s back in high school, all butterflies and cotton candy. It’s incredible.

She places a hand on his chest, right over a number of cigarette scars, and presses him back onto the bed. The burgundy comforter rumples under his weight. He sits up on his arms, looking down at her even though he can’t see anything, his expression impassive.

She glances down at his cock. It’s as beautiful as the rest of him, long and cut. But he’s not aroused and she’s not surprised. He’s expecting pain, his body is expecting pain, and this is how it’s reacting. It’s proof positive that he isn’t doing this because he likes it. It’s his way of punishing himself for what that man did to him. Cora makes a quick note to ask Laura how she killed the fucker. She wants to hear about it, in detail.

Cora walks over to the black side table, opening one of the drawers. Inside are toys, hundreds of them. Laura keeps the kink business in Cali running. There’s everything from whips to nipple clamps to dildos. Cora searches until she finds what she wants, tucked away in the bottom of the third drawer, two lengths of soft nylon.

She circles around the bed, taking hold of one of his hands. Gingerly, she lifts it to the headboard and ties it there. She doesn’t like that she’s tying him up without his permission, but she can’t have him touching her. If he does, he might recognize her. And it’s not like the nylon strips can really hold him. If he wants out, all he has to do is pull.

She repeats the process with his other hand, fighting the urge to lift it up and brush a kiss across his scarred knuckles. Once he’s bound to the headboard, she moves up onto the bed. She smiles to herself. He’s going to love this. She’s never met a Sub that responds to sensory play the way he does. It makes her wonder if his old Dom punished the boy by refusing him touch. The mere thought makes her sick. Subs need touch, it’s as biological as the need to eat. To starve them of it is just cruel.

Lifting her hand, she pushes his head to the side. Then she trails her fingers slowly, oh so slowly, down his neck and across his chest. His breath hitches and she grins, curling her fingers inward so her nails scrape lightly across his corded abs. She continues her path, moving past his cock and down his leg. She circles her hand around the back of his knee, brushing the sensitive flesh there, and moves down his calf.

She travels back up, this time starting at his wrist. She slides her fingers down his forearm and across his bicep, adoring the feel of his muscles flexing and giving. A glance down at his cock lets her know that it’s working. He’s half-hard and all she’s done is brush her fingers across his skin.

Relief pumping through her veins like a drug, she scrapes her nails across his chest and down his side, her touch gentle and teasing. He sighs as she slides her fingers across his abs, mapping the contorts of the muscles there. His cock jumps when she reaches the inside of his thigh. She wants to touch him there, wants to take him in her hand, in her mouth, but not yet. When she touches his cock, she wants him to know that it’s her.

She moves her hand slowly down to his foot and then back up to his other wrist, repeating the process until his breath is hitching, his skin flushed. She glances down at his cock. It’s hard, hitting his stomach with Luka’s every inhale. She’s taken with a wicked urge to drop down and lick the drop of pre-cum from the head of his cock. She wants to know what he tastes like, what he feels like in her mouth. But she stills herself. They’ll get to that soon. Hopefully. But not right now.

Ready to take it to the next level, Cora places a hand on either side of him and bends down, kissing one of his nipples. He sighs, fisting his hands around the headboard. She smiles when she realizes that he wants to touch her, but he can’t. For now, he’s respecting the restraints, or rather the idea of them.

She kisses her way up his chest, licking and nipping at his skin. Whenever she finds a scar, she pays it close attention, trying desperately to kiss away his past. He whimpers when she reaches his neck. She licks the tendon there, running the length of it. Unconsciously, he leans into her mouth, wordlessly asking for her to kiss him. And God, does she want to. She remembers exactly what his lips feel like against hers, how he tastes. But kissing him might give her away.

Cursing herself, she moves back down his neck and across his chest. Her hair brushes his skin and he lets out a shaky breath, tightening his grip on the headboard. She slides her legs down, laving wet kisses down across his ribcage and his abdomen. Fuck, she could worship him for hours. There’s something about a guy’s abs, or rather Luka’s abs, that just gets to her.

He lets out the slightest of whimpers as she moves past his cock, kissing her way down his thighs and across his calf. Eyeing him hungrily, she pulls back and crawls up his body, this time starting with the inside of his elbow. She licks the skin there, trailing a path of kisses down his bicep and across his shoulder.

She wants to talk to him, wants to praise him so badly that it almost hurts. The words play on the tip of her tongue, threatening to destroy her. God, he’s so amazing. And she wants him to know that. She wants to whisper sweet things to him, wants to make him blush and preen. But she can’t, not yet. It takes everything she has, but she keeps her mouth shut. It’s working, the overload of touch, shocking his system, turning him on. But one word from her and it’ll be ruined. Luka will know who she is, he’ll pull out of the restraints and walk out of the room, out of her life.

She kisses her way down his body, this time paying careful attention to his nipples. She loves the way he whimpers as she toys with them. It’s a sound she’s quickly becoming addicted to.

The heat in her stomach builds as she swipes her tongue across his hip bone. She’s wet, more than ready for whatever he’s willing to give. Fuck, she wants him inside of her. It would be so easy to slip off her cut offs, pull her panties to the side, and sit down on his cock. But no. As much as she wants that, it would be wrong. He has no idea who she is and, despite the morally grey situation that they are in, she refuses to take advantage of him.

Kissing her way past his cock, and down his leg, she stops there. Instead of returning back to his wrist or his neck, she moves up his body, nipping the inside of his thigh and licking his hip. She slides up his abs, sticking her tongue playfully into his belly button. To her surprise, he lets out a tiny chuckle. She beams, wanting more than anything to tell him just how freaking cute that was. But she holds her tongue.

She laves lazy kisses up his ribcage, licking one of his nipples. He inhales sharply, flexing his arm muscles as he loosens and tightens his grip on the headboard. His control is slipping and fuck if it’s not the most beautiful thing Cora has ever fucking seen. Pride swells in her chest as she realizes that she did this, she’s the one who turned him into a needy mess, all hot and wanting.

Moving across his pec she plans on kissing her way up his neck, but that doesn’t happen. She’s licking his clavicle when he yanks on the nylon restraints, easily pulling himself free. He takes her face in his hands, fisting one deep in her hair.

And then he’s kissing her, lips moving ferociously against hers as he plunges his tongue into her mouth. She sighs into it, surprised when he turns and presses her down into the mattress. She nips his bottom lip and then slides her tongue across the abused skin, licking it better. Fuck, he tastes good, like mint and cigarettes and something sweet.

She keeps her hands to herself, maintaining what’s left of his boundaries. Wait. Who does he think she is? The thought sends ice water through her veins. She pulls back, breaking the kiss to look up at him. Who does he think did this to him? Oh God, what if he doesn’t want it to be her? Guilt gnaws at her stomach, stealing the breath from her lungs. What the fuck did she just do?

“You’re shorter than I thought you were,” he says, flashing her the cutest little half-smirk she’s ever fucking seen. She can’t help herself, she bursts out laughing. When did he know it was her?

He reaches up, pulling off the blindfold and tossing it aside. The sight of his grey eyes, like storm clouds rolling in, takes her breath away. He looks her over slowly, taking in every incline of her face, almost like he’s trying to memorize her. She blushes under his intense gaze, anxiously biting her lip.

The action doesn’t go unnoticed. He groans and bends down, capturing her lips. He kisses her her soft and slow, a wordless thank you. Their lips move as one, a gentle bend and sway, tongues darting into one another’s mouths. He licks her bottom lip, the one she just bit, and then pulls back, opening his eyes.

“When did you know?” she asks, her curiosity getting the best of her.

He scoffs, smirking. “You’re the only person I know who smells like coconuts. I knew the second you walked into the room.” He shakes his head in disbelief, brows furrowed.

“Why didn’t you say anything?”

He drops his gaze, expression shifting. Darkness fills his eyes and she can almost feel the grief, the guilt, wafting off of him in toxic waves. It’s enough to choke her. She reaches a tentative hand up, giving him ample time to pull back, and places it along his jaw. She uses her thumb to lift his head, catching his gaze.

“Talk to me,” she whispers.

“I just…I wanted to know what it felt like before…” he trails off, tearing his gaze away.

“Before what?” Cora asks, voice shaking. Her stomach gives, a dull ache forming in her chest. What is he talking about? Oh God, what did he do? She’s been worried he would break and make some stupid decision. And it looks like he has.

Is he leaving Laura, going to someone else? The thought is like a bullet ripping through her heart. For him, leaving this place would be a death sentence. Most people in the prostitution business aren’t like Laura. In fact, no on is like Laura. She watches out for her employees, makes sure that they are comfortable and safe. But her practices are anything but common. If Luka goes to someone else and tells them he’s a damn pain slut, chances are they’ll beat him to death in a matter of hours.

She won’t let that happen.

No way.

He pushes off the bed, and grabs a pair of boxers from a dresser, slipping them over his hard cock. Cora sits up and scoots off the bed, standing. He’s avoiding her gaze, shoulders tense and jaw locked. Anxiety burrows deep under her skin and it’s all she can do not to demand he tell her what’s going on. As much as she wants to know, that could ruin the progress they have made today.

“Are you gonna answer me?” she asks, careful to keep her tone nonthreatening.

He takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, turning to face her. His grey eyes tear through her, brimming with fury and longing. “You’re sweet, Cora, but you aren’t what I need. You can’t give me what I need,” he says, the lines sounding painfully rehearsed. She shakes her head in disbelief. He doesn’t actually believe that, how could he after what she just did to him? No, he’s using it as an excuse, something to hide behind.

“I’m exactly what you need,” she says, fixing him with a fierce look. Unconsciously, he drops his gaze, even now responding to her. She can tell he wants to kneel, wants to stay, but he’s fighting it. And she’s not about to force him.

“You can’t hurt me, you don’t have it in you,” he growls, lifting his gaze and glaring at her. She closes the distance between them, invading his personal space. To his credit, he holds his ground. Some part of her is proud of him, proud of how strong he is. But the rest of her is screaming.

“You don’t want me to hurt you,” she whispers, tilting her head to catch his gaze. The hurt in his eyes is unlike anything she has ever seen, is so deep. It makes her want to pull him into her arms and hold him, just hold him until he feels better…until she feels better.

“I need it,” he mummers, fisting his hands at his sides.

“No, you don’t. You need what I just gave you. You need someone who will kiss you and touch you and praise you until you can’t fucking breathe! That’s what you need!” Cora says forcefully, more scared than angry. She doesn’t what to push him away, but she can’t afford to let him do whatever it is that he’s got planned.

He shakes his head, refusing to accept anything she just said, even though he knows that she’s right. She exhales as he takes a step back, distancing himself from her. He squares his shoulders and arches his neck, the light disappearing from his eyes. His expression shifts as he puts up his walls, blocking her out. She’s never met anyone who can shut themselves down the way he does. It’s terrifying.

“I’m signing a contract with one of my regulars. He’s willing to pay me and…and he’s got a thing for whips.” He fixes Cora with a broken, pleading, angry glare and then walks out of the room, leaving her in pieces.

Chapter Text

Laura’s sitting on the table in her employee lounge, eyes firmly fixed on the hallway. She tells herself for the thousandth time that Cora can handle this, that she can somehow tape Luka back together. If anyone can, it’s her. Cora is the sweetest Dom that Laura has ever met and that’s exactly the kind of person Luka needs, but she’s not sure if Cora is strong enough for him. The little Sub doesn’t bend, he explodes.

Cora broke something in him, reminded him that he’s capable of being loved. And ever since, he’s been prowling around, muscles coiled, defensive as all hell. So it wasn’t much of a surprise when he walked into Laura’s office today and asked her to call one of her most violent clients.

Fuck, this has to work. She’s getting sick of watching Luka tear himself apart. He’s a good man, a sweet Sub. What happened to him wasn’t his fault. He needs to stop punishing himself for it.

She can still see him in that house, chained in the corner like a fucking dog. He was thin and battered, covered in bruises and scars, his left shoulder dislocated. It terrifies her to think that the only reason she found him was because of her shitty sense of direction. One of her clients missed a payment and she went to the wrong address. One look at Luka and she shot his Dom in the head, no questions asked. Thinking back now, she wishes she’d have taken her time with him, made it hurt.

She brought Luka to one of her hotels, unsure what else to do. The poor thing wouldn’t look her in the eye, wouldn’t even talk. She tried to feed him, but he ignored her and the food he so desperately needed. It took her a nine months to coax him back to life. She spent endless hours listening to the boy scream through nightmares, watching him cower in the corner, curled up tight. But, eventually, she earned his trust and they built on that. She never intended on him working for her, but he said he would leave if she didn’t let him. And she couldn’t let him go, not in that state.

To say he’s important to her is a gross understatement. Cora and Derek know that she found Luka, but they have no idea what she went through to save him. It’s not something she tells people. If Luka wants someone to know about his past, he’ll tell them.

A door slams, jolting Laura out of her head. She blinks rapidly, watching Luka as he stalks down the hallway, shaking hands fisted at his sides. She jumps off the table and sidesteps in front of him, blocking his path.

To her surprise, he’s flushed and sweaty, his cock straining against his boxers. Well, fuck. She’s going to have to buy her sister a damn cake. Laura’s never seen Luka aroused, never seen him hard. And the clients he attracts could care less if he’s having a good time. As long as plays the game, talks dirty to them and screams when he’s supposed to scream, they don’t give his pleasure a second thought.

She catches his gaze and her heart stops, fear slicing her open. She’s seen that look before, the broken, angry, fuck-you-up glare. It’s how he used to look at her when she offered him something, like he knew he didn’t deserve it, like he hated her for trying.

Fuck.

Maybe this was a bad idea.

“Luka?” she whispers softly, holding his gaze.

He lets out an unsteady breath, tears brimming in his grey eyes. She reaches out to touch him, but he jerks away from her. God, it’s been years since he’s done that. He’s become so adept at hiding his emotions, at building up his walls, that seeing him scared is utterly terrifying.

“I told you to keep her away from me,” he says, voice breaking.

“She cares about you, Luka,” Laura says, watching anxiously as he starts to pace. He fists a hand in his dark curls and twists around to face her, eyes burning. She almost steps back, almost. Luka’s a level 8 Sub, but he fights his impulses, pushing down his instincts like they are nothing. Most level 8s wouldn’t dare threaten someone as dominant as her, but Luka does it effortlessly. He’s strong, so fucking strong.

He shakes his head at her, irate. “I can’t do this, Laura! I can’t…” he says desperately, clenching and unclenching his fists. “Fuck!” he growls, slamming one against the wall. He bows his head, breathing hard. 

“Why are you running from her?” Laura asks, taking a step towards him.

He slowly twists around to face her, expression turning impassive. God, she hates when he does that. It’s a talent he acquired out of necessity. His old Dom got off on his screams, on seeing the pain in his eyes. So Luka learned to control his emotions, it was that or get raped. Laura understands why he does it, but he shouldn’t have to with her. How is she supposed to help him if she doesn’t know what he’s thinking, what he needs?  

“Why the fuck would you want me with her anyway?” he asks, deflecting.

“No, this isn’t about me. This is about you. Tell me why you’re running away from her,” Laura says, fixing him with a piercing stare. Luka holds his ground for a long time, glaring at her stridently. But eventually, he succumbs to her dominance. Sighing, he takes a step back and drops his gaze.

Laura’s been putting him down since she first found him. He’s not comfortable with anyone else and she doesn’t mind. It’s never been sexual. Hell, for the longest time Laura has viewed Luka as Cora’s. But her experience with the Sub has taught her how best to deal with his temper. Most people are better left alone, but not Luka. He lets his anger fester. It’s get it out now, or wait for him to explode later.

“What, she not good enough for you?” Laura asks, deliberately baiting him.

“No!” he hisses, lifting his gaze to glare at her.

“Then what?” Laura demands.

He lets out an agitated groan, running a hand down his face. “She…she’s perfect! She’s so fucking sweet and she smells like coconuts and all I wanna do is kiss her!” he yells, voice cracked and raw. Laura almost smiles. There it is. There’s the truth. Looks like Luka’s just as taken with Cora as she is with him. Laura wants to high-five herself. Damn, she loves being right.

“So?” Laura asks, unsure whether or not she really wants to hear his answer.

“So I’m nothing, Laura! She’s perfect and I’m nothing!” he screams, destroying the tiny glimpse of happiness she was feeling. Just like that, it’s gone, an empty void in it’s place. Laura’s spent years trying to show Luka what he’s worth, trying to rebuild the self image that that motherfucker decimated. But she’s gotten absolutely nowhere. Luka just shuts down, blocking her out.

Fuck.

She takes a tentative step toward him, reaching up to brush her fingers down his cheek. He lets out a shaky breath, fighting the urge to lean into her touch. “You are not nothing,” she says, putting emphasis on each word. “I know that, Cora knows that. You know that.” He blinks, sending tears streaming down his face. She brushes one away, relishing in the sight of it. As long as he’s still letting himself feel something, anything, there hope for him. It’s when he stops that she’s worried about. “You’re good, Luka,” she whispers, repeating the mantra she’s drilled into his head. She’s said it a million times, over and over and over again, as he cried and screamed and thrashed. She never let up, hoping that one day he would believe her.

That day hasn’t happened yet.

“I’m not,” he mutters, jerking away from her. She lets her had drop back to her side, clenching it into a fist. Fuck. She really thought this thing with Cora would work. Honestly, it was kind of her last hope for him. She has no idea what to do now, absolutely no idea.

How is she supposed to help him if he won’t let her?

“Fine, I don’t care if you don’t believe me. But you have to believe her!” Laura says, gesturing to the door down the hall, the door Cora is probably crying behind. “She made me promise to call her the next time you asked for pain. She cares about you!” Laura lets out an exasperated groan, shaking her head in disbelief. “I don’t know what she did to you in there, but it worked! Fuck, Luka, when’s the last time you were hard? I know the answer, do you? It was before Victor, before-”

“Stop! Just stop!” he growls, cutting her off. He reaches up, angrily brushing the tears from her eyes. He’s shaking, looking somehow small despite his considerable height. Guilt slices Laura open. Yes, Luka needs pushed when he’s mad, but maybe she pushed too hard.

“Fuck, I’m sorry, Luka. I know you hate it when I say his name,” she mutters, sighing. She does her best to avoid it, aware that it hurts Luka, but sometimes it’s unavoidable. Sometimes she wants to scream that bastard’s name at the top of her lungs, wants to say it over and over until it means nothing to Luka, until it’s just a name. “He can’t hurt you anymore, baby. Never again. I promise…”

Luka drops his gaze, his anger melts away, replaced by a grief so deep Laura can’t even begin to contemplate it. She has no frame of reference. Yes, she’s felt pain, but nothing like what he’s gone through. The scars that cover his body are nothing compared to the ones he hides within him. Laura hoped Cora could heal those scars, and maybe she still can, but not if Luka won’t let her.

“I’m signing a contract with Johnathan, he offered to pay me,” Luka says tonelessly, throwing the words at her like knives. Laura takes step back, unable to breathe.

There’s a reason she tore Johnathan’s information out of her black book. There’s a reason she told the fucker never to come back. He sliced Luka open, flayed his back with a cat o’ nine. If Cora hadn’t stumbled into the wrong room, he could’ve killed Luka. Laura will never forgive herself for letting it happen. She was at a different hotel and Johnathan had a spotless record, but there’s no excuse.

She burned the Blood Wolf on Johnathan’s back and told him that if he ever came back, she’d kill him. Apparently that wasn’t enough. Apparently that fucker didn’t get the message. She’s going to put a bullet between his eyes for just looking at Luka, just for talking to him. No, she’s going to let Cora do it. Now there’s an idea.

“You think I’d let him touch you after what he did?” Laura asks, her voice a razor blade.

“You’re not my Dom, Laura,” Luka says, glaring at her defiantly.

Laura clenches her fists, infuriated. She’s never met anyone so self-destructive. He’s hell bent on fucking destroying himself. And there’s nothing she can say or do that’s going to change that. Because she has said everything, done everything, that she can think of. He refuses to listen to her, to anyone. He’s as hard as steel, obstinate and angry.

With everyone…except Cora.  

“You’re right, Luka, I’m not your Dom. But I know who is. What’d you say we see what she thinks about this?” Laura asks with a sadistic little smirk. Then, before Luka can make a break for it, she grabs his hand and yanks him down the hallway.

He tears out of her grip, turning to walk away from her. Swearing, she slides around and steps in front of him. He’s bigger than her, outweighing Laura by almost a hundred pounds, but that doesn’t matter. Because she’s a Dom and he’s a Sub. He may be an expert and suppressing his instincts, but they’re still there. And Laura will exploit them if that’s what it takes.

She catches his gaze, tearing him open the most disappointed look she can muster. He lets out a shaky breath and drops his gaze submissively. Ignoring the guilt rising in her throat, Laura points him down the hall, silently ordering him back to Cora. He does as instructed, but not silently. Laura trails behind him, listening to him curse her under his breath. If she weren’t so angry, she’d think it was funny.

He stops at the door, muscles tensing. Laura grabs the doorknob, twists it, and pushes the door open. Cora is sitting on the end of the bed, arms wrapped tightly around her legs, face buried in her knees. She’s crying softly, keeping her pain to herself, like she always does.

Cora has a hard time opening up to anyone. So her being honest with Luka, showing him how much she cares about him, was huge. And he threw it back in her face. If Laura didn’t love him so fucking much, she’d make him pay for it. She could care less that Cora doesn’t need protection. She’ll always keep her sister safe. Always.  

Laura glances over her shoulder at him and barely manages to stifle a smile. Her anger fades the second she sees the look on his face. It’s regret and promise and yearning and grief all wrapped up in one. The emotions cut across his face as he watches her cry. And slowly, the walls Laura’s spent years trying to simply crack, disintegrate around him. The hatred in his eyes, the anger he holds so close to his heart, slips, giving Laura a glimpse of who he really is.

Incredible.

Just…incredible.

He takes an unconscious step towards Cora and then stops, brows furrowing. He’s torn, instincts screaming at him. Subs are compelled to comfort their Doms, just as Doms are compelled to protect their Subs. It’s natural, biological. But, like always, Luka fights his impulses, hands fisted at his sides.

“Bunny?” Laura says gingerly, stepping around Luka.

Cora lifts her head, eyes shifting from Laura to Luka. The second she sees Luka, she stands up and brushes the tears from her eyes, stilling her expression. She takes three deliberate steps back, guilt bleeding across her face. It’s a look Laura has seen before. It’s Cora’s ‘I’m a bad Dom and I don’t deserve to be loved’ look. And fuck if it doesn’t shred Laura’s heart to pieces. Because Cora is an amazing Dom and an even more amazing person.

“I…uh…I’m gonna go. I’m so sorry, Luka. I shouldn’t have-”

“Luka wants to sign a contract with the man you saved him from,” Laura says, cutting her sister off. Cora’s expression shifts so quickly that it’s terrifying. One second, her face is a mask of grief and the next she’s furious.

Most people don’t ever see the soft side of Cora. She keeps that to herself. This side, however, the ‘fuck with me and die’ Cora, has earned her quiet the reputation. There’s a reason no one messes with her business and it’s not just because of Derek. Cora, like their brother, internalizes her feelings. She bottles them up over and over and over again. Then, when she finally breaks, it’s like a fucking bomb going off. It’s beautiful, in a tragic, carnage sort of way.

“I should’ve killed him when I had the chance,” Cora says, voice nothing but a whisper. Still, it runs down Laura’s spine like ice water. Luka shudders under the weight of Cora’s dominance, taking an uneasy step back.

“We both should’ve,” Laura says, catching her sister’s gaze. Something manic and wild passes between them. It’s the promise of violence, a silent agreement. “I didn’t think he’d come back for more. I made it very clear that he should stay away. Crystal clear…” Cora nods ever so slightly, letting Laura know that she agrees with the decision Laura made at the time. But now, now a different decision needs to be made.

“I’ve got my knives. You wanna have a little fun, Lulu?” Cora asks, grinning.

“Hm, I think I’d like that,” Laura says with a chaotic little giggle. It wouldn’t be the first time they’ve taken a man apart, piece by piece. Derek isn’t the only talented killer in their family. Hell, they’ve all got knack for it. “You wanna-”

“I asked for it!” Luka yells, cutting Laura off. The twins turn to look at him, Laura’s brows furrowing. Cora shakes her head in disbelief, expression murderous. Luka lets out a trembling breath, forcing himself to lift his gaze. He fixes them with a defiant stare, tears brimming in his grey eyes. “I asked him to hurt me. You can’t kill him for doing something I wanted him to do.” He drops his gaze again, ashamed.

“You didn’t ask him to do that, Luka!” Laura hisses indignantly.

“I told him to make it hurt. And…he did…” Luka’s voice cracks, raw and needy. Cora responds to it instantly, closing the distance between them. She catches Luka’s gaze, her anger quickly replaced by concern. She reaches a hand up to touch his face, but stops before her skin makes contact, dropping her hand. He blinks hard, sending tears spilling down his face.

“Did you ask him to use the cat?” Cora asks, her gentle voice taking Laura by surprise.

“No,” Luka whispers, a storm in his grey eyes.

“Did you ask him to draw blood?”

“No.” Luka drops his gaze, tears dripping from his chin.

“Did you ask him to stop?”

Luka lets out a heart-wrenching sob. The noise is like a knife slicing between Laura’s ribs, slow and deep. Images of Luka dance before her eyes, hundreds of tiny snapshots. Luka chained to a wall. Luka screaming as she dragged him away from his dead Dom. Luka huddled in a bathtub, so scared he can’t even breathe. Luka sobbing in her arms.

Laura’s seen him at his worst, she’s watched him tear himself apart and sew himself back together, over and over. But she’s never seen him like this. It’s brutal, a self-loathing so ingrained in him that he doesn’t even know it’s there. He truly believes that he deserves pain, that it’s what he needs. God, what did that man do to him?

“If someone were hurting me and I asked them to stop, would you want them to?” Cora ask, tilting her head to the side. She wants to touch Luka. Laura can see it in the set of her shoulders, in the position of her hands. She wants to wrap him up in her arms and hold him. But she holds back patiently, perfectly portraying the trait that makes her so right for Luka. Kindness.

 Luka remains painfully silent, eyes fixed on the hardwood. Despite his considerable height, he looks fragile somehow. The vulnerability in his face, in those dark eyes of his, betraying him. He’s damn good at hiding who and what he is, but not around Cora. Ever since she saved him, he’s been different. It’s like she fractured something in him, shifted his reality.

“If I were tied up and bloody, screaming no, would you just stand there?” Cora asks forcefully, ducking her head to catch his gaze. Her eyes bore into Luka, demanding he answer. “Would you let someone do that to me?” Tears brim in her green eyes, threatening to spill over. And, at the sight of them, Luka breaks.

“No! Fuck no!” he growls. “If someone tried to hurt you…” he trails off, shaking his head furiously. The innocence fades from his face, his eyes darkening. Laura smirks, watching as Luka reaches a hand up to cup Cora’s face, fingers lining her nape. Cora sighs, the skin contact calming her instantly. Luka’s brows draw together. “If someone tried to hurt you, I’d make sure it was the last thing they ever did.”

Laura fights the urge to throw a fist up in the air. This is a Breakfast Club moment if there ever was one. Damn, she’s good.

Cora reaches her hand up, holding Luka’s in place. There’s pride in her eyes, pride and longing. “That’s what someone did to you, that’s what he did to you! You may have asked for pain, but you didn’t consent to this,” Cora says, reaching around to brush one of the scars that line Luka’s back. He jerks away from her, as if her touch burned him. But Cora doesn’t let up. “He hurt you! I’m allowed to want him to pay for that!”

Luka runs an agitated hand down his jaw, pacing the room. Cora watches him move, eyes firmly fixed on the Sub. She’s gotten through to him more in the past two hours than Laura has in two years. It’s infuriating and amazing.

“It’s different, Cora. I’m…me. And you, we’ll you’re fucking incredible,” Luka says, stumbling over his words. His lack of self-esteem couldn’t be more obvious. He really does think of himself as nothing. Which is a shame, because he is beautiful, in more ways than just one. Laura’s seen firsthand how strong he can be, his loyalty unwavering. And there’s a kindness in him, in the way he’s always polite to strangers, going out of his way to simply care.

“Why is it different?” Cora asks, closing the distance between them.

He shakes his head in disbelief, as if it were obvious. “You’re this…force of nature. I look at you and it’s like looking at a goddamn thunderstorm. But me…I’m just…”

“You aren’t nothing, Luka,” Laura says softly, glancing from Luka to Cora, trying to cue her sister in. Cora’s eyes burn, letting Laura know that she got the message.

“Is that what you think?” Cora asks, her hands shaking.

“No, that’s what I know. That’s all I have ever been!” he yells, voice splintering. “No one has to listen when I say no! So don’t compare yourself to me. We aren’t the equals. And you deserve someone who can stand by you.”

“And you, what do you deserve?” Cora asks indignantly, squaring up to him.

“I deserve exactly what I’m going to get,” he whispers and then, just like that, he’s gone. Laura crosses the room and catches Cora right before she hits the floor. Cora buries her face in Laura’s hair, sobbing. A car roars to life outside. Laura tightens her arms around Cora, praying Luka isn’t going where she thinks he is.

Chapter Text

Stiles glares at the vial sitting across from him, anxiously drumming his fingers on the table. He hasn’t heard from any of the Hales in a week. And all he’s done for the past seven days is stalk around his apartment, missing Derek, cursing Derek, worrying about Derek. He’s almost called Cora a hundred times. Almost.

But his anger keeps getting best of him. Anger at what was done to Derek. Anger at what Derek did to him. Fuck, it’s eating him alive. He’s torn between wanting to kill Derek and wanting to kill for Derek.

Seeing the Dom like that, watching him almost die. It hurt. God, it felt like someone was cutting away at Stiles’ ribs, smashing and breaking in a desperate attempt to get to his heart. That agony, that overwhelming need to protect, has forced him to question everything he thought he knew. Stiles has always seen things in black and white…either there’s an answer or there’s not. But now, now he’s not so sure.

Maybe the world’s more complicated than Stiles thought. Maybe the line between right and wrong isn’t always easy to see. Maybe doing bad things doesn’t make someone a bad person. Maybe Stiles was wrong.

He closes his eyes, sighing. The ghost of Derek’s kiss plays against his lips. He can almost feel him there, stubble scraping against his skin. Fuck, the taste of him, all coffee and mint and sex. Intoxicating. He kissed Stiles like it was the last thing he’d ever do, like it was the only thing he’d ever do. It was softer than Stiles expected, gentle. He gave Stiles the time to pull back, the freedom to say no. And yet, at the same time, Stiles has never felt so out of control. It was exhilarating and terrifying, two emotions he’s come to associate with Derek Hale.

And then that fucker went and ruined it. Why won’t he tell Stiles who hurt him? What’s the fucking harm? If Derek’s enemy is powerful enough to hurt him, Stiles doesn’t pose much of a threat. And even if he did, Stiles wouldn’t go after him…okay, so maybe he would. He can’t say for sure, not after the way he reacted to Derek being hurt. It brought out his protective instincts, demanding he keep his Dom safe, no matter the cost.

Fuck.

He’s losing himself to this, becoming a person he doesn’t know or understand. He’s torn between what he’s comfortable with and what he really wants. Because as fucked up and wrong as it is, he wants Derek. No, it’s not just that. He needs Derek.

But Derek doesn’t need him.

Stiles fists his hands on the table, cursing himself. He can’t believe he’s even thinking about doing this. He thought he could make it longer than a week, but he was wrong. A few days without Derek and his hands started to shake and then the nightmares came back. Stiles is jittery, angry, impulsive. He didn’t think twice about buying Baby off a new dealer. It was easy, so fucking easy.

He doesn’t want to do this, but he doesn’t have much of a choice. It’s rely on Babydoll or rely on Derek and, between the two of them, the Baby hurts less. At least it’s honest with him. The same can’t be said for Derek. Despite everything Stiles has done for him, everything he’s done for his sisters, Derek still doesn’t trust him.

“I can’t believe I’m doing this,” Stiles mutters, shaking his head in disbelief. He reaches across the table, fisting the little vial in his hand. He’s about to grab the needle when someone knocks on the door.

Cursing, Stiles stands up and walks out of the kitchen. Crossing the living room, he grabs the doorknob and twists it, opening the door. The sight of Derek, standing silent in the doorway, steals the breath from his lungs. He exhales, sheer relief cutting through him like a knife. His heartbeat steadies, the Dom’s presence instantly calming him.

He looks Derek over slowly, taking in the bandages on his wrists, the bruising on his face. The worst of the damage is hidden beneath his clothes, shielded from Stiles’ view. But he can still see it. The sight of Derek, battered and broken, is seared into his brain. He couldn’t forget it even if he wanted to. He swallows hard, fighting the urge to tear the Dom’s clothes off. He needs to know that Derek is okay, needs it with everything he has.

“You…you shouldn’t be out of bed,” Stiles whispers, unable to help himself. As much as he wants to not care…he does.

“I’m fine, Stiles. You’re not,” Derek says, his deep voice sending a shiver down Stiles’ spine. Fuck, he missed that voice. It’s like sex, raw and emotional, licking its way across Stiles’ skin. He fights the urge to drop to his knees, fisting his hand tighter around the vial of Baby. Its edges dig into his skin, the pain reminding him to hold his ground.

Stiles clears his throat. “Unless you’re here to tell me who hurt you, I don’t wanna fuckin’ hear it,” he says, voice shaking ever so slightly. Furious with himself, he lifts his gaze, fixing Derek with a forceful glare.

The Dom remains silent, his pine-tree green eyes boring into Stiles. He looks the Sub over, taking in every inch of his skin. Stiles struggles not to drop his gaze, instincts screaming at him. Derek’s eyes settle on Stiles’ right hand and his expression instantly darkens. Stiles swallows hard, fighting the urge to hide the Babydoll behind his back like a child. Fuck, why did he bring it with him to the door?

Derek stalks through the doorframe and grabs Stiles’ forearms, twisting them around to bare his track marks. Stiles sighs, Derek’s touch threatening to send him to his knees. God, it feels amazing, the weight of him, the heat of him. Stiles knows he should be worried. Derek’s angry with him, but he doesn’t care. All that matters is that he keeps touching Stiles, that he stays.

The Dom slides his hands up to cup Stiles elbows, brushing his thumbs lightly across the scars that pockmark the inside of his arms. Stiles shudders, eyelids suddenly heavy. Fuck, he needs to drop. One touch from the Dom and he’s already slipping.

“Have you done any?” Derek asks, voice raw and broken. It brings Stiles out of his head, forcing him to focus. Guilt blooms in his chest as Derek catches his gaze, the Dom’s dark eyes pleading with him. The disappointment there, the sadness, makes Stiles’ body ache. His instincts roar at him, demanding he kneel and apologize, demanding he do whatever it takes to make Derek forgive him. It’s overwhelming, unlike anything he’s ever felt before. He wants to tell Derek to fuck off, wants to shove the Dom out of his apartment, but he can’t. Not when Derek’s looking at him like that, like Stiles just broke his fucking heart.

Stiles shakes his head and drops his gaze, throat tight. Derek shifts his left hand, taking the vial of Baby from Stiles. He drops it onto the floor and smashes it with his boot, the action more precise than angry. Tears brim in Stiles’ eyes, threatening to spill over. He doesn’t want to feel this way anymore. He’s sick of it, sick of the shaking and the nightmares and the paranoia. He’s sick of watching his body waste away, of living with with the weight of his father’s death pressing down on him. He just wants it to end.

“Please just go…” Stiles whispers, voice breaking.

“No. I’m not going anywhere, baby boy. You can hate me all you want in an hour. But right now…” He gently lifts Stiles’ head, his touch feather-soft. “Right now I’m going to give you what you need. Aright?” he asks, holding Stiles gaze. The anger is gone from his eyes, replaced by concern and something deeper…something more. Stiles nods, sending tears spilling down his cheeks. “I need to hear you say it,” Derek whispers, brushing one of them away.

“Okay,” Stiles murmurs, shaking.  

Before he knows what’s happening, he’s in Derek’s arms. The Dom tucks Stiles up against his chest, slipping one hand under his butt to hold him up. Stiles melts into him, breathing in a starving lungful of Derek’s Burberry cologne. Fuck, he missed that smell. He burrows in closer, nosing the tattoo under Derek’s collar bone.

He wants to tell Derek to set him down. The Dom had surgery seven days ago, he shouldn’t even be standing right now. But the words never come out, they won’t. Not when it feels so fucking good to be held.

Derek carries him through the living room and into the bedroom. Gently, oh so gently, he lays Stiles down on the bed. Stiles sits up on his forearms, watching as the Dom strips off his shirt, baring the smooth expanse of tattooed muscles. Sweet fuck. Stiles’ mouth dries up at the sight. Derek is fucking gorgeous. He looks like a damn Calvin Klein model, all sex and sin.

And then there’s Stiles…

Average.

Boring.

Stiles.

“You don’t have to do this,” Stiles says, stomach turning. “I don’t wanna be your charity case, Derek.” He starts to get up, but the Dom fixes him with a piercing look, silently demanding he remain in place. A shiver runs down his spine as he watches Derek crawl up the bed to get to him. Fuck. Now there’s a sight.

The Dom grabs the hem of his shirt, lifting it off over Stiles’ head. Before it has time to hit the floor, Derek is mapping the moles that pattern Stiles’ chest with his tongue. Stiles sighs, breathing in the Dom’s touch. His mouth is incredible, tongue moving lazily across Stiles’ skin, hot and wet. The sensation goes straight to his cock, making him hard in seconds.

Derek laves one of his nipples and Stiles whimpers, arching into the Dom’s mouth. Derek chuckles against his skin, the sound resonating in Stiles’ stomach. He lifts his hands wanting to touch Derek, to bury his fingers in the Dom’s hair, to run them across his tattoos, but Derek catches his wrists.

He lifts his head, green eyes heavy with lust and possessiveness. No one’s ever looked at Stiles like this before, like Stiles is his. Slowly, Derek leans forward, pressing Stiles’ arms above his head. Derek’s breath brushes his lips, the Dom’s face inches from his.

“If anyone’s the charity case here, baby boy, it’s me,” he whispers and then, before Stiles can say any different, he’s kissing him. It’s slow and demanding, a simple portrayal of the quiet dominance that Derek radiates. His lips move against Stiles’, stubble scraping the Sub’s skin, demanding Stiles keep with his pace.

Stiles darts his tongue into the Dom’s mouth and Derek growls, pressing his weight down on the Sub. The action makes his cock throb painfully. Fuck, he never thought being held down would feel so fucking good, so fucking right. Then again, he’s never been held down by Derek Hale.  

The kiss eases, getting gentler. Stiles presses upward as Derek pulls back, wordlessly pleading for more. Derek obliges, diving backing in. Their tongues twist and twirl, Stiles taking everything Derek’s willing to give.

He bites the Dom’s lip lightly, pulling a groan from deep in Derek’s chest. Pride swells within Stiles, filling his body with warmth. He wants to hear that sound again. He wants to be the reason Derek’s making it.

The Dom runs his tongue across Stiles’ bottom lip and then slips it into his mouth, growling. Stiles arches his pelvis, pressing his aching cock into Derek. The Dom slides his thigh between Stiles’ legs, giving him something to ride. Stiles rolls his hips shamelessly, tongue tasting Derek. It’s just like he remembered, coffee and mint and sex. He nips the Dom’s bottom lip again as Derek pulls back, addicted to the taste of him.

“Keep your hands where they are,” Derek says, a command in his voice. It runs down Stiles spine like honey, sweet and slow. A rush of calm envelops him and he nods, eyeing Derek through heavy-lidded eyes. “Good boy,” Derek croons with soft nod. Stiles lets out a whimper, the praise going straight to his cock. Fuck, he loves it when Derek calls him that. He loves it way too much.

Derek buries his face in Stiles’ neck, kissing his way down his nape and across his collar bone. Stiles fists his hands above his head, determined to keep them in place, just like Derek asked. The Dom exhales across the wet skin of Stiles’ neck, sending a shiver down the Sub’s spine. Fuck. Derek chuckles, dropping his head again.

He kisses his way down Stiles’ chest, careful to pay special attention to both of his nipples. Stiles bends and writhes, pressing his cock harder into Derek’s muscular thigh. Everywhere Derek touches, he burns. It’s biting and hot, lava seeping through his veins. He itches with it, with the need to touch Derek, to be touched by him. Fuck, this is so much better than Babydoll. So much better.

Derek laves his tongue down Stiles’ ribcage, his stubble scraping the Sub’s sensitive skin. Stiles is breathing hard now, heart trying to beat its way out his chest. But where he is a mess of lust and longing, Derek’s is steady, a fixed point in the midst of a storm.

He continues his path down Stiles’ abs, briefly tonguing the Sub’s belly button. Stiles lets out a sound somewhere between a moan and a giggle. Derek’s only response is to chuckle and do it again. Then he lifts his head, slipping Stiles a smirk that ties the Sub’s stomach in little knots.

Dropping his head again, Derek tongues the smooth line of muscle that runs down Stiles’ hip and disappears under his jeans. Stiles arches upward, only to be pressed back down into the mattress, Derek’s hand locked around his hip. He moans softly, the strength of Derek’s hold affecting him just as much as the Dom’s touch. He can’t move, not unless Derek wants him to…and that is exactly what he needs.

“You’re such a good boy,” Derek whispers, his words sending Stiles head-first into a drop. He sighs, emptying his lungs. “And so beautiful…so fucking beautiful. With your whisky eyes and those stupid comic book t-shirts. Always so busy takin’ care of everyone else.” He kisses Stiles hip and drops his hand to the button of the Sub’s jeans, popping them open. “Why don’t you let me take care of you?” Stiles’ eyes roll back in his head.

Fuck, Derek can’t know how much he wants that, how much he needs that. He’s always been good at taking care of himself, determined to show the world he can. But that doesn’t mean he stopped wanting to be sheltered and protected. That need is ingrained in him, written on his very bones. He wants someone to hold him at night, someone to whisper in his ear as he wakes up, someone who will stand by him. Logically, that can’t be Derek, but right now, as far as Stiles is concerned, logic can go fuck itself.

Derek slips his hands under Stiles’ jeans, cupping the Sub’s ass. Stiles bites his lip, fighting the urge to reach down and card his fingers through Derek’s hair. The Dom uses one hand to lift Stiles and the other to strip off his jeans. They hit the floor with a dull thud and Derek sits back, looking Stiles over like a starving man presented with a steak. It’s hunger and lust and adoration all mixed up in one, his green eyes raking every inch of the Sub’s skin. Stiles blushes furiously, fiddling with his fingers above his head.

“How can you not see how fucking gorgeous you are?” Derek asks with a shake of his head. Stiles exhales, the question pressing down on his chest. He’s never thought of himself as attractive. But, right now, with Derek staring at him shamelessly, drinking in the sight of him, he thinks maybe, just maybe…he is.

With a throaty growl, Derek drops back down, kneeling over one of Stiles’ legs. He leans his head down, hot breath fanning Stiles’ aching cock. The Sub lets out a needy whimper and arches upward, only to be pressed back down by Derek’s hand on his abdomen. The Dom strokes his skin, slipping his hand down to cup Stiles’ hip again. He holds the Sub in place with one hand and strips off Stiles Batman boxer-briefs with the other.

Stiles’ cock hits his stomach and he groans, wringing his hands as he fights to keep them above his head. He wants to touch Derek, wants to feels the stubble on his cheeks, wants to trace his tattoos. But he can’t, not until Derek says so. And that, the fact that he’s being controlled, presses him further into subspace.

It’s slower this time than the last. Maybe it’s because Stiles wants to stay present or maybe it’s Derek’s doing. Either way, he’s dropping at an easy decline rather than jumping off the cliff.

Derek runs his tongue up the underside of Stiles’ cock like a fucking lollipop. Stiles lets out a strangled cry and Derek chuckles, glancing up at him. He holds Stiles’ gaze as he takes the Sub’s cock into his mouth. Stiles expects Derek to toy with him, to lick the head of his cock until he’s begging to come. Instead, Derek swallows him. Pleasure shoots through Stiles, quick and sharp, like a damn bullet. He whimpers, arching his back and kneading the pillow with his head.

Fuck.

Sweet motherfucker.

Derek knows what he’s doing. It feels like he’s sucking Stiles’ brains out. He clenches his eyes shut, chest heaving. He can’t think, not with Derek’s hot mouth around him, the Dom’s tongue teasing his length. Derek reaches up to cup his balls, toying with them as he bobs up and down, deep-throating Stiles like it’s nothing, like the need for air is overrated.

“Fuck!” Stiles mutters as Derek pulls back and smirks. He’s had blow jobs before, but nothing like this. Those were quick and to the point. This is slow and fierce. Derek’s taking his time with him, using Stiles however he wants to. And damn if it’s not a turn on.

“Mm, you look good all like this, baby boy, all spread out and needy,” Derek croons, voice deep and throaty. He licks the tip of Stiles cock, lapping up the pre-cum there. Stiles inhales sharply, the sensation tearing through him. Fuck, he wants to come. It’s building below his abs, a coiling heat. “You wanna come?” Derek asks, flashing him a knowing smirk. Stiles nods, not trusting his words. “Say it.”

Stiles swallows hard, throat tight. “Yes…please…”

“I like you begging,” Derek whispers, squeezing Stiles’ balls lightly. The action pulls a moan from the Sub’s mouth. He tries to arch into Derek’s mouth, wanting it wrapped around his cock again, but Derek tight hold prevents the movement. “You wanna come, baby boy, beg me for it.”

Stiles doesn’t think twice. Derek wants him to beg, so he’ll beg. He can over-analyze and regret later. Right now, he’s going to do exactly what his Dom wants. He takes a shaky breath and looks down at Derek, the Dom catching his gaze.

“Please, Derek…please let me come…” he whispers, amazed at how easy it is. It’s like he was born to do this, born to make Derek smile. And he does, oh, he does. The Dom flashes Stiles a ‘good boy’ grin and then takes the Sub’s cock back into his mouth, swallowing him. Stiles shrieks, the sound somewhere between a whimper and a scream.

Derek moves up and down, quickening his pace as he rolls Stiles’ balls in his hand. He licks the tip of Stiles cock, making the Sub moan, and then takes him deep again. Heat pools in Stiles’ stomach and his balls tighten up. He fights the orgasm, painfully aware that Derek hasn’t given him permission to come.

Baseball.

Football.

Other ball sports.

Balls.

Derek touching his balls.

Fuck.

The Dom unfurls his fingers from around Stiles’ hip and shifts his hand to rest on Stiles’ stomach. He stokes the skin there, fingers soft and gentle. And for some reason, Stiles knows it’s Derek’s way of giving him permission.

Derek hums and eases back, licking the underside of Stiles cock. The Sub comes, hard, arching upward with a scream, Derek’s name torn from his throat. Sparks fizzle through his body, his blood high on pop-rocks and cotton candy. His head spins and, just like that, he’s falling. Everything goes sort of blurry as his heartbeat slows and he sighs, feeling better than he has in months.

He’s aware of Derek cleaning the cum from his stomach with a wet rag, but only because the cool cloth startles him. Derek whispers something softly, his gentle voice pushing Stiles deeper into subspace.

The Dom crosses the room and, for some reason, Stiles gets the impression he’s about to leave. It slices him open, sending adrenaline pumping through his dopamine-addled brain. Why is Derek leaving? What did he do? He’s bad…he’s always been a bad Sub. Why did he think this was going to be any different?

“I’m sorry, please don’t leave,” Stiles whimpers.

Derek twists around, brows furrowing. Then, before Stiles has time to react, Derek crosses the room and slides into bed with him. In one swift move, he pulls the Sub against him and wraps his muscular arms tightly around Stiles. The Sub sighs, the skin contact settling him in an instant. He closes his eyes, breathing in the lingering scent of Derek’s Burberry cologne. He’s never felt so safe, so loved.

Derek shushes him softly, nuzzling his neck. “I’m not going anywhere, baby boy.”

Chapter Text

Derek wakes up slow, acutely aware of the warm body curled up against him. He takes a deep breath, nosing Stiles’ neck. The scent of him, of his sweet shampoo and the sweat that clings to his skin, goes right to Derek’s cock. Images from the night before, tastes and sounds, echo around in Derek’s head, haunting him.

Stiles arching against Derek’s leg, rolling his hips.

His desperate whimpers.

The taste of his cock in the Dom’s mouth.

Stiles screaming Derek’s name as he came.

The feel of him snuggled up in Derek’s arms, clinging to him.

Fuck.

Derek didn’t come over with the intention of sleeping with the boy. The opposite, actually. He was ready to break things off. He had the ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ speech primed at the tip of his tongue. And then Stiles opened the door, dark circles under his eyes, a bottle of Babydoll clenched in his fist. And Derek just broke. Every instinct in his body willed him to Stiles, demanding he care for his boy.

God, he’s never felt so helpless, so desperate. What if he hadn’t gotten there in time? What if he had walked into the apartment to find Stiles’ body on the floor? He shouldn’t have left the boy alone for so long. But he had a decision to make and his sisters adamantly refused to let him out of bed. Fuck, he should’ve at least called. He just didn’t know what to say. Cora and Laura both think he should tell Stiles about Peter. But he’s still convinced it’s a bad idea. It would put them all in even more danger, especially Stiles.

He wants to regret what happened last night, wants to hate himself for it. But he can’t. Not when it was so fucking perfect. Stiles responded to him beautifully, hanging on Derek’s every touch, his every command. It was unlike anything he’s ever felt before. And all he did was suck the boy off.

Sighing, he looks Stiles over. Fuck, he’s gorgeous. Derek’s mouth goes dry, the urge to lean down and capture those full lips overwhelming him. He wants to take the boy, slow and soft, wants to feel come apart again. It was incredible, addicting as fuck.

Stiles shifts in his arms, burrowing deeper into Derek’s warmth. Heat blooms in the Dom’s chest, his protective instincts raging. How the hell did he convince himself he could walk away from this? There’s no fucking way he could do again, not now. Stiles has claimed a part of him, etched his name in Derek’s skin as surely as the tattoos that decorate it. He’s not sure how he feels about it, or what it means, but what he does know, is that Stiles is his. All his.

Gingerly, he eases his arm out from under the boy. Stiles whimpers as Derek slips out of bed, shifting as he searches for the Dom. Derek pulls the covers up over him, watching as Stiles curls around a pillow and settles, exhaling.

Once he’s sure the boy is sleeping soundly, Derek steps into the bathroom. He takes a quick shower and dresses in the clothes he wore yesterday. They’re not exactly clean, but they’ll have to do. It’s not like anything Stiles owns will fit him. The boy is tiny, too tiny. It’s one of the things Derek and Marie discussed when they went over Stiles’ appointment. She made it very clear that the boy needs to start eating.

With that thought playing in his mind, Derek wanders into the kitchen. He fishes eggs and bacon out of the fridge and then locates a box of pancake mix from the cupboard. Switching on the TV, he starts to make breakfast. It calms him, the normality of it. He’s been making breakfast for his sisters for years. They eat together as often as they can. It’s Derek’s way of giving them a safe place, of always making sure they have someone to talk to. And he wants Stiles to have that too, he wants to care for the boy.

He’s plating the food when Stiles stumbles out of his bedroom, dressed only in his boxer briefs and a blanket. He’s wearing it around his shoulders like a cape. And fuck if it’s not the cutest thing Derek has ever seen.

He lifts his head, amber eyes slicing through the Dom. “I’m still mad at you, but…that bacon smells fucking amazing,” he mutters, voice deep and husky from lack of use. Derek’s cock jumps, hardening.

With a bleary groan, Stiles takes the plate from Derek’s hands and slumps down on the couch. The Dom smirks. Clearly, his boy isn’t a morning person. Thankfully, neither is Cora, so Derek’s used to it. He grabs his own plate and fills two glasses with orange juice, handing one to Stiles. He makes appreciative noise, mouth stuffed with pancakes. Derek’s chest swells at the sight. The protective Dom in him purrs, aware that he’s taking good care of what’s his.

He sits down on the couch adjacent to Stiles and takes a bite of bacon. The boy’s eyes are fixed on the TV. He’s switched it from the news to Disney Channel, completely caught up in a show about a girl and her three friends. But, while he’s watching the TV, Derek is watching him. He weighs every bite the Sub takes, thinking over everything that Marie told him about caring for Stiles nutritionally. Mainly, she wants him to up Stiles’ calorie intake, giving the boy’s emaciated body something to work with.

Stiles lets out a giggle and then slips a glance over at Derek, blushing. Derek smirks, completely enamored with the boy. Stiles turns back to the TV, hunkering down in his blanket like he’s going to war. Derek quickly realizes he’s doing everything he can not to laugh. He squirms and smirks until he just can’t take it anymore. One of the characters, a spitfire blond, makes a joke, and he bursts out laughing.

Derek stares at him. He’s never seen someone watch TV so animatedly. It’s adorable, the emotions shifting across Stiles’ face as he drinks in the show. When it’s touching, he looks close to tears. When it’s funny, he laughs his head off. It’s refreshing, him getting so much out of something so simple. Derek’s taken with an urge to lift the boy into his arms, to hold him while he’s carefree and happy. It’s a side of him the Dom hasn’t seen much of.

Stiles finishes his plate and goes back for seconds, stacking pancakes like he’s building a fucking tower. Derek’s a little worried that he’s eating too much, but he doesn’t argue. Not when he’s sure Stiles’ happy little bubble will pop the second he says something. No, Derek’s going to enjoy this for as long as he can.

Stiles sits back down, resituating his blanket around him. Derek realizes he hasn’t touched his food and, embarrassed, takes a bite of his pancakes. Stiles laughs, drawing his gaze again. The Dom watches, mesmerized. Just when he thinks he has the boy figured out, Stiles turns around and surprises him. One minute he’s this sweet Sub, hung up on Derek’s every word, and the next he’s yelling at the Dom, holding his ground like it’s nothing at all. To say he keeps Derek on his toes is a damn understatement.

Stiles finishes eating and sets his plate down on the coffee table. Derek braces himself, expecting the boy to blow up. But he doesn’t, instead he keeps his attention fixed on the TV. It takes Derek a few minutes to realize Stiles is waiting for the show to end. And honestly, he’s not sure if it’s fucked up or adorable that Stiles wants to finish it before he tears out Derek’s throat.

Needing something to distract himself, Derek grabs Stiles empty plate and makes his way back into the kitchen. Once he’s there, he does the dishes, methodically cleaning each pan before putting them in the dish washer. It’s something his mother drilled into his brain, that and sorting his laundry. Come to think of it, she kind of turned him into a clean freak. He scoffs, glancing around Stiles messy apartment. It could use some cleaning.

The TV shuts off as Derek is putting away the orange juice. His chest tightens, anxiety threatening to choke him. He knows what Stiles wants, but he’s not sure whether or not he’s willing to give the boy his answers. On one hand, he sees where Cora and Laura are coming from. He should trust Stiles, trust him to keep their secret. The boy has earned it, he saved Cora’s life for fuck’s sake. But, on the other hand, how well does Derek actually know Stiles?

He can list Stiles’ nervous ticks, the movies he likes and the books he reads. He knows that Stiles has a thing for sugar and that he can talk for days. Hell, he could draw a fucking map of the moles that pattern Stiles’ chest. But, does he really know him? Derek has no idea where he’s from, who his parents are. He doesn’t even know Stiles’ last name. And yet, here he is, contemplating telling the boy his darkest secret. A secret that, if it got out, could get Derek and his sisters killed.

Fuck, he must be insane.

“Thanks for breakfast,” Stiles says, drawing Derek’s attention from the fridge. He twists around to face the Sub. Stiles is leaning back against the counter, the blanket gone from his shoulder, his arms crossed over his chest. And yeah, he’s pissed.

“You’re welcome,” Derek mummers, swallowing hard. He’s not sure how this is going to go, but it sure as shit isn’t going to be pretty.

“So?” Stiles asks, arching a dark eyebrow.

“So?” Derek mutters with a passive aggressive shrug. And, just like that, Stiles breaks.

“Oh, fuck you, Derek Hale! You know what I’m talking about. Tell me who hurt you!” he yells, advancing on Derek. The Dom holds his ground, in awe of Stiles’ strength. It isn’t easy for anyone to challenge Derek. Even Laura and Cora have trouble sometimes. And yet, here he is, a level 10 Submissive, getting all up in Derek’s personal space, amber eyes raging. Unsurprisingly, Derek’s cock takes an interest, pressing up against the fly of his jeans.

“Stiles, I can’t,” Derek says softly, his tone of voice only fueling the boy’s fire.

Stiles scoffs indignantly, shaking his head in disbelief. “The fuck you can’t!” he hisses, arching his neck in simple act of defiance. Derek’s taken with an urge to set him on the counter and kiss him, wanting to taste the boy’s anger. Fuck, he’s pretty when he’s mad, chest heaving, shoulders squared.

“If I tell you, it’ll put you and my family in danger. Is that what you want?” Derek asks calmly, leaning back against the fridge. Stiles fixes him with a vicious glare, offended by Derek’s questioning of his loyalty.

“How is you telling me going to endanger anyone?” he asks, voice clipped and raw.

Derek takes a deep breath and exhales, running a hand down his face. “Can’t you just trust me when I tell you that it will?”

“Trust you!” Stiles growls, eyes narrowing. “You’re asking me to trust you when you obviously don’t trust me? How the fuck is that fair, Derek? I let you in. I let you put me down for fuck’s sake! You know how hard that was for me? But you don’t trust me enough to tell me who almost killed you!” Furious tears brim in his eyes, shredding Derek’s resolve. He grits his teeth, chest aching painfully. God, watching Stiles cry is worse than anything Peter has ever done to him. Way fucking worse. Derek wants to calm him, wants to hold him until the boy stops shaking, until his tears are gone.

He sighs, turning away from Stiles to give himself a moment to think. The boy’s right and he knows it. But that still doesn’t change the fact that telling him will put everyone Derek loves in danger. Yes, he has a right to know. He trusted Derek with his body for fuck’s sake. The least Derek can do is trust him with this.

“Dammit, Derek! Tell me or we’re done!” Stiles seethes. Derek twists around to face him, watching as the boy furiously brushes tears from his face, sniffling. The urge to wrap him up, to comfort him, is overpowering.

With the threat of Stiles leaving him hanging in the air, Derek caves. He refuses to let Peter take this away from him. He’s already taken Derek’s parents, his freedom, and that of his sisters. Derek won’t let his uncle ruin his relationship with Stiles. No fucking way. Yes, telling Stiles is a risk, but he has to take it.

“Alright…I’ll tell you.”

Stiles’ expression falters, surprise and then confusion cutting across his face. He stills before Derek, brows knitting together. “What?”

“I said I’ll tell you. But know this, despite how much I care about you, if you breathe a word of this to anyone, I will make sure it is the last thing you ever say. Are we clear on that?” Derek asks, fixing Stiles with a ‘you fuck with me and I’ll fuck with you’ glare. The Sub takes a precautionary step back, eyeing Derek warily. Derek doesn’t blame him for being cautious, he should be. “Well?”

“Yeah…” Stiles mutters, nodding rapidly.

“Okay,” Derek says, forcing himself to relax. He’s been keeping this secret for years, holding it in like a bomb ready to explode. It’s weighed on him, kept him up at night, ruined his fucking life. And still he’s kept it. Until now. He lifts his gaze, focusing on the intense amber of Stiles’ eyes. The tight coil of anxiety in his stomach eases, the boy’s mere presence calming him. He clears his throat. “It was my uncle Peter. He was punishing me for taking justice into my own hands.”

Stiles’ expression softens, the anger disappearing from his eyes. He takes a tentative step towards Derek, brows furrowed. “Your family did that to you?” he asks, voice breaking over the mention of family. The fracture draws Derek’s attention, bringing out his protective instincts. Stiles lost his father, his Dom. And that grief is still very much alive. If Derek knew who killed him, he’d make the bastard pay for hurting his baby.

“He’s not my family…not anymore,” Derek says bluntly, teeth clenched. Peter ceased being a part of his family the day he killed Derek’s parents. He doesn’t deserve to call himself a Hale.

“He’s the leader of the Blood Wolves, isn’t he?” Stiles asks, dropping his gaze. Derek watches, in awe, as a million theories run through the boy’s head.

Derek thinks about lying to him. Peter’s identity and his place as the leader of the Wolves are two of California’s best kept secrets. Peter is damn good at what he does, and what he does is hide in the dark like a fucking rat. In the end, Derek decides to tell the boy the truth. Mostly because Stiles already knows the answer, he can see it in the boy’s face, written there.

“Yeah, he took over after my parents were killed,” Derek says. He realizes, a split second too late, that he just told Stiles what happened to his parents. He swears under his breath, furious with himself. Stiles slowly lifts his gaze, shock and sorrow burning in his eyes. He knows how Derek feels, he knows that pain.

“Who killed them?” Stiles asks, closing the distance between them. Derek tries to back up, but he hits the edge of the counter. Stiles’ shoulders curl around him and he reaches out, brushing his fingers down Derek’s jaw. The Dom shudders, sighing into the boy’s touch.

There’s a part of him that really wants to tell Stiles, that wants to spill everything, from the murder of his parents to how he plans to get revenge. It would be so easy, a few words and the boy would know him better than anyone. But, if Stiles knowing about Peter is dangerous, him knowing about Derek’s plan to murder his uncle, is a fucking death sentence. For Stiles, for Derek, and for his sisters. And as much as he wants the boy to understand, he refuses to risk his sister’s lives.

“Who killed your father?” Derek asks, turning the tables. Stiles drops his hand, jaw tightening. He takes a step back and fixes Derek with a righteous glare. He’s not stupid, he knows what Derek’s doing. Indignant, Stiles remains painfully silent. Derek waits for an answer, but it never comes.

Stiles drops his gaze, clenching and unclenching his fists. Derek takes a step towards him, irritated. If Stiles isn’t willing to tell Derek his secrets, why the fuck should Derek share his? It’s a two-way street, a give and take. Why won’t Stiles just tell him? Is he worried that Derek will go after his father’s murderer? He should be. The Dom wants nothing more than to torture and kill whoever put his baby through this. He’ll slice the man into little piece and feed him to the fucking sharks.

Derek shakes his head in disbelief. “You want me to open up, tell you things I never tell anyone, but you won’t be honest with me? How is that fair?” he asks, the fury in his voice causing Stiles to flinch. Regret coils in Derek’s stomach, but he ignores it.

“It’s different, Derek,” Stiles whispers, eyes on the ground.

“It’s not different! I told you who hurt me, now tell me who hurt you!” Derek growls, closing the distance between them. He reaches up to cup Stiles’ face, forcing the boy to look at him. The second Stiles meets his gaze, he bursts into tears, sobbing. Derek pulls him in close, wrapping the boy up. Stiles clings to him, hands fisted in Derek’s shirt, his whole body shaking. The sight of him, broken and battered, brings something out in Derek, a wild protectiveness that rages through him. He grits his teeth, promising himself that he’ll find the motherfucker who did this and destroy him.

Derek holds him tight, one hand wrapped around the boy’s nape and the other running up and down the length of his spine. He shushes him softly, whispering quiet praise until Stiles settles down. His breathing steadies and his muscles slowly give, and still Derek holds him.

“Tell me who did this to you, baby boy,” Derek whispers, carding his fingers through Stiles hair. Instantly, the boy stills. Derek curses himself as he watches Stiles pull back, expression darkening.

“You won’t tell me who killed your parents. Why should I tell you who killed mine?” Stiles asks, voice scratched and aching. Derek scoffs. He should’ve expected this, hell maybe he deserves it. Stiles is using his own tactic against him, and he’s doing so effortlessly.

“Stiles, I can’t,” Derek says with a sigh.

“Then neither can I,” Stiles says, pointing Derek towards the door.

Chapter Text

Laura flips through her little black book for the thousandth time, glaring at the page she ripped out, the page with Jonathan’s contact information. Fuck. She wasn’t thinking when she tore it out and shredded it. She was just so fucking pissed. And now, now that fucker’s got Luka and Laura has no idea where to even start.

Cora is on the fucking warpath, tearing through her underground contacts. Laura hasn’t seen her in three days and she’s starting to get anxious. She hasn’t told Derek yet. He’s got enough to worry about with Stiles. The two of them are at odds again, but Laura’s pretty sure that, in between their fights, they had some fun. Her big brother’s pissed, but far less tense than usual. They hand sex…she’s sure of it.

Fuck, she shouldn’t have let Luka get into that car. She knew where he was going and she still let him go. The thought of what’s happening to him right now, of what that fucker is doing to him, haunts her. Her employees are her family, but Luka holds a special place in her heart. She saved him, tried to show him what he’s worth. But despite everything, he’s back where he began, trapped in an abusive relationship.

God, if he dies she’ll never forgive herself. She was supposed to take care of him. And she tried, but it wasn’t enough. He needs Cora. She made more progress with him in one day than Laura has in two years. But Cora can’t help him if they can’t find him. Laura has Detective Childs scanning through every Johnathan in California, but it’s not a short list and she can’t remember the bastard’s last name.

The safe house door opens and slams shut. Laura grabs the knife strapped to the inside of her thigh and stands up. Cora rounds the corner and Laura drops her knife, heart skittering to a stop. Her sister is covered in blood, her t-shirt and jeans dripping with it.

“What the fuck happened?” Laura asks, terrified.

Cora slowly lifts her gaze, slicing Laura deep. Fuck. The last time Cora looked at her like that was after they found out what happened to their parents. It’s her ‘I’m going to fuck shit up’ look. And, from the state of her clothes, it looks like she already did. There’s a reason people are scared of Cora. She’s earned her reputation in much the same manner as Derek, with her fists. Laura’s seen her bash a man’s skull in, fists flying until he stopped moving. People underestimate Cora and she takes full advantage of it.

“Dammit, bunny! Tell me what happened!” Laura demands, taking a step towards her. Cora’s only response is to start stripping. She yanks off her shirt, steps out of her boots, and drops her jeans. Laura starts towards her, worried. “Come on-”

Cora twists around to face her, fixing Laura with a vicious glare. “I just bled my last contact dry, literally! Luka’s gonna die and there’s nothing I can do about it!” she screams, her rage hitting Laura like a fucking storm. She takes a deliberate step back, heart aching at the sight of Cora in so much pain.

“We’re gonna find him,” Laura says firmly. And despite their shitty odds, she truly believes that they will. Between the two of them, they can do anything.

“How, Laura? How are we going to do that?” Cora asks, voice breaking. “And what’s happening to him while we’re chasing leads?” Tears brim in her eyes and she blinks hard, sending them spilling down her cheeks. The sight of her crying destroys Laura. She’s always loathed seeing her twin in pain. It’s worse than being in pain herself. Way worse.

“Luka’s strong. He can take a lot,” Laura says. She instantly regrets her words as Cora’s expression shifts from despair to absolute agony. “Fuck. I just meant that-”

“I know what you meant! But just because he can take it, doesn’t make it okay! He hates pain. You know that!” Cora yells, her fierce exterior crumbling before Laura’s eyes. Cora’s always been damn good at keeping up her badass persona, but beneath it she’s as sweet as sugar. When she cares about someone she doesn’t do it half-way. With Cora it’s all or nothing. As far as she’s concerned, Luka is hers. And Laura’s inclined to agree with her. If Luka belongs to anyone, it’s her sister.

Laura takes a deep breath and exhales, centering herself. “I know, Cora. I’ve known Luka a lot longer than you and I’m telling you, we’re gonna find him,” she says, holding her sister’s gaze. Fresh tears spill down Cora’s cheeks, cutting paths through the blood.

She turns away from Laura and makes her way into the bathroom, closing the door behind her. The shower starts up, but it doesn’t hide the sound of Cora’s back-breaking sobs. They tear at Laura, shredding her heart to ribbons.

Cursing herself, she slumps down on the couch. Fuck, how could she let this happen? She’s supposed to keep the people she loves safe, Luka and Cora included. And she failed. If Detective Childs can’t find Luka, the boy’s as good as dead. He’s the only hope Laura’s got. She’s exhausted all of her leads and, from the look of it, so has Cora.

Cora lets out a muffled sob and Laura curls in on herself, throat aching. She wants to go in, wants to comfort her sister. But chances are, they’d just end up fighting. She loves Cora and Cora loves her, but they rarely agree on anything. Still, Cora needs someone and Derek’s not an option. Which leaves Ari.

Fuck.

A spark of excitement shoots through her at the thought of seeing Ari again, but she smothers it. This isn’t about them; this is about Cora. Her sister needs her best friend. Ari’s always been a safe place for Cora. That’s what she needs right now.

Laura grabs her phone and locates Ari’s number, dialing it. Her hand shakes ever so slightly as she lifts it to her ear. With every ring, Laura grows more and more anxious, stomach tying itself in painful knots. God, since when did she become this girl? Since when did she start giving a shit?

“I’m busy, Laura,” Ari mutters, her sweet voice sending a shiver across Laura’s skin. She can almost see the girl, hanging on some street corner, looking like a punk princess with her blue hair and torn clothes. Laura smirks, unable to help herself.

“Cora needs you,” Laura says, aware that those three little words are more than enough to get Ari here. She and Cora have been best friends for a very long time and Ari is nothing if not loyal. It’s one of the things Laura adores about her. She’d take a bullet for Cora, no questions asked.

“I’m on my way. Which safe house?” Ari asks, voice frayed with anxiety. Laura is overtaken with an intense urge to comfort the girl, to tell her that everything is going to be okay, but she quells it. As much as she wants Ari to be hers, she isn’t. At least not yet.

“Long Beach,” Laura says and, with that, Ari hangs up. Laura’s offended for minute, but then she remembers that she doesn’t have any right to be. She ignored Ari for years, the girl not even on her fucking radar. If Ari wants to hang up on her, she can, Laura deserves that much after what she did.

Five minutes later, the front door flies open. Acting on instinct, Laura grabs her knife and has it held high before she realizes that it’s Ari. The little Sub’s standing in the doorway, dressed in a black crop top and a pair of ripped jeans. Her blue hair, as always, is tied in an intricate mess of a bun. The sight of her takes Laura’s breath away and all she can do is stare. The memory of her hands on Ari, of the girl’s cherry blossom perfume plays in back of her mind.

“Cute,” Ari says, gesturing to Laura’s knife.

Laura drops the weapon, forcing herself to focus. Fuck. As if she couldn’t love this girl any more than she already does? Then she walks in on Laura and insults her. Laura’s always had a weakness for bossy women. Call it a character flaw. But damn.

Laura rakes her eyes down Ari’s gorgeous body. Sweet fuck. That dimly lit stage didn’t do her justice. She’s nothing like the models Laura usually goes after. Ari is short and curvy, sexy as all fuck. There’s nothing fake about her…well except her hair color. She’s real. “You look incredible,” Laura says, unconsciously biting her bottom lip.

Ari scoffs, rolling her eyes. “Where’s Cora?” she asks, glancing around the apartment.

“She’s in the bathroom,” Laura says, sidestepping to give the girl access. Ari makes her way past Laura. She knocks lightly on the door to let Cora know she’s coming in and then steps inside. The door closes behind her, leaving Laura standing alone in the living room.

Curious and concerned, she quietly walks up to the door, pressing her ear against the wood. Yes, it’s an invasion of privacy, but she needs to know that Cora is okay, that she made the right decision in calling Ari. At first all she can hear is the steady beat of the shower, the sound of water hitting tile. But eventually the white noise falls away, giving way to Ari’s gentle voice.

“He’s gonna be okay, honey,” she says in a sweet, motherly voice Laura’s never heard her use before. It makes her smile, pride swelling in her chest. She’s thankful that Cora has someone like Ari that she can turn to, someone to hold her when her strength slips.

“You can’t know that,” Cora whimpers, sounding completely destroyed. Laura fists her hands at her sides, furious with herself. She never should have let this happen. She should have stopped Luka from leaving. She should have protected him. He’s Cora’s Sub, he’s family. God, they have to find him. They have to.

“Yes, I can. You’ll find him. It’s you and Laura. You’re crazy and she’s fucking insane. That bastard won’t know what hit him,” Ari says with a dry chuckle. Laura nods in approval, completely agreeing with her. If anyone can get shit done, it’s them.

“I don’t know where else to look,” Cora says dejectedly.

Laura can almost see them, Cora sitting in the shower, water raining down on her and Ari, slumped down against the shower door. She’s no doubt in her mind that, if Cora needed it, Ari would climb into the shower and hold her. It’s the kind of friend she is; the kind of person she is.

“I’m sure Laura’s got a plan. Did you ask her?”

“We were a little busy…” Cora says, trailing off. Laura rolls her eyes. Such is the basis of their relationship. They would die for one another, but they sure as shit don’t get along. Though it’s rarely serious, they argue constantly.

“Busy fighting?” Ari asks, even though Laura’s sure she already knows the answer.

“Yeah. I know she’s just as worried about him as I am, but she’s just so fuckin’ calm. I have to keep reminding myself that she cares,” Cora says, her words a knife to Laura’s heart. She drops her gaze, stomach turning. She’s been trying to stay strong for Cora, but clearly she’s given her sister the wrong impression.

“Of course she cares. Laura may be a total Barbie Doll, but she doesn’t fuck around. She knows what she’s doing.” Ari pauses, sighing. “You’re already tearing through Cali. You got that shit covered. It wouldn’t do Luka any good to have you both out there. I’m sure Laura’s got something in the works.”

Laura chews on her bottom lip, picking the girl’s words apart. She almost sounds proud of Laura, or at the very least, sure of her. Laura reminds herself that Ari spent years studying her, a victim of unrequited love. The girl probably knows her better than she knows herself. Too bad Laura didn’t give Ari the same courtesy. No, instead of taking a fucking interest and acting like a human being, Laura treated Ari like a flavor of the week. No wonder the girl hates her.

“You’re right. She’s probably got a plan,” Cora says, relief softening her voice. Laura exhales, eternally grateful that she thought to call Ari. The girl’s a fucking lifesaver.

“Hell yeah, I’m right. I’m always right,” Ari says with a laugh. It sends a shiver of electricity across Laura’s skin, stealing the breath from her lungs. It’s sweet and sensual, kind of like her voice. She laughs like she sings, baring a part of her soul she wouldn’t otherwise show. “I’m gonna make you some dinner. You alright, honey?”

“Yeah,” Cora says.

Frantic, Laura darts away from the door, barely making it to the couch before it opens up. Ari slips out of the bathroom, eyeing Laura with an arched brow. Laura tries and fails to look nonchalant, painfully aware that the magazine she’s holding is upside-down. Damn she’s smooth, so fucking smooth.

“She okay?” Laura asks, clearing her throat.

“She’s been better. You need to find that boy. I think she’s in love with him,” Ari says as she walks into the kitchen. Laura stands up and follows her in, much to Ari’s distain. The little Sub glances over her shoulder at Laura, irritated. Laura scoffs, sidestepping her and sitting down at the bar. Grumbling something under her breath, Ari walks over to the fridge.

“I’ve got a guy on it. If he can’t find Luka, I’ll call Derek,” Laura says, that last resort weighing on her. She’s kept this from Derek for a reason. When he gets involved, things get real bloody, real fast. Chances are, Peter would take notice of that. And she’s not sure she can handle watching Derek almost die again. Once was bad enough.

“If he’s into hardcore shit, you should have your guy crosscheck Johnathan with a list of equipment. He’s probably bought chains, whips, clamps. I donno…just an idea,” Ari says with a shrug, her attention on the hamburger she’s browning. Laura smirks at her, in awe of her. She’s brilliant, absolutely fucking brilliant.

“You’re amazing,” Laura says, pulling out her phone to text Detective Childs. Ari stills for a fraction of a second, the compliment affecting her more than she’d probably admit. Laura doesn’t miss her reaction, smirking. Maybe she’s still got a chance with the girl.

As she sends the text, what Stiles said to her about apologizing echoes around in her head. She ignored Ari for years. Well, it was so much ignorance as it was indifference. Laura was a bitch back then, she’ll admit it. For years, Ari was just one of Cora’s friends, another punk dressed in black, unworthy of her attention. She treated the girl like a boring painting, walking past her without even a glance. Until she needed something, until she needed a tutor. Then she flirted with her, teased her, fell in love with her. And Ari walked away. Laura can see now how that must have looked, her finally taking an interest when, and only when, she needed something from Ari.

God, how could she not see what she was doing?

She stands up and rounds the bar, moving to stand a few feet from Ari. The girl notices her presence and stills, glancing over at Laura, brows furrowing. Laura swallows hard, giving her a pleading look. Slowly, Ari turns to face her, but she keeps her distance, every wary of Laura and her games.

Laura stares into her eyes, guilt eating her alive. How could she do this to Ari? Fuck, she’s been in love with the girl for years. She buried herself in one-night-stands, furious with the girl for walking away, never once giving her side of the story any thought. She never even contemplated that this might actually be her fault. But it is. She screwed everything up, so desperately self-involved that she couldn’t see what was right in front of her face.

“Listen, Ari-”

“I don’t wanna hear it. I don’t know what’s with you suddenly being interested in me, but I’m not buying it. You run out of models to play with or something?” Ari asks with a humorlessly smirk. Her voice is light and apathetic, but her eyes are seething. This is agony for her, shoving her feeling down, just like always. Only now Laura can see it, now she’s watching it happen. And fuck if it doesn’t destroy her. This beautiful creature, outspoken and creative, crushing something so real. It’s wrong. “If you’re lookin’ for girls, there’s always a million of them at our concerts. You should-”

“Stop,” Laura growls, unable to take it for a second longer. Ari clamps her mouth shut, Laura’s command weighing heavy on her shoulders. Laura realizes, a second too late, what she’s done. “Fuck. I’m sorry. You don’t have to stop. God, I’m such a bitch…”

“It’s okay,” Ari whispers, turning back to drain the grease from her hamburger.

“No. It’s not okay. I’m a bitch now and I was a bitch back in high school. I treated you like shit, like you didn’t even exist. Until I needed something from you. Then all of the sudden I was paying attention and…and I realized how fucking incredible you are. You tried not to show me.” Laura takes a step towards her, wishing Ari would look at her. But the girl’s eyes remain fixed on the stove. “You tried to hide, but then I’d get you started on some Syfy show or a band and you just lit up. It was, God, it was most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I couldn’t get enough of you. I wanted-”

Ari whips around to face her, tears streaming down her face. She fixes Laura with a truly heartbreaking glare, hands shaking at her sides. “This isn’t funny, Laura! You don’t get to do this to me again! I was in love with you for years! And then, when you finally started to pay attention to me I was so happy…until I realized you were just doing it for the grade.” She shakes her head in disbelief, tears dripping from her chin. “What do you want from me now?” she asks, voice breaking.

Acting on instinct, Laura closes the distance between them. She fists her hands at her sides, a vain effort to keep herself from touching Ari. Her body aches with the urge to comfort, to hold. She wants to brush away Ari’s tears, to whisper sweet things to the girl until she can’t help but believe them. But she can’t, at least not yet.

She catches Ari’s gaze, holding the girl in place. “I don’t want anything from you. I just want to say that I’m sorry. I’m sorry I didn’t see what I could’ve had, what you would’ve given me. And I get it. I get why you don’t believe me. You don’t trust me and you have absolutely no reason to,” she says, terrified by the raw ache in her voice.

She’s spent years trying to fuck Ari out of her head, out of her heart. But having the girl here, standing a few feet away, locks of blue hair hanging about her face, sends it all rushing back. All of Ari’s soft smiles, the hours they spent talking about movies, the blush on her cheeks…everything.

Ari stares at her, expression torn between fury and sheer bone-splintering, relief. It’s like she can’t decide whether to kiss Laura or kill her. Heart in her throat, Laura waits for her to say something, anything, but she remains painfully silent. She hates the agony on Ari’s face, but now she sees it for what it really is…fear. Ari is terrified that Laura is going to walk away, string her along and walk away. And, given her track record, Laura doesn’t blame her for jumping to that conclusion.

“I really am sorry. And you probably won’t believe me, but I’ve spent years just trying to forget about you. I thought…God, this is gonna sound so fucking hypocritical, but you walked away and I got angry. I thought we had something, thought we were gonna be something, but you just left. And yeah, I deserved that, I did.” Laura sighs, bowing her head so that her hair falls over her shoulders, shielding her face. She’s ashamed, so fucking ashamed. Of the way she treated Ari, of the assumptions she made in defense of herself. Maybe if she’d taken half a second and actually thought about it from Ari’s perspective they wouldn’t be here. She clears her throat awkwardly, “So yeah, like I said…I’m a total bitch.”

When Ari doesn’t say anything, Laura turns away from her, utterly devastated. Why did she think apologizing was going to change anything? For someone who never stops talking, she never can seem to say the right thing. She doesn’t know how. It sounds right in her head, but then it comes out all fucked up and stupid.

She starts to walk away, but stops short, a hand closing around her wrist. It’s warm and gentle, shaking slightly. Laura glances down, noting the chipped pink nail polish, before slowly turning back to the girl. Ari catches her gaze, the girl’s expression softer now, open. Laura studies her, watching as Ari’s walls fall around her. Something she said or did must have broken through because, for the first time in a long time, Ari is letting her in.

And damn…it’s beautiful.

“You’re not a bitch, at least not anymore,” she says with a half-hearted smile.

“Thanks,” Laura mutters, unsure what else to say. She wants to touch reach up and touch Ari’s cheek, wants to pull the band from her hair, but she holds still. As much as she wants to, she doesn’t have permission to touch the girl. And she has no idea whether or not Ari even wants her to.

“I uh…I’m sorry too,” Ari whispers, dropping her gaze.

“Don’t be. I deserved it,” Laura says with a curt nod. This is on her, not Ari. The girl has no reason to apologize, nothing to apologize for. Laura treated her like a piece of furniture for years. She had every right to react the way that she did.

“You did,” she says with the tiniest of giggles. The sound of it, pure and real, brings something out in Laura. She’s taken with an urge to scoop Ari up and twist her around, romantic comedy style. She’s just so freaking cute. 

“Yeah and if you wanna walk away from this, I get it. It’s not really fair of me to ask anything from you after what I did. If you wanna hate me I totally get that. It’s just that I want this and-”

Ari takes a step towards her, cutting Laura off. She exhales shakily, getting caught up in her blue eyes. “I love that you talk too much. But, do me a favor and shut up for a second,” Ari says with a little smirk. Heat sparks through Laura’s veins, stealing the breath from her lungs.

“Okay,” she whispers.

Ari nods in thanks, exhaling. “I didn’t give you a chance because it felt like I already had, a hundred times and a hundred time you’d broken my heart. And I know now that that wasn’t fair. You didn’t see me, but…all I could see was you…” Ari swallows hard, tears brimming in her eyes. The sight of them tears at Laura, pulling at her protective instincts. She wants to wrap Ari up, wants to comfort her.

“Tells you how stupid I was. How could I not see you?” Laura asks, stepping forward. Hastily, Ari releases her wrist, inhaling unsteadily. “Can I touch you?” Laura expects her to say no, to make a break for the door. Instead, Ari gives the slightest of nods, her pupils dilating.

Laura gives her a comforting smile, waiting patiently for the girl to calm before she reaches up, brushing her fingers down Ari’s cheek. Ari closes her eyes and exhales, leaning unconscious into Laura’s touch. Laura relishes in the sight of it, in knowing that Ari likes being touched as much as she likes touching her. Her skin is soft and smooth, hot with the slight blush running through her cheeks. It’s adorable. Fucking adorable.  

“I’m sorry I ran from you. It’s just, I wanted to hurt you…because you hurt me,” Ari says, voice barely a whisper. There’s an ache there, a yearning. And for some reason it soothes Laura, calms her. Maybe it’s because it lets her know that Ari still wants her, that she never stopped. “I thought you were just playing with me.”

“I’m so sorry, baby,” Laura croons, the endearment sending a shiver down Ari’s spine, drawing the breath from her lungs. “Maybe I was playing at first, but I’m not now. I want this…I want you…”

Ari slowly lifts her gaze, unconsciously biting her lip. The urge to lean in and kiss her, to taste that strawberry chap stick she knows the girl wears, is overwhelming. She wants it with every bone in her body, with everything she has. God, Ari’s beautiful, with her full lips and her dark brows, her doll eyes framed with dark liner.

How could Laura not see her?

Laura brushes her thumb over the girl’s bottom lip, the one she wants to bite. Ari shudders beneath her touch, leaning into her. There’s something in her eyes, a silent plea that’s just begging Laura to do something, anything. And damn, Laura wants to. She wants to lift the girl up onto the counter and bury her face in her hair. She wants to kiss her way down Ari’s neck, to lick the swell of her…

Cora walks into the room and Ari jerks back, eyes blown wide. Laura wants to curse her sister, but she can’t, not when Cora looks so completely, irrevocably destroyed. Ari starts to turn away from her, but Laura stops her with a pleading look. For half a second she’s terrified, that this was all in her head, that Ari is going to walk away. But then the girl slips her a secretive smile and Laura sighs, relief slicing through her.

She closes the distance between then, pretending to help Ari find something. Leaning in, she exhales across Ari’s neck, pulling a tiny whimper from the girl’s throat. And damn, it’s enough to make Laura wet.

“I need to find Luka. Will you wait a little longer for me?” Laura asks, voice a whisper.

To her surprise, Ari nods.

Chapter Text

Stiles sits in the middle of his living room, surrounded by case files, dozens of them. He’s been at it for days, slowly piecing things together, making and breaking theories. The second Derek walked out of his apartment, Stiles wrote down everything the Dom said about Peter and what happened to his parents. It wasn’t much, but it gave him a starting point.

Brows furrowed, he picks up a grisly crime scene photo. There wasn’t much left of Derek’s parents when LAPD found their bodies. They were burned beyond recognition, requiring dental records to pinpoint their identities. The case wasn’t given much attention. It looked like a gang hit. The Savages burn their victims and, with them, any evidence left behind. Consequentially, the case was labeled Savage hit and closed.

And, at first glance, that’s exactly what it looks like. But Stiles isn’t so sure. There are number of discrepancies that point to another killer. The Savages burn victims, yes, but just their victims, never anything with them. The Hales, however, were found in a blazing car. It’s sloppy, angry, a needless way to widen a crime scene. And there was evidence of prior torture, broken bones. The Savages use fire to cover up their crimes. The person who killed Derek’s parents, on the other hand, just used it as a weapon. The Hales were alive when they were set on fire, it’s the flames that killed them, not the torture.

There’s a chance that it was the Savages, that these inconsistencies are simply coincidences, but then again maybe not. Stiles’ father used to say that coincidences don’t exist, that everything should be questioned. And he was the best cop Stiles ever knew. Which leads him to one conclusion, the Savages didn’t kill Derek’s parents.

So who did?

The way they were killed, the sheer violence of it, says that it was personal. Their killer knew them, hated them. That narrows the list, but only just. Talia and Richard Hale ran an empire and they did it effortlessly, balancing murder and prostitution with their beach house full of kids. They probably had more enemies than they knew what to do with. And yeah, maybe one of those enemies got to them. But Stiles has a feeling it was a little closer to home.

His phone rings, scaring the shit out of him. Heartbeat hammering, Stiles grabs it off of the couch and presses send, lifting it to his ear. “Hello,” he says as he sets down one photo and picks up another.

“Someone took out M12,” Allison says forcefully, a quiet awe in her voice. It takes Stiles a moment to process what she’s saying. Slowly, he sets down the photo, giving her his full attention. What the fuck is she talking about? There’s no way someone could take out every member of M12. It’s one of the largest gangs in California.

“How?” Stiles asks, baffled.

“I have no idea. They’re just gone, hideouts and drug dens cleaned. It’s like the just disappeared,” Allison says and Stiles knows she’s shaking her head the way she does.

Stiles mulls the information over, jaw cocked to the side. If they really were eradicated in one day, there’s only one person Stiles can think of who might have done it. Derek. What the Dom said about taking justice into his own hands echoes around in Stiles head. It had to have been him. He had motive. After what they did to Cora, it’s no surprise he killed them all.

Ice seeps through Stiles veins, consuming him. This man, this Dom, who has cared for and protected him, is a killer. He’s tried to push that fact out of his head, tried to focus on who Derek is rather than what he is. But this…this truth, is as black and white as ever. Derek killed them, men and women with families and lives, all because of what they might have done to Cora. And yeah, they were criminals, but that’s what the justice system is for. They weren’t given a fair trial. Derek took that from them, he took everything from them.

God, what is Stiles doing?

He keeps falling into Derek, turning back to him like an addict relapsing. It’s easy to pretend when he’s curled up in the Dom’s arms. It’s easy to forget that his hands are covered in blood, dripping with it.

“Do we have any leads, any evidence?” Stiles asks, even though he already knows the answer. Derek’s careful, meticulous. He wouldn’t have left anything behind, not unless he wanted to send a message. Which is what he wanted the first time he went after M12. This time, however, it looks as if his goal was less shock-and-awe.

“No, there’s nothing,” Allison mutters, teeth clenched. Stiles knows he should tell her that Derek did it. She’s his handler. It’s her job to process everything he learns, to help him work through this. He struggles with himself, fighting his instincts. Everything in him wants to protect Derek, everything except his conscience. His body and his mind are at war. Yes, he should tell her, but he doesn’t want to.

“Fuck…”

“Yeah, pretty much,” Allison says with a dry laugh. “Anyways, how are you? You sound better.” The concern in her voice strips away at Stiles. He shouldn’t be keeping things from her. It’s his job to tell her everything. Like the fact that he’s in a relationship with Derek Hale, that he agreed to a contract. With a murderer.

So that’s where Derek was when Stiles was detoxing. God, he was going through hell, in desperate need of his Dom, and Derek was off killing people. The thought makes his stomach turn, bile rising in his throat. Derek came home to him, held him, touched him with hands he used to kill people. Stiles starts to shake, the phone threatening to slip from his fingers. What the fuck is he playing at? He knows that this isn’t going to end well, that Derek is a mistake, but that doesn’t change the way he feels about him.

With Derek, Stiles is whole. His fears, the anxiety that keeps him awake at night, just disappears. When he’s with Derek, he’s protected, he’s safe. No one’s ever given him that complete sense of security, not even his father. Derek calms him, centers him, gives him a place to breathe. And he loves it.

“Stiles?” Allison asks, jolting him out of his head.

He clears his throat awkwardly, stomach tight. “Yeah, I’m still here. Sorry.”

“You okay?”

“I’m good,” Stiles says, clenching his eyes shut. Why is he lying to her? Why is he lying for Derek? He’s sure now that the Dom didn’t kill his father, but he’s still a murderer. Stiles shouldn’t be justifying anything. He should be incriminating Derek and taking him to jail. So why isn’t he?

“I’m glad. I was really worried about you…we all were,” Allison says and Stiles can hear the smile in her voice. He bites back a groan. What is he doing? Tell her. Just tell her. But he can’t, fuck him, he can’t.

“Call me if you get any leads?” Stiles asks, clenching the phone in his hand.

“You got it,” she says and then she’s gone. Tears brimming in his eyes, he sets down his phone and turns back to the crime scene photos.

God, this is all so fucked up. He’s a cop. The law isn’t supposed to be grey; it’s supposed to be simple. That’s the way he’s always seen it, until now, until Derek. With the Dom everything is grey, everything is complicated. And Stiles is starting to think that it always was, that his life before Derek was a fucking lie.

Murder is wrong, right? It shouldn’t matter what a person has done or who they are, killing is killing. It’s something Stiles has always believed, a truth as plain as night and day. He grew up reading about heroes and villains, their roles set into stone, unchanging and unquestionable. He’s always thought of himself as one of the good guys, a hero, taking those villains off the street one by one. He’s never given their perspective much thought, or any thought really.

But he is now.

Because in almost every sense, Derek is a villain. He’s a bad guy, but only because he does bad things. In every other way, Derek is very much a hero. He takes care of the people he loves, protects the innocent. So what does that make him? Stiles doesn’t know and he’s not sure if he ever will.

Still, Derek’s redeemable qualities don’t change what Stiles has done. Every step he takes closer to the Dom is a betrayal, a betrayal to his badge, to his father. He came here for a reason, to find answers and take down the Blood Wolves. But all he’s done is fuck everything up. And all he has to show for it are more questions. Ones that aren’t going to get answered, not if Derek has anything to say about it.

Shaking his head, Stiles picks up a crime scene photo. He stares at the blackened husks that used to be Derek’s parents, chest aching. Derek said Peter punished him for taking justice into his own hands. If Peter is willing to kill Derek for insubordination, then him killing Derek’s parents isn’t much of a stretch. He had motive. If he wanted the Blood Wolves, taking Talia and Richard out would be the best option. Derek, Cora, and Laura didn’t know much about their parent’s business back then. It would be easy to usurp their throne. And that would explain Derek’s reluctance to tell Stiles who killed them.

Fuck, Stiles can’t believe it took him this long to figure it out. No wonder Derek tried to stay away from him, he was protecting Stiles from his uncle. But why hasn’t Derek just killed him? Why would he let the man who murdered his parents live? It doesn’t make any sense. The only explanation Stiles can come up with is that Peter must have threatened Laura and Cora. There’s nothing else that he could hold over Derek’s head, nothing else that matters to him.

Holy shit…

It all makes sense now. Derek kept his distance because he didn’t want someone else that Peter could use against him. Stiles is a liability. He lets out a laugh, the irony not lost on him. Looks like he’s not the only one taking risks here. Derek’s playing with fire, same as him.

Grabbing his phone, Stiles dials Lydia’s number, lifting it to his ear. It rings three times before she answers. “Hello,” she says, sounding a bit distracted. Stiles exhales, closing his eyes. God, he’s missed her.

“Hey, Liddy,” he says, smiling.

“Stiles! What are you doing calling me? I mean, I want you to call me, but you aren’t supposed to. Is something wrong? Are you in trouble?” she asks, voice suddenly frantic.

Stiles grits his teeth, wishing he could tell her everything. Lydia’s always been there for him, a constant in his life, through the bad times and the good. She’s the person who held him as he fell apart after his father’s death. She’s taken care of him. If anyone would understand, it’s her. But he can’t risk it. She’s still a cop, same as Allison…same as him.

“I’m fine. I just need a favor,” Stiles says, carding his fingers through his hair.

He came into this ready to destroy the Blood Wolves, ready to tear the organization’s heart out, but now he’s not so sure that he can do that. Now when the Hale siblings are its heart. Destroying it and destroying them are one and the same. He can, however, do his best to get their bastard of an uncle up for murder.

“Anything,” Lydia says and Stiles can hear her smile. He tries to picture her in his head, seated at her desk, that gorgeous hair of hers tied up in a ponytail. The image makes him smile, warmth blooming in his chest.

“I need you to look up a case for me. I have a few crime scene photos, but Allison didn’t give me the whole file,” Stiles say, glancing down at the pictures. Lydia asks for a case number and Stiles gives it to her, toying with the hem of his jacket as he waits for her to pull it up.

“Okay, I’ve got it. Oh my god, what happened to them?” she asks, voice raw.

“They were tortured and burned to death,” Stiles says, throat tight. He eyes the pictures that surround him, struggling to remain impartial. Cops aren’t supposed to get emotionally invested, but Stiles already is. He knows Cora and Laura and Derek, knows their strengths and their weaknesses, has seen first-hand how the death of their parents has affected them. It was, in many ways, a catalyst, leading them to where they are now. They aren’t the happy kids Stiles saw in those family photos. They are as vile and corrupt as the world they live in, but there’s something beautiful about the way the love each other, something pure. 

“It says it was a gang hit, but it doesn’t say which gang,” Lydia says, followed by the sound of her rifling through papers. She’s probably knee-deep in the case by now, tearing it apart. If anyone can help Stiles with this, it’s her. Lydia is brilliant, a certified genius and she copes with Stiles’ manic thought processes better than anyone. “They were burned. That points to the Savages, but I’ve never seen them burn someone in a car before.”

“That’s exactly what I was thinking,” Stiles says with a smirk. “And there was evid-”

“Evidence of torture,” she says, finishing his sentence. “I think you’re right. This wasn’t the Savages. So…who was it?”

Stiles clears her throat. He can’t tell her about Peter. Only he, Allison, and Deaton are privy to that information. But he needs to know if there’s any evidence that connects Peter to the crime, anything at all. “I have a suspect, but it’s just a hunch. Was there any evidence recovered at the scene?” he asks, stomach tying itself in anxious knots.

“A partial print was found on the inside of the door handle. They ran it through the system, but no match came up. Does your suspect have a criminal record?”

“I doubt it,” Stiles says, fury raging through him. He tells himself it’s just his body reacting to what happened to Derek, but it’s more than that. This isn’t just instinct anymore, he actually cares about Derek. He can’t keep blaming the Babydoll and his hormones. Derek matters to him and, as fucked up as that is, it’s the truth.

“Is there any way you can get me a print? If I can compare it, I should be able to tell you if your guy did it,” she says and then there’s a shuffle of papers. “It’s a right index finger.”

Stiles nods, thinking it over. He has no idea how he’s going to get Peter’s fingerprint, but he has to try. Stiles isn’t about to let him keep hurting Derek, no fucking way. He deserves to sit in jail sell for the rest of his life, to rot away for what he did to Derek’s parents.

“I’ll get you a print,” Stiles says, absolutely sure of himself.

“Okay. Just…please be careful. I worry about you,” Lydia says, her voice swelling with tears. Stiles drops his head, guilt weighing on him. She’s one of his best friends. She deserves to know what’s going on, but he can’t tell her. Not only is it against the law for him to disclose any information with her, it would be a betrayal of Derek’s trust. He reminds himself that he doesn’t owe Derek anything, that the man is a killer, but neither truth sways him.

“I’m always careful,” Stiles says with a dry chuckle.

“No you’re not,” she says and Stiles knows for a fact that she’s rolling her eyes.

“You’re right. I’m not.” He takes a deep breath and lets it out nice and slow. As much as he wants to talk to her, to listen to her, this conversation shouldn’t even be happening. It’s against protocol. “I’ll call you when I get the print. Love you, Liddy,” he says, voice quivering ever so slightly.

“Love you too,” she whispers and then she’s gone.

Stiles sets the phone down and sighs, running a hand down his face. He should be focusing on catching his father’s killer. That’s what he came here for. But he can’t just let this lie, not after watching Derek almost die. His protective instincts are raging, demanding he do everything in his power to keep his Dom safe. Logically, he knows that Derek doesn’t need protecting, but that doesn’t stop him from wanting to do it…from needing to do it.

But how is he supposed to get Peter’s fingerprints? The man is as elusive as a fucking ghost. No one knows what he looks like or where he lives. No one except the Derek, Laura, and Cora. But it’s not like Stiles can just ask them for their uncle’s fingerprint. At least not without telling them that he’s a fucking cop. Yeah, that would go over well.

No, he’ll have to get the print on his own. It shouldn’t be too hard to follow Derek or one of his sisters back to their house. Chances are, they live with their uncle. It would be the easiest way for him to keep an eye on them. But there’s still a chance that he lives somewhere else. And, if that’s the case, Stiles is fucking screwed. If, however, he does live with them, all Stiles has to do is break into the house and do what he was trained to do. Sounds easy enough, but he knows it won’t be.

It never is.  

He and Derek aren’t on the best terms, but he’ll have to fix that if he has any hope of this working. Derek opened up to him, was honest with him, and Stiles treated him like a damn suspect, questioning him. He had no right to do that. Derek’s allowed to have his secrets. He doesn’t have to tell Stiles anything. Despite his intentions, he was wrong to press the Dom for information. He should have just trusted Derek.

And therein lies their problem. They don’t trust each other. And how can they when they’re both buried in their own bullshit? Derek is trying to balance an empire, his sisters, and his psychopath of an uncle. And Stiles is a cop for fuck’s sake. He’s lying about who he is and why he’s here. Hell, he’s lying about everything. They can’t trust each other because, as much as it hurts to admit it, they don’t really know each other.

Stiles can describe exactly how it feels to be held by the Dom, down to the steady beat of his heart. He knows what Derek smells like, the deep cadence of his voice. He’s seen what the Dom is capable of, seen the violence that lives within him. But he also knows his kindness, how deeply he cares for those he loves.

But he has no idea what the Dom’s favorite movie is or what he likes to eat. He doesn’t know where he went to school or who his first kiss was. He couldn’t tell you what Derek’s tattoos mean or when he got them. He has no idea whether or not the Dom went to college or what he wanted to be. He doesn’t know he favorite color. Which side of the bed does he prefer? What did his mother call him when he was little? Where does his name come from? Does kind of music does he like? How does he really feel about Stiles? Fuck.

What does it even mean to know someone? Stiles can list the facts he knows about Derek on one hand, but he could write a damn romance novel about Derek’s voice. He grits his teeth, thinking it over. He decides that the facts have to matter more. They do in cases, so why not here?

And by that logic, he and Derek are basically strangers. Part of Stiles wants to change that, but another part is desperate for distance. It’s his heart and his head at war again, a battle between his instincts and his urge for self-preservation. He wants Derek with every bone, every muscle, in his body. But his conscience is telling him he’s a fucking dumbass, that he’s digging his own grave. And yeah, he is. But damn if it doesn’t feel good.

He takes a deep breath, letting his eye fall closed. There’s no point arguing with himself anymore. He’s in this, way fucking in this and there’s no going back now. He’s going to put Peter behind bars and leverage him until he tells Stiles who killed his father. Two birds with one stone and all that bullshit. What happens between him and Derek along the way is going to happen. And he’ll let it, because as much as he hates to admit it, he needs Derek. The Dom’s keeping him off the Baby, grounding him in a way the drug never could. And as much as he’d like to say that’s all it is, he’d be lying. Yes, he needs Derek, but he also wants him.

Picking up his phone again, Stiles dials Derek’s number. His hand shakes as he lifts it to his ear, listening to it ring. It rings and rings. Stiles tries not to think about what Derek’s doing right now, tries not to wonder whether or not there’s blood on his hands. Maybe that’s why he’s not picking up.

“Stiles,” the Dom says, his deep voice shredding Stiles’ pent-up anxiety and filling his body with warmth. Damn. “Are you alright?” There’s something in Derek’s tone, something heavy and fierce, a protectiveness that wraps around Stiles like a fucking blanket. He can’t help but wonder whether Derek would kill to keep him safe. It’s a question he knows the answer to, and that answer scares him.

“I’m okay,” he says, cursing the slight shiver in his voice. He doesn’t sound okay. Dammit, why is it that he’s incapable of being strong where Derek’s concerned? One word, one touch, from the Dom and it’s like he loses his ability to compartmentalize, to shove his feelings into boxes and lock them away.

“No you’re not. Don’t lie to me, Stiles,” Derek says forcefully, the command rolling down Stiles spine and settling in his stomach. His cock jumps, hardening.

“You’re right…I’m not. I wanna apologize for the other day. Can you come over?” Stiles asks, fighting the urge to beg. Derek left and he buried himself in work, pushing everything else out of his mind. But now it’s all coming back, and it’s like someone is clawing at his chest, tearing back his ribs. He misses Derek. He misses the Dom with his whole body, it’s a deep-sated ache that’s eating away at him.

He waits for Derek to answer, once again toying nervously with the hem of his jacket. But Derek remains painfully silent. Every passing second is agony, sandpaper against Stiles’ skin. Finally, a tiny whimper escapes his mouth and, just like that, Derek breaks.

“I’ll be over in half an hour,” he says and then the line goes dead.

Chapter Text

Derek knocks on Stiles’ door, brows furrowed. He wasn’t expecting the boy to call him, let alone ask him to come over. Then again, it was really only a matter of time. As much as Derek hates to admit it, Stiles needs him. It’s Derek or the Babydoll. Fuck, is that why Stiles called him? Is that all he is to the boy?

Stiles opens the door, amber eyes raking Derek’s frame. There’s hunger there, a lust that constricts Derek’s chest. Yes, Stiles needs him…but he also wants him. Maybe it’s just instinct, a blind impulse. God knows they aren’t good for each other, but that doesn’t stop Derek from craving Stiles. When the boy’s gone, Derek’s body aches, he’s anxious, constantly on edge. It’s like he’s missing something, like he lost something.

“Hey,” Stiles says softly, his tone taking Derek by surprise. The last time he saw the boy, Stiles was furious. Hell, he practically shoved Derek out of his apartment, slamming the door in the Dom’s face. What changed?

He gestures Derek inside, closing the door behind him. Derek follows him into the living room, taking in the boy’s faded jeans and his anime t-shit. Derek’s never heard of the show, Psycho-Pass, but it looks very Stiles. He glances at the boy’s face, noting the dark circles under his eyes. He looks tired, but stable. Good. Pride swells in Derek’s chest. He’s been worried about Stiles all week, terrified that the boy would break and shoot up again. But, thankfully, it looks like he’s still level from the last time Derek put him down.

“I…uh…” Stiles trails off, toying anxiously with his fingers. Derek grits his teeth and fists his hands at his sides, fighting the urge to reach out and touch Stiles. The boy is trying to apologize, but, at this point, Derek doesn’t even care. The last week has been hell, trying to work while constantly worried about Stiles. Right now, he just wants to hold the boy, to know that he’s okay.

“Stiles, you don’t have to-”

“Yes, I do,” he says, cutting Derek off. Swallowing hard, he takes a step towards the Dom. Derek has to tear his gaze away, his instincts roaring at him. “I pushed you and I was wrong to do that. I should’ve just trusted that you’d tell me when you were ready. Instead, I forced you into it and I fucked everything up and…and I’m sorry!” He ducks his head, catching Derek’s gaze and holding it fiercely. The look he’s giving Derek, the devotion etched on his face, takes Derek’s breath away. “I’m really sorry.”

Tears brim in his eyes and at the sight of them, Derek caves. Surging forward, he lifts Stiles into his arms, tucking the boy up against his chest. Stiles melts into him, burying his face in the crook of Derek’s neck, breathing him in.

Derek sighs, tightening his hold on the boy. God, this feels good…feels right. Stiles fits into his arms like he was made to be there. He lets out a tiny whimper, nosing Derek’s neck, his arms wrapped like a vise around the Dom. Derek knows he should move, should sit down or something, but he can’t. Because if he moves Stiles might realize what he’s doing, realize that he’s letting Derek hold him, and back off. He knows he’s not good enough for the boy. He never will be, but Stiles makes him want to try.

“I’m sorry,” Stiles whispers, brushing his hand down Derek’s nape. The Dom sighs into his touch, letting his eyes fall closed. Fuck, that feels good. He wants Stiles in his arms all of the time, wants to touch him all of the time. It’s addictive, pure.

“You aren’t the only one who pushed, baby boy,” Derek says gently as he strokes Stiles’ back. Under his ministrations, Stiles slowly starts to relax, his muscles going lax. And damn if it doesn’t make fill Derek with warmth, with purpose.

“Yeah…but I started it,” Stiles says with a half-hearted chuckle. Derek smirks, lifting his hand to take hold of the boy’s face. Gently, he lifts the Stiles’ gaze. The sight of his eyes, those gorgeous amber eyes, threatens to destroy him. Fuck, it’s terrifying how much he cares for the boy. He’d kill for Stiles, a person who, as far as facts are concerned, he doesn’t really know.

But Derek’s never been one to getting caught up in details. He couldn’t care less that he doesn’t know Stiles’ last name. He knows how he feels when Stiles is wrapped up in his arms, when he’s taking care of the boy. It’s a sense of contentedness unlike anything he’s ever felt before. Derek loves giving the boy what he needs, loves how it makes him feel. So what if he doesn’t know Stiles’ favorite food or whatever. That shit doesn’t matter. Not when they have something else, something deeper.

“You had every right to know about Peter. I should’ve just told you,” Derek says, exhaling. Talking about his uncle isn’t easy for him, not after he’s spent years guarding Peter as a secret. He has to tear down the walls he’s built around that truth, a truth that scares him.

Stiles shakes his head, brows furrowing in concern. “No. You don’t have to tell me anything. Not unless you want to and…you didn’t want to. I abused my position, and that was wrong of me. I should’ve just trusted you.” He drops his gaze, tears brimming in his eyes.

Berating himself for upsetting the boy again, Derek reaches around to cup the back of the boy’s neck. The second his hand makes contact, Stiles sights. Derek’s not sure when he learned the little trick, but it’s come in handy. Something about a hand around their neck calms Subs. Derek’s pretty sure it’s because it mimics a collar, but there could be another reason. Either way, all he knows it, it works.

“Yes, you should trust me…and I should trust you. But that isn’t as easy as it sounds. We’ll get there, baby boy. It’s just gonna take us a little longer than some other couple,” Derek says with a chuckle. Stiles brightens up, slowly lifting his gaze. Derek graces him with a soft smile, wordlessly rewarding the boy for being honest with him. Stiles drinks it in.

“So…is that what we are…a couple?” the boy asks tentatively, blushing.

“Only if that’s still what you want,” Derek says and, for half a second, he’s terrified Stiles is going to say no. The question hangs in the air between them, eating away at Derek. God, he has no idea what he’ll do if Stiles has changed his mind. How is he supposed to walk away from this boy? He can’t. He won’t.

Stiles flashes him a knowing smile, like he’s got a secret, and Derek exhales in relief. Thank fuck. “You’re not gettin’ rid of me that easy, sourwolf,” Stiles says, shaking his head back and forth. Derek laughs and the boy’s stills, staring at him as if the sight is the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. Cora and Laura give Derek shit about never smiling, never laughing, but he’s never really given it much thought. Not until now.

Maybe he doesn’t smile because he’s not happy. It’s not like his life is rainbows and unicorns. It’s blood and money, blood and money, over and over and over again. It’s been so long since he’s felt anything, anything but angry. He’s spent the last two years hyper-focused on Peter, on what his uncle did and making him pay for it. Somewhere along the way, he just stopped being happy…either that or he never was.

Then Stiles walked into his life.

“I hope not,” Derek says, voice a mere growl. Stiles shivers, his cock hardening against Derek’s abs. The Dom smirks and Stiles’ blush deepens. Fuck, Derek wants the boy on his knees. He wants to taste Stiles’ cock again, to feel the boy come. He wants to fuck him…he wants it like he’s never wanted anything. It’s absolute, an instinct that that goes far beyond simple lust. Stiles is his.

Derek drops his gaze to the boy’s lips. Stiles’ tongue darts out, wetting them. The sight of it makes Derek want to groan. Fuck…the contract. He wants to do this right and taking Stiles before he signs it goes against everything the Dom stands for.

It’s in his jacket pocket. Where it’s been all week.

“Stiles, we-”

“Before you say anything. I have something I wanna show you,” Stiles says, cutting him off. He wiggles in Derek’s arms the Dom, grudgingly, sets him down. Stiles takes a step back, distancing himself while still remaining close. He locks his hands, wringing them, the action letting Derek know how important this is to him. “I…uh…you were right the other day. Even if I did pry it out of you, you were still honest with me. You opened up and I didn’t. So, I figure, I should probably return the favor,” he says, worrying his bottom lip.

“You don’t have to do anything, not unless you want to.”

“I want to,” Stiles says with a nod. Derek exhales, calming. The last thing he wants is to force Stiles into anything. He’ll gladly give the boy whatever he wants, but only if he really wants it.

“Okay, where we headed, baby boy?” Derek asks, arching an eyebrow. The nickname sends a shiver down Stiles’ spine. It’s adorable, and everything Derek’s been missing.

“It’s a surprise,” Stiles says with a smirk. Then, wicked fast, he reaches into Derek’s jacket and fishes out his keys. With them in hand, he backs up, bouncing on the heels of his feet. Were Derek not so fucking impressed, he might be angry. As much as he hates the thought of it, Stiles would make a damn good MMA fighter. He’s got good reflexes and he’s quick on his feet. He doesn’t have brute strength, but strength is overrated.

“You think you’re gonna drive?” Derek asks, grinning. He’s too amused to be angry. Fuck, Stiles is just so damn cute. Derek so rarely sees this playful side of him.

“Oh, I know I’m gonna drive,” Stiles says with an arrogant little smirk.

Growling, Derek closes the distance between them, pressing Stiles into a wall. Then, before Stiles can react, he kisses him. Stiles stands stock-still for half a second and then caves, bleeding into the kiss. It’s violent and all-consuming, their lips bending and crashing like the ocean meeting the rocky coastline.

Stiles fists a hand in the Dom’s hair, tugging on it. Derek moans, slipping his tongue into Stiles’ mouth. Fuck, he tastes good. Stiles responds by arching into him, pressing his cock against Derek’s. The pressure is perfect, agonizing, but perfect. The little movements of Stiles’ hips, the scrape of his nails across Derek’s cheek, the soft noises he’s making…everything turns Derek on. He’s hard and aching.

Fuck, he wants Stiles. He wants the boy to suck his cock. He wants to tie him up and play with him. He wants to make him beg, plead for Derek to fuck him. He wants to be inside of the boy, to feel that gorgeous little ass milking his cock. He wants the boy’s hands all over him.

God dammit.

The contract.

Derek pulls back, breathless, head spinning. He keeps his arm wrapped around Stiles, worried that he’ll fall down. And, at once, he’s glad he did. Stiles slumps against the wall, pressing down on Derek’s strong hold. His pupils are blow, the black having nearly consumed the amber. It’s a beautiful sight, Stiles letting Derek hold him up, the boy’s expression a lovely mixture of ecstasy and yearning. Fuck, this is all Derek wants. This…Stiles happy and blissed out and fucked up. That’s all he wants.

“I’m still driving,” Stiles says with a dry chuckle, his voice raw and aching. Derek’s cock jumps in response, pressing against the fly of his jeans.

“Do you have a license?” Derek asks, clearing his throat.

Stiles scoffs, straightening up so that Derek isn’t taking all of his weight. “The Blood Wolf hitman is asking me if I have my license. Seriously? Do you have one?” Stiles asks, rolling his eyes at the Dom. Derek wants to be annoyed, to be angry, but he can’t be, not when he’s so damn enthralled with Stiles. He wonders, briefly, if this is the real Stiles, the person buried beneath the grief and the Babydoll. He hates the thought of the boy trapped within himself, too scared and angry to be who he is.

“Yes, I have one. I may be a criminal, but I do my best to avoid getting tickets,” Derek says, chuckling. Stiles rolls his eyes again, kicking off the wall. The action, for some reason, reminds Derek of Laura.

“There goes your street cred,” Stiles says with a wink. Derek can’t help himself, he burst out laughing. Again, Stiles stills, staring at him with a huge smile on his face, all proud Sub. He clearly gets off on making Derek happy. And Derek’s not sure how he feels about it, about the adoration in the boy’s eyes. It’s stunning, there’s no disputing that, but it’s also fucking terrifying. He’s not sure he deserves to be looked at like this.

He watches Stiles as the boy grabs a backpack, tossing it over his shoulder. With a wink, Stiles leads Derek out of his apartment and down the stairs. When they reach Derek’s bike, Stiles swings his leg over the beast, slipping on his helmet. Derek stops short as the boy kick the stand and starts her up. Sweet fuck. If that isn’t the hottest thing he’s ever seen, he doesn’t know what is. Stiles glances over at him, smirking, and Derek has to bite back a groan. Damn his cock.

Shaking his head, he closes the distance between them and steps over the bike. He’s not accustomed to being a passenger and, at first, he’s not sure he likes it. But then Stiles presses back into him, snuggling up against Derek’s frame. Chuckling, Derek wraps his arms around the boy, pulling him in even tighter. Yeah, he’s alright with this. More than alright.

Stiles flashes him a wicked grin and takes off down the road. Unconsciously, Derek tightens his arms around the boy, wanting to protect him. But there’s no need. Stiles is a damn good driver. Derek quickly decides that the boy must, in fact, have his license. He moves seamlessly through traffic, his speed steady and smooth.

Derek lets his hands fall to the boy’s hips, using them to press Stiles’ ass into his cock. He feels the boy whimper, his chest hitching. He vividly remembers Stiles doing this to him the night they met, his hands moving tentatively across Derek’s skin. Smirking, Derek slips his hands under the boy’s t-shirt, skirting his fingers across the boy’s stomach. Stiles inhales sharply, arching into Derek’s touch.

He ducks his head to Stiles’ neck and slowly, oh so slowly, runs his lips up the boy’s nape. Stiles shudders, wordlessly begging for more. It’s addictive, touching him, watching him respond. Derek runs his hands up Stiles’ sides, closing them around the boys ribcage. His breathing is unsteady, heartbeat hammering. Dark possessiveness settles on Derek’s shoulders as he holds the boy close, moving one hand up to rest over his heart. He places a kiss on Stiles’ nape, breathing in the boy’ soft scent.

God, he loves this.

He’s spent his entire living for someone else, his parents, his sisters, his uncle. He’s done it out of love, hatred, devotion, and spite. Caring for others, protecting them and serving them, has never been hard for Derek. He’s good at it. But sometimes he just wants a minute to breathe, to not have to think. And Stiles gives him that. When he’s with the boy, he doesn’t have to fit into a role. Everything feels natural and…real.

Derek drops his hands back to the boy’s hips, keeping a tight hold on them. Stiles sighs, refocusing on the road. He takes them out of the city and up the coastline. The sun bears down on them, the air smelling strongly of sea spray and sand. Eventually, the boy pulls off of the highway and down a dirt road. It’s a bit overgrown, but Derek’s bike makes quick work of it.

Rounding a corner, Stiles pulls to a stop on the edge of an abandoned strip of coastline. And Derek gapes. It’s fucking beautiful. The sand, undisturbed, wiped clean by the surf. The sun, shimmering across the water as it ebbs and sways. Derek glances around, noting the massive boulders that frame both sides of the little beach, giving it a secluded feel.

Stiles kills the engine and kicks down the stand. Silence descends upon them, broken only by the sound of the water hitting the rocks. Derek releases the boy’s hips, letting him off the bike. Stiles steps off and Derek does the same, both removing their helmets.

Derek watches the boy, still standing next to his motorcycle, as Stiles kicks off his shoes, pulls off his socks, and yanks his shirt over his head. The sight of him, half-naked on a damn beach, takes Derek’s breath away. He just can’t get over the fact that Stiles wants to be his. This boy, this perfect boy, for some reason, wants him.

He twists around to face Derek, smiling like a kid who finally made his way back home. “No shoes on my momma’s beach. It’s the rules,” he says, gesturing to Derek’s combat boots. With a nod, Derek kicks them off, quickly followed by his socks. The soft sand moves with his weight, getting between his toes. It’s a sensation he’s familiar with, but one he hasn’t felt in a long time. A really long time. Since before his parents were killed.

Stiles gestures him over and Derek follows his lead, closing the distance between them. He places his hands on Derek’s chest, moving them up over his shoulders. The action pushes Derek’s jacket off of his body. He lets it fall, hyper-aware that his contract, their contract is sitting in one of its pockets.

One signature…and Stiles is his. 

The boy grabs the hem of Derek’s white t-shirt and lifts it, a plea in his amber eyes. With a deep chuckle, Derek fists the nape of his shirt and strips it over his head, pulling it from his body in one swift move.

Stiles takes a step back, practically devouring the sight of Derek standing before him, dressed only in his jeans. Derek knows what the boy is taking in, tattoos and bruises and bandages, muscles and scares. He knows what he is. But Stiles, Stiles is looking at him like he’s something else, something more. And he has no idea how to take it. He’s gone up against the best of the best, assassins and torture artists, but Stiles scares him more than those men ever did.

“One of these days…will you tell me about those tattoos of yours?” Stiles asks, slowly lifting his gaze. A blush runs up his cheeks and his chest rises. Derek can’t help but smile. There’s something about Stiles asking for something that just gets to him.

He takes a step towards Stiles, reaching up to take the boy’s face in his hands. Talking about his tattoos isn’t something he does. They’re very personal to him. But, if telling Stiles about them will make the boy happy, he’ll do it. Fuck, at this point, he’d do just about anything to make Stiles happy. All the boy has to do is ask and Derek has no choice but to give. With Stiles it’s instinct, a deep-sated need to please and protect. One look at Stiles and all he wants to do is make the boy smile. And yeah, he realizes how fucked up that is. That he, Derek Hale, a Blood Wolf, capable of unrelenting blood and violence, just wants to make his Sub happy.

But it’s true.

“Please,” Stiles asks and, just like that, Derek caves.

“Anytime you want, baby boy,” he says with a smile. Stiles shivers, responding as much to Derek calling him baby boy as to Derek touching him. The Dom half expects him to ask now, but he doesn’t. He just presses into the Derek’s palm and closes his eyes, sighing. And, damn, it’s a pretty sight.

He brushes his thumb across Stiles’ bottom lip, feeling the little exhale there. Leaning down, he presses his lips against the boy’s. Stiles makes a soft contented noise, closing the mere inches between them, his chest against Derek’s. The kiss is gentle, so fucking gentle. Derek takes his time, lips moving against Stiles’, demanding the boy keep to his pace. He slips his tongue into the boy’s mouth, tasting him. Stiles whimpers into his mouth, tongue darting out to meet Derek’s.

The boy’s free hand rounds Derek’s hip, pulling the Dom closer. Their hard cocks rake against one another, a delicious sort of torture. Unconsciously, Stiles arches his hips. Derek growls, deepening the kiss, pressing harder against the boy’s mouth. He nips the boy’s bottom lip, pulling a desperate moan from deep in Stiles’ chest. It’s the most beautiful sound Derek’s ever heard and he’s determined to hear it again.

Fuck. How did he convince himself he could walk away from this? His reasons, the ones he clung to, now seem so fucking meaningless. This, this right here, is what matters. He’ll do whatever he has to in order to keep this boy, his boy, safe. And in the meantime, he’ll care for Stiles with everything he has. Because the boy deserves that…that and so much more.

He forces himself to pull back. Stiles whimpers, wordlessly begging for another kiss. The noise cuts away at Derek, trying his patience. He reminds himself, for what feels like the hundredth time, that this can’t happen. Not yet. First they need to have a conversation, they need to lay their relationship bare and sign a contract. And yeah, paperwork isn’t sexy, but it is necessary. The last thing he wants is to accidentally hurt Stiles because they haven’t discussed boundaries.

“Derek…” Stiles says, voice little more than an exhale. He opens his eyes, pleading with the Dom as he runs his hands down Derek’s chest, tracing the Dom’s tattoos. “Please. I want you.” Derek fights the urge to kiss him again, to lay him down on the sand and take him. God, he wants to. He wants it so fucking bad.

“I know, baby boy. I know,” Derek croons, stroking Stiles’ face. “I want that too, but I wasn’t lying when I said I wanted to do this right.” Worry cuts across Stiles’ face, concerning Derek. Has he changed his mind? Maybe he doesn’t want this anymore. The thought slices through Derek, quick and deep, destroying him.

“Are you sure? I mean…it’s just…” Stiles trails off, dropping his gaze.

“It’s just what? Talk to me,” Derek demands, deep voice calming the boy instantly.

Stiles takes a deep breath and exhales. “Contracts are for real relationships. Like go out on dates…kiss each other good night…fighting and fucking…those kind of relationships. Is that what you want with me? Are you sure?” Stiles asks, breath hitching.

“I’m sure,” Derek says with a nod, holding the boy’s gaze.

And he is, he’s sure.

Chapter Text

Stiles can’t breathe. Derek’s standing before him, dressed only in a pair of dark jeans, the ocean framing his back. He the perfect mixture of imperfections, tattoos and scars, bruises and bandages. God, he’s beautiful, so fucking beautiful. He could be with anyone; he could have anyone he wants. Instead he’s here…with Stiles. His eyes are fixed on the Sub, burning with devotion.

There’s no disputing his answer. Derek wants this, he really does. It’s written all over his face, etched into the set of his shoulders. He wants Stiles. But Stiles isn’t sure why. Not when, compared to Derek, he’s a fucking stick in the mud. The Dom is a damn Adonis and Stiles is well…he’s Stiles.

“You alright, baby boy?” Derek ask with a deep chuckle. It runs down Stiles’ spine like hot water, filling him with heat. Fuck, he loves Derek’s voice. He could drown in it.

Clearing his throat, he takes a step back and drops his gaze, feeling suddenly exposed. He’s aware that his self-confidence is shit. It always has been. There are reasons, more than he’d like to admit. But just because he’s aware of the problem, doesn’t mean he knows how to fix it. Over the years he’s learned how to cope, namely using humor to deflect. It helps, but the pain, the yearning, is still there.

He doesn’t like to admit it.  Some part of him thinks admitting it makes him weak. But it’s the fucking truth. He wants someone to tell him he’s beautiful…to show him he’s beautiful. Maybe that makes him selfish or needy, but it’s the truth. He craves it, adores it.

“I’m okay,” Stiles says, cursing his voice for shaking.

Derek’s brows furrow as he studies Stiles. Concerned, he takes a step towards the Sub and reaches up, brushing his fingers through Stiles’ hair. Stiles fights the urge to close his eyes, relishing in the Dom’s touch. Derek’s hand moves down to cup the back of his neck and Stiles sighs. He’s not sure why he loves Derek holding him there, but he does. It never ceases to send a surge of calm through him, settling his rapidly beating heart.

“If we’re gonna do this, you can’t lie to me,” Derek says, catching his gaze.

Stiles nods, agreeing with him even as he reminds himself that all he’s done is lie to Derek. Everything the Dom thinks he knows about Stiles is a fucking lie. He thinks Stiles is a high school dropout, a drug dealer. When the truth is, he graduated with honors, has a degree, and is a damn cop. God, if Derek knew who he really is, chances are he’d put a bullet between Stiles’ eyes.

Fuck.

What is he doing?

“It’s just…I don’t really get it. Why do you wanna be with me. I’m not good looking, hell I’m average at best. And then there’s you, this tattooed, sexy, fuck-me-please, model. You could have anyone you want and I just don’t understand-”

Derek fists his hand in Stiles’ hair and yanks the Sub towards him, cutting Stiles off. He pulls Stiles’ head back, forcing the Sub to look up at him. Stiles lets out a shaky breath, Derek’s forest green eyes tearing into him, cutting like razor blades. He’s pissed, expression torn between rage and disappointment. Stiles fights the urge to drop to his knees, to apologize. God, Derek’s mad at him and knowing that, feeling that, hurts. It’s a deep ache in Stiles’ chest, a throbbing.

“Listen to me,” Derek says in his Dom voice, all fucking business. Stiles nods rapidly, the command settling on his shoulders, a weight. “You are beautiful, so fucking beautiful. And if I ever hear you say differently again, I’ll spank you until you can’t feel your ass. Are we clear?” It’s not a threat, it’s a fucking promise. Stiles nods curtly, the threat of punishment hanging over him. He enjoys light spankings sometimes, but he’s sure he wouldn’t enjoy what Derek just described. Then again, that’s the point. Punishments aren’t meant to be fun.

“I’m sorry,” Stiles whispers, body aching, begging for Derek’s touch.

Derek pulls Stiles into his arms, wrapping the Sub into a tight hug. Stiles curls up against his chest, nosing the tattoo that lines Derek’s collar bone. A sense of safety circles him, sinking into his skin. He closes his eyes and takes a deep breath, the scent of Derek’s Burberry cologne calming him. Derek keeps his right hand on the back of Stiles’ neck, his left he trails down the Sub’s back.

“It’s okay, baby boy. I’m not mad at you. I just hate that you see yourself that way.” He tightens his arms around Stiles, unconsciously trying to protect him. “You know, the first time I saw you, I couldn’t believe you didn’t have a Dom,” he says with a dry chuckle. Stiles’ throat tightens, memories of his father echoing around in his head. “Because, one look at you, and you’re all I wanted.” Derek exhales, shaking his head as if berating himself. “All I had to do was bring you up. Instead, I spent half the night holding you, taking care of you. Because I didn’t think I’d ever get another chance…because the thought of letting you go was fucking impossible…”

Stiles lifts his head, looking up at the Dom. Derek meets his gaze and instantly, Stiles knows that he’s telling the truth. Holy shit. He really does care about Stiles. It’s not just obligation or instinct, Derek’s always wanted him. And even though Stiles doesn’t really agree with him, there’s not faking the possessiveness in the Dom’s gaze.

There’s a beauty in it, in the way Derek is looking at him. But it’s also really fucking terrifying. Because Derek is serious about him, this isn’t a fucking game to him. He wants a relationship with Stiles. And Stiles…Stiles is a fucking cop. Fuck, if Derek ever finds out it will tear him apart and then, then he’ll tear Stiles apart. Still, Stiles can’t walk away from this. He refuses to. Because, as fucked up as it is, he wants Derek just as much as the Dom wants him. He’s wanted him from the moment they met, same as Derek. The thought of it, of being with him, has consumed Stiles, become his entire existence. It’s as much a part of him as the heart beating in his chest.

“I sleep with your jacket,” Stiles says, the words spilling out of him. To his surprise, Derek grins at him, a deep chuckle reverberating in his throat. The sound of it, the feel of it, calms Stiles’ raging nerves. Thank God Derek doesn’t think he’s a freak. “It…uh…it smells like you.” He bites his bottom lip, cursing the blush that burns his cheeks.

“It’s Burberry, Laura buys it for me,” Derek says with another chuckle.

“I know…on your birthday. Cora told me when she gave it to me. I’m think it was an evil genius move on her part. I’m pretty sure she planned this,” Stiles says with a laugh, gesturing the to the slim space between them.

Derek nods. “It wouldn’t surprise me,” he says, releasing Stiles. The Sub takes a step back, but remains close. Derek keeps one hand on him, a steady weight at the back of Stiles’ neck. The Dom scans the beach, taking it in slowly. “This place is beautiful, Stiles.” A different kind of vulnerability descends on Stiles. He’s never brought anyone here, never told anyone about this place. It’s as much his home as the house he grew up in. It’s a part of him.

“We used to come here on Sundays. We’d have lunch and talk to each other. Then my dad would read a book while my mom and I walked along the beach, looking for sea glass.” Stiles swallows hard, dropping his gaze as memories assault him. This throat tightens, an invisible hand wrapping around it. He can almost hear his mother’s voice, feel her hand in his. Almost. It’s there, but it’s not. “It wasn’t anything overly special, but it was ours. Then…” he clears his throat, fighting back tears.

“Stiles, you don’t have to-”

“Yes, I do,” Stiles says, lifting his gaze. Derek’s brows are furrowed, his face a mask of concern. Stiles reminds himself that he’s safe here, safe with Derek. “My mom, she got sick. It was…a…a form of dementia. I was ten years old and I had to watch her waste away, watch her forget who I was. I didn’t understand what was happening. I refused to leave her, even as she screamed at me, accused me of trying to kill her. And then, one day, she was just gone.” A sob tears its way out of his throat, tears streaming down his face. No matter how much time passes, talking about his mother always destroys him. The dam just breaks and it all comes rushing back, the panic attacks and the shaking, missing her so much he thought his heart would explode.

Derek exhales, shaking his head in disbelief. There’s an understanding in his eyes, an echo of the agony in Stiles’ chest. Derek understands this pain. He’s felt it, lived it. It’s one of the reasons Stiles decided to tell him about this place. Because Derek understands how it feels to lose a parent, he’s one of the few people Stiles knows who can relate.

“We…we…never came back here after that,” Stiles mutters, blinking hard. The action sends more tears down his cheeks. Derek breaks, lifting the Sub in his arms and cradling him close. The second Derek touches him, Stiles exhales, the tight knot in his chest uncoiling. He drops his head to Derek’s shoulder, burying his face there. Derek lets out a shaky breath, his hold on Stiles so tight, so fucking tight. It’s like the Dom is scared Stiles is just going to fade away, blur into the distance. And sometimes he feels that way, but not while Derek’s holding him, never while Derek’s holding him.

“I’m so sorry, baby boy,” Derek says and, just like when Cora said those words to him, Stiles believes Derek. He believes the Dom because Derek knows how this feels, he understands that agony. “Thank you for showing this place to me. I know it wasn’t easy for you, but I’m so proud of you. You’re such a good boy.” Heat blooms in Stiles’ chest, spreading through his body as Derek’s praise settles on him. He’s overcome with a sense of calm, of right. Damn, Derek knows what he’s doing. A few words from his Dom and Stiles can breathe again, just like that.

Stiles realizes, and it’s like a fucking freight train hitting him in the chest, that he loves Derek. He loves him. The knowledge steals the breath from his lungs, filling him with dread and lust and something akin to relief.

Fuck.

Terrified, Stiles starts to shake. When did this happen? When did he let this happen? He never intended to feel anything for the Dom. But somewhere, in the midst of everything, of the fighting and the falling into each other’s arms, Derek became a part of him. Stiles has told himself it’s lust, fury, guilt…but it’s not, not anymore.

He loves Derek.

He’s in love with someone he knows nothing about. How is that even possible? Maybe he’s been going about this wrong. Maybe knowing someone isn’t about facts. Sure, he can’t list Derek’s favorite movies, but he knows how the Dom likes to hold him. He has no idea what Derek likes to do in his spare time, but he can describe, in detail, the tattoos that cover the Dom’s skin. Stiles knows how Derek makes him feel, the safety that envelops him whenever the Dom is around. All Derek has to do is say a few words, stroke his cheek, and Stiles feels like he’s home. That’s love. Right?

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

What’s he doing? What the fuck is he doing?

“Stiles, you’re shaking. Are you okay?” Derek asks, running a hand down Stiles’ nape. Stiles exhales shakily, struggling to focus on the feel of Derek pressed against him. He’s safe, Derek’s got him. Yeah…until he learns what and who Stiles is. Then this pretty little picture is going up in flames. And it’s not a matter of if, but when. The thought of it, of the betrayal on Derek’s face, the disappointment, is enough to ruin Stiles. If the Dom doesn’t kill him, he will walk away from him…a worse fate as far as Stiles is concerned.

“I’m…I’m…” Stiles trails off, voice breaking.

“What is it, baby boy?” Derek asks, catching Stiles’ gaze. He graces Stiles with a soft, comforting smile. It eases Stiles’ fears, but only just. Yes, he’s safe with Derek right now, but for how long? He knows the answer. “Hey, talk to me. We’re being honest with each other, remember?”

Stiles nods, reaching up to brush the tears from his cheeks. God, he doesn’t know what to do. He’s in love with a murderer, a wanted criminal. He knows what Derek is, but there’s such a disassociation between the Derek he’s heard about and the one holding Stiles in his arms. He’s in love with this man, who cares for and protects him, who kisses him like Stiles is something to be worshipped. And yeah, they are the same person, but when they are alone, when it’s just the two of them, it’s easy to forget that Derek is a killer.

And fuck if this doesn’t throw a wrench in Stiles’ plan. It won’t be so easy now. He can still get the fingerprint and put Peter behind bars, but not without Derek finding out that he’s a cop. There’s no fucking way. And the thought of telling him, of Derek thinking that this was all just a lie, makes Stiles ache. Because it’s not a lie, how he feels isn’t a lie.

“Do you have the contract here?” Stiles asks, brushing away his tears. Fuck it. He can deal with the consequences later. Right now, he wants Derek to fuck him. He wants to feel the Dom come inside of him.

“It’s in the inside pocket of my jacket,” Derek says, eyeing Stiles, brows furrowed.

“You’ve…you’ve been carrying it with you?” Stiles asks and, with a nod, Derek sets fire to Stiles’ remaining doubts. He wants this. Stiles doesn’t care who Derek is or that that he’ll probably get thrown off the force for this. Because Derek’s been carrying their contract around with him all week, just waiting for Stiles to call him. And that’s what Stiles wants, that’s all he’s ever wanted, someone who’ll hold onto him.

Stiles presses on the Dom’s chest and Derek gently lowers him to his feet. Heart in his throat, Stiles walks over to their clothes and fishes the contract from Derek’s jacket. With it in hand, he grabs a pen from his backpack and twists around to face Derek.

“You wanna do this now?” Derek asks, expression somewhere between amusement and concern.

“I want you to fuck me, right here, with the water and the sun and the sand. If we gotta sign this to get to that then, hell fuckin’ yeah we’re doing this now,” Stiles says so rapidly he’s not even sure Derek understands him. But he does, and the smile he gives Stiles in return is breathtaking.

“Alright,” Derek says with a deep chuckle, closing the distance between them.

Stiles sits back on the Dom’s bike and unfolds the contract, looking it over. It’s pretty standard, nothing overly fancy, just a few pieces of paper. But the weight of it, of what Stiles is about to do, makes it so much more. He’s honestly never even contemplated being in a contracted relationship with someone. He didn’t want to be held back, thought of it as a cage people locked themselves in. But it’s not. This is the two of them agreeing to be faithful to one another, to respect and care for each other. And that, that right there, is as far from a cage as anything could be.

“Okay…hard limits,” Stiles says, scanning the list. “I’m not really into pain. I mean, a light spanking, hell yeah, but that’s it. No blood or bruising.”

“Good, I don’t like the thought of hurting you,” Derek says, carding his fingers through his hair. “Not unless you need it.” He gives Stiles a knowing look, filling the Sub’s head with vivid images from earlier. Of Derek holding him close, demanding Stiles see himself as beautiful…or pay the consequences.

“Yeah, if you need to punish me, a hard spanking is definitely the way to do it. I won’t get off on it, but it doesn’t scare me,” Stiles says, holding the Dom’s gaze so Derek knows that Stiles is being honest with him.

“Alright,” Derek says, relief plain on his face. Stiles wonders, briefly, if he was worried about what he said earlier. Stiles needed to hear it, needed to be told that he’d be punished if he didn’t stop picking himself apart. But had Derek chosen a different punishment, things might’ve gone in another direction. Had he said he’d whip Stiles, the Sub would’ve gotten scared.

“Uh…no bodily fluids or anything gross. I mean, yeah, come all over me if you want to, but if you try and pee on me I will deck you,” Stiles says with a laugh. Derek rolls his eyes, but Stiles doesn’t miss the way his cock jumps at the mention of Derek coming all over him. Yeah, Derek would be alright with that. Very alright with that. “Oh, and no humiliation, I fuckin’ hate that shit.” Stiles shakes his head. In the past, people he’s picked up at bars have been into it. They’d call him whore or slut, pointing out his flaws. He internalized their words and they had a disastrous effect on his already shitty self-image.

Derek catches his gaze, picking up on the memories haunting Stiles. The Dom’s green eyes fill Stiles with warmth, with security. “You’re my good boy,” he says softly, letting Stiles know he’d never hurt him like that, without actually saying it. Stiles fights the urge to jump into his arms and kiss him.

“Other than that, we’re good,” Stiles says, looking over the revised document. He’s comfortable with what he’s crossed out and what he’s left. With a nod, he stands up and holds the contract out for Derek. “Your turn.”

Derek sits down on the motorcycle, taking the pen and paper from Stiles. He scans the changes Stiles made and then turns to where the Dominant’s preferences are listed. “I don’t require complete obedience, not that I think I’d get it from you,” Derek says, slipping Stiles a little smirk. Stiles bursts out laughing. Yeah, there’s no way that’s going to happen. Stiles’ isn’t exactly the most obedient Sub. “I do however insist that you are honest with me. I want to know if you need or want something, if something makes you uncomfortable. Lie to me and you will be punished. Are we clear?” Derek lifts his gaze, fixing Stiles.

“Yeah, we’re clear,” Stiles says, trying not to think about the fact that he’s living a fucking lie. He can be honest with Derek about everything, everything except who and what he really is. And, for now, that will have to be enough.

“Good,” Derek says with a nod before turning back to the contract. “I know some Doms like to be called Sir or Master by their Sub, but I’d much rather you call me by my name. If you absolutely have to-”

“Derek is fine with me,” Stiles says, cutting him off. He gives the Dom an apologetic grin, but Derek’s not mad. If anything, he’s relieved.

“Thank you,” he says, exhaling. Stiles can’t help but wonder whether Derek’s other Subs have insisted on calling the Dom by a title. He’s clearly not okay with it and the mere through of him enduring something like that infuriates Stiles. Submissive limits are often given preference over that of Doms. But, as far as Stiles is concerned, both should be laid out and kept to. Doms and Subs are different, but they are all just people and everyone’s limits are equally valid.

“I’m not gonna stop callin’ you sourwolf though. You’re just gonna have to learn to deal with that one,” Stiles says, trying desperately to soothe Derek. Thankfully, it works. The Dom chuckles, the tension in his shoulders easing.

“Only if I get to keep calling you baby boy,” Derek says with a knowing smirk.

“Stop calling me baby boy and I will kill you,” Stiles says, laughing. The Dom nods in agreement, eyeing Stiles like the Sub is the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen. It’s a look Stiles isn’t completely comfortable with, but damn if it doesn’t make him feel special.

Derek turns back to the contract, pen poised in his hand. “I require all of my Subs to have a safeword. It doesn’t have to be anything special, I honestly prefer red because it’s the easiest to remember, but it’s up to you.” He looks up at Stiles, green eyes steady and wanting. Stiles looks him over, in awe. How is it that Derek, a hitman, a murderer, is also the kindest Dom Stiles has ever met? It’s baffling, stunning.

“Red is fine with me,” Stiles says, fighting the urge to kiss Derek again. The Dom nods, noting it in the contract. “And you, what’s your safeword?”

Derek looks up at him, brows furrowing. “My safeword?” he asks, confused.

“Yeah. I know it’s not exactly conventional, but I think you should have one too. I mean, what if I say or do something your uncomfortable with. I need to know that you aren’t okay. It’s only fair,” Stiles says, struggling to justify himself. To his surprise, a broad smile cuts across Derek’s face, his eyes burning with adoration. God, he loves it when Derek smiles, when he laughs.

“Should we just stick with red for both of us?” Derek asks. Stiles nods and the Dom takes it down, writing his safeword next to Stiles’. It looks good there, like it belongs. And Stiles is happy he brought it up, thankful he brought it up. The last thing he wants is to accidentally hurt his Dom.

A voice in the back of Stiles’ head reminds him that, in doing this, he’s promising to hurt Derek. He’s signing a fucking contract with the Dom, entering into a committed relationship with him. All the while, aware that he’s lying to Derek and that, eventually, Derek is going to find out. And yeah, that will hurt the Dom. There’s no disputing that fact. It’s going to hurt Derek, but it might just be the end of Stiles.

“Alright,” Derek says, setting the contract down to sign it. His signature is a mess of long lines and bold letters, but it’s beautiful. Stiles stares at it, entranced. He’s really going to do this. They are really going to do this. Derek stands up and holds out the pen and paper. Stiles takes them, hands shaking, and sits down, pen poised above the dotted line.

Chapter Text

Derek watches, heart in his throat, as Stiles scrawls his signature across the contract. It’s nearly illegible, except for the S’s at the beginning of his first and last name. It hits Derek that he doesn’t even know Stiles’ last name, but, right now, he doesn’t give a fuck. Because Stiles is his. All his.

“Does this need to be notarized?” Stiles asks as he scans the contract, brows furrowed. “I mean, it probably does, right? I don’t know any notaries, but you probably do. You’ve got your own personal doctors so it’s not much of a stretch. Laura’s employees are contracted, right? So that would require-”

“Stiles,” Derek says with a chuckle, cutting the boy off.

“Yeah?” Stiles lifts his gaze expectantly. Derek smirks, endlessly amused with the boy’s tendency to get lost in things. It’s adorable, as adorable as the rest of him. Derek gives him a pointed look and Stiles instantly cues in, eyes widening. “Right. We can worry about a notary later. God, Stiles, priorities,” he says, talking to himself. Derek shakes his head at the boy, too enthralled to be annoyed. Fuck, he’s just so damn cute. “First, you fuck me, well maybe not first. Personally, I’d love to suck your cock for a while but it’s really up to you. Whatever you wanna do, sourwolf. You’re the boss.” He flashes Derek a wicked smirk that, honest to fucking God, stops his heart.

“I want you to shut up so I can kiss you,” Derek says, chuckling. Stiles clamps his mouth shut and motions the Dom over, the humor in his eyes darkening, shifting to lust.

Derek fists a hand in Stiles’ hair and captures his mouth, plunging his tongue in to meet the boy’s. With a whimper, Stiles bleeds into his touch, body going lax. There’s something seductive and powerful about the way he lets Derek take his weight, relying on the Dom. It’s him giving in and Derek has never seen anything so fucking beautiful.

With a growl, Derek tilts his head, deepening the kiss. Stiles’ tongue meets his stroke for stroke, taking everything Derek’s willing to give. Their lips shift and sway, bend and break. Stiles clamps one hand around the back of Derek’s neck, using it keep the Dom in place. The other, he runs slowly down Derek’s chest. Beneath his touch, Derek burns, the boy setting a wildfire in the cage of his ribs. It moves through him, fierce and slow, consuming him until all he can feel is Stiles.

Pulling back, Derek drops his hands to Stiles’ hips, lifting the boy into his arms with practiced ease. Before his body makes contact, Stiles is kissing him again. The boy’s new vantage point allows him to dip his tongue deeper into Derek’s mouth, tasting the Dom. Derek trails his hands up the boy’s back, pulling a whimper from deep in Stiles’ throat. The sound sears through Derek, his cock hardening.

Fuck. This is how it should be, how it was always meant to be. Stiles belongs in his arms. To think, Derek tried to walk away from this, from this gorgeous boy. This boy who has brought a light back into his life, who has given him a reason…a purpose.

Stiles eases back, breathing hard. He opens his eyes as Derek buries his face in the boy’s neck. He kisses his way up Stiles’ nape, licking and nipping at the boy’s skin. Stiles tilts his head, sighing into Derek’s touch. He scraps his nails across the line of Derek’s shoulders, eliciting a growl from the Dom. The sound makes Stiles shiver, goose bumps rising on the skin of his arms.

Derek tongues the tendon that connects Stiles’ neck to his shoulder, causing the boy to arch into Derek, pressing his hard cock into the Dom’s abdomen. Derek pulls back with a light kiss, chuckling. He loves the affect he has on Stiles. It’s pure and instant. He touches the boy and Stiles responds, his body completely attuned to Derek.

Stiles catches his gaze, amber eyes blown wide, the color nearly consumed by the black. He’s breathing hard, face flushed. Derek drinks in the sight of him, from the red of his abused lips to the slight scruff on his cheeks, to the proud arch of his eyebrows. How is it possible that this boy, this lovely Sub, belongs to him? He doesn’t deserve Stiles, he knows that, but he’ll do everything he can to try. Because Stiles deserves that kind of devotion, he brings it out of Derek, pulls it from his chest.

“You’re way too good for me, baby boy,” Derek says with a soft smirk.

Stiles shakes his head, brows furrowed, as if the idea were insane. “Says the hitman to the drug dealer,” Stiles says, smiling. Derek chuckles, hyper-aware of the boy’s hands on his chest. Derek glances down at them, the boy’s pale skin standing out in stark contrast to his, to the sun tan and the tattoos and the scars.

Stiles can say whatever he wants, they are not the same. Derek kills people, beats them to death. There’s more blood on his hands than he knows what to do with, more than he’ll ever be able to wash away. But Stiles’ hands…they’re clean. True, the boy’s not completely innocent, but he’s damn sure not as corrupt as Derek.

Is Derek being selfish?

Being with him is dangerous for Stiles. What if Peter finds out? Derek has no doubt in his mind that his uncle would use Stiles against him. He would torture and kill the boy just to spite Derek. That’s how much he hates his nephew. Derek doesn’t have the right to ask this of Stiles. He should tear up that contract and walk away. He’d be saving Stiles’ life; it would be a selfless act, one of the few he’s ever made. But…he can’t. He can’t let the boy go and that proves just how terrible a person he is. Because this, what’s happening between them, will get Stiles killed.

“Hey, look at me,” Stiles whispers, taking Derek’s jaw in his hand. Gently, he forces the Dom to look up, to meet the boy’s amber gaze. There’s something there, a mixture of lust and devotion…it cuts away at Derek, slicing between his ribs. “What’s wrong? You just kinda disappeared.”

Derek clears his throat, clenching his teeth. As much as he wants to lie, wants to keep this to himself, he did promise to be honest with Stiles. And he can’t ask the boy to do the same if he’s not honoring his side of the deal. Stiles made it clear that he doesn’t intend to push Derek for answers, and he’s not, but he does deserve to know. Derek glances around and the sight of the beach, Stiles’ mother’s beach, pushes Derek over the edge.

“If Peter finds out about you, about us, he’ll come after you,” Derek says, the words pressing down on him. Images blur his vision, images of Stiles broken and bleeding, strung up and at his uncle’s mercy. His protective instincts roar, demanding he keep the boy safe, demanding he never let that happen.

Stiles holds his gaze, an understanding there. He’s the first person Derek’s been with who knows him, every aspect of him. And it’s terrifying. He’s seen Derek fragile and strong, centered and insane. But, for some reason, he’s still here. Maintaining eye contact, he leans into Derek until they are inches apart. The boy’s breath brushes Derek’s lips, making his cock jump. Fuck. He wants Stiles…right now.

“He’ll kill you,” Derek says, voice raw.

“I know,” Stiles says, dauntless. “Let him try.”

Derek gapes at him, brows furrowed. He knows he should be concerned, that he should be demanding answers and scolding the boy. But he can’t, not when he’s so fucking proud of Stiles. The boy may not look like much, but he is so strong, so fucking strong.

Pride swells in Derek’s chest as Stiles slips him a wicked smirk. The boy’s insane, there’s no disputing that, but his insanity compliment’s Derek’s. He arches into Derek, pressing his cock into the Dom. And, just like that, Derek’s worries disappear. All he can think about is getting the boy on his knees, getting inside of him…making him come. Peter can go fuck himself. This moment is all fucking theirs.

Derek lunges forward, taking Stiles’ lips, kissing the boy with everything he has. Stiles sighs, relaxing into him, reaching up to cup Derek’s neck. Everywhere Stiles touches him, Derek burns, electricity sparking across his skin. He slips his tongue into the boy’s mouth, tasting him, drinking him in.

Stiles nips his bottom lip and Derek groans, dropping a hand to Stiles’ ass. He uses it to press the boy into him, relishing in the feel of Stiles’ hard cock against his abs. He wants it back in his mouth, wants to feel the boy lose control again. He can still feel Stiles there, the boy arching into Derek, needy and wanting. And those noises he made when he came, fuck, those helpless, pleading whimpers. That’s what Derek wants, that’s what he needs.

Derek pulls back and Stiles whimpers in protest, blindly searching for his Dom’s lips. Helpless to the boy’s begging, Derek leans back in and gives him a soft kiss, taking his time before easing back.

Slowly, Stiles opens his eyes, meeting Derek’s gaze. “You sure you wanna do this here, baby boy?” Derek asks, breathless. Stiles nods then motions for the Dom to put him down. Derek complies, but gently, careful to make sure Stiles can take his own weight before completely releasing the boy.

Derek watches as Stiles bends down and unzips his backpack. He pulls out a large blanket, a box of condoms, a bottle of lube, and a box of chocolate chip granola bars. Unable to help himself, Derek bursts out laughing. God, Stiles is fucking adorable. Of course he brought a box of granola bars, of course.

“What?” Stiles asks as he opens the box, shoving most of a granola bar into his mouth.

Derek shakes his head at him, grinning. “What’d you think we were gonna do, go to war?” he asks, chuckling.

Stiles rolls his eyes and tosses the blanket to Derek. The Dom catches it in one hand, watching as Stiles drops the box of granola bars. Then, before Derek has time to react, the boy strips off his jeans and steps out of his Spiderman boxer briefs. His cock juts upward, hitting his stomach. Derek licks his lips, eyes darkening as his instincts take over, screaming at him.

“You sure I’m what you want?” Stiles asks, expression sharpening. He drops his gaze, his lack of self-confidence shining through once again. It sears Derek deep, infuriating him. He’s not sure why Stiles sees himself this way, but he intends to show the boy how beautiful he is.

Derek closes the distance between them, taking the boy’s face in his hands. Gingerly, he lifts Stiles’ gaze, holding strong as the boy’s eyes rip through him. There’s a pleading there, quiet and simple, begging Derek to make it go away, to make it better. With a growl, Derek leans down and captures Stiles’ lips. He kisses the little Sub with everything he’s got, putting every word he’s never said into it, a thousand quiet whispers, a million promises. Stiles goes lax, sighing into Derek, giving over his control. Derek breathes it in, intoxicated.

Pulling back, Derek presses his forehead to Stiles’, holding the boy’s gaze. “You’re all that I want,” he says fervently, throat tightening. And it scares him how much he means it. For years all he’s wanted is revenge, to kill Peter and take back the Blood Wolves. But now, now that urge is secondary, meaningless without Stiles. “Understand?” Derek asks, one eyebrow arched.

“Yeah,” Stiles says with a nod, tears brimming in his eyes. Derek relishes in the sight of them, in how deeply Stiles cares for him.

“Good boy,” Derek croons, sending a shiver down the boy’s spine. He blushes fiercely, preening under Derek’s praise. Fuck, he’s gorgeous, far more than Derek deserves. But he pushes that thought out of his mind, focusing on the boy before him. “I’m gonna spread this blanket out and then I want you on your knees, are we clear?”

Stiles swallows hard, nodding. But that’s not enough, Derek wants an answer, needs to hear that the boy understands. He gives Stiles a pointed look, wordlessly demanding he give a spoken answer. “Yes, we’re clear,” he says shakily. Derek nods in praise and steps back, turning to face the beach.

He studies the landscape, locating a spot under a group of palm trees. It’s backed by rocks, making it look safe and secluded. With a nod, Derek walks over and spread the blanket out on the sand. Stiles watches, bottom lip caught between his teeth, as Derek strips off his jeans. He leaves his black boxer briefs, slowly lifting his gaze to look at Stiles. Caught up in the sight of his Dom, Stiles continues to stare, torn between lust and wonder. It’s cute for a moment, but Derek quickly gets impatient. Eventually, he fixes the Sub with a forceful glare, demanding he do as he was told.

Stiles closes the distance between them, anxiously toying with his hands at his sides. Derek directs him down the with a tip of his head and Stiles falls to his knees. The second he hits the ground his eyes glaze over, the action releasing dozens of chemicals in his brain, calming him, centering him. He exhales, his nervous fingers relaxing as dopamine floods his body.

“Damn, you’re beautiful,” Derek murmurs, carding a hand through Stiles’ hair. He moves it down to cup Stiles’ neck, holding him in place. The boy’s breath catches in his lungs and he presses back against Derek’s hand, a pleased sound rising from his throat.

Stiles slowly lifts his gaze, shamelessly eyeing Derek’s cock, his erection pressing hard against the fabric. Stiles licks his lips and Derek smiles, remembering what the boy said about wanting to suck his cock. He places his thumb under the boy’s chin, lifting his gaze. Stiles’ pupils are blown wide, mouth slightly parted.

“What do you want?” Derek asks sternly.

“Your cock,” Stiles whispers, practically begging. Derek sighs, drinking in the boy’s tone of voice, the worshipful way he’s looking up at his Dom. It fuels the fire raging within Derek, making him hungrier while simultaneously satiating him.

“Where?” Derek asks, torturing Stiles. The boy lets out a whimper, but Derek ignores it. Eyes narrowed, he fixes Stiles with a forceful look. He may be toying with the boy, but he still expects an answer. Stiles needs to learn how to be transparent with Derek, otherwise this is never going to work. “Tell me,” Derek growls, sending a shiver down the boy’s spine.

“My…my mouth…” Stiles says, voice quivering.

“There’s a good boy,” Derek says with a smile, rewarding the boy. Stiles sighs as Derek strokes his cheek, his eyelids threatening to drop. Derek shifts his hand back to the boy’s neck, holding it tight. “Go ahead,” he says, nodding to his cock. To his surprise, Stiles smirks wickedly, like a little kid with a candy bar in each hand.

With a hum of pleasure, Stiles reaches up, running his fingers across Derek’s abs, around his hips, and down his back. He slips them under the elastic of the Dom’s boxer briefs, cupping his ass as he pushes them down. Derek tips his head back, lips parting as Stiles releases his aching cock. It hits his stomach and, ever the tease, Stiles exhales, his breath fanning the Dom’s erection. Derek grits his teeth and drops his gaze, a tiny smirk pulling at the corner of his mouth.

“Damn, Der. I knew you were big, but…wow…” Stiles says, his eyes fixed on Derek’s cock. The Dom rolls his eyes, but Stiles has a point.

Derek chuckles, remembering something. “Laura walked in on me changing once,” he says, shaking his head as the memory plays before his eyes. “She stared at me for a good five seconds, shrugged, and then said, ‘If you ever get tired of bustin’ heads, I could make some serious chitty-chitty off that bang-bang.’ Then she just walked out of the room.” Stiles bursts out laughing, shaking his head in disbelief. Derek soaks in the sound of his laughter, relishing in it.

“That’s awesome,” Stiles says, glancing up to meet Derek’s gaze.

Derek smiles down at him, in awe of how easy it is to talk to the boy. Derek’s never been much of a talker. That’s not to say that he’s bad at it, he isn’t. But he doesn’t normally volunteer information. It’s one of the things that makes him good at what he does. But for some reason, he wants to tell Stiles everything, wants to give him bits and pieces of his life, until the boy understands him.

“May I?” Stiles asks, glancing at Derek’s cock.

“So polite,” Derek mutters, teasing the boy.

Stiles scoffs, rolling his eyes. “I can be polite when I wanna be. Watch.” He straightens his back and catches Derek’s gaze, a plea filling his amber eyes. “Please, can I suck your cock?” he asks and then he drops his gaze submissively, biting his lip. And fuck if it’s not the hottest thing Derek has ever seen.

With a growl, Derek fists his hand in the boy’s hair. With his other hand he reaches down and takes hold of his cock, directing it to the boy’s mouth. Stiles’ eyelids fall as he takes Derek into his mouth, swirling his tongue over the head of the Dom’s cock. Derek clenches his teeth, exhaling unsteadily.

Fuck. That feels good.

Right there.

Stiles continues his little kitten licks. Derek keeps his hand on the back of the boy’s head, but eases his grip, giving Stiles the freedom to pull back. Derek’s well-aware that, while at first glance, it seems like he has the control, he doesn’t. It’s Stiles who has it. He always has. One word from the boy and Derek will back off, no questions asked. That’s control.

“Deeper, baby boy,” Derek whispers, deep voice raw with wanting.

Stiles swirls his tongue around the head of Derek’s cock and then swallows him. He can’t take all of Derek, but he does his best. Derek groans, tipping his head back with a breathless sigh. Fuck, the boy’s mouth is heaven. It’s wet and tight and hot, his tongue sliding across the base of Derek’s cock.

Gently, Derek, pulls on the boy’s hair. Stiles lets the Dom direct him, following Derek’s lead as the Dom sets a slow rhythm. Stiles whimpers, trying to speed up, but Derek holds him back. This is foreplay, nothing more. Derek has no intention of coming in the boy’s mouth. As fucking sexy as this is, he wants to come while buried in the boy’s ass. It’s as simple as that. So, Stiles is just going to have to wait. 

The boy takes him deep, pulling a growl from Derek’s throat. His eyes roll back in his head and he swears under his breath. Fuck, this is torture, but it’s the best fucking kind. Stiles has a mouth made for fucking and he’s damn good at it. He twists his tongue artfully as he alternates between deep-throating Derek and licking the head of his cock.

Every so often, Stiles tries to speed up, but Derek fists his hand in the boy’s hair and sets him back to pace. And with every slight show of Derek’s dominance, Stiles moans and whimpers, tiny sounds of pleasure pulled from his throat.

The boy’s hard, his cock red and weeping. Derek licks his lips, wanting to take the boy deep in his mouth, but he holds back. Stiles scrapes his teeth over Derek’s cock and the Dom almost comes. Almost. Sweet fuck…he loves Stiles’ mouth. How is he ever going to get anything done after this? It’s going to be impossible. Why eat, why sleep, when he could be fucking Stiles’ mouth?

The boy reaches for his own cock, finally breaking. With a growl, Derek pulls Stiles off his cock and wrenches the boy’s head back. He opens his eyes, blinking rapidly. But it does nothing to rid him of the dazed, blissed-out, gloss over his eyes. Fuck, the boy’s slipping into subspace from just sucking Derek’s cock. Could he get more fucking perfect?

“Get your hand away from your cock,” Derek says forcefully. Stiles obeys in an instant, returning his hand to his side. “Good boy.” Stiles lets out a tiny whimper, his head falling back as the praise washes over him, flooding his body with chemicals. “You don’t get to touch that cock without asking me. Never again. You wanna know why, baby boy?” Derek asks, tilting his head downward, inclining it toward the boy.

“Mm,” Stiles whimpers, forcing his eyes open.

Derek takes the boy’s face in both of his hands, fingers splayed at the boy’s nape. Stiles’ presses into his touch, his eyes fixed on Derek’s. The Dom holds his gaze, fiercely, effortlessly. “Because it’s mine. That cock is mine,” Derek says, voice fading to a whisper. Stiles lets out a shaky exhale, whimpering. “And you know what else is mine?”

“What?” Stiles asks, so softly that Derek almost doesn’t catch it.

Derek drops one hand and moves the other to cup the boy’s chin. With it in hand, he directs Stiles to his feet, pulling him upward. Stiles stands up, chest heaving as his body reacts to Derek’s dominance. Once on his feet, Stiles drops his gaze, more instinct than anything else. But it’s not what Derek wants.

“Look at me.” The command is direct, but warm. Stiles does as instructed, dark lashes rising. His amber eyes meet Derek’s, the boy’s face a mask of lust and wanting, of adoration and promise. “I asked you a question. Your cock is mine, do you know what else is mine?” Derek asks, smirking ever so slightly as the boy blushes. The Dom brushes his thumb over Stiles cheek, feeling the heat there. “Tell me, baby boy…tell me what’s mine…”

“Me,” Stiles whimpers, voice breaking.

“You,” Derek says and then he captures the boy’s lips, wordlessly rewarding him for answering the question. And for getting it so right, so fucking right. Stiles is his, and Derek’s never going to give him up. Not for anything or anyone.

Chapter Text

Stiles can’t breathe, can’t fucking think. His head is a flurry of sparks and cotton candy and Derek’s Burberry cologne. He’s pressed up against the Dom, the heat of Derek’s skin seeping into his bones. Derek tightens his grip on the back of Stiles’ neck, pulling a whimper from his throat. With a growl, the Dom deepens their kiss, plunging his tongue into Stiles’ mouth. Stiles shudders against him, breathless but too caught up in Derek to care.

Sweet motherfucking fuck, his Dom can kiss.

Derek bites Stiles’ bottom lip and then sweeps his tongue across it, sending a shiver down the Sub’s spine. God, he wants to touch Derek, wants to memorize the feel of his muscles, trace the pattern of his tattoos. But the Dom hasn’t given him permission. So he holds back, hands fisted at his sides.

The Dom pulls back, but keeps a tight hold on Stiles, one hand wrapped around the Sub’s back and the other clutching his neck. The security of his touch, gentle but strong, threatens to destroy Stiles. He’s never felt so safe, so fucking protected. Nothing can happen to him here, not while he’s wrapped up in Derek’s arms. His Dom will protect him. Stiles smiles to himself, he likes the sound of that, likes the thought of Derek belonging to him. Because, as scary as it is to admit, he belongs to Derek.

“Any reason you’re not touching me?” Derek asks, a soft smile on his lips.

Stiles puts his hands together, wringing his fingers anxiously. He thought he was being a good Sub by waiting for permission, but maybe he missed something. Fuck, he sucks at this shit. There’s a reason he’s never had a real Dom and it’s not because of his job. He’s a bad Sub, between the ADHD and his issues with authority, he’s a damn train wreck. Not exactly great submissive material.

“I…uh…” Stiles trails off, dropping his gaze.

Derek shifts the hand he has locked around Stiles’ neck, placing his thumb under the boy’s chin. Slowly, he lifts Stiles’ gaze, inclining his head to meet it. Stiles blushes as Derek’s forest green eyes bore into his. He expects the Dom to be angry, but he’s not. No, if anything, he looks concerned.

“I need you to be honest with me, Stiles,” Derek says, brows furrowing.

Stiles swallows hard, cocks his jaw to the side, and then shifts it back. Time to come clean. Derek has the right to know what he’s in for. “I’m like the world’s worst Sub,” he says and, to his surprise, Derek laughs, shaking his head in disbelief. “No, I’m serious! I never know what I’m supposed to do and I suck at following directions…like on a professional level. It’s that bad!” He fixes Derek with a ‘you know I’m right’ stare, which only makes Derek laugh harder. Irritated, Stiles pulls out of the Dom’s arms and squares up, glaring at him. “What, you don’t believe me?”

Derek shakes his head, his laughter fading to a breathy chuckle. Stiles is taken with an urge to shove the Dom, to push him to the ground and kiss him, to bury that cock so far up his…Fuck. He grits his teeth, struggling to remain on topic. He’s angry and Derek, yeah, he’s angry. So what if Derek is sexy as all fuck, it doesn’t matter. Nope, doesn’t matter.

The Dom takes a step towards him, smile fading. Concern fills his dark eyes as they sweep over Stiles, taking him in. He’s wired like a damn spring. With a sigh, Derek takes the Sub’s face in his hands, forcing Stiles to look up at him. Stiles continues to glare at him, but he quickly loses his fire. How is he supposed to be mad at Derek when the Dom’s looking at him like that? Fuck, it’s like Stiles is his whole fucking world, like he’s all that matters to Derek. And it’s terrifying in a beautiful sort of way, stealing the breath from Stiles’ lungs and leaving him aching.

“I don’t need a perfect Sub, baby boy. I don’t expect that from you,” he says, shaking his head. “Why would I? Fuck, it’s not like I’m a great Dom. I’m hard to read, prone to self-isolating, and I internalize everything. There will be days when I won’t touch you, won’t even fucking look at you…that’s not a good Dom.” He grits his teeth, holding tight to Stiles, like he’s scared the Sub is going to make a break for it.

Stiles gapes at him. That’s probably the most Derek has ever said to him, ever. The Dom’s not a big talker which is fine with Stiles, seeing as he is. But, as Derek just said, it does make it hard to know what he wants, what he needs. Stiles exhales, forcing himself to rethink his flaws in relation to Derek’s. Maybe the Dom’s right. They’ve both got issues. And yeah, two wrongs don’t make a right, but the sex will probably be fantastic.

Stick that one on a bumper sticker and sell it.

Chuckling, Stiles nods. “Fair enough. We both suck equally,” he says, making Derek laugh. Stiles drinks in the sound, devouring it like chocolate. The Dom laughs so rarely, that it means so much more when he does. It’s rare. Like a unicorn.

His unicorn.

Sweet fuck.

Stiles it taken back to what he told Scott about waiting for a damn unicorn. And yeah, Stiles didn’t really wait and Derek is more werewolf than unicorn, but it’s a metaphor or something. And Stiles fucking loves it.

“What’s so funny?” Derek asks, arching a dark eyebrow.

“Just unicorns,” Stiles says with a shrug.

Derek rolls his eyes. “Okay?” he mutters, stroking the Sub’s cheeks. Stiles sinks into the Dom’s light touch, sighing as it brings him back to reality. “Back to the beginning of this tangent. Why aren’t you touching me?”

“You…uh…you didn’t give me permission to,” Stiles says, blushing. Before he can react, Derek leans down and kisses him softly. And it’s almost like an apology, it’s that soft. Stiles melts into him, lips moving leisurely at Derek’s pace.

The Dom pulls back and opens his eyes, catching Stiles’ gaze. “If I ever don’t want you to touch me, I’ll tell you, okay?” He fixes the Sub with a pointed look and Stiles nods, feeling like a total dumbass. See, worst Sub ever. Of course Derek wants Stiles to touch him. “And I expect the same from you. Tell me to stop, pull back, safeword out, whatever you need to do.”

Stiles nods, falling in love with the Dom all over again. Fuck, could he get any sweeter? No, probably not. “So, I can touch you?” Stiles asks, smirking.

“Dammit, Stiles, you just had my cock in your mouth. Yes, you can touch me,” Derek says with a slight chuckle, shaking his head in disbelief.

Grinning, Stiles locks his hands around the Dom’s neck and jumps, locking his legs around Derek’s waist. The Dom smiles, tucking a hand under Stiles’ butt as the Sub leans in to kiss him. Their lips move, back and forth, twisting and turning. Stiles slips his tongue into Derek’s mouth, arching into the Dom. His cock scraps against Derek’s abs, the friction delicious, delicious torture.

Derek drops his other hand, sliding it down Stiles’ back to his ass. He takes one cheek in each hand, kneading the flesh. Stiles whimpers, torn between wanting to press back into Derek’s hands and wanting to arch into the Dom’s abs. The urge to reach between them and take his cock in hand is overwhelming, but Stiles holds back, the Dom’s command ringing in his ears. He reminds himself that his cock isn’t his anymore, it belongs to Derek, just like the rest of him. All Derek’s.

The Dom slips one of his hands between Stiles’ cheeks, brushing his finger over the Sub’s hole. Stiles jolts forward and then immediately, presses back, arching into Derek’s touch, wordlessly begging for more. Derek breaks their kiss long enough to chuckle, eyeing Stiles with pride in his eyes, and then he’s kissing the Sub again.

Stiles cards one hand up through Derek’s hair and the drops the other down the Dom’s neck, scraping his nails across his chest. Derek growls into his mouth, increasing the pressure on Stiles hole, his touch soft but firm. Stiles responds by rolling his hips, riding Derek’s washboard abs. The friction, the heat of the Dom’s sweaty flesh, works him over real nice. His cock goes rock-fucking-hard, balls throbbing painfully. It’s perfection. Maybe a little too perfect.

He needs to ease the fuck up or he’s going to come. It’s not like he doesn’t want to because, he does, he really does. But, as lenient a Dom Derek is, Stiles highly doubts Derek would be okay with the Sub coming without permission. The last time they did this, or anything close to this, Derek’s mouth was a little busy, but he still gave Stiles permission. At least, it seemed like permission at the time.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Right fucking there.

Stiles pulls back, breathing hard, and stills the movement of his hips. His cock screams at him, a throbbing heat between his legs. His head spinning, Stiles forces himself to open his eyes. His cock can wait. Derek probably wants him to come when the Dom’s buried in Stiles’ ass and, as hard as it will be, Stiles is willing to wait for that.

“I like watchin’ you ride that edge,” Derek murmurs, dropping his head to Stiles’ neck. He kisses his way down the boy’s nape, his stubble scraping Stiles’ skin as he moves. Stiles shudders, mouth slightly agape. Derek nips the skin at the base of his neck, pulling a desperate whimper from Stiles. Sweet fuck, he’s addicted to Derek’s lips and the things his Dom does with them. “My beautiful baby boy,” the Dom croons, sending heat shooting through Stiles’ veins. He preens under the praise, soaking it in.

The Dom moves his hands up to cup Stiles’ hips. Stiles whimpers, fighting the urge to beg, to fucking beg, for Derek to move his hand back. Derek chuckles, seemingly very aware that he’s torturing the Sub. Very aware, and fucking loving it.

“You’re an ass,” Stiles says, the playful insult slipping out of his mouth before he has the chance to swallow it. He stills instantly, worried about how Derek’s going to react. He likes Stiles’ witty sarcasm most of the time, but this isn’t exactly most of the time. He holds his breath as Derek lifts his head. Stiles exhales, like full-body exhales, when he sees the Dom’s smile. Thank fuck.

“Oh, I’m well aware,” Derek says, flashing Stiles a smirk that would rival that of the Devil himself. And fuck if Stiles doesn’t swoon like a twelve-year-old girl. Damn Derek’s hot, like firemen calendar hot, all tattooed and sweaty and, ‘I’m gonna make you scream my name.’

Stiles should’ve known Derek wouldn’t be mad at him. He was stupid to even think that. Derek is nothing if not progressive. Yeah, he’s a Dom and he gets off on telling Stiles what to do, but he’s never once dehumanized Stiles. He’s never told Stiles to shut up or forced the Sub to do something he doesn’t want to do. If anything, he encourages Stiles’ odd habits. Stiles is reminded of the way Derek stared at him while he was watching Disney Channel. He expected the Dom to get annoyed with his laughter, with how invested in the show he got, but Derek seemed to relish in it. He simply watched Stiles, a slight smile on his face, adoration burning in his eyes. No, he’s not going to repress Stiles and, for that, Stiles loves him.

Derek lowers them to the ground, laying Stiles down before easing back to sit at the boy’s feet. The Dom’s eyes rake over Stiles’ body, taking in every fucking inch of him. Stiles is embarrassed for half a second, but then he reminds himself the he doesn’t need to be. Derek thinks he’s beautiful, he says it all the time. As far as his Dom is concerned, Stiles has no reason to be ashamed. He holds tight to that, using it.

“How long has it been?” Derek asks, frowning as a flicker of rage burns in his eyes. Stiles bites back a smile; the Dom clearly doesn’t like the idea of him being with someone else. Derek’s cute when he’s jealous, cute and so fucking hot.  

“Jealous, sourwolf?” Stiles asks, turning and propping his head up on one of his hands.

Derek’s frown deepens, the rage in his eyes intensifying. Stiles is playing with fire and Dom’s are extremely possessive when it comes to their Sub’s. Derek’s biology demands he protect what’s his, flooding his body with testosterone at the mere mention of Stiles being with someone else. It’s hot, but dangerous. If he were to catch Stiles say, flirting with another Dom, Derek might just bash the guy’s skull in. It’s not like he’s incapable. Derek’s capacity for violence is renowned.

The Dom bends down, looming over Stiles, an evil glint in his eyes. Stiles inhales sharply, suddenly hit with how big Derek is. The Dom’s got a hundred pounds on him, at the very least, and it’s all fucking muscle. His cock jumps, heat pooling in the pit of his stomach. There’s something about Derek leaning over him, holding him down with that powerful body. It’s pure sex.

“You’re mine,” the Dom growls, taking hold of Stiles cock and giving it a few long strokes. Stiles moans, arching helplessly into the Dom’s touch. Fuck, that’s good. Derek’s hand is hot, the pressure, the calluses on his palms, it’s everything…absolutely everything. His heartbeat kicks into overdrive, eyes threatening to roll back in his head. “Tell me that you’re mine,” the Dom demands, lowering his head to breathe against Stiles neck.

Stiles fists a hand in the Dom’s hair, clinging to him. Derek lets out a fierce growl, wordlessly demanding Stiles answer. The Sub forces himself to focus. “I’m yours, Derek, all fucking yours,” he says breathlessly. The Dom rewards him with a slow, hard pull on his cock. Stiles groans, fisting his free hand in the blanket as he wraps a leg around Derek.

“Good boy,” Derek says, deep voice rolling down Stiles’ spine. Then, just as Stiles is getting close to coming, Derek releases the Sub’s cock. Stiles whimpers shamelessly. Derek lifts his head, smiling ever so slightly, drinking in the sound of the Sub’s pleas. Derek’s got him right where he wants him. It’s like the Dom said, he likes watching Stiles ride that edge, likes toying with him. And as annoying as it is, Stiles fucking loves it, loves the control Derek has over him. He belongs to the Dom.

“Please…” Stiles whimpers, arching his back to press his throbbing cock into Derek’s abs. The Dom chuckles, glancing down at Stiles’ abused cock before turning back to the Sub. There’s part of Stiles that hates his begging, that hates how much he needs Derek, but it’s overpowered by the rest of him.

“Hmm, you’re pretty when you beg,” Derek croons, smirking.

“You want me to beg?” Stiles asks, getting desperate. He’ll plead and beg if that’s what Derek wants, anything to get the Dom to touch him again. He wants to come, wants it so fucking bad.

“What I want is for you to answer the question,” Derek says ardently, fixing Stiles with a forceful stare.

Stiles chews on his bottom lip, debating lying to Derek. But he can’t, not any more than he already is, not after signing that contract. It’s kind of embarrassing, but Derek seems insistent, like the information is important. So Stiles will tell him. “It’s…well…yeah…it’s been almost a year. Since before my father was killed. I got on the Babydoll and I just couldn’t, I couldn’t do it. Subbing requires trust and…” Stiles trails off, cursing his total lack of filter for the millionth time. Why can’t he just shut the fuck up? Because now, now Derek’s looking down at him with pity rather than lust in his eyes. And Stiles fucking hates it.

“Stiles, I wish you’d tell me who-”

“No. You said you wouldn’t push me, so don’t! I told you how long it’s been, like you asked, now fuck me!” Stiles says, glaring up at the Dom.

To his utter surprise, Derek grabs hold of Stiles’ thigh and then rolls his own body, twisting Stiles’ spine and baring the Sub’s ass. Then, while maintaining eye-contact, Derek smacks Stiles’ ass, hard. Stiles gives a yelp, fire shooting through him. His cock wilts, but only just. Derek delivers two more blows, both harder than the last. Stiles grits his teeth, heart threatening to beat its way out of his chest. Fuck, that hurts.

It’s over before he has time to get used to it and Derek is rubbing the heated flesh, soothing him. Stiles’ breath slowly returns to normal and, to his surprise, he feels better. Yeah, he deserved that, but it’s more than that…he needed it. Derek pulls his face from Stiles’ neck, catching the Sub’s gaze.

“You’re allowed to be angry and upset, you’re allowed to yell at me, but don’t you ever tell me what to do again. Are we fucking clear?” Derek asks, voice sharp as a fucking razor. It cuts through Stiles, leaving him bloody and wanting. He presses back into Derek’s touch, whimpering in silent apology. Derek hums softly, his anger fading. “It’s okay, baby boy. You did so good. I’m so proud of you.” Stiles buries his face in Derek’s chest, the praise and Derek’s touch slowly sending him into subspace.

Head buzzing, Stiles arches his cock into Derek’s and is rewarded when the Dom groans, his hand shifting to Stiles’ hip. Stiles places a kiss to Derek’s collar bone, tonguing the tattoo there. He wants Derek inside of him, right fucking now.

“Please, Derek…” Stiles whispers, kissing his way up the Dom’s neck.

Derek pulls back and then lunges down, capturing Stiles’ lips. He kisses the Sub like he’s fucking starving, devouring Stiles’ lips, plunging his tongue into the Sub’s mouth. Stiles meets him stroke for stroke, tasting the Dom’s tongue as he rolls his hips against Derek’s, rubbing their cocks together. Before long, Stiles is a whimpering mess, riding Derek’s cock, his skin slick with sweat. He scrapes his nails down Derek’s back and the Dom breaks their kiss, pulling back to let out a ferocious growl. The sound of it, the way he’s looking down at Stiles, almost makes the Sub come. But he holds back, moving his cock away from Derek’s even as his body screams in protest. Fuck, he wants to come. Please, just let him come. He’s been a good boy, right? God, why won’t Derek let him come?

“I need…I need…”

“I know what you need, sweet boy,” Derek whispers, smiling gently. Stiles nods, trusting Derek even as his mind blurs, instincts taking over. “I’m going to take you from behind this time. It’s not what I would prefer, but it’s been a while for you and that’ll be the most comfortable position. Alright?” Derek arches an eyebrow, waiting patiently for Stiles to answer. The Sub nods blindly, too lost in wanting to care how Derek takes him. He just wants the Dom inside of him. Right now.

Please. Please…

With a nod, Derek sits up and pushes Stiles into his stomach. The Sub lets his Dom situate him, hands fisted in the blanket as Derek bends his left leg at the knee, keeping his other leg straight. Derek runs a hand down Stiles’ spine and the Sub arches into him, Derek’s touch going straight to his cock. By the time Derek reaches his ass, Stiles is breathing hard, face buried in the blanket.

Derek uncaps the lube and pulls his hand back, coating his fingers in it. Stiles lets his eyes fall shut when he feels the Dom’s fingers against his entrance. He grits his teeth, tightening up instinctually. Derek shushes him softly, using his free hand to stroke Stiles’ bent leg. He soaks in the touch. Derek’s not going to hurt him. Stiles can trust him, and he does, he really does.

“Just breathe, baby boy. I’m gonna take this real slow,” Derek says, continuing to stroke Stiles’ thigh. Stiles forces himself to exhale. He had no idea he was holding his breath, but Derek sure as hell knew. And it’s that knowledge that causes him to relax. Derek is paying attention to him, he cares about Stiles. He’s not about to let anything happen to him, let alone hurt the Sub himself. “There you go, just relax.” Stiles does as he’s told, heartbeat slowing to a steady thrum.

Derek gently presses his finger into Stiles. It’s uncomfortable, but there’s really no getting around that. Stiles grits his teeth and focuses on the soothing touch of Derek’s hand on his thigh, on the sound of the Dom’s voice. It’s not the words that calm him so much as Derek’s tone. And, before Stiles knows it, Derek has three fingers buried inside of him and is praising Stiles, telling him he did so good.

The Dom grazes Stiles’ prostate and the Sub lets out a broken whimper, pressing back onto Derek’s fingers. Derek chuckles and does it again, sending fire shooting straight to Stiles’ cock. He arches into the blanket and then back onto Derek’s fingers, vision blurring around the edges.

Fuck, that’s good.

“You alright?” Derek asks softly, squeezing Stiles’ thigh.

Stiles opens his eyes and lifts his head. Derek catches his gaze and the devotion in the Dom’s eyes takes Stiles’ breath away. True, he may not love Stiles, not the way that Stiles loves him. But there’s something there, a protectiveness, a longing. It’s not the same, but it lets Stiles know that he’s doing the right thing. That, as fucked up as this all is, being with Derek is not a mistake. This is where Stiles belongs.

“I’d be better if I had your cock in my ass,” Stiles says, flashing the Dom a smirk.

Derek rolls his eyes, but he’s smiling. “Well, if that’s what you want,” he says with a shrug. Then, before Stiles has time to react, Derek pulls his fingers out and replaces them with the tip of his cock. And, suddenly, Stiles can’t breathe. Derek pushes into him, giving Stiles time to make room for him, never forcing. It takes a little while, but the burn is so fucking good. By the time Derek bottoms out, Stiles can’t see straight and there’s a jumbled mess of pleas is spilling out of his mouth.

“Good boy,” Derek murmurs into Stiles’ neck. “So pretty like this, taking my cock like you were made for it.” Stiles arches his back, and clenches his ass, milking Derek’s cock. The Dom growls low in his throat and bends down, nipping the skin at the base of Stiles’ neck.

“Derek…” Stiles whimpers. Fuck, he wants to touch his cock. It’s so hard that it actually fucking hurts. “Can I-”

“Keep your hands where they are. That cock is mine,” Derek growls, taking hold of Stiles’ bent hip. And then he’s pounding into the Sub. Stiles moans, Derek’s cock raking his prostate with every thrust. His cock scrapes against the blanket beneath him, the friction more than enough to drive him mad. He fists his hands deeper in the fabric, arching his back to meet Derek’s powerful hips.

He wishes he could see the Dom and curses himself for not demanding a different position. Derek was sweet to insist they fuck this way and yeah, it is a little easier than face-to-face, but Stiles wants that. He wants to see Derek’s muscles tighten and give, wants to memorize the way Derek’s looking down at him.

“I wanna see you,” Stiles whimpers.

Derek stills and, before Stiles has time to regret his words, the Dom pulls out of the Sub, twists him around, and pressing back inside of him. Stiles screams out, the new position enabling Derek to hit his prostate with every thrust. On instinct, he wraps his legs around the Dom, arching his hips into Derek.

Fuck, he’s beautiful. Stiles knew he would be, he always is. But this, this is a whole new kind of beautiful. Derek’s looming over him, muscles rippling as he pounds into Stiles. The Dom’s tattoos seem to move as he does, bending and tightening with the muscles beneath them. And the look on Derek’s face, pure fucking ecstasy. His pupils are blown wide, cheeks slightly flushed, jaw clenched tight. Fuck, Stiles couldn’t have asked for a sexier Dom and, for some reason, Derek is staring down at him like he wants to eat the Sub alive, like Stiles is the beautiful one.

With his free hand, Derek reaches down and takes Stiles’ cock in hand. The second his skin makes contact, Stiles keens and arches. Derek wraps the Sub’s cock in a tight fist, stroking him to the pace of Derek’s hips. In seconds, Stiles is ready to come. His balls tighten up, head blurring.

“Derek, can I…” he trails off, gasping as Derek nails his prostate.

The Dom catches his gaze, holding it. Then he twists his hips and hits Stiles’ prostate again. “Come,” Derek commands and, just like that, Stiles’ world fucking implodes. He screams Derek’s name, arching, raking his nails down the Dom’s back. And as if that were his fucking cue, Derek roars, hips jerking as he buries his face in Stiles’ neck.

Stiles body goes lax and he feels himself dropping. Derek continues to work him over, pulling tiny whimpers from Stiles as he falls deep into subspace. He’s vaguely aware of Derek pulling out of him. The Dom whispers sweetly as he turns, pulling Stiles onto his stomach. The Sub settles there, resting his head on Derek’s chest, listening to the pounding of his strong heart.

“Such a good boy. My good boy,” Derek croon, stroking Stiles’ neck. The Sub’s eyelids start to drop. He wants to stay awake, wants to memorize the feel of this, of being in Derek’s arms. But he can’t, not with Derek praising him, touching him, urging Stiles to sleep. “There you go, sweet boy. Sleep. I’ve got you…”

Chapter Text

Cora paces back and forth, twin Berettas clutched in her hands. When she gets her hands on Detective Childs she’s going to fuck his shit up. How fucking long does it take to text someone an address? God only knows what that motherfucker is doing to Luka while she’s pacing in a damn parking lot. It’s been a week and a half, ten days that man has had Luka. For all she knows he could be dead.

Fuck.

If that bastard hurt him…fuck, who is she kidding, of course Johnathan hurt Luka. He’s a sadist. He’s probably had her baby strung up for days, whipping him, fucking him. Rage tears through her, white hot. She tightens her hands around her pistols, teeth clenched tight. When she gets her hands on that man, oh the things she’s going to do to him. And if he did kill Luka, she’s going to make him wish he were never born. She’s going to flay the skin from his body and set him on fire. She’s going to tear off his limbs and watch him bleed out, begging her for mercy.

People think Derek is the violent one, but they’re wrong. It’s her they should worry about…her they should fear. Derek’s efficient, but Cora’s brutal. Something inside of her broke when she found out Peter killed her parents. And now, now she’s capable of doing sick things, atrocious things, to protect the people she loves.

And she does love Luka.

One day of this hell was enough to tell her that. She knew when she found herself tearing out a man’s fingernails for information. It dawned on her, plyers in her hand, the man’s screams echoing around the warehouse. And she couldn’t deny it. Because the only people Cora will torture for are people she loves. And all she’s done for the past ten days is torture, torture and kill. Over and over and over.

“I’m gonna run him through!” Cora hisses, twisting around to face Laura. Her sister is sitting on the hood of Cora’s Chevelle, cell phone clutched in her manicured hand. “How long does it take to text a fucking-”

“Got it,” Laura says, cutting Cora off.

“Thank fuck,” Cora growls, voice raw with bloodlust. She and Laura get into her car, Cora in the driver’s and Laura in the passenger’s. Cora starts the car up as Laura relays the address. It’s on the coast, only half an hour from where they are now, twenty minutes if Cora books it, and she intends to.

Stepping on the gas, Cora veers into traffic. Laura swears under her breath, struggling to put on her seatbelt. It clicks and she fixes Cora with a glare, one Cora pointedly ignores. The quicker they get there, the quicker she can tear that fucker Johnathan apart. God, she’s heard how possessive Doms get, but she’s never felt it herself. It’s overwhelming, all she’s been able to think about. She hasn’t eaten, hasn’t slept in days. All she can think about is Luka, bloody and battered, needing her. Her body fucking aches with it, a writhing just under her skin.

Fuck, how could she have let this happen? She was weak when he needed her to be strong. She let him walk away from her, let him get into that car and drive away. God, why didn’t she stop him? If he dies because of this…if he’s already dead, she’s never going to forgive herself. Fuck, she’s a terrible Dom. He deserves better.

“What the fuck happened to him, Lulu?” Cora asks for the millionth time. She needs to know why Luka thinks so little of himself. Laura told her that Luka was abused, but she’s never gone into detail. She adamantly refuses.

“If Luka wants you to know, he’ll tell you,” Laura says, repeating the same line from yesterday and the day before. Cora fists her hands around the steering wheel, fighting the urge to scream. She gets it, Laura’s being a good friend, being loyal, but now is so not the fucking time. Cora needs to know, needs to understand.

“What if he’s dead? How is he gonna tell me then?” Cora asks, throwing the words like bombs. Laura’s body tightens up, her breath hitching ever so slightly, and Cora immediately regrets her words. God, she’s such a bitch. Laura loves Luka just as much as she does. She’s cared for him, protected him, when Cora couldn’t. Just because she’s not screaming and waving her guns around like Cora, doesn’t mean she cares any less. “Fuck, I’m sorry. I’m just really-”

“Worried…I know,” Laura says with a sad smile, nodding. Cora exhales, Laura’s level-headedness calming her. Luka’s fine. They would know if he were dead, right? They would feel it. Right?

As if sensing her fear, Laura reaches over and takes Cora’s hand, lacing their fingers together. Cora’s chest tightens as she looks into her sister’s face, a mirror of hers. She’s as terrified as Cora; she’s just dealing with it better. Whatever happened between Laura and Luka, it must’ve meant a lot because she truly loves him. It’s a different kind of love than Cora feels for him, but no less powerful. She would die for him, same as Cora.

Cora clings to that knowledge, to the fact that Luka has people who love him. This shit is fucked up and so is he, but they can get through this. If they can just get him back in one piece, she and Laura can save him. Cora’s runs through the conversation between herself and Luka for what feels like the thousandth time. It’s all she’s thought about for days. How could he see himself as nothing? It baffles her. How could such a beautiful person, kind and loving, think so lowly of himself? That kind of self-loathing takes years to grow, festers away. God, how long did that bastard have him? What was he doing to her baby?

“The man who hurt Luka…” Cora trails off, glancing over at Laura. 

“I shot him between the eyes, I promise,” Laura says with a nod. Fury cuts across her lovely face, giving her features a sharp, angular look about them. “Looking back now, I wish I woulda made it hurt. That fucker deserved pain.” She turns her head, glaring out the window. Cora’s throat tightens up, images of Luka bleeding and screaming plaguing her. For Laura to wish torture on someone…that bastard must have deserved it. As far as Laura is concerned, these things are black and white.

Fuck, what did he do to Luka?

The ache, the hollow throbbing hole, in Cora’s chest burns. If Luka’s alive, she’s going to do whatever it takes to help him. She’s going to show him just how incredible he really is. And she doesn’t care how long it takes. Because he’s worth it. He’s worth everything she’s gone through over the past ten days, every drop of blood, every scream, every single tear she’s cried. He matters. He’s not nothing.

“It’s that one,” Laura say’s pointing to one of the mansions that line the beach. Cora veers into the driveway, kills the engine, and grabs her guns. Laura does the same, but where Cora is packing heat, Laura’s gone with her knives. They step out of the car and make their way up the drive. When they reach the front door they stop short, glancing at one another. The promise of violence, of retribution, passes between them, unspoken.

“Johnathan’s mine,” Cora murmurs sadistically, fisting her guns in her hands. Oh, yeah, this is going to be good. She’s going to make that motherfucker bathe in his own blood.

“I’m good with that,” Laura says as she reaches up, nonchalantly ringing the embossed doorbell. A chime runs through the house, echoing around. There’s the sound of someone coming upstairs and the door swings open, revealing Johnathan.

Cora would know that face anywhere, it’s haunted her for days. Images of him hurting Luka, fucking Luka, as the boy screams. The man, oddly enough, is handsome, with dark hair and a goatee. He looks like a lawyer, dressed a pristine suit. But Cora knows better than to think well of him. She’s seen what he’s capable of and, in his case, looks can be very deceiving.

“Found you,” Laura says with a wicked little laugh, her Cheshire smile splitting her beautiful face in half. Johnathan looks back and forth between them frantically, probably debating whether or not to run. Cora seethes, fists clenched so tightly around her guns that her hands are fucking shaking. She’s never hated anyone the way she hates this man. She’s never wanted to kill someone so badly. It’s eating away at her, consuming her.

“Miss Hale, this isn’t really a good time,” Johnathan says calmly, but Cora doesn’t miss the way he swallows, Adam’s apple bobbing anxiously. God, she’s going to tear that throat out. She’s going to tear it out with her teeth.

“Too bad,” Laura says, barging into the lavish house. Before Johnathan can say a word, Laura slams him into a wall, her knife pressed against his throat. “Where the fuck’s Luka?” she asks, slowly slicing the blade into his skin. He gasps and she groans, scoffing viciously at him. “What you can give it, but you can’t take it! Tell me where he is!”

Johnathan glares at her, choosing now to grow a pair. Cora cock her head to the side, completely losing her shit. Fuck diplomacy. She stalks up to them and points her gun between the man’s eyes, fingering the trigger.

“Tell me where he is,” she says slowly, putting emphasis on every single word. He stares at her, eyes going wide. She knows how she must look, completely insane, her eyes dead and empty. Because that’s how she feels, like someone tore out her insides. And now all she can do is want, plead and beg, desperate for Luka. And she’s going to get him, she’ll get him if it’s the last thing she ever does. “Tell me or I will fuck you up!” she screams, pressing her gun against his forehead. He shudders, terrified, and she relishes in it, letting it sink deep into her bones, letting it slake her lust.

“He signed a contract. He wanted it,” Johnathan says rapidly, like he’s trying to justify something. Rage slices through Cora. Her vision blurs and all she can think about is spraying his brain all over the walls.

“Luka is mine!” she roars, shaking with fury.

“Not anymore,” Johnathan says and, with that, Cora pulls the trigger. The bullet shoots through his skull, painting the wall behind him red. Laura steps back, letting his body fall to the ground. It slumps, head meeting the hardwood with a sick thud. Teeth clenched, Cora steps up to him and unloads her mag into his face, tearing it to pieces. She wanted him to pay, wanted to torture him, but, like Derek always says, dead is dead.

“You better hope he’s here,” Laura says as she darts into the kitchen and makes her way through the living room. Fear, fear unlike anything Cora has ever felt, sears through her. She didn’t think about that, didn’t even contemplate the idea that maybe Luka isn’t even here. And if he’s not, they’ll never find him.

Fuck, what did she just do?

“Laura…” she whispers, voice breaking, her guns shaking in her hands.

“It’s gonna be okay, bunny. We’re gonna find him. I promise,” Laura says, catching her gaze. She gives Cora a curt nod, calming her sister. Cora forces herself to exhale. Laura’s right, they’ll find him. They will. “I’ll check upstairs, you check down, alright?” Cora nods, watching as Laura makes her way upstairs.

Holstering her empty gun, Cora holds her other in both hands, turning the corner to make her way downstairs. The carpeted stairs make little noise as she descends into darkness. But she knows the second she hits the floor because her boot meets concrete. The room is pitch black and smells strongly of bleach. The scent makes her nauseous, coiling in the pit of her stomach like a fucking snake. She takes her gun in her right hand and feels along the wall with her left, locating a light switch. Heart in her fucking throat, she flicks it upward.

The lights balm the room, blinding her for half a second. Blinking rapidly, the room slowly comes into focus. And it’s everything she was afraid of, a fucking dungeon complete with everything from a wall of whips and torture equipment, to large pieces of machinery, designed to inflict pain. Cora’s seen dungeons before, played in them before, but this is different, this is cold and empty, the walls white, a number of drains lining the floor. There’s nothing safe about this place. It’s…scary.

Frantic, Cora searches the room for Luka, but he’s nowhere to be seen. Terror wraps its hand around her throat as she scans the walls, searching for a door. Her heart leaps when she spots a cut out along the back wall, a large padlock the only thing to indicate that it’s a door and not just part of the wall.

Cora crosses the room, stepping around the equipment, trying not to think about Luka being stretched and whipped and fucked, bleeding and screaming. Fuck how could she let this happen? There’s no evidence of torture, it’s been washed away, bleached away, but she knows it happened. She can feel it in her bones and it infuriates her. God she should’ve cut him limb from limb, a bullet was far too kind.

Aiming her gun at the lock, she pulls the trigger. It’s not the best option, bullets will ricochet, but she doesn’t have bolt cutters on her. Thankfully, it works. The lock clicks, opening up. Cora holsters her gun and grabs hold of the lock, yanking it off the wall. But the door doesn’t open. Swearing to herself, she shoves it, surprised when it opens with a soft swish.

And the sight that greets her, tears her fucking heart out. Tears brim in her eyes as she stares at Luka. He’s hanging from the ceiling, wrists blood and raw. His back is a fucking mess, flayed open, skin cut clean, baring the flesh beneath. He’s covered in bruises, lining his neck, across his ribs, up his arms. But the ones on his butt are the worst. They’re so dark they’re almost look black. The floor is covered in blood, its dripping off on him, drying on the cement.

He’s passed and, for that, Cora is thankful. She screams Laura’s name as she steps into the room. It’s freezing…and Luka is bleeding out. God, they need to get him to Jane and Marie. Cora scans the walls, locating the end of the chain. Dashing over, she twists a crank, releasing him. Slowly, she lowers his body to the ground.

Crossing the room, she falls to her knees next to him, the cement biting into them. Her hands shake as she reaches for his wrists. The manacles have torn into his flesh, cutting deep. His blood coats her hands as she struggles to pry them off. Frantic, she starts to sob, her own terror getting the best of her. She can’t see straight. This is her fault, she let this happen. Oh, God, what if he dies?

A hand grabs hers and she lifts her gaze, finding Laura’s eyes. Her sister gives her a fierce look and then reaches into Cora’s hair, pulling out a couple of her bobby pins. Cora eases back, giving Laura room to work. She knows her sister can do it, has seen her pick harder locks with less. In mere seconds, Laura has the manacles off and is calling Jane.

Struggling to control herself, Cora sits back, looking Luka over. Before, she was just looking for damage, but now she notices other things. Like the fact that that fucker has Luka’s cock in a cage and a dildo buried in his ass. Neither one is bad if used properly, with care and understanding, but they clearly weren’t here. Luka’s cock is white, cut off of blood flow and there’s dried blood on his butt. A rage unlike anything she’s ever felt descends upon her. That fucker raped Luka. She knew it would happen. But seeing this, seeing what that man did to him. It’s unforgivable.

Overcome with fury, Cora stands up, grabs one of Laura’s knives off of her, and makes her way upstairs. Knife in hand, she falls to her knees next to Johnathan. With a broken scream, she stabs the knife deep in his lifeless chest. She does so over and over and over again, his blood spraying the pristine walls. It covers her flesh, dyeing her clothes. She stabs him until that’s not enough anymore, then she moves to his face. She slices and bores, cutting away until there’s nothing left of him, nothing human about him. And when she’s done with that, she moves to his fingers and toes, ridding him of them. All the while, she screams obscenities at him, raging. Lastly, she strips off his jeans and cuts off his cock, shoving the bloody member into what’s left of his mouth.

Leaning back, she bursts into tears, glaring at his mangled corpse. How could someone do this to her Luka? How could she let this happen? This is her fault, no one else’s. She deserves to feel this pain, this agony.

“Holy shit,” Laura says from somewhere behind her. There’s a scuffle, followed by the sound of a car door closing. Someone touches Cora’s shoulder and she jerks away from them, high on adrenaline. Twisting around, she glares up at Laura, whose expression is somewhere between fear and pride. “We need to go. I’ll call Felix, have him burn this fukin’ place down.”

Cora stands up mechanically and walks out of the house without a second glance, Laura’s knife fisted in her hand. Laura directs her into an escalade, closing the door behind her. Marie is in the front, hands on the wheel, and Jane is in the back, looming over Luka. Cora fights the instinct to push Jane away, reminding herself that the doctor is helping her baby. She watches, heart aching, as Jane carefully removes the cock cage and eases out the dildo. The sight of the blood on it send Cora into another rage. She clenches her teeth, vibrating with fury. She wants to go back to Johnathan, to mutilate his body all over again, but they are already on the road.

That fucking bastard. Why did she have to shoot him? If she would’ve just waited five fucking minutes, then she’d have known what he deserved. But no, no she just had to go and shoot him, give him the easy way out. He deserved so much…

“Cora,” Jane says sharply, pulling Cora out of her head. She twists around to face the doctor, terrified. Jane holds her gaze, making damn sure Cora is listening to her. “What’s your blood type?” she asks, arching an eyebrow.

“I’m universal,” Cora says, cuing in. She clambers over the seat, and strips off her bloodied shirt. Jane goes to work, sticking a needle into her arm and connecting a tube. She waits for the blood to run clear through, and then sticks the adjacent needle into Luka’s inner arm. Carefully, she tapes the needle in place.

Cora watches Jane work, tears streaming down her face. Cora’s careful to keep her distance from the boy, not wanting to accidentally make things worse. Chances are, she would. This is her fault. Fuck, maybe Luka would be better off if she just walked away from him, left him alone. She’s clearly a shitty Dom and Luka deserves someone amazing, someone who can care for and protect him.

That’s not her. Maybe it never was.

“Cora,” Jane says, once again pulling Cora back to reality. Cora blinks rapidly, lifting her gaze to meet the doctor’s. “He’s going into shock,” she says, gesturing to Luka. Cora’s throat tightens at the sight of her baby shaking, hands fisted. Unconsciously, Cora moves towards him before she realizes what she’s doing and backs up. “No, I need you to hold him. You’re his Dom, right? Your touch will calm him.”

“I’m not really-”

“Don’t argue with me,” Jane mutters, fixing Cora with a glare.

Letting her instincts take over, Cora crawls over to Luka, carefully laying down next to him. She’s once again surprised by his height. His words echo around in her head, him teasing her about being shorter than he thought. God, what if she never gets to hear that voice again? The thought closes a hand around her throat, choking her. She can’t do this; she can’t lose him.

Hand shaking, she carefully sets it down on his chest, relishing in the slight rise and fall there. The second her skin makes contact, he sighs and stops shaking. Jane gives her a nod of approval and, encouraged, Cora reaches up to stroke Luka’s face. She’s tries to avoid his wounds, but it’s almost impossible. She accidentally touches a nasty bruise on his neck and he lets out a tiny whimper. The fragile sound brings the monster back out of her.

“For fuck’s sake, give him some fucking Morphine or something!” Cora yells, upsetting Luka. His muscles tense and she instantly regrets her words. Furious with herself, she reaches up to stroke his cheek. God, she’s the worst Dom ever. Here he is, bloody and broken, and she’s just yelling. What good is she doing? Fresh tears spill down her cheeks.

“I just gave him some, Cora. He’s not in pain. That was simply him responding to your touch, as your Sub should,” Jane says soothingly, catching Cora’s gaze. Cora nods, relief flooding through her. Thank fuck.

She tightens her arm around Luka and he whimpers again, unconsciously seeking out her touch. The sight of him wanting her, taking comfort in her, calms Cora more than Jane or Laura or Ari ever could. She exhales, relaxing for the first time in days.

“It’s gonna be okay, baby. You’re gonna be okay. I’ve got you,” Cora whispers, carding her fingers through his hair. He sighs, leaning into her hand with a little whimper. She shushes him softly, stroking the stubble on his cheeks. Fuck, he’s beautiful, he was then and he is now. She’s sure that he always will be. He deserves better than this, better than her. But she’s not sure he’s ever going to let himself have this. What if he walks away from her again? She won’t survive it, she won’t. 

“We’re almost there,” Marie says, voice frayed.

“Is he gonna be-”

“Shit! He’s crashing. Back up, Cora!” Jane says, frantic and yet still in control. Cora does as instructed, shuffling away from Luka. She watches, heart breaking, as Jane moves to kneel over Luka’s chest, starting CPR. “Stay with me, Luka! You stay with me!” 

Chapter Text

Cora watches, utterly helpless, as Jane slams her hands into Luka’s chest. She can’t fucking breathe. It feels like she’s the one dying, the emptiness in her chest slowly moving to her extremities until she’s numb. She knows she’s crying, but she can’t feel it, she can’t feel anything. It’s cold.

“Dammit, stay with me, Luka! Cora needs you!” Jane screams, pounding hard on the Sub’s chest. He inhales ever so slightly and Jane exhales, feeling frantically for his pulse. When she feels it, she eases back, lifting her head to meet Marie’s gaze in the rear view. “I’ve got a pulse, let’s get him inside,” Jane says as she moves to open the back door.

Marie rounds the car a few moments later, pushing a stretcher. Carefully, they lift Luka up and place him on it, having no choice but to lay him on his wounded back. Cora watches, unable to move, as they rush the boy inside. The action tears the IV out of her arm, but she doesn’t feel it.

Laura pulls up a few minutes later, stepping out of Cora’s Chevelle. She spots her sister sitting in the back of the escalade and crosses the distance between them. Cora is frozen, she can’t think, can’t do anything. Luka’s alive, but for how long? She can’t watch him die again, she can’t. The numbness in her chest is, once again, replaced with rage. The heat of it, the fire, enables her to move. She lunges out of the escalade and starts toward her car, intent on returning to Johnathan, on further mutilating his corpse.

She makes it halfway to her car before Laura meets her. Brows furrowed, Laura takes hold of both of Cora’s arms, expression a mask of concern. She’s never seen Cora like this and there’s a reason for that…Cora’s never felt like this. Never felt this intense need to maim, to destroy.

“I’m gonna make him pay!” Cora screams, struggling against Laura’s hold. She’s so fucking angry that she can’t see straight. “I’m gonna strip the skin from his worthless corpse and-”

“Cora!” Laura screams, shaking her sister. Cora stops short, meeting Laura’s gaze. Laura’s eyes cut her deep. There’s an understanding there, a sentiment. Laura knows what she’s feeling…she loves Luka too. She wants to punish Johnathan same as Cora. So why is she stopping her?

“Let me go,” Cora mutters maliciously.

Laura fixes her with a forceful glare, her hold as tight as ever. “That bastard is dead, Cora! He’s dead. He got what he deserved!” she says sharply, eyes boring into Cora’s. And yeah, logically, Cora knows that Johnathan is dead, but it’s not enough. He needs to suffer. He deserves so suffer.

“I said, let me go,” Cora growls and this time there’s a threat in her voice. She doesn’t want to hurt Laura, but she will. She will if that’s what it takes to get what she wants.

Laura lets out an irritated groan, teeth clenched. “Dammit, Cora! He’s dead! He’s dead and stabbing him a thousand times isn’t going to make him more dead!” she says, shaking her head in disbelief. Cora knows it doesn’t make any sense, but she also knows that it will make her feel a hell of a lot better. She tightens her grip on Laura’s knife, aware of exactly how it’ll feel to plunge it into Johnathan’s flesh.

“Don’t make me ask-”

“Luka needs you,” Laura says, her voice shifting, becoming softer. At the mention of Luka, of her baby needing her, Cora’s anger instantly starts to fade. She tries to cling to it, to the familiarity of it, but in seconds, it’s gone. “He needs you, bunny.” Laura gives her a pleading look, green eyes burning, brows furrowed. And Cora breaks. Laura’s right. Luka needs her…her baby needs her.

Cora swallows hard and holds her hand out, dropping Laura’s bloody knife into her hand. Laura takes it from her and then slips it back into its sheath. With a nod, Laura leads her inside. They make their way downstairs to the infirmary, stopping short when they reach the door. Should they stay out here? Cora wants to be with Luka, but she’d just be in the way. They need to let Jane and Marie do their job. Right?

Laura opens the door, sneaking her head inside. “Uh, Doc, you-”

“Get your sister in here right now!” Jane says, a razor’s edge to her voice. The twins step through the door, both anxiously hanging back. Jane moves out of the way, revealing a very awake Luka, who is thrashing against the restraints around his wrists, whimpering and sobbing as he’s held into place.

Acting on instinct, Cora runs over to him. She takes his face in her hands, holding it gently. His eyes are clenched shut, terrified tears streaming down his face, but he stills the second she touches him. Slowly, ever so slowly, he opens his eyes.

And the sight of them, those grey eyes, so like raging thunderstorm, is the most beautiful think Cora has ever seen. Her stomach tightens so much that it hurts, relief washing over her in thick waves. He’s okay, he’s alive and he’s right here with her. That’s all that matters. She lets out a sob, blinking hard, sending tears down her cheeks. They cut a path through the blood there, washing it away.

Luka stares at her, her relief echoed in his eyes. His expression however, is a mask of stoicism. And Cora hates it. She wants to know what he’s feeling, wants to taste his anger, his hatred, his grief. She deserves it. Fuck, he should be furious with her. She did this. He’s here because of her. But there’s no anger in those eyes of his…just relief.

“I’m so sorry, baby,” Cora whispers, voice breaking.

“Why?” Luka asks, brows furrowing in confusion.

“This is my fault,” she says softly, tears dripping off of her chin. To her surprise, Luka lets out a fierce growl and starts thrashing against the restraints again. Her heartbeat kicks into overdrive, fear a knife at her throat. “I’m sorry, Luka. Please, stop. I’ll leave if that’s what you want. I will-”

“No!” Luka says, a flicker of real fear, true fear, cutting across his face. His heartbeat spikes on the monitor, going haywire. “Don’t leave me. Please, don’t leave me.” The plea in his eyes strips her bare. He’s trying to stay strong, but he’s fucking terrified, terrified that she’s going to leave him. With a shake of her head, Cora leans down so that their faces are inches apart. “Please,” he whimpers, shutting his eyes like he can’t bear to watch it happen. And fuck if it doesn’t break Cora’s heart.

“Luka, look at me,” she says softly, stroking his face. He opens his eyes, the terror still alive there. Leaning down, she brushes a whisper-soft kiss across his lips and then eases back, breathing him in. He holds her gaze, staring at her in awe. “I love you.” He exhales, brows furrowing in disbelief. With a shake of his head, he denies it. “I do. I love you and I’m not going anywhere.”

And she means it. She really does. Maybe Luka does deserve better than her, but she’s not going anywhere, not now, not ever. She’ll care for and protect him, even if he fights her every step of the way, even if he hates her.

“Don’t…don’t love me…” Luka murmurs, sounding close to tears.

“Too bad, pretty baby, I already do,” Cora says with a smile, her voice warm and open. He shakes his head again, adamantly refusing to believe that she could love him, that anyone could love him. His anxiety builds until he breaks, thrashing against his restraints again. He lets out a roar, the EKG machine beeping loudly as his pulse rises.

Cora tries to calm him, shushing him softly, but he fights her. Teeth clenched, he fixes her with a piercing glare. “You don’t love me! How could you?” he asks viciously, jerking away from her touch. He fists his hands, yanking hard against the restraints. “I’m nothing, a fucking whore! You don’t love me! You don’t!” His words tear at Cora, shredding her heart. She hates this, hates seeing him like this, hates hearing how little he thinks of himself. It’s fucked up that someone so beautiful can’t see it, refuses to see it. 

“Fuck. I’m sedating him,” Jane says, stepping around Cora.

“No, no please,” Luka says, but it’s already done. He blinks slowly and then he’s out, muscles going lax. Cora steps away from him, backing into Laura. Her sister takes her hand and sidesteps so that they are standing side by side.

Laura catches her gaze, brows furrowed. “You really love him?” she asks, even though Cora’s sure she already knows the answer. Laura always knows what’s Cora’s feeling before she does. That’s the way it’s been since they were kids. She’s grown accustomed to it.

“Yeah,” Cora says with a nod, glancing over at Luka. His dark curls are spread out over the pillow case, begging to be touched. She wants to hold him, wants to whisper quiet praise until she can breathe again, until she’s sure he safe. He looks so fucking small like this, his body a mess of lacerations and bruises. It’s wrong, fucked up. She’s seen him powerful, seen him go toe-to-toe with Laura, but now…now he just looks broken. And she wants to fix him, wants to tape him back together.

“Good,” Laura says, smiling gently. “He’s gonna need you…”

“He’s gonna need both of us,” Cora says with a nod, squeezing Laura’s hand. Her sister nods and they turn back to Luka, watching Jane and Marie work.

It takes hours, fucking hours, for them to patch Luka up. By the time they’re done, Cora and Laura are sitting in the corner, Cora’s head in Laura’s lap. Her eyes are clenched shut. She refused to watch them stitch Luka up, it just hurt too much. So Laura told her to close her eyes, promised to tell her when it was done. And it is, finally.

“They’re finished, bunny,” Laura says, stroking Cora’s short hair. Cora opens her eyes and sits up, watching as Jane and Marie step away from Luka. They’re all exhausted, for different reasons. But Jane and her wife look worse for ware, like they just walked through hell. Jane’s gloved hands are covered in blood and she’s got this wired look in her dark eyes, like she’s ready to break.

Marie steps in front of her wife, cutting off her line of vision. Tenderly, she strips off Jane’s bloody gloves, tossing them into the trash. Then she reaches up, cupping Jane’s face. At her touch, Jane sighs, relaxing.

“You did good, babe,” Marie whisper, stroking Jane’s cheeks. Slowly, ever so slowly, Jane’s shoulders fall. Marie graces her with a soft smile and, just like that, the psychotic look in Jane’s eyes disappears. She exhales, letting her eyes fall closed. “That’s it. You’re okay. I’m gonna take you home.” Marie reaches down to take Jane’s hand, giving it a little squeeze.

Cora and Laura stand up, facing the pair of doctors. Before either one can react, Cora crosses the room and pulls them into her arms, holding them tight. Tears stream down her face as she clings to them. “Thank you! I’ll never be able to repay you for this. Never!” she says frantically, unable to even voice how thankful she is. They saved Luka’s life. And nothing is more important to her than him.

“We were just doing our job,” Jane says, voice raw with exhaustions.

Marie catches Cora’s gaze, holding it tenderly. “You’re welcome, Cora. You know we’d do anything for you and your family,” she says, glancing over at Laura. Cora’s twin nods in silent thanks as Cora pulls back, releasing them. She takes a few steps back, giving them room to breathe.

“What do we need to know?” Laura asks, moving to stand next to her sister.

Jane lets out a long exhale, teeth clenched. She glances over at Luka and then returns her gaze to them, expression gaunt. “His bandages need to be changed twice a day. Keep an eye out for infection. We’ll take out the stitches in a few weeks. He’ll have some scarring, but there’s really no getting around that,” she says curtly, all business.

“What else?” Laura asks, giving Jane a pointed look, her green eyes tearing deep into the doctor, demanding she answer.

“There’s no way of knowing his emotional state,” Marie says, drawing their attention. “This has happened to him before, right?” She arches an eyebrow, lips pursed ever so slightly. There’s concern in her eyes, concern and pity. Cora fists her hands at her sides, rage descending upon her. That fucker’s lucky Laura shot him, because if he were still alive, the things Cora would do to him. “I’ll take that as a yes?” Marie mutters, eyeing Cora.

“Yes,” Laura says, nodding solemnly.

“That’s what I thought. He’s exhibiting signs of PTSD. And where this has happened before. I’d recommend he see a therapist and…I don’t want to overstep my bounds but…” Marie trails off, worrying her bottom lip nervously.

“Go ahead,” Laura says, arching her neck.

Marie clears her throat and lifts her gaze. “He shouldn’t be working. I know Luka is one of your best, but where he’s just experience such severe trauma, I wouldn’t recommend him returning to prostitution. If he’s going to heal, he’ll need a safe environment surrounded by people he knows and trusts,” she says gently, letting each word sink in.

Cora fists her hands at her sides, infuriated that Marie would even insinuate such a thing. Who the fuck does she think they are? It’s not like Laura’s going to demand Luka get back to work tomorrow. Hell, she’s been begging Luka to get out of the game for months. It’s him who refuses, Luka who insists on doing what he’s doing. Laura and Cora just want him safe, that’s all they want.

“Thanks, doc,” Laura says, voice clipped with fury. Looks like Cora’s not the only one who is insulted. Marie nods and walks out of the room, gently pulling Jane behind her. The door closes behind them, leaving the twins alone with Luka.

“Shouldn’t be working…what a fucking bitch,” Cora hisses, shaking her head in disbelief. “Like you’d do that to him!” She’s on edge, wired like a fucking spring. She knows Marie meant well, but she doesn’t care. The insinuation was still there. Fuck, she basically called Cora a shitty Dom, implying that she can’t care for Luka. A tiny voice in Cora’s head says she can’t, reminds her that he’s lying on a hospital bed. That’s doesn’t sound like someone who is being taken care of.

Fuck.

“She meant well, I think,” Laura mutters, cocking her jaw to the side.

“Yeah well, I’ll mean well when I-”

“Cora,” Laura says sharply, cutting her sister off. Cora lifts her gaze and is instantly caught up in Laura’s gaze. Her sister’s expression is a stark mixture of concern, guilt, and sheer exhaustion. “C’mere,” she says, gesturing Cora over to Luka. Cora does as she’s instructed, crossing the room to stand next to Luka. The sight of him, pale and covered in bandages, cuts away at her, making her ache. “Lay down next to him.”

“Lulu, there’s not enough room. I could hurt him,” Cora says rapidly, shaking her head no. But Laura’s having none of it. She fixes Cora with a sharp look, one eyebrow arched.

“Just do it,” she says, giving Cora no room for argument.

Begrudgingly, Cora places her knee on the edge of the bed, hoisting herself up next to Luka. Her body shakes as she gently, oh so gently, lays down next to him. She does her best not to touch him, not wanting to accidentally hurt him. With an irritated sigh, Laura grabs Cora’s hand and places it on the back of Luka’s neck. Cora’s body floods with warmth and she sighs, the anger, the unending rage she’s been living with, fades away. And she can breathe again, just like that.

Holy shit…

“Better?” Laura asks as she hops up on one of the other hospital beds.

“Tons,” Cora says, gaping at her sister. It dawns on her how insane she’s been, fucking shit up for days. God, she’s heard that Doms on the warpath are a force to be reckoned with, but she’s never gone through it herself. It was like she couldn’t see straight, couldn’t think, without Luka. She needed him and she would do anything to get to him. And she did, hell yeah she did. “Sorry for…uh…” she trails off, clearing her throat awkwardly.

“It’s cool. You just kinda went dark side,” Laura says with a shrug. “It was super fucking scary, I’ll admit, but also weirdly hot. I’m used to you all chill and shit, but that was a whole new level of fucked up. You cut that guys dick off and stuck it into his mouth! That’s some legendary shit right there. No wonder people never mess with you. I never really saw it, but I do now. You’re kinda scary.”

“Thanks,” Cora says, rolling her eyes at her sister.

“Anytime, bunny. I’ll play Robin to your Batman whenever you wanna fuck some shit up again. I’ll bet we looked hot, all guns and leather, really ‘Sons of Anarchy.’ Jax Teller would have fit right in, our sexy bodyguard…” Cora sighs, letting Laura’s endless chatter roll over her. She stops really listening, but is still aware of it. Oddly enough, it’s actually helping calm her down. She’s not sure why, but it makes her feel better, Laura’s voice, her presence.

Eventually Cora falls asleep. She wakes a few hours later, Laura snoring softly in the bed to her left. Turning her gaze to Luka, she’s surprised to find him awake. He’s staring at her, grey eyes a storm of awe and self-loathing. The sight of him stops her heart, stealing the breath from her lungs. God, he’s beautiful.

“Hey,” she whispers, brushing her fingers down his neck. He lets out a tiny whimper, reacting instinctually to her touch. She expects him to pull away, to scramble off the bed and demand she never touch him again, but he remains still. “Are you in pain? There’s morphine in here somewhere. Jane told me how much to give you.” Cora swallows hard, chest growing tight as Luka stares at her, just stares at her.

She realizes, all of the sudden, what she’s done. God, she climbed into bed with him, held him, without his permission. Taking the decision from him, robbing him of his ability to say no. Fuck. He deserves better than this…better than her.

“Shit, I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have assumed you’d want me to lay with you. And I touched you…fuck. I’ll move,” she says, trailing off awkwardly. She starts to pull away from him, intent on giving him some room, but Luka grabs hold of her arm. She stops short, glancing down at his hand. His knuckles are split and, for some reason, it makes her proud. He fought back. He’s strong, so fucking strong. “Really, Luka, I didn’t have your permission-”

“You said you wouldn’t go anywhere,” Luka whispers, breaking her fucking heart. There’s a desperation in his voice, a quiet plea. He’s terrified. It’s impossible to tell from his expression, but she can see it in his eyes. It’s there. He’s hard to read, really fucking hard to read, but she’s learning.

“And I won’t. Unless…you want me to?” She holds her breath, studying the slight shift in his expression, the set of his eyebrows. He remains painfully silent, jaw clenched tight. A battle is raging inside of him, between what he wants and what he so obviously needs. And Cora wants to help him, wants to heal him, but she can’t do that if he won’t let her. It’s a simple as that. “Is that what you want?” she prompts softly, brows furrowed.

She waits for him to answer, to say anything, but he remains as mute as ever. Aware that it will draw out a response, Cora starts to get off the bed. And, just like that, he breaks. Reaching out, he grabs hold of her hand, holding it like a fucking lifeline. And when he laces his fingers through hers, tears brim in her eyes. She inhales shakily, lifting her gaze. His eyes rip through her, pleading and yet, at the same time, demanding.

“I do…want you to lay with me…” he says so softly that she almost doesn’t hear him. But the yearning in his voice, the quiet ache, is more than enough to destroy her. How could anyone hurt him? Why would anyone want to? Not when it’s so obvious that isn’t what he needs, that it never will be.

“You sure?” she asks gingerly, putting a knee up on the bed. He nods ever so slightly and, with that, she climbs back into bed with him, laying down. She expects him to release her hand, to pull away from her, but he doesn’t. Instead, he shifts towards her and sighs, closing his eyes, her mere presence calming him.

She holds his hand in one of hers and, lifts her other to his nape. He relaxes when her skin makes contact, unconsciously arching into her touch even as his muscles give. And fuck if it isn’t the most beautiful thing Cora’s ever seen. Biting back a smile, she cards her fingers through his messy curls, adoring the feel of them, their soft texture. Luka lets out a tiny moan, turning into her hand, his expression softening slightly. Warmth blooms in Cora’s chest; maybe she’s not such a bad Dom after all. Maybe she can be what Luka needs.

Maybe.

“You…uh…you never answered my question. Are you in pain?” Cora asks tentatively, terrified that she’s going to ruin this moment. But she has to know, the knowledge that he might be in pain is eating at her and she can’t take it.

Luka opens his eyes and releases her hand, freeing his. He places it on the bed between them, using it to turn him onto his side. Cora opens her mouth to protest, but he fixes her with a fierce look, shutting her up. Once he’s on his side, he exhales, teeth clenched in what she knows is pain. In an instant, she’s up and across the room, grabbing a vial of morphine from the shelf.

“I’m fine, Cora.”

“No, you’re not,” she says, voice breaking. Heart in her throat, she fills a needle and sticking it into his IV. Seconds later, he exhales, muscles relaxing as the drug does its job. The ache in Cora’s chest eases as she watches him settle.

She can’t see his back, not with the bandages and the blanket in the way, but it’s a sight she’s never going to forget. Never. Guilt burns in her throat, sending a rush of rage and adrenaline through her veins. She fists her hands at her sides, fighting to keep her demons in check. She reminds herself that Johnathan is dead, that he’ll never hurt Luka again, but it’s not enough. Not when her baby is laying before her, battered and bloody.

Nothing is going to change that.

Nothing is going to fix that.

“I’m sorry…”

“Cora,” Luka says softly, drawing her attention. Cora slowly lifts her gaze, letting his eyes bore into her, relishing in the emotion there. Bit by bit, his impassive expression disappears, betraying the turmoil within. Fear and grief slice across his face, quickly followed by shame and regret and something akin to longing. The onslaught utterly wrecks Cora. Watching his walls fall is unlike anything else, its beautiful and brutal, the rise and decent of a fucking empire. And the fact that he’s letting her see him, showing her who he really is…well that’s devastating. Perfectly devastating. “Never apologize for caring about me,” he whispers, seeming to tear the words out of his very chest. They weigh on him, costing him.

“I thought you didn’t believe me,” Cora says, brows furrowing. His words, his screams, echo around in her head. The sight of him, thrashing against those restraints, is one she’ll never forget. It’s burned into her irises, resting like a bomb in the back of her mind.

Luka swallows hard, the action bringing her gaze to his neck. The sight of it, ringed with bruises, is utter agony. She fists her hands in the sheet, that now-familiar rage washing over her. It takes hold, giving her tunnel vision. She let this happen. This is her fault. Luka’s in that bed because she’s a terrible Dom. And she didn’t even get revenge, not really, not the kind that he deserved.

A hand closes around her wrist, startling Cora out of her head. She blinks rapidly, Luka’s concerned face coming into focus. She forces herself to exhale, to relax. Johnathan is dead, the fucker’s dead, that’s what matters.

“I believe that you care about me, but I don’t know why,” Luka whispers, shaking his head in belief. “You don’t even know me…but look at what you’re willing to do for me.” He gestures to her blood-stained clothes, to the guns holstered at her thighs. Cora arches her neck proudly. She didn’t protect him when she should have, but she made that fucker pay for what he did. He’ll never touch Luka again. Never.

“He’ll never hurt you again,” Cora says, a sadistic edge to her voice. Luka exhales, seemingly relaxed by her venom, by the knowledge that she destroyed that man. “I killed him…a few times actually.”

Luka eases his grip on her arm, dropping his hand to take hers. Gently, he pulls her back into bed with him. She puts a knee up and lets him settle her down next to him. Then, to her surprise, he wraps an arm around her and pulls her close, burying his face in her neck. He breathes her in, holding her so tightly that almost hurts. But she relishes in it, bringing a hand up to hold the back of his neck. The second she makes contact, he whimpers.

Cora holds him for what feels like hours, stroking his curls, pulling them and watching them bounce back into place. She’s painfully aware of his heartbeat on the EKG machine, watching as it slowly settles. She takes pride in it, in the fact that she’s calming him, centering him. Because he needs that right now, a safe place.

“Thank you,” he whispers, voice raw with emotion. Cora swallows hard, willing herself not to cry. Because he shouldn’t be thanking her, not when this was her fault. She pushed him too hard and he reacted badly. And she just let it happen, let him get into that fucking car. That’s on her and…so is everything else.

“Don’t thank me, this was my fault,” Cora mutters, blinking hard. The action sends tears streaming down her face. She curses them, curses herself for being so weak. Luka needs someone strong, not her, never her. Slowly, Luka pulls back and lifts his head, dark brows furrowing at the sight of her tears. There’s an awe there, as if he can’t believe she’s actually crying for him. “I did this,” she says, gesturing to the bandages on his back.

A sudden fury burns in his eyes, his expression indignant. He glares at her, as if the idea that she had anything to do with this, that she caused this, were absurd. “No, you didn’t,” he growls, shaking his head irately.

“Yes, I did! I pushed you…I pushed you into this,” she says, gesturing between them. “And when you told me no, I pushed harder. I basically shoved you into that car!” She takes a deep ragged breath, willing herself to stop crying. But she can’t.  “And then…then it took me ten days to find you, ten days!” her voice breaks and she falls apart, a broken sob tearing its way out of her chest. Fuck, she doesn’t deserve him, doesn’t deserve to touch him, to hold him. She starts to pull away, but he holds her in place, eyes cutting into her.

“You didn’t push me into this. It was a decision I made,” Luka says ardently, holding her gaze. “Had you stopped me, I would’ve resented you forever. And I could care less that it took you ten days, Cora! You found me! You and Laura…no one else cared enough to even look! So this,” he gestures down to himself, “This wasn’t your fault.” He shakes his head, holding her gaze, intent on getting her to believe him, to stop blaming herself.

Cora remains painfully silent, mulling it over. She understands what he’s saying, and it makes her feel better, but only just. Because no matter whose fault it was, it still happened, Luka’s still laying in a hospital bed, cut to fucking ribbons, covered in bruises. It’s fucked up and she hates it, fucking hates it. He’s hers, and someone took him from her, hurt him. And no matter what Luka says, she’ll always have to live with that.

“I can’t…I can’t do that again, Luka. I can’t see you like that again…” Cora trails off, tears streaming down her face, cutting through the grime. Her chest aches, grief gnawing away at her from the inside. And then, like a dam breaking, it all just comes rushing out, everything she’s been holding back, every word she hasn’t said. “Why would you do this? Why did you go to him?” A sob slices through her, stealing the breath from her lungs and threatening to stop her heart. Everything hurts, the guilt, the concern, pressing down on her. She doesn’t get it. “Why chose him over me? I don’t understand, Luka! Why would you go to someone you knew would hurt you?”

Luka pulls her into his arms, pressing her to his chest. She tries to pull back, struggling as broken sobs rack her body, but Luka keeps a tight hold on her. She continues to scream and cry, fighting against him, but he refuses to let her go.

Chapter Text

Laura sneaks out of the makeshift hospital room, her sister’s screams echoing behind her. She swallows hard, fighting back tears. It hurt, seeing Cora so upset, watching Luka pull her into his arms, desperately trying to hold her together. Of course Cora doesn’t understand why Luka did it, hell, Luka probably doesn’t even know. Victor fucked him up, like royally. He broke Luka, destroyed the boy’s sense of self-worth, decimated it. And when Cora showed him what he could be, what they could be, he just broke.

Fuck, Laura’s never seen Cora like that. She was like a fucking thunderstorm, raging across the horizon, spitting thunder and lightning. It was beautiful, in a totally morbid, fucked up way. The look on her face as she glared down at what was left of Johnathan, Laura’s knife clutched in her hand. Up until that moment, Laura never knew what people meant when the talked about Cora’s dark side. But she knows now. Oh, does she know.

On one hand, it scares her, to know what Cora is capable of, but on the other hand, it’s extremely comforting. Cora is capable of taking care of herself and, more than that, she’s capable of taking care of Luka. Cora can protect him, can keep him safe, and maybe, somewhere along the way, she’ll heal him.

Laura’s always known Cora would be good for Luka, but she had no idea they’d be so perfect for each other. One touch from her and he relaxes, he breathes. And it’s not just him. All he has to do is look at her and she smiles, she smiles the way she did when they were kids, when neither of them were scared. And it’s like she’s seeing the fucking sun, like he’s her light.

Laura throws open the door and steps out into the darkness. She takes a deep breath of the cool night air and exhales, letting it sink into her. Luka is okay, he’s okay. She repeats the mantra over and over in her head until it starts to sink in. And, slowly, she’s relaxes.

Slipping into her car, she starts it up, hands on the steering wheel. As she veers off onto the road, she’s not really sure where she’s going. But she doesn’t really care. It’s almost 3 A.M., but the city is still very much awake. It’s painted with lights. They blur as she drives, a flash across the window.

She’s pulling into the parking lot of The Lux before she even realizes what she’s doing. She smiles, the memory of Ari up on that stage, of her singing, plays in Laura’s head. Her heart throbs in her chest, the ache deep and surging. She wants to see Ari, wants to hold the girl in her arms. It’s not a new sensation, she’s been living with it for years, but now that she knows Ari feels the same way, it’s that much stronger. It wills her towards the club even though she knows it’s empty, that Ari’s set ended hours ago.

Biting her lip, Laura pulls out her phone and dials Ari’s number. Her hand shakes as she lifts the phone to her ear, listening to it ring. She’s not sure whether or not Ari will pick up, it is late after all, but she does.

“Did you find him?” Ari asks without saying hello, her tone sharp and insistent.

“Yeah, Cora’s with him,” Laura says, nodding to herself. “It was really bad, but I think he’s gonna be okay. I mean as okay as someone can be after something like that. Fuck…” Tears burn her eyes, her throat tightening. She hates that this happened to him, that she let it happen. Luka is hers to protect, he has been for years. And she failed him. She let him get into that car.

“It wasn’t your fault,” Ari says softly, a whisper. It instantly calms Laura, allowing her to exhale, but it’s not enough. She can’t get those images out of her head, can’t stop thinking about holding Luka’s battered body in her arms.

Her fault. This is all her fault.

“He could’ve died…” A sob tears its way out of Laura’s throat.

“Laura, where are you?” Ari asks, her voice frayed with concern. Laura holds onto it, clenching her eyes shut. Tears cut paths down her face, mixing with her mascara. She tightens her grip on the steering wheel, cursing herself. “I’m at 12th and Maddison, apartment 138.” Laura opens her eyes, glaring out the window as Ari’s words slowly sink into her skin. What is she talking about? “12th and Maddison, Laura, apartment 138…come over. Hang up the phone and come over.”

Laura holds her breath, terrified that she’s hearing things, that this isn’t real. Did Ari really just ask her to come over? The girl who has been avoiding Laura for two years, careful and quiet, just gave Laura her address. Heat blooms in her chest and, suddenly, she can’t breathe, can’t think for wanting.

“Did you hear me?” Ari asks, concerned.

Laura clears her throat, reaching up to brush the tears from her face. “Uh, yeah. Sorry, I just…” she trails off, unsure what exactly to say. She never does this; she never falls apart. And, frankly, she’s not sure what to think of it. One word from Ari and every carefully placed barrier, every wall she’s built, just falls.

“It’s okay, Lulu, you’re allowed to be upset,” Ari say gently and, the second the girl says her nickname, Laura fucking melts. She’s never heard anything so amazing in all her life. And fuck if she doesn’t want to hear Ari say it again and again. It kicks her heart rate up, giving her a flurry of butterflies. And she smiles, she smiles for what feels like the first time in forever.

“Say it again…” the plea slips from her lips before she can bite it back.

“Say what again?” Ari asks, confused.

“My name,” Laura whispers and is rewarded when Ari laughs, the little giggle stealing the breath from her lungs and making her skin burn. Fuck, that’s cute. Laura bites her lip, drinking in the sound, willing Ari to make it again. “Come over, then maybe I’ll say it again. Maybe…” She lets out another little giggle and then the line goes dead.

Laura puts her car into reverse and pulls out onto the road. She sometimes wonders what it is about Ari that holds her attention. Especially when other women are little more than a few hours of fun for Laura. Maybe it’s something in particular, but then again maybe not. Laura’s slowly coming to realize that it’s everything. It’s the way Ari cuts through her bullshit. It’s the way the girl practically vibrates with excitement when she talks about something she loves. It’s that fucking giggle. And her hair…that blue hair she always has tied up. Fuck…Laura loves her. She has for years and she’s pretty sure she’ll never stop, that she couldn’t even if she wanted to.

She pulls into Ari’s apartment building and kills the engine, getting out of the car. Her heels click on the sidewalk as she walks up the steps to the front door. She rings the buzzer for Ari’s apartment and the door opens. Stepping into the elevator, she presses the button for the sixth floor, unsure which one to choose. It takes her up and opens, releasing her. She steps out and makes her way down the hall, stopping before Ari’s apartment.

For half a second she thinks about making a break for it, suddenly, painfully aware that she looks like shit. Her hair is a fucking wreck, makeup running down her face, and her dress is in tatters. This isn’t how she wants Ari to see her.

The door swings open, revealing Ari, who is dressed in a pair of grey sweats, hanging low on her hips, and a bright pink crop top. Her hair, as usual, is tied up in a mess of a bun, tendrils of the blue hanging down, enticing Laura’s fingers. Fuck, she wants to twist her fingers around that hair tie and pull it out. She wants to watch that hair fall down Ari’s beautiful back, wants to run her fingers through it.

Ari graces her with a little smile and damn if it doesn’t make Laura melt. Fuck, Ari is adorable, with her button nose and those full lips, her eyes as blue as her hair. Unconsciously, Laura licks her lips, the memory of kissing Ari, of tasting her, playing in Laura’s head. Heat burns through her, stealing the breath from her lungs. She wants to do that again, wants to feel the girl sigh into her arms.

“You look beautiful,” Laura says with a little smile, completely unable to help herself.

Ari drops her gaze, an adorable blush flushing her cheeks. “You said that the last time you saw me,” she says, pursing her lips.

“And I’ll say it the next time I see you,” Laura says, smirking. Ari lifts her gaze, fixing Laura with a playful glare. Laura nods as if to say ‘I will and you know it.’ Ari rolls her eyes and sidesteps, gesturing Laura into her apartment.

Laura steps inside and glances around, acclimating. Ari’s apartment matches her perfectly. It’s punk rock meets geek, walls plastered with posters, snippets of song lyrics, and pictures of her band. Everything is tastefully decorated in muted tones: rose pink, eggshell white, and soft charcoal. Ari gestures her inside and Laura follows her lead, rounding the living room.

Ari may think she’s kidding, but she’s not. She’s sure she’ll never get tired of telling Ari how fucking gorgeous she is. She’s spent years trying to fuck Ari out of her head, trying to forget the girl’s face in the faces of other women. But, she never could. And it’s no surprise. How could she think she’d forget that face, those eyes? It was stupid, she was stupid. To think, this all could’ve been avoided if she’d taken five fucking seconds and given the girl’s point of view a thought. God, she’s been so selfish.

“Are you okay? You sounded upset on the phone,” Ari says, holding her gaze. Her concern slices Laura deep and yet, at the same time, fills her with an odd sense of happiness. She’s not sure why, but Ari cares about her.

Laura opens her mouth, the lie on her tongue, but then she rethinks it. Ari deserves the truth. They can’t start their relationship already buried in Laura’s lies. She’s become accustomed to hiding behind a façade, to putting on her heels and shoving her true self down. But she refuses to do that with Ari, the girl deserves to know who Laura really is. Even though Laura is pretty sure Ari already knows. She’s Cora’s best friend after all and she has been in love with Laura for years. She probably knows more about Laura that Laura does herself.

“No, I’m not okay. But you’re helping,” Laura says, suddenly terrified that Ari is going to contradict her, that she’s going to toss Laura out. It’s what she deserves after the way she treated Ari. Slowly, Laura lifts her gaze. She’s surprised to see Ari smiling at her, a knowing look in her blue eyes. It’s like she’s got a secret, like she just figured something out. “What?” Laura asks, picking apart the girl’s expression.

“Nothing, I just like it when you drop the whole Laura Hale thing. I prefer you this way…just you, nobody else,” Ari says with a sly smile. Laura stares at her, in awe of the girl’s ability to see her, to really see her. Not many people can do that. Then again, she rarely lets anyone try. It just never seemed worth it, not until now. Because with Ari she doesn’t have to try, she doesn’t have to force her walls down. The girl just knows, can see through the cracks in them, and does so effortlessly.

“You say that like I have multiple personality disorder,” Laura says with a dry laugh. Ari scoffs, rolling her eyes at the Dom.

“Uh, you kinda do,” Ari says pointedly, giggling.

“Fair enough,” Laura says with a shrug, making Ari laugh.

The doorbell rings and Laura, on instinct, reaches for her knife. Ari puts a hand on her arm, catching the Dom’s gaze. “It’s just the pizza,” she says and, with that, she makes her way over to the door. Laura watches, amused, as Ari pays for the pizza and walks back into the living room, setting it down on the coffee table.

“You ordered pizza at 3 in the morning?” Laura asks as Ari disappears into the kitchen. She returns a moment later, holding paper plates, two glasses, and a bottle of wine. Setting them down, she flashes Laura a heart-stopping smile.

“I said I would wait for you…” Ari says as she sits down next to Laura, turning to face the Dom. “Well, I’m done waiting.” Her eyes bore into Laura’s, drawing the breath from Laura’s lungs. Her heart skips into overdrive as the little Sub arches an eyebrow at her, smirking ever so slightly.

Damn, she’s cute. So fucking cute. 

“So…pizza?” Laura mutters, laughing.

“You asked me out for pizza and I kinda freaked out so…this is me saying yes. Yes, Laura, I will go out with you.” She smiles and, completely unable to help herself, Laura leans over and kisses her. It’s soft and slow, but fierce. Laura twists her tongue in Ari’s mouth, pulling a tiny whimper from deep in the girl’s throat. It rolls down Laura’s spine, making her shiver with pleasure.

Laura pulls back and then, before Ari has time to move, she fists a hand in the girl’s hair and pulls her in for another kiss. Their lips move as one, twisting and turning, a seductive dance. Ari moans, crawling into Laura’s lap, her arms lacing around the Dom’s neck. Laura hums in praise as she licks the girl’s bottom lip, taking tiny tastes of Ari, of her strawberry chap stick.

Laura slowly slides one hand down Ari’s back to cup the girl’s ass. Delving deeper into her mouth, Laura pulls the girl in close. Ari whimpers, arching into Laura, her hips twisting in and out ever so slightly.

Breathless, Laura pulls back and opens her eyes. Fuck, that’s a pretty sight. Ari’s cheeks are flushed, her pupils blown with lust. And her hair is coming out of its bun, teasing tendrils hanging about her face. Laura is taken with a violent urge to reach up and pull the tie from her hair. She wants to see it fall down Ari’s back, wants to run her fingers through it soft and slow.

“I’ve never seen your hair down,” Laura says, cocking her head to the side.

“That’s probably because it never is,” Ari says with a playful smirk. “I’m always in a hurry and it’s just easier to put it up. Plus, it tends to get in the way. I have no idea how you do it.” She twists one of Laura’s long curls around her finger, toying with it.

“I’m a narcissist,” Laura says with a shrug, grinning. She’s teasing, mostly.

“Oh, I know. That’s what happens when you’re fucking gorgeous.” Ari shakes her head in disbelief, dropping her gaze. Sensing the girl’s sudden discomfort, Laura reaches up, cupping Ari’s face in her hand. Slowly, she lifts the girl’s gaze. Ari’s eyes slice right through her, quick and deep, causing Laura’s heart to skip over itself. God, she really doesn’t know how beautiful she is.

“May I?” Laura asks, lifting her hand to Ari’s messy bun. Ari nods and a spark of excitement sizzles in Laura’s chest. She bites her lip as she catches the hair tie under one finger, pulling on it. It slips from Ari’s hair and, with a twist, the girl’s aquamarine locks tumble free. Laura watches in awe as they fall down Ari’s back, tumbling down to her butt in a mess of waves. “Fuck me,” Laura murmurs, practically salivating at the sight.

She dips her hand down the girl’s nape, sending a shiver down Ari’s spine. Then, slowly, ever so slowly, Laura runs her fingers through the girl’s hair. Sweet Jesus, that’s soft. It slides through her fingers like silk. Unable to help herself, Laura leans in, burying her nose in it, breathing in the girl’s cherry blossom scent. Heat pools in Laura’s stomach, her pussy throbbing rhythmically. She’s not sure why this is such of a turn on, but oh fuck, it is.

Wanting the girl to see how fucking beautiful she is, Laura drops her hands to Ari’s hips and lifts the girl off of her. Ari lets out a shaky exhale as Laura takes her hand, leading the girl into her bathroom. Then she releases her hand and twists Ari around to face the mirror. Ari stares at herself as Laura moves in behind her, once again burying her face in the girl’s hair.

“Laura?” Ari murmurs, confused.  

Laura wraps an arm around Ari’s stomach, pulling the girl’s back against her front. Ari lets out a tiny whimper, suddenly breathless. Licking her lips, Laura lifts her other hand to the girl’s neck, curling her fingers around it. Ari sighs, pressing unconsciously into her touch, her skin flushed.

“Tell me what you see,” Laura whispers, glancing up at them in the mirror. Everything about her position is possessive. She’s curled around the girl, breathing in the scent at her neck. Ari is leaning into her, eyes burning with lust. And fuck if it isn’t the sexiest thing Laura has ever seen. And she’s seen her fair share of sexy. It is, after all, her line of work.

“I don’t know what you mean. It’s just you and me,” Ari says, her voice raw, like she’s hiding something. She’s deflecting and Laura knows it. She tightens her grip on the girl’s throat, wordlessly pressing her point. Ari shivers, fists clenched at her sides.

“Tell me what you see,” Laura growls, nosing deeper into the girl’s hair.

“I…uh…fuck…” Ari trails off, her blush deepening. Laura gives her time, all the while eye-fucking Ari’s reflection. “You’re a mess,” Ari says, spitting the words out through clenched teeth. “But…but you’re still like fucking perfect.” Ari exhales and then swallows hard.

“And what about you?” Laura asks, nuzzling the girl’s neck.

“I’m just me, nothing new…nothing special,” Ari whispers dejectedly. Laura curses herself for what she’s done. This is her fault. She ignored Ari for years, treated her like she was nothing, and this what happened. Fuck, she’s such a bitch. If she could take it back, she would, in an instant, but she can’t. So she’s going to do everything she can to show Ari just how special she really is.

“I’m surround myself with beautiful things, beautiful people. It’s an occupational hazard. But trust me when I tell you that you are, by far, the most exquisite…” Laura whispers, running her lips up the column of the Ari’s neck. The breath catches in Ari’s throat as she stares at herself, at the fierce way Laura is holding her. It’s possessive, absolute.

“Really?” Ari asks tentatively, brows furrowing. And Laura hates it, hates that Ari is questioning herself, questioning a fact that is so apparent it’s glaring.

“Really,” Laura says with a smirk, drinking in the sight of Ari’s smile. Cautiously, Ari twists around in her arms, turning to face Laura. The Dom buries one hand in Ari’s hair, curling the other around the girl’s hip. Ari blushes, betraying just how much she loves Laura touching her.

The girl flashes her a wicked smirk and Laura’s stomach clenches in response. Ari may be submissive, but she’s not passive. “People complain about your mouth. Laura Hale never shuts up, she’s always working an angle. But…uh…”

“What?” Laura asks, arching an eyebrow.

“I’ve always loved your mouth,” Ari whispers, leaning into Laura. Her breath fans across the Dom’s lips, sending a flurry of sparks across Laura’s skin. Fuck. “And, everything that comes out of it.” She drops her gaze, blushing. “I used to sit on top of the bleachers during your cheerleading practice, just listening to you talk. It was soothing…I don’t know why. God, you probably think I’m such a freak.” She shakes her head, trying to pull out of Laura’s arms, but the Dom refuses to let her go.

She catches Ari’s gaze, fixing the girl with a fierce look. Ari stills, getting instantly caught up in Laura’s eyes. “You like my mouth, huh?” Laura whispers, pressing the girl back into the sink. Ari’s breath catches as Laura slowly falls to her knees before the girl.

Heels kicked up behind her, Laura slides her hands down Ari’s waist, curling them around the girl’s hips. Ari tips her head back ever so slightly, exhaling as Laura pushes down her sweats. The sight of the girl’s lacy black panties makes Laura salivate.

Fuck.

She curls a finger under the hem of Ari’s panties and slowly, oh so slowly, pulls them down. Smirking, Laura runs her hand down Ari’s pert little ass, then she twists her hand around, catching the inside of the girl’s thigh. Ari whimpers as Laura lifts the girl’s leg, tucking it over her shoulder. The action bares the girl’s pussy and Laura drinks in the sight of her, all pink and wet.

“I’m gonna show you what I can do with this mouth,” Laura whisper, her voice methodical and seductive. Ari tightens her grip on the counter behind her, suddenly out of breath. “But only if you ask nicely.” Laura looks up at her, catching the girl’s gaze. Ari inhales shakily, the action bringing Laura’s attention to her breasts. Fuck, they’re perfect. She wants to lick them, to suck the girl’s nipples into her mouth. But that will have to wait. Right now, her mouth is needed elsewhere. “Say please,” she says, smirking.

“Please,” Ari whispers, voice torn between a sigh and a whimper. Laura rewards the girl with a smile and then she dives in, burying her face in Ari’s pussy. The girl lets out a broken moan, reaching around to fist a hand in Laura’s hair. “Fuck. Oh, yeah…right there.”

Laura tongue Ari’s clit, torturing the girl by alternating between vigorous licking and slow sucking. Ari arches into her mouth, moaning and swearing. Laura rolls her tongue around the heated bud, the girl’s taste filling her mouth. She’s aware that’s she’s good at this, she has, after all, had a lot of practice. But it’s different with Ari, she wants to make the girl come, wants to make her happy. There’s no obligation or pressure. It’s easy, instinctual.

“God, Laura,” Ari whimpers, fisting her hand deeper in Laura’s hair. The Dom relishes in the action, rewarding Ari by sucking the girl’s clit into her mouth. Ari screams and arches, fighting to hold back her orgasm.

Taking mercy on her, Laura eases up, flicking her tongue teasingly across the girl’s clit, but nothing more. Ari swears under her breath again, her head rolling on her shoulders. Laura gives her a moment to breathe, all the while running her hand up the girl’s leg. When she reaches Ari’s knee she moves inward, lifting her hand to the girl’s pussy.

Ari moans as Laura presses a finger into her. She pumps it in and out gently, letting Ari get used to the feel of her. Then she moves back in, once again taking the girl into her mouth. Ari arches into her, chest heaving as she struggles to fill her lungs. Laura tongues her clit, matching the pace of her finger…make that two. Ari swears as Laura presses another into her.

“Fuck…that’s good…oh God…please…” Ari’s broken whimpers roll down Laura’s spine, making her wet. She wants to slip her free hand under her dress, wants to toy with herself until she comes, but she holds back. This is about Ari, not her. This is about giving the girl what she deserves, exactly what she deserves.

Laura speeds up, fingering the girl harder as she sucks the girl’s clit into her mouth. She’s close to coming, Laura can feel it, can see it. It’s in the frantic rise and fall of Ari’s chest, the slight hitches in her breath. It’s in the way her leg tightens around Laura’s shoulder, the girl unconsciously pressing her in deeper, demanding more.

“Please, Laura. Please can I come?” Ari asks, practically begging. And Laura is sure she’s never heard anything so perfect, so fucking sexy. “Please…”

Fuck, Laura could do this for hours, just listening to the girl whimper and moan, but they’ll have time for that later. It’s late and there’s pizza getting cold. Ari’s been a good girl and held back, waiting for permission, and Laura intends to reward her. She pulls back and Ari whimpers in protest, glancing down at Laura.

Holding her gaze, Laura slips her fingers out of the girl’s pussy and licks them clean. Ari gapes at her, eyes wide, burning with lust. She bites her lip as Laura returns her fingers to the girl’s pussy, sliding them in deep, pumping them in and out, in and out. Ari whimpers, wordlessly pleading with Laura, begging.

“You can come,” Laura says, her voice all Dom, and then she dives back in, flicking her tongue across the girl’s clit. Ari arches, screaming Laura’s name as she comes. Laura pulls her fingers from the girl’s pussy, but continues to toy with her until Ari whimpers in protest. Then, with a truly wicked smirk on her lips, Laura eases back on her heels, looking slowly up at the girl.

To her surprise, Ari looks completely out of it. Her hair is a mess, hanging about her shoulders in a tousled sexy mess. She’s breathing hard and her pupils are blown, but there’s a glaze over her eyes. Laura stands up, realizing that she unintentionally sent the girl into a drop. Guess the pizza will have to wait.

She lifts the girl into her arms, relishing in the way Ari curls around her, burying her face in Laura’s hair. Smiling, Laura carries her into her bedroom and lays her down on the bed. She tries to pull away, intend on putting the pizza in the fridge, but Ari won’t let her go. With a little chuckle, Laura kicks off her heels and climbs into bed with the girl. Ari snuggles in close, resting her head on Laura’s chest. Laura buries a hand in the girl’s hair and closes her eyes.

She’s not sure how she ended up here or what the fuck is going to happen next, but she’s damn sure this is where she belongs. With Ari curled up in her arms, safe and secluded, breathing in the girls intoxicating scent.

Chapter Text

Stiles wakes up on top of Derek, his head resting on the Dom’s massive chest. Derek has one hand on Stiles’ ass and the other curled protectively around his neck. A glance around tells Stiles that they aren’t on the beach anymore. Somehow, Derek managed to get him home. They’re sprawled on Stiles’ bed, the sheets rumpled around them.

Heat sears through Stiles as the memory of what they did, of how thoroughly Derek fucked him, plays in his head. Sweet motherfucking fuck. That was incredible. He’s never felt so close to someone before, so utterly owned. And the way Derek touched him, spoke to him, as if Stiles were his whole world, the beginning and the end of the line. God, it was like falling in love with him all over again, but in fast-forward. He’s never come so hard or tipped into subspace so easily. He had no control. He was absolutely vulnerable and it was fucking beautiful.

Stiles gently lifts his head, resting his chin on Derek’s chest. The Dom is asleep, his breathing slow and steady. Stiles looks him over, taking in the dark arch of his eyebrows, the slope of his cheekbones, his full lips, and that stubble…god, that stubble. Stiles’ stomach clenches, his cock hardening at the mere sight of his Dom’s gorgeous face.

Fuck, he’s perfect. And, for some reason, he wants Stiles. The Sub isn’t sure why, but he’s not about to argue with it. Not when he’s happier than he’s ever been. He feels more at home here, curled up in Derek’s arms, than anywhere else. This is where he belongs, where he wants to be. And yeah, the situation is fucked and chances are this is going to blow up in Stiles’ face, but at least he’s got right now.

Licking his lips, he bends down to kiss the tattoo that runs across Derek’s chest. It’s a beautiful falcon, it’s wings spread wide. Above the falcon’s head is a crown, set into Derek’s neck. Below the falcon is a compass rose, the tail end of it bisecting Derek’s abs. Beneath the compass rose is the Blood Wolf brand, still covered with a bandage. But under that are two Berettas, set into Derek’s hips. They’re identical to the ones he and Cora use, both pointing down to his cock.

Stiles lifts his head and turns to Derek’s left arm. The Blood Wolf tattoo lines his wrist, identical to the ones on his sisters’ wrists. The rest of his arm is covered in gorgeous black and white roses. Turning to the Dom’s right arm, Stiles speculates as to what the hundreds of little tick marks on his inner forearm could mean. Brows furrowed, he shifts his gaze upward. Derek’s right bicep is home to a beautiful portrait, one of his mother, her dark curls cascading down her back. Stiles is hit with just how much she looks like Cora and Laura. It’s astounding and horribly sad.

Lining the inside of Derek’s ribs are the names of each of his family members, his sisters’ on his right side and his parents’ on his left. Stiles can’t see the Dom’s back, but he can picture the massive wolf that sits there, solemn and steady against a backdrop of pine trees. It’s a beautiful piece. It must have taken him hours and hours, but it fits him perfectly.

“You’re staring, baby boy,” Derek says, his deep voice rolling down Stiles’ spine like hot water. Stiles’ cock jumps in response, earning a growl of approval from his Dom. Stiles slowly lifts his gaze, hyper-aware of the blush on his cheeks.

“You said you would tell me about your tattoos,” Stiles says with a little smirk, biting his lip. The action draws Derek’s gaze and, in an instant, he’s kissing Stiles. The Sub sighs into it, letting Derek set a slow, leisurely pace. Their tongues twist around one another, lips pushing and pulling as Derek devours Stiles’ mouth. Before long, Stiles is arching into the Dom, riding his leg, suddenly desperate for friction.

With a deep chuckle, Derek pulls back. Stiles whimpers, but doesn’t push. God knows he pushed enough last night. He’ll let Derek decide how this is going to go. He is, after all, Stiles’ Dom now. That though sends a shiver through Stiles. He can’t help but be thrilled that Derek is his and that he belongs to Derek, but there’s still a whisper of fear in the back of his head. A voice that tells him he’s fucking everything up, that when this is done, Derek is going to loathe him.

“I’d love to fuck you again, baby boy, but I have somewhere I need to be,” Derek say, smiling sleepily. Stiles nods, irritated. There goes the morning of fucking he was looking forward to. Guess recon will have to do.

“Fine, but first you have to tell me about your tattoos. You promised,” Stiles says, fixing the Dom with a sharp, yet playful, look. Derek shakes his head, smirking. Stiles waits impatiently, drumming his fingers along the bed. Tattoos are personal, Stiles gets that, but he and Derek got pretty damn personal last night. And he wants to know, his curiosity is getting the best of him.

“Alright, some have meaning and some don’t. Which ones do you wanna know about?” he asks as Stiles slides off of him and sits up. The Sub studies his Dom’s body, jaw cocked to the side.

“This one first,” Stiles says, pointing to the crowned falcon on Derek’s chest.

The Dom nods solemnly, a deep sadness filling his dark eyes. Stiles swallows hard, wishing he could take it back. Maybe he doesn’t want to know. The Dom clears his throat and sighs, like he’s preparing himself for something. “My father had the same one, I got it after he died. It’s got something to do with Viking mythology.”

Stiles nods, worrying his bottom lip between his teeth. He can understand wanting to get a tattoo to remember someone. He thought about it when his dad was killed, but he didn’t have enough money after he paid for the funeral. “Uh…what about this one?” Stiles says, pointing to the compass rose below the falcon.

“For my mother…she always had a way of telling me exactly what I needed to hear, pointing me in the right direction,” Derek says with a sad smile.

“And the roses?” Stiles asks, arching an eyebrow.

“Laura and Cora had this rose garden when we were little, they’d play hide-and-seek in it. My mother used to get so mad, they’d come back with torn clothes and scratches, but she couldn’t get them to play somewhere else. Laura claimed the danger made it more fun,” Derek says with a little chuckle, the memory playing in his eyes. Stiles can’t help but smile, picturing two little girls with dark hair, tearing their way through massive rose bushes.

“And this one, it’s your mother right?” Stiles asks, pointing to the portrait.

“Yeah,” the Dom says with a soft nod.

“She was really beautiful,” Stiles whispers and Derek nods again, the deep sadness returning to his eyes. Acting on instinct, Stiles reaches over and places a hand on his chest, wanting to comfort his Dom. Derek put his hand over Stiles’ and graces the Sub with a gentle smile, wordlessly thanking him.

The devotion on his face, the protective way he’s eyeing Stiles, simultaneously shreds Stiles’ heart and fills him with heat. It’s a warmth unlike anything he’s ever felt before. It’s the promise of protection, of safety. And it scares him how much he believes it. He knows that he shouldn’t, that their entire relationship has been built on lies, but it still feels real. And he can’t help loving Derek. Not when the Dom is so fucking deserving of it.

“What about the one on your back?”

Derek turns to bare his back to the Sub. Stiles moves his hand over Derek’s shoulder and down his back, running it across the wolf’s head. This tattoo, just like the others, is black and white. Stiles wonders briefly if Derek chose the scheme for any particular reason, but decides against asking. Instead, he focuses on memorizing the wolf, the proud arch of its neck, the texture of its fur. It really is gorgeous, as much a part of Derek as his arm or leg. Stiles gets caught up in its eyes. There’s a steady calm there, as if the wolf knows who Stiles is and is intent on watching over him.

“I’m a Blood Wolf…figured that one would be self-explanatory,” the Dom says with a dry chuckle. Then, before Stiles can question him, can ask him to elaborate, Derek sits up and slides off the bed, standing up.

Stiles exhales shakily, suddenly overcome with fear. He’s been lying to himself, living in a fantasy of his own making. Derek’s admission just poured a bucket of ice water over Stiles’ head, waking him up. It’s easy to forget what Derek is, what he does, when they are alone…when it’s just them curled up in bed. But Stiles can’t let himself forget it and to do so would be a huge mistake. Derek is a Blood Wolf, that truth is literally written on his skin.

Derek pulls on his jeans and turns to face Stiles. The second he lays eyes on the Sub, his expression shifts, softening. Concern cuts across his face. Brows furrowed, he rounds the bed and sits down, pulling Stiles into his arms. Stiles wraps his arms around the Dom, holding him tight, terrified that his plan won’t work, that this is the last time he’ll see Derek.

He knows what he has to do and he knows how to do it, but expert planning doesn’t account for human error. There’s a chance that things will go wrong and if Derek’s uncle, god forbid, does get his hands on Stiles, he’s fucking screwed. Peter will kill, he’s sure of that.

It’s just a fingerprint. He can do that. Right?

Fuck.

“What’s wrong, baby boy?” Derek says softly as he strokes the back of Stiles’ neck. The Sub leans into it, Derek’s touch flooding his brain with soothing hormones. He opens his mouth to tell him, to tell Derek that he’s been lying, that he’s a cop…that he loves Derek more than anything else in the whole world. But, before it has the chance to spill out, he clamps his mouth shut. “Talk to me…”

Stiles swallows hard, trying desperately to think up a lie. “It’s nothing. I’m just worried about you is all. I don’t want what happened to happen again…” Stiles whispers as he gently runs his hands over the bandage on Derek’s abdomen. The Dom sighs, tightening his hold on Stiles, desperate to comfort his Sub.

“I’m gonna be fine.” He takes Stiles’ face in his hand, forcing the Sub to look at him. Derek’s eyes cut through him, quick and deep, robbing the breath from Stiles’ lungs. Unable to help himself, Stiles lets out a tiny whimper. “It’s okay, sweetheart, I know what I’m doing. Nothing is going to happen to me.” He smiles softly, stealing Stiles’ heart all over again.

“Promise?” Stiles whispers.

“Promise,” Derek says and then he leans down, kissing Stiles. It’s slow and soft, so fucking soft. Stiles melts into him, the promise sinking into his very bones. He holds onto it, suddenly hyper-aware of the fact that he is scared. He is worried about Derek. And he should be. His Dom is in danger.

Derek pulls back and graces Stiles with a warm smile, his green eyes steady. Stiles stares at him, throat tightening. How is it that this man, this beautiful Dom, is able to hold him so tenderly, touch him with hands he uses to kill people? It’s a contradiction that Stiles still can’t wrap his head around. Derek is fierce and brutal, but at the same time, he can be so sweet. It’s like there are two people living inside of him, the love of Stiles’ life and the hitman. And yeah, Stiles can compartmentalize until his head explodes, but he can’t hide from the truth. Derek is a murderer. He kills people for a living, people like Stiles father. He doesn’t want to believe that Derek did it, but there’s still a chance.

“What about this one?” Stiles asks, stroking the network of little black dashes on Derek’s inner forearm. His stomach turns, tying itself in knots. He knows what the answer is going to be and it terrifies him. He doesn’t want to hear it, doesn’t want to hear Derek say it, but he forces the question out.

“I think you know what those are for,” Derek says, his voice measured and calm. He catches Stiles’ gaze, holding the Sub in place. There’s a truth in his eyes, it’s simple, but brutal enough to tear Stiles apart. Derek isn’t hiding who he is and part of Stiles wants to know, wants to know everything, but the rest of him would rather live in ignorance. Because Derek telling him means he trust Stiles, but it also implicates the Sub.

“Why would you…” Stiles trails off, reaching a shaking hand out to touch the array of dashes. Derek holds completely still, allowing Stiles to network the hundreds of tiny lines, running his fingers across every one.

“I don’t do it for them, so don’t get that in your head,” Derek says darkly, fisting his hand. Stiles lifts his gaze, brows furrowed. Derek’s staring at him, his expression fierce and uncompromising. “It’s for me, to remind myself what I’m capable of and why I do what I do. I’m not a good man, baby boy, but I’ll do anything to protect what’s mine. This is proof of that,” he says, reaching out to run his thumb over the tattoo.

Stiles swallows against the tightness in his throat, reminding himself to breathe. Derek’s eyes bore into his, the Dom baring his truth to Stiles. And yeah, there’s a beauty in it, in how far he’s willing to go for his family. But at the same time, it’s vile and distrusting. Every single one of those little lines was a fucking person, a person who lived and breathed and loved. True, they were bad people, criminals and murderers and rapists, but they were still people. And Derek killed them. The man Stiles loves killed them.

Does that make Stiles a terrible person?

Maybe.

Probably.

“I have to go. I’ll try to be back tonight, but I’ll call if I can’t make it,” Derek says as he lifts Stiles up and sets the Sub back down on the bed. Stiles watches Derek shrugs on his shirt and steps into his boots. Then the Dom turns to face him, smiling gently at Stiles. And Stiles hates the way his stomach twists, excitement burning through his veins. His reaction to Derek is visceral, absolute.

“Derek,” Stiles mutters, the Dom’s name like a prayer on his lips.

“Baby boy,” Derek says, leaning down. And then he’s kissing Stiles again and, just like that, Stiles’ doubts disappear. All he can feel is Derek, the Dom is everywhere, in his skin, in his bone, in his fucking heart. He strokes his fingers down the nape of Stiles’ neck and Stiles can’t help but sigh. Fuck, he loves that. With a growl, Derek pulls back and opens his eyes, smiling at Stiles. And then he’s gone, the door closing behind him.

Aware that he doesn’t have much time, Stiles throws on some clothes and grabs his bag. Sticking his Glock into its holster, he makes his way downstairs. Pressed back against the wall of the hallway, he watches Derek get onto his motorcycle and start her up. The Dom rounds the corner and Stiles dashes outside, getting into his car and starting the engine.

There’s a chance that Derek isn’t going to his house, but it’s a chance that Stiles is just going to have to take. He need that fucking fingerprint. And he tells himself it’s because he is a good cop, that he’s doing his job, but the truth is, he’s doing it for Derek. He’s doing it to protect his Dom, to make sure that Peter never hurts him again. And yeah, maybe that makes him a selfish prick, but either way Peter gets put behind bars.

Derek makes his way out of the city, to the large estates owned by the rich and famous. Stiles is careful to maintain a five car distance, effortlessly slipping into cop-mode. He pushes down his feelings, his reservations, and focuses on what he needs to do.

Derek pulls up to an iron gate and Stiles turns into the woods, careful to stash his car off of the Hale property. He spends the next five hours canvasing, taking in each of the guards and cataloging their shifts. Peter has his men on hourly shifts, a pattern that Stiles plans to exploit. The real problem is going to be the security cameras. To say that they are everywhere is a fucking understatement. Apparently Peter Hale is fucking paranoid, no big surprise there.

The house is split into five floors, but the lights on the top floor are always on. That has to be where Peter is. It makes sense, what with his superiority complex. All Stiles has to do is cause a power outage, scale up to Peter’s floor, break in, get a fingerprint, and get out. No big deal.

He returns home, gathering gear and waiting for it to get dark. He leaves Derek a note saying that he’ll be back in a couple hours, just in case the Dom shows up before him, and then exits his apartment. Getting into his car, he makes his way to the Hale estate, stashing the vehicle a mile away.

He makes his way to the house, careful to keep to the woods around the property. He keeps his hand on his gun, head on a fucking swivel. A number of guards on patrol pass him, but Stiles evades them easily enough. Eventually, he reaches the power line adjacent to the house. Lips pursed in concentration, he bends down, attaching the hooks to his boots. Then, with practiced ease, he climbs the pole, quickly reaching the transformer. Carefully, he applies a tiny charge to it, double checks the device, and nods. Transformers go out all of the time, Peter won’t suspect a thing.

Stiles makes his way down the power pole and then back off into the woods before setting off the charge. There’s a loud pop and then a sizzle. Putting his arm through the other loop in his backpack, Stiles sprints towards the house. Pride swells in his stomach when he sees that the windows are, in fact, dark. Guards are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, struggling to figure out what caused the outage.

Rolling his eyes, Stiles scales the iron fence and drops off onto the other side. Anxiety builds in his stomach as he circles around to the back of the house. He memorized the layout. It’s all sleek lines and modern angles, making it tricky to climb, but not impossible.

Stiles takes a deep breath and exhales, nodding to himself. He can do this. It’s nothing he hasn’t done before. Grabbing the edge of a window, he hoists himself up. Slowly, he ascends the building, taking his time, aware that the transformer will take a few hours to fix. He’s got time, more than enough time.

It takes him half an hour, but eventually he reaches the top floor. He steps over the glass balcony, coming face to face with a massive pool and a wall of glass. Thankful for the cover of darkness, he rounds the pool and makes his way over to the door. He bites back a laugh when he notices the keypad to its left. Who the fuck puts a keypad on a glass door? That’s like putting a bullet proof vest on a fucking bomb.

Shrugging off his jacket, he pulls out his lock picking kit. A minute and a half later, he’s inside the house. His anxiety builds as he steps into Peter’s living room. The air of power, of dominance, the place radiates is overbearing. From the furniture, to the absolute lack of décor, everything screams control. It sends a shiver of apprehension down Stiles’ spine. Peter is definitely a psychopath, there’s no disputing that fact.

He hates the thought of Derek and his sisters living here, living under this man. It makes him sick to his stomach. The image of a faceless man holding Derek down, pressing a brand to his Dom’s stomach, flashes before his eyes. His heartbeat kicks into overdrive, adrenaline flooding his system.

Taking a deep breath, he forces himself to focus. Fingerprints, he needs fingerprints. Or rather, just one, a right index. But where to look? Fingerprints are everywhere, but Stiles needs a clean, full, fingerprint. And his best chance of finding one is by going to the place where Peter spends most of his time. Stiles grits is teeth, thinking it over. Peter is a business man; he values money above all else. Chances are, he lives in his office. But that’s probably where he is right now.

Bedroom. It’ll have to be the bedroom.

Pulling out his gun, Stiles rounds the living room and turns down a hall. He passes a massive wooden door and, for some reason, instinctually knows that it’s Peter’s office. Holding his breath, he moves past it and makes his way down the hall. Stepping down, he enters a huge bedroom. No, huge is an understatement. It’s bigger than his whole apartment.

Crossing the room, he fishes his finger printing kit out of his backpack and moves to the nightstand. Carefully, oh so carefully, Stiles brushes the grey powder across the intricate piece of furniture. The sight of fingerprints makes his heart leap. He pushes his excitement, forcing himself to remain focused. Get the fingerprints and get out. Get the fingerprints and get out. Hand shaking ever so slightly, he presses the clear plastic down on the fingerprint and lifts it, a clean imprint left behind.

Stiles then places the tiny sliver of plastic into a lockbox, which he returns to his backpack. Slinging it back over his shoulders, he crosses the room, and steps into the hallway. He needs to get out of here, like right fucking now. He has the fingerprint, that’s enough to get him a warrant for Peter’s arrest. The rest…well he’ll figure out the rest later.

Holding his breath, he starts past Peter’s office. The knowledge that the leader of the Blood Wolves, a ruthless murderer, is standing behind that door, haunts him. He flexes his hand around the handle of his gun, suddenly overcome with fury. It washes over him, a thick wave of toxicity. And all the can think about is Derek in that hospital bed, burned and bloody. Peter did that. He almost killed Stiles’ Dom, the man he loves.

Stiles wants him dead. He wants to put a bullet through the man’s head. The urge to open the door, point his gun at Peter, and pull the trigger, is overwhelming. And it terrifies him because he’s not supposed to be this person. He’s not supposed to be the kind of man who kills. He’s a good guy.

But knowing that, feeling that in his bones, doesn’t change the fact that he’s actually contemplating murder. God, what has he become? He’s never thought about taking a life, not for one second. But he is now. And he doesn’t know why.

Scratch that, he knows why.

Derek.

He wants to kill Peter for Derek, to protect him. And yeah, there’s a nobility in that, but that nobility does not excuse the brutality of the act. It shouldn’t matter why he wants to do it, what should matter is that he does. Fuck. He’s always seen the world as black and white, good or evil, but it’s not. Derek’s not. And maybe…maybe neither is he. That knowledge, that fucking epiphany, causes Stiles world to fucking shift. It forces him to rethink everything he has ever done; every move he’s made. And he comes to one glaring conclusion: doing bad things doesn’t necessarily make someone a bad person

Stiles lets out a shaky breath. A newfound sense of power course through his veins, and it’s incredible, but also horrifying. Because he could do it, he could open that door and shoot Peter between the eyes. And he wants to, he fucking wants to. For Derek…to keep Derek safe. And that doesn’t make Stiles a monster. It just means he’s human. It just shows how much he loves Derek.

Teeth clenched, Stiles turns to face the door. He cocks his head to the side, the weight of his Glock pressing down on his hand. It wouldn’t be hard, all he’d have to do is squeeze the trigger and the world would be out a sick bastard. No one would miss him and it would mean Derek and his sisters were safe.

“She’s dead? You’re absolutely sure?” A man’s voice, smooth and powerful, seeps under the door. And it’s like ice water being injected into Stiles’ bloodstream. He lowers his gun, absolutely sure that it’s Peter. Who else would it be? “Well, did you make sure?” he asks irately. There’s a madness in his voice, like he’s seconds from falling apart, an inch from the edge.

Stiles has seen it before, has watched men descend into insanity. Hell, he sat bedside while his mother made her way down that road. But this is different, this is a man who is capable of anything. Stiles closes his eyes, one again picturing Derek laying in that hospital bed. Peter almost killed him for insubordination. There’s no telling what he’s willing to do to get what he wants, who he’s willing to kill.

“No! You better be sure! You let the other little bitch walk. And you paid for that, didn’t you?” There’s a threat in his voice, the promise of pain, of agony. “I want her dead! Not almost dead, not kind of dead, fucking dead!” Peter roars, his control slipping as if it were never actually there. His voice is frayed and raw, terrifying.

Stiles takes a step back, running over Peter’s words, putting pieces together. And, just like that, everything slides into place. And it all makes sense. It wasn’t M12 that went after Cora, it was Peter. And from the sound of it, he’s about to go after Laura.

Heart trying to beat its way out of his chest, Stiles makes his way out of the house and onto the balcony. Quickly, he places a grappling hook and uses it to rappel off of the house. Once he’s safe in the woods he pulls out his phone and dials Derek’s number, aware that Laura’s life is hanging in the balance. If he fucks this up, she’s dead. 

Chapter Text

Derek exhales, staring at Stiles’ note. Something about it irks him, gets under his skin. It’s decisively vague and Stiles is anything but. Yeah, maybe he just ran to the grocery store, but then again maybe not. And Derek can’t help but be worried. His instincts are raging, demanding he find Stiles, demanding he protect what’s his.

Setting the note on the coffee table, he fists his hands before him, spine curling. Stiles is fine. He has nothing to be worried about. Right? Fuck. He knows he’s being irrational, that Stiles can take care of himself, but that knowledge does nothing to quell the beast raging in his chest. The urge to protect, to provide, is overwhelming. He wants Stiles here, wants the boy safe in his arms.

Stiles was upset this morning and it was about more than what he was letting on. He froze up when Derek told him about the tattoo on his forearm. And yeah, Derek should’ve expected it, should’ve been prepared for it, but he wasn’t. Stiles may be willing to devote his body to Derek, but for some reason he refuses to let the Dom in completely. He’s clearly uncomfortable with Derek’s job. And maybe that’s all it is, but Derek’s pretty sure there’s more to the story. Stiles is hiding from him and he wants to know why.

Derek’s phone rings, the sound jolting him out of his head. He fishes it from his pocket and sighs in relief when he sees Stiles’ name. Thank fuck. Stiles is okay, his baby boy is safe. Licking his lips, Derek presses send and lifts the phone to his ear. “Hey, baby boy,” he says softly, voice deep and slow.

“Derek, Laura’s in danger. You need to find her! You need to find her right fucking now!” Stiles says sharply, breathing hard. Ice cuts its way through Derek’s veins, slicing him open and leaving him to bleed. He can’t breathe, fear and rage overwhelming him.

Laura is in danger.

His sister is in danger.

Fuck.

“Where are you?” Derek asks frantically as he exits Stiles’ apartment and makes his way downstairs. He knows that he should be focused on Laura right now, but he can’t help being concerned about Stiles. The boy is his after all, his Sub, his to protect.

“I’m fine! Don’t worry about me,” Stiles says, sounding close to tears. “You have to find her, Derek! She’s…she’s…” his voice breaks, quivering. The sound of it shreds Derek’s heart, pleading with him. His instincts rage, urging him to find Stiles instead of his sister. But he can’t do that, if Stiles says he’s fine then Derek has to trust him.

 “You’re okay. Just breathe, baby boy,” Derek says as he slips into his Camaro and takes off down the road. He tries to keep his voice level, but his anger seeps through. Fuck. Stiles needs him calm right now, Laura needs him calm. He takes a deep breath and exhales, struggling to distance himself from the situation. It’s just another job, another person to kill. Laura and Stiles are going to be fine…but only if he doesn’t fuck up.

“Just…just call me when you find her,” Stiles say, sounding dangerously close to a panic attack. Derek’s stomach lurches, protectiveness washing over him in one, thick wave. And, just like that, all he can think about is taking care of his boy, making sure Stiles is calm and safe and happy.

“Stay on the line with me. You’re okay, baby boy. I’ve got you. I’m right here with you,” Derek whispers, desperate to pull his boy back from the edge. He’s seen Stiles have a panic attack, back when he was detoxing. And he never wants to see it again. Never.

“No!” Stiles says ardently. “You need to find her! Find her and then call me!” And with that, the line goes dead. Fisting his phone in his hand, Derek tosses it onto the passenger seat.

Swearing irately, he fists his hands around the steering wheel, forcing himself to focus on his sister. Stiles is fine, it’s Laura who needs him right now. She called a few hours ago from Ari’s apartment; they were watching a movie. Yes, there’s a chance that she’s not there anymore, but Derek wouldn’t bet on it. Laura’s spent years trying to get over Ari, now that she has her, there’s no way she’s letting the girl go. Not without a fight. And what a fight that would be. Laura might not be trained in combat, but she throws words like daggers.

Derek pulls up to Ari’s apartment, searching the parking lot for Laura’s car. It’s gone, but if anyone knows where she is, its Ari. He leaves his car running, making his way up the stairs rather than the elevator. In less than a minute, he’s banging on Ari’s door, his Beretta clutched in his hand.

Ari opens the door, her blue hair tousled about her shoulders. Derek is taken aback by the sight of it down. And for half a second he simply stands there, staring at her. Damn, Laura’s got good taste.

“Are you okay, Derek? You look upset,” she says, her voice yanking him back to reality. He blinks twice, refocusing. Scanning her empty apartment, he quickly comes to the conclusion that Laura is in fact gone. Ari takes a step toward him, dark brows furrowing in concern. “What’s wrong?” she asks, a quiet edge to her voice. She’s worried…and she should be. If he can’t get to Laura fast enough…

No. He’s going to find her. He will.

“Where’s Laura?” he asks curtly, staring down the little Sub. Fear carves a path across her face, her blue eyes widening.

“Is she…” Ari trails off, looking close to tears.

“I’m gonna keep her safe, Ari. But I need you to tell me where she is,” Derek says, using his Dom voice. Ari straightens up, helpless to respond. Derek doesn’t like abusing his power, but it can’t be avoided, at least not right now. Ari needs her Dom and Derek needs his sister. This is the only way. “Tell me.”

“She went to the gas station down the road to get us some candy. Oh God, Der, is she in danger?” she asks frantically, but Derek is already halfway down the hall. To his surprise, she dashes after him, pulling on a pair of boots as she runs. He knows he should tell her to go back, that this is going to be dangerous, but he doesn’t have time. And it’s not like Ari is a civilian. He’s seen the little Sub spar with Cora and she’s no fucking slouch.

Derek leads her downstairs and they get into his Camaro. He veers off onto the road and guns it. Ari takes a deep breath and lets it out nice and slow, lifting her gaze. The fear that inhabited her eyes fades and is quickly replaced by anger. She reaches into her boot and pulls out a knife, twisting it into her hand so that the blade is resting flush with her wrist. Derek wants to be surprised, but he’s not. She’s a Sub protecting her Dom, he wouldn’t expect any less from Stiles.

“There’s her car,” Ari says, pointing to it. Derek searches the parking lot for any sign of his sister, but she’s nowhere to be seen. Pulling up to the gas station, he and Ari get out of the Camaro. Ari dashes inside as Derek rounds the building.

He sees someone laying in the alley and his heart fucking stops, the world slowing and then coming to a sudden stop. He takes two steps forward, a street light illuminating the tips of four long ringlets. With a roar of anguish, Derek rushes over and falls to his knees next to his sister. There’s blood everywhere, her body riddled with bullet holes.

Frantic, Derek feels for a pulse. A sick voice in the back of his head tells him that she couldn’t possibly be alive, not after sustaining these wounds. But he pushes it back, hand shaking as he presses into her neck. She can’t be dead, not Laura. She’s too fucking stubborn to die. Too fucking beautiful and brilliant. His sister…his sister…

There’s a slight flutter against his fingertips, like the brush of a feather. It’s almost not even there, but it’s enough. And it’s the most beautiful thing Derek’s ever felt. Because she’s alive. His little sister is alive.

“Oh my God!” Ari screams, falling to her knees next to Derek. She takes Laura’s hand, holding it tight, whispering softly to Derek’s sister as he stands up. His hand shakes as he dials Jane’s number. As he listens to his phone ring, a thousand questions assault him. What if she dies before they get here? What if he never gets to hear her tell him off again? What will happen to Cora if she loses her twin? How are they supposed to do this, to do anything, without her?

“Derek?” Jane says, his name a question.

“We’re at the gas station on Madison and 12th. It’s Laura. Get here now,” Derek says and, with that, he hangs up the phone. Jane is one of the few people Derek can be completely straight with. She the best surgeon in Los Angeles, as ruthless in her field as he is in his. He pays her to save their lives and she’s never let him down. He has faith in her, in her ability to slice someone open and stitch them back together from the inside out.

Derek turns to look down at his sister, his heart aching. Ari’s clutching Laura’s hand, tears streaming down her face. She’s whispering, pleading, but Derek’s can’t hear a word she’s saying. He’s hyper-focused on Laura, on the blood that stains her lips, on the gorgeous arch of her dark brows…so like their mother’s. Fuck. He can’t do this; he can’t lose someone else. No her, not his baby sister. How could he let this happen? He’s supposed to protect her, to keep her safe.

“Is she gonna die?” Ari whimpers, tightening her grip on Laura’s hand.

“No,” Derek says stubbornly, adamantly refusing to let go of his sister.

There’s a screech of tires to their left. Derek turns just in time to see Jane and Marie exiting their escalade. Jane rushes over to Laura as Marie opens up the back of the vehicle. Derek studies Jane’s expression as she rapidly goes over Laura’s wounds. He searches for worry, for apprehension, but Jane is steel.

“Get her into the car,” she says, looking up to meet Derek’s gaze. He does as instructed, gently, oh so gently, lifting his sister into his arms. Marie directs him over, helping him lay Laura down in the back. “Drive,” she says as she climbs into the back with Laura. Marie does the same, leaving Ari and Derek standing in the parking lot.

Derek meets Ari’s gaze for half a second, noting the terror in her eyes, then they round the vehicle and step inside. Derek puts into drive and takes off down the road. As often as he can, he glances back into the rear-view mirror, taking note of what the two doctors are doing. None of it makes sense to him, but at least they’re doing something. If anyone can save Laura, it’s Jane and Marie. They’ve done it before and they can do it again.

“She needs a transfusion,” Jane says sternly. She catches Derek’s gaze in the mirror, her eyes steady and fierce. “Get us to Cora.” Derek nods solemnly, wishing, not for the first time that his blood type matched that of his sisters’.

Derek veers around a corner, swerving through traffic. If he doesn’t hurry, they’ll have cops on their ass soon, and that’s the last thing Laura needs. Chances are those fuckers would take him in and let her die. He’s seen it happen before, their fucked up sense of priorities. They only care about the law, about catching criminals and locking them up. The grey in between means nothing to them.

Veering into the empty office building they use as a makeshift hospital, Derek kills the engine. He and Ari exit the vehicle, rounding it. Marie dashes inside and returns half a second later pulling a gurney. Following closely behind her is a distraught looking Cora, her dark brows furrowed in confusion, tears already brimming in her eyes. She watches Derek lay their sister onto the gurney, her hand hovering over her mouth in horror. Marie and Jane rush Laura past Cora, motioning for her to come with them. She gives Derek a fleeting, helpless look and then follows them inside.

Derek takes three steps towards the building, but then, out of the corner of his eye, he sees Ari and stops short. She’s standing a few feet from him, staring at the door Laura just disappeared behind. Her shaking hands, covered in blood, are fisted at her sides and she’s breathing hard. Derek forces himself to relax. Laura took care of Stiles when Derek couldn’t. It’s time he does the same for her Sub.

“C’mere, sweetheart,” Derek says softly, crossing the distance between them. Gently, he pulls her into his arms, tucking her tightly against his chest. And, just like that, she bursts into tears, sobbing into his shirt. He cradles the back of her head, whispering to her in a quiet, calming voice. “She’s gonna be fine. Lulu is the strongest person I know and there’s no way she’d leave you. No fucking way.”

“You…you…should be with her,” Ari whimpers, clinging to him.

“So should you,” Derek says as he feathers his fingers through her blue hair. “Come on, let’s go tell her she’s too pretty to die.” Ari lets out a tiny laugh and Derek exhales, relieved that she’s settling.

With a tiny nod, Ari pulls back. Derek takes her hand and leads her inside. He holds his head high, determined to remain strong for his sisters, for their Subs. He cannot afford to be weak, not right now, not when they need his strength so much. Laura is going to be fine. She’s a Hale, suborn and willful and gorgeous. She’ll make it. She has to. Derek and Cora can’t do this without her. They just can’t.

Ari stops short when they reach the door to the infirmary. She stares at it, wide-eyed, utterly terrified. Derek gives her hand a comforting squeeze and pushes the door inward. Luka is sitting on the bed adjacent to Laura, staring down at her, his expression a striking mixture of rage and detachment. Cora is sitting a few feet from Laura, a thin tube connecting their arms. And the doctors are elbow deep in Laura’s insides, their gloved hands covered in her blood.

Derek gapes at his sister, cut open and dying, his reality crumbling around him. And suddenly he can’t breathe. Because someone did this to her, someone tried to kill his baby sister. A nagging thought toys at the back of his mind, eating away at him. Maybe he was wrong. Maybe it wasn’t M12 that went after Cora. Maybe it was the Savages…maybe it’s been them the whole time. Rage splits through him, shredding his veins and destroying his heart. He’s going to kill them. Every single fucking one of them. He could care less that he has no evidence. Someone needs to pay for this. And they will…

Derek releases Ari’s hand and walks up to Cora, his expression stone cold. He catches her gaze and, without being asked, she pulls out her guns and hands them to him. He fixes her with a fierce look, wordlessly demanding she watch over their sister, and then he walks out of the office building.

He left his Camaro at the gas station, but Cora’s Chevelle is sitting in the parking lot. He slips inside, starts the engine, and veers off onto the road. He knows where the Savages are. Back before Alexei murdered Jax and took over, the Blood Wolves and the Savages had a mutually beneficial relationship. Derek got along with Jax, even warned him that Alexei wanted him dead, but the Sub refused to listen. And after he was killed, the Wolves broke ties. Peter and Derek both agreed that Alexei was far too volatile to trust with their business. It was one of the few times he and his uncle actually agreed with one another.

The Savages live up to their name. M12 played at being business men, all suits and ties, but the Savages could care less about appearances. They’re ranks are made up of lowly criminals, murders and psychopaths. They burn people for fuck’s sake, torturing merely for the sake of torturing. Things were different back when Jax was in charge, but Alexei has infected the organization like a cancer.

The fucker has had this coming for years. Derek wanted to kill him for what he did to Jax, but Peter refused to sanction the hit. He claimed it wasn’t their problem and Derek begrudgingly respected his uncle’s wishes. But now…now it is their problem. They tried to kill Laura. Hell, if things go south they still might succeed.

No. Laura is fine. She’s going to be fine.

Alexei on the other hand. Well he’s going to wish for death by the time Derek’s done with him. Derek is going to tear him apart, limb by limb, and then he’s going to set the motherfucker on fire. And he doesn’t care that the act will probably mean his death. So what if Peter kills him? He doesn’t care, he’s too fucking tired to care. All that matters right now is decimating the Savages, making them pay for hurting his little sister.

Derek makes his way out of LA and deeper into southern California. The Savages make their home in the slums, taking advantage of the poor and desperate. But that’s not to say that they aren’t well-equipped. Taking them out won’t be nearly as easy as destroying M12. They have more men and more weapons. But it’s nothing Derek can’t handle. This is, after all, what he does.

He parks down the road from their base of operations and steps out of Cora’s Chevelle. Aware that his little sister never goes anywhere unarmed, Derek rounds the vehicle and pops the trunk. Inside, are a few bricks of cocaine and a black duffle bag full of weapons. Derek opens the flaps and goes to work. He grabs extra mags for Cora’s guns, a bunch of bombs, and one of Laura’s favorite knives. By the time he’s finished, he’s dripping in weapons. And fuck if it doesn’t feel right, the weight of them, their steadying presence.

Derek approaches the old apartment building cautiously, trying to remember every detail he can about its layout. He knows better than to run inside guns blazing. That worked with M12, but only because their numbers were so low. With the Savages he’ll have to take a different tactic.

Counting off the guards, Derek rounds the building again. He takes them out one by one, slitting their throats, breaking their necks, silent and quick. And with every life he takes, he feels a little better. Like he’s giving them to his sister, like they are his way of apologizing for not protecting her. And yeah, that’s fucked up, but it’s the truth. These men may not have been the ones who gunned down Laura, but there’s a chance and that’s all Derek needs. Maybe that makes him a bad person, but he’s never claimed to be anything but.

He slips inside one of the back doors and makes his way down to the basement. Three guards stop him in the hallway. He throws a knife at the furthest to his right. It lodges itself in the man’s throat. He reaches up and yanks it out, blood spurting from the wound as he falls to the ground. His fellow guards lunge at Derek.

He squares up, his stance coming second nature to him. Popping the nearest man in the face, he breaks the man’s nose. Groaning the man stumbles backward, but not nearly fast enough. Derek throws a quick combination, knocking the breath out of him. But before he can deliver a death blow, the other man punches Derek in the stomach. Growling irately, Derek grabs him by the face and slams him into a wall, the man’s skull caving inward when it hits the brick.

Dropping the body, Derek twists around and grabs the final guard before he can make a break for it. He seizes a knife from his belt and slashes the man’s throat, watching as the light fades from his eyes, relishing in the hot blood that paints Derek’s body. He won’t lie and say that he doesn’t enjoy this, because he does. It’s a total rush, holding someone’s life in his fucking hands.

God what would Stiles think of him?

Pushing that thought down, Derek rounds a corner and makes his way down the stairs to the basement. There are a few men standing around a pool table. Derek lunges at the nearest one, burying his knife in the man’s chest. Smirking, he yanks the knife out and turns to face the remaining four men. They move toward him as one, intent on overwhelming him with their numbers, but he knows that it won’t work.

He twists his knife inward and clenches his hands into tight fists. Conjuring up an image of Laura lying in that hospital bed, broken and bloody, Derek comes undone. With a roar, he slams his fist into the face of the nearest man and then stabs him in the throat. Pulling his knife free, he elbows the man behind him in the kidney and then twists around, fisting a hand in his hair. Grabbing his head, Derek throws his weight into it, breaking the man’s neck with practiced ease.

A knife slices into his back, buried deep. Pain shooting through him, Derek twists around and pulls out one of his guns. Thankful that Cora’s guns are equipped silencers, Derek shoots both remaining men in the head. Their bodies hit the ground and he drops Cora’s guns back into their holsters. Reaching around, he yanks the knife out of his back, teeth clenched tight. Fuck, that hurts.

A glance around the rooms tells him where to place the bombs. He targets load-bearing beams, intent on taking the entire building down. Once the charges are placed, Derek makes his way back upstairs. He has to kill a few more men along the way, but they are nothing, more blood and flesh.

Exiting the building, Derek walks around to the road and lifts his gaze to the top floor. If Alexei isn’t here, he wants to know it. And there’s only one way to know for sure. Arching his neck proudly, Derek pulls out one of his guns and shoots the uppermost window. The bullet shatters the glass, pieces of it raining down to meet the ground. Derek studies the window pane until he sees a glimpse of Alexei and then, with that, he sets off the bombs.

The ensuing explosion knocks him backward. His head hits the side of a car and everything goes black.

Chapter Text

Stiles walks into the police station, the little box containing Peter’s print clutched tightly in his hands. He knows that he shouldn’t be here, that he should’ve just called Lydia and had her meet him. But he couldn’t risk it. The print needs to be run through the system as soon as possible. Derek and his sisters can’t afford to wait. They need Peter behind bars right now. God only knows if Derek got to Laura fast enough.

Stiles wishes his Dom would call him. He wants to know that Derek and his sisters are okay. No, he needs it. Hanging up on Derek, mid-panic attack, was one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do. But it had to be done. Derek needed to focus on Laura and he couldn’t do that if he was worrying about Stiles.

He glances around, terrified by the sense of wrong surrounding him. This place used to feel like home, but now…now only Derek makes him feel that way. And the shift scares him, settling in his bones and threatening to rip him apart. Because he should feel safe here, surrounded by cops, but he doesn’t. Not anymore. Not now that he knows where he feels most safe, curled up in his Dom’s arms.

Fuck.

What is he doing?

Derek’s never going to forgive him once he finds out. And Stiles won’t blame him, because he deserves it. He’s done nothing but lie to the Dom. Their entire relationship is built on lies. It won’t matter to the Dom that Stiles loves him. He’ll put a bullet through the Sub’s skull for his betrayal. That is, after all, the Blood Wolf way. And Derek, despite everything, is and always will be, a Blood Wolf. Stiles has spent weeks trying to push that fact down, trying to repress it, but no more. He needs to face reality. 

“Stiles! What the fuck are you doing here?” Lydia exclaims. Before Stiles can react, she’s pulling him into her arms. He fists a hand in her hair, clinging to her. Her presence, the soft touch of her hands, instantly calms him. He exhales, forcing himself to slow down, to relax. He has Peter’s print. It will be enough to put the bastard away. And once he is, Derek and his sisters will be safe. They’ll hate Stiles, but at least they’ll be safe.

“I have the fingerprint,” Stiles say, his voice breaking ever so slightly. Lydia pulls back, staring at him wide-eyed. There’s pride there, but also terror. She doesn’t know what he had to go through to get this print, but she knows it wasn’t pretty. “I need it compared to the existing fingerprint. Run it through the system and-”

“I’ll get right on it, Stiles. You need to get out of here,” she says rapidly, cutting him off. With a curt nod, Stiles hands her the little box. She graces him with a comforting smile and then ushers him outside. Swallowing hard, he walks out of the police station and gets into his car.

Veering off onto the road, he makes his way to the Hale’s makeshift hospital. The only car parked outside is Jane and Marie’s expedition. Derek’s Camaro and Cora’s Chevelle are nowhere to be seen. Stepping out of his car, Stiles glances around. The sight of blood on the pavement steals the breath from his lungs, a hand constricting around his heart. If Laura dies, it will destroy Derek and Cora. There’s no getting around it. Those three are as codependent as they come, so attached to one another that it is almost unhealthy.

Stiles makes his way inside, trying to ignore the blood trail that leads him downstairs to the infirmary. Holding his breath, he pushes open the doors and steps inside. The sight of Laura’s heartbeat on the EKG machine allows him to breathe.

“Thank fuck,” he says, shaking his head in disbelief.

“Stiles!” Cora says sharply, drawing the Sub’s gaze. He shifts his gaze to Laura’s left, meeting her twin’s gaze. Cora looks like shit, her eyes rimed with dark circles, half exhaustion and half smudged eyeliner. Before he has time to react, she crosses the room and pulls him into her arms. Sensing her need for comfort, Stiles wraps her up, holding her tight.

“It’s okay, bunny. Laura’s gonna be okay,” he says softly, his gaze shifting from a blue haired girl to a young man sitting on a bed a few feet from Laura. He knows who the man is just by the way he’s looking at Cora. It’s Luka. But what the fuck happened to him? His face is bruised, handprints ringing his neck. And who is the girl holding Laura’s hand? Since when does Laura Hale let anyone hold her hand, let alone have a girlfriend?

“Where’s Derek?” Cora asks, gently pulling out of Stiles’ hold. She glances at the door behind him and then meets his gaze. Clearly, she thought Derek was going to be with him. The thought makes his blood run cold. An image of Derek, broken and bloody, cuts its way through Stiles’ skull. Fuck. He can’t do that again. He can deal with Derek hating him, killing him for what he’s done, but he can’t lose the Dom.

He won’t.

“I haven’t seen him since yesterday,” Stiles says, studying her expression. It shifts subtly from concern to rage to fear. Throat tightening, Stiles catches her gaze. She’s terrified, which means Derek’s in danger. Fuck. What did he do this time? “He went after the Savages, didn’t he?” He knows it’s the truth because it’s the only logical answer. The Savages and M12 are the Blood Wolves only real enemies. And Derek already took out M12 for what he thought they did to Cora. Too bad neither of the hits were the work of rival gangs. It was Peter. It’s always been Peter.

“He should’ve been back by now. I thought maybe he went to find you…” Cora trails off, glancing over her shoulder at Luka. The Sub holds her gaze, his expression deadpan. But, for some reason, Cora takes comfort in the mere sight of him. Stiles looks him over, searching for it, for whatever it is about the Sub that Cora loves. Yes, beneath the bandages and the bruises his beauty is obvious, but it’s more than that. It’s something about his eyes. They’re grey, gun-metal grey, and in them, can be seen every word he isn’t saying, the concern and rage, and adoration that isn’t shown on his face.

“I’ll go find him,” Stiles says, tearing his eyes off of Luka.

“I’m coming with you,” Cora says, her expression darkening. He knows Cora, has seen how truly kind she can be, but kindness isn’t all she’s capable of. He has no idea what happened to Luka, but he does know that whoever hurt him paid for what they did. Cora wouldn’t rest until she tore them apart. And it scares Stiles that somewhere along the way he stopped seeing that kind of love as bad, as wrong, and started seeing the beauty in it. Because that’s how Derek feels about him, Stiles is painfully aware that his Dom would kill for him. “Let me just grab-”

“No, Cora. You stay here. They need you,” Stiles says, gesturing to Luka, Laura, and the girl holding Laura’s hand. Cora shakes her head, adamantly refusing to give in. “I can handle Derek. Please stay. What if they come after Laura again?” And, with that, Cora caves. Sighing, she nods, backing off.

“You got a gun?” Luka asks, fixing Stiles with a piercing look. If Stiles didn’t know any better, he’d say the man was a Dom. He’s tall and ripped, his gaze silently commanding respect. It’s clear he can take care of himself and that’s exactly the kind of Sub Cora needs. Someone who can stand by her side.

“I do,” Stiles says, nodding, his brows furrowed. The man is such a conundrum that it’s almost unsettling. Stiles opens his mouth to ask what happened, to ask who hurt him, but he quickly swallows his question. His curiosity can wait, Derek can’t. Exhaling, Stiles turns back to Cora, holding her gaze. “I’ll find him.” She nods, watching as he turns and walks out of the room.

Stiles exits the building and gets into his car, starting it. He knows where the Savages hold up, has raided the building multiple times with his unit. Chances are, Derek went after Alexei, and he rarely leaves the protection of his base.

Turning off onto the road, Stiles punches it. His car shoots into traffic. When he’s a few miles out, he notices a massive plume of smoke reaching into the air. Swearing under his breath, he speeds up. Fucking Derek. He never thinks when he’s angry, he just acts. And yeah, there’s a majesty in the way he loves his sisters. But blowing up a hundred Savages and getting himself killed is also unimaginably stupid. What if he didn’t make it out in time? What if he was wounded and got arrested?

Fuck.

Rounding a corner, Stiles pulls up behind Cora’s Chevelle. There are a dozen cop cars, two fire trucks, and three ambulances on the street, their lights flashing in the morning sunlight. Frantic, Stiles steps out of his car and makes his way into the fray, ducking under the caution tape.

“I’m sorry but you can’t-”

“I’m LAPD,” Stiles say, fixing the officer with a glare. The man instantly backs off, not even bothering to ask for Stiles’ badge.

Heart beating overtime, Stiles scans the crime scene for Derek, terrified that he’s going to find his Dom dead. It looks like Derek placed the charges in the basement, which means he probably didn’t go upstairs. But he would’ve wanted to make sure Alexei was in the building. Which means he’ll be somewhere in front of the building. With that knowledge in mind, Stiles skirts around a cop car and scans the road. His heart stops when he spots a dark combat boot sticking out from behind a truck.

He races back to his car and pulls it around the block, parking it right next to the truck that’s currently concealing Derek. Struggling to remain calm, Stiles gets out of his car and makes his way over to Derek, falling to his knees next to his Dom. The sight of blood takes his breath away, threatening to fucking destroy him.

“Dammit, Derek,” he mutters, lifting the Dom’s shirt to reveal a nasty stab wound. Thankfully, it doesn’t look like it hit anything vital. Which begs the question, why is Derek out cold? Stiles reaches up, gently stoking his Dom’s face. Derek must’ve been standing too close when the bombs went off. The blast probably threw him into the truck, knocking him out. It’s the only thing that makes sense.

He needs to get Derek out of here before the cops notice. The Dom looks anything but innocent. He’s got a stab wound, he’s covered in weapons, and there’s probably explosive residue on his hands. But Stiles can’t exactly carry him. How the fuck is he supposed to get the massive Dom into the back of his car without alerting the authorities?

Throwing all of his weight into it, he manages to turn Derek onto his back. Breathing hard, Stiles leans over him, studying the Dom’s gorgeous face. The sight of him causes Stiles’ stomach to constrict, a flurry of sparks ghosting across his skin. This is the man he loves. A criminal, a murderer, and the only person Stiles trusts to hold him through the night. It’s fucked up and, yeah, it will end badly. But it’s the truth.

His hand shakes as he reaches down, gently cupping Derek’s cheek. The Dom’s stubble scrapes his palm. “Come on, Derek. I need you to wake up,” Stiles says softly, almost pleadingly. He’s hyper-aware of the dozens of people standing not twenty feet away. And yeah, his car is shielding them, but for how long? Stiles gives the Dom a moment, softly stroking his face, but Derek doesn’t respond. Okay, time for plan B. “Derek! Wake up!” he says and, with that he pulls his hand back and punches the Dom square in the jaw.

“Fuck,” Derek groans as Stiles scoots away from him, cradling his poor hand.

“What is your jaw made of, steel?” Stiles asks. It’s not the first time he’s punched Derek, but last time didn’t hurt nearly this much. The Dom lets out a dry chuckle, the sound eventually fading to a groan. Crawling back over to him, Stiles catches his gaze. “We need to get the fuck out of here, sourwolf. Like right now.”

“Laura?” Derek asks, voice breaking.

“She’s fine,” Stiles says with a curt nod. Derek exhales, relief cutting across his face. Stiles relishes in it, drinking it in. A man who loves his family the way Derek Hale does is worth saving. And Stiles intends to save all of them, even if it costs him everything, even if it kills him. Because the Hales are worth it. They deserve to live in a world free of their uncle and his sadistic control over them.

Derek lets Stiles help him to his feet. The Sub ushers him into the back of the car, closes the door behind him, and rounds the vehicle. Stepping inside, he starts up the engine and pulls off down the road. The further from the sirens they get, the better he feels. Now if he can just get Derek to Jane and Marie, everything will be okay.

“It’s gonna be okay. I’m gonna get you to Jane and Marie and they’re gonna fix you up good as new. What were you thinking, Derek? You could’ve gotten yourself killed, or blown up and killed, or arrested! God what if you’d-”

“Stiles,” Derek says sharply, interrupting the Sub’s rant. Stiles clamps his mouth shut and glances into the rear-view mirror, getting instantly caught up in the Dom’s green eyes. Fuck, they’re beautiful. He’s taken with an urge to crawl into the back of the car and curl up in Derek’s arms, where he’s safe. But he can’t do that. No. Not while he’s driving.

“I know, you were just-”

“Stiles, shut up and listen to me for a second,” Derek says, half irritated and half amused. Stiles grits his teeth, forcing himself to be quiet. The Dom hold his gaze and there’s something there, something dangerously close to love…and fuck if it doesn’t terrify Stiles. “You saved Laura’s life. I don’t know how you knew she was in danger and I don’t really care, all that matters is that you saved my baby sister.” He’s staring at Stiles, staring at him like the Stiles is everything to him, the beginning and the fucking end of the line. And fuck if it doesn’t ruin Stiles.

“Your sisters are your family…” Stiles says softly, as if that simple fact justifies everything he’s done, every betrayal he’s made. And, in a way, it does.

“So are you,” Derek says ardently, holding Stiles’ gaze. Stiles’ throat dries up, and suddenly he can’t breathe. Because his Dom values family above all else. To say that Stiles is his family is to say that he would die for him, that he is all that matters.

Derek cares about him, thinks of him as family, and he doesn’t even know him. Not really. Stiles has spent weeks spinning a web of lies around the Hales, crafting a past and a present that aren’t his, that don’t belong to him. And the sick thing is, this is who he wants to be now. This Stiles, here and now, the one who is knee-deep in the Hale’s family drama, who sleeps all in Derek’s arms, is who he wants to be. He doesn’t even miss being a cop, not when that reality is placed next to Derek…who he loves.

Stiles pulls up next to Jane and Marie’s escalade and gets out of the car. Derek tucks an arm around him, ever so slightly leaning on Stiles as the Sub leads him inside. They make their way downstairs, pushing open the doors to the infirmary.

“Derek! Oh my God, are you okay?” Cora asks frantically, closing the distance between them. She takes her brother from Stiles and leads him over to the bed next to Laura, who is still passed out. Derek sits down on the edge of the hospital bed and strips off his shirt, baring the bloody stab wound that mars his back. The sight of it makes Stiles sick, his empty stomach turning over and over.

“I can call Marie and Jane. They went home for the night, but-”

“You can stitch it up, bunny. It won’t look as pretty as if one of the Docs did it, but I think I’ll manage,” Derek says with a playful smile. Cora exhales, the tension bleeding from her shoulders. It’s amazing how Derek can do that, how easy it is for him to calm the people around him. A simple word, a little touch, and just like that, everyone can breathe again. Stiles isn’t sure how he’s going to live without him…or whether he even can.

“Alright,” Cora says as she crosses the room, pulling out a suturing kit. Derek lays down onto his stomach, stretching out to give his sister a clear view of the wound. She makes her way back over to him, gently cleans the wound, and gets to work. Stiles stares at the needle as Cora sticks it through the skin, over and over and over again. His lungs tighten, head starting to spin.

“C’mere, baby boy,” Derek says, a soft command in his voice. It pulls Stiles out of his head, urging him forward. He crosses the room, moving to stand next to his Dom. Derek motions for him to lay down next to him. Stiles shakes his head, worried about accidentally hurting him, but then Derek fixes him with a fierce look, demanding he do as he’s told. Unable to help himself, Stiles gets up onto the bed, careful not to touch the Dom.

 Growling low in his throat, Derek, tucks an arm around Stiles’ waist and pulls the Sub in close. Stiles sighs, relaxing against his Dom. Derek lifts his hand to the back of Stiles’ neck, stroking the skin there. Fuck, that feels good. Stiles slowly start to slip, his muscles going lax as he descends into subspace. For half a second he thinks Derek’s unaware of what he’s doing, but then the Dom starts to talk to him.

“Just let go, baby boy. I’ve got you,” he says softly, pushing Stiles deeper. A wave of calm washes over Stiles, steadying his breathing and banishing his fears. He’s fine, he’s safe. Derek’s not going to let anything happen to him. His Dom will keep him safe. “There you go. That’s a good boy.” Stiles preens under the praise, nosing deeper into Derek’s warmth. Fuck, he loves this Dom…his Dom.

“All done,” Cora says, her voice sounding far away.

Stiles’ body is enveloped in heat, heat and safety and Derek’s Burberry cologne. The Dom shifts next to him, pulling a tiny whimper out of Stiles’ chest at the loss of contact. With a throaty chuckle, Derek pulls Stiles’ back flush to his front, tucking the Sub up against this chest. Then he wraps his arms around Stiles, securing him in place.

“He down?” Cora asks.

“Yeah…he needed it,” Derek says, all the while stroking Stiles’ arm. Stiles exhales, leaning deeper into the Dom’s warmth, breathing him in. He can’t think straight, his mind a mess of warmth and safety and Derek’s soft touch. So he just stays quiet and listens, paying attention to what they’re saying, but not really processing any of it.

“He did look a little wired,” Cora says, sounding worried.

“Speaking of wired…” Derek trails off, glancing over at Luka. He looks the Sub over slowly, brow furrowed in concern. The pity in his gaze seems to set Luka off.  He squares his shoulders and arches his neck, glaring at Derek, practically daring him to say something else.

“He’s…okay…” Cora says, her voice shaking ever so slightly. Some part of Stiles wants to reach out and comfort her, wants to take her hand. But his mind is a fog and the thought disappears before he has time to act on it. “Laura and I took care of it. I would’ve called you but I figured you had enough to worry about.” Her gaze flits down to rest on Stiles, furthering her point.

“You gonna tell me what happened?” Derek asks, glancing from Cora to Luka and then back. Luka pointedly avoids the Dom’s gaze, his expression blank.

Cora glances over at Luka. The Sub fixes her with a truly vicious glare and then turns his head, eyes fixed on the far wall. Swallowing hard, Cora turns back to Derek, her eyes slowly filling with tears. Instantly reacting to his sister’s distress, Derek reaches out to take her hand, giving it a light squeeze.

“I’m sorry…I shouldn’t have asked,” Derek says softly, his voice smooth and steady. Just like that, the tension in Cora’s shoulders eases. “I just wish you would’ve called me. If Luka’s yours, he’s family.” With that, tears spill down Cora’s cheeks. A few feet from her, Luka lets his eyes fall shut and bows his head, jaw tight. Stiles wants to analyze the young man’s body language, the urge itches at the back of his brain, but it’s quickly overwhelmed when Derek strokes his neck.

Derek turns his gaze to Laura, his expression tightening. He looks guilty for some reason, but Stiles doesn’t know why. “How is she?” Derek asks, voice raw and wanting.

“She’s gonna be okay,” Cora says, gracing Derek with a comforting smile. One Stiles is thankful for because, in an instant, it calms his Dom. The tension slowly starts to bleed out of Derek. “How’d you know someone went after her?”

Derek strokes Stiles’ arm, pulling a tiny whimper from the Sub’s throat. He shivers as Derek places a soft kiss on his head. “Stiles warned me. I don’t know how he knew. But…he saved her…” Derek murmurs, reaching up to stroke Stiles’ face. Stiles presses into the touch, sighing beneath it, relishing in the warmth there. “He saved me…” he says softly, almost unconsciously.

“And me…” Cora says with a knowing smile. There’s gratitude there, passing between them. And Stiles is a little too gone to grasp it, but he feels their love for him, basks in it. He is, as Derek said, a part of their family now. And this is where he belongs, with them, in their arms, protected and safe. He never wants to leave. Never.

“He’s saved all of us,” Derek says and then he leans down, pressing another kiss to Stiles’ hairline. Stiles sighs, smiling sleepily. He’s not overly aware of what they’re talking about, but their voices are nice, gentle and comforting. He lets them sink into his skin.

“I think this is the point where you thank me for delivering him to you, all wrapped up in a pretty red bow,” Cora says with a giggle. Derek makes an incredulous sound, but there’s a smirk on his face. “I mean for fuck’s sake, I even stole your jacket and gave it to him. If that wasn’t a genius move, I don’t know what is!” She lets out an adorable little laugh, her green eyes sparkling with mischief.

“Fair enough…thank you,” Derek says, his voice steady, completely genuine. Cora’s expression falters, her brother’s honesty taking her by surprise. Derek catches her gaze, holding it fervently. “He saved me in more ways than one. And you brought him to me…I’m never going to be able to repay you for that…”

She scoffs, but there are tears in her eyes. “Don’t go all soft on my now, Der.”

He rolls his eyes and shakes his head at her, making her laugh. “I wouldn’t dream of it, bunny. Laura’s the soft one, right?” Cora bursts out laughing, her happiness seeping into Stiles, filling him with warmth. And he’s not the only one. Ever so slowly, the tension starts to ease in Luka’s shoulders. The more Cora talks, the calmer he becomes. Eventually, Stiles falls asleep, but not before Luka.

Chapter Text

Derek wakes up to Stiles burrowing deeper into his chest, the little Sub unconsciously nuzzling his tattoos. Smirking sleepily, Derek reaches up to bury a fist in the boy’s hair. Stiles whimpers in his sleep, tightening his arms around Derek’s ribcage. Derek soaks in the feel of him, the warmth of him, relishing in it. Stiles is his. This sweet boy belongs to him. 

Derek’s painfully aware that he doesn’t deserve Stiles, that he never fucking will. He’s a murderer, a complete and total asshole, but for some reason the boy wants him. Stiles doesn’t look at Derek the way everyone else does, a mixture of fear and admiration, no…with Stiles it’s longing and rage and curiosity and awe. The boy looks at Derek like the Dom is his fucking world and, as terrifying as that is, Derek’s quickly becoming addicted to it.

“You put me under…” Stiles whispers, his voice little more than sigh. But still, it slices through Derek, cutting him open and stitching him back up, pain and pleasure neatly coiled around one another.

“I did,” Derek says, lowering his gaze. Stiles looks fucking adorable, there’s no other way to describe it. His hair is a mess, sticking up in all directions. And his eyes, those gorgeous amber eyes, are wide, pupils blown. Derek studies the pattern of pattern of freckles across his cheeks, his high cheekbones, and his lips, determined to memorize his beautiful Sub. Whatever happens today, he wants to remember this, the proud arch of Stiles’ brows, the stubble dusted across his jaw.

Peter almost killed Derek for taking out M12. There’s no telling what he’ll do once he finds out about the Savages. But, Derek’s more than prepared to die for what he’s done. It was worth it, getting revenge for Laura.

A small voice in the back of his head reminds him that he could just kill Peter, how easy it would be. One bullet, one well-placed blow and he’d be rid of his uncle. But, as much as he’d like to kill Peter, he can’t. Not yet. They still don’t have enough money to get Laura and Cora out of the country, not that they’d leave their Subs. And it’s not like he could ask them to. It wouldn’t be fair, not now that Ari, Luka, and Stiles all have targets on their backs. Peter can and would use them against Derek and his sisters.

“You okay?” Stiles asks, the concern in his voice coaxing Derek out of his head.

“Yeah,” Derek says, glancing over at his sisters and their Subs. Ari is asleep with her head resting on the side of Laura’s bed, both of her hand’s clutching one of Laura’s. Luka is curled up, his head resting on Cora’s ribcage, the Sub’s body mostly hidden in blankets. His sisters look good, happy. Laura is still a bit pale, but her breathing is steady.

“They’re gonna be okay,” Stiles says, catching Derek’s gaze. There’s something in the boy’s eyes, an understanding, a loyalty. It hits Derek, like a bullet slicing through his heart, that Stiles knows him. The boy knows him, has seen who and what he really is, and yet, for some reason, he’s still here. True, there’s a part of Derek that still wants to push him away, knows it would be better for him, but he can’t. And the reason for that is glaringly obvious, so much so that Derek can no longer deny it.

He loves Stiles.

He’s not sure when it happened or why, but it’s as honest as the blood in his veins. He’s in love with Stiles. There are a million reasons why and, at the same time, not a single one. Because he can’t explain it and it doesn’t make any sense. All he knows is, he wants the boy in his arms forever. And that’s what love is, not a list of facts or feelings. It’s wanting someone with you, by your side, through everything. No, it’s needing that person there. Not because it’s where they should be, but because it’s where they want to be.

That’s who Stiles is to him. The boy may have come into Derek’s life as little more than a problem, but Derek’s come to see what Stiles is capable of. The boy isn’t just a cocaine dealer. He’s so much more than that. Derek’s seen the brilliance in him, the pent-up violence and unending kindness that make up his heart. Stiles is strong, strong enough to stand by Derek’s side, to be his safe place in this chaos. He’s proven his loyalty, time and time again. He’s worthy of the throne.

And for that Derek loves him.

“I’m sorry…”

Stiles’ brows knit together, confusion cutting across his face. “For what?” he asks, swallowing hard. Derek reaches up to strokes the boy’s face, relishing in the feel of his skin, the heat of it.

Sighing, Derek mulls over every tactic he used on the boy, every vain effort to push him away. He mistreated Stiles, was cruel to him when the boy needed kindness more than anything else. And as much as Derek wishes he didn’t do what he did, there’s no denying it, no hiding from it. To hell with his good intentions. He hurt Stiles, messed with the boy’s head. And that was wrong.

“For the way I treated you. It wasn’t-”

“You were just trying to protect me, Derek. I understand that,” Stiles says, his voice steady and honest, open in every way. Part of Derek relishes in it, in the boy’s trust in him, but there’s another part, a deeper part, that’s terrified by it. Stiles relies on him. As strong as his boy is, he needs Derek. If Peter kills Derek, what will happen to Stiles? Yes, his boy is strong, but is he strong enough to survive the death of another Dom?

“My intentions don’t excuse the way I acted,” Derek say mechanically, caught up in his thoughts. He’s always accepted Peter’s punishments, come to see them as simply a part of his reality. But there is a high chance that this time he won’t survive. Peter could very well kill him and, as much as he hates to admit it, kill Stiles in the process.

He can’t let that happen. There’s no fucking way he’s letting his boy waste away, his body shutting down, desperate for a Dom. He’ll kill Peter before he lets that happen, his plan be damned. Because as much as he wants to take back what’s his, Stiles is far more important to him than the Blood Wolves. He can live without his family business, but he can’t live without Stiles. Not now. Not ever.

“Well I wasn’t exactly apple pie either…” Stiles says with a soft laugh, the sound drawing Derek out of his head. He blinks rapidly, the boy’s gorgeous face slowly coming into focus. Stiles is smiling up at him, a warm adoration glowing in his dark eyes. The sight of it causes Derek’s stomach to tighten up, a mixture of excitement and anxiety.

“I love apple pie,” Derek says, chuckling.

Stiles grins, like he already knew that, like he’s heard it before. “I know. Cora might have mentioned it.”

“Oh, she mentioned it, did she?” Derek asks, tightening his grip on the boy. Stiles nods, giggling as Derek buries his face in the Sub’s throat. Derek laves the skin there, tasting the salty sweet that is the boy’s flesh. They could both use a shower. But not here, he wants Stiles all to himself. Placing a gentle kiss on the boy’s lips, he stands up and turns to face his sleeping sisters and their Subs.

“Derek, let them sleep,” Stiles whispers, his eyes on fixed on Cora’s face.

“I’m just gonna tell her where we’re going,” Derek say, his tone calm and sure. He glances over at Stiles, doing his best to settle his Sub’s nerves. It’s means a lot to him that Stiles cares so deeply for his sisters. He’s formed a bond with each of them, worked his way into their hearts. Which isn’t an easy thing.

“And where are we going?” Stiles asks, arching a dark eyebrow. 

“To shower and change our clothes,” Derek says firmly, his answer nothing if not straightforward. And yet, he can’t stop his eyes from raking down Stiles’ frame. He drinks in the sight of his boy, noting the boy’s curves and edges, the arch of his ass against the sheets. Yeah, they need to shower and change, but that’s not exactly why Derek’s taking him home. He wants the boy, wants to kiss him and touch him and fuck him until neither one can breathe. That’s what he wants. And, from the hungry look in Stiles’ eyes, he’s not the only one itching for it.

“Alright,” Stiles says, his voice a breathless exhale.

Smirking, Derek crosses the room to Cora. He reaches out to stroke her hair, but a battered hand wraps around his wrist before he can touch her. Growling, Derek turns his gaze to find Luka peering out from under a sea of blankets. There’s a manic, wild look in his grey eyes. Derek doesn’t know the details of what happened to the Sub, but he can read between the lines. And none of it’s pretty.

“I’m not gonna hurt her, Luka,” Derek says slowly, using his Dom voice. Slowly, ever so slowly, Luka releases him. Derek watches as the Sub stands up, baring the array of scars that mar his body. Behind Derek, Stiles gasps, lifting a hand to his face. Unfortunately, the sound doesn’t go unnoticed by Luka. The Sub glares irately at Stiles, a furious defiance burning in his eyes. And as much as Derek wants to throttle him for threatening Stiles, he can’t discount the boy’s strength. He’s been through hell and he’s still standing.

“Tell her I’m in the shower,” Luka mutters, glancing from Derek to Cora. His gaze lingers on Cora, softening an almost indistinguishable amount. And then, just like that, he’s gone.

Tearing his gaze from the door, Derek turns back to his sister. He reaches a hand out, softly stroking her short curls. As he twists a feather around his finger, she wakes up, blinking sleepily. With her left hand, she reaches out in search of Luka. But when she finds nothing but warm sheets she starts to panic. Her eyes shoot open, fear cutting across her beautiful face. The sight of it shred’s Derek’s heart, slicing away at him. He hates seeing his sisters in pain, always has, always will. They are his to protect.

“He’s in the shower, bunny,” Derek says, one hand framing her face. She lets out a full body exhale, sighing back into her pillow. Stiles catches her gaze and smirks, making Cora smile. Something unspoken passes between them and Cora rolls her eyes, scoffing. Amused, Derek steps between them, cutting of her line of sight. “I’m taking Stiles home for a few hours. Will you be alright?”

Cora glances over at Laura, who is still asleep with Ari’s head lying next to her. Derek turns to look at their sister, taking comfort in the steady beeping of the EKG. She’s going to be fine. And Derek has Stiles to thank for that. He’s not sure how the boy knew, but it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that he saved Laura’s life.

“We’ll be fine. I’ll watch over them,” Cora says with a warm smile. Nodding, Derek turns and bends down, placing a kiss on his sister’s forehead.

Releasing her, Derek makes his way back over to Stiles. The boy takes his hand and allows Derek to lead him out of the infirmary and up the stairs. They exit the building and Derek directs Stiles into his Camaro. Rounding the car, Stiles gets inside, his eyes on Derek as the Dom starts the car.

Derek pulls out onto the road and takes off in the direction of Stiles’ apartment. Every so often, he glances over at Stiles, only to be rewarded with the sight of his boy staring at him, amber eyes blazing with lust. And damn if it’s not the sexiest thing Derek’s ever fucking seen, the slight part of his boy’s lips, the arrogant arch of those brows. Swallowing hard, Derek presses on the gas, trying to ignore the tension in his cock.

It takes him far too long to reach Stiles’ apartment. By the time Stiles is unlocking his front door Derek has had more than enough waiting. With a deep growl, he tackles Stiles, lifting the boy into his arms. Stiles lets out an adorable little giggle, one Derek captures and consumes with a fierce kiss.

Pressing the boy into a wall, Derek lets his hands slide down Stiles’ sides to cup his sweet little ass. Derek kneads his flesh, relishing in the boy’s whimpers, in the way Stiles’ arches into him, desperate.

Fuck, he’s gorgeous. The boy is more than Derek ever could have asked for, so much more. And maybe that’s because he’s not what Derek would have asked for. Stiles is, in many ways, the opposite of what Derek thought he needed. The boy is strong and brilliant, yes, but he’s also inherently self-conscious, with a tendency towards self-destruction. He’s not the rock in the midst of a raging ocean, he’s the waves. He’s dangerous and unpredictable, fragile and yet unyielding, a mess of beautiful contradictions.

Sweeping his tongue over the boy’s bottom lip, Derek pulls back ever so slightly, breathing hard. Slowly, Stiles opens his eyes to meet Derek’s gaze, the boy’s amber eyes wide and lustful. Derek drinks in the sight of him, this sweet boy who is, in every way, his. A wave of bone-crushing possessiveness washes over him, heightening his senses, demanding he give Stiles exactly what he needs.

“Baby boy,” Derek croons as he leans in, burying his face in Stiles’ neck. The boy leans his head back, giving the Dom better access to his flesh. Derek growls in approval, all the while laving slow kisses up the column of Stiles’ neck. Fuck, the way he tastes, sweet and salty, a mixture of sweat and blood. Derek worships his neck, licking and biting and kissing until Stiles is writhing against him, the boy desperately arching his hips. Derek’s half-tempted to reach between them and take Stiles’ cock in his hand, but he decides against it. The boy can wait.

“Please…” Stiles whimpers, grinding his cock against Derek’s abs.

With a throaty chuckle, Derek pulls his head back and lifts his gaze. The sight of his boy, breathless and blushing, shoots through him like a fucking bullet. And suddenly he can’t fucking breathe for how much he loves this boy. How did he not see it before? It’s so obvious. It’s in every move he makes, the breath he breathes. Stiles has become the most vital aspect of his life, his heart living outside of his chest. And as terrifying as that is, it’s also oddly liberating, to have something that, in every way, belongs to him and no one else. Derek’s never had that.

Derek starts to put the boy down, but Stiles lets out a distressed little squeak and tightens his grip on Derek’s neck. Smiling softly, Derek catches his gaze and holds it, letting the little Sub know that he needs to listen to what Derek’s about to say. Acting on instinct, Stiles straightens his back, his body demanding he pay attention to his Dom.

“I’m gonna go get the shower started. I want you to grab a condom and some lube and then meet me there, alright?” Derek asks, a command in his voice. It rolls down Stiles’ spine, causing him to shiver and sigh, relaxing. Derek fixes him with a forceful look, silently demanding the boy answer his question.

“Okay,” Stiles says with a sigh, his hands cradling Derek’s neck.

“Good boy,” Derek says, smiling as the boy preens under his praise. Stiles drops his gaze, blushing beautifully, his lips parted just enough to reveal the tip of his tongue. Unable to resist, Derek dips his head and captures the boy’s lips again. He kisses the little Sub, putting everything he’s never said into his lips, the sweet sentiments that are beyond him, the love he knows that he feels but isn’t yet ready to admit. He darts his tongue into the boy’s mouth, tasting him as their lips move as one, frantic and consuming.

Stiles fists one of his hands in Derek’s hair, pulling lightly on the roots. The action causes Derek to groan. A sound Stiles rewards by doing it again, all he while frenziedly pulling at the hem of Derek’s shirt. Amused, Derek lets him fight with it for a moment before he finally gives in and pulls back. The boy watches, eyes dark, as Derek strips off his shirt, baring the array of scars and tattoos that mar his skin. He smiles as Stiles looks him over, taking in every inch of his Dom, his amber eyes burning with awe and arousal.

Slowly, achingly slowly, Stiles runs his hands down Derek’s chest, gliding his clever fingers over the Dom’s tattoos. He studies them, all the while worrying his bottom lip in the sexiest manner Derek has ever fucking seen.

“I’ve always kinda wanted a tattoo,” Stiles says gingerly, lifting his gaze.

“Hmm…what would you get?” Derek asks as he gently set the boy down. He’s carful to hold onto Stiles until the boy is stable. Once he is, Derek takes a step back, releasing him. Stiles wraps an arm around himself as if he misses the Dom’s embrace and slowly lifts his gaze, brows furrowed.

“I donno…” Stiles whispers and, for some reason, it sounds like a lie. Something pulls at the back of Derek’s brain, an annoying itch that’s been plaguing him since he met the boy. He loves Stiles and yet, he can’t help but think the boy’s hiding things from him. And yeah, Derek’s not the most social person, but he’s done his best to be honest with Stiles. They need to be for this to work. It’s absolutely vital.

But, as much as he wants Stiles to be honest with him, he needs to trust the boy. And he can’t do that if he’s constantly second guessing him. With a sigh, he steps towards Stiles, brushing a hand down the boy’s cheek. “I’ll meet you in the shower,” Derek say with a warm smile, wanting to comfort his Sub. And it works, something in his tone of voice settles the boy, allowing him to breathe. “Go on.”

With a curt nod, Stiles scampers off in the direction of his bedroom, leaving Derek standing in the entry way. The Dom runs a hand through his hair, trying to force down nagging thoughts about Stiles. He tells himself that they don’t matter and they don’t, at least not right now. All that matters right now is his boy and taking care of him.

Swallowing, Derek crosses the room, turns down the hallway, and walks into the bathroom. He flips on the light and approaches the shower, turning it on. Steam wafts out through the open door as Derek strips off what’s left of his clothes. He does his best to ignore the stab of pain that shoots through his back every time he moves. The wound wasn’t overly deep, but it still fucking hurts.

With a sigh, Derek steps into the spray, letting the hot water wash over him. It runs down his body, ridding his flesh of soot and blood and sweat. He turns to face the spray, dipping his head in an almost religious pose. The water cascades off him, the heat of it slowly sinking into his flesh. He focuses on it, clings to it, let it relax him.

The press of Stiles’ forehead into his back startles him. But as the boy leans further into him, wrapping his arms around Derek, the Dom calms. Stiles locks his arms around Derek, one hand across his chest and the other looping his abdomen. The hold is one of extreme possession, a display of dominance that, for some reason, Derek find’s endearing. Stiles isn’t the perfect Sub and Derek doesn’t expect him to be, but he’s what Derek needs, what the Dom craves.

“I hate that you went after the Savages without telling me,” Stiles whispers, his voice raw and wanting. It tears through Derek like a knife, gutting him. His stomach turns, guilt overtaking him. He regrets not telling the boy, but in that moment, he wasn’t exactly thinking straight. All that mattered was getting revenge. He didn’t think how Stiles might feel, how his death might impact the boy. But he is now and it horrifies him.

“I’m sorry, baby boy,” Derek say softly as he drops one of his hands from the wall, placing it over the one Stiles has on his heart. The boy sighs the second Derek’s skin makes contact, unconsciously pressing into Derek.

“I know that you mean that, but…” Stiles trails off, his voice breaking.

Worried, Derek turns to face him. Stiles is staring resolutely at the tiled floor, his expression a gut-wrenching mixture of fear and devotion. Acting on instinct, Derek pulls the boy into his arms, tucking Stiles up against his broad chest. Stiles collapses into him, desperately burrowing into his Dom’s warmth. Terrified, Derek uses one hand to stroke the boys back, keeping the other firmly clasped around the back of his neck. The hold grounds Stiles, allowing him to breathe.

“What is it?” Derek asks softly, leaning his head down to nuzzle the boy’s wet hair. “Talk to me, baby. I can’t help you if you’re not honest with me.”

Stiles swallows hard, balling his hands into fists. The action scrapes his nails across Derek’s back, causing him to groan, his cock jumping. He grinds his teeth, determined to stay present and focused on his boy’s needs. Derek knows that he isn’t the priority right now, Stiles is. His boy is what matters.

“It’s just…you say you’re sorry and I believe you. But, sorry usually means that you won’t do it again, but it’s not that way with you.” He pauses, swallowing hard. Derek tightens his grip in the boy, heart aching for him. He did this, he caused Stiles this pain. And he can’t take it back, he can’t fix it, because he can’t change who and what he is. “And it never will be. Because there’s no way you’ll stop throwing yourself into shit like that. It’s who you are and…and I can’t ask you to be something that you’re not…” He lets out a broken little sob, clawing at Derek’s back as he burrows deeper into the Dom’s chest.

Derek stares down at him, brows furrowed. For the first time in what feels like forever, he has no idea what to say or what to do. Because Stiles is right. Derek isn’t going to stop. He is and always has been a Blood Wolf. It is a truth that is written on his very bones and that’s not ever going to change. But he can’t discount the boy’s point of view. If Stiles were throwing himself into danger, Derek would be less that happy about it. But where he would have the power to stop Stiles, the boy has no such sway over his Dom.

“I don’t know what you want me to say,” Derek says after a stretch of silence. At the sound of his voice, Stiles tightens his grip on Derek, almost like he’s scared the Dom is going to leave. The thought rips through Derek because the last thing he wants to do right now is leave. This is where he belongs, with his sweet baby boy wrapped up in his arms, safe and protected. “This is who I am, Stiles. You knew that the moment you met me. And I’m not gonna change…I can’t…”

Stiles pulls back a few inches, enabling him to lift his head. His amber eyes bore into Derek, pulling at what’s left of his soul. Fuck. He’s never met anyone who looks at him the way his boy does, like he sees something more inside of Derek, like he’s intent on drawing it out, taming it.

“I’m not asking you to,” Stiles whispers, tears brimming in his eyes. The sight of them causes Derek’s stomach to turn, his protective instincts raging. He unconsciously shifts his position so that he is between Stiles and the door, his body demanding he protect what’s his. Stiles dips his head, causing Derek to growl, the action irritating him. He wants Stiles to look at him, wants to see the boy’s eyes.

“Look at me,” Derek says forcefully, a command alive in his voice. Stiles obeys instantly, lifting his head, eyes on his Dom. “Good boy.” Stiles softens at that, sighing, his shoulders giving a little. “Now, tell me what you want from me.”

Stiles fiddles anxiously with his fingers, wringing them. Derek fights the urge to drop his gaze and stare at them. He loves those fingers, loves the way the move, the way the feel against his skin. He wants them in his mouth, wrapped around his cock, holding the boy open while Derek pounds into his sweet little ass. Fuck. Grinding his teeth, Derek forces himself to focus more on Stiles and less on what he wants to do to the boy.

“Would you just…” Stiles trails off, dropping his gaze again. With a fierce growl, Derek lifts his hand and takes hold of Stiles neck, pressing the boy back into the tiled wall. Stiles gasps, Derek’s hold shooting through him like electricity. His cock jumps and Stiles lets out a desperate whimper, one that Derek has a hell of a time ignoring. But he does, because his being in danger is upsetting Stiles and it needs to be addressed.

With his thumb, he lifts the boy’s head, once again capturing Stiles’ gaze. The little Sub blinks hard at the sight of his Dom, the action sending tears spilling down his cheeks. With his free hand, Derek reaches up to brush away his boy’s tears. A wicked part of him relishes in the sight of them, a physical representation of how much Stiles cares for him.

“Tell me what you need,” Derek demands, a command in his deep voice. Derek expects Stiles to fight it, but the boy doesn’t. Instead, he sighs, as if getting this off his chest is exactly what he needs.

“Would you just be careful?” Stiles asks so softly that Derek almost doesn’t hear him. But somehow, he does and the boy’s words simultaneously break his heart and tape it back together. Because there is so much love in the boy’s voice, in his devotion to Derek. And it frightens the Dom in the best possible way. It’s the terror of possibility, of promise, of love.

With a gentle chuckle, Derek leans down to kiss Stiles. He does so with as much reverence as he can muster, cradling the boy close. Stiles shakes against him as Derek eases back, opening his eyes.

“I promise,” Derek says and he does mean it. The last thing he wants is to leave his baby boy alone in his world. Stiles needs him, but, more than that, he needs Stiles. He needs Stiles desperately, with every muscle, bone, and drop of blood in his body. “I will do whatever I have to do to come home to you. Alright, baby?” Stiles nods, his hands shaking on Derek’s chest. And, with that, Derek pulls his boy back into his arms, determined to hold him for as long as he needs.

Chapter Text

Stiles clings to Derek, his face buried in the warmth of his Dom’s chest. Derek’s solemn promise echoes around in his head, terrifying him. And it’s not that he doesn’t believe his Dom…it’s that he does, wholeheartedly, with every fiber of his being. He trusts Derek, trusts him in a way Stiles never thought he’d trust anyone. It’s unquestioning, the almost blind devotion of a Sub who is absolutely in love with his Dom. And that, that right there, is fucking terrifying.

God, what the fuck is he doing? This was never supposed to happen. He shouldn’t have let it happen. But he did…and he can’t take it back. He’s in love with Derek, so fucking in love with him that it’s insane. Derek is, in every way, the very blood that runs through Stiles’ veins. He’s become a part of Stiles, a vital system that keeps him alive, that keeps him sane. And he can’t change that…he doesn’t want to. Because despite everything, when he’s wrapped up in his Dom’s arms, he feels whole. Derek balms something inside of him, a wound he wasn’t aware that he was living with.

But it’s not like he can just quit the force and walk away. Not while Peter is still at large. Derek and his sisters will never be safe, not until their uncle is locked up or dead. And if Stiles gets the chance, he’ll put that motherfucker away, even if it ruins his relationship with Derek. Because locking Peter up would mean that Derek is safe, that Laura and Cora are safe. And as long as they are safe, that’s all that matters.

Fuck.

The prospect of being forced to walk away from Derek cuts through Stiles, leaving him battered. He hates it. Derek is the only thing that holds him together. Without him, Stiles will wilt and wither. He’s strong, but not strong enough to survive that. Not now that Derek is a part of him, in every way. Losing his Dom will kill him, there’s no question about that. But he’ll walk away, he’ll do it, if that’s what it takes to keep Derek and his sisters out of harm’s way.

“You’re shaking,” Derek murmurs, his deep voice jolting Stiles out of his head. The steady sound of the shower thrums in his ears as he slowly comes back to reality. He’s curled up in the Dom’s arms and he’s right, Stiles is shaking. Despite Derek’s tight hold around his waist and the back of his neck, Stiles is quivering. He does his best to stop, taking a few forceful breaths, but it doesn’t work. God, what the fuck is wrong with him? He needs to get ahold of himself.

“I’m sorry…” Stiles whimpers, fisting his hands against Derek’s chest. But the action doesn’t stop their shaking. If anything, it only intensifies. He tries to talk himself down, tries to lie to himself, but he can’t. Because he knows what’s going to happen. It’s inevitable, a speeding car headed right for him.

He’s going to have to walk away from Derek.

And yeah, maybe it won’t be tomorrow or a month from now, but it’s coming. As soon as Stiles gets enough dirt on Peter to put him away, he’ll be forced to leave the only man he’s ever loved. It’s that or incriminate himself, risking Derek’s wrath. It’ll be better if he walks away before Derek finds out who and what he really is. Because if that happens, chances are he’ll put a bullet through the Sub’s head before he has a chance to say a word in his defense.

“Stiles,” Derek croons, his deep voice running down Stiles’ spine, causing him to shiver involuntarily. “Look at me, baby boy.” Stiles lifts his gaze, unable to resist the tempting allure of Derek’s dominance. It washes over him, a wave of heat and safety. Tears brim in his eyes as he stares at his Dom, at those forest green eyes he associates with strength and protection and love.

“I…I’m sorry…” Stiles stammers, voice shaking just like the rest of him. And he is, he’s sorry, so fucking sorry for everything that he’s done. The Hales have done nothing but care for him and all he’s done in return is lie to them, over and over and over again.

“Talk to me. What’s wrong? Normally, my holding you is enough to calm you down, but it’s not helping.” He tightens his arms around Stiles, as if to remind the Sub that he is, in fact, holding him. “Please, baby.” The concern in Derek’s voice is a knife to Stiles’ heart. He realizes, all of the sudden, that Derek is in love with him. And that knowledge makes what he’s done so much worse, so much more sick. Stiles can break his own heart; he’s done it before and he can do it again…but can he break Derek’s?

Fuck.

Suddenly desperate, Stiles lunges towards his Dom, kissing him, plunging his tongue into Derek’s mouth. The Dom stills for a moment, seeming to debate what to do, but then Stiles lets out a tiny whimper and Derek caves. Growling, Derek leans in, slanting his mouth to deepen their kiss.

Derek slides his hands down to cup Stiles’ ass, kneading it as he lifts the boy into his arms. Stiles coils his arms around his Dom’s neck as Derek presses him into the tiled wall. The action causes his cock to slide against Derek’s abs, pulling a needy groan from deep in Stiles’ chest. Rolling his hips, he rocks against his Dom, that is until Derek takes another step forward, flattening him against the wall and immobilizing him. He sighs into Derek’s mouth, in awe of how easily he takes control. It’s seamless, effortless, and fuck if it doesn’t turn Stiles on.

Derek pulls back, his green eyes digging into Stiles’, analyzing the Sub. Concern mars his face, his dark brows furrowing as he studies Stiles. Fear tying his stomach in knots, Stiles leans in, kissing his way up the column of Derek’s neck. He laves slow, sensual kisses there, swiping his tongue over the Dom’s pulse point. The action pulls a deep sigh from Derek’s chest, one Stiles rewards by scraping his nails down the Dom’s back.

“Stiles,” Derek growls, a blatant warning in his voice. It’s a warning that Stiles chooses to ignore. Instead of responding, he fists a hand in the Dom’s hair and uses it to wrench his head back. Derek grits his teeth as Stiles kisses his way up the Dom’s chin, relishing the feel of Derek’s stubble scraping against his lips. Fuck, that’s good.

“Mmm…” Stiles whimpers as he licks the corner of Derek’s jaw, all the whiles urgently pressing his cock into the heat of Derek’s stomach. “Please.” He wants more, more of what he’s not sure…just more. He’ll take anything, anything that will get his mind off the prospect of leaving his Dom. He just wants to forget, for however long he can, in whatever way that he can. And Derek can give him that, Stiles knows he can.

“Please what, baby boy?” Derek asks, an odd desperation in his voice. It’s like he wants to help Stiles, but he has no idea how. And it’s fucking killing him. Stiles can feel it in the tension of his shoulders, the set of his jaw. He’s upset, Stiles is upsetting him.

Without saying a word, Stiles hoists himself up further and goes for Derek’s lips again. He captures them for a few seconds, kissing the Dom with deep, needy, strokes of his tongue, his lips moving even though Derek’s are still. He knows something is wrong, that he should stop, but he doesn’t, he can’t. Because he needs this and Derek should know that, he should understand that. How can he not see how much Stiles needs this? It’s an ache in his chest. He wants to be close to Derek, to be with him in every way. Because tomorrow, well who the fuck knows where he’ll be then. Chances are it won’t be in Derek’s arms and that thought is enough to fucking ruin him.

With an irritated sigh, Derek pulls his head back. Stiles lunges forward, whimpering, searching for his Dom’s lips. But Derek’s having none of it. He sets Stiles down and, before the Sub has time to react, twist him around and shoves him into a wall. Stiles’ cock hits the cold tile, drawing a moan from his chest. Derek wraps a deliberate hand around Stiles’ neck, using his own muscular body to keep the Sub in place.

Stiles struggles, frantically pushing his boundaries. But he quickly realizes that he can’t fucking move, not an inch. Derek has him pinned, he’s trapped in every sense of the word. The knowledge that he is completely under Derek’s control crashes over him like a fucking wave.

He expects his panic to build, but what happens, is in many ways, the exact opposite. Slowly, ever so slowly, he starts to slip, the heated safety that is subspace taking over his body. It’s like someone’s wrapping a warm blanket around him. The shaking in his body comes to a steady stop and, suddenly, he can breathe again. He’s okay, Derek has him. He’s safe here. His Dom will take care of him, Stiles knows he will…trusts that he will.

“There you go, sweet boy,” Derek croons, nosing the back of Stiles’ neck. And, with that, Derek slowly starts to back off. The action pulls Stiles up a bit, enabling him to think more clearly. He exhales, turning to face Derek, eyeing the Dom in absolute awe of what he just did. Stiles was seconds from a panic attack, but Derek stopped it before it even happened.

“I’m sorry,” Stiles says automatically, the apology encompassing so many things that he’s not even sure what he means by it. He’s sorry he freaked out, sorry he took advantage of Derek, sorry he lied about who is and what he does, sorry he betrayed Derek’s trust. Fuck, he’s sorry about everything. And he’s a total hypocrite because it’s like he said, when you say you’re sorry it means that you won’t do it again. But Stiles would, if given the chance to do this all over again, he wouldn’t change a thing. Because the actions he took lead him to Derek and Derek is all that he’s ever fucking wanted. He’s all that Stiles will ever want.

The Dom takes a step towards him, but he doesn’t reach out to touch Stiles. He keeps his distance, his brows furrowed in concern. “Why are you apologizing, baby boy? You didn’t do anything wrong,” he whispers in his Dom voice, all sweet and smooth. It coils in Stiles’ stomach, demanding he relax, and he does, he can’t help it. Derek has that effect on him. One word from the Dom and it’s like Stiles’ world slows, settles.

“Please…please will you just…” Stiles trails off, dropping his gaze despite himself. He’s not sure what he wants or how to ask for it. Derek should just know; how can he not know? It’s his job to know what Stiles wants, what he needs, right? Agitated, Stiles toys with his fingers, wringing them to an almost painful extent. “Please just…please…”

With a growl, Derek grabs his hands, yanking them apart as he presses Stiles back into the wall. He cages Stiles’ hands on either side of him, locking the Sub in place. Expression fierce, Derek leans down to capture Stiles’ gaze and the dominance, the possessiveness, in his gaze strips Stiles bare, leaves him utterly breathless. How can he walk away from this? He can’t, he won’t survive it. He can’t survive it. And he doesn’t want to. He doesn’t want a life without Derek Hale.

“Tell me exactly what you need,” Derek says, a command roaring in his voice. It bleeds across Stiles’ skin, leaving him breathless and wanting. And for some reason, he tries to fight the rising tide, but it’s no use, because he’s helpless when it comes to Derek. The Dom gave him a direct command and Stiles has no choice but to obey. It’s instinct.

“I need you to fuck me.” The admission slips out of Stiles’ mouth unconsciously. And hearing it, listening to that quiet plea, causes him to settle. Because that’s exactly what he needs, a distraction, a beautiful moment to remember Derek by. “Please, Derek, I need to feel you inside of me. I need it. I need it right fucking now and I can’t explain why. Please don’t make me explain,” Stiles says, a wild desperation in his voice. He tries to quell his fears, but he can’t. Only Derek seems to be able to do that. And yet, the Dom stays stock still, staring down at Stiles like he’s something broken and bleeding, something that needs to be saved.

“Stiles, what’s got you so worked up? I don’t like the idea of taking you like this. You’re upset and I’d like to know why,” Derek says, voice calm and sure, like aged whisky. But it rubs against Stiles’ skin as if it were sandpaper.

Fuck. Why won’t Derek just fuck him? For once in his fucking life could he just not be a gentleman? Is Stiles asking his Dom to fuck him too much to ask? It’s what he needs and Derek vowed to always give him what he needs. So, he should. Stiles doesn’t care that he’s not in a good place. He needs this…right fucking now.

“I need this, Derek. You said you’d take care of me…so just…take care of me…” Stiles says, his strong voice fading to a needy plea. Tears fill his eyes and the sight of them tips Derek over the edge. His expression shifts from concerned and scared to overprotective and lustful. Those gorgeous eyes of his darken as he takes a step back, looking Stiles over oh so slowly, taking in every naked inch of him.

“Alright, baby. I’ll take care of you,” Derek whispers and, with that, he falls to his knees before Stiles, releasing the Sub’s hands. Stiles, like a good boy, keeps them in place, aware that Derek has him where he wants him. Watching in awe, Stiles gapes as Derek takes the Sub’s throbbing cock into his mouth and swallows him.

Stiles gasps, unconsciously tipping his head back as pleasure thrums through him. Fuck, that’s good, that’s fucking perfect. Derek deep throats him as if the Sub’s pleasure, as if getting him off, is the only thing that matters to the Dom. He bobs his head, taking short, shallow breaths through his nose with every down stroke. All the while, he uses one of his hands to toy with Stiles’ balls, rolling and teasing them until Stiles is begging.

Derek pulls back to lick at the head of his cock. Stiles lets out a broken whimper, fisting his hands against the tile in a vain effort to keep them off Derek. He wants to bury his fingers in the Dom’s hair, to hold him, but he doesn’t move. His Dom put his hands where they are for a fucking reason and Stiles intends to obey him, no matter how painful it might be. Because that’s what Derek is for him, a steady force, a rock in the midst of a raging sea. And Stiles trusts him.

“No, please,” Stiles whimpers as Derek eases back. Acting on instinct, he rolls his hips, practically begging Derek to take Stiles back into his mouth. He wants that warmth back, the coiled heat of Derek’s practiced throat. He wants to fucking come, wants to feel Derek work him over as he screams.

Derek coils a tattooed hand around Stiles’ hip, firmly holding the boy in place. The strength of his touch comforts Stiles, calming him in a way that he doesn’t understand. Chest heaving, he lowers his gaze, getting instantly caught up in Derek’s eyes. Never did he think he’d have a level 10 Dom kneeling before him. And yet, he doesn’t feel any less submissive, any less out control. Because it’s like the Dom said, it doesn’t matter who is kneeling and who is standing, what matters is who is in control. And that’s Derek, it’s always been Derek.

Derek shushes him soothingly, running his hand down the curve of Stiles’ ass. Stiles sighs into the touch, watching as the Dom grabs the bottle of lube from the shelf and tears open a condom. Stiles’ mouth starts to water as he eyes Derek’s red cock, watching as the Dom rolls the condom over his engorged flesh. He wants that cock in his mouth, but for some reason he knows that’s not where Derek is headed. There’s something deliberate in the Dom’s gaze, like he’s got a goal in mind, like he wants this to go a certain way. And honestly, Stiles could care less how it happens, as long as it ends with Derek pounding his cock into Stiles’ ass.

“You’re such a good boy, my sweet baby boy,” Derek croons, causing Stiles to preen under his warm praise. It licks across his skin, a thousand tiny kisses that sink into his skin, making him fucking melt. He’s forever addicted to Derek’s voice, soft and deep, to the lovely things that come out of it. “I love seeing you like this, completely under my control. You can move, but you won’t. You’re going to stay where I put you. You’re going to let me do whatever I want to you. Isn’t that right, baby?” Derek lifts his gaze, fixing Stiles with a truly wicked smirk and fuck if it doesn’t stop Stiles’ heart. Because that smirk could rival that of the Devil himself. It’s dominance at its most potent, most powerful.

“Yes,” Stiles whimpers, clawing wantonly at that tile behind him. Fuck, he wants Derek to take him into his mouth again. He want’s Derek’s fingers inside of him, pressing in search of his prostate. He wants the Dom kissing and touching and taking until Stiles has nothing left to give. This is how he wants Derek to remember him. Because this is who Stiles is, he’s Derek’s. He belongs to the Dom and he always will.

“Good boy,” Derek says with a nod of approval. It causes Stiles to sigh, the Sub relaxing into his Dom’s touch. Derek smiles at the sight of him giving in, relishing in it. “Now, you keep your hands where they are until I say otherwise, and don’t even think about coming without my permission.” Stiles nods frantically, much to Derek’s amusement. He lets out a low chuckle, the sound resonating through Stiles and settling in the pit of his stomach.

Fuck. He’s never going to get over this man. There’s no fucking way.

Derek leans back in, swallowing Stiles once again. Stiles lets out a broken whimper, rolling his head back against the tile as Derek takes him deep. The Dom works Stiles over with his throat, using those muscles to wring noises from the Sub, needy little pleas and desperate exclamations. Derek seems to relish in them, going out of his way to tease and torture the Sub into them. And fuck if it isn’t one of the most incredible things Stiles has ever felt. He’s been with Derek before, but never like this. The Dom is hyper-focused, his singular purpose in life seemingly to please his Sub.

Stiles gasps as Derek crooks a hand around the back of his knee, lifting his leg and tucking it over the Dom’s shoulder. He pulls his head back, liking the head of Stiles’ cock as he reaches around to finger Stiles’ hole, the Dom’s fingers wet with warm lube. Stiles can’t help himself, he whimpers.

“Please.”

Derek pulls back, pulling another pleading noise from the Sub. No, that’s not what he wanted. He wants Derek inside of him, not pulling away from him. With a deep chuckle, Derek glances up at him, easily capturing Stiles’ gaze.

Stiles stares down at him, taking in every inch of his gorgeous Dom. And yes, he is gorgeous. With the steam of the shower wafting around him, those dark tattoos a stark contrast to the pale tile of the shower. With the water running down his back, licking that expanse of tattooed skin, tasting those scars that Stiles wants so desperately to taste. It’s quite the picture, one Stiles desperately tries to commit to memory. Because he wants this forever, but it won’t be…it never is.

“Please what, baby boy?” Derek asks with a smirk, his fingers gingerly stroking the tender skin around Stiles hole. He fights the urge to press back against Derek’s hand. Fuck, why does Derek like playing with him so much? Stiles isn’t going to lie, it turns him on too, but not now…not when he needs Derek with everything that he has.

Stiles groans, tipping his head back in agitation. He’s upset, on edge, and it’s throwing Derek off. He can’t blame the Dom for being cautious with him, but it’s not what he needs. He wants Derek to take him, to make him ache. “You know what I want Derek! Just give it to me!” Stiles demands and, half a second later, he regrets his words. But it’s already too late.

With a growl, Derek stands up, grabs him by the back of the neck, and wrenches him around, slamming him into the tiled wall. He sighs as the Dom holds him in place, breathing hard behind him. He can feel Derek’s fury, the pent-up lust that rolls off him in hot waves. And he drinks it in, letting it sink into his bones.

Derek leans in, his hot breath ghosting across Stiles’ neck, causing the Sub to shiver. He tries to press back against Derek’s cock, but the Dom holds him firmly in place. His hand tightens around Stiles’ neck, not so much that it hurts, but more than enough to demand he pay attention. It is an embodiment of the quiet, practiced dominance that Derek emanates. He doesn’t have to try, it comes naturally to him, it’s like breathing.

“What’ve I told you about telling me what to do?” Derek asks, an icy harshness to his usually heated voice. It affects Stiles instantly, guilt coils in the pit of his stomach like a fucking snake, rearing its head and spitting at him. Fuck, what did he just do? He knows better than to tell Derek what to do. And still, he just did. “Answer me!” The command takes Stiles by the throat, yanking a response out of him.

“You’re in charge. I’m never supposed to tell you what to do,” Stiles say so rapidly that he can barely understand himself. But he does, at least, get the words out. And the admission causes him to calm instantly, a weight off his chest.

“Exactly,” Derek says forcefully, his nails digging into the nape of Stiles’ throat. The Sub presses into them, relishing in the tiny bites of pain. Derek shifts forward, his cock slotting between Stiles’ cheeks. The Sub whimpers, but Derek ignores him, keeping a firm hold on the Sub, immobilizing him. “I’m not going to ask you again. Are we fucking clear on that?”

“Yes,” Stiles says with a nod, earning a soft sound of approval from his Dom.

“Good. Now I’d normally punish you for something like that, but I don’t like where your head’s at right now so we’re going to let it slide. But if it happens again, you have my word that you will regret it,” Derek says, the steady rise and fall of his chest pushing Stiles forward and then easing him back. “You’ll take what I give you and only what I give you. Because you’re mine.”

Stiles close his eyes, letting Derek’s words seep into him, letting them etch themselves on his very bones. Because never has he heard something so completely true. He belongs to Derek. He is Derek’s Sub, Derek’s to toy with and fuck and love…to do whatever the fuck he wants with. He signed a contract for fuck’s sake. He belongs to Derek, physically, emotionally, and legally. And he loves it. He’s never felt like this before, never felt so cherished and protected, so utterly loved.

“I’m yours,” Stiles whispers, the words as much an apology as an admission.

Derek sighs, as if that’s exactly what he needed to hear. “There’s a good boy,” he says as he strokes his free hand up Stiles’ side. He tweaks Stiles’ nipple, causing the Sub to jerk and whimper. Derek chuckles, Stiles’ reaction pleasing him. “Now, I’m going to give you what you need, but I want you to tell me if it hurts or if you get uncomfortable. It’s hard for me to think when I’m inside you…”

Stiles nods, his words failing him as he presses his cock harder into the tiled wall, trying desperately to roll his hips. Fuck, it hurts, a dull ache in his balls and abdomen. Derek lets out an irritated sound, wordlessly demanding Stiles answer him with his words.

“Okay…” Stiles says breathlessly, leaning his hot cheek against the tile.

“Good boy,” Derek whispers, leaning in to place a kiss on the base of Stiles’ neck. The Sub leans into his lips, silently begging Derek to continue. Instead, the Dom pulls back, but only slightly. He lets out a deep breath, the heat of it fanning across Stiles’ shoulder and down his back, causing him to shiver and sigh. “You can come whenever you want to, but don’t you dare touch that cock. That cock is mine.” Stiles whimpers, Derek’s dominance pushing him headfirst into subspace. He feels himself start to tip, his head slowly filling with warmth and safety and Derek’s hand on his neck.

The Dom releases Stiles’ neck and eases back, but keeps one of his hands on the Sub. He circles his finger around Stiles’ nipple, settling him into a steady thrum, before he slips his free hand between the boy’s cheeks, fingering his hole. Stiles whimpers and tries to push back onto Derek’s fingers. In response, the Dom drops his hand from Stiles’ nipple to his hip, curling his fingers around the bone and using it to hold him in place.

Derek circles his hole a few times before pressing a lubed finger inside. He’s careful to avoid Stiles’ prostate as he preps the Sub. He works his fingers in out, his movements precise and practiced, enough to tease Stiles, but not enough to get him off. It’s maddening. And by the time Derek has three fingers inside of him, Stiles is swearing into the tiles, fighting Derek’s hold on him, his body screaming.

“Fuck, Derek, please…” Stiles mutters, clawing at the tiles.

“Say it again,” Derek whispers, taking the boy’s breath away. He’ll never get used to the power Derek has over him, the sway. The Dom doesn’t even have to try; he’s just that fucking good.

“Please…” Stiles says, putting everything he can into that simple little word. All his desperation, all his sorrow and grief, everything he wants to say to Derek, but can’t. It all bleeds into that single word, weighing on it.

And then Derek’s inside of him, the Dom’s massive cock buried so deep in Stiles that it almost hurts, almost. He grits his teeth, relishing in the slight burn. Fuck, that’s good. It’s exactly what he needed, to feel the Dom inside of him, to know that right now, he’s Derek’s. And this is Derek showing that, leaving his marks on Stiles’ skin, on his heart.

Derek moves his hips slowly for a few moments, letting Stiles get accustomed to the feel of him. But the second that Stiles starts to whimper, Derek lets loose. Grabbing hold of the Sub’s hips, he arches them and starts to pound into him. With his every thrust, his cock hits Stiles’ prostate, sending jolts of pleasure shooting through him.

“Fuck, I love your ass,” Derek says, punctuating the sentence by biting the nape of Stiles’ neck. The Sub keens and arches, wanting simultaneously to press back onto Derek’s cock and arch forward, the cold tile a delicious tension against his cock. Fuck, it’s torture, delicious fucking torture.

Derek’s nails dig into his hips and he’s sure he’ll have bruises in the morning, but he doesn’t fucking care. Because this is just too perfect, everything ever wanted, all he could have asked for and more. Derek’s pounding into him with a ferocity that might be terrifying if it weren’t so fucking hot. It’s almost like the Dom’s lost control, but Stiles knows better. Derek would never put Stiles in danger like that. If he felt his control slipping he’d walk away from Stiles. There’s no way he’d risk hurting his Sub.

“Fuck…” Stiles whimpers as Derek nails his prostate again. If he could just touch his cock, one stroke and he knows he’d come. But no, Derek explicitly told him to keep his hands off his cock. And, as much as he hates it, he’ll obey the Dom. Because he trusts Derek to know what’s best for him, even if it fucking sucks. “Derek…please…”

Derek responds by biting his neck again, not hard enough to break the skin, but hard enough that Stiles feels it. He whimpers as Derek runs a hand up his abs and across his chest to toy with his nipple again. The action sends heated sparks straight to his cock, causing him to groan and arch against the tile, humping it shamelessly. Fuck, what is Derek doing to him?

With a throaty chuckle, Derek releases Stiles other hip, curling that hand around so that it’s dangerously close to his cock. He tries to press into the Dom’s hand, but Derek holds him in place with his muscular body, hips continuing to piston into Stiles, driving his cock home over and over again. Fuck, Stiles is so close, so fucking close. His vision is blurring, head a fuzzy mess of warmth and electricity.

“Ask nicely,” Derek says and, even though he’s slipping deeper into subspace, Stiles’ knows that the Dom is smiling. He can hear is in his voice. Derek’s not normally cocky, but he is when it comes to sex. And fuck is it sexy.

“Please touch my cock,” Stiles says softly, making a point to ask for exactly what he wants, aware that Derek will press him if he doesn’t. He expects the Dom to toy with him a bit more, but he doesn’t. Instead, Derek reaches down and takes the Sub’s cock in his callused hand. And mere seconds later, Stiles is coming, screaming Derek’s name as he rocks his hips into his Dom’s hand.

He comes so hard that he blacks out, coming to a second later just in time to hear Derek roar as the Dom orgasms, the force of his powerful thrusts pressing Stiles into the wall. But he doesn’t care, he’s long past caring. He’s so fucking deep that nothing matters, nothing but his name on Derek’s lips and the feel of his Dom inside of him.

Stiles whimpers as Derek slowly eases out of him, the Dom breathing hard. He starts to lose his balance as Derek backs off, but the Dom catches him, lifting Stiles into his arms. The Sub is dimly aware of his Dom crossing the bedroom and laying him down on his bed. Before he has time to miss Derek’s warmth, the Dom is behind him, pulling Stiles flush to his chest, cocooning him in warmth. He sighs, letting his eyes fall closed.

“You’re such a good boy, my good boy,” Derek whispers against his neck. His sweet words press Stiles even deeper and, within a few seconds, he’s so relaxed that he falls asleep, curled up in his Dom’s arms, where he belongs…where he always wants to be.

Chapter Text

Derek slips two pieces of toast into the toaster and presses them down, glancing over his shoulder at the door to Stiles’ bedroom. He grits his teeth, memories of what happened between them haunting him. It was beautiful and terrible, a fucked-up mess. And he’s not sure he handled it the way that he should have. Maybe it would’ve been better had he walked away from his boy, given him space.

Fuck. He has no idea what he’s doing. What he does know, is that something is wrong with Stiles, something has his baby on edge. He’s unraveling, splitting at the seams and Derek’s not sure why or what to do about it. And, honestly, he’s scared. Stiles is his to care for, his to protect, and for the first time ever, he’s not sure how to do that. How is he supposed to heal a wound he can’t see; one he can’t locate?

The desperation in his boy’s eyes, the pleading, Derek’s never going to be able to get it out of his head. It hurt, watching Stiles like that, the boy so in need of something and yet unable to put into words. All he could do was apologize, over and over again. Every single one a knife to Derek’s heart. Because Stiles hasn’t done anything wrong…or has he?

Derek runs an agitated hand down his jaw, furious with himself for even thinking such a thing. Stiles wouldn’t betray him, he’s proven that time and time again. He’s saved Derek’s life, his sisters’ lives. Derek trusts him and Stiles has earned that trust with tears and blood and hard work. He deserves it.

But, even knowing that, feeling it, Derek can’t ignore the nagging itch in the back of his head. The voice that tells him he doesn’t really know Stiles, that this boy he loves could be anyone and anything. He could be a member of a rival gang. Hell, he could be one of Peter’s spies, sent to keep an eye on his nieces and nephew.

No. Derek forces those thoughts down, his hands fisted at his sides. It’s true that he doesn’t know much about Stiles’ past, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is how he feels about the boy. He’s in love with Stiles and he needs to trust him, needs to trust in the faith he has for him. Everything else is just speculation, but that, that is the truth.

Shaking his head, Derek grabs two plates from the cupboard and sets them down in front of him. He busies himself with plating the bacon and eggs. Once he’s done, he sets them on the table and starts on some coffee. He does his best to stay quiet, not wanting to wake the boy. He had a long night, the sleep will do him good.

Derek’s painfully aware that it’s going to be a long fucking day. Peter’s going to take what Derek did to the Savages out of his fucking hide. There’s a part of Derek that’s so close to breaking, to falling apart and taking off his uncle’s head. It would be so easy, too fucking easy. But he can’t. As much as he wants to kill that fucker, Peter would make him pay for it from the grave. Derek’s sure he’s instructed his men to kill Derek and his sisters were they ever to send him to an early grave. Which leaves Derek with is original plan, get his sisters out of the country and then take out Peter. But it’s not that simple anymore. Not now that Derek has Stiles, Ari, and Luka to worry about too. And it’s not like he has enough cash to send them all to a beach somewhere, to house all five of them for god knows how long. Not that his sisters would voluntarily leave their Subs.

Fuck. He has no idea what to do and he fucking hates it. Derek’s used to having a plan, to laying it out and sticking to it. But no, ever since Stiles walked into his life, the plan went out the fucking window.

Derek takes a bite of toast as he sets their plates down on the table. Stiles’ phone starts to vibrate on the counter. Mouth full, Derek reaches over and presses send. It’s probably just Cora checking up on them. He lifts the phone to his ear and hums in greeting, mouth still full of toast.

“Oh, Stiles, thank fuck you answered your phone! The print’s a match, we can bring that bastard in!” a woman says excitedly. Derek’s world comes to a sudden, screeching halt. He fists the phone in his hand, stomach tying itself in painful knots. Betrayal slices him open, a thousand tiny little cuts, gnawing away at him. He can’t fucking breathe with how much it hurts. Tears brim in his eyes as he glares at the door Stiles is sleeping soundly behind.

Fuck. How could he have been so fucking stupid? It’s so obvious now, so fucking obvious. The way Stiles looks at the world, the perceptiveness with which he sees things. And he knew that the Savages were being investigated by the cops. No one would know that except a fucking cop.

The boy’s an undercover cop, a cop sent in to take out Derek, his sisters, and probably Peter. And Derek let the little bastard waltz right into his arms. He’s spoon fed him dirt on the Blood Wolves, more than enough to get Derek and his family put away for the rest of their lives. Fuck, with just what Stiles knows about Derek, he’s got enough on the Dom to get him the fucking death penalty.

God, he made Derek fall in love with him. And he did so seamlessly, expertly. Now that he’s thinking about it, Derek’s sure he never actually saw Stiles shoot up Babydoll. Fuck, Stiles spun Derek a perfect trap, playing the broken little Sub in desperate need of help. And Derek, being the fucking idiot that he is, fell for it wholeheartedly. He actually thought the Sub cared about him, loved him. But every word out of Stiles’ mouth was a lie, every move the boy made, simply a tactic to place him closer to Derek.

“Stiles, honey, are you there? Did you hear me?” the woman pauses for a second, but Derek doesn’t respond. A few moments pass and the line goes dead. Hand shaking, Derek sets down Stiles’ phone.

Images haunt him as he stares at the door to Stiles’ bedroom, tiny moments of their time together. He clenches his eyes shut, trying to banish them, but the action only makes them that much clearer. He sees Stiles falling to his knees before him. He sees Stiles standing on a beach, smiling up at him. He sees Stiles curled up in his arms, nosing the tattoo under his collar bone. He sees the boy laughing with Cora, making her smile. They pass so quickly, almost too quickly. But the one he keeps going back to is Stiles in his arms, the little Sub nosing Derek’s neck, seemingly so at home there. Derek fists his hands at his sides, cursing himself, cursing Stiles. He’s so furious, so overcome with betrayal that he’s almost numb. How could he have let this happen? 

Fuck, he signed a contract with Derek, got in bed with him, literally. Derek’s got to give it to the fucker, he sure is dedicated to his job. It takes talent to come up with such an elaborate plan, to fake an addiction, infiltrate the largest gang in California, and fool their hitman into falling in love with you. Now that, that right there, is a fucking plan.

Derek scoffs, shaking his head. He can’t believe he fell for it. Not only that, but both of his sisters fell for it. And it wasn’t like the clues weren’t there. How else would Stiles have known that Laura got shot. Someone probably called it in and reported it to Stiles. Why didn’t Derek give that a second though, any of it a second thought? He should have, so why didn’t he? Fuck, he was just so blinded by the boy, by his need to possess and protect, that he couldn’t see what was right in front of him. And now, he and his sisters are going to pay the ultimate price. That is if Derek lets the boy live.

Acting on instinct, Derek crosses the room and picks up one of his Berettas, cocking it and slipping it into the back of his jeans. His every instinct screaming at him, he pushes open Stiles’ bedroom door, only to find the boy getting dressed in the center of the room. Derek’s cock jumps at the sight of the boy’s bare chest and he curses himself for it. How can he still be attracted to Stiles, to this man who betrayed him, lied to him? It’s fucked up, just like the rest of Derek.

Stiles shrugs on a Batman t-shirt and turns to face Derek, a bright smile on his face. The sight of it infuriates Derek, pushing him closer and closer to the edge. He doesn’t want to kill Stiles, but it’s not like he has much of a choice. It’s kill him or let him take everything he knows about Derek and the Wolves to the cops. It’s kill Stiles or let the police have his sisters, let them lock them up…kill them. And Derek can’t let that happen. He won’t.

“Smells good. Did you make me breakfast?” Stiles asks with the sweetest little smile. But instead of making Derek soar, like it would have yesterday, all it does is enrage him. Stiles is quite the actor. He’s played his part beautifully and for that, Derek fucking hates him. He made Derek think he cared about him, not only that, Stiles made Cora and Laura think he cared about them. And for that, Derek will never forgive him. Hurting him is one thing, but hurting his sisters is another.

Stiles takes a step towards him and Derek takes two deliberate steps back, staring down at his boy…no…not his boy. Stiles doesn’t belong to him and, even if he did, Derek wouldn’t want him anymore. How could he be with someone who betrayed him so readily, who gutted him and left him with his entrails spilling out?

“Derek, what’s wrong?” Stiles asks and, Derek has to give it to him, he does sound genuinely concerned. Wow, the boys got quite a talent. Someone should pay him for this shit. Oh, right, they do. “Is it your sisters? Are they okay?”

At the mention of his sisters, Derek fucking breaks. Stiles has no right, no fucking right to talk about Cora and Laura, to pretend like he gives a shit about them. Because he doesn’t. Every kindness he ever showed them, ever touch and ever word was a fucking lie, a move bringing him closer to the finish line. He played them, played with them. He treated Derek and his sisters like they were chess pieces, his to move and bend and break. And clearly that’s all they are to him.

Rage blazing in his chest, Derek reaches behind his back and pulls out his gun. Stiles’ brows furrow at the sight of it, but he doesn’t look scared. The fucker actually trusts Derek, how fucked up is that? He genuinely thinks Derek isn’t going to shoot him. But, oh is he wrong. Derek will do anything to protect what’s his and Stiles, as of a few minutes ago, ceased to fall into that category.

Hand as steady as ever, Derek lifts his gun, taking aim at the boy’s sadistic heart. Stiles swallows hard, fear finally darkening those gorgeous amber eyes. And Derek relishes in it because that’s how Stiles should be looking at him, how the boy always should’ve looked at him. He should be scared.

Derek carefully places his finger on the trigger, letting Stiles know that this isn’t a game. The Dom in him roars, demanding Derek stop scaring his Sub, but Derek blatantly ignores his instincts. Because where the fuck have they gotten him, screwed over that’s where. Stiles fucked him over, played on Derek’s rabid urge to protect, and he did so like it was nothing, like it was easy.

“Derek, what the fuck is going on?” Stiles asks frantically, his hands held high in a gesture of innocence. Derek scoffs at the sight of it. Because this boy, this beautiful fucking boy, is anything but innocent. Who the fuck pretends to be an addict, pretends to be dying, to get into bed with someone? If that’s not the definition of fucked up, Derek doesn’t know what is. “Please, you’re scaring me…”

Derek shakes his head in disbelief. Whatever they’re teaching these kids at the academy must be fucking gold because this kid sure as shit is. With his wide eyes, the gentle part of his lush lips, the slight furrow of his brows. He is pure fucking submission, the personification of everything Derek is naturally drawn towards. No wonder they sent him in to take down the Dom. It’s genius really.

“Give me one reason why I shouldn’t put a bullet through your fucking heart,” Derek says, putting deadly emphasis on every single word. And as much as he hates the thought of hurting the boy, in any way, he will. He’ll kill Stiles, he’ll do it if that’s what it takes to keep his family safe.

 

 

 

Stiles can’t fucking breathe, can’t fucking think. It feels like someone has their hand stuck in his chest, like someone’s clawing away at his heart with their blunt nails. His body aches, screaming at him. Guilt pools in the pit of his stomach as he stares into Derek’s deep green eyes, as he soaks in the revulsion there, the pure, unrelenting hatred.

But why?

There’s only one answer. Somehow, Derek found out who and what Stiles really is. And Stiles has no idea how. He was careful to cover his tracks, deliberate with what he said and what he did. But it wasn’t enough and now he’s going to pay for what he’s done, for hurting Derek. And the sick truth of it is, he’s all too willing to let the Dom take the shot. Because Stiles deserves to pay for this, for lying to Derek and his sisters. Fuck, he signed a contract with the Dom, let Derek hold him and kiss him and fuck him. All the while, lying about everything. Maybe he deserves to die for that.

“Just do it,” Stiles whispers, tears burning in his eyes. Derek falters at the sight of him, brows furrowing, but he doesn’t drop his gun. No, he keeps that expertly placed, aimed directly at Stiles’ heart.

Derek shakes his head at Stiles, teeth clenched in fury. “Oh, no. You don’t get to do that. Not anymore!” he growls, punctuating the statement with a humorless laugh. It burns Stiles’ skin, making him ache. He hates this, hates that he hurt the only man he’s ever loved, the only man he’s ever trusted.

And it’s not like Stiles didn’t see this coming. He did, the prospect of Derek finding out has plagued him for months. He’s fought with it, just as he’s fought with his feelings for the Dom. He knew Derek would eventually find out, and yet, he still let himself fall in love with the Dom. And how could he not? Derek is everything Stiles could ever want and more. He’s fierce and loyal and protective, kind and gentle and honest. Despite everything, all the blood and the violence, Stiles knows that he’s a good man with a good heart.

A heart Stiles broke. One he shattered into a million sharp little pieces. So if one of those pieces stabs his heart and kills him, Stiles knows why. He does. And really, it’s not like he has anything to live for without Derek. Yes, he has a good job and great friends, but it all seems so very black and white when compared to a life with Derek. He wants the Dom with him, caring for him and protecting him, for however long the Dom is willing to do that. But, from the look on his face, Stiles knows Derek will never again touch him, will never again hold him or love him. Because he hates Stiles, he hates him.

“Just kill me. I deserve it,” Stiles says, voice breaking as his tears threaten to spill down his cheeks. He never meant for this to happen. He never meant to fall in love with Derek Hale. But he did and he can’t take it back…he doesn’t want to. Because the past few months with Derek have been incredible, life-altering in every way. Derek’s made him see things, see the world in an entirely different way. And for that, Stiles will never be able to repay him. He’s shown Stiles that kindness and humanity can be found in the deepest, darkest places. It’s there, alive and breathing, careful and cautious. You just have to look for it.

“You do deserve it,” Derek growls, glaring at him, his eyes boring into Stiles like dull kitchen knives. There’s so much hatred there, so much pent-up rage. Stiles will be lucky if all Derek does to him is put a bullet through his heart. Because it looks like what the Dom really wants to do is tear his heart out of his chest. And he could, Stiles’ knows he could. “You lied to me. You lied to my sisters. We trusted you and you betrayed us!”

“I know and I’m sorry! I never-”

“No! You don’t get to apologize! I don’t wanna fucking hear it!” Derek roars, cutting Stiles off. The Sub takes an uneasy step back, doing his best to shove down his fear. He hates that he’s scared of Derek. He doesn’t want to be, it feels foreign and wrong, but he is.

“What do you want me to say?” Stiles asks, blinking hard. The action sends tears cascading down his pale cheeks. He curses himself for crying, but he can’t stop. Because it feels like everything he loves is being torn from him, like his reality is being corroded, rusting at the edges, crumbling.

Derek takes one deliberate step towards him, fixing Stiles with a truly domineering look. It slices away at the Sub, threatening to take him to his knees. “I want you to give me a reason, one fucking reason, why I shouldn’t shoot you right now!”

A million reasons pass through Stiles’ head, little flashes of light right behind his eyes. But only one might actually sway the Dom. Either that, or he’ll put a bullet through Stiles for it. And it all depends on whether or not Derek believes him and really, he has no reason to. It’s not like Stiles has been honest with him, ever. But still, Stiles doesn’t have a choice. It’s his only option, his final card.

Heart in his fucking throat, Stiles takes a step towards the Dom. Slowly, he lifts his gaze. But instead of seeing the Derek standing before him, all fury and hatred, Stiles pictures the Derek from a few hours ago. He clings to that image, to the warmth in the Dom’s eyes, to the sweet way he spoke to Stiles. Because that’s the Derek he loves, that’s his Dom. This man standing before him is nothing but a shadow, an echo.

Stiles exhales shakily, anxiously wringing his hands in front of him. Chances are, Derek’s going to kill him for this, but he wants the Dom to know. And yeah, Derek won’t believe him, but he has to try.

“I love you,” Stiles says like he’s saying a prayer, the words simultaneously pressing him down and lifting him up. “And I know that you probably won’t believe me. You have no reason to. But it’s the truth. I’m in love with you and I have been for weeks. Why else would I have signed that contract, why else would I have let you touch me, fuck me?”

Derek scoffs, laughing cruelly. “You love me? That’s really the best you’ve got? And here I thought you were a talented liar…” His words are sandpaper scraping against Stiles’ skin. And he can’t help it, he starts to shake, his body reacting to his Dom’s ridicule.

“I’m not lying,” Stiles whispers, a desperate edge to his voice. He reaches up to brush the tears from his cheeks, struggling to steady his raging heartbeat. His breath hitches as his throat tightens, a panic attack threatening to overtake him. He can’t do this; he can’t lose Derek. He can’t.

Derek continues to glare at him, his expression relentlessly apathetic. Ice frosts over his green eyes, hollowing them, sharpening them. “Why don’t you try again, baby boy?” Stiles’ nick name drips off Derek’s lips like poison, heavy with sarcasm and scorn. Stiles drops his gaze, unable to help himself. His body still thinks Derek is his Dom and right now Derek is treating him as if he did something wrong…and he did. It’s no wonder he’s reacting as if he needs punishment. He does.

“You want me to give you another reason?” Stiles asks, his voice stammering.

Derek takes a step towards him, growling low in his throat. Stiles stares at the floor, all the while wringing his shaking hands so violently that it hurts. “Look at me,” Derek says ardently, a blatant command. Stiles lifts his gaze, helpless to his instincts. “Tell me why you’re here. Tell me exactly what they sent you in for.” The Dom’s eyes dig into Stiles as his voice washes over the Sub, demanding he answer Derek.

Stiles fights it, appalled at Derek, at him abusing his power. He’s never once forced Stiles to do something he’s uncomfortable with. Not until now. Then again, Stiles has never come face to face with this version of Derek Hale, the ruthless hitman. He’s heard about him, knows what he’s capable of, but he’s never actually seen Derek at his worst. He’s as terrifying and glorious as Stiles imagined, like a fucking gladiator stalking into a colosseum, sword in hand.

“Tell me,” Derek growls, his Dom voice deep and low. It takes Stiles around the throat, overwhelming him in every way. He fists his hands at his sides, but it’s no use. He has to tell his Dom, not doing so is becoming painful, the slow agony of a thousand tiny cuts.

Fresh tears spill down Stiles’ cheeks. “My…my father was murdered by a Blood Wolf. He was a cop like me and all he did was figure out your last name. Just that, but it was more than enough to get him tortured and killed.” Stiles inhales shakily, tears blurring his vision as he recalls his father’s body lying in the morgue. Images of the bruises, the broken bones, the Blood Wolf burn across his back, assault Stiles, stealing the breath from his lungs. “I just wanted to find out who killed him and make that person pay. That’s it!”

Stiles turns away from Derek, struggling to control his breathing. No, he can’t have a panic attack right now. Fuck. Just breathe, all he has to do is breathe. It’s simple, right? Teeth clenched, he places his hands on the wall and tips his head down, throat tightening. Twisting around, Stiles slides down the wall and pulls his legs up to his chest, bowing his head between them. Breathe. Just breathe. Just fucking breathe.

But he can’t. Not with Derek standing a few feet away, bare chest a mass of tattooed muscle, pointing a gun at Stiles. Reaching up, Stiles places his hands over his neck, as if that action alone could force air back into his lungs.

The Sub in him expects Derek to fall to his knees before Stiles, to scoop him up and bring him to Derek’s chest. He can almost feel it, the heat of it, the safety of Derek’s powerful embrace. But it doesn’t happen. The Dom remains stock still, staring down Stiles, one dark eyebrow arched skeptically. He honestly thinks Stiles is faking. Seriously?

“You really think I’m gonna fall for this shit?” Derek asks.  

Fury rages through Stiles. What kind of person would fake a panic attack? It makes him sick that Derek thinks him so underhanded. But, Stiles can’t really blame him, not after everything he’s done to the Dom. Of course he doesn’t trust Stiles, why the fuck would he?

Throat burning, Stiles clenches his eyes shut and conjures up a memory. He focuses on that day on the beach, on Derek making fun of him for bringing an entire box of granola bars, on the way the Dom kissed him. He remembers exactly how it felt as Derek laid him down, whispering sweet things as he got Stiles ready for his cock. He was so careful; he took such good care of Stiles. He held him, praised him, loved him. The memory slowly steadies Stiles’ heart, enabling him to take short, shallow breaths.

It takes him a few minutes, but eventually he’s calm enough to stand. His legs shake as they take his weight. He reaches up to brush the tears from his eyes, furious with Derek for just standing there, for forcing Stiles to work through it alone. When all it would’ve taken to calm him was one touch from the Dom, one fucking touch. Yes, Stiles lied to him, betrayed him horribly, but Derek’s just being cruel.

Stiles takes a step towards the Dom, who places his finger back on the trigger and takes a cautionary step back. The Sub catches his gaze, holding it. “I know that Peter killed your parents and I have enough evidence to put him away for it. I can get him out of your life, away from your sisters,” Stiles says forcefully, all the while shoving down his instincts.

Derek stares at him, eyes narrowed skeptically. But there’s something there, like he almost believes Stiles. But why? “The fingerprint?” Derek asks, letting Stiles know how he figured out the Sub is a cop. Lydia must have called and Derek, being a gentleman, answered the phone to take a message. Fuck, how could Stiles have been so careless? This is why undercover operatives have handlers. Going straight to the source is dangerous.

“Yes. I can put him away for the rest of his life. Hell, he’ll probably get the death penalty. But I can’t do that if you shoot me,” Stiles says, eyeing the gun. But Derek doesn’t lower it, he doesn’t move a muscle.

“And why the fuck should I believe you?” the Dom asks sadistically.

“You don’t have any other options! You can’t kill Peter yourself, not when his men will turn around and kill your sisters. I can get him out of the picture, enabling you to take back the Wolves,” Stiles says rapidly, deliberately. Derek’s expression shifts subtly from skeptical to curious. He knows that Stiles is right, that he has a point.

“And what’s to stop you from going after me and my sisters? I’m sure you’ve got more than enough evidence to put all three of us away. Dismantle us and you destroy the largest gang in California. I’m sure you’d get a promotion for that…” Derek hits him with a vicious smirk, eyes slicing into the Sub.

“I don’t want a fucking promotion and I don’t want you or your sisters. All I want is to put the man who killed my father behind bars,” Stiles says, glaring defiantly down the barrel of Derek’s Beretta.

“What makes you think it was Peter?” Derek asks tonelessly. “Who says it wasn’t me?” He advances on Stiles until his gun is pressed against Stiles’ chest. “It’s what I do, right? It’s who I am! Who the fuck says it wasn’t me?” 

Chapter Text

Derek’s not sure why he’s yelling at Stiles or even what he’s saying. All he knows is that he’s angry, so fucking angry that it’s practically bleeding from every pore. He’s angry at Stiles for every lie the boy ever told, every selfish move he ever made. But, more than that, Derek’s angry at himself. Because, yeah, Stiles lied his way into Derek’s life, into his fucking heart, but Derek let him. And that, that right there, is something Derek never should’ve let happen.

He knew the boy would fuck everything up the second he laid eyes on him. Guess he should’ve trusted his instincts. Because that’s exactly what Stiles has done. He fucked with Derek’s life, made him question everything, made him want things he’s never wanted before and, come to find out, it was all a fucking lie. Stiles isn’t the adorable little coke dealer that Derek fell in love with. He’s a fucking cop.

But as much as Derek wants to put a bullet through his head, through his heart, he’s painfully aware that they boy has a point. Derek’s plan for getting rid of Peter is shot to hell. It’s not like he can demand his sisters abandon their Subs. He’d never do that. So basically, he’s fresh out of options. And Stiles poses an easy out. Jail isn’t exactly the end Derek wants for his uncle, but it wouldn’t be hard for him to get the man murdered on the inside. As leader of the Blood Wolves, Derek would have more than enough money.

The answer is obvious…he’ll have to trust Stiles. There’s just one problem with that. One tiny little problem that’s threatening to eat Derek alive, slowly consuming him piece by fucking piece.

He doesn’t trust Stiles. Not anymore.

Why the fuck should he believe a word out of the boy’s treacherous mouth? All he’s done to Derek and his sisters is lie and manipulate, over and over again. What’s to stop him from turning on them in the end? It’s not like he doesn’t have enough evidence to put all three of the Hale siblings away, because he does. And yeah, he claims he doesn’t want them, but that could just be another lie. Everything else was…

“It wouldn’t be the first time I killed for my uncle! Maybe it was me, maybe I cut into your father, branded his back with the blood wolf! He threatened my family, we both know that I’ve killed for far less! Who the fuck-”

“Me! I say it wasn’t you!” Stiles yells, voice breaking as tears stream down his pale face. He takes a step towards Derek, pressing the Dom’s gun harder into his chest. The heartbreak in his eyes, the unwavering love, threatens to destroy Derek. He grits his teeth, reminding himself that this is a lie, that everything was a lie, but it doesn’t help. Not when every instinct in his body is screaming at him, demanding he take care of his boy. No…Stiles isn’t his…and maybe he never actually was.

Derek swallows hard, fighting to cage the protective beast raging inside of him. It claws at him, out for blood, but he quells it. “You think you know me?” Derek asks scathingly, glaring down at the boy. “You think you know what I would and wouldn’t do?”

“Yes,” Stiles says forcefully, meeting Derek’s gaze with fearless resolve. Derek has to give it to the little Sub, he’s always been so fucking strong. It’s one of the things Derek loves about him…loved about him.

Fuck.

“You don’t know anything, baby boy,” Derek growls, spitting the boy’s beloved pet name back in his face. It tastes like acid on his tongue, burning him. Hurt cuts across Stiles’ face, his amber eyes brimming with fresh tears. Derek’s stomach clenches at the sight of them, at the sight of Stiles in pain. And he hates that it affects him, hates that he still cares. Because he shouldn’t. This boy betrayed him, lied to him, lied to his sisters. He doesn’t deserve Derek’s forgiveness. He doesn’t deserve anything.

Stiles reaches up, brushing the tears from his face. Slowly, he lifts his gaze, eyes slicing Derek deep. There’s something in them, the blaze of a storm, a devotion that Derek doesn’t understand. He stares at the Dom like Derek is, and will continue to be, the only thing that’s holding him together. Derek tells himself that it’s a lie, just like everything else. But it doesn’t feel like a lie. Nothing with Stiles ever felt like a lie…

“The fuck I don’t know you,” Stiles says defiantly, pressing harder into Derek’s gun. “My life’s been a fucking mess since my dad died. I got on the Baby and-”

“Oh, so that was real?” Derek asks, cutting the boy off. Stiles’ brows furrow, confusion and disbelief marring his beautiful face. He stares at Derek incredulously, as if the prospect of him faking an addiction is utterly ridiculous. And maybe it is, but at this point, Derek isn’t about to put anything past the boy. He has no idea what Stiles is capable of.

“You honestly think I’d lie about something like that?” Stiles asks, voice breaking.

“I don’t know what you would and wouldn’t do anymore,” Derek says tonelessly, doing his best to keep his expression impassive. He hates that he’s hurting Stiles. But, more than that, he hates that he cares. Stiles doesn’t deserve his devotion. Derek inclines his head, a fierceness burning in his eyes. He needs Stiles to know how much this hurts, he needs him to know exactly what he’s done. “I trusted you with my business, with myself, and with my family! And all you did in return was lie to me! I understand you wanting to find your father’s killer, but at the expense of my sisters?”

Stiles lifts a shaking hand to his face, desperately trying to hold back tears. He’s splitting at the fucking seams, coming apart and Derek’s taking a sick sort of pleasure from it. This is the least Stiles deserves. Derek should kill him, part of him still wants to, but he can’t. And he tells himself it’s because Stiles can help him get rid of Peter, but he knows that’s a lie. The reality of it is, he’s not sure he could actually pull the trigger.

“I tried to keep you safe…all of you…” Stiles says softly, a mere whimper.

“How? How the fuck did you try to keep us safe?” Derek growls, irate. He thinks back, trying to remember an instance of Stiles protecting him, of the boy protecting his sisters, but he can’t. His vision is blinded by rage and shock; he can’t see straight.

“I saved Cora from M12!” Stiles yells, tears cascading down his cheeks. He’s shaking, his body reacting to his distress. And the sight of him like this, so in pain, calls to Derek in a way nothing has before. He wants to take Stiles into his arms, wants to make that hurt disappear. And he could, one touch from him and the boy would melt, his heartbeat slowing to a steady tattoo. But no…Derek’s not going to do that. He won’t.

“All you did was drive her home,” Derek mutters, scoffing.

Stiles glares at him indignantly, furious. “I did a lot more than that. And it wasn’t just Cora. Laura would be dead if I hadn’t overheard Peter and called to warn you! And you, if I didn’t drag your ass away from that explosion, you’d be rotting in jail right now! So don’t you dare say that-”

“What did you just say about Peter?” Derek asks, brows furrowing. Stiles’ expression shifts, the fury pooling from his eyes, replaced by concern.

He reaches up and takes hold of Derek’s gun. The Dom’s first instinct is to pull the trigger. He’s painfully aware that Stiles could be attempting a counter move, but for some reason he just can’t take the shot. Slowly, oh so slowly, Stiles presses Derek’s arm down until the gun is pointed at the hardwood. And still, Stiles keeps his hand there, the space between them now mere inches.

“It wasn’t M12 who attacked Cora and it wasn’t the Savages who went after Laura, it was Peter. I heard him admit to both attacks while I was at your house, pulling his print. That’s how I knew he’d gone after Laura,” Stiles says gingerly, eyes wide and honest. He lifts his hand, fingers brushing the inside of Derek’s wrist.

Derek drops his gaze, struggling to process everything Stiles just told him. Honestly, it’s not that much of a surprise. Peter’s never been exactly fond of Derek and his sisters, but they always thought that they were at least necessary in his eyes. Sure, he doesn’t like them, but why would he kill three of his best employees? The only answer Derek can come up with is that Peter must’ve somehow found out about their plan to kill him. It’s the only thing that makes sense. He found out and decided to eliminate them before that could happen.

Images of his sisters, broken and bloody, flash before Derek’s eyes. He sees Cora lying on a couch, pale and lifeless, a bullet hole a few inches from her heart. He sees Laura lying in an ally, her body riddled with bullet holes, blood pooling beneath her. He sees them curled up with their Subs, their hospital beds so near one another that they’re almost touching. And with every fleeting image, Derek’s rage mounts. It swells in his chest until it’s all he can feel, until it’s as much a part of him as his heart, as his lungs. Laura and Cora are everything to him, they’re his life, and Peter tried to take them from him.

That fucker tried to take them from him.

“I’m gonna fucking kill him,” Derek growls, tightening his grip on his gun. Stiles gently brushes his fingers over the Dom’s pulse point, calming him in a way that he doesn’t quite understand. He wants to shove the boy away from him, wants to demand Stiles never touch him again. But, at the same time, he wants to beg the boy to continue.

Stiles catches his gaze, that curious light burning in his eyes. Derek’s seen it before, but now he recognizes it for what it is. It’s the boy’s intelligence, his training, the cop coming out in him. “I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that you took out the Blood Wolves two rival gangs in retribution. Peter knew what you would do if you thought they hurt your sisters. He used you to take out the competition.” Stiles eyes him fervently, studying the shifts in Derek’s expression, gaging them.

Derek shakes his head in disbelief. It’s genius really, a win-win situation in Peter’s eyes. He thought he could take out Derek’s sisters and their competition at the same time. And for the most part, it worked. Derek played into Peter’s hands, let his uncle manipulate him. If it weren’t for Stiles…Cora and Laura would be dead. As much has he hates the boy for lying and taking advantage of his family, Derek can’t dispute the fact that Stiles saved his sisters.

Derek takes a deep breath and exhales, slowly returning his gun to the waistband of his jeans. The second his hand is free of the handle, Stiles sighs, the tension bleeding from his body in one thick wave. Derek finds himself reacting to the boy, his own body relaxing as Stiles’ does.

“So you’re not gonna kill me?” Stiles asks tentatively, worrying his bottom lip.

“Not right now,” Derek says pointedly. To his surprise, Stiles lets out a shaky laugh, eyes widening in disbelief. Derek arches an eyebrow, contemplating Stiles’ sanity. He just threatened the boy’s life and yet, Stiles is laughing.

“Not right now?” Stiles mutters, running a hand down his face. “God, you’re fucked up, Derek. What, you gonna kill me in an hour or so? You gonna wait until after we’ve had breakfast?” Derek fights the urge to smile, all the while reminding himself that this boy betrayed him, that he doesn’t love Stiles. “I mean, you made it for me so it would be rude to kill me before I’ve had a chance to eat it.”

Derek grits his teeth, forcing himself to focus. Stiles isn’t his, he never was. This young man standing before him is a cop, a cop with enough evidence to put Peter away. And that’s the only reason he’s still alive…because Derek needs him. And once the Dom puts his uncle behind bars, he’s going to walk away from Stiles. So long as the boy keeps his mouth shut about Derek and his sisters, the Dom will let him live. But if he slips up, Derek intends to rain hell down on him.

“No. I’m going to kill you if you don’t hold up your end of the deal,” Derek says, taking a step towards Stiles. The boy eyes him curiously, all the while toying with those delicious fingers of his, tempting Derek. He looks resolutely at anything but them, his cock hard.

“What deal?”

“This deal,” Derek arches his neck, holding the boy in place with his gaze. “I’m going to hand you Peter and you’re going to put him away. They’ll give you a promotion and a bonus and that’ll be the end of it. You won’t say one word about my sisters and I, you’ll destroy any evidence you have on us and take our secrets to the fucking grave.” Derek reaches out and takes hold of the boy’s face, his fingers lining Stiles’ nape. He expects the boy to pull back, scared, but to his surprise, Stiles actually sights and leans into his touch. It shocks Derek so much that, for half a second, he forgets what he was about to say.

Fuck, his boy is beautiful.

No…Stiles isn’t his…he never fucking was.

Overcome with fury and unrelenting grief, Derek stills his heart, hardening himself. He can curse the boy later, can contemplate every word Stiles ever said, every move the boy made. But right now, Derek needs to focus. He has a chance to get rid of Peter and intends to take it, no matter the consequences.

“Derek?” Stiles whispers, expression a mask of concern. The Dom pointedly ignores the yearning in Stiles’ eyes. He tells himself that it’s an act, that that’s all it’s ever been. Stiles is playing a part. This isn’t real and it never was. What’s real is Peter and the scars he’s left on Derek’s body. That’s what’s real.

Derek tightens his grip on Stiles, his fingers pressing into the boy’s nape, arching his neck. “That’s the deal, baby boy, you gonna take it or you gonna leave it?” Derek asks even though he’s well aware that Stiles doesn’t really have a choice. If he says no, Derek will put a bullet through his head. It’s as simple as that.

Stiles remains silent, staring up at Derek. The agony on his face threatens to be the undoing of the Dom. It sears his resolve, burning him to a fucking crisp. Stiles is looking at him like this is the last time he’ll ever see him, like his heart is fucking breaking. He studies Derek like he’s trying to memorize his every feature, as if the Dom were fading into the shadows, about to disappear. Stiles lets out a shaky little exhale, fisting his hands at his sides. Derek has to fight the urge to pull the boy into his arms, the Dom’s body reacting to Stiles’ anguish.

“Yes or no, Stiles?” Derek growls.

“Yes,” Stiles says, voice somewhere between a sigh and a whimper. It slices away at Derek, making him want things he can’t want anymore, need things that aren’t his to ask for. Because whatever relationship they might have had before is nothing. The contract they both signed is now merely a piece of paper. It’s meaningless, just like everything else that Derek thought they had between them.

“Good,” Derek says with a curt. Heart in his throat, he steps away from Stiles. The boy lets out a tiny whimper, but it’s more than enough to make Derek ache. Determined not to give in to his instincts, Derek turns his head, but not before he sees Stiles brush his tears on his arm. And fuck if the sight doesn’t break Derek in some way. He feels a part of him splinter and crack, falling to the ground. “Let’s get this over with.”

Stiles takes a step towards him, eyes wide and earnest. “Derek, please…”

“Please what, Stiles! Please forgive you?” Derek twists around to face him, advancing on the boy. Stiles manages to hold his ground, but only by dropping his gaze submissively. “No! I won’t forgive you! I can’t!” Derek takes another step towards him, glaring at the little Sub as he shakes. And Derek hates that it hurts to see Stiles like this, he hates that, for some fucking reason, he still cares about the boy. “I told you things I’ve never told anyone! I let you into my family, trusted you with my sisters! We signed a contract! I fucked you, Stiles! You let me…” Derek shuts his mouth, aware that he’s about to says something he’ll inevitably regret. The last thing he needs right now is Stiles knowing how Derek really feels about him.

Fuck, Derek’s not even sure how he feels. A few hours ago, he was sure he loved Stiles, that the boy mattered more to him than anything else. But now, now he’s not so sure that it’s love. True, there’s a part of him, a deep-sated instinct that reacts to the boy, to every move Stiles makes. But that’s not love. No, love is about trust and Derek sure as shit doesn’t trust Stiles. So yeah, maybe he still loves the boy, but that’s not enough. Not after what Stiles has done.

“None of this was supposed to happen…” Stiles says, struggling to hold in a sob.

“What wasn’t supposed to happen, me finding out who you really are?” Derek asks, shaking his head in disbelief. Stiles actually thought he could walk away from this unscathed. He actually thought that Derek wouldn’t find out.

“No!”

“Then what!” Derek demands, taking a step towards Stiles. This time, the boy caves, allowing Derek to back him into a wall. Derek’s hit with flashing images from a few hours before, of Stiles pressed into the shower wall, breathing hard. They haunt him, circling around in his head until he can’t fucking breathe. And for a moment, he’s lost in them, in the sound of Stiles’ whimpers, in the soft pout of his lips. He’s never going to see that again. He’ll never watch as Stiles comes apart again, screaming his name. He’ll never again hold the boy as he comes down, nuzzling Derek’s collar bone.

Fuck…

Derek forces himself to focus. Teeth clenched, he drops his head and catches Stiles’ gaze, holding the boy in place. Fixing the boy with a glare, he again demands an answer. Stiles blinks hard, sending tears streaming down his face. Derek’s body aches at the sight of them. He fists his hands at his sides in a vain effort to keep from touching the boy. Fuck, why does this have to be so fucking hard? Stiles betrayed him, Derek should hate him, it should be that simple, that black and white.

But it’s not. Nothing ever is.

“I…I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with you…” Stiles says so softly that Derek almost doesn’t hear him. And this time, Derek believes him. What sounded before like a tactic to save his own life, now sounds like the truth. Derek’s not sure whether it’s the tone of his voice or the pleading in his tear-filled amber eyes, but for some reason, Derek believes him. And that knowledge, the fact that Stiles is actually in love with him, makes it all that much worse. Because now Derek’s not just some guy Stiles hurt, he’s someone Stiles loves that he hurt, knowingly and intentionally. And that shit’s fucked up.

“You’re not supposed to hurt the people you love,” Derek mutters, well-aware that he sounds like a child. But it’s true, he does everything he can to spare his sisters pain. He takes it upon himself rather than let his sisters bare it.

“I know…” Stiles whimpers, tucking his arms around his ribcage, as if he’s trying to hold himself together. His shaking intensifies as he stares up at Derek, tears cutting pathways down his cheeks. Derek’s not sure what to think. Part of him wants to believe that Stiles is genuine, that he truly does love Derek, but the Dom can’t ignore the fact that Stiles lied to him. And not just once, over and over again. Who’s to say that this isn’t a lie too, that this isn’t all just an act?

“Then explain it to me! I understand you wanting to find the man who killed your father, but you could have done that without getting me involved! You could’ve stayed on the Baby and done your job…but you didn’t! So why?” Derek demands, placing his hands on either side of the boy, boxing him in. He’s trying to intimidate Stiles, but the action has the opposite effect. Instead of being scared, Stiles actually sighs, the act of being confined by his Dom calming him. Derek’s not sure what to think of it, what to think of the fact that he still has control over Stiles’ body. There’s a power in it, but also a bone-crushing sense of responsibility. A responsibility that isn’t his anymore…

“I donno…” Stiles says gently, the shaking in his body easing ever so slightly. He drops his gaze and takes a step towards Derek, placing himself inches from the Dom’s chest. Derek can feel the heat of him, can smell the soft scent of his skin. It calls to him, asking for things he’s no longer sure he wants to give. “I tried to stay away from you, I really did. But I just couldn’t…not when you were the only thing that stopped the world from spinning. I was so scared, so fucking scared, all of the time. But then you’d walk into the room and it was like I could breathe again.” The boy slowly, oh so slowly lifts his gaze. His amber eyes cut into Derek, taking his breath away. “When I’m with you, I’m not scared.”

Derek stares at him, brows furrowed. As much as he wants to believe that Stiles is lying, he can’t. No one can fake the raw ache that’s alive in Stiles voice, the pleading. This is how Stiles really feels. And, according to him, Derek is his safe place, his shelter in the midst of a storm. And Derek hates it because that’s exactly what he wants to be, all he ever hoped to become.

Too bad that’s not who Derek is. Yeah, maybe it’s who he wants to be, but we all have stupid dreams. They’re pretty, something to cling to at night, but they’re not real. What’s real is the empire Derek’s parents left him, built for he and his sisters. That’s where Derek belongs, running with wolves. He’s violent, sadistic, a killer, born and fucking bred. To wish for something more is utterly useless. Because this is what happens when Derek lets himself want something…it blows up in his fucking face. He let himself fall in love with this boy, this beautiful boy, and all it did is leave him with more scars.

To hell with wanting someone to hold at night. Derek doesn’t need that, he never has. He’s always been a solitary creature, at his best alone in the dark. And Stiles is pure sunshine, bright and vivid, he’s the last thing Derek needs.

“I’m sorry, Derek,” the little Sub whispers, sobbing softly. Derek tries to ignore the way that it affects him, the dull throbbing in his chest. He tells himself that it will fade, that his feelings for the boy will disappear over time, but really, he’s not so sure. Guess he’ll just have to find out. Because to forgive Stiles would mean losing his chance at Peter. After all, there’s no way Derek would let his boy anywhere near that man. But Stiles isn’t his boy, not anymore.

Derek takes a deep breath and lets it out gradually, forcing himself to calm down. He quells his instincts, shoving his feelings for Stiles into a tiny box in the back of his head. It’s time to get down to business. He needs Stiles to get his head on straight and there’s only one way to ensure that happens. He’ll have to make Stiles hate him, at least for a while. It’s see him cry or watch him rage. One Derek can handle, the other makes him want to carve out his own heart.

“So you let yourself fall in love with me?” Derek asks sadistically, silently berating himself when Stiles shies away from him, shaking. Fuck, why does this have to be so fucking hard? He’s taken bullets, been stabbed and burned and broken, but none of that compares to the pain he feels how, the pain of knowing he’s hurting Stiles. It’s all-consuming, razor-sharp ice slicing open his veins and leaving him to bleed.

“Yes…” Stiles whimpers, tightening his arms around his quivering frame. Derek digs his nails into the sheetrock, desperately trying to keep his hands off of Stiles. Because he knows the second he touches the boy, this will all be over. He’ll cave and he can’t do that, not when he’s so close to getting everything he’s ever wanted.

Derek leans in, breath ghosting across Stiles’ lips. The boy opens his mouth as if he’s expecting Derek to kiss him. The sight of it, of his silent pleading, causes Derek’s stomach to clench, a mixture of yearning and grief. “How selfish…” Derek mutters, then he pushes off the wall and takes a step back. “Now come on, we’ve got work to do.” 

Chapter Text

Stiles stares at the door Derek just disappeared behind, desperately struggling to stop crying. Fuck, he’s never felt anything like this before. He recognizes it for what it is, can recite the definition, the treatments and coping techniques. He thought he knew what it was, thought he’d felt it before. But that anguish was nothing compared to this.

When his father died, it was like a bullet ripping though him, agony and then…nothing. It was quick and sharp, leaving only a throbbing wound in its place. But this, this is the stripping away of flesh, slow and torturous. It’s like someone set him on fire and now he’s just burning, the fragile reality he’s come to love being torn from him.

And the sick thing is, Stiles knew this was going to happen. Hell, he’s known it since the moment he met Cora on that pier. And yet, he clung to the prospect of time. He never thought it would happen so soon, that Derek would find out the way he did. Fuck, Stiles should’ve just told him. Had he done that, Derek might have forgiven him. But now, now he’s never going to look at Stiles the same way. Because Stiles is no longer the broken little coke dealer Derek allowed into his bed, into his life. He never was. And for that, Derek will never forgive him.

Stiles lied over and over and over again and now he’s paying for it. Derek’s words echo around in his head, bombarding him until he can barely breathe. Fuck, the Dom’s right and Stiles knows it. He was…no, he is selfish. His father is dead and putting Peter away isn’t going to change that. Stiles thought he was doing this for justice, but he now sees it for what it really is, revenge. And revenge is inherently selfish. It’s like Derek said, Stiles did this for himself, he used Derek and his family to get revenge. And nothing about that is okay.

Guilt racks him as he pushes off the wall and crosses his bedroom. He stops at the threshold, suddenly overcome with an urge to climb back into bed and hide. He doesn’t want to see Derek again, doesn’t want to look into the Dom’s beautiful green eyes as he glares down at Stiles. He doesn’t want to see the disappointment, the fury, on Derek’s face. Seeing it once was enough to destroy him. He has no desire to put himself through it again.

But he has to.

Stiles knows that Derek will never forgive him for what he’s done. Hell, chances are the Dom will eventually kill him for it. But if Stiles gets Peter put away for what he did to Derek’s parents, to Stiles’ dead, maybe, just maybe, the Dom won’t put a bullet through his heart. It’s not enough, nothing will ever be enough to earn back Derek’s trust, but it’s all Stiles can do right now.

Taking a deep breath, Stiles steps through the doorframe and forces himself into the living room. The sight of the table, laden with breakfast, makes Stiles’ heart fucking ache. It’s a testament to what they could have had, what Stiles could have had. Derek was almost his. This beautiful Dom, strong and fierce and unyielding, wanted him, took care of him. And it was incredible, as if Stiles’ life suddenly just made sense. For the first time, he didn’t have to pretend. With Derek, all he had to do was feel. The sick irony of it is, even though he was undercover, he was more honest with Derek than he’s ever been with anyone else.

And he fucked it up…he fucked everything up. All it took was one tiny mistake. Instead of taking the fingerprint to Allison, instead of following protocol, Stiles rushed it to the police station, to Lydia. The little Sub is a fantastic analyst, she’s brilliant, but only knows the basics of undercover operations. She had no idea the risk she was taking, calling Stiles directly. He doesn’t blame her, she did exactly what he asked of her. It’s not Lydia’s fault he lost Derek and his sisters.

The sight of Derek standing in his living room, his phone pressed to his ear, slices Stiles deep. He stares at the expanse of his Dom’s back, trying to memorize his frame, the sheer strength of him. No…Derek isn’t his and he has no right to keep thinking of him that way. Tearing his gaze away, Stiles runs a shaky hand down his face.

Fuck. Why can’t he stop shaking? He’s level, Derek put him down a few hours ago. It’s not that, but it has to be biological. Fisting his hands at is sides, Stiles runs through everything he’s ever read about Submissives, about their response to stress. But the words blur in his mind, jumbling together until they’re illegible. Tears brim in his eyes as he glares at the hardwood. God, for once in his life, why can’t he just be strong? Why can’t he just keep it together on his own? He wants to show Derek that he can do this, that despite everything he can at least take Peter out of the picture, but no. Instead, he’s a shaking, crying mess, inches away from another panic attack.

Useless…that’s what he is.

That’s all he ever was.

How did he honestly convince himself he was anything but? For half a second, while he was wrapped up in Derek’s arms, he thought otherwise. But now, now he sees himself as he really is. He’s weak, a shitty Sub, and an even shittier cop. Cora and Laura are better off without him. Derek is better off without him.

“Peter wants me to meet him at an abandoned warehouse, the fucker probably wants to punish me for going after the Savages. Fucking hypocrite…” Derek twists around to face Stiles and stops short, his mouth slightly parted. The anger slowly fades from his dark eyes, his expression softening, shirting from agitated to concerned. Stiles relishes in the sight of it, in the knowledge that there’s at least some tiny part of Derek that still cares about him, however miniscule.

“I’ll need the exact time and the…the address,” Stiles mutters, stumbling across his words. He drops his gaze, nails digging into the palms of his hands. He can do this; he has to show Derek that he can be strong. Otherwise, what was this all for? If he can’t put Peter behind bars, then all this pain, all this hurt, was for nothing. “I can have four SWAT teams there in…in…thirty minutes. Will he…will he be heavily guarded because they’ll need to know how many-”

“Stiles,” Derek’s deep voice reverberates down his spin, filling his body with warmth. He grits his teeth, cursing himself for taking comfort in Derek, for taking advantage of a man who clearly doesn’t want him anymore. It’s wrong. He has no right.

“I’m sorry,” Stiles whispers, tears burning his eyes. He tries desperately to hold them back, keeping his eyes resolutely open, but they fall just the same. “I’m sorry. I…I can do this. I know…I know how to…how to do this. I do! I can do this, Derek. It’s the only thing I can do! What else am I supposed to do?” A broken sob tears its way out of Stiles’ throat, cutting him off. He buries his face in his hands, his shoulders caving inward as he frantically tries to protect himself, to shield himself from anyone and everything.

Stiles is dimly aware of Derek closing the distance between them. But he feels the heat of the Dom, senses the looming presence of his muscular body. Stiles fights the urge to lunge into Derek’s arms, to bury his face in the Dom’s chest. It’s all he wants, the only thing he wants, but he can’t have it…never again.

Ever a masochist, Stiles clenches his eyes shut and tries to picture the life they could have had together, the life he wants so desperately that it’s become a part of him. He sees Derek sprawled on a bed, grey sheets tangled about his naked body, his face buried in a pillow. Next to him, pressed up against the bed, is a little crib. And inside, nestled in a bright pink blanket, is a tiny little girl, a mess of dark curls framing her angelic face.

“Stiles, look at me. Stiles!” Derek’s voice yanks the Sub back to reality. And the loss of that, of his beautiful little daydream, only makes him cry harder. Because he’s never going to have that and it’s wrong of him to even want it. Not when it’s never, ever going to happen. Derek’s never going to forgive him. And even if he did, Stiles doesn’t fit into his world.

He doesn’t fit in anywhere…

And that’s the problem. He became a cop because he wanted to help people, because he looked up to his father. And he did help people, but those instances were few and far between. More often, Stiles came face-to-face with the horrors of humanity. It was killers and rapists and terrorists, some killed, some put behind bars. And Stiles told himself he was saving lives, making the world a better place, but those atrocities, those crime scenes, still haunt him. He thought he could fix in as a cop, that he could find a home where his father did, but the only place that has ever felt like home to him is when he’s with Derek.

And now that’s gone and he can’t fucking breathe. He knows that he’s shaking, but his body is starting to go numb. He is, however, acutely aware of the tears cascading down his cheeks, cold against his feverish skin. As he asks himself what’s going on, his mind tries to supply him answer after answer, but, just like before, the words are blurred. He doesn’t know what’s going on or how to fix it and he hates himself for showing Derek just how pathetic he really is.

One more reason for the Dom to hate him.

“Stiles, I need you to look at me,” Derek’s voice sounds far away, as if Stiles is buried beneath the earth and the Dom is yelling down at him. He wants to obey, wants to make his Dom proud of him, but he’s frozen in place. “Stiles, listen to me. I think you’re in shock. I need you to look at me.” But still, Stiles’ can’t move, stands immobilized, terrified of the fury, the bone-crushing disappointment, he knows he’ll see in Derek’s eyes.

The Dom swears under his breath, cursing himself. And then, before Stiles knows what’s happening, Derek takes hold of the back of his neck and pulls the Sub into his arms. With a deep hum, Derek wraps his arms tightly around Stiles, securing the Sub against his chest. And, just like that, Stiles surrenders. His muscles go lax, the tightness in his throat disappearing as he breathes in the comforting scent of Derek’s Burberry cologne. He noses the tattoo under Derek’s collar bone, his shaking hands fisted deep in the Dom’s shirt. The steady thump of Derek’s heart beats against his ear and he clings to it, drinking in the sound, the sensation of being held by Derek. By the man he loves…

“There you go, baby boy, just breathe,” Derek says in his Dom voice, soft and soothing. He shushes Stiles as he strokes the back of the Sub’s neck, holding him firmly in place. The loss of control soothes Stiles just as much as Derek’s voice. Derek has him, Derek’s holding him and he’s going to be okay. As long as he’s here, he’s going to be okay. “You’re okay. I’ve got you. You’re okay…just breathe…”

Derek holds him until the shaking in his hands slowly subsides, until the Sub starts to come back to himself. And the second he does, the second Stiles realizes where he is and what just happened, he tears out of Derek’s embrace.

Furious with himself for taking advantage of the Dom, Stiles brushes what’s left of the tears from his face. God, how could he have let this happen? He lost control, forced Derek to do something the Dom probably didn’t want to do. And now the Dom has another reason to hate him, another thing to resent him for.

Stiles crosses the living room and bends down to pick up his phone. As he lifts it to dial Allison’s number, he notices that he’s still shaking, but it’s not nearly as bad. Despite everything, despite the fact that he basically forced Derek into it, he can’t help but be in awe of what the Dom is capable of. With one simple embrace, he grounded Stiles, calmed him in a way that no one else can. His power over the Sub is absolute, so much so that it scares Stiles. He honestly doesn’t know who he is without Derek and he doesn’t want to find out.

Throat tight, Stiles lifts his phone to his ear, listening to it ring. He’s painfully aware of Derek standing behind him, but he doesn’t turn around. He can’t face him, not after what he just did…what he just made Derek do.

“Stiles! Oh, thank God, are you okay?” Allison asks frantically.

“I’m fine. Listen, I need all four SWAT teams sent to…” Stiles trails off when he realizes that Derek never actually told him the address. Before has time to turn around and ask, Derek moves to stand before him.

His expression impassive, he holds his hand out for the phone. Swallowing hard, Stiles hands it over. The Dom lifts it to his ear and rapidly relays an address and an exact time to Allison before handing it back. Stiles drops his head and returns it to his ear, unable to hold Derek’s gaze for a second longer.

“Was that…” Allison trails off, her voice an odd mixture of awe and hatred.

“Yeah,” Stiles mutters, his stomach tying itself in anxious knots. Even if Derek were to forgive him, their worlds don’t mesh. Stiles’ friends would never accept Derek and Derek’s men would never respect Stiles. They don’t work. Maybe…maybe this is all for the best. This way, Stiles doesn’t have to choose between the man he loves and the only family he’s ever known. It’s better this way because, if given that chance, he would choose Derek, he would always choose Derek. And that terrifies him.

“He’s gonna go in first. When I give you the signal, you send the men in. I want Derek arrested as well, the last thing he needs is Peter finding out he helped us,” Stiles says, turning away from Derek so that he can concentrate. He does his best to focus on the task at hand, on what needs to be done.

“Of course we’re going to arrest him, Derek is a criminal, a murderer!” Allison says indignantly, her words sandpaper against Stiles’ skin. Because that’s exactly what Stiles used to think, how he used to view the Dom. But he’s come to see Derek and his sisters for what they really are, who the really are. A wave of possessive rage washes over him at the prospect of Allison insulting them. He opens his mouth to argue with her and then catches himself. Now isn’t the time. He can get Derek and his sisters out of the mess he made, but only if he’s patient and tactical about it.

“Derek’s going to help us catch Peter, but only in exchange for amnesty on his part and that of his sisters. I already promised to keep them out of it, don’t make me go back on my word, Allison,” Stiles says, keeping his voice smooth and sure, as if this were always the plan.

“Stiles, you can’t do that. You don’t have the authority to do that,” she says, worried.

“I’m handing the LAPD the leader of the Blood Wolves. I think the least they could do is give me three pardons. It’s this or he walks! Please, Allison, Peter killed my father! We both know it was him. Don’t let him get away with that. Please…” Stiles’ voice breaks and Derek takes a step towards him, as if reacting to the Sub’s distress. On one hand, the action upsets Stiles, but on the other, it fills him with unimaginable warmth. For some godforsaken reason, a part of Derek still cares for him. And he clings to that, using it to arm himself, as if it were a shield he’s about to walk into battle with.

“Dammit, Stiles! How am I supposed to get you three pardons in half an hour?” she asks almost playfully. Stiles can’t help himself, he smiles. Yeah, maybe it wasn’t fair that he brought up his father, whom Allison was always very close to, but it worked. Derek and his sisters aren’t going to pay for the mistakes that Stiles made and, for that, he is eternally grateful.

“Just put Lydia on it. She could charm the Devil into handing over his horns,” Stiles says with a dry laugh. Allison chuckles, but Stiles can tell that she’s not entirely okay with this. And he doesn’t blame her. If, four months ago, someone had asked him to hand Derek Hale a pardon, he would have punched said person in the face and laughed his head off in utter disbelief. 

“Alright, Stiles. But…please be careful.”

“I will,” he says with a nod, even though she can’t see him.

“Call me when Derek’s in. I want you to stay out of the way. Let SWAT do their job. I know you were trained for these types of situations, but it’s dangerous and-”

“I’ll be fine, Ali,” Stiles says, rolling his eyes at her. She’s always been the mom of their friend group, doing her best to keep them all safe and happy. And Stiles loves her for it, but he can take care of himself…for the most part. “I’ll talk to you in a little while, okay?”

“Okay,” she says and then she’s gone. Stiles hangs up his phone and slips it into his pocket, exhaling so completely that his shoulders cave in relief. Derek and his sisters are going to be okay. Stiles’ mistake isn’t going to define the rest of their lives. They’ll be free of Peter, able to handle their family business the way they want to. They can be happy for the first time since their parents were killed. Cora and Luka, Laura and Ari, Derek and…

The thought of Derek with someone else guts Stiles. It’s a literal knife slicing him open and leaving him bloody. But he can’t not think about it. Because Derek deserves to be happy, he deserves someone amazing, someone who makes him smile. He deserves someone who feels like home. And that person isn’t Stiles, not anymore. Never again. Torturing himself, he pictures Derek with someone else, first a lovely woman with dark curls and brown eyes, then a gorgeous man with blond hair and blue eyes. Their faces and bodies change, but the hurt is the same. And still, he forces himself to accept every one as a possibility. Because Derek deserves an incredible Sub, someone loyal and strong, and Stiles is neither of those things.

“Pardons?” Derek asks as he moves to stand before Stiles, one eyebrow arched.

Stiles grits his teeth and lifts his gaze. The second he sees Derek’s face the urge to descend to his knees hits him like a tidal wave. The Dom’s expression is fierce, a mask of dominance. His muscles are coiled tight, shoulders curled around Stiles as if to shield him from the rest of the world. It almost looks like he cares…almost. But there’s a tension in his jaw, in his shoulders, that tells Stiles otherwise.

“Yeah, full pardons for you and your sisters. I told you I’d keep you out of this and I’m going to,” Stiles says with a curt nod, holding the Dom’s gaze. Derek studies his expression, as if he’s searching for the lie, for the half-truth. And Stiles doesn’t blame him. Derek has absolutely no reason to trust him. All Stiles has done is lie.

“Why should I believe you?” Derek asks tonelessly.

Heart in his throat, Stiles takes a step towards the Dom. Derek holds his ground, but Stiles doesn’t miss the slight twitch of his right hand toward his gun. The action sears him deep, causing guilt to bloom in his chest. He hates that Derek doesn’t trust him. Even after everything Stiles has done to save him, to save his sisters, the Dom is still wary. And he should be, were Stiles in his position, he would be too.

Stiles exhales, looking up at the Dom. He studies Derek’s face, the proud arch of his brows, his forest-green eyes, those lips…those lips Stiles could kiss for days. This is the man he loves, strong and beautiful. He’s never going to get over Derek. And he doesn’t really want to. His life was shit before the Dom and it will be shit after him. He’s not going to cling to the hope that he’ll find someone else because he doesn’t want anyone else. It’s Derek or no one. And he knows what that means, what will happen to him when Derek inevitably walks away. His body will fall apart, consuming itself. Maybe he’ll start shooting up again, desperate to stay alive, or maybe he’ll just let himself waste away. Either way, it doesn’t matter. What matters is Derek, Derek and his sisters. As long as they are safe, Stiles can deal, he’ll have to.

“I donno…” Stiles says finally, in awe of how easy it is to be honest with Derek. Yeah, he could lie, give Derek a reason to trust him, but the truth is, he doesn’t know why the Dom should listen to him. “You don’t have any reason to.”

Derek cocks his head to the side, eyeing Stiles like he doesn’t quite understand him, like he’s not sure what to think. “You’re right, I don’t have a reason to trust you…other than the fact that you saved my sisters, that you saved me.” He clears his throat, reaching his hand up to brush his jaw, brows furrowed. “Yeah, maybe that was a set up. Maybe this is all a fucking set up. But if it’s not, I get Peter out of my life and away from my sisters. And I’m willing to take that risk,” he says with a solemn nod.

Stiles isn’t sure what to think of his words. On one hand, it’s almost like he’s forgiving Stiles, or at least accepting that he did do some good in the midst of all the bad. But, on the other hand, it’s as if the Dom is taking Stiles out of the equation, as if he’s giving in because he has no other choice. And really, he doesn’t. If he wants his uncle put behind bars, this is the only way. It’s trust Stiles, or continue to live under a tyrant.

“Alright, I’m gonna give you ten minutes inside the building before I send the SWAT teams in. I will be at their back with Allison. We’re going to arrest you, that way Peter doesn’t know you were involved. I think that’s the best way to keep you and your sisters out of it. Once we are at the precinct, I’ll take you into an interrogation room and we’ll bring in your sisters. Then we’ll sort the rest out from there,” Stiles says, trying his best to sound detached, as if this were all just business. And he tells himself that it is, that this is just him doing his job, but really he knows better. “Sound good?”

To his surprise, when he lifts his head to meet Derek’s gaze, he finds the Dom glaring down at him, his eyes seething with rage. Stiles takes a precautionary step back, confused by Derek’s sudden change in temperament.

“No!” Derek growls low in his throat, advancing on Stiles until the Sub hits a wall, his back flush with the sheetrock. Derek places his hands on either side of Stiles, caging him in, locking him in place. The Sub lets out a little exhale, throat going dry. He’s not sure whether to be scared or turned on.

“No?” Stiles asks, worried. “We can-”

“If you think for one second I’m letting Peter anywhere near you, you’re fucking insane! I don’t want him looking at you. I don’t want him touching you. I don’t want him breathing the same air as you! Are we fucking clear?”

Chapter Text

Derek glares down at the boy, daring him to question the order, to say one fucking thing against it. He knows he shouldn’t care, that he should want to throw Stiles to the wolves. He should hate the boy…but he doesn’t.

No, he loves him.

He fucking loves him and maybe, maybe he always will. Derek can’t stop himself from wanting to protect the boy. The instinct is ingrained in him, etched on his bones, running through his veins. He doesn’t know how to turn it off or even if he wants to.

The thought of his boy, his beautiful baby boy, anywhere near Peter makes his skin itch and burn. A wave of protectiveness washes over him, tightening every muscle in his body. Unconsciously, he forms a human shield between Stiles and the rest of the world. No one touches what’s his, not without going through him first.

“Derek, I have to go,” Stiles says softly, taking Derek by surprise. He expected defiance, he expected Stiles to shove him away, to argue with him. Instead the boy is looking up at him, eyes wide, lips slightly parted, as if he’s waiting for something.

“No, you don’t,” Derek growls, cocking his head to the side. His voice sends a shiver down Stiles’ spine, pulling the air from his lungs. “You can stay here…where you’re safe…” He leans in, breath ghosting across Stiles’ neck. The boy lets out a tiny whimper. It’s barely a sound, almost inaudible, but it hits Derek like a bullet through the heart, shredding flesh and bone. He grits his teeth as his instincts rage, his chest swelling with the urge to protect, to hold. It overwhelms him until he can’t think straight, until Stiles is the only thing he can see, the very air that he breathes.  

“It’s my job,” Stiles says and though his words are defiant, his tone is passive, voice little more than a whisper. He drops his gaze, inclining his head in a beautifully submissive pose. It claws at Derek, demanding things of him, thing’s he’s not sure he’s willing to give.

“I don’t care. I don’t want you anywhere near him,” Derek says, so overcome by his instincts that he momentarily forgets his anger. All he can think about is what will happen to his boy if Peter gets his hands on him. Images of Stiles, strung up and bloody, haunt him. Peter would take out his hatred on every inch of Stiles’ gorgeous skin. He’d bruise, burn, and butcher until Stiles’ heart finally, mercifully, gave out. And he’d do it all out of jealousy, intent on punishing Derek for something he was born with, a variable he had no control over.

“I’m not letting you go alone,” Stiles murmurs, toying anxiously with his fingers. The action catches Derek’s gaze. He stares at the boy’s fingers, trying to memorize them, unsure whether or not he’ll ever see them like this again, feel them brush across his skin, smooth over his lips. The thought makes him ache in ways he didn’t think himself capable of.

“Yes, you are,” Derek says firmly, though it’s not a command. As much as he’d like to demand Stiles sit his ass down and watch cartoons for a few hours, Derek knows he doesn’t have that right anymore. Yes, Stiles signed his contract, but is that even his real name? Derek’s pretty sure that their contract is null and void seeing as the man standing before him isn’t the same one who stood with him on the beach. As far as Derek can tell, he signed a contract with a ghost, a mere fragment of Stiles. “You’re staying here where it’s safe…where I don’t have to worry about you…”

Stiles slowly lifts his gaze, his dark brows furrowed in confusion. His amber eyes are a mess of emotion, so much so that Derek can’t tell what he’s thinking, what he’s feeling. And it scares him. He’s used to being able to read Stiles, and now, suddenly, he can’t. He’s taken with a violent urge to lift Stiles into his arms, to hold the boy to his chest and comfort him, but he quickly quells it.

Derek’s aware that he’s overstepping his bounds here. Stiles isn’t his, maybe the boy never was. He has no right to be asking anything of him. But that knowledge doesn’t stop the instincts raging within him. Fuck, this is why he was wary of the boy in the first place. When it comes to Stiles, Derek has no control. Whatever the boy wants, Derek is helpless to provide. He lives for the boy’s teasing smiles, the rapid sarcasm that plays on his gorgeous lips. One look at him and all Derek wants to do is lay him down and kiss every inch of his skin, pulling soft whimpers from the boy.

Stiles has that much power over him. Even after everything, every lie the boy has told, Derek still feels the urge to move hell and earth for him. And that simple fact scares the shit out of him. Because Stiles has become such a part of him, the boy beating in his chest like a second heart. How is Derek supposed to survive without him? He’s not sure he can…

“Why do you care, Derek?” Stiles asks, a flicker of insolence burning in his eyes.

Derek grits his teeth, mulling it over. The truth is, he has no fucking idea why he cares. But that’s nothing new. With Stiles, it’s never been about the reasons why. It’s the way Derek feels when he’s with the boy. It’s the person Stiles makes him wan