Day 1 Word Total: 1,774/1,667
Overall Word Total: 1,774/50,000
Words Left To Write: 48,226/50,000
He finds it underneath Jennifer's smoky, charred, and collapsed bed – a silver knife inscribed with runes that Derek thinks look familiar, but he can't quite remember what they mean. He's not ready for this. He never paid attention to his mother's teachings, he's never met the family adviser that Laura loves so much, he's never had more than momentary control on the night of the full moon.
Derek cannot be Alpha.
But he is. He's Alpha and he's all alone. He will fall to Omega if he can't make a new pack in time, but who would he bite? Who could he convince to risk their lives to save his? Everyone he's ever been close to died in the fire. Derek has boys at school that he talks to, but no one he can trust.
He can't be the only one left. He won't survive. The hunters that did this will come back and finish him off. The only other pack the Hales trust lives in Montana and how is Derek supposed to get there? How is he supposed to explain to the foster care people that he needs to go live with some family friends in Montana, when there's no guarantee the Wentworths will even acknowledge his claim and agree to take him in. Why would they want another Alpha when they already have one of their own?
Why would they want a wolf who was stupid enough to get his whole pack killed?
Derek turns the blade over in his hands, brushing the ashes from it. Supposedly silver is just any other metal, but Derek feels the power in this knife, feels how deadly it must be. There was a reason Jennifer kept it hidden; it probably served as a last line of self-defense on the full moon. Just to have in case someone in the family lost control. Derek doesn't blame her for that. In fact, he says out loud, "Thank you, Aunt."
Taking a deep breath and letting it out, Derek slips the blade up past his ribs and into his heart.
"Come on!" Stiles cries, stopping to glare back at Scott. He ignores his cold, wet feet and the way the damp air sticks his clothes to his skin and makes his bones ache with cold. Shapes moving at the edge of Stiles' vision make his heart race, but he tells himself it's only autumn leaves blowing in the chilly wind. "Do you want to see the Seniors' bonfire or not?"
"Uh, not," Scott insists, shaking his inhaler in one hand and holding onto a tree with the other, like he's going to slip in the leaf litter at any second. Stiles has seen Scott play lacrosse, so he thinks maybe his best friend isn't wrong to hold onto something whenever he can. "Why do we even care what the seniors are going to do at their stupid Homecoming bonfire?"
"Because, I heard that they're going to use Harris' car to start the fire. Why wouldn't I want to see that? Plus, it's the biggest party of the year. Never know, we might actually get lucky!"
Scott looked like he was debating with himself whether to turn around and call Stiles' dad to report the misdeeds of the senior class, or to keep following Stiles. Eventually, Scott makes up his mind and nods. "Yeah, come on. Let's go. I mean, Harris deserves to have his car burned, right?"
Stiles grins, "Totally." He pokes Scott in the chest and is about to remind him not to leave physical evidence anywhere when all of a sudden the sound of sirens fills the woods. "Oh, crap!"
Scott meets Stiles' eyes under the full moon light and asks, "Run?"
"Run," Stiles agrees. Someone must have tipped off Stiles' dad, the Sheriff of Beacon Hills, about Harris' car getting stolen. Either that, or whoever had stolen it was a moron and had been seen or followed or left the GPS intact or something. This was why, if anyone wanted anything done right, they should just ask Stiles to do it. And then show their gratitude, if you know what he means.
Eighty yards from the Jeep, Stiles notices that Scott isn't right behind him anymore. Shit. Stiles hazards turning on his flashlight. He uses a stage-whisper as he calls out, "Scott! Scott!"
An inhuman growl and then the sound of a body, maybe more than one, crashing into the forest floor makes Stiles' heart stop. It sputters to life again after a terrifying moment and Stiles hates the weakness in his voice when he calls out again. "Scott?"
"Aghh!" Scott howls in pain and Stiles almost falls on his face in his haste to get to his friend. He doesn't have a plan for what he'll do once he gets there, because at this point, Stiles is fairly certain that Scott's being eaten by a bear, but he'll do something, god damn it. He'll beat it to death with his sneaker if he has to.
Stiles finds Scott lying on the ground next to a fallen tree, clutching his side and moaning. Whatever attacked him is gone, but Stiles swears he saw a flash of red out in the forest. When he looks again, it's gone. "Shit," he cries, sliding down into the dirt next to his friend and grabbing Scott's shoulder. "What happened?"
"It bit me!" Scott cries, grabbing Stiles' arm with his free hand, like he wants help to his feet. Stiles gives that help, of course.
"What bit you?" Stiles feels breathless with adrenaline, his eyes scanning the woods around them for the wild animal.
Before Scott answers, a howl fills the air, echoing off the trees and it's impossible to tell what direction it's coming from. Stiles meets Scott's eyes and Scott says, "I think it was a wolf."
Fighting off a shiver that wants to rock Stiles to his very marrow, he loops Scott's arm over his shoulders and gives him no choice. They're leaving now. Scott doesn't seem to have a problem with that plan. After a few feet, Stiles hears something coming toward them and he freezes, pulling Scott close so he doesn't tip both of them over. Barking in the near distance makes both boys jump and Stiles feels the thump-thump frantic beat of his heart all the way down to his knees.
But then the beams of flashlights cut through the mist between the trees and it hits Stiles. They're search dogs. Whoever decided to crash the bonfire must have thought there'd be drugs to sniff out, if they'd brought the K-9 unit. Oh, and the flashlights are getting closer!
"Shit. We gotta move," Stiles insists, hurrying his steps and practically dragging Scott along.
"Ow," Scott says in reply, but he keeps up pretty well for a guy who's been ravaged by a wild animal.
Stiles gives a mental snort. Ravaged. By a wild animal. Stiles loves the way his brain works sometimes.
They make it back to the Jeep and out of the woods without getting caught, which Stiles is grateful for; it's too early in the school year to be grounded. That sort of shit is best left until, like, January, when it's shitty outside anyway. Stiles doesn't want to test his dad's patience over a few (really awesome) pyrotechnics and maybe a chance of seeing some drunk-girl boobs. Though, with Stiles' luck, he'd be way more likely to see drunk-dude boobs, which while okay, just aren't the same as far as the awesomeness scale goes.
On the way back into town, Stiles asks, "How bad are you bleeding? Do we need to come up with a cover story and take you to the hospital?"
Scott hisses as he lifts his shirt and Stiles can barely see the wound, but he can kind of smell it which is all sorts of fucked up. "It looks worse than it feels," Scott says, poking at it with one of his fingers and hissing again. "Nah, my mom's got first aid stuff at home. I'll be fine."
"Yeah, until lacrosse practice tomorrow," Stiles points out, turning onto Scott's street and keeping an eye out for Mrs. Henderson's cat, Winky, who likes to run across the road right in front of his car. One of these days, Stiles thinks he's just going to gun it and see what happens.
Groaning, Scott says, "I forgot about lacrosse practice! Coach is gonna figure out I'm hurt! What are we gonna do?"
Stiles scrunches up his face as he parks the car in Scott's driveway. "Find a Doberman to anger as a cover story? Ooh, or we could say we were trying to recreate a Jackass stunt and it only looks like a dog bite!"
"There's the dogs at work," Scott points out, which makes Stiles sigh in relief. Scott getting bit at work makes so much sense. "But I don't want to blame one of them! Dr. Deaton will have to put the dog down."
Stiles wants to ask why that's a big deal, but he knows Scott cares about those mangy mutts, so instead he sighs and thinks about it for a few more moments. "We could say that you saw a dog in your back yard, and being the bleeding-heart animal lover that you are, you tried to lure it inside. Only you were viciously attacked and it ran off."
"I ... suppose that could work," Scott nods. He looks up at his dark house and says, "I'm gonna go get some sleep now, Stiles. You should go do the same."
Scott's concern for him, even though Scott's the one who's injured and hobbling, makes Stiles smile widely. He knows after the excitement of tonight that he's probably not going to sleep more than an hour or two before he has to be up for school, but he nods anyway. "Sure thing, buddy! You got it! See you in the morning!"
When Stiles gets home, it occurs to him what's been bugging him the whole night: there haven't been wolves in California for sixty years.
Dark. Metallic blood in the teeth and fever in the veins. Must. Must bite. Must not kill. But the feel of claws in flesh, ripping through skin and fur, hot blood on palms, in the pelt. Glorious. Free. Wild.
Chase. Fun to chase. Fun to chase and kill and eat the slippery innards raw and gleaming in the moonlight. Not quite full, not quite time. But ripening. Readying. Growing plump and ripe and ready for the kill.
Must not be seen.
Derek wakes with a start.