Stiles was starting to think that it might be safe to come out, he hadn’t heard anything nearby in what felt like hours. No crunching leaves or snapping twigs to show that someone might be stalking around his hiding spot waiting for him to pop his head out like a curious gopher. Even with his mind telling him that there was nothing to be afraid of his muscles wouldn’t unlock, he couldn’t move even if he wanted to.
At first he thought he was frozen in fear, a ridiculous saying that actually had a basis in reality, but then he started to doubt his own reactions. He wasn’t afraid, if anything he was starting to think his mind was numb to all feelings entirely. He felt like he was floating, his body felt light and warm like he might just cease to be with no warning at all. Even that macabre thought didn’t elicit any kind of reaction from his sluggish brain.
His body was still frozen, he knew that there was no chance he was moving anywhere, but he could feel himself moving all the same. Spiraling down and down, sinking deeper and deeper into something he couldn’t see but wanted all the same. Whatever this was, it felt like something that was missing from his life, something he longed for and wanted to find again even though he didn’t remember losing anything.
His mind was getting fuzzy and slow as he felt the darkness creeping across his eyes. He was so tired, he just wanted to sleep and never wake. There was something about that thought that should worry him, but he couldn’t remember what. His eyes drifted closed as the images rose up all around him.
Talia felt her heart start to break as she stood before her child. She had come upon the clearing only a few moments before Derek himself. She would never be sure if he had found them himself or if he followed her without her knowing. Laura was looking at her like she was expecting a scolding, like she had been caught coming home after curfew and thought that looking sorry and pitiful would get her out of trouble. Didn’t she understand? Her punishment was no longer in her hands, only Derek had the power over her life now. This had been what she’d been trying to avoid when she’d given the orders for the pack to stand down, now it was too late. Because Laura was so eager to prove herself a leader she had led them all down a path they could not step away from without blood being spilled.
“Where is he?” Derek’s voice was low and soft, a sign that there was nothing more dangerous than him in that moment. Never trust a predator that acted kind.
“We don’t know!” She wanted to reach out and silence her daughter. She understood the frustration that came with being asked a question more than once in the span of minutes but now was not the time to let her anger guide her. Instead she held her tongue and stayed in her place at Derek’s back. Maybe if she could prove that she was willing to follow his lead he would not feel the need to take his vengeance out on all of them.
“That is unfortunate.” Derek sounded more tired than sad to her, but she might be projecting.
Scott was standing behind Laura looking between them all his eyes darting around at a speed that looked like it should be painful. The boy knew he was in danger but even that instinct wasn’t enough to clue him in as to why. The longer they stood there with the two of them ignorant of the only possible ending of this night the more Talia felt her own failings as a mother and an Alpha coming back on her. If she had taught them better maybe this wouldn’t have happened. If she’d been better maybe they would have been content to follow her word and be safe at home. Maybe.
But this was no place for maybe. This was a place for action.
“How long ago did he leave?” If they could track his scent and help Derek retrieve him maybe he would be moved to mercy. If nothing else, it might sway him to make the deaths quick.
“Ten minutes maybe? We’re not sure, someone shot us with tranq darts.” Laura was grumbling like the shooting was just rude and uncalled for.
“Someone?” Didn’t her daughter scent the golem on the air, even now his stench was all around them.
“Yeah. Whoever it was I didn’t hear them or even see ‘em.”
“It was the Sheriff, the scent of clay and magic gives away the golems’ presence. I can’t catch a direction from the scent; he must have laid several trails to keep anyone from following.” She tried to think things through, many times when her wolf senses weren’t enough human logic helped, but she couldn’t find a solid lead. Each direction that had a trail led to somewhere plausible for the creature to take Stiles.
While it was true that the scent of clay went in many directions Stiles scent only when one way. She berated herself for almost missing it, the smell of the magic was cloying and distracting, burning her nose.
“This way. Stiles went this way.” Unfortunately that way was the road and most likely a waiting car that was long gone. Moving along the trail she did the only thing she could think of, she called out to the boy. If anyone could sense something was wrong and make a break for it it would be Stiles. Hopefully he was still close enough to them to hear them.
Stiles could hear his name being called but it seemed to be from far away, it was echoing in this dark place he seemed to be stuck in and he couldn’t find where it was coming from. He couldn’t find his way out. He didn’t want to admit it but he was starting to get scared.
Hearing his name again only closer he turned to see Derek standing behind him, only this wasn’t the Derek he knew all decked out in leather and attitude this guy had his face but he was dressed kind of medieval or or before. All flowing fabrics and homespun looking coverings.
“Derek?” He was so confused, but the burning in his chest was getting even more intense with each breath. He felt like he was having a panic attack, only he couldn’t figure out why he would be so afraid of seeing the man of his dreams in his actual dreams. This had to be a dream, there was no other explanation.
“Stiles.” His name tripped off the man’s tongue again like he’d said it a million times already and would be happy to say it a million more. Nothing had changed from the first time hearing his name and this one, same tone and inflection. It was like he didn’t hear him answer him at all. Like he was waiting for Stiles to move the conversation along.
“Stiles.” Okay this was getting old. Why wasn’t he answering him, even if this was a dream he would expect it to be a bit more interactive or at least not stuck in one spot like an old VHS tape or something. Maybe his answer was wrong, he had never heard of a dream coming to someone in code before, at least not like this, but since the last thing he remembered before sinking into this void of nothing-ness was being chased through the woods by his apparently psycho father there were obviously things about the world he was still in the dark about.
It should work though, Derek was simply saying his name to him returning the favor should get them both on to the next phase of this little dance. Greetings done and dusted and all that. Maybe it wasn’t the word that was wrong but the tone? Every time Derek said his name it was the same way so maybe the emotion behind the name return was wrong? Well so far he had given him confusion and deadpan sarcasm, his two leading emotions, so what else was there to try?
“Derek.” He knew repeating himself wouldn’t work, but maybe if he could hear the way Derek said his name again he would be able to get a clue from him about how to move forward. Derek would never leave him hanging, he was sure of that.
“Stiles.” He could hear warmth and familiarity, no surprise or negative emotions, just a simple greeting, an intimate hello. Kind of how he could remember his mother saying his dad’s first name every time he came home from work at the end of the day. Closing his eyes he could remember that scene so clearly, but he moved on from it quickly thinking about Derek instead. About how it felt to be with him, to be able to touch him and kiss him but more than that he focused on what it felt like to just sit next to him and talk. Their date in the woods laid out on a blanket just talking about their lives and the feel of his eyes on him even when he looked away to get something new out of the picnic basket. How it felt to bask in the warmth and glow that was just being together. That was just-
“Good morning sleepyhead.” It worked.
His little dance of success was short-lived. The dark nothingness that surrounded him began to fade so quickly it was disorienting. The colors and shapes flying around him at speeds that would never be achieved outside the realm of dreams.
A room was taking shape around him, a room he was sure it had never seen before but at the same time he could feel a pull inside of him almost like nostalgia. What was going on?
“Welcome home.” This wasn’t his home. Was it?
Derek knew he should have wiped out the Hales the moment he realised that they had been in contact with his beloved but he had let Stiles stay his hand. It had been a familiar scene, one played out again and again over their years together. Him wanting to kill someone and Stiles telling him all the reasons why it was a bad idea even if this time the boy had no idea of the fate he was advocating against.
Now he was trekking through the woods with three of those same Hale’s looking for Stiles trying to keep his temper. The only reason he hadn’t indulged in his blood lust yet was because doing so would fill the air with nothing but the scent of death and blood making it harder for him to find Stiles. It didn’t matter though, he was a fairly patient man he could wait. Their fates were already sealed, even if the Alpha seemed to be the only one who noticed.
Talia Hale was a strong leader and an intelligent woman more than enough reason to spare her. If she did the smart thing and turned her back on the members of her pack that were beyond saving.
He was in the middle of a fairly vivid daydream about the things he was going to do to the insolent Hale betas when a new scent caught his attention, one he hadn’t scented in far too long.
“Come out Kate, unless you’re scared.”