All the Stiles and Derek moments from the book you say?
Either Danny had been taking advanced goalie lessons, or he had had a side dish of irritation along with his Gatorade because Jackson hadn’t told him where he was. Either way, he exceeded his four seconds. Then they ran out of hot water in the showers and by then, Stiles had been very happy to be in his room, at home, checking up on his ever growing mob of zombie sheep in his MMORPG. He kept one ear open for good stuff on his dad’s police scanner.
Then Scott e-mailed him a map featuring a very narrow, one-lane road leading into Beacon Hills Preserve. It looked like you could use it as a back way to get to the preserve from the Hale house.
Chalk one up for technology.
And one for the Hales.
He read Scott’s tet about the heart attack. “’Saw.’” He murmured. He listened to the scanner and got the motel guy’s name. He texted back, muttering, “So, Scott, saw what? Saw Derek?”
“Yes?” Derek said from behind him
“Yeaowww!” Stiles shouted. He turned around to find Derek leaning against the wall. He did that on an irritatingly frequent basis, both at Scott’s house and Casa Stilinski. He was wearing his leather jacket and he looked especially pouty and broody. “Could you not do that anymore? It is not cool.”
Derek leaned over Stiles’s shoulder and picked up his phone. “What motel guy? What’s Scott doing? Where is he?”
“Doin’ stuff,” Stiles said.
Derek looked disgusted and held out Stiles’s phone to him. “Tell him to meet me.”
“He’s kinda busy,” Stiles said.
“Stiles?” Stiles jerked at the sound of his father’s voice from the hallway.
“Gotta get that.” Stiles pointedly shut down his desktop-Derek actually growled-and slid his phone into the pocket of his jeans. “Don’t touch anything,” he ordered the werewolf.
He zoomed back into his room to find Derek clacking away on his computer keyboard. It seemed so bizarre an actual werewolf was sitting at his desk, but not as bizarre that his best friend had been turned into a werewolf.
“Hey,” he said. “Keep your paws off.” Derek gave him one his trademark sour glares and Stiles said, “The deal with the motel guy is that he saw something at a window and it freaked him out so badly he had a heart attack. It wasn’t you, was it?”
“No,” Derek said, but he looked interested.
“Okay, well, I’m going to the hospital to see if he’ll tell me what it was.”
Derek looked uncomfortable. There was something up about him and the hospital. Maybe the fact that half of his sister had wound up in the morgue had put him off the place. Stiles doubted it was the cafeteria food.
“Why would he tell you?” Derek asked.
“Or…maybe the nurses will gossip,” Stiles said.
“I’ll go with you,” Derek announced.
“Na-uh,” Stiles protested. He’d just had his daily quota of five minutes with Derek and he certainly didn’t want to overdo it. “You won’t.”
“Look.” Derek leaned toward him and the hairs on the back of Stiles’s neck stood straight up. “You and I both know that guy might have seen the Alpha. And if I can find the Alpha, I can help Scott. So I’m going with you.”
“Okay, okay,” Stiles said. “You can follow in your car.”
“I didn’t come here in a car,” Derek said.
“Okay, fine,” Stiles said, displeased. Maybe if Derek did drive his car more often, instead of jogging all over the place like the Flash, he could cut down on the risk that someone might start to wonder about That Guy with the Eyebrows. He’d already been arrested for murder once – for the death of his sister, actually. Stiles and Scott had had a little something to do with that. Okay, a lot, by announcing that they had found Laura Hale’s torso buried beside Derek’s house. But Sheriff Dad’s crack forensics team had found wolf hairs, and not human hairs, on Laura Hale’s corpse. So Derek had been set free.
“But don’t do anything wolfy in my Jeep,” he said, opening up his door and peering into the hallway. The coast was clear. “Like stick your head out the window and let your tongue hang out-“
“Shut up,” Derek said. “Let’s go.”
“My new best friend and I are at the hospital,” Stiles said, twirling the listening end of a stethoscope in a little circle. So far he had been unable to hypnotize Derek with it. Nice werewolf, watch the watch…Maybe you needed a real watch to hypnotize people. Or a real person.
He and Derek were loitering in the stairwell of the cardiac wing of the hospital to get better reception for his call to Scott. “And you’ll never guess what. You can get past hospital security if you steal a white coat out of the storage room and parade around with it and a clipboard.”
Derek grunted. He was the one holding the clipboard, but he had passed on wearing a lab coat.
“Because there isn’t any hospital security on this floor,” Derek muttered.
“He says hi,” Stiles added.
“Who? The…guy?” Scott asked cryptically on the other end of the line.
“The other guy,” Stiles replied. “Our friend who is so cheerful.” He lowered his voice. “The guy was awake. I went in to ask him what kind of Jell-O he wanted for dinner and then I asked him what he saw in the window. And he told me he saw a monster. Between screams.”
Scott was quiet for a moment. Then he said, “Got any more details?”
“No. He wasn’t big on talking. Mostly screaming, and you know that brings the nurses. Sure, they say they’ll be right there when you call for bedpan, but if you want them to show, you really need to have a breakdown.”
“Stiles,” Scott said, sounding a little impatient, the way his father did when he began to ramble.
“Yo,” Stiles said contritely. “Sorry.”
“So how did practice go?” Scott asked.
Stiles covered the phone. “He can’t talk about wolfie matters,” he reported to Derek.
“Because he’s with her,” Derek said, looking even more dour than usual. Stiles had never realized there were so many degrees of the brood until Derek Hale had come into their lives.
Stiles was about to speak again when he heard Allison’s voice in the background. “Oh, tell Stiles we saw a wolf,” she was saying.
“You guys saw a wolf?” Stiles repeated carefully, looking over at Derek. Derek did a classic double take. He started to grab for the phone, then stopped himself. Stiles knew it was better for all concerned – okay for Scott – if no one knew that he and Derek were, like, wolf brothers. If Allison heard Scott yakking on the phone with Derek Hale, that would pretty much put the lie to their not being friends.
“There are no wild wolves in California,” Derek muttered.
“There are no wild wolves in California,” Stiles repeated. He covered the phone again. “So, are there you-know-whats that look like wolves?” he whispered to Derek. Of course he and Scott knew the answer to that – a big fat yes – but Derek didn’t need to know that when they had dug up his sister’s body – okay, the top half o her body – she had been a wolf. Not a semi-wolf, like the werewolf looks they’d seen thus far. A full-on Call of the Wild wolf.
Derek didn’t answer, only glowered at him. Maybe if he gave Derek a sugar cube – or threw him a piece of raw meat – Derek might cheer up. Stiles would have to try that someday. But today wasn’t looking good for that.
Then, whipsaw fast, Derek grabbed the phone out of Stiles’s hand. It happened so quickly it took Stiles a moment to process that he was no longer holding the phone.
“Where are you?” Derek growled in an under voice.
Stiles strained to hear Scott’s answer, but Derek had turned his back. Stiles didn’t have super enhanced werewolf hearing. He tried to read Derek’s body language, but Derek’s shoulders were hunched like always, and his free hand was in the pocket of his jacket, like always, pressing the clipboard against his side as if he might crack it in two. So no help there.
“Then get out of there,” Derek said between clenched teeth. “Now.”
He gave the phone back to Stiles and started to go down the stairs. Aware that he was about to speak to dead air, Stiles followed after Derek.
“Where are we going?” he asked.
“We aren’t going anywhere,” Derek replied
“Hey, you have to take me with you,” Scott’s annoying little sidekick insisted as Derek stalked out of the hospital. Derek took a tiny bit of satisfaction in the way the human had to trot along to stay abreast. He was sick to death of taking the weaknesses of humans into account while formulating his plans. He respected power, and few humans had any.
The Argents did.
But what he felt for them was not respect.
He wasn’t about to tell Stiles about his dream, or the real fear he felt when Allison and Scott had told Stiles about their encounter with a wolf. There shouldn’t have been a wolf. Things were happening that Derek couldn’t explain.
“You have to take me with you because I know how to find Scott in the forest,” Stiles said.
“So do I,” Derek shot back. “I’ll scent him out.”
“Well, I have an app for that.” Stiles waggled his phone. “On this.” Derek ignored him. “Which we should at least use to explain why we’re there. What are you going to do, jog up to Scott and Allison and say, ‘Oh, hi. I was just on my way to grandmother’s house with this basket of goodies and I smelled you?’”
Derek kept walking, but he had to admit that the kid had a point. He slid a glance at him. “Show me how to use the app.”
Stiles made a point of hugging the phone to his chest. “No way are you taking my phone without me,” he said.
“Tell me or I’ll rip your throat out,” Derek snarled at him. Threats like that had produced perfect results in the past – at Derek’s command, Stiles had almost cut off his poisoned arm rather than suffer his wrath. Luckily Scott had arrived with the antidote – a bullet he had stolen from Kate Argent. She had a box of ammo filled with Northern Blue Monkshood – wolfsbane. Derek had used the wolfsbane to cure himself.
Just another reason to hate Kate with all his soul.
“No,” Stiles said. “Scott’s my best friend, and you’re not telling me everything.”
I had a nightmare, Derek thought, and huffed to himself. There was no way he was telling Stiles that. Werewolves didn’t share information with humans, ever.
Except for him, Derek Hale. He had shared information with a human. He hadn’t meant to.
And the results had been disastrous.
“All right,” he said. “We’ll take your Jeep.”
Stiles huffed. “Why can’t we ever take your car?”
“What’s that smoke? Derek asked as he peered through the windshield of Stile’s Jeep. In the distance, two black plumes rose into the dark sky. He leaned his head out of the window and inhaled the smell. Timber wood.
“I told you not to do that,” Stiles grumped. Then he said, “Oh. No tongue lolling, sorry. It’s just smoke. You can build fires in the preserve.” He made a face. “You’re not big on smoke. I get that.”
“You don’t know anything about me, so shut up,” Derek said.
“Kinda do,” Stiles replied. “Wish I didn’t,” he said under his breath.
“Just drive,” Derek said.
Stiles fell silent and did as Derek said. AS they neared the preserve, Stiles looked queasily at Derek and said, “Don’t bite me if I tell you bad news.” Derek looked over at him, waiting for him to go on. “I’ve lost Scott’s signal.”
Derek growled. Stiles held the phone out to him. “We could try yours. Download the app and-“
“I don’t have a cell phone,” Derek informed him. He hadn’t imagined needing one. The reception at his house was practically nil, and he could pretty easily find Scott when he needed him. And aside from the Alpha, Scott McCall was the only person in Beacon Hills he needed to communicate with.
Actually, I don’t need to communicate with the Alpha. I just need to kill him
And he sure as hell didn’t want anyone tracking him with a cell phone.
Stiles muttered to himself. Derek kept his eye on the twin plumes of smoke.
“Is that normal?” Derek asked Stiles. “So many fires?”
“I don’t know, but I’m guessing yes,” Stiles said. “I’m not usually in a group that does stuff like that on Friday nights. Before Scott had a girlfriend, we did, like, multiplayer games, hung out, watched movies.”
“Yeah, well, Mr. Werewolf guy, I don’t exactly picture you attending homecoming either.”
I almost did, Derek thought as he clenched his jaw and glared at Stiles. “Drive faster.”
Bad vibes were running through Derek as thoroughly as the volts from Kate’s cattle prod. If someone had asked him to explain what was bothering him, he wouldn’t have been able to explain his reasons point by point. But he was a werewolf, and he had animal instincts and his gut was telling him that there was something wrong.
Stiles was taking the curves on squealing tires. Still, if Derek shifted, he could run faster. As he was considering it, Stiles made a sharp turn and barreled onto a narrow road. Derek realized with a start that it was the back road to his house – a private road. But it had somehow been mapped and put into data banks. That made him feel violated. The world was shrinking. When the code had been created, hunters had ridden horses and used crossbows. Now they drove around in Hummers and used submachine guns. And broke the code without blinking twice.
But they will pay for that.
Stiles drove on the Hale road for a while, then pulled over. He looked at Derek, then punched a number on his phone. He nodded.
“I’ve got the signal back. Scott’s ringing,” he said. “And…ringing.” He moved his left, right. Trying to get good reception, Derek understood. He wanted to grab the phone and talk to Scott himself, but he let the idiot do it.
“Maybe his phone’s dead,” Stiles said.
“Then I’ll scent him out. My nose doesn’t die,” Derek grumbled.
“What if you have a cold?” Stiles asked him, and Derek realized he wasn’t trying to be sarcastic. He was genuinely curious. Derek didn’t care. Stiles could stay curious.
Derek got out of the Jeep; then he raised his head and inhaled. So much smoke. He hated the smell. Clenching his fists inside the pockets of his black leather jacket, he started to walk. Behind him, Stiles clambered out and caught up with him
“Why are you so worried about Scott?” Stiles demanded as he put on a hoodie. “Oh, I know, the Alpha and all, but-“
Derek had had it. He grabbed Stiles by the front of his sweatshirt and slammed him against a tree trunk. Stiles grunted hard and Derek got into his face.
“Yes, ‘the Alpha and all,” he said through clenched teeth. “Are you really this stupid? You’ve seen what the Alpha is capable of. You know that mountain lion had nothing to do with what’s going on.”
“Yeah, yeah I do,” Stiles said. His face was ashen. He held up his hands. “Don’t take this the wrong way, but, well, it’s like you’re PMSing, dude. I mean, you’re even crankier than usual. Which, even you have to admit, is off the charts on a good day.”
“I don’t know why I don’t just kill you,” Derek said, letting his enhanced vision take over, so that Stiles would see his eyes.
“And I sincerely hope you’ll keep asking yourself the big questions,” Stiles said. “Seriously, man, I’m not the enemy, okay?”
You’re too weak to be my enemy, Derek thought. But Stiles could easily become an enemy. One word spoken to the wrong person, and the sheriff’s son could destroy him Derek knew exactly how that could go down.
Derek let go of him and kept walking. The smoke was blanketing the other forest smells, and he couldn’t help but feel that it was deliberate. Then the moonlight shone down on a car, and his heart nearly stopped. He recognized that car. It belonged to Allison Argent.
But the scent that was covering it belonged to the Alpha.
Stiles was gasping for breath by the time Derek finally stopped charging through the underbrush. He remembered when Scott had suffered from his terrible asthma attacks – that was all gone now, thanks to the Bite – and his own hideous panic attacks when his mom had died. Not being able to catch your breath really sucked.
But at least he could pant to death in the presence of warmth. Derek had halted at the base of a banked campfire. There was no fire, but the embers were still glowing, and as Stiles sprawled beside it, heaving, Derek sniffed at it for a while, grunted, and added some twigs to make the flames jump to life.
“So?” Stiles finally managed to gasp out. “Was the Alpha here?”
“I can’t tell.” Derek sounded as if he was embarrassed and angry in equal measures, which Stiles would have found ironic if he hadn’t been too busy wheezing. “But he was definitely at Allison’s car.”
Stiles closed his eyes against a bombardment of panic. He tried to remind himself that the Alpha had bitten Scott because he needed him. An Alpha derived strength from his pack members. So he wouldn’t kill Scott. Allison was another subject. Her father was a werewolf hunter. What if the Alpha attacked her out of revenge?
“I’m going to look for Scott,” Derek said.
“Hang on. I’ll go with-“ Stiles couldn’t finish his sentence. He lay gasping. Then he raised a hand. “-you,” he said at last.
But Derek was already gone.
“Or I’ll just lie here and pass out,” Stiles muttered.
Stiles was seriously beginning to lose it. He was scared, and cold, and worried about Scot and Allison. He’d even stumbled back to Allison’s car and then returned to where Derek dumped him, as terrified as he was about running into the Alpha. Somehow he’d hoped he would find something that would tell him where they were.
He sat on a log, tossing twigs and leaves into the fire, which really didn’t help it grow. There was an art to these things„ he knew. He’d actually been a Cub Scout, but he’d been booted for being too talkative during meetings. Go figure.
He tried calling Scott a couple more times, then Allison, then Lydia. He’d had her phone in his possession when he’d deleted the picture she’d accidentally taken of the Alpha. Of course he’d also inputted her number into his own phone; how stalkerish was that?
Taking a breath, he dialed the divine Ms. Martin, and waited. He had a queasy moment imagining Jackson, with Lydia, answering his call instead of her. Stiles nearly hung up, but he waited until it went to voice.
“Hey, just checking in on our boy,” he said, hoping that was sufficiently vague. Then he sighed and hung up, and thought about playing Angry Birds or something to pass the time.
“I couldn’t find them,” Derek said, coming up behind him, and Stiles let out a shriek.
“Can you not do that?” he said. “You’re going to give me a heart attack.”
Derek sat down on the log beside him he was kind of sweaty, and he looked glummer than usual. Stiles drummed his fingers on the log, waiting for Derek to bring him up to date.
Finally, he couldn’t take the silence any longer and said, “So?”
“There are fires all over the forest,” Derek said. “I think the Alpha has been setting them so I wouldn’t be able to smell Scott.”
Stiles crossed his arms and hunched over, shivering and trying to make himself inconspicuous, in case the Alpha spotted Derek and decided to attack him. But Derek was a Beta werewolf, too, like Scott. Why wasn’t he part of the Alpha’s pack?
Maybe he is. Maybe he just hasn’t told us, he thought.
“Or maybe it’s some kind of trap,” Derek said. “Something the Argents cooked up.”
“You mean Allison’s in on it?” Stiles asked, sounding incredulous.
Derek slid a glance at him, “Why do you sound so surprised? You know what the Argents are. What they do.”
“But Allison’s different,” Stiles said. “She’s totally into Scott. She’d never do anything to hurt him.”
“We can’t trust human women,” Derek replied. “Believe me, I know.” He stared into the flames, and remembered.
CUE EPIC SADNESS AND DEREK HALE FEELS BECAUSE OF KATE FUCKING ARGENT
“You can’t trust human women,” Derek murmured as he and Stiles stared into the campfire. The big bad wolfman had been silent for a long time, and Stiles wasn’t sure where his mind had gone. Before Stiles could ask Derek if he’d like to share his story with the class – being him – Derek abruptly stood.
“I’m going to look some more,” he said.
“Right. I’m good to go,” Stiles affirmed, but as he scrambled to get up, he looked around and realized Derek had ditched him. He was already gone, charging back into the woods.
“Arghgrrwoww,” Stiles muttered, imitating werewolf displeasure as best he could. He hunkered down to be useless and was about to play some more Wolfenstein on his phone – you had to love the classics in part because they were so ironic – when he heard a ding and jumped half a foot. Scott had texted him. Plus pictures. He looked at them. Cliff. Yow. Bushes.
“Derek!” Stiles shouted into the woods. “Scott checked in!”
There was no answer.
“Damn it, Derek. You know what you’re getting for Christmas, right? A cell phone. So don’t devour the Claus when he comes down that chimney,” Stiles grumbled.
Stiles made the command decision to head off in Scott’s direction. He would feel a million times better with some backup, but maybe Derek would hear him and close the distance.
On my way, Stiles texted back to Scott.
Derek heard Stiles yelling that he had found Scott, which was fine. And also nothing to do with him. Scott wasn’t his priority at the moment.
The Alpha went this way.
Stiles heard the howl.
Was that Scott? That was Scott! Is Scott in trouble? Is he eating someone up? Is someone eating him up? Is it the Alpha? Am I going to die now?
“Derek!” he bellowed.
“Yeah,” Derek said, bursting from the trees. He was wolfed out, and Stiles let fly with a high-pitched, girly scream.
“Was that you?” Stiles yelled.
“No, that was you,” Derek said in disgust.
“I mean the howl.”
“It was Scott,” Derek said. “In trouble. And I think I’ve caught the Alpha’s scent.”
“Oh, God,” Stiles cried. They were running into what appeared to be a fog bank, but it was smoke. Stiles began to cough.
“The Alpha doesn’t want to hurt Scott,” Derek reminded him. “He needs him.”
“But he doesn’t need Allison,” Stiles said, coughing, “and they’re together.”
“I don’t need Allison either,” Derek muttered.
“I heard that,” Stiles informed him in a choking voice.
“I don’t care,” Derek said.
There was smoke everywhere, but Stiles held out the phone so Derek could superwolf it with his special X-ray vision. “Look at those pictures,” he said. “Cliff. Bushes.”
“That looks like Cascade mountain ash,” Derek said.
“And…we…care…why?” Stiles said as he began to cough harder and tire. He was a lacrosse player, which meant he had some endurance, but Derek was freakin’ machine.
“It’s a kind of wood. It forms a barrier,” Derek said.
Stiles didn’t understand, but at the moment, he didn’t care. He just wanted to get the two of them to Scott.
“Over there,” Derek said, pointing.
Stiles and Derek clambered down from the path to a large group of boulders. Thick smoke was rising into the sky. Surely someone had seen it. Scrambling over the rocks, Stiles stared down the cliff.
Flames crackled from row upon row of bushes, rushing up their center branches, and igniting the drooping canopies overhead. A tree had fallen to the base of the cliff. Scott had completely wolfed, and he was throwing himself frantically against a tiny piece of the sheer cliff not blocked by the blazing tree.
“Find handholds!” Stiles shouted.
“He can’t hear you,” Derek said grimly.
“Of course he can. He’s a werewolf,” Stiles insisted. “He can hear great!”
“No, I mean, he can’t make sense of what you’re saying. When a young werewolf is panicked like this, he’s in pure survival mode. His instinct is to run. But there’s nowhere for him to go.”
“He doesn’t know that,” Stiles said. “Look.”
Scott was mindlessly throwing himself against the wall over and over. Bits of rock were breaking free. Scott batted at them in rage as if they were intentionally attacking him. Then he flung himself backward against the cliff and howled at the flames.
“He’s going to burn to death!” Stiles cried.
“He might,” Derek said. “Do you have any rope in your Jeep?”
“In my Jeep?” Stiles said, doing a double take. “Derek, my Jeep’s too far away, even for you.”
Derek sniffed at the air. “Those bushes are definitely mountain ash,” he said. “It’s impenetrable to our kind. That’s what trapped Scott there in the first place.”
Stiles called up a map of the preserve and jabbed at the faceplate of his phone. “Look. There’s a service road just beyond the mountain ash. They could get a fire engine in there. They could put it out and Scott goes home.”
“No. No one can see him like this. Not when he’s shifted,” Derek said, clenching his jaw as he studied Scott and his surroundings.
“And you’re willing to let him burn to death instead?” Stiles said, covering his mouth against the smoke.
Derek was silent. Then he said through clenched teeth. “I’ll ask again. Do you have any rope?”
“The rope will burn up,” Stiles managed to say.
Derek turned glowing eyes his way. “Do. You. Have. Any. Rope?”
“What about the Alpha?” Stiles said. “Didn’t you say he’s nearby?”
Derek hesitated. “He won’t hurt me either,” he said.
Stiles shook his head. “You don’t sound sure enough. I don’t care what you say,” Stiles said, although of course he did. He way did. “I’m calling 911.”
“No!” Derek yelled, swinging at Stiles.
And to Stiles’s amazement, he ducked in time. And then he pushed Derek, hard. Derek staggered backward against a couple of the boulders. They gave way, and they and Derek fell over the cliff.
“Oh my God!” Stiles shouted.
Derek landed hard on his back and went limp. The boulders just missed hitting him, and he was so winded he didn’t even more out of their way. He was still inhuman form, and his head was dangerously close to an outcropping of blazing tree branches. So many times, Stiles had wished for Derek to up and die. But he hadn’t meant for him to really die.
Except that he had meant for him to really die. Just maybe not in pain, and not in front of Stiles.
Then Scott howled and flung himself on top of Derek like a rabid dog.
Stiles cupped his hands and yelled down to Scott. “Scott, Scott!” he shouted. “No! Bad wolf!”
Scott didn’t even look up at him, crouching on Derek’s chest like some nightmare, he threw his head back, howled, and dove toward Derek’s throat-
-just as Derek snapped out of it and wolfed.
“Yes!” Stiles shouted, then realized what he was doing – cheering that Derek had just turned into something that could rip out Scott’s guts and barbecue them Derek howled at Scott and grabbed him around the throat as he leaped to his feet. He tossed Scott backward against the cliff as if Scott were a rag doll. Stunned, Scott slid down, his legs splayed.
Then, after a second, Scott sprang at Derek and Stiles yelled, “Oh my God! Oh my God!” and coughed up his lungs as Derek stood his ground. If Derek had moved so much as six inches left or right, Scott would have soared into the fire. But Scott wasn’t reasoning. He didn’t know that.
Derek punched Scott backward against the cliff again. Stiles wondered if Derek could just throw him up to the top of the cliff.
“Werewolf toss,” he shouted down to Derek. “I’ll try to catch him.”
But Derek had fallen to one knee, obviously winded, maybe hurt. Scott lay on his side, panting.
And then Stiles calls the ambulances and they escape and everyone lives happily ever after. Except for the part where they have to deal with potential legions of werewolves descending on Beacon Hills. And a kanima in the future. And pretty much everything going to hell.
Yea, that totally counts as happily ever after.