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Caged

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Prologue

A man with binoculars. That is how it began; with a man stationed by the side of the road, overlooking a small Nevada town, on a cold spring night.

Lieutenant Cooper swept over the town slowly and methodically. He could see it was not large, just a dozen buildings, a park and some shops set out along a single main street. It was very quiet; no lights, no activity, and no sound carried by the gentle wind.

He shifted his attention from the town to the surrounding mountains. They were high, white, and blunted, with scrubby vegetation and an occasional withered tree covered in snow. Beyond the hills were more hills, and then the flat expanse of the Desert, trackless and vast. The locals called it the cursed land.

Lieutenant Cooper found himself shivering in the wind. It was May, but the coldest spring in decades, and it was after ten, almost sunset. He walked back up the road toward the Survivor, his state of the art military vehicle, with the large rotating antenna on top. The motor was idling softly, it was the only sound he could hear. He opened the rear doors and climbed into the back, shutting the doors behind him as he joined his unit.

The men were tired; they had driven all day from military HQ in search of what would probably be another dead end.

It had been months. Months of following every puny, insignificant lead that Major Argent threw into their laps.

None knew much about the beasts they were hunting, except that the wolves were extremely dangerous and the mission top secret, with a salary to match. Compensation for their silence and risk, and that was all that mattered in the end, at least for Cooper.

Officer Lewis, the communications expert, was there, hunched over a map, making calculations with an occasional reference to the instruments before him.

“This lead from the Major makes no sense. An Alpha would never come this far north and trap himself in this desert wasteland with nothing to hunt. He can’t turn back and has no choice but to cross the dessert, likely killing him.” Lewis casted a questioning glance at Cooper, who was hunched over a tablet, studying the map intently.

“I think you underestimate this Alpha’s endurance.” Cooper murmured dryly.

“I never underestimate these beasts, that’s the reason I’m still alive.” Lewis let out a long, drawn-out breath.

It didn’t slip Cooper’s notice that despite every attempt to show otherwise, Lewis’s resolve quietly weakened each time they came up empty-handed. When he thought Cooper wasn’t looking, Lewis stared off into space just a little longer, laid awake in his bunk at night a little later.

Cooper pulled his gun out and checked the ammo. Silver bullets, laced with WolfsBane, and meant to keep him safe, but he preferred not to let the beast get close enough for him to have to use it.

His instructions were to capture the wolf alive, and preferably unharmed. But their resources were low. His last tranquilizer darts were hidden in his combat uniform. He was down to two guns and a paltry assortment of blades. Normally a second van would hold an extra supply of weapons, but the Army felt that two military vehicles in an area might arouse suspicion. And no one wanted civilians to start asking questions.

For six hours, the satellite had been scanning the town. On the basis of radar observations and thermographic scanner results, there was something supernatural alive down there. The estimates were not usually wrong, ever.

Lewis tapped the map with a pencil in a nervous way and announced the name of the town at the foot of the hill. He suggested that, if an Alpha was hiding amongst these people, someone from the town would have seen something.

This was reasonable, except that a native who happened upon a werewolf would have told someone; reporters, police, NASA, the Army, someone.

But they had heard nothing.

Cooper climbed back down from the jeep, with Lewis scrambling after him, shivering as the cold air struck them. Together, the two men looked out over the town.

It was peaceful, but completely dark. Lewis noticed that the gas station and the motel both had their lights doused. Yet they represented the only gas station and motel for miles.

And then Cooper noticed the birds.

In the light of the moon he could see them, big birds, gliding in slow circles over the buildings, passing like black shadows across the face of the moon. He wondered why he hadn't noticed them before, and asked Lewis what he made of them.

Lewis laughed nervously, his breath hissing out into the night. “They only come when something is dead.”

Cooper scanned the town once more with his binoculars, but saw no signs of life or movement. He turned to Lewis. “We'd better go down and have a look.”

Three hundred miles away, in the large square, windowless tent that served as Mission Control for Project Alpha, Major Chris Argent sat with his feet on his desk and a stack of wildlife National Geographic magazine articles before him.

Tonight, the crew was monitoring the progress and reports of the military vehicle now making its way across the Nevada desert.

Chris was reviewing an article titled ‘Lone wolf to the rescue’ by wolf biologist Stiles Stilinski. He found it slow reading, and only moderately interesting. Thus he was willing to be interrupted when his second in command, and daughter, entered the tent.

The moment Allison stepped into the mission tent, she perceived her father’s mood. It was hard not to. It rolled off him in waves and almost knocked her off her feet. He was busy reading, his movements jerky as he turned to the next page, trying very hard not to punish the magazine for his bad mood.

She walked up to him, making sure he had noticed her presence before she put a gentle hand on his shoulder. It was never a good idea to startle someone in their line of work, especially if that someone was already wound up.

She knew what had her father so agitated. He had been hunting this particular Alpha for more than 2 years without success, it was taking its toll.

At her touch he turned towards her, giving her a slight smile, which did not reach his eyes or erase the frown.

“Any progress?” Her tone was soft and she felt some of the tension melt away.

“Nothing yet…” Chris paused for a moment, the frown deepening as he considered his next words.

Telling his daughter about his predicament was probably not a good idea. His superiors were growing frustrated with the uncertainty of the situation, threatening to demote him if he failed.

No, this was neither the time nor the place for broaching the subject of his problems. Instead he decided to keep it vague, picking up his previous sentence as if the pause didn’t exist, ignoring her raised eyebrow.

“Might just be another dead end.”

“He’s going to slip up at some point, we will catch him.” Her voice sounded carefully cheerful and Chris couldn’t help the grin that crept onto his face. He marveled at her ability to calm him down, even when he thought that nothing short of punching someone in the face would do the trick.

He was actually just about to stand up and poor himself some coffee when the overhead loudspeaker, which carried the voice transmission from the vehicle of Cooper and Lewis, clicked on.

“This is Alpha One to Base. Are you reading? Over.”

Chris, feeling amused, replied that he was indeed reading.

“We are about to enter the town and recover the subject if present.”

“Very good, Alpha One. Leave your radio open.”

“Roger.”

Chris shrugged and returned to his article on Wolf Pack Hierarchy by Stiles Stilinski, only half listening to Cooper’s voice as it said, “We are now inside the town. We just passed a gas station and a motel. All quiet here. No signs of life. No activity of any kind.”

Argent put his magazine down. The strained quality of Cooper’s voice was unmistakable. Over the crackling static, he heard the rumbling of the engine. And he heard the men in the jeep talking quietly.

“Pretty quiet on my side as well.” Lewis informed quickly.

“Keep your eyes open.”

There was a pause.

“Sir. On the sidewalk. Looks like a body.”

Another pause, and then Chris heard the jeep come to a halt, brakes squealing.

“Cooper. Lewis. Status report.” Chris demanded, but there was no immediate reply.

An uncomfortable silence followed Lewis’s ominous information.

“This is Alpha One to Base. Over.”

Chris picked up the microphone again. “Reading you. What’s happening?”

Cooper, his voice tight, said, “Sir, we found bodies. Lots of them. They appear to be dead.”

“Are you certain, Alpha One?”

“Yes, sir.” Cooper confirmed.

“Proceed to the forest, Alpha One.” As he said so, Argent looked around the room. The twenty other soldiers in the tent were staring at him, their eyes blank, unseeing. All were listening to the transmission.

Chris swung his feet off the desk and punched the red button on his console. That button automatically isolated the Mission Control tent. No one would be allowed in or out without his permission.

“I want Cooper’s video feed on screen.” Chris stood up from behind his desk, and decisively walked towards the broadcast station, closely followed by his daughter.

“Vital signs as well.” Allison suggested to the panel operator.

Chris’s head snapped around to the camera feed as it popped up. He couldn't see much, except the tight vegetation, trees and the two soldiers in front of Cooper, his scouts.

“I want better visibility. Do we have a drone in the vicinity?”

As the control room officer typed frantically on his keyboard, trying to secure a drone, blood exploded all over the video feed and Chris watched in mute horror as one of the scouts lost his head.

“What the fuck just happened?”

“I… I don't know, it all just happened so fast…” Allison kept staring at the screen.

“Find me a better line of sight!” Chris shouted at the operative who was desperately trying to find another camera angle. “Today, Officer Miller.”

A couple of seconds later, the control panel operator supplied another camera feed, this one from the camera on the helmet of Lewis, and Chris watched Cooper barrel through the trees, heard Lewis shoot off some rounds, before colliding with an invisible force. Once he was on the ground, the feed went black.

“Restore the connection. Now!”

“Negative, sir. I can’t re-establish the video feed. We only have audio.”

Chris picked up the telephone, handed it to one of the officers, and said, “Get me Colonel Davis. This is a stat call. I'll hold.”

Over the speakers, Lewis and Cooper could still be heard.

“You see him?”

“I see him. Jesus fuck he’s big.”

“And fast. I can’t get a clear shot, sir.”

“He’s circling us… like prey.”

“Request for immediate air support, Major.”

Chris felt cold and more than just a little unnerved. His eyes shot immediately to the woman beside him, and he had to restrain himself from reaching out to touch her shoulder.

“Get a bird in the air.” He ordered crisply.

Before there was time for the operator to put his orders into motion, Cooper spoke again.

“No time for that. Permission to abort, Major?”

The next sound was a high-pitched scream, and a crushing noise. Transmission ended at this point, and Major Argent was not able to raise his men again.


Please share your thoughts.


Caged Chapter 1 Book Art

Chapter Text

Sheriff Stilinski was tired. At his home in Beacon Hills, he and his son, wolf biologist Stiles Stilinski, had held a party for colleagues, and everyone had stayed late. John, born and raised in Boston, where one's fourth cup of coffee, offered pointedly without milk or sugar, was accepted as a signal to go home. Unfortunately, he thought, academics did not follow these rules. He had served the fourth cup of coffee hours ago, and everybody was still there.

Shortly before midnight, the doorbell rang. Answering it, he was surprised to see two military men standing side by side in the night.

“May I help you?”

“I'm sorry to disturb you, sir,” one said politely. “But is this the residence of Dr. Stiles Stilinski?”

“Yes,” John answered, frowning slightly. “It is.”

He looked beyond the two men, to the driveway. A military Humvee was parked there, driver inside. In the pale light streaming out onto the lawn, he could distinctly see a fourth man, moving up to the house, weapon in hand.

“Why is that man armed?” he asked.

“Sir,” the soldier said, “We must see Dr. Stilinski at once.”

“What's going on?”

“We don't want to disturb your party. Please call Dr. Stilinski to the door.”

“An explanation would be-”

“Otherwise, we will have to come inside and get him ourselves,” the soldier warned.

Sheriff Stilinski hesitated a moment, then said, “Wait here.”

He walked back to the party, trying to show nothing to the guests. Everyone was still talking and laughing; the room was noisy and dense with smoke. John found Stiles in a corner, in the midst of some argument about land preservation. He touched his shoulder, and Stiles disengaged himself from the group.

“I know this sounds weird,” John said, “but there is a military man standing in our hallway and another one with a gun out on the lawn. They want to see you.”

For a moment, Stiles looked surprised, and then nodded. “I'll take care of it.”

Sheriff Stilinski followed his son into the corridor, where the officer was still waiting.

“I’m Dr. Stilinski.”

“Captain Brady,” the soldier said. He did not offer to shake hands. “Major Argent send for you, sir.”

To his astonishment, John saw his son nod quietly.

“All right,” Stiles said. He looked down at his white shirt. “Do I have time to change?”

“I'm afraid not, sir.”

John tried to keep his voice low, but he couldn't help it, he was upset. “Are you under arrest, Stiles? Do I need to make some calls?”

“No,” Stiles answered, with a slight smile. “It's nothing like that.”

“What use could the army possibly have for a wolf biologist?” John looked at Captain Brady, hoping for some answers, but the man did not respond.

“Dad, it’s fine, Major Argent contacted me a month ago. I agreed to assist him.”

“In the middle of the night?” By now, John was confused, angry, and afraid. “And escorted by armed men?”

“Mr. Stilinski,” the military man said, “It's our job to protect your son. From now on, nothing must be allowed to happen to him.”

John realized that the soldier had meant this as a reassurance of some kind, but it ignited his suspicions even more.

“We need to leave now, sir.”

“I have nothing packed, I need to get my-”

“Everything will be provided for you, sir.”

Stiles turned to his dad and said, “Make my apologies to everyone. I will call you later.”

And then, almost before John knew what was happening, Stiles was walking out the door, with Captain Brady by his side. The man with the rifle fell wordlessly into place behind them, and the man by the car saluted and opened the door.

•••

In the vehicle, Stiles sat back and stared at the men. He recalled that their faces were blank and expressionless. He was handed a slim file. Stenciled on the brown cardboard cover was RESTRICTED.

He had never heard of Project Alpha before; the file would have to be read carefully. But it was too dark in the car to read; there would be time for that later, on the base. He found himself thinking back on the last few months, back to the rather odd meeting with Major Argent.

“Will I meet the Major at the base?”

“No, sir.”

“Then where are you taking me?”

“We are not at liberty to say, sir.”

When no further answers were forthcoming, Stiles sighed, leaned back in his chair and dozed off. Not many people attempted to sleep in a military vehicle, it wasn’t exactly comfortable, but he needed the rest.

“We're here.”

Stiles jerked awake, blinking at the sunrise and momentarily disoriented.

Squinting at Captain Brady, Stiles sat up with a groan, rolling his neck to get the kinks out. He was surprised to discover they were at the gates of a military airport, and then his brain kicked into gear. “An airfield?”

“Yes.” This time, Captain Brady had a blatant smirk, and Stiles returned a weak grin.

Officer Darnell, their driver, flashed his badge at the soldier inside the control post. “I'm Officer Darnell and this is Captain Brady and Doctor Stilinski. We're here for transport on Major Argent’s orders.”

The soldier studied the badge, then checked the computer and nodded. “Access granted.”

Slowly, Stiles exited the Humvee, shoving his hands in his pockets as he fell in step behind Brady.

“Wait here.” Officer Darnell ordered as he and Captain Brady disappeared into a nearby building, leaving two soldiers to guard him.

Stiles took in his surroundings as he waited. There were a few curious looks sent his way, but no one stood out as overly interested. Stiles noted that the base was neat and organized. People in uniform moved about, working with quiet efficiency. He was kind of surprised to find that a military airfield could look so much like an ordinary airport, except for the obvious green color of the planes and the uniforms.

He was jolted out of his thoughts when Captain Brady returned.

“We’re clear for takeoff.”

The three of them were standing on the tarmac, thirty yards away, a Military Boeing was preparing for takeoff, its twin turbofan engines whirring to life.

“I’m not getting on that plane.” Stiles said to Captain Brady and Officer Darnell.

Both soldiers looked at him with raised eyebrows.

Stiles nodded subtly toward the plane. “Where are you taking me? I have a right to know.”

“Our flight plan has us taking off by nine, which is in twelve minutes. If we’re not on board by then, we’ll have to file a whole new flight plan.” Officer Darnell informed him as if that would change his mind. It didn’t.

Captain Brady nodded and took Stiles gently by the arm. “Let’s go where it’s a little quieter.”

“I’ll tell the pilot to wait.” Darnell headed towards the plane.

Brady led Stiles toward an aircraft hangar nearby. Once they’d reached the relative quiet of the dark hangar, he turned and spoke. “Our destination is classified.”

“I’m not setting a foot inside that plane unless I’m getting some answers.”

“Major Argent said you might be difficult, being a cop’s son and all.”

Stiles smiled at the statement. “Difficult? Some call it common sense.”

Brady cleared his throat. “This is why you are here.” He passed Stiles and flipped a light switch.

Stiles turned and winced at the horrible sight.

Wooden coffins were lined up in long rows inside the airport hangar. All of the caskets had the American flag on top, indicating soldiers who died in battle.

“What happened to these men?”

“Killed, or more accurate, slaughtered by an enemy more dangerous and deadly than the Russians.” Brady turned his head back towards the entrance of the hanger. “And that is why I need you to get on that plane. To make sure this never happens again.”

Stiles looked up at him. “If this is the truth, then you have my condolences. But for all I know, these coffins might be empty and a way to ensure my cooperation.”

Brady’s eyes snapped at Stiles, something he said had angered the Captain.

“Careful, Doctor Stilinski, we might have use for you, but a close friend of mine is inside one of those coffins.” He looked at Stiles intently, like he was trying to decide how much to tell him.

“You are seriously paranoid.” Brady reached inside his uniform and handed Stiles an NDA form (non-disclosure agreement), which, if Stiles signed it, prevented him from ever talking about his experiences from this moment on.

“Sign it and I’ll tell you where we’re going.”

Stiles decided to gamble a little, Brady’s body language was telling him that the man was telling the truth. So he signed the form.

•••

Stiles stepped onto the airplane with a sense of absurdity. It was a Boeing C-17 troop-transport, completely empty, the seats stretching back in long unbroken rows. Behind them a large cargo space.

“Sit, first class, if you like.” Officer Darnell joked, handing him his file back.

A moment later he was gone. He was replaced by a stern MP with a pistol on his hip who stood by the door as the engines started.

Stiles sat back with the file in front of him and began to read. Afterwards, he stared out the window at endless tracts of forest, a pattern broken by the occasional gleam of a lake. As he leaned against the window and watched the terrain unfold into a more snow covered landscape, a sense of unease overpowered him.

There were many stories about the Arctic research station circulating the Boston labs. Veteran scientists who’d been assigned to the lab, and only lasted a week before they resigned, told stories of experiments on monsters, and colleagues dying a horrific death. With a secret team that supposedly watched and recorded everyone’s every movement. Usually, everyone and their mother would crowd around the old men in their white lab coats, and listen as they told their marvelous, yet short, adventures in the secret lab.

Stiles did not. In his opinion, they were nothing but a bunch of fantastic tales woven by golden threads of pure bullshit. But something had killed those soldiers in the hanger, and by the look on Brady’s face, it had been something bad.

The flight to the Arctic took just over 8 hours. They landed at a military airstrip in Alaska, the rotors of a nearby helicopter were already spinning when Stiles and Brady exited the plane.

“Keep your head down.” Brady yelled over the rotor wash as they reached the rooftop helipad.

This warning was unnecessary, however. Stiles knew his way around helicopters from his frequent trips to wolf reservations and laboratories all around the United States. As they approached the rear door of the helicopter, a hand suddenly reached out from the passenger compartment to help Captain Brady into the chopper. Stiles climbed in after and situated himself in one of the two leather seats that faced forward. It was only after he had buckled himself into his seat that he took a good look at the third person in the passenger cabin, who was now sitting directly across from him. A handsome man; chocolate brown eyes, raven black hair, some serious muscles, and an endearing smile.

Brady quickly performed an introduction, shouting above the rising rotor noise.

“Doctor Stilinski, this is Captain Scott McCall. He leads the security team at the lab.”

Stiles extended his hand. “Nice to meet you.”

Scott grasped Stiles’s hand firmly and leaned in close. “Nice to meet you too.”

A moment later, the chopper lifted off from the helipad. It flew northwest along a mountain pass at a remarkably low altitude. No doubt some special clearance was needed for this flight plan, Stiles thought.

Two hours later, the helicopter arrived at another helipad, this one almost invisible, and nothing more but a square patch of stone in the middle of a snow covered scenery.

The helicopter hovered for a minute, awaiting clearance to land. Then it descended gracefully onto the helipad, about a hundred feet from a military truck.

The three passengers disembarked from the helicopter and were immediately greeted by a large man in combat uniform.

“Keys are in the vehicle, sir.”

Brady nodded. With that, they headed to the truck and climbed in. A minute later, the vehicle pushed north. Engine howling, wheels spinning, they proceeded through the snow at the pace of a wall, in continual snowfall and freezing cold.

They drove in silence. Around them, the landscape was increasingly desolate; endless white, surrounded by high mountains stretching into the clouds.

Finally, the vehicle turned off the potted road onto a dirt track. Despite the cold, Brady rolled up the window as he lit a cigarette. “My last, can’t smoke inside.”

During their ride, they passed a sign that said GOVERNMENT PROPERTY KEEP OUT, but there was no fence, no guard, and no dogs. Simply a battered, weather-beaten sign.

“Great security.” Stiles pointed out.

“We try not to arouse suspicion. The security is much better than it looks.” Scott was about to say something else but stopped short.

The truck proceeded another mile, bouncing along the dirt road, and then came over a hill.

Suddenly, Stiles saw a large fence, at least ten feet high, topped with barbed wire. Inside stood a large building, and wolves, mostly gray wolves, running around in the snow.

“An actual wolf reservation?” Stiles asked surprised.

Captain Brady smiled. “Rather clever, I think.”

Stiles kept his eyes fixed on the wolves and shook his head slightly. “So that part is true. Major Argent is seriously considering training wolves for missions?”

“Yes, and no. We are training them, but it’s a cover story for what really goes on inside the building.”

They came to the entrance gate. A uniformed soldier came out and opened it for them; he held a sandwich in one hand and was chewing vigorously as he unlocked the gate.

Brady drove through the gate and parked by the building. He left the keys on the dashboard and got out. Stiles followed him.

They entered the building, coming directly into a big room. A man in uniform saluted Captain Brady and Scott. They walked past him, out of the room and down a corridor. The doors were labeled; "Feeding Room" and "Veterinary Office". A dozen people were at work in the building, all of them dressed in military gear, and all of them apparently busy.

“This is a real wolf reservation. I still can’t believe it.” Stiles said in astonishment.

Scott cracked a smile. “If necessary, that man at the desk could give you a guided tour, explaining the purpose of the reservation and the trainings that are going on.”

“And project Alpha?”

“Here.” Brady said. He opened a door marked "Storage" and they found themselves staring at a narrow cubicle filled with training equipment and canned food.

Stiles and Brady stepped in, followed by Scott who closed the door behind him. Suddenly, Stiles felt the floor sink as they began to descend, canned food and all.

A moment later, he found himself in a modern, white room, lighted by overhead fluorescent lights. The only object in the room was a rectangular, waist-high box with a glowing glass on top.

“Finger and palm-print analyzer. Fully automatic. Reads a composite of ten thousand lines so it can't make a mistake; in its storage banks it has a record of the prints of everyone cleared to enter project Alpha.” Brady motioned for Stiles to step forward. “Place your hands flat on the glass, palms down.”

Stiles did. He felt a faint tingling in his fingers, and then the machine started scanning.

A door slid open quietly, revealing a massive underground complex with glass offices flanked on all sides. The three men made their way down a long wide stairs and were saluted by several heavily armed guards; rifle in hand, pistol on one hip, a tranquilizer gun on the other, and a knife on their belt.

They proceeded directly to Major Argent’s office on the second floor. Brady took a deep breath and knocked three times.

“Come in.” Argent yelled.

Stiles entered, alone; Brady and Scott had already taken guard positions at the door.

“Mister Stilinski,” Chris Argent greeted as he rose from behind his desk, extending his right hand across the small space between them. “Glad to see you decided to participate in our project.”

Silence persisted between them for several seconds before Stiles’s brows furrowed.

“Do you have any idea why you're here?” Chris asked, his eyes locking with Stiles.

“Well, sir, if I had to guess, I'd say you're going to give me the chance to work on a secret project, with a salary large enough to pay off my student loans.” Stiles was tired, which always brought the sarcasm out in him.

Major Argent smiled. “You have a sense of humor. That's good. You are going to need it.” He clasped his hands behind his back and continued. “I suppose you've heard the stories about this lab, correct?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Good. Then, you know where I'm going with this.”

“Not really.” Stiles replied frankly. “Those stories... are false.”

Chris shook his head. “They are far from false, mister Stilinski.”

Major Argent eyed him carefully, completely expressionless. After a couple of moments, he said, “I think it’s time for you to meet our wolves.”

Stiles frowned. “I already did when we arrived.”

Chris laughed, and replied, “Not those wolves. Real wolves, Doctor Stilinski. Lycans.”


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Chapter Text

They entered a small darkened room with lockers mounted against the wall. Stiles found one with his name on it.

“We change in here.” Argent nodded to a stack of white uniforms in the corner. “Remove everything you’re wearing and put those on.”

The uniforms were loose-fitting two-piece nurse suits with stretching waistbands. Stiles changed slowly, giving himself time to acclimate to his surroundings and the strange situation he was currently in.

Suddenly an alarm sounded as Stiles passed a gate and the door in front of them slid closed abruptly. Overhead, a red light began to flash.

“Did you remove everything? Watch, rings, necklace?” Argent asked, obviously annoyed.

“Shit, forgot my wolf necklace.” Stiles quickly removed it and put it inside his locker with the rest of his stuff. He felt strangely stripped, like a man entering prison.

When he came back, Chris led him down the gate a second time. The door slid open, revealing a small space with dark panels on all sides, and there was no alarm.

“It picks up any foreign object.”

“Fillings?”

Chris shook his head and gave him an easy smile. “It is programmed to ignore fillings.”

“What about pacemakers, prosthetics and implants?”

“All members of Project Alpha are in top physical condition. No one with those deformities works here.” Argent informed him with a dictatorial air.

Stiles noticed that he looked strong, healthy. The muscles in his forearms were defined, barely contained by the white uniform. The Major was nearly twice his age, but his body revealed he was lethal, even without a gun.

Chris glanced over his shoulder at him. “It’s an elevator. Automatic doors. Walk forward.”  

As soon as Stiles entered the new space, a computerized voice erupted from the speakers, making him jump.

“State your name for the record. Last name first, first name last.”

“Stilinski Stiles.”

“Analyzer confirms identity. Stilinski, Stiles. Thank you for your cooperation.” said the voice.

Argent nodded, and the compartment in which they stood suddenly lurched downward and began its long descent toward the laboratory spaces, three hundred feet below the ground.

Two minutes later, the elevator shuddered to a halt, and the artificial voice returned.

“You are now entering Level I. Proceed directly to medical.”

Stiles exited into a wide, empty passageway, about twenty feet across and a hundred feet long. The cracked, concrete floor was sparsely illuminated by overhead industrial lighting. He took a deep breath and the pungent smell of sulfur and disinfectant filled his nose.

Argent started off toward the end of the corridor, Stiles followed, their footsteps echoing loudly throughout the vast space.

A middle-aged woman stepped into their path.

“Nurse McCall.”

“Major Argent.” She walked forward clasping her notepad to her chest.

“Please escort mister Stilinski to the examination room and make sure he gets cleared for level 4.”

“Of course. Right this way mister Stilinski.” She gestured, leading him to the examination room.

“Are you a scientist or military?” Nurse McCall asked when Argent had disappeared out of sight.

“Neither. I'm a consultant and a wolf biologist.” Stiles smiled at her. Couldn't help smiling at her. “Is Argent always like that? Cold. Distant.”

“No. He was being reasonably pleasant today.” She grinned as she showed him in to the examination room and started the process.

“Have you received a smallpox vaccination within the last twelve months?”

“Yes.”

“Tetanus toxoid?”

“Yes.”

As a wolf biologist, he had undergone immunizations for everything imaginable, even plague and cholera, and immunity booster shots against viral infection in case of a wolf bite.

“Have you any known allergies?”

“Yes, I’m lactose intolerant.”

The nurse covered everything, including a complete family history, past travels, ancestral illnesses and past hospitalizations. And an equally complete physical. She wanted samples of everything: saliva, blood, urine and stool.

“Any relation to Scott McCall, head of security?”

She smiled, looking delighted. “Yes, he is my son.”

A loud, steady hum suddenly filled the examination room, followed by the sound of equipment slowly coming to life.

“Please undress and return to the examination table.”

He did so. A moment later, an ultraviolet lamp swung out on a long arm and moved close to his body.

“This is a scan for fungus.” Nurse McCall informed.

After several minutes, Stiles was ordered to lie on his stomach, and the process was repeated.

“Please sit up with your right shoulder facing me. I’m going to give you a pneumatic injection.”

She pushed a gun with a thick needle up against the skin of his shoulder, and fired. There was a hissing sound and a brief pain.

“This completes your physical, mister Stilinski. You may dress now.” Nurse McCall touched his shoulder emphatically as Stiles rubbed his sore arm. “Be advised that you may feel dizzy for a few hours. You have received booster immunizations. If you feel dizzy, sit down. If you suffer from nausea, vomiting, or fever, report to Medical at once. Is that clear?”

“Yes. Thank you, nurse McCall.”

“You're welcome. And please, call me Melissa.” She said, giving him a warm genuine smile, then turned and headed out the door.

Finally, he was brought back to Chris.

“We have two hours on this level, that’s protocol. I will bring you up to speed on our project while we wait for your lab results.”

Stiles walked with Argent down another long corridor. His arm still ached from the injection.

Chris opened a door marked CONFERENCE 4, and they entered a room with a large hardwood table. Captain Brady was there, standing stiffly erect and alert, as if he had just taken a cold shower. Alongside him, Allison Argent, the Major’s daughter, somehow appeared uninterested. To her right, Scott McCall, with a kind of tired look in his eyes. And finally Officer Darnell, who grinned at him as Stiles came in.

They all exchanged greetings and sat down.

Argent glanced up at the wall clock and began the formal briefing, talking rapidly, pacing up and down the room, hands moving constantly.

“As most of you know,” he said, “we are on the first level of a four-story underground structure.”

Chris pressed a button on a console at the head of the table, and a television screen glowed to life, showing the blueprints of every level.

“Level 1 consists of a medical center, offices, and conference rooms. Level 2 contains our living quarters, bathrooms, rec facilities and kitchen. All laboratories and service units; plumbing, wiring, that sort of thing can be found on level 3. And level 4 is currently holding some of the most dangerous animals on the planet.”

Stiles listened in astonishment, and confusion. None of what Major Argent talked about made any sense. It felt like he was inside Jurassic Park, and Chris was John Hammond, without the charm and excitement, trying to convince him of the impossible.

“Level 4 is divided in two sectors. Sector one accommodates our Omega’s: Isaac Lahey, Liam Dunbar, Erica Reyes, and Vernon Boyd. Sector two is home to our Alpha’s: Deucalion, Kali, Derek Hale and his uncle Peter.”

Nurse McCall, Melissa, unexpectedly entered the room, interrupting Argent’s dialogue. She approached Chris and handed him a folder, winking at her son as she exited the conference room.

“Stiles, you are cleared for level 4. According to protocol it will take us another few hours to descend through the sterilization and decontamination procedures to the lowest level. Therefore, we must begin immediately. Questions?”

“None that won't keep.” Stiles answered.

“I’ll need your signature before we go on.” Chris handed him a pen and a document with the heading Official Secrets Act. “Most of what you’re going to see is highly classified. This document guarantees protection of state secrets and official information, mainly related to national security. If broken, you will be persecuted by the full extent of the law.”

“I already signed an NDA.”

“Call it an extra security measure, signed in front of witnesses.”

Stiles stared down at the paper without really reading it. He could back out, but what did he have to lose? He scrawled his signature and handed it back.

The elevator took them deeper into the complex, through a network of interlinking tunnels.

“So how long has this place been here?”

“Since the Second World War.”

Stiles glanced at the modern elevator panel. It looked much more contemporary, out of character for a wartime construction.

“It’s been severely upgraded over time,” Argent informed, watching his face. “It needed to be improved to fit its purpose.”

As they arrived at level 2, the five men passed through a door, which clanged shut heavily and sealed with a hissing sound. It was airtight. Stiles faced an empty room, except for a trash chute marked 'clothing'. He stripped and dropped his white uniform into the chute; there was a brief flash of light as it was incinerated.

Allison’s absence was explained by the required nakedness for the decontamination process. This made Stiles smile. Strange how humanity insists on separating men and woman in intimate situations, and then completely forgets about homosexuality in the process. As if having the same body parts means you are not going to look or get aroused. Stiles’s body certainly did not forget about homosexuality as he desperately tried not to get aroused, because both Major Argent and Captain Brady were seriously well endowed.

The others were already moving through the second door. Stiles followed them and stepped into clouds of steam. The odor was instantly recognizable; disinfectant.

“We faced quite a problem here. How to disinfect the human body, one of the dirtiest things in the known universe, without killing the person at the same time.” Argent said, grinning.

Stiles, dripping wet from the heavy steam, looked around for a towel but found none. He entered the next room and blowers turned on from the ceiling in a rush of hot air. He stood there until a buzzer sounded, and the dryers turned off. His skin tingled slightly as he entered the last room, which contained clothing.

Major Argent walked over to him. “How did you find the decontamination procedure?”

“Very thorough.” Stiles said.

“Sadly, there is more. We are now cleared to enter level 2 but I’ll show you your living quarters later. We are proceeding directly to level 3.”

They all dressed in light-blue, loose-fitting, surgical uniforms with a V-neck and short sleeves, elastic banded pants, and rubber-soled shoes.

Four total-immersion baths, three sequences of ultraviolet and infrared light, and two decontamination showers later, Stiles was finally standing on level 4 in yet another uniform.

He was tired, and was beginning to feel disoriented. The repetitions, the new experiences, the same bland artificial light and white color on the walls were taking its toll on him.

As the elevator doors closed behind him, Stiles found himself inside a grand well-lit atrium with two main corridors, marked Sector I and Sector II, and populated by busy looking staff in lab coats and military uniforms. Many walked past him, ignoring his presence, apart from the occasional nod.

Chris lead them into Sector II and stepped into a spacious room, with white walls on three sides. The fourth wall directly ahead of him was entirely glass, revealing another white room behind it. The glass walls were reinforced with steel and concrete, ending in metal bolts. It looked a little bit like what you’d expect to see in a bank vault, or a cage.

A black man was standing in the middle of the room, facing the glass wall, watching as other scientist brought in equipment inside the room behind the glass. He turned as Stiles entered.

“Ah, mister Stilinski, I suspect you found your journey here to be somewhat unconventional. Given what we do here, I’m afraid it’s necessary.” The man said, holding out a hand for Stiles to shake. “My name is Doctor Deaton, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you, mister Stilinksi. I have read most of your research on pack behavior.”

Major Argent stepped forward. “Is everything prepared for the demonstration?”

“Yes, sir.” Deaton walked behind a desk and reached for the microphone. “Bring the subject in.”

Beyond the glass, the scientists cleared the room immediately, and one of them joined Stiles and the others in the observatory room.

As soon as the chamber was empty, the nearest door hissed open. A red light came on. Two scientists, accompanied by a heavily armed guard, wielded a naked man on a stretcher inside.

“And this is the specimen itself.”

It was impossible to miss the sheer excitement in the scientist’s voice, literally bursting with every word and expressive hand movement. Deaton appeared stoic in contrast, controlled, refined, but interested none the less.

“Heavily sedated, of course.”

The scientists clenched the stretcher between metal bars in the floor, making the bed flip, bringing the man in a vertical state, fully on display. His wrists and ankles were chained to the metal table by thick, deadbolt cuffs.

Stiles’s lips parted in shock, his eyes zooming in on the figure on the other side of the protective glass.

A handsome face with perfect stubble, a chiseled jaw, softly ruffled black hair, wide shoulders, a sculpted chest, muscled arms, and strong legs with much stronger thighs. His eyes were a light green; he could not really tell with the bright fluorescent lights.

Stiles took a deep breath, eyes tracking over the man’s impressive member. It was thick and long, with a perfectly shaped pink head.

“Impressive is he not?”

Stiles swallowed, hard, his cheeks burning hot with embarrassment, but at the same time, his cock pressed against his pants.

“Inject the serum.”

Stiles was about to ask a question when the door inside the cage opened and a tall man walked in. He had no armor or visible weapons on him. He held a syringe and injected the handsome prisoner in the neck. Then, as fast as his feet could carry him, exited the room, leaving only the chained man.

The effect was instant.

Beads of blood began to drip from his pores, then extra specs of hair began to grow. Muscles started shifting underneath his skin, claws and fangs extended, long and deadly.

The creature’s eyes finally opened, sharp and changing from a dark green to an inhuman red, as they stared boldly up into the center of the glass, directly at Stiles, his gaze hard and unyielding.

Stiles covered his mouth, preventing himself from screaming.

“Not to worry, mister Stilinski. He can’t see us. It’s one-way mirror glass.”

Stiles watched, horrified, as the man moaned in horrible pain. His muscles twisted and turned inhumanly, growing more powerful and bulged by the second.

The beast filled the room with a legendary roar of frightening power and extreme anger, his entire body trembling with the force of his transformation.

The world was suddenly moving in slow motion, but the few seconds it took for the transformation to complete, changed Stiles’s world completely.


Please share your thoughts.

Chapter Text

One of the assistants entered the room with a metal mask. The beast wanted to flail away but it was useless, he couldn’t move a muscle.

“Shut him up!” the scientist ordered, his words relaying through the sound system.

The wolf tried to turn his face away but in a second, gloved hands were smoothing the contraption over his cheeks, trapping his muffled growls.

It was obscene. Sadistic, in every sense of the word.

Red lines ran diagonally across his side and part of his chest, another red mark, round and darker, on the junction between his neck and shoulder.

Stiles didn’t need to be told that the wolf was here to be experimented on. That was both obvious and horribly unimaginative.

He counted six cameras at various unreachable points in the room. The window was reinforced glass and bullet proof. The speakers and microphones were embedded in the ceiling and therefore impossible to reach. For all the scientific equipment in the room, there was no doubt that the area was nothing more but a highly technical torture chamber. An impregnable torture chamber.

The beast was now perfectly still, the only movement the faint rising and falling of his ribs as he breathed evenly and deeply.

Stiles curled his hands into fists. “These experiments are highly unethical.”

“Don’t worry, Stiles. We have the full support of the government.”

Stiles stepped in front of Chris, forcing Argent to meet his gaze. “This violates every human rights principle that ever existed.”

Chris grimaced a little. “Well, lucky for us, they aren’t human.”

“That doesn’t make this right.” His own voice sounded oddly broken, like bits of shattered glass, and he swallowed.

Argent was surprised by the answer, but more surprised when Stiles stepped into his space. Never let it be said that Stiles didn’t have gorilla balls.

Chris shook his head. “Your sympathy for these beasts is irrational. Have you forgotten what happened to Captain Brady’s unit?” He inhaled sharply, then continued. “Though I cannot predict the future, what we learn here will reverberate through the world for many years to come. Is it not a fair trade? The possibility to cure cancer, eradicate disease?” Chris asked, raising his voice. “There is a good reason why facilities like this exist, and they are the only reason humanity has survived this long!”

Argent’s hand squeezed his shoulder, briefly, and Stiles stared after him as he left. He started to ask what Chris meant by that, but Captain Brady was already leading him forward, walking quickly. They left Sector II, passing through another glass door, entering Sector I. By now, Stiles was growing accustomed to the constant hiss of the air vacuum ducts. Midway down the corridor was another pair of glass doors. As he passed through them, and the door closed behind him, he had the distinct feeling of being in a prison, of going through a succession of barred gates, descending deeper and deeper into the unknown. It might have been all high-tech and shiny glass walls, but it was still a prison.  

He shook his head, trying to clear the alarming thoughts from his mind as Captain Brady led him, yes, you guessed it, through yet another door, and in to what looked like an ultra-modern laboratory. In its center was a ring of six silver recliner chairs, each of them bolted to the floor like dentist chairs and each fitted with a dome-shaped device on the headrest.

On the other side of the lab, doors opened, and several men and women in white coats spilled in. Each of them took to their stations as Brady introduced him.

“This is where the magic happens!” Jamie, one of the scientists proclaimed. “For our experiments here at Alpha Station, our expert programmers have joined forces with the world’s foremost scientists. And that includes you now, mister Stilinski.”

Jamie turned to Stiles, extending his hand.

Captain Brady reclined in one of the dentist-looking chairs, while a technician lowered a dome-like headpiece over his head.

“Welcome to the team, Stiles.” Jamie whispered before moving away and continuing his presentation.

“Our patented invasive headpiece beams microwave signals directly into the wolf’s cerebellum, disrupting cortical activity and slowing the synaptic pulse-rate, inducing a quasi-coma. We then replace real-world sensory inputs with our own constructed ones; convincing the wolf that they are in a specific situation. And triggering the change whenever we want.”

Jamie turned around and focused on the people working at a button panel behind a glass screen. “Come meet the brains.”

They all looked slightly guilty as Jamie and Stiles came up, like kids caught with their hands in the cookie jar. Stiles wondered if Jamie had noticed, but the scientist only had eyes for the breathtaking red-headed woman standing just on the other side of the glass.

“May I introduce Lydia Martin, our head programmer. She worked as a field biologist in Mexico studying coyotes before turning to programming in her mid-twenties. She now supervises more code than she writes, but she can still code the pants off anyone here if she wanted to.”

The woman had long, red hair nearly reaching the small of her back. Her skin was flawless and white, a soft shade reminiscent of porcelain, and it glistened with a thin layer of rouge. Her lips were the prime example of a Cupid's bow, full and pouty. Her body was made of beautiful curves, and she had legs that stretched on forever. She wore a long white lab coat over a skirt and button up blouse.

“Then there is Kira, she says very little, moves almost soundlessly, and never raises her voice, but she has never lost an argument, either.”

The Asian woman was wearing faded jeans underneath the usual lab coat, a Little Mix sticker on her left pocket, and an iPod clamped to her waist.

“And finally, Jasper, grumpy, rumpled, and already overweight at thirty, looking as if he slept in his clothes, and in fact he often does, after a marathon gaming session.”

“Does me winning last night still hurt that much?” Jasper winked at Jamie as the doors in the lab opened once more and Scott entered.

“What is the deal with the faulty sensors?” Scott asked, after Stiles had shaken hands all around.  

“Well,” Lydia said, “I started to check the sensors after this morning’s episode, and it looks to me like they’re miscalibrated. But since nobody is going inside the cages, the question is whether we’re reading them wrong, or whether the sensors themselves are faulty, or just scaled wrong on the equipment in here. And Theo is here because he won’t go away and leave us alone.”

“Shit, I have better things to do,” Theo responded, leaning casually against one of the chairs. “But I am responsible for the security in Sector I. So I’m just waiting until they stop screwing around. Then I’ll go in, sedate them, and you can have a look at those damn sensors.”

“Sensors?” Stiles asked, feeling completely lost in the argument unfolding before him.

“Yeah, the pressure plaids in their cages, in the walls, floors, and glass. They touch it, instant BBQ.” His tone conveyed amusement. “The creatures keep testing them for weaknesses.”

Stiles smiled. “Like the raptors in Jurassic Park?”

Theo glanced at him, but said nothing. Reference too dated?

Lydia looked pointedly at Scott. “I wrote the algorithm that controls the sensors, and we need to optimize the code after they have been checked. And none of these guys can optimize worth a damn.” 

Jasper said, “I can.”  

“Yeah, if I give you six months, maybe.”  

“Children, children,” Jamie intervened. “Let’s not make a scene in front of our guest.”

Stiles smiled blandly. The truth was, he had not been paying attention to what they were saying. He was just watching them. These were no doubt top notch programmers, self-assured to the point of arrogance, the best in their field. But Stiles was struck by how nervous the group was. They were all on edge, bickering, jumpy. Not entirely unexpected, they were in a top secret underground bunker that imprisoned werewolves, but it felt like something more.

“I’m going to show mister Stilinski to his living quarters.” Captain Brady announced, interrupting.

One floor up and 20 minutes later, Brady opened the far door and waved Stiles through. “This is our residential module, where everybody sleeps and eats.”  

The air was cool after the passageway. The walls were the same smooth Formica material.

“Down the corridor are rooms, marked with our names. Further down is the cafeteria. We’ll meet there in five hours. Right?”

Stiles found his room, marked with a plastic door tag. He entered, surprised to find it quite large.

Immediately, the metal door behind him hissed shut, the steel arms unfolding smoothly. The pressure pads sealed with a loud thump. He felt a slight discomfort in his ears as the airlock pressurized.

The room was practical; a small bed, a tiny desk just large enough to hold a workstation monitor and keyboard. Above the bed, a shelf for books and clothes. There was no window in the room, but a screen poster showed a view of the snow outside.

Stiles’s first impulse was to call his dad, but as soon as he took the phone of the hook, he placed it back down. What exactly would he tell him? He signed an NDA and even if he tried to alert his father, there was no doubt in his mind that this room and the phones were bugged.

Stiles could not sleep. He lay in his bed on Level 3 and stared at the ceiling, thinking. He could not get the image of that man, that wolf, out of his mind, or those bodies, lying in the hanger.

Stiles was not a hematologist, but his work had involved some blood studies. He knew that a variety of bacteria, parasites and viruses had effects on blood. His own research with staphylococcus, for example, had shown that this organism produced two enzymes that altered blood. So it was possible that bacteria could alter DNA as well. And it could do it in many different ways. So it was probable. Werewolves. He shook his head and tried to sleep.

A sharp rap at his door a few hours later woke him up instantly.

“Did you sleep at all?” Captain Brady asked as Stiles walked up to him in the passageway outside his room.

“Surprisingly, yes.”

“Good. That’s good.” Brady nodded quickly and started walking down the corridor.

Keeping a brisk pace, Brady led him into a medium-size lounge with a couch and chairs around a coffee table, and a bulletin board on the wall.

“To the right is the kitchen and the rec room with TV, video games, so forth.”

We entered the big cafeteria. There were only two people there, a man and a woman, eating sandwiches standing up.

“I think you know these guys,” Brady said, grinning.

And Stiles did. Malia Tate and Mason Hewitt. They had been on his team in Europe when he was tracking wolf populations in Germany and Poland.

Malia was tall, thin, alluring, and sarcastic; she wore baggy cargo shorts and a T-shirt tight across her breasts, which read KEEP DREAMING. Independent and rebellious, Malia was also his ex-girlfriend.

“Hey. Nice of you to finally show up.” she said, shrugging.  

Stiles turned to Mason, awkward, atypical, even worse than him, and obsessively neat.

He shook Stiles’s hand enthusiastically. “I’m very glad you’re here, Stiles. You know a lot more about wolves than all of us combined.”  

“I’m going to show him around first,” Captain Brady said, interrupting. “Then we’ll talk. And by the way, your break ended ten minutes ago. So let’s get back to work.” He looked into the adjoining game room. “Where are the others?” 

“Alpha station. Lydia thinks there’s a problem with the alarm system.”  

“Great. More problems. Did anybody tell Argent?”  

“No. It’s software, Lydia’s taking care of it.”  

Captain Brady turned out of the room without saying another word and Stiles followed close behind. One floor down, the two men rounded a corner, passing by another security check, and were all at once standing at the end of a wide hallway. The walls were lined with glass-doored cells, and Stiles could hear the howls of wolves reverberating through Sector I.

“There are four of them in Sector I. All omegas.”

Captain Brady abruptly stopped his forward momentum and turned to Stiles who noticed the change in direction in barely enough time to stop from clattering into the soldier.

“These are animals and they will use any leverage or perceived weakness to get the upper hand.”

“Understood.”

Brady’s face softened slightly. “Then there's a chance you might survive here.”

He started off down the hallway again. They were passing the first cell now. Stiles turned away from Brady to peer into the cell and was startled by the grim scene just on the other side of the glass. He had been prepared for the wolves to be in bad shape, but Stiles was completely unprepared for the gruesome picture before him.

“This is Isaac, he was transported from England to America, where everybody throws their monsters. Except for Asia, Russia and Germany. They have their own facilities.” Brady clarified. “Don’t let the puppy eyes fool you, he is lethal.”

Stiles stared at Isaac from where he was kneeling on the cold, hard, cement floor, arms bound behind his back. His head was lowered, blood seeping from a cut above his eye, his cheek swollen from various blows. The way he was leaning told Stiles he had a broken rib, maybe more than one, and he could only imagine the number of bruises hiding under his shirt.

“Shall we move along?” Captain Brady asked, putting a hand on Stiles’s shoulder. “You’ll have plenty of time to go over the varmint’s history later, all files will be provided to you.”

Stiles didn’t attempt to hide his disgust at the use of the word varmint.

“Vernon Boyd, silent, always thinking, never speaks. Bitten by Derek.”

The man’s breathing was heavy; from his injuries or his worry, Stiles wasn’t sure which. But he was staring up at him, exhausted and terrified. Sweat dripped down his face, cutting through the blood that collected on his dark skin.

Stiles was moving again before his mind could catch up.

“Erica Reyes, as lethal as she is beautiful. Also bitten by Derek Hale.”

Her chest was heaving as she looked at Stiles, so scared and lost. His heart broke. She walked forward then, moving to kneel in front of him.

Stiles approached the woman’s cell cautiously, the same way he had the others. Although his rational mind was reminding him that there was no real danger while these wolves were in their cells, he decided it was better to be safe than sorry.

“And last but not least, Liam. His origin story, or who bit him, is unknown. But if he knows, we will extract it from him, one way or another.” Brady pushed Stiles past a cell containing a young teen huddled in the corner, head between his legs. “Next stop, Alpha station.”

With one hand on the fingerprint scanner, Captain Brady unlocked the metal sound proof door. Once inside he went straight for the first cell, keyed in the password, then pressed his thumb on the scanner. When the metal door opened he approached his guest who was sitting in the corner of the cell behind bulletproof glass enforced by metal bars.

“Good morning, Peter. Meet our newest asset, Stiles Stilinski.”

Stiles studied the metal collar around the man’s throat, the heavy chain attached to the collar connecting him to the wall. He pulled on his professional exterior once more and approached the glass with all the feigned confidence he could muster.

Lounging with an elegant sort of grace that even an Emperor could never hope to equal, Peter gave him a clear once over.

“Peter Hale,” The man purred in response to Captain Brady’s introduction. “Pleasure to make your acquaintance, mister Stilinski.”

Stiles nodded. Not trusting himself to speak as the older man watched him through the metal bars.

“Confusing isn’t it? We look like you, act like you, dress like you, go to the same places as you, most of the time we are you. Except for the part where we are stronger, faster, well, superior to humans in every way.”

It was not a trick of the light; his eyes. They shone an almost alarming shade of ruby red, like they had been colored by an electrically charged magic marker.

“I believed you to be a legend.”

Peter raised an eyebrow. “There is a reason we only exist in myth and legend.” He ran his index finger across the metal chain. “How does that quote go?” Peter smirked. “Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.”

Stiles’s nervous reaction apparently amused Peter.

“And trust me, we are perfectly adept at keeping a secret.”

Captain Brady smiled slightly. “Apparently not good enough.”

Crossing his legs and leaning back casually Peter met Brady’s gaze. It was a relaxed challenge, but one that even the slowest of humans would have failed to miss.

“For a long time we believed him to be the Alpha, but he just loves the sound of his own voice.”

“I thought these were all Alpha’s?” Stiles asked, rubbing his forehead in confusion.

“Essentially yes, but in a pack with more than one Alpha there is always a top dog, in this case Derek Hale, who you already met.” said Captain Brady, gesturing towards the next cell.

Stiles stepped forward and Brady settled beside him, both looking at the man on the other side of the glass.

The man’s gaze snapped straight to him, hard and angry. Stiles’s heart shot into his throat, and he was well aware of the danger.

Derek was still staring at him, looking into his eyes with a blazing passion that Stiles had never seen before. Imagining all the ways he could kill them, no doubt. It terrified the shit out of him, but he couldn't move. He was anchored to the spot and he wasn’t sure if he really wanted to leave it anyway.

Most of the other wolves were broken, more shells than anything else. But not this one. This one wasn’t just powerful; he was deadly.

 

 Please share your thoughts.

Chapter Text

Derek’s Point of View

Head down, he raced almost soundlessly across the sand, fingers lingering briefly on trees he passed, a dark shadow against the forest. He closed his eyes as cold wind ruffled his hair, dragging the too-long ends against his brow. Above him, clouds raced; he could feel their shadows kissing his skin.

All of the desert spread out before him; gold and green at the same time and heart-breakingly beautiful.

He had come here with a purpose, exchanging Los Angeles with its pollution and traffic and overwhelming stink of human for the tranquil setting of nature.

He was also being chased. Humans. Hunters. Argent.

Somehow they had known he would come here, maybe someone broke, maybe Peter made a deal, or else they were extremely lucky.

He should have pieced it together; the overwhelming scent of wolfsbane all over the land, confusing his sense of smell. It was everywhere he turned. His head felt dizzy, light, leaving him one sense down and with a clouded mind.

An echo tore through the darkness. The shadows were moving. Men in uniform talking fast into a walkie.

Derek tensed but did not move, hoping they had not heard him, and luckily, the soldiers did not notice the noise, for the wind and their leader’s voice echoed through the trees, drowning out all other sound. Derek desperately needed the element of surprise on his side to kill the soldiers.

Then he moved.

One man was on the ground before the second even knew what hit him. Derek’s foot kicked the gun right out of the soldier’s hand, before his fist connected with his jaw. But he didn't stop there, he knocked the hunter’s head hard against a nearby tree. It was enough to make the soldier dizzy, to take his speed away, but not enough to take him out. Derek didn’t mind. He wanted the hunter to see it coming.

Slowly and threateningly, lethal claws slid from between his fingers. The soldier could only stare at his weapon, realizing that, without his gun, he had already lost.

“It’s okay,” Derek found himself saying, holding out both hands with the palms up to show that he wasn’t a threat. “This will only hurt a little.”

He jumped through the air in a downward arc, his claws connecting with the soldier’s head with a deafening crack of bone.

Reinforcements showed up, shooting, one leaped at Derek, as if to tackle him to the ground. A knife covered in wolfsbane outthrust and ready to impale him. Sidestepping the attack easily, Derek dropped to one knee, tripping the soldier as it recovered from its miss. Before the hunter had even realized he had fallen, Derek drew his claws over the soldier’s neck, slitting the man’s throat.

The dart to his left flank hit like a burst of fire. Derek roared, drooling strings of blood from between his teeth. A sniper. Rearing up, he fought against it, snapping, snarling, and then darkness.

•••

Derek awoke to the smell of oranges.

He was in a large, square room with no windows, doors or furniture. The only source of light was a fluorescent tube against the ceiling. He shifted on the floor and quickly determined that it was made of heavy concrete, and so were the walls and probably the ceiling.

He shuddered, retching as everything flooded back to him. The chase, the hunt, the tranquilizer dart. Bloody hell, whatever they had put in that thing could have brought down an elephant. They had certainly decided to take no chances with a full-grown werewolf. He never even stood a chance. They had come prepared and that was far from a comforting thought.

He was human again but whatever they had shot him up with was messing with his senses. What he did know; he was no longer in Nevada, and also not alone.

With some effort, he managed to turn his head and was greeted by the sight of Chris Argent, sitting in a chair in front of his cell, eating an orange. There were several guards lining the walls, on either side of Chris, and one standing right in front of the glass and glaring down at him. Derek was on his knees, leaning on one hand and clutching one side of his face with the other.

“You and your pack put up quite a fight.” Chris said slowly.

Derek narrowed his eyes at the hunter. “Yes, we did.” He sounded tired and almost bored, because even if Derek hadn’t seen this specific turn of events coming, he certainly wasn’t surprised. “You are a fool to believe you can contain us.”

“Perhaps, but you were a fool for believing we would let your kind roam free.” Chris responded. “Only two of your pack came quietly, though. The rest resisted heavily. Their blood is being scrubbed from the streets.”

Derek’s stomach flipped. He had no idea who was in this prison now, who had survived, who had been captured and who died.

He licked his lips. The air was dry, clinical, sterile. He could hear the hum of machinery, the heartbeats of a dozen or more people, the faint smell of chemicals that was overpowered by the heavy stank of wolfsbane. His stomach rolled.

Stretching, he pushed aside his discomfort, his pride not wanting to show his weakness, and forced himself to his feet.

He scanned his eyes round to confirm what he had already suspected. He was in a cage. A high-tech, extremely expensive medical observation facility, but a cage none the less.

Baring his teeth, Derek gave in to his animal instinct, growling deeply in his chest, the inner wolf still near the surface following his transformation, bristling at the perceived confinement.

Without warning, Derek strode across the room.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” Argent smiled at Derek, who reached out to touch the glass.

A surge of electricity coursed through his entire body. As fiery pain teared through him, he clenched his teeth. Derek screamed, his wolf howled.

•••

Derek was starving. He hadn’t eaten in days. They had refused to feed him. He felt weak, but that, of course, was their intent.

His usual accurate sense of the passage of time was all over the place, leaving him uncharacteristically and somewhat alarmingly unsure as to whether he had been here for days, weeks, or even longer.

The next day they strapped him down.

He resisted at first, not wanting any more restraints. But he knew he had to wait for the right moment to try and get away, and this wasn’t it. Even if he used the element of surprise to catch the soldiers off guard - which seemed unlikely since most of the men were well-armed, well-muscled, trained professionals and behaved as though he was Hannibal Lecter - Derek had no idea how to get through the maze on the other side. He’d be quickly recaptured and they’d be twice as careful with him after that. He needed to be patient, to learn the layout of the facility as well as what lay beyond it. So instead, he forced himself to hold obediently still as one of the guards closed the metal cuffs around his wrists.

They gave him a full physical examination; prodding, poking and sticking instruments in places he very much preferred that they didn’t. At times he wanted to protest, but he couldn’t struggle, couldn’t even move his legs. He let his head drop back on the metal table and turned his face away.

One of the scientists removed his cover, leaving him completely naked, his limp dick hanging humbly down between his thighs. The only thing he wore were the cuffs on his wrists and ankles.

At least two security personnel accompanied him at all times. The doors to his cell and the labs could only be opened with the proper access code. Escape, he realised, would not come easily.

One by one, Derek’s feet were lifted and buckled into cold metal stirrups, which were spread wide apart. He peered helplessly down at himself as the doctor drew over a bright light to illuminate his exposed cock and balls.

“There’s the money shot,” said the doctor, pulling up a stool as the guards erupted in laughter.

Derek was completely exposed to all the people in the room and whoever was behind the glass. He couldn’t squirm, could hardly move at all.

“Subject was captured by a retrieval team several weeks ago. Alpha, male, between 24 and 32 years old, in perfect condition.” the doctor said, presumably into a recorder.

Derek’s member was examined thoroughly, then his testicles. It seemed like the doctor was checking for any irregularity, running his gloved fingers carefully over the organs. He took a sample from the tip of his penis with a cotton swab.

“No problems here,” the doctor pronounced finally. “Let’s move on, shall we?”

He adjusted the height and position of the stirrups, drawing Derek’s knees back towards his chest so the tight ring of his anus was now fully exposed to the light.

“I’ll be testing for sensitivity and general health of the rectum.” Informed the doctor calmly. “Oh, and I’ll be taking a small tissue sample.” he added.

One finger traced over his entrance and Derek would have thrashed if he could move. A pause, then a wet squish of liquid. At least there was a lot of lube involved. Then he felt cool, clinical hands press back the cheeks of his ass. He managed a strangled growl as something rubbery insinuated itself against his hole.

Captain Brady suddenly chimed in. “You can take it, Alpha, it’s just one finger.”

“Two fingers.” said the doctor blandly.

The other soldier pulled out his stun baton. “We would love to see him take this.”

“This is an examination, gentlemen, not a torture session, we have other rooms for that.”

The next day they strapped him down again and attached electrodes across his body. On the highest setting he screamed and the wolf howled.

•••

Derek had long ago lost track of how many days he had spent in this current hellhole. They were all the same: freezing metal cells so small that he couldn’t even lie down in them. It was torture and electricity and cold metal. It was cruel faces and snarled commands and being brutally picked apart piece by piece.

He was utterly exhausted and mildly feverish. His dark hair clung to his face as he let his aching head rest against the cold metal wall of his cell. He closed his eyes against the sight of his broken body and miserable surroundings.

But there was resistance too.

He spent most of the nights analysing all the data he had observed and gathered during his examinations.

His uncle was inside the cell next to him. Isaac, Erica and Boyd had made it too. That was all that really mattered at the moment. Although they weren’t safe, his pack was alive. Only Jackson had refused to give up his freedom. The first shot had been a warning, but when his kanima DNA proved immune against the tranquilizers, he targeted Argent himself. He went down with a bullet to the head.

Derek had spent a lifetime separating the animal urges from the self-control he had developed. Unlike some, he was not a slave to the base elements of his wolf. He controlled the wolf. The wolf did not control him. But two months later, his restraint failed and the wolf took over.

The guard pulled out his stun baton, hitting him in the face with it. Something snapped inside Derek. He turned back to the soldier with a smile on his face. The hunter tried to punch him again but Derek easily caught his fist in his hand and landed a punch of his own. All that extra energy he had from lying around in his cell fuelled him as he continued to fight soldier after soldier that entered his cell.

Derek was having fun, his wolf too.

Another hunter ran straight at him, Derek kicked up high and landed his foot in the soldier’s jaw, sending him flying. The wolf roared, celebrating its victory, then turned to face his next victim.

Guards ran at him from all sides, tackling him, forcing a collar around his neck, electrocuting him as the wolf fought for freedom.

Those that fell stood up again, coming back for more.

Derek used his claws and wolf strength to cut down another and grimaced at the odd smell that hit his nose. The soldier smelled bad. Wolfsbane. He looked down to the one in his arms and grinned before snapping its neck between his hands and letting the soldier drop to the ground.

But more ganged up on him, too many, and all armed with tasers and wolfsbane injections. Derek cried out, falling to the floor, writhing in pain.

“You are never getting out of here, filthy dog.” A guard spat, leaving him there to suffer as his body shook from the electrocution.

•••

This time, when consciousness came back to him, there was an incredible scent entering through the air holes in the glass door of his cell.

A man with one of the guards, talking to Peter.

Derek only caught a glimpse of the beautiful creature behind the guard approaching his cell, but it was enough to leave him wanting. He was wearing the same white clothes as all the scientists; no protection or weapons at all. The white uniform shielded his features from view, but his lack of underwear underneath combined with those tight white pants didn’t hide much from Derek’s observant wolf eyes.

For a brief second, they locked eyes. Warm, brown eyes, that sent a surge of arousal through Derek, one he didn’t bother hiding from the guard who was unsuccessfully trying to get his attention.

“Do you see something you like?” Captain Brady asked sarcastically, following Derek’s gaze towards the stranger and smiling knowingly.

The handsome man shifted nervously and the sudden change of movement caused the scent to increase in potency before settling in a thick fog in his cell. The stranger wouldn’t meet his eyes again and Derek had to rein his wolf in because it took the refusal as submission. That combined with the man’s scent made Derek shift himself, his hardening cock uncomfortable against the covers.

“If you behave during our next session, you can have him for the night.”

Derek watched as the man in white stiffened, shooting the soldier an accusatory look. Captain Brady just patted him condescendingly on the shoulder. “Best to impress the Major, or we might have to find another purpose for you, mister Stilinski.”

It was easy enough to see why his wolf might take interest in mounting this Stiles. Brown hair, broad shoulders, and a friendly smile. The man was undoubtedly attractive. He was lean and masculine, yet soft and yielding. His eyes made Derek feel things in his pants, and his mouth was absolute sin.

“Hi, my name is Stiles Stilinski.”

Derek nodded, more out of reflex than anything else. It was a strange way to begin an interrogation.

“How does one become top Alpha in a pack with other Alphas?” the man asked. His voice held a hint of wonder, and though every instinct told Derek to keep silent, there was something about the way Stiles was looking at him. Something about his scent that made Derek speak.

“I’m a true Alpha.”

 

 Please share your thoughts.

Chapter Text

Stiles was brought to what appeared to be another exam room. Simply the sight of the room; white walls, fluorescent lighting, and intimidating machines, made him feel tense, he could only imagine what Derek must be feeling.

The wolf lay motionless on a metal bed, breathing slowly and evenly, his eyes trained on the ceiling. Derek’s breath formed little white clouds in the chilly room, but they dissipated before rising above his head.

A man in a white coat, a rather kindly-looking older man with white hair, came out of a back room, holding a clipboard.

“Is that my two o’clock?” he asked, glancing disinterestedly at Derek.

Stiles nodded. “Yes.”

“I'm Doctor Michael, one of eight specialists here at Alpha Station,” the man explained in Stiles’s general direction but without making eye contact. “My specialization is parasympathetic response.”

He cleared his throat. “Have you been informed about what we will do here today, mister Stilinski?”

“Not entirely. Major Argent advised me to observe the first few weeks. He told me I would learn a great deal from you.”

“Well, I’ll certainly do my best to teach you,” Doctor Michael responded, motioning to a guard that appeared behind him. “Bring the subject this way, please.”

The soldier wheeled Derek, who was growling behind his gag and being entirely ignored, through the doorframe and into the exam room. The gurney was set up in the center of the room, the guard buckled Derek’s wrists into a set of horizontal restraints high above his head, so that he was lying outstretched, like a bug under a microscope. The soldier pulled the straps too tight.

“Male specimen, 28 years of age, Alpha,” the doctor muttered into a recorder.

Stiles didn’t have to glance up to know where the video camera was located in the far corner of the lab. Since this wasn’t an interrogation room, it didn’t have audio, but Stiles knew very well that some people could get material off the tapes by lip-reading; his father was one of them. He shifted carefully around, trying to make it appear as though he was getting a better look at the wolf while subtly turning his back to the camera. He checked the restraints at Derek’s wrists, loosening them slightly.

Stiles wished Derek wouldn’t look at him the way he does; following his every move like a lion watches a gazelle. It had been going on for days, perhaps longer. He could only properly measure the time based on the moment he actually started noticing.

“Listen,” Stiles whispered, knowing the wolf would be able to hear him. “I will put an end to all of this. Soon.”

The doctor had stopped talking into the recorder and pulled a single glove on his right hand. “We will kick things off with a check-up.” He said, wheeling over some trays. “Let’s have a look.”

“How’s his temperature?” Stiles asked, faking interest in the examination.

“High, as with real life wolves.” The doctor made a note on his clipboard. “We’ll need his head restrained to continue.”

The guards locked down the gag on both sides to the surface of the table so Derek couldn’t move his head at all. The restraints on Derek’s wrists and ankles forced him still, unable to do anything other than lie there with his mouth open. The guard unbuckled the gag and pulled it free, immediately a metal mouth guard was slipped between his teeth, holding his jaw open.

The doctor approached with a syringe. “Just to keep you relaxed.”

Stiles’s hand shot out before he could make the conscious decision to do so. “They already tranquilized him before bringing him out.”

“We can’t take any chances with these beasts, mister Stilinski.” The doctor said, squirting the syringe into Derek’s mouth and briskly massaging his throat.

Gloved fingers slipped between Derek’s teeth, and the wolf whined as something smooth and flat slid in over his tongue.

“Good teeth,” Michael commented, “nice healthy colour here in the mouth.”

The doctor slid the tongue depressor through the metal mouth restraints, pressing it forward without warning to prod at the back of Derek’s throat. Derek growled, his body convulsing against the restraints.

“There, the werewolf teeth.” Doctor Michael pointed out at Stiles who bent over to get a closer look.

Then, Michael’s hands moved down, reaching under Derek’s cover.

“Good sensitivity in the nipples.” he said, pinching one and watching it harden. Then the cover was removed completely, exposing Derek’s naked body.

At this point, Stiles was losing all control, again.

The first time, the arousal had hit him unexpectedly, and he felt fucking awful about it afterwards. He had never been attracted to men. Sure, he could look at a guy and admit if the man was attractive, but he never wanted to fu… Anyway, he had always identified as straight and never second-guessed it. He wasn’t even sure if he was bisexual. Honestly, maybe it was just Derek. But either way, it confused the shit out of him.

That close, Stiles saw something else, four cuts across Derek’s chest, all festered to different degrees.

“What the hell are those?” Stiles demanded between gritted teeth, not caring for the look on the doctor’s face even though the man answered him.

“Those are experiments, cuts made with a knife dipped in different substances to find one that poisons them.”

They would regret this, Stiles thought. The captivity, the pain, the humiliation, the torture, the experiments, he would make sure they would regret it.

The doctor had turned to the apparatus in the middle of the room and was drawing back the sheet. It revealed a big screen and a thick metal phallus with a variety of wires connected to the computer in the corner.

“The anal probe measures contractions of the internal canal to monitor arousal,” the doctor explained casually, “so we can learn more about what the wolf does and doesn’t like, without the filter of their moral objections. We get the data straight from the pleasure center and bypass the rational mind entirely.”

The metal phallus, or gleaming metal dildo as Stiles would call it, was insinuated in Derek’s hole, slowly fed further up into him with gentle, continuous pressure. Derek moaned, trying to strain away from the intrusion, but it followed him easily, slithering further in.

The lubricant the doctor had spread up inside Derek was now sliding wetly down the back of his thighs.

Stiles had certainly never been examined this way before, and he couldn’t believe another man was forced to take it up the ass right here in front of him as he was casually watching and powerless to stop it.

“Alright,” said the doctor, “let’s just get him hooked up here, and we can get started.”

As Derek laid helpless, his arms and feet locked to the table, Doctor Michael attached a series of electrodes to his forehead and chest, one on each of his pectorals, and more of them to his inner thighs, then his balls. As a final insult, he brought over a clear plastic tube with wires running from the end, and slid it over Derek’s cock.

One of the guards locked Derek’s head in a sideway position, attaching the metal mouth guard to the table as Doctor Michael turned the computer screen towards them.

The moment the guard stepped back, Derek simply closed his eyes, refusing to cooperate with their experiment.

Without warning, Michael touched the end of a metal cylinder to one of Derek’s nipples.

Derek convulsed, the muscles of his chest contracting at the touch of the device. As soon as the Doctor pulled back, the electricity stopped, leaving Derek dazed and panting through the mouth guard.

“As long as you keep your eyes open and focused on the screen, we will not have a problem.” Doctor Michael said, typing something into the keyboard.

The screen displayed a naked woman, completely revealed by harsh fluorescent lights. There was no sound. The camera traced over the woman’s breasts and then dropped to her vagina as she spread her legs to expose it all. Then the picture abruptly cut to a naked man, specifically his slowly hardening cock.

“Much more responsive to the male images,” said Doctor Michael casually. “That’s in line with what we suspected.”

Many attractive male models appeared on the screen, almost all showing their naked bodies. Then suddenly, a picture of Stiles in swimwear appeared on screen.

“Wow,” said the doctor, studying his machine. “Big response there.”

“What is the meaning of this?” Stiles growled, looking at his Facebook vacation pictures on the screen.

“It’s an experiment, mister Stilinski,” Michael explained, pushing another button on the machine. “We just needed to confirm something.”

“Stop this, now.” Stiles shouted. The guards immediately took a step forward, their heads raised slightly.

The Doctor immediately opened his mouth to argue but before he could say another word, the restraints around Derek’s wrists broke.

The wolf lunged forward and grabbed the back of Doctor Michael’s neck, ignoring the guards.

There was shouting and movement and weapons being raised, but none of it concerned Stiles. Derek clearly did not see him as a treat and that gave him the chance to put his own plans into motion.

Derek used Michael as a human shield, preventing the guards from shooting at him. Stiles made sure his eyes were unfocused and that his expression showed fear as he ran into one of the guards, pretending to trip over his own feet in his haste to get away from Derek. The soldier frowned as he reached out to stop Stiles from knocking him into the wall. Stiles reached out to steady himself on the guard, using his momentum to swipe the phone hanging from the soldier’s belt. He steadied himself, dropping the secure phone into his own pocket, before stumbling backwards into the wall as the guard moved past him.

Stiles, now glued to the wall, clung to his phone and watched as a battle raged before him, the laboratory getting upended, with many expensive appliances biting the dust, including the doctor.

A shot was fired, and a bullet buried itself in Derek’s shoulder. He staggered but stayed in place, watching the soldier rush toward him. Derek lunged out of his way and turned, kicking the back of the hunter’s kneecaps.

Another shot. This one missed. Before the guard could aim his gun again, Derek’s claws were out and he jumped forward. The soldier’s face barely had time to register surprise before the wolf slashed his throat open like he was swatting a fly.

Derek didn’t even watch the hunter drop to the ground. He came at the other guard with enough momentum to rupture his skull, which is exactly what he did.

Blood spatters landed on Stiles’s cheek, making him blink. As he opened his eyes, he found himself face to face with Derek.

He looked around, his eyes drawn to the tranquiliser gun lost by one of the dead guards. Stiles didn’t reach for it. Derek wasn’t moving to attack; he was merely staring Stiles down.

Stiles took a few deep breaths, let his heart rate slow, and though the wolf’s gaze certainly didn’t soften, nor did he display any further aggression.

“Hello,” Stiles said as calmly as he could.

That threw the wolf off. Stiles just barely bit back a laugh at the way one of his thick dark eyebrows lifted in utter disbelief for just a second, before dropping back down in line with his scowl.

Okay, so maybe it was a little odd to try to strike up a chit-chat with an imprisoned Alpha who just killed 3 people, but Stiles had to start somewhere. He wanted to let the wolf know that he was on his side.

Derek started to move towards Stiles slowly, as if to give him the chance to run, and Stiles wondered if Derek already knew that he wasn’t going anywhere. He should, that was fucking obvious. But his feet felt nailed to the floor, lulled in by the gravitational pull of this powerful, supernatural beast. The only thing he could do was back up, until his head bumped into the wall, again. Derek checked him out – up and down – without shame, until his chest was practically pressed to Stiles.

Stiles tried to put some space between them but froze immediately, because Derek’s eyes had flashed red the second he had tried to move.

The wolf’s lips pursed and Stiles could swear he looked almost amused for a second – but just for a second, and then the scowl was back.

They stood like this for a moment, Stiles between Derek and the wall, chin up, shoulders back, arms limp at his side, no touching, just staring.

Then, their foreheads touched, chests rising and sinking in unison, breaths mingling as they stared.

Stiles felt Derek growing hard, the bulge in Derek’s pants firm against the top of his thigh.

Logically, Stiles should have gotten the hell out of there as soon as he’d seen Derek’s eyes go red. The chances of him safely surviving this encounter, even with Argent about to burst through those doors, were practically zero, and god only knew how feral Derek was, having spent so long in this hell, so Stiles almost jumped when the wolf actually whispered, “Talk to Scott.”

That was it. Derek roared and thrashed as soldiers dragged him towards his cell once more.

 

 Please share your thoughts.

Chapter Text

After Major Argent arrived at the scene and ordered him to his quarters, Stiles travelled straight to Level 1. The decontamination on his way back down would be murder, but worth it.

He discretely entered Argent’s office - the door left unlocked during the chaos, as Stiles had hoped for - and went in to the adjoining bathroom before he dialled for Beacon Hills. Chances of this room being wired were practically non-existent. 

“Sheriff Stilinski.” Noah answered.

“Dad.” Stiles said, relieved.

“Stiles, I've been worried sick! General Argent called and told me you wouldn't be coming back to work.”

Stiles’s body tensed in anger. “It’s true,” he admitted. “I - well, some things have changed.”

He heard glass shatter over the phone. “That son of a bitch,” Noah said. “You just tell me where you are and I'll come get you. He can’t just keep you from your life, Stiles. I don’t care how high he is in the chain of command.”

Stiles felt his throat constrict, a warning of oncoming tears. “Things have changed,” he repeated, emphasizing the last word.

He could hear Noah walking through the station, the murmur of deputies drowning out his father’s movements for a moment, and then the silence of his office followed by a hard slam to the door and a loud clicking of a door lock. “What happened, Stiles?” he asked.

Stiles pictured his dad sitting down at his desk, propping his feet up, and cradling the phone between his neck and shoulder as he worried his fingers over the hem of his shirt.

“Nothing,” Stiles said. Then, “Everything.” He sighed. “I - it's just good to hear your voice.” Though, Stiles felt like someone was driving a knife through his heart by taunting him with a return to normalcy that could never be. Not now after what he had seen.

“Stiles.” Noah said, his voice quiet and full of desperation. Where are you?”

“Safe,” Stiles said, knowing that was all his dad really wanted to hear. “I’m safe.”

Stiles sighed. The weight of his secret was bearing down on him and he knew that if he told his dad, that it would put him in danger.

“Argent has me doing some interesting research.” He started. “It will take some time.” He added.

Noah was quiet.

“Remember that party at Aunt Nora, she must have been 64 at the time, dancing on the bar all night. And Uncle Wesley who kept insisting that he did 149 sit-ups in less than a minute during his army days. Not 150, no, that was crazy, but 149 was to be believed.”

“That was a memorable night.”

“We should visit them this June.”

“We will.”

“Bye dad. It was good to hear your voice.”

“You too, Stiles. I love you son. And contact me soon.” Then Noah hung up, leaving Stiles with silence on the other end.

He calmly walked out of the office, his pace began to increase as he neared the elevator and slipped into the unused stairwell. He held onto the rail, doing his best not to trip over his own feet as he hurried down the stairs. How was he going to get out of this?

•••

Two days later he finds a note in his freshly steamed uniform. Boiler room. 2 PM.

Talk about movie clichés.


Level 3 was quiet, a welcome respite from the chaos on level 2. But the quiet didn’t sit well, it felt false and expectant. Stiles was so far out of his element now, and the fear was rising faster than he could keep up with. His own footsteps echoed too loudly across the floor panels, heightening his unease.

He pushed open the door to the boiler room to reveal a long, dimly lit corridor. His senses on high alert as he quickly stepped through the doorway and walked briskly down the passageway.

“Mister Stilinski.”

Someone reached out from the dark and put a hand on his shoulder. Stiles startled a little at the unexpected contact, but smiled the moment he recognized the intruder.

“Captain Scott?” Stiles asked. “What are you doing here?”

“I assume the same thing you are.” His voice was quiet and clear, his expression utterly serious.

“And what might that be?” Stiles asked.

Scott sighed. “I hoped you were smarter than this. But no, you just made an incriminating phone call to your father, never realizing that everything goes through our servers, even the secure phones, and I was getting it all.”

“I have no idea what you are talking about.”

“Enough, Stiles. You got Lucky that one of us picked it up, and erased it.” Scott said, softer than before, as he rubbed the back of his neck. “The conversation with your father about Aunt Nora was you delivering our coordinates to your father.”

Stiles thought about admitting it all, but instead he shook his head, “I have no -“

“Nora stands for North. Uncle Wesley means West. The numbers you mentioned are coordinates disguised as ages. And June stands for Juneau, the capital of Alaska.”

Shit. Scott was smart, real smart, smarter than him. Or maybe someone else figured it out, since other people were clearly involved.

Scott took a moment to breathe, then continued. “What you are going to do this instant, is quit.”

“Quit?” Stiles asked.  

“Yeah. As of right now.”  

“Why?”  

“Who cares why? You got a better offer elsewhere. You have health problems. Or some family issues. Trouble at home. Just get out of here. Quit.”  

“Wait a minute,” Stiles said. “You think I should quit because he’s breaking the law? Is that your advice to me?”  

“No,” Scott said. “As head of security I have a duty to report your incriminating phone call. But as a man who understands your need to take action against this inhuman behaviour, my advice is to keep your mouth shut and get out of here fast.”  

“I’m not a coward. And I’m not running from this. You said it yourself, what happens here is inhuman. I’m going to gather evidence and notify the authorities, and the world.”

Scott sighed, again. He put his hand on Stiles’s arm. “The world can’t know about us, they are simply not ready. And believe me, this will stop, very soon. You get the fuck out of here.”  

“Run?” Stiles asked. He felt a flood of anger, and started to say more, until he realized what Scott had just said. Us. The world can’t know about us.

Shit. Scott was a werewolf.

So Stiles shut up, and thanked him. As he was leaving, Scott said, “Stiles, do yourself a favour, don’t be a hero.”


Captain Brady was waiting for him as he rounded the corner on his way to the sleeping quarters.

“The Major wants to see you. Now.”

“What about?” Stiles asked as he searched his pocket for his room key.

“Incident debriefing.”

“I already gave a statement, yesterday.”

“Just the messenger, Mister Stilinski. But I wouldn’t disobey the Major, you might find yourself thrown in the lion’s den.” With that, Captain Brady took off, no doubt smiling as he left Stiles with yet another threat.


Stiles did his best to appear calm on the outside. If he let his nerves show in front of Argent, the Major could possibly become more suspicious. Stiles wasn’t an idiot. He knew that Chris had to be at least questioning his strange behaviour and disinterest in the project. Not to mention his bizarre relationship with Derek.

With a deep breath to steady himself, he entered the main conference room. Argent stood at the head of the table, frowning at something on the screen in front of him.

“Sir?” No reply. “Major Argent? You wanted to speak with me?” Stiles waited patiently as Chris made a show of finally giving him his attention.

“Mister Stilinski. It’s about Subject 1. What do you know of him?”

Stiles felt his blood run cold. “I don’t know very much about him, sir. Just what was in his file and a few things he’s told me.” he didn’t like this.

“Is that so?”

“Yes, sir. Is there a reason behind all this questioning? Something I should be informed of?”

Argent studied him for a moment, his expression unreadable. “How would you describe your relationship with Subject 1?”

Stiles’s heart jumped into his throat and started beating like mad. He desperately tried to find the right combination of words, the best way to shove away the suspicion. “Superficial. Amiable at best.”

“Really?” Chris sighed dramatically. “He killed three people, amongst them 2 trained soldiers, while you walked away without a scratch. What would you call that? ”

“Extremely lucky.” Stiles replied calmly, not liking where this conversation seemed to be going.

“I don’t think you truly understand your situation, Mister Stilinski.”

“Sir?”

“I would like a straight answer from you. How much do you actually know?”

Stiles’s blood didn’t just turn cold, it froze. This was more than bad. This was the very thing he had been fearing when stepping into this office. Major Argent was more than suspicious. Did he know? How much did he know? About the phone call? About Scott?

“You will pay a high price for disloyalty, Mister Stilinski.” Argent’s gaze was hard and piercing, trying to make him crack.

Stiles matched his gaze. He wasn’t going to back down.

“Now if you excuse me, I have a lot of work to do.” Chris said, still staring at him. No more threats. No need for them. He just made Stiles a marked man. 

As he walked out the conference room, Stiles tried not to let his fear take hold of him. But he couldn’t fight it back. His concerns were confirmed and he looked at the sign reading Level 1 with an arrow pointing upwards, tempted to just make a run for it, get the hell out of this place. But he needed to let Scott know that Argent was onto him, or at least on high alert.  

•••

“I know what you are.”

Stiles is once again standing in the boiler room, his body tense, and every muscle on high alert.

Scott’s eyes went wide. “You know nothing.”

“I can’t believe you survived in here for this long.” Stiles stated, his voice barely rising above the machinery in the background. “A werewolf. Right under their noses.”

Scott’s expression went as cold as Stiles had ever seen it.

“So…” he began slowly. “Are there others?”

“No.” Scott said.

It was a flat-out lie. Stiles couldn’t have said how he knew exactly, but his father thought him enough interrogation skills to detect dishonesty, and there were obvious tells. Stiles really couldn’t understand how Scott had survived with that crappy poker face.

“What is the plan?” Stiles asked, voice low and deep. “I want in.”

“Now that you know about me, it’s even more dangerous for you to stay.”

“I don’t give a shit how dangerous this is. I already told you, I’m not running.”

Scott sighed, as if Stiles just wasn’t getting it.

But what wasn’t he getting?

“Even if we defeat Argent and his army, even if we escape…” Scott hesitated.

He was acting as if Stiles were missing the point.

But what point?

“The thing is, Derek, he will… you are…” Scott was full on stuttering by now, his eyes refusing to focus. When he finally recovered, Stiles got the distinct feeling this was not what Scott intended to say at all.

“You are not one of us, Stiles. If you join this fight, you will only be a liability. Leave now, while you still can.”

What the lie meant, though, Stiles couldn’t even begin to imagine.

•••

“Stiles, Major Argent wants you in interrogation room three right away.”

Stiles gazed at the guard at his door in confusion. Interrogation room? He’d never been assigned to interrogating wolves before, never been trained in it, and had no idea why he was being summoned.

Stiles nodded to the guard, hoping it wasn’t Scott being grilled, closed the door behind him, took a deep breath and headed for the interrogation room on level 4.

When he found the door to the room, he hesitated, taking a deep breath. He had no idea what he would find inside, and dreaded whatever confrontation was about to take place. He swung open the door and froze. A torture room, plain and simple. If this had been any other situation, Stiles would have made an inappropriate Fifty Shades comment. Throughout the room were instruments, whips, and an assortment of blades. Yet only one thing grabbed his attention and held it. At the back of the room, a huge X-shaped metal table was mounted to the floor. Derek hung from it, his chest raw with cuts and bruises, blood dripping on the floor. Naked, his skin filthy and covered with wounds, the Alpha held himself proudly erect as possible, his glorious body unbowed. His eyes went straight to Stiles. The look of hate and anger made Stiles’s heart turn over in his chest.

Beside Argent, whip in hand, was Captain Brady, Argent’s right-hand man. No Scott. Stiles didn’t know if that was good or bad.

“You’re killing them? We need him alive for our research!”

“No, not killing him, not yet. A tradition from our ancestors to teach these beasts humility. These animals can take a lot more punishment than this.” Argent stepped forward and looked Derek up and down with hatred and contempt.

“Let’s see how long it takes you to heal. Sit down, Stiles, and observe.”

Derek was attached to the cross by an iron collar, metal wrist cuffs, and additional cuffs at his ankles, his legs stretched apart obscenely. His heavy balls, were hanging low between his legs. His magnificent cock, drooped limply. Stiles had to hold onto himself tightly not to rip the fucking whip from Argent’s hand and use it on him.

Derek made no sound or struggle, waiting stoically for more of his skin to be ripped apart by the whip. Argent drew back his arm, and Stiles couldn’t prevent himself from moving. He caught the Major’s arm and whirled Chris around to face him. “Stop it, damn it! Look at the condition he’s already in! He won’t survive the beating you plan to give him.”

“Since when do you give orders, mister Stilinski?”

“You’ve made your point! End this!”

“My point?”

“That I care about them, what happens to them. That I want to end your disgusting operation. That is what you wanted to hear, isn’t it.” Stiles stated with unveiled contempt. “You can end this little charade. We both know you’ve known about my intentions for a while now.”

Argent nodded without altering his steely expression. “I knew I made a mistake bringing you here the moment I saw the disgust in your eyes at the change. Not for the beast, but for me.” With that said, Argent turned and walked towards Derek with a satisfied grin. “I wanted to fly you back on the next available plane, but your connection with Derek proved uncommon. His response to you was more than a little interesting.”

Argent seemed amused by this.

“So you see, mister Stilinski, this little charade as you call it, isn’t for you.” Argent’s lips thinned and he barked at the guards, “Take the wolf down. Put Stiles in his place.”

The guards hurried over to unlock the cuffs holding Derek’s ankles, leaving him hanging, using his arms to keep himself from choking, for the few seconds it took them to release the collar and the wrist cuffs. Then, the soldiers dragged his battered body to a chair in the corner.

When the guards came to drag him towards the torture device, Stiles fought them, unsuccessfully. As they spread his arms and legs across the X frame, he vowed he wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of hearing him cry out or plead for mercy.

Bound to the table, the metal cuffs bit sharply into his arms and legs as they cut his white uniform from his body. The intent was clear.

Derek snarled and tugged sharply at his captors. “Argent, you fucking bastard.”

Derek’s cursing covered verbally pretty much what Stiles had been thinking.

“Take him off and I’ll answer your questions.”

It wasn’t going to work like that.

“How many?”

“I don’t know.”

The first crack of the whip across his chest, he screamed, unprepared for the degree of pain.

“How many of you are there?”

“I said I don’t know.”

Stiles gasped but made no other sound as another wave hit him, his fists clenching tightly.

“Thousands.”

Stiles stared at him, his head shaking, but Derek ignored it.

“How many in your pack?”

“I don’t have a pack.”

Derek fought against his chains as Stiles went rigid in pain.

“Eight, alright!” Derek shouted.

Stiles sucked in a breath and slammed his mouth shut as another blow struck him, every muscle in his body appearing to go rigid.

“I answered your question, Argent. Stop hurting him.”

Stiles breathed in deeply, his eyes not leaving Derek. They were cold and hard and full of hate.

“How far will you go to protect your mate?”

Derek’s lack of reaction could almost be mistaken for apathetic, but Stiles caught the hard twitch of a muscle in his jaw.

“Oh, you thought we didn’t know about that?” Argent asked, his voice betraying the slightest hint of pride.

As Derek continued to struggle, several soldiers entered the room, including Scott. He looked at Major Argent with raised eyebrows. “Since when did you start using the whip on your own kind?”

Captain Brady answered, “Since they were stupid enough to give the Major orders.”

Scott held Stiles’s gaze for a moment. “This interrogation ends now. We have an outbreak in sector 2.”

“Who?”

“Peter Hale.”

Captain Brady took a step closer to Scott, sizing him up. “Then why haven’t you sounded the alarm?”

Scott stood his ground. “Sector 2 is on lockdown, we have him trapped, no need to cause a panic.”

“Good work, Captain Scott.” Said Argent calmly. “Contain mister Stilinski to his quarters. We will deal with this mess later.”

Argent snapped his fingers and one of the guards loosened Stiles’s bonds, Scott took him by the back of the neck and began dragging him toward the door. Stiles saw Derek being led along, limping, at the point of Captain Brady’s gun. Argent not two steps behind.

Chapter Text

It started with the sound of gunfire and screaming. Somehow Argent had lost control of the base. Ironic really, the Major had spent thousands on the best security systems and soldiers money could buy. But deep into the late hours of the night it started.

Scott had brought him back to his room and locked the door, promising he would be back. Now, the screams of men and gunfire rang through the hallways. Stiles knew they were here, wolves. Ravaging through the lab like a war zone.

After a moment of silence, he heard footsteps. His heart sped up, someone, or something, was coming his way. He could see a shadow under the door. At this point, Stiles was frozen in fear. Then suddenly the door was ripped from its hinges, revealing a pair of red eyes, glaring at him from the darkness. Eyes blazing with dangerous and murderous intent. One glance at the wolf sent chilling fear raging throughout his body, Stiles couldn't move.

Sniffing the air, the wolf growled and stepped inside, closer to Stiles hiding in the corner. The thing that got Stiles’s attention the most was the strong smell of blood. Even for a human, he could clearly smell it.

Releasing another low growl, the beast stalked closer to him. Stiles never took his eyes from the Alpha, he knew better than to test a wolf and remained completely still, even as the beast moved to stand in front of him.

Stiles had turned off the lights at the first sound of gunfire, leaving the room in utter darkness, but now that the wolf was standing so close, he instantly recognized the face, even half transformed. Derek. The man in front of him was Derek Hale.

When Derek’s hand moved forward, Stiles flinched before feeling fingertips across his cheek. A moan escaped his lips at the Alpha’s touch. Hearing the sound from him, Derek gripped his chin and forced Stiles to look up, meeting his green eyes. Derek easily pulled him closer, moving to sniff at his neck and licking the skin, making Stiles gasp. Glancing into his eyes again, Derek pushed his lips to Stiles’s own roughly. It took the Alpha no time at all to shove his tongue into his mouth and taste him. Stiles whined and felt Derek’s hand move from his jaw to the back of his head and neck, holding him even closer. Breaking from his mouth, Derek moved to lick back down to his neck. Licking and nipping at the skin with his sharp teeth. Grabbing a handful of his ass, he carried Stiles over to the desk in the far corner. Before Stiles’s butt cheeks touched the surface, black-clothed soldiers came pouring into the hallway, and gunfire filled the air.

“Derek…”

The Alpha grabbed his arm. Stiles followed as Derek barrelled straight through with the ripped off metal door held in front of him, heading for the stairwell. A few soldiers tried to tail them. At that moment, the power switched off, plunging the hallway into darkness. By the time the backup emergency generator kicked in, two soldiers were dead; one with his neck at an unusual angle, the other with his own knife through his chest. Less than a minute later and the three remaining hunters were also dead or incapacitated.

“You okay?”

Stiles nodded briefly as his hands flew over his body to check for bullet holes.

Derek looked up, straight at one of the security cams. “Thank you, Lydia.”

 

They ran. Stiles’s breathing was ragged. He was going to tear a hole in his side. He and Derek, hand in hand, stumbled down another hallway. Stiles wasn’t sure where he was anymore. The lab looked different from when he’d been an employee instead of an escaped prisoner. He didn’t think he’d seen so many cells during his employment here. He certainly hadn’t had a platoon of soldiers chasing him through the halls before.

They descended one floor and opened the door to stumble into another squad of guards. Most of them went down easy. But in the middle of the gunshots and blood spraying everywhere, Stiles saw Officer Darnell trying to escape at the end of the hall. Stiles hopped over a barricade of broken tables and chairs, and jumped, landing on the man and pinning him to the floor.

“Good catch.” Derek whispered.

Stiles sighed. “Thanks. What do we do with him?”

As a response, Derek kicked Darnell in the face, knocking him out. Then he reached for the soldier’s gun.

“Don’t shoot him, Derek.” Stiles said through panted breath. “The sound will reveal our position.”

Extending his claws, Derek buried them into the guard's chest, each one sliding between the ribs and straight into Darnell’s heart.

 

“You’re late, Nephew.” Peter Hale stated as Stiles and Derek entered the ultra-modern laboratory with the six dentist-looking chairs. He had been here before, listening to a scientist named Jamie give a speech about triggering wolf transformation. The same lab where he met the beautiful red head, Lydia.

“I see you’ve also used your time rather productively.”

Derek growled as his uncle’s gaze fell on Stiles, his lips pressed together in warning.

“Welcome back, Mister Stilinski.” Peter continued smoothly, the gun in his hand remained directly pointed at his targets. Two men in lab coats. Jamie, the speech-giving scientist, and Jasper, the overweight gamer.

“What were you two about to tell me before we were so rudely interrupted?”

“I don’t know the code.” Jamie pleaded, looking desperately at Stiles.

Peter fired. Jamie died instantly; bullet to the head. Jasper pissed himself.

“They don’t know the code, Peter.” Lydia glared at the other Hale as she walked in. She looked at Stiles, but said nothing.

Stiles couldn’t say he was much surprised. He knew someone cracked his code, someone other than Scott, and seeing the beautiful red-head here only confirmed his suspicions.

“Of course they don’t. I just like the look on their faces when they realize that the only answer that can save them is the one these little nerds don’t know.”

Derek and Lydia didn’t respond, both moved behind the protective glass, talking rapidly while Derek frowned down at the computer screen and Lydia typed frantically.

Stiles stepped towards Peter, a stolen gun clutched in front of him nervously. “If you don’t need anything from them, there is no point in torturing them.”

“Stay out of this, Stiles. One tong wrestling match with my nephew doesn’t make you family. This isn’t your fight.” Peter spat back at him in rage.

“He’s not the man you want. Argent is-”

“I want all of them.” Peter moved his gun from Jasper’s chin to the man’s cheek as the gamer cried uncontrollably.

“If you kill him, you are no better than the men who put you here.” Stiles reasoned while Jasper had started begging for his life.

“You dare compare me to them?” Peter snarled coldly, pointing his gun at Stiles.

Stiles’s mind was frazzling around the edges, overloading on fear and adrenaline. He didn’t dare raise his own gun, Peter would kill him instantly; the wolf’s eyes left no room for compassion or reason.

Stiles felt someone shove past him and realized it was Derek, who pressed his claws to Peter’s throat.

“Lower the gun, or find yourself without a head.” Derek spat through clenched teeth.

Peter didn’t move an inch, he hadn't even changed expressions. Although he had no expressions to begin with. Both wolves stared at each other in silence. Time stopped.

“See, that’s not going to work for me,” Peter said, breaking the silence and pressing his gun back to Jasper’s forehead. “I need my head to enjoy this.”

“Please, please don't, I beg of you, please don't kill me. I’ll do anything. I… I want to live.” Jasper stammered.

Peter just smiled and pulled the trigger. “Pathetic.”

Stiles froze. He looked back at Derek, his eyes wide with fear and disgust. The Alpha’s silence was proof enough that he would receive no help from Derek on this matter.

 

The glass entrance to the lab hissed open once more and nurse Melissa walked in, carrying Isaac. The poor bastard was limp, hanging awkwardly from her right arm while wrapped in a blanket.

Stiles didn’t know the extent of their healing abilities, but he’d never seen a wolf, or human for that matter, looking so sickly. Isaac was of a yellowish color and bony, but Stiles had no illusions about how quickly he could rip his head off.

Derek carefully moved his head under Isaac’s other arm and watched his face to make sure he wasn't hitting a wound.

“Dere-“

“Don't stress yourself.” Melissa hushed, ignoring the way Isaac’s good arm was trying to lift in the Alpha’s direction.

“Stay with me, Isaac. Listen to my voice, alright? Stay with me.” She moved more quickly as Isaac’s mumbles grew fainter. “We need to move, he is losing consciousness again.”

The air handlers whooshed briefly in the now-familiar pattern, and then the glass doors slid open. Scott entered the lab with Liam at his side.

“Where are-“ Derek started to ask but quickly stopped upon seeing Scott’s face.

“Boyd isn’t coming.” Scott’s voice was rough and heavy with emotion.

Derek turned around to face Scott. “What do you mean?”

“Erica didn’t make it.”

They looked at each other for a while, until Derek looked away and softly sighed.

“Boyd. He… He’s staying behind to buy us some time.”

“Forget about Boyd. Where the hell is Argent?” Peter roared, his voice harsh and sharp like a whip.

“Gone.” Scott snapped, his eyes burning red and staying that way.

Stiles realized abruptly that Scott was also an Alpha.

“Gone. Gone where?” Peter glared murderously at Scott who held up his right hand as the other hovered over the small communicator in his ear.

“Theo, Deaton and Malia made it to the surface. Chris, Allison and Brady got an airlift. Theo took a bullet while preventing the helicopter from taking off. It failed.” Scott informed the group without looking away from Peter.

Smart, because the Hale wolf looked just about ready to take all of them out.

“I just received a message from an unknown source.” Lydia interrupted, her eyes never leaving the computer screen. “Buying shoes at Jungle. Only 1 ride to the station.” Lydia glanced around, looking completely confused. “This might take me a minute to crack.”

“That’s my dad. He’s here, 30 minutes out.”

“How do-”

“Easy. Buying shoes at Jungle means boots on the ground, and it takes 30 minutes to drive from my house to the sheriff’s station.”

His answer was met with unexpected silence. He was about to break it when the light above the door started flashing red.

“What’s the problem?” he asked when it became clear there was a problem.

Finally, Lydia opened her mouth. “Code Red. Chris must have entered the code. The lab will self-destruct in 5 minutes.”

Stiles willed himself calm. “So we need to leave, now.” He pointed at the door first, then he jabbed his finger at the screen. “We have to warn my dad.”

“I’m waiting…” Lydia looked impatiently at him, her fingers at the ready on the keyboard.

“Christmas 2006.”

Melissa stood up, moving across the room, vacating the lab. The others followed swiftly behind her. Only Derek stood and waited, arms crossed, like a soldier keeping watch.

“That’s it? What does-”

“I accidentally blew up the kitchen when I forgot to turn off the stove. We were informed by the fire department during my niece’s Christmas party in 2006.”

Lydia stared at him for a moment. And then she began to laugh. “Right. You are extremely weird, and that’s coming from a Banshee.”

“Moving, now.” Derek said stiffly.

All three of them slowly moved up the stairs, claws out and guns drawn. Stiles cringed to the now familiar sight of a war zone. Mutilated, unrecognizable bodies littered the ground. Their teeth were the only white in the darkness of the lab. A layer of blood covered the floor, making every step he took audible as he walked across the hallways.

He found it slightly hard to breath. It felt like his lungs were burning.

They took the stairs to the first floor and Derek stepped in front, leading them down a grand hall to their final elevator ride. At the surface, they all moved through the doors quietly, but what greeted them was not what Stiles expected.

Kira was lying dead in the snow, watering the ground with her blood.

“What the….”

Peter had Mason by the throat, cutting him off, dragging him into the forest and thrusting him firmly against a tree.

“Check Mate.” He said with a growl, his hand tightening.

Mason’s face reddened as he struggled fruitlessly against the stronger hold. “Please.” He managed to gasp out, the word broken and weak.

“No, don’t.” Stiles’s voice was thick, each word a struggle. “I worked with Mason before. He’s a good man.”

Peter’s hand loosened momentarily. “A good man?”

“Come on, Peter. It’s over.” Liam muttered.

“Over?”

“Mason was kind to me. He…”

Peter let Mason go with a snarl, the boy fell to the ground.

“Over is it?”

The threat was clear in Peter’s voice as well as every line of his body. He was furious.

“Back off.” Theo stepped in front of Liam, his face hardened as he came face to face with the Hale wolf.

“Peter,” Stiles finally said, cautiously. “My dad will be here soon. We will take care of the survivors.”

One raised eyebrow being the only emotion Derek held on his face as he looked over to Stiles. “You and your father? You plan on staying here?”

Stiles looked at him, confused. “Yes. Of course”

Derek turned toward Peter, a strange expression in his eyes. Then the playfulness in Peter’s face returned. “You want him to live, Stiles?”

“Yes. I do.”

“Everything has a price, mister Stilinski.” Peter’s eyes narrowed. “The choice is yours… Leave your old life behind and save Mason’s life, or stay behind and let him suffer? Personally, I’m partial to the latter.”

“Derek.” Stiles stared at him in disbelief.

The Alpha was no help.

Stiles’s gaze flickered from Derek to Scott, from Lydia to Melissa. No reaction. Not one.

“Don’t,” Mason pleaded. “Don’t go with him.”

Stiles’s breath hitched, voice trembling as he answered, “I have to.”

Mason squeezed his eyes shut. “Stiles, listen to me…” He shook his head and looked up at him. “If you go with him, you will never see your dad again.”

Gritting his teeth, Stiles admitted, “He’ll kill you if I don’t.”

Time was running out. He had to make a decision, and soon.

“I’ll go with you,” Stiles said, but kept his eyes on Derek.

Derek stepped forward to take his elbow. Stiles didn’t fight him, letting the Alpha pull him toward the forest. But he did keep his head turned; he kept his eyes on Mason as long as he could.

“He’ll find you, you know,” he said to Derek, lifting his chin stubbornly. “He will never stop looking. And he’ll kill you for allowing this.”

Derek grinned down at him, a savage gleam in his eyes. “Oh, I know. And I’ll welcome it when Argent comes for me. But for now… I win.”

“I wasn’t talking about Argent.”

Chapter Text

A big brown wolf shifted right in front of Stiles and went straight for Lydia. The psychotic Hale pulled the gorgeous redhead into his arms and then plopped down with her in his lap, running his hands over her body in between soulful kisses.

A similar scene went on between Theo, Liam, Scott and Isaac after the wolves returned from their scouting run. Finally, both Peter, Scott and Theo put their lovers on the ground and went over to Derek, slapping him on the back and talking to him urgently. Stiles was so muddled he couldn’t follow most of what they said. Exhausted and cold, he swayed as he sat beside Deaton on a tree trunk.

Derek turned to all of them and gave everyone a stern look. “We’ll stay here until morning and then continue our journey west. I know it’s cold, but we’re too close to the Lab for a fire. Argent is still alive and will be searching for us. Keep your mates warm until sunrise.”

Though it sounded strange coming from Derek’s mouth, Stiles had known long before Argent confirmed it. Mates. Werewolves had mates, exactly as their full animal counterparts.

“Stiles, you can sleep with me and Isaac. Come over here.” Scott beckoned him.

Derek jumped to his feet, a low growl coming from his throat. “Don’t touch him.”

“Then you do it, before he freezes to death, he’s about to pass out as it is!”

Derek stalked over to him with a snarl and jerked Stiles up roughly by his arms.

“Release me,” Stiles demanded. “Release me now and let me go back to my dad. I am not your property, Derek Hale.” He raised his chin to the wolf defiantly.

Derek snarled. “You will not take that tone with me, Stiles. I’m the Alp-”

“You are not my Alpha and I’m not part of your pack.” Stiles narrowed his eyes at Derek. “I don’t have to obey you!”

“I’m afraid that you will find that you do. I can do whatever I want to you, I…” He paused and deliberately softened his features. “But I will not treat you with such disrespect. I have not done that to anyone in my pack and never shall. I will never treat you badly, Stiles.” He added, “Unless you cross me with intent to kill.”

“You keep taking away my choices, that is the definition of treating me badly.” Stiles spat back.

“I have given you the chance to make more choices than you can imagine. Given time, you will understand.” Derek explained. “Now,” He held out a hand to Stiles. “You have a choice to make. Come with me and I will keep you warm, or I’ll drag you towards the tree, tie you up, and sleep on top of you so you don’t freeze, because I will not allow you to become a danger to yourself or my pack.”

Stiles didn’t resist this time, allowing Derek to pull him over to the tree and hold him close, the Alpha’s chest against his back. Blessed warmth radiated through him, a gift from the wolf’s higher body temperature. Stiles never wanted to move. Derek growled softly in his ear. “You are wrong, Stiles. You are part of my pack.”

“I know.” Stiles said wearily in heartbroken acceptance.

Warmed against Derek’s broad, warm body, he sank down quickly into a deep sleep, dreaming of wolves racing through the forest. Sometime later he awoke to a frosty morning.

 

“Morning.”

“Wait, am I still …” he glanced down at the ground he just woke from. “… a prisoner.”

“Yep.” Scott admitted hesitantly. “How are you feeling?”

“Tired.” Stiles admitted with a shrug, growing slightly annoyed as memories of the day before slipped back into his mind.

“I tried to warn you, Stiles.”

“Yeah,” Stiles tried breathing through his nose, finding it slightly clogged, causing him to cough. “Looks like no good deed goes unpunished.”

Scott smiled, occupying the empty space beside him. “All of them have been tortured, abused, raped and experimented on for months, years even.” Scott continued. “Expecting the same people I knew to walk out… was foolish.”

“That doesn’t excuse the massacre, or standing by and letting it happen, like you and Derek did.” Stiles snapped. “Peter Hale killed people from administration who never even knew what Argent was really doing below their feet.”

“I’m sorry,” Scott said standing up. “I know this has to be hard for you. And you are right, some of them did not deserve their fate. But on some level, all of them were guilty. They knew something untoward was happening and they did nothing.”

Stiles wasn’t interested in talking to Scott anymore. He had heard enough. The wolf seemed to get the drift and left without another word.

 

After breakfast, the wolves held a hurried conference. Breaking out of the lab had been one thing, every step carefully measured, meticulously calculated in pursuit of the one thing that had been their sole motivation for years; freedom. Now they had to decide where to go and what to do. It seemed using freedom was just as hard as obtaining it.

Deaton had made arrangements with a local tribe living in the mountains. Their camp, ironically named Safe Haven, also meant a long journey through rough terrain, and Isaac was seriously ill, in no shape to make it the remaining distance after the long walk and cold night in the woods. Scott put him on his back to carry him.

Derek glanced at Stiles. “What about you?”

“I can walk.” Stiles said, showing a little defiance.

They started out, but soon Stiles lagged behind, not because he couldn’t make the walk with the training he’d had. His dad had prepared him for moments like this. He just couldn’t keep up with the superhuman pace.

Derek nodded his head. “Very well.” He bent down quickly and scooped Stiles up, throwing him over his shoulder in a graceful gesture. “I will not let you slow us down.”

Stiles put up a struggle. He kicked and twisted and made groaning noises in Derek’s arms. “Put me down, you big, stupid wolf.” Stiles demanded.

It was an uncomfortable, bumpy walk through deep forest, but Stiles dared not complain anymore, he was simply too exhausted.  

The journey led through thick snow, icy mountains, and dense forest for several hours before the pack stopped outside the entrance of a partially hidden cave. The wolves entered the cave and followed an underground network leading through another entrance before coming out into an underground jungle.

Stiles looked around at the plants which were different from anything he had ever seen before when they stepped through a small opening inside. His breath caught in his throat when in the distance he saw an open plane, waterfall and fields of flowers. It was like stepping into another world, no, that is exactly what it was. An impossible world defying all reason. How could apple trees grow in the middle of Alaska? For a second he panicked, thinking he died and this must be what heaven looks like, even though he never believed. But seeing this place, made you have faith. 

“Magic.” Deaton explained as if reading his mind.

Werewolves, mates, hunters, and now magic. What was next?

 

  • • •

 

“Do you ever laugh? Or smile?” Stiles asked as Derek walked up to him.

It was a sunny day at Safe Haven. Only a clear blue sky, with birds singing in the trees, crickets chirping inside the green grass, and the wolves enjoying themselves inside the cool lake.

Well, most wolves. A little further away, Stiles sat in the shadow of a large tree, his back leant against the stem and papers on his lap. He wasn’t sketching or writing as usual, he was just basking in the warmth of the sun, and the Alpha was standing next to him, watching the expression on his face.

“I can smile.” Derek answered defensively.

Except... It looked like the Alpha needed to think about it. Suddenly, he pulled the corners of his mouth up.

Stiles shook his head. “That’s not a real smile.”

“I’m trying.”

“People smile when they’re happy. It’s not something you can force.”

“I don’t have many reasons to smile lately.”

Derek glowered, and Stiles found himself biting back a laugh. Despite the sensitive subject matter of the conversation, something about this whole scene was hilarious, like Stiles was having an entire conversation with the Alpha’s eyebrows.

“You,” Derek said, at last. “You, being here, makes me happy.”

There’s a startled look on Stiles’s face, and then a faint flush. “Uh... I’m glad?”

“I know that’s not what you want to hear. But there it is…”

The Alpha’s eyes changed between red and some shade of green, or brown. Stiles couldn’t quite tell, though it was a little alarming how much he wanted to keep looking. But the feelings of anger and sadness seeped back into his mind despite his best efforts.

“Me, being here, makes me unhappy.” Stiles said through gritted teeth.

Anger flashed in Derek’s eyes, darkening their green color. “Why don't you just tell me how you really feel and skip the sarcasm?”

“Fine,” Stiles sighed. “I’m not going to insult you by pretending to know what you have endured, and how this changed you. But here is what I do know; You were born a wolf because of your parents, Argent made you a victim, thanks to Scott you became a survivor. But becoming a monster, you made that choice all on your own. Nobody forced you.”

Derek looked like he wanted to say something, defend himself, but Stiles didn’t want to hear it, now or ever.

“Don’t.”

 

  • • •

 

Stiles screamed and thrashed as two men dragged him towards a large metal door. “NO! NO! LET ME GO!” he whimpered, but they did nothing to help him.

Once the door was open, the two men quickly threw him inside before slamming the door shut behind him.

The last thing he remembered was escaping Safe Haven and running back towards the lab, searching for his dad.  

Groaning, Stiles pulled himself up to look around the room he had been thrown in. It was dark and cold. From what he could tell, the floor and walls were both made of concrete. As he stood, he heard a low growl coming from behind the wall next to him and halted his movements. No. This couldn’t be happening. This cell. The walls. The glass. The lights. The sounds. The smells... He was back inside the lab.