Some nights Danny wondered if when he looked back at his time in high school if he'd remember this as the summer when he found out werewolves are real, or maybe even as the summer when he accidentally became an auxiliary member of the local werewolf pack. He had always planned on leaving Beacon Hills after he graduated high school; go to the east coast to attend the university of his choice and then settle in somewhere and do something revolutionary. That future seemed a little more unlikely than it had only a few weeks earlier, when he'd been only vaguely aware that some messed up shit was going down in the town and the school but had never made the leap to werewolves. Because, really, what sane person's first assumption was werewolves - except for Stilinski, who didn't exactly count as sane. Then again, Danny wasn't so sure he counted as sane anymore either.
The werewolves themselves were a little rough around the edges, wild and maybe even feral, but after Danny spent a month trying to stay alive while they weathered the attacks by the Alpha Pack he thought he understood why. There was something about standing in the woods in the dead of night - soaked in blood that wasn't all your own, holding an empty gun because at the very least it could be used as a blunt object and it was better than nothing at all - that changed a person, and not necessarily for the better.
Maybe it was because Danny had spent the last semester watching rest of the pack changing without understanding why that gave him the distance to see how they'd become different people in such a short space of time. Sure, their core personality attributes were still there, but never before would he have imagined watching Stilinski empty a gun into a man without flinching, Jackson turning back to pull a wounded pack member to safety without concern for his own welfare, or McCall using his claws to tear out the throat of an enemy without being bothered by the blood staining his hands. They had all changed from being regular high school students, Lydia and Allison included, and Danny knew he wasn't exempt from the conditioning that was turning him into something else. Human wasn't necessarily an indicator of normality any longer, and when Danny found himself staring out at the dancing bodies in the club without feeling anything except a pull to return to the pack he set aside his untouched drink and walked out.
As he drove across town he had the sneaking suspicion that when he'd pressed to find out what the hell was happening after Jackson miraculously rose from the dead he'd gotten himself involved in something that would redefine his life - and not just in that now when he watches Buffy and Supernatural he takes notes. There weren't any cars in the lot outside the abandoned train depot when he parked, but that doesn't mean there wasn't anyone around. The werewolves often came and went on foot - on paws? - and Danny had grown accustomed to Jackson appearing out of nowhere. Apparently as fun as the Porsche was, running at superhuman speeds was better. A few months ago the only reason Danny would have even thought to come out to the dying industrial section of town would have been for the occasional raves and underground parties. Now, walking down the steps into the dank and filthy train depot was as natural as coming home after school.
There was only one light on and Danny stepped out onto the cracked concrete floor with an itch in his fingers that made him wish for the safety of a gun in his hands. His guns, a pair of Smith and Wessons along with an assortment of wolfsbane bullets, were stored safely in the trunk of his car mostly because with the pants and shirt he's wearing there was no place for concealment. Danny didn't typically come into places the pack inhabited armed, though after the Alpha Pack fiasco Derek didn't object to the humans associated with the pack being armed to take down werewolves.
Danny edged around the puddle of light from the lamp that was run off the small generator they'd gotten running, moving as silently as possible as he identified the lone figure sitting in the light. It was Isaac, his chin tilted slightly up and his gaze unseeing as he stared out into the darkness that engulfed the rest of the train depot. The humans all knew better than to startle a werewolf, though given their enhanced senses it was rarely an issue, and Danny stepped slowly so that he was in Isaac's range of vision.
"Isaac? Are you okay?" Danny asked. There wasn't a place where he could be in the train depot and still be out of range if Isaac decided to attack, so he took a step closer. Isaac gave no indication that he was aware of Danny's presence and continued to sit almost frighteningly still. Within a few minutes Danny had approached so that he within a few feet of Isaac and he sat down.
"Isaac?" Danny asked again, his voice heavy with worry now. He knew Isaac about as well as he did most of the other werewolves in the pack; he knew them in passing as classmates and teammates and he'd shared the occasional meal and the slightly more frequent battle with them. Isaac had never been overly social with Danny, or with anyone outside of the core set of wolves that made up the pack, but Danny had found himself watching Isaac on more than one occasion. Most of the time Isaac would stand near Derek, his attention and movements attuned to the Alpha like an orchestra member to the conductor, but occasionally Isaac would stand to the side and seem to disappear into himself while the pack discussed the latest disaster.
Never before had Danny seen Isaac - or any of the werewolves - sit so rigidly and without awareness of his surroundings. There was a fine line of difference between a cataleptic and a catatonic state, a difference Danny could remember two months ago when he'd been taking his Advanced Placement Psychology exam, but at the moment all he could do was worry over how rigid Isaac's body was and how he could see the muscles in Isaac's arms standing out. He considered texting Derek, letting him know that something was wrong with one of the beta wolves, but footsteps on the stairs proved that unnecessary.
"What's wrong with him?" Danny asked, not having to turn to know it was Derek. The werewolves like to play with that, knowing who was at the door or carrying on conversations from rooms away, but that didn't mean Danny couldn't hold his own. His range was more limited, but that didn't mean he couldn't pay attention to the way people walked and held themselves, the way they breathed and they shifted.
"Nothing," Derek answered after a moment. "There's nothing wrong with him."
Danny turned and looked at Derek then. Werewolves also had a leg up on lie detecting, but again that didn't mean that Danny was stupid. "A werewolf thing or something else?" he asked. Jackson did that too, outright denial when he didn't want to think about something, and Danny had learned to push when it was important - like with werewolves and how the hell Jackson had died and come back to life.
"Something else," Derek admitted after a moment, frowning down at where Danny was sitting next to Isaac. "He comes out of it after a while. Just don't touch him."
"What happens if I touch him?" Danny asked. He hadn't been planning on it but obviously this wasn't the first time this had happened and Danny wanted to know more. Like he'd told Stiles and Scott when the whole werewolf thing had finally come out, the more information they could put together the better change they had a seeing patterns and coming up with solutions before people died or turned into lizards or whatever.
Derek sighed. "Sometimes nothing. Sometimes when I try to move him, he won't even respond. Sometimes he attacks. His claws don't do much harm to me, but you won't heal as easily."
Danny knew that much from experience; he had a set of still healing claw marks around his ankle from where he'd been grabbed and dragged across the forest floor by one of the Alpha Pack. The only reason he was still alive was because Allison was a really excellent shot with a crossbow and hadn't hesitated in aiming for the Alpha's head. "Why?" The question could be interpreted a lot of ways and Danny was just as interested in Derek's interpretation as he was in the answer.
"He's a member of my pack. I bit him," Derek replied - an evasion if Danny had ever heard one. "Will you stay a little longer? I was going to get dinner but I don't want to leave him alone in case someone shows up." Someone probably covered anyone from Hunters to cops to Peter Hale.
"I can stay," Danny said without looking at the time. His parents were used to him staying out late in the summer and they didn't ask many questions about where he'd been. They either thought they already knew or they didn't want to know about what Danny was doing with his nights. Danny would bet anything that werewolves had never crossed their minds.
Derek left without responding and Danny considered Isaac for a long handful of minutes, trying to organize his memories of Isaac as much as possible. He had vague flashes of Isaac on the lacrosse field and leaning against the lockers while the coach talked, and a sudden switch from overlarge hoodies to leather jackets with an attitude adjustment to match. There was something else, but try as he might Danny couldn't figure out what he was missing. Isaac still hadn't moved by the time Derek returned with a bag of takeout and Danny watched as Derek opened the cartons of Chinese and set them out one of the rough surfaces that passes as a table. Danny knew exactly how much food werewolves tended to consume and how without exception they threw themselves into eating with enthusiasm. Even Jackson, who had been ridiculously obsessive about what he ate, now ate whatever was within reach. Isaac didn't stir at the aroma of food, which must have been more intense for him than it was for Danny, and Danny's own stomach rumbled at the scent of chicken chow mein.
There was the hint of a smirk pulling at the corners of Derek's mouth as he passed over a carton and a pair of chop sticks without a word, and Danny took it. He wasn't about to object if Derek was going to feed him and they ate their late night meal in silence in the somewhat dank and dark not-so-abandoned train depot.
Derek stood and dusted off his pants, gathering the trash into a bag and putting the remaining food into a battered blue cooler. "You should go, it's late."
Danny pushed himself to his feet. "What about Isaac?" When Derek only raised his eyebrows in response, Danny sighed - it was uncanny how alike Derek and Jackson were when they were being stubborn and obtuse on purpose. "Will he be okay?"
"He's fine," Derek said, his jaw tightening in a way that Danny had already learned meant the end of discussion on a topic. Usually that was right before Derek walked out of a meeting and Danny was smart enough to know when to stop pushing an issue before claws and fangs made an appearance.
"Goodnight," Danny said, walking away toward the stairs. He looked back when he reached the first step and watched as Derek picked up Isaac and carried him into the subway car. Isaac didn't protest to being picked up by under his arms, or even react, and his body remained in the same stiff position as Derek set him down on the mattress at the back of the subway car. Danny shivered and hurried up the stairs and out to his car, disturbed for reasons he couldn't quite name.
His sleep was uneasy that night, and not because he was waiting for a member of the Alpha Pack to show up at his window or remembering the sound of growls and gunfire echoing in the woods. In the morning, as he ate breakfast with his parents and his brother Nathan who was home for the summer, he caught his mom and dad exchanging significant glances. Neither of them said anything about Danny coming home in the middle of the night and his mom just waved and told him to be home for dinner when Danny said that he was going to go meet up with Jackson.
Twenty minutes later he was at the meet up spot in the woods, the same place they went most days for training, and Isaac was gathered with the rest of the beta wolves as they considered the training course Derek and Stiles had set up for them. The wolves took off at Derek's command, Stiles, Allison, and Lydia gathering their gear as they got set to take their positions as fake Hunters and distractions, and Danny had a brief moment where he wondered if the previous night had happened at all.
"Danny, let's go," Lydia called, holding a quiver of arrows in his direction.
Danny accepted the quiver and the bow without argument - he'd only been learning to shoot for the past few weeks and knew that the chances of him actually hitting any of the wolves were pretty low. For this task that was okay, they were mostly there to provide people to dodge from and Stiles had been extremely apologetic last week when he'd caught Boyd in the calf with an arrow. The rest of them had just been surprised considering Stiles was fairly proficient with a gun but still struggled with basic bow skills.
From his perch in a tree Danny watched as the betas came tearing through the foliage, neatly dodging the volley of arrows he and Lydia were sending their way. Isaac leapt and bounded as nimbly as the other werewolves, dropping to his hands as he took a sharp corner and Danny stared at the now empty space where Isaac had just been. The trees stopped rustling as the woods returned to the near quiet that followed a pack of wolves racing through and Danny dropped back to the ground struck with the mental image of Isaac frozen in place with Hunters watching from the trees.
Jackson settled into the lounge chair next to Danny's and fussed with the label on his own bottle of beer before responding. "I brought you a beer instead of making you get your lazy ass up to go get it, what more do you want?" he asked with hardly a glance in Danny's direction as he considered his long bare legs stretched out in front of him.
Danny was reasonably certain that Jackson and Erica had tagged along with Lydia the last time she'd gone to get a pedicure - there was something exceedingly odd about werewolves with neatly manicured feet. Maybe even odder than the fact that it was his best friend who was one of the werewolves in question. He quickly returned his eyes to Jackson's expansive backyard, not wanting to seem like he was checking out Jackson's legs. Danny was pretty sure the only reason Jackson still occasionally hit on him was because Danny turned him down each time without fail. It wasn't that Jackson wasn't attractive but when they were fifteen Danny had stuck to his guns about not being Jackson's gay experiment and ruining their friendship as a result. Instead he'd taken Jackson down to the local club, kept an eye out while Jackson made out with a variety of guys, and had rolled his eyes when Jackson had proclaimed "Guys are alright, but I prefer someone with breasts".
"Out with it," Jackson said, drawing Danny from his thoughts.
"What?" Danny asked, looking over to find Jackson watching him with an expression of smug contemplation.
Jackson rolled his eyes. "Who is it this time? You only stop checking me out when you have the hots for someone, so spill.
"I don't," Danny said, waving his free hand in a gesture as casual as he could make it.
"You realize that I can literally hear your heartbeat speed up when you lie?" Jackson smirked and then frowned suddenly. "Just tell me it's not Stilinski or McCall. I have to hang out with those losers enough as it is without you dating one of them too."
It was Danny's turn to roll his eyes and sigh. "It's not Stilinski or McCall," he said before he quickly occupied his mouth with his bottle of beer. Not that he would have anything against going out with either of them, but McCall lived and breathed for Allison Argent and Stilinski was still stumbling his way out of the bi-sexual closet.
"Uh huh," Jackson said thoughtfully. "Which means it's one of the pack, because you haven't smelled like a club for weeks now."
"You know it's really creepy to essentially stalk me by using my scent and heartbeat, right?" Danny asked. He briefly considered cautioning Jackson against pulling that on Lydia but he kind of wanted to see if she'd stick Jackson in a literal dog house now that he fit the bill.
Jackson was undeterred. "Not Boyd - you don't steal people's boyfriends even though you totally could. Derek is hot, in that scary-sexy way, but I think you might be out of luck there. I'm pretty sure Derek doesn't date - the most you could probably hope for is a rough fuck against his Camaro."
Danny took a second to push that mental image out of his head because it was somehow thrilling and terrifying at the same time. Though, it was interesting that Jackson had been the one to suggest that Derek was scary-sexy and Danny had a sudden flash of insight into Jackson's bizarre reactions to Derek. "Not Derek," he said finally, setting aside his half empty bottle and staring resolutely into the darkening sky.
"Isaac," Jackson said suddenly and Danny's slight jolt was the only answer either of them needed. "Could be worse, I guess. He's kind of attractive. Tall."
Danny's lips parted in shock and he shifted so that he could see Jackson. Jackson had never approved of anyone Danny had dated, or had even talked about liking. In retrospect, Damian had been a totally douche just like Jackson had said, but at the time Danny had thought that Jackson was just jealous of anyone who Danny expressed interest in. From Jackson "could be worse" was practically an enthusiastic blessing.
He sighed and scratched the back of his neck. "Doesn't really matter, does it," he said, because once again he'd fallen for someone he stood no chance with. He had spent the last two weeks watching Isaac and by the time he realized that he was waiting to catch Isaac's small smiles it was too late. "He probably doesn't even like guys."
"He'd be stupid not to want you," Jackson said with a nod. "That's not going to be a problem."
Danny shook his head and let his hand find his beer again, watching stars pop into place in the night sky. Jackson was a pain in the ass sometimes but he was a good friend.
"Which is why making out with guys is not as bad of an idea as it seems at first," Jackson concluded with a nod. "Really, you should give it a try sometime."
Danny gave a silent prayer that the floor of the woods would open up and swallow him whole. Jackson had spent the last ten minutes as they walked the southeastern edge of the Hale Pack borders to re-mark the territory lines by scent explaining about how he was attracted to some guys and how their strong hands were really fantastic in the right circumstances; Danny had spent the last ten minutes looking as far away from Isaac as he possibly could. If this was Jackson's idea of subtly finding out if Isaac was at all interested in guys, well Danny was going to have to give Jackson a firm re-education on what subtle meant.
"What about you?" Jackson asked Isaac, his voice loud in the mid-morning woods. "Would you make out with a guy?"
Danny was going to murder Jackson, it was now officially on his to-do list, but even so he couldn't help but glance over to where Isaac was lagging slightly behind.
Isaac's gaze was directed down and either he'd picked up a light sunburn or he was blushing. "I," he paused and looked over, neatly avoiding Danny's gaze, "I would. If it was the right guy."
The worst part was that both Isaac and Jackson could probably hear the little jump his heart gave at learning that Isaac wasn't exclusively heterosexual. Of course, the right guy didn't necessarily mean Danny, but at least he wasn't out of the running entirely.
"Didn't think you would be," Jackson said with a knowing smile in Danny's direction. "Hey, I'm going to run ahead, I've got things to do today. Isaac, you'll stay with Danny, right? Make sure he gets out of the woods in one piece?"
Isaac had barely finished saying "sure" when Jackson gave Danny a barely discrete thumbs up and a not-at-all discrete wink before he dashed off into the woods on all fours.
"I'm going to kill him," Danny said faintly; it was the first thing he'd said out loud in at least fifteen minutes.
"Well, refreshing the territory lines isn't exactly the most glamorous task," Isaac said as he traced his hand along the trunk of a nearby tree.
They didn't really have to touch things as they went, just passing through would leave enough scent to declare that Beacon Hills belonged to the Hales, but every werewolf Danny had gone with on this task had almost absently touched anything within reach of their path. "Sorry about, you know," Danny said finally, deciding it was more awkward to leave Jackson's little speech unmentioned than it was to just deal with it.
Isaac shrugged and turned around so that he was walking backward and facing Danny. "No big deal. Erica and Stiles go off on the weirdest tangents sometimes. The other day Stiles spent twenty minutes telling me about the benefits and drawbacks of socks. You kind of get used to it when you hang out with the pack."
Danny let out a slow breath, trying to decide if that meant Isaac had actually been blissfully unaware of Jackson's true purpose behind his little speech. Unfortunately Isaac dashed any hopes of that a moment later.
"You never know though, who someone likes, until you ask. Right?" Isaac asked, waiting for Danny to nod. "You mostly like guys, yeah?"
"Yeah," Danny said, his throat feeling a little dry. "Sometimes I think a girl is attractive, but I still don't really want to do anything with her."
Isaac nodded thoughtfully. "I've liked girls, but I've never really done anything about it."
"And guys?" Danny asked, hoping that his heartbeat wasn't as loud to Isaac as it felt to him.
"I've liked a few guys. The way they look, sometimes, or how they move. How they act. Never really done anything about that either," Isaac admitted, twisting around so he was facing forward again. "Not really sure what to do about that."
"Yeah," Danny agreed again, mentally face-palming and begging his mind to come out with something that actually might indicate that he liked Isaac without being utterly stupid about it. "Do you want to go get something to drink when we're done here? There's a coffee shop that's not too far from the edge of town, they make these really incredible danishes and we could talk, or something." He trailed off a little bit by the end, but for the most part when he played it back in his head it didn't sound too terrible.
Isaac looked back over his shoulder, seeming to consider Danny for a moment. "Yeah, okay. That sounds good."
"Great," Danny said. He smiled - watching the corners of Isaac's mouth pull up in the brightest smile he had seen from Isaac so far - and he considered killing Jackson slightly less when he got his hands on him.
If Danny noticed that Isaac had started to gravitate towards him when they hung out as a pack, well, he tried not to read too much into it. Being friends with Isaac wouldn't be a bad thing and while Danny was popular at school he wasn't really close with many people. He and Isaac spent a lot their time together talking about werewolves and the insanity that had invaded their lives, but also about mundane things like the classes they hated the most and lacrosse. It was nice to have people - werewolves - to spent time with, and making a tentative connection with Isaac only reinforced how alone Danny had felt those last few weeks of the school year.
The more Danny learned about Isaac, the more he was intrigued. Isaac had a dry sense of humor that it took Danny a while to get, and he found himself grinning when Isaac would make a quiet joke disguised as a comment that no one else seemed to understand. Isaac wasn't looking forward to going back to school in the fall at all and didn't have any firm plans about college or what he was going to do after he graduated. Isaac preferred Spiderman to Batman but would pick the comics of either over the movies any day.
Danny collected these tidbits about Isaac and shared his own in return, telling Isaac about the computer programming that he did, and why goalie was his favorite position on the field, and about his parents and how he knew they cared but they never really seemed to see him. Isaac listened and asked questions and generally seemed interested, except for when Danny started talking about family. The first time Isaac quickly changed the subject, Danny had shrugged it off and followed Isaac to check on some tracks he'd seen in the dirt, but it didn't take long to realize that Isaac shied away from the topic every time Danny brought it up.
"Do you want me to drop you at home after you pick up your stuff?" Danny asked as he drove Isaac back to the train depot. It was late, past midnight, but they were one night past the full moon and no one was dead; Danny was going to call it a win. They all looked a little worse for wear and Isaac had been half asleep in the passenger seat while Danny drove. At least he had been until Danny had spoken, now his eyes were wide open even though he was studiously examining his hands instead of looking at Danny.
"I live with Derek," Isaac said after a long moment of uncomfortable silence.
"Oh," Danny said. He'd seen Isaac stay the night in the train depot, just as he'd seen all of the werewolves camp down there on occasion, and had thought that Isaac had simply preferred to be with the pack during the summer. "Okay," he added after a moment, hoping that Isaac would clarify why he lived with Derek.
Isaac scrambled out of Danny's car and hurried to the entrance of the train depot as soon as Danny reached the parking lot, the passenger door closing before Danny could even say goodbye.
"Goodnight," he said to the empty space, hoping that Isaac was listening. "I'll see you tomorrow."
By the time Danny parked his car in the driveway he had a sinking realization that he knew something about Isaac that he hadn't been told, something from before he'd ever really even known Isaac. A quick search of the local news in the last year provided the details almost immediately: Isaac's dad had been murdered in the late winter. Danny remembered that now, the rumors that had cropped up for a few weeks about how Isaac had murdered his dad and had been taken away by the police and was a fugitive. At the time Danny remembered thinking it was pretty tasteless for the lacrosse team to make jokes about that, considering that Isaac was on the lacrosse team, but overall he hadn't paid too much attention and people found something else to talk about soon enough.
Danny clicked on the article out of reflex and felt his stomach sink at the description of the murder. Mysterious circumstances, the body being practically ripped apart, no firm leads on how the murder had been committed - before the start of the summer it would have just seemed weird. Now it practically screamed werewolves. Danny weighed that in his mind for a moment, remembering how vicious the werewolves had been in the nights leading up to the full moon and how they had bit and scratched each other until there was blood mixing with the dirt of the forest. He checked the date of the murder, and then a full moon chart for the year; it was like adding two and two and getting four, and Danny sat for a long time with the conclusion that he'd reached.
Danny followed Stiles and Scott out to Stiles' jeep and they set off down the road. It took fifteen minutes to drive to the other side of the nature preserve and Stiles chatted to Scott about something or another the whole way there. Danny barely noticed, asking himself for the dozenth time if this was something he really needed to know. He could picture it in his mind, Isaac leaping too quickly to be seen, his claws slashing through his father's stomach and his teeth tearing through the soft skin of his throat. Having watched one of the Alpha Pack kill a Hunter in the exact same way probably hadn't helped Danny's imagination in this regard.
"So, what's shaking?" Stiles asked once they were well into the woods.
"What?" Danny asked as soon as he realized Stiles was speaking to him and not Scott.
Stiles exchanged glances with Scott. "Well, usually you go with Jackson or Isaac, so we figured that meant you had something you wanted to ask us," Stiles explained, Scott nodding along.
Danny had picked to go along with Scott and Stiles for a few reasons. They were the ones who had been involved with werewolves the longest - except for Derek - and were the most likely to know the truth. They were also the most likely to tell him the truth if he asked. "Did Isaac kill his father?" Danny asked, forcing the words past the lump in his throat.
Scott jolted to a stop and stared at Danny while Stiles tripped over an exposed tree root. Once Stiles was back on his feet he stared at Danny too.
"I know he wouldn't have meant to do it. It was probably right after he'd been bitten, right?" Danny reasoned. He had seen Jackson lose control a few days ago; Jackson had only stopped once Derek had dragged him away from the pack and growled so loud it seemed to shake the very earth around them. If Derek hadn't been around when Isaac lost control it was easy to see how it could have happened.
"It was shortly after Isaac was bitten," Scott said slowly as if weighing his words, "but Isaac didn't kill his father."
Danny frowned and tried to rewrite his mental scenario of what had happened. "Then who did? From the coroner's report it didn't look like anything a human would do unless they were consciously emulating a werewolf."
"You hacked the coroner's database?" Stiles asked, sounding somewhere between scandalized and impressed.
Danny shrugged; he had actually hacked into the Sheriff Department's database, but he probably shouldn't tell Stiles that.
"It was Jackson," Scott said and motioned to them to keep walking through the woods. "Well, Jackson as the Kanima."
"Well, more like it was Matt using Jackson as a murder weapon," Stiles added. "Jackson didn't really have any say in who he was killing."
Jackson had explained to Danny a little bit about being something else for a while before he became a werewolf, but he had refused the elaborate any further than the fact that he hadn't been in control and that's why he'd been acting so weird during the Spring. Jackson hadn't said anything about being used as a murder weapon, but it actually explained a fair amount about Jackson's behavior the past few months.
Danny resolved to keep an eye on Jackson in general - being there for Jackson usually meant keeping him from becoming overtly self destructive since having a heart-to-heart conversation with him was typically counterproductive. Though, maybe he would have to revisit the 'hey, you know you can tell me things' conversation with Jackson. "Matt? With the camera? Who killed himself a few weeks before the lacrosse championship?" Danny asked, not quite daring not to believe what he was being told after everything he'd seen recently.
"A Hunter killed him in order to gain control over Jackson, but other than that, yes, that Matt." Stiles scowled and then muttered, "freaking psychopath."
"But why would Matt want to kill Isaac's dad? Or anyone at all?" Danny asked as he tried to reason it all out. He knew that Matt had been implicated in the murders but he'd never realized that the werewolf population of the town had anything to do with it.
Stiles and Scott were giving each other significant looks again, but it was Scott who finally spoke. "You like Isaac, right? You guys are going out?"
Danny wasn't sure that they were 'going out' just yet, but he was definitely interested. "I like him," he said, suddenly realizing that this was actually easier with Jackson, when Jackson had just assumed and Danny never had to say it out loud.
"Then you should probably know that Isaac's dad wasn't the nicest guy out there. Matt killed Mr. Lahey because after Isaac's older brother and some other kids almost drowned Matt, Mr. Lahey threatened him to keep quiet about it," Stiles explained, his mouth twisting with distaste.
"Oh," Danny said faintly, trying to work his mind around that.
"He was hurting Isaac," Scott said abruptly. "Like, really hurting him. There was a freezer in their basement and he would lock Isaac inside to punish him. I saw the freezer."
Danny felt his chest constrict suddenly and almost wished they'd just told him that Isaac had lost control before the full moon and had accidentally killed his father. That would have been easier to hear. Even though it was mid-summer and the heat had worked its way through the trees to the floor of the woods, Danny felt chilled and heartsick.
"We probably should have let Isaac tell you that, but pretty much everyone else knows," Stiles said and then sighed. "But, basically, this is us trying to tell you that if you're not actually interested in Isaac you should probably back off. The last thing we need is another emotionally distraught werewolf running around this town. And, Derek will possibly kill you if you mess around with one of his pack."
"What Stiles is trying to say is that Isaac's our friend," Scott glared when Stiles huffed and shook his head slightly, "and we don't want to see him get hurt."
"Right," Danny said, running a hand through his hair as he looked out at the trees surrounding them. A five minute walk through the woods was really not enough time to process everything from 'your best friend was being used as a murder weapon' to 'the guy you like was abused by his father'. "Does this whole werewolf thing get any easier?" Danny asked after a another minute or two.
"Not really," Stiles said at the exact same time that Scott said, "Kind of." They stared at each other, visibly surprised by each other's answers.
Danny laughed, mostly because if he didn't he was probably just going to sit down at the base of a tree and not get back up again for a while. "I'll keep that in mind."
"Things are actually pretty good right now," Stiles said. "No one has tried to kill us in, what, two weeks? Must be a record."
Danny was about to reply that it hadn't quite been two full weeks since the last time they'd been shot at but Scott stopped suddenly and threw out his hands.
"Don't move, either of you," Scott instructed.
Stiles and Danny froze and looked around slowly for whatever had put Scott on alert. "Scott, whatcha doing?" Stiles asked when Scott started carefully edging to the side.
Scott didn't reply, following something only he could sense, and a moment later a loud metallic click caused both Stiles and Danny to jolt in surprise. "Okay, I think we can move now, but be careful," Scott said from a few yards away.
Danny joined Scott and stared down at what looked like a some kind of horrific metal trap had been set off, a broken stick caught in the teeth. "I think we can be pretty sure that the Hunters have been around," Danny said as he followed a trip wire back towards the path and looked up to find a net strung in the trees.
"I could smell the wolfsbane. This teeth on this trap are coated with it," Scott said as he stood up.
"We should probably go. If the trap is meant to keep a werewolf here, Hunters are probably checking them and I don't think we want to be around when they show up," Stiles shoved his hands in his pockets and looked around the trees with suspicion. "Does this reset our Days Where We Didn't Almost Die counter back to zero?"
"He actually has one on his desk," Scott told Danny as they walked back to where Stiles had parked the jeep.
Stiles nodded emphatically. "And I've never even had to make a second card with the number three on it, because we've never made it past a month."
"We had a little celebration when we finally broke into the double digits," Scott added.
Danny nodded absently as he listened to their banter, his thoughts already circling back around to Isaac and Jackson as he shivered slightly in the summer heat.
He checked his phone again and watched as the time flipped over to 6:15 with still no messages, and after a moment of internal debate about whether or not he was being stupid about this, he typed out a text to Isaac asking if he was going to be late. Hitting send before he could stop himself, Danny shoved his phone in his pocket and tried not to worry too much. One of the reasons Damian had cited when he and Danny had broken up was that Danny was supposedly neurotic and controlling. Danny didn't think that was true, he just didn't like being late for things, but the words still came back to him at the most inopportune moments. "There's probably just some werewolf stuff going down," he told himself, and then started worrying for an entirely different reason.
His guns were stowed in the trunk of the car, carefully tucked in with the spare tire so if he got pulled over speeding to the latest crisis it wouldn't be immediately obvious he was carrying unlicensed weapons. Danny had some serious envy over the trunk of the Winchester's Impala and on multiple occasions had considered getting together with Lydia, Stiles, and Boyd to figure out if they could engineer something similar for their own cars. Before Danny could work himself into enough of a panic that he went back to his car to arm himself, his phone buzzed with a new message.
'Com 2 teh den', the text read, and Danny jogged down the block to his car immediately. The message had come from Isaac's phone, but that wasn't Isaac's texting style at all. Isaac preferred to spell out words and use punctuation and add odd little smilies at the end of his messages. Sometimes Danny couldn't figure out what the smilies were supposed to be representing but they always made him smile anyway. Traffic eased up as soon as he hit the industrial area of the town, the main drag mostly vacant buildings of businesses that had gone under a few years back. The train depot had been a functional for maybe ten years before the trains stopped coming and local government gave up and let everyone use the interstate to get into the city.
Danny parked without any consideration for the parking spaces that were now just faded and broken lines and took an extra minute to arm himself before he hurried down into the train depot, wondering for the dozenth time what had possessed Derek to think that this was an awesome place to hang out for long periods of time. Sure, it kind of had a bat cave feel to it, but Danny was having some serious reconsiderations on whether or not the bat cave would actually be a comfortable place to hang out and plan for the next disaster. "Beacon Hills is not Gotham City," Danny told himself as he descended the last few steps and looked around for the latest emergency.
"Damn straight," Erica said, flipping her hair over her shoulder as she turned to raise her eyebrows in Danny's direction. "We do a way better job of not destroying the city in the process of saving it."
"Except the school," Boyd added.
"Except the school," Erica agreed. Neither of them looked too broken up about that. She held up Isaac's phone and waved Danny over. "We didn't realize you guys had plans or we would have texted you sooner."
Danny walked to where Erica and Boyd were gathered, Boyd sitting on a set of crumbling stairs that went nowhere, Erica on a chair without legs that she'd probably dragged out of one of the train cars, and Isaac on the floor next to the wall. Isaac was staring straight ahead, his arms folded around his chest with his hands clenched so tightly the skin stretched over his knuckles looked ready to break. He gave no indication that he was even aware of Danny's arrival.
"Fries?" Erica asked, holding a crumpled paper bag with grease spots in Danny's direction.
With a glance around the train station, a shift in the shadows near the main subway car letting him know that Derek was lurking around, Danny sat down on the floor next to Isaac and accepted the offering of food. "How long has he been like this?" he asked quietly. This was the first time he'd seen Isaac frozen and unresponsive since that night in the train depot a few weeks ago and Danny had almost started to believe it was a fluke.
"Do you mean today or in general?" Erica asked, reaching over to steal one of the fries she'd just given to Danny.
"We found him like this about an hour ago," Boyd answered without waiting for Danny's response. "Usually he comes back in a few hours, sometimes sooner. Never longer than a whole night."
Danny was on the verge of asking why again but he already had some suspicions. He'e done some reading about catatonia and none of what he'd found had been comforting, particularly since there was literally no research to be found on the manifestation of mental illness among werewolves. It was difficult to say without having known Isaac for longer, and Danny wasn't a diagnostic clinician by any means, but he was leaning towards Isaac's catatonia as being a faucet of post-traumatic stress disorder. There were definitely other possibilities, but post-traumatic stress made an unfortunate amount of sense given what he knew about Isaac.
"Here, newcomer deals," Erica said.
"What?" Danny asked, turning away from Isaac to find a pack of cards thrust in his face. He accepted the cards and started shuffling. "What are we playing?" he asked, watched the cards neatly slide together against his thigh.
"Go Fish," Boyd said, unperturbed by Danny's raised eyebrows.
Erica gave an exaggerated pout. "Being a werewolf takes all the fun out of poker. Or any game that requires bluffing."
Danny looked at the pair of werewolves and tapped his fingers against the deck of cards. "When we're all 21 we're going to Vegas and making a fortune. Lydia, Jackson, and I taught ourselves card counting last summer. Between your enhanced abilities and our card skills, we could clean out a small casino."
Erica's answering grin was bright and even Boyd looked noticeably intrigued. "Deal. We'll work on our awesome cheating skills later."
"On it," Danny said, quickly dealing five cards to each of them and looking over his own hand. "Boyd, do you have any nines?"
"Go Fish," Boyd answered, his own cards sitting in his lap as he dug into one of the bags of burgers.
They played two rounds of Go Fish before Danny taught them the version of Gin Rummy he played every time he was visiting his cousins - he wasn't stupid enough to suggest they play War and they needed four players for Scum or Hearts. He was mulling over his cards, trying to make two runs and a set appear out of a hand that emphatically did not want to be anything at all, when Erica lightly kicked his leg.
"It's not my turn," Danny said without looking up.
"Yeah, but stop looking at him like that," Erica said, her toes bumping his shin once more.
Danny blinked as he realized he had been watching Isaac, looking for some sign that he could hear them or that he was at all aware of where he was. "Like what?" Danny asked. He was pretty sure he hadn't been looking at Isaac like he would look at a hot guy he'd seen from across the dance floor and he wasn't sure what other type of look she might object to.
"Like you think he's breakable," Erica said, her tone sharper than it had been earlier in the evening. "He's fine."
"He's completely unresponsive!" Danny protested. "How is that fine?"
"He'll come back when he's ready," Boyd said, discarding and resettling the cards in his hand.
"Isaac's just like everyone else in the pack; a little bit crazy and damaged, but still putting one foot in front of the other. That's all there is to it," Erica said, quickly grabbing the card Boyd had just discarded before Danny could protest that he wanted that card. "Boyd and I spent the last month of school being held captive by a pack of Alpha werewolves, Jackson's so dysfunctional he turned into a lizard, Allison can't decide if she's homicidal this week or not, and Lydia hasn't slept a full night since the Winter Formal. None of our parents seem to notice or care that we're out at all hours of the night. Scott still likes to pretend he isn't a werewolf, Stiles doesn't seem to realize that he can't do the things we can do and is going to wind up dead before he gets the message, and Derek can't communicate something to us even to save his own life or maybe especially to save his own life."
A small crash from across the den let them all know that Derek was actually listening to their conversation. Danny felt his lips twitch as Erica smirked and the left side of Boyd's mouth quirked up.
"But my point is, we're all a little screwed up. We wouldn't be here if we weren't," Erica finished, discarding a card. "Now it's your turn."
Danny drew a card from the deck and looked down at his hand. What Erica said made a certain amount of sense, most people didn't up and join a werewolf pack just for fun, but what did that say about him? Danny didn't think he was messed up in any obvious way, not like the ones she had listed, but he was still there in the abandoned train depot playing card games with werewolves. He shoved the card he'd just picked up behind a pair of eights and discarded an ace - if he was going to lose he might as well get rid of the cards that would do him the most damage.
They finished the game about ten minutes later, Boyd neatly tallying their scores while Erica shoved her mess of cards onto the discard pile. Danny stretched his shoulders and jumped slightly when he found Isaac watching him, his eyes blinking and alert. "Hey," Danny said quietly, watching as Isaac found his bearings.
"We gave Danny one of your burgers," Erica said as she pushed one of the remaining bags of food in Isaac's direction. "And some of your fries. It's your turn to deal. We can play Hand and Foot if you want, there's enough of us."
Isaac ran his fingers lightly over the crumpled paper of the bag and peered around the train depot before looking at Danny again. "It's late?" he asked, his voice rough.
Danny checked his phone. "Almost nine, not too late."
"Okay." Isaac nodded uncertainly and pushed the bag to the side, gathering up the cards and shuffling them with the speed and precision that came with being a werewolf. "Hand and Foot? Me and you against those two?"
"Always," Danny said. The smile he gave Isaac wasn't quite forced, and he thought the one he got in return wasn't either.
"What do you want to do now?" Isaac asked as he set to breaking off pieces of the spoon and neatly tossing them into his empty cup.
They had gone to the sporting goods store already, looking at lacrosse gear and Danny muttering about how they should make pads designed to worn when playing with werewolves. Isaac had just shrugged and pointed out that generally the other teams bore the brunt of lacrosse-related werewolf inflicted violence. "Most of the time," he'd added with a sly smile.
"Want to just walk around the mall for a bit?" Danny asked, collecting their trash on a tray and suddenly realizing that in two weeks they'd be back to eating lunch in the cafeteria at school. Usually summers seemed to stretch on forever, but this summer felt like it had passed by in a flash of revelations and violence.
Isaac nodded and they stood in unison. It was easy to set a casual pace, wandering by stores and commenting on what they saw in the windows. Danny noticed that they got a second glance every now and then, even though it wasn't really obvious they were anything more than friends hanging out at the mall, and he noticed that Isaac was just as aware of the glances.
They were standing in front of a window display of video games, pointing out what was supposed to be good and the upcoming releases that were being heavily advertised, when Isaac suddenly said "Boyd and Erica think we're dating."
Danny felt his mouth open and he closed it without saying anything. He and Isaac had been hanging out more and more as the summer went by, they'd ate meals together and gone to the movies, and even went to the club together twice. The second time Danny hadn't realized his ex was there until they were on their way out, and the look Damian had given them had said plenty. This wasn't like the other times Danny had dated, they hadn't even kissed yet and each time their hands brushed they skittered away like they'd just touched a live wire. Danny had spent the last few weeks telling himself that Isaac was just a friend and that Isaac could even be bi without liking him like that.
"Like, not joking either," Isaac continued after a long silence. "Erica asked me to ask you if we wanted to do a double date thing with her and Boyd."
"We could be dating," Danny hedged, feeling his stomach twist a little. Everyone he'd dated before he'd met at the clubs, people who had very obviously been into him. People who'd seen him on the dance floor and liked what they saw. He was pretty sure he'd never seen Isaac look at him like that. "If you wanted to."
Isaac shoved his hands in his pockets. "I was kinda hoping that we were," he said, looking ready to bolt. "Like, we've been going out on dates, right? Either that or I'm just completely stupid."
"You're not," Danny said quickly, his hand on Isaac's wrist before he thought about what he was doing. Isaac's skin was hot beneath his fingers and he blinked and took an unsteady breath. "You're not stupid."
"So, we're dating?" Isaac asked, a note of uncertainty in his voice even as he met Danny's gaze.
"Yeah, we're dating," Danny said, feeling a grin break out on his face in response to the bright smile Isaac was giving him. It felt like the world shifted around them for that moment, they were just two ordinary teenagers in the mall on a Friday with nothing threatening them and the only thing looming was the start of school.
Isaac slipped his hand out of his pocket, twisting it around until his hand was intertwined with Danny's, and they stood for a moment getting used to the surprisingly intimate contact. "Want to walk down to the chocolate shop?" Isaac asked when they were both steady.
There was a lot of things Danny wanted to say, or that he felt he should say. A warning about how things were going to be weird at school if Isaac came out as bi, or how things were going to be weird even if Isaac didn't come out. It was one thing to be out at school, and still another to be out and actively dating another guy at the same school. It wasn't something Danny had done before and he wondered if people were going to be as cool about it when the proof was right in front of them. He wanted to ask if this was going to make things weird with the pack, but he thought he already knew how everyone was going to react. "Sure, let's go," was all Danny wound up saying. He figured the rest would come in time.
They got a few more looks now that they were holding hands, but Isaac seemed unperturbed and Isaac's smile kept Danny's heart soaring for the rest of the day.
"They're still coming," Isaac whispered after glancing back the way they'd came.
Danny didn't have enough spare energy to answer and simply sucked in another pained breath as they raced out of the trees. They were on the south side of the industrial area, warehouses lined in tidy rows; fortunately on a late Saturday night there was no one to be found. He slowed to a brisk walk and looked around. They couldn't go back into the woods, but standing out in the open wasn't an option either. "There," he said after a moment, pointing to where a loading bay door had been left open at the bottom.
Isaac glanced back at the woods and then nodded and they took off toward the fence that separated the paved road from the edge of the wilderness.
There was barbed wire at the top of the fence and Danny decided that he needed to petition the Mythbusters on ways to climb over it without getting torn to shreds - he wasn't looking forward to testing the theory that simply throwing his jacket over the top would make an effective barrier. A snapping noise drew Danny's attention to the bottom of the fence and he watched as Isaac clawed through the chain link in a straight line.
"Good enough," Danny whispered when there was a flap big enough they could squeeze through, and he let Isaac hold the fence open for him because if worse came to worse Isaac was the one would could actually scaled the fence without being seriously hurt. Danny held his thigh holster down as he made his way through the hole, trying to keep from getting snagged on any sharp edges that would slow them down. Isaac wiggled through the fence moments after Danny was on his feet and they took off running on the asphalt. The brief break had given Danny time to catch his breath a little and he felt like he ought to thank the Coach for making them do suicide runs for practice. Without lacrosse training Danny was pretty sure he'd be back somewhere in the woods hiding and praying not to be found.
They leapt up onto the narrow concrete platform and Danny slid through the opening into the warehouse on his back, Isaac following a second later on his stomach. It was dark in the warehouse, darker than outside where they'd had the moon and the stars, and the air was several degrees cooler. Danny shivered as he stood and stepped away from the entrance, Isaac's hand on his arm only seconds later.
"There's a pallet about a foot to your left," Isaac said.
"Thanks," Danny managed, his heart still pounding in his throat. "What now?"
Isaac was quiet for a moment. "They're still heading this way. We should try to find a way to the roof. Derek says we have the advantage up there."
"Okay," Danny agreed even though he felt like he was going to be pretty much useless just about anywhere they wound up. He let Isaac guide him through the dark maze of walls and pallets, trying to walk as quickly as he dared. He was slowing them down, just like he had been in the woods, and he was about to suggest that Isaac leave him somewhere to go find the way up and then come back for him when they heard the rattle of the loading bay door being forced open.
Isaac kept walking, his hand tight around Danny's arm, their footsteps now slow and silent. Danny felt like the Hunters could probably hear his heartbeat thundering away even as he tried to keep control of his breathing. A thud and a curse came from somewhere to their left, far closer than Danny expected, and Isaac's grip briefly grew tighter. Isaac gave a barely audible whimper and stopped walking, his hand falling away from Danny's arm.
Danny reached out, finding were Isaac had dropped to the ground and following him down. He couldn't tell if they were just hiding or if Isaac had been shot with a drugged dart or something worse. Isaac was trembling as Danny grabbed his hands as he crouched on the cold concrete floor.
"He's coming," Isaac whispered, his eyes glowing bright for just a second, only inches away from Danny's face. The trembling stopped abruptly as Isaac's eyes went dark and Danny realized that he was shaking too.
Danny bit down on his lip to prevent himself from trying to talk with Isaac; if by some miracle the Hunters hadn't figured out where they were he didn't want to give away their position. He tried to remember how many shots he'd fired already and if he actually had any ammo left. Slowly he edged one of his hands toward his holster but a bright puddle of light was suddenly surrounding them. Danny made his hands flat and held them away from his sides and wondered whether it was going to be easier to be shot in the back when he couldn't see the gun being fired.
When no weapons were immediately fired Danny opened his eyes, not remembering when he had even closed them. Isaac was as still and unresponsive as Danny had feared when he'd felt Isaac stop shaking. No one was moving; not Danny, not the Hunter, and certainly not Isaac. Danny weighed his options and realized that he was the only one that could keep them alive in the next few minutes and wondered when the hell his life had turned into this.
"I'm going to turn around, slowly. I'm not a werewolf. The only weapon I have is in the holster at my right side," Danny said. There was no way he was going to be quick enough to shoot a Hunter and there was no one coming to the rescue. Slowly, waiting for the sound of a trigger being pressed, Danny turned so that he had his back to Isaac. He tried to position his body in front of Isaac as much as possible, not that he would actually be able to stop a bullet from tearing through both of them, but he hated the idea of an outsider seeing Isaac this vulnerable.
The Hunter stared down at them, his rifle steady and his face grim. "You're not a werewolf?" he asked, still aiming directly at Danny's chest.
"Not a werewolf," Danny agreed, slowly lifting one of his arms so that his sleeve could fall back and reveal the bleeding scrape he'd gotten stumbling over a tree root as they'd fled.
"Fine, what about him?" the Hunter asked, jerking his head at Isaac.
"He hasn't hurt anyone," Danny said. He remembered Scott and Derek arguing about something they called The Code, how Hunters were only supposed to go after werewolves who were attacking people. Not that the group of Hunters that had been stalking them all summer seemed to care that Derek's pack was pretty harmless, all things considered. "The pack hasn't killed anyone. We stopped the Alpha Pack, that's all."
The Hunter seemed unmoved by this declaration and Danny let his hands drop down to his sides. He wondered what his parents would think when their bodies were found in some warehouse, or if the Hunters would hide the bodies so that no one knew what happened to them. His parents would probably even believe that Danny had ran away, maybe that he and Isaac ran away together if they both went missing and someone made the connection to seeing them together at the mall last weekend. Maybe Jackson or Stiles would be able to tell his parents the truth, tell them what really happened to Danny, if they were even still alive. Danny reached back and wrapped his hand around Isaac's clenched fingers, hoping that Isaac could at least feel him and would know who he was. He wanted to believe that Isaac knew they weren't dying alone.
"What's wrong with him?" the Hunter asked, his stance shifting slightly.
Danny looked up from where he'd been staring at the gun, looking at the Hunter's face and seeing something beyond hate in the man's eyes. "Nothing. Nothing is wrong with him," Danny found himself saying, his lips tightening in anger.
He had spent most of his years as a teenager realizing and trying to accept that some people would hate him, just for being what he was. That people had killed because of that hatred and that when his mom looked him in the eyes and told him to be careful out there, she was afraid that someone would hurt or kill her child because he was gay. Being a werewolf wasn't the same as being gay, of course it wasn't, but Danny had seen that same sneer of hatred the handful of times they'd had a semi-peaceful confrontation with the Hunters as he had when he was fourteen and dared to hold hands with a boy while waiting in line for a movie.
"There's nothing wrong with us," Danny insisted, holding his chin high now and meeting the Hunter's gaze directly. If they were going to die, Danny wanted the Hunter to see that he wasn't putting down mindless animals bent on murder and destruction.
The Hunter stared for a long moment and heaved a sigh. "How old are you?" he asked, his gun tilting ever so slightly lower.
"Sixteen," Danny said quickly. "We're sixteen years old. We're starting our junior year of high school next week."
The barrel of the Hunter's rifle dropped down another inch. He looked away from them for a long moment, long enough that Danny's hand itched to reach for his holster - after thinking about it he was reasonably sure he had at least another two bullets - but the Hunter turned back and stared at them. "Next time I wouldn't be able to walk away," he said before he turned and left in two long strides.
Danny blinked in the sudden darkness and felt his heart jump when he heard a voice ask "Dad, find anything?" The voice was young, probably not yet out of high school, and Danny wondered what would have happened if it had been the son who had found them instead of the father.
"Warehouse is clear," the Hunter said. "We'll regroup, see if the others caught anyone."
Their footsteps faded but Danny stayed exactly where he was until his muscles were shaking from the strain of half kneeling. He kept his movements as slow and quiet as possible as he turned to face Isaac and sat on the cold concrete. Since he already had his hand over Isaac's for a long time he edged closer so that their knees were bumping together; he remembered Derek's warning that Isaac could lash out if he was touched when he was frozen like this, but so far they seemed to be doing alright. "We're okay," Danny whispered, and the words were as much for himself as they were for Isaac.
He didn't know how much time had passed when he felt his phone vibrate against his thigh, but when he pulled his phone from his pocket he saw that it was almost five in the morning on Sunday. It was an unknown number and Danny pressed the answer button and held it up to his ear without saying anything. He was relatively certain he didn't used to be this paranoid, but since he'd spent the last few hours coming up with a way to send his parents a message in the event of his death he figured that a little paranoia was probably justified.
"Danny?" someone asked, and it took him a moment to identify Erica's voice.
"We're here," Danny said, his voice as raw as he felt.
"Thank god," she said, and she actually sounded relieved. "Are you with Isaac?"
"Yeah, in a warehouse. We're okay, but Isaac might need a hand to get out of here," Danny said, listening as Erica announced to whoever she was with that he and Isaac were now accounted for.
"We'll be there in five," she said, hanging up before Danny could ask if they even knew where they were. It would have been a moot point, Danny couldn't have told her which warehouse they were hiding in, but he wouldn't have objected to staying on the phone with her for another minute or two, at least long enough to ask if everyone else was alright. After watching two minutes pass Danny pocketed his phone and hoped that it was actually as easy to find people as Jackson made it sound when he bitched about Derek making them train to use their senses.
"About time," Danny said when he saw a trio of glowing eyes approaching on silent feet. He wished he sounded less shaken and more irritated, but he accepted Jackson's hand up.
"Whatever," Jackson said, but his hand stayed on Danny's much longer than it was necessary to make sure Danny was steady on his feet.
A few minutes later they were stepping out into the very early light of dawn and Danny had a strange moment where he realized that for a few minutes he honestly hadn't expected to see this day begin.
Danny finished with his Smith and Wesson and holstered it before he stepped into the subway car, half aware of Derek watching from where he was sitting next to Scott. Boyd had carried Isaac onto the mattress inside and Danny had found himself looking up every few seconds to see if Isaac had surfaced yet. He sat on the edge of the mattress and hesitated for only a moment before he smoothed his hand through Isaac's hair. There were a few twigs and leaves tangled in Isaac's curls, just like after training when Isaac had been rolling around on the forest floor with one of the other werewolves. Danny gently picked out the foliage until Isaac's hair was clean and then wrapped his hand around Isaac's and waited.
He knew he should go home, his parents were probably going to be upset that Danny had been out all night - not that this was the first or the last time that had happened - but he didn't want to leave until he'd seen that Isaac was okay. Late one night, a few weeks ago, Danny had fallen asleep wondering if the time Isaac spent frozen was simply lost, like blinking and having it suddenly be a few hours later. He hadn't asked, he still wasn't sure how to broach the topic with Isaac, but Danny knew that if the last thing he remembered was a Hunter coming after them and then he woke up and Isaac was gone, he'd be scared that Isaac was dead or had been taken. He knew he wouldn't be able to believe that Isaac was okay until he'd seen him for himself, just like he knew he'd spend all day worrying that Isaac was still frozen in time if he left before Isaac was back.
"Are you okay?"
Danny startled, his heart racing, and he blinked a few times until he was certain Isaac was actually watching him and this wasn't confusion following sleep deprivation. "Yeah, I'm okay," he said, squeezing Isaac's hand. "Are you?"
"Is everyone else okay?" Isaac asked, looking out the hazy window of the subway car. "I smell blood."
"Scott had some arrow problems, but he's healing. Everyone else was just scraped and bruised," Danny said, looking down when Isaac twisted his hand around so that they were actually holding hands. "Isaac, are you okay?"
Isaac closed his eyes and for a brief moment Danny thought he'd lost him again. "Not exactly," Isaac said as he let his eyes fall back open, "but given that I didn't expect to be alive right now, I'll take what I can get."
Danny nodded and held Isaac's gaze, preparing himself to ask about the times when Isaac disappeared.
"Can I kiss you?" Isaac asked seconds before Danny could form his question.
"Do you want to kiss me?" Danny asked, letting himself be diverted even though he suspected that Isaac knew exactly what he was doing.
"We're alive when we probably should be dead, I think that calls for a kiss," Isaac said, his eyebrows climbing slightly.
"Possibly," Danny allowed. "But do you want to kiss me?"
Isaac's mouth twitched. "Only for about a year now," he said, bravado mixing with uncertainty.
Danny put his hand on Isaac's shoulder and leaned in. Their lips brushed together once before they made solid contact and Danny shivered ever so slightly when he felt Isaac's fingertips trace down the side of his jaw while they kissed. "Isaac," Danny whispered against Isaac's lips, the name immediately stolen by Isaac's mouth.
When they broke apart an eternity later Danny felt beyond overwhelmed and took a moment to acknowledge that his body was probably a mess of hormones and stress chemicals right now.
"Yeah, now I'm doing okay," Isaac said, his lips pressed together as he struggled to hide a smile.
Danny reached over and traced his fingertip over Isaac's mouth, watching his smile break free with just a little encouragement, and he wondered if the Hunter who had walked away knew what he had given them. "We're okay," Danny agreed, his hand finding Isaac's again as they sat and breathed in the sounds and scents of their new day.