Stiles didn’t know what made him open his eyes, but what he saw didn’t make sense. He blinked, trying to focus. Focusing brought pain, and pain gave him a push to try to get to his feet. He was shivering. Stiles knew several things with each stunned blink of his eyes; he was in the snow, the smell of burning fuel was an acrid weight in his lungs, and his hand. . .
Stiles stared at his hand, uncomprehending. There was a large, jagged piece of metal driven through the meat of his palm, and his fingers were burnt. Stiles whimpered when he instinctively tried to curl his fingers, and when his vision spiked with a crystalline haze, then darkened, he acted without thinking: he pulled out the metal piece with a sharp tug.
When he spoke, the air was so cold it froze the breath in his nose and chest, and Stiles felt himself start to panic when his lungs refused to work. He could feel his blood, thick and hot on his skin before it froze and that managed to shock him out of the fugue state he’d been in. He tried to get to his feet once again, but he was shaky enough that it took him two tries. There was something wrong with his leg, and his head. His first step he stumbled, but the burst of adrenaline before he managed to save himself from face planting woke him up enough that he managed to get his shit together. Stiles looked around.
He could see tiny fires as bits of the plane burned. Visibility though, was very poor. There was a strange glow from the sky, but the heavy sting of snow frozen and tossed about by the wind kept him from seeing too far ahead. His gaze was caught by something on the ground, and Stiles saw a heavy branch. He picked it up. Even with the black clouds of thick smoke from whatever was burning, Stiles knew he had to find a place to make a fire. He couldn’t trust the fumes. His own fire was his best bet.
“Gotta find shelter from this cold.”
He was hurt, he was lost, and he was alone. None of Derek's pack was going to come swooping in to save him just in the nick of time. There was almost a dreamlike quality to his stumbling around, god knows where, in the frozen dark, but he knew if he were to lie back down, he wouldn’t get up again.
Stiles gritted his teeth and forced himself to take one halting step after another. He kept the rocky cliff’s surface to his right. His good hand trailed along the rocks, and he kept himself upright by using the heavy branch as a makeshift cane. The pain he felt from before throbbed dully, and was easy enough to ignore. His foot hit some wood from a broken tree limb and he picked it up, clutching it to his chest gratefully. Stiles took a few more steps. He didn’t know if he’d been walking for hours or minutes, but the cold only grew more and more cruel as he moved away from the burning wreckage of Derek’s plane--
The novelty of having Derek flying a plane wore off about the same time that Stiles realized that Derek hadn’t been exaggerating when he said there was barely enough room for the two of them. The Zenith STOL Ch 701 did have two seats, but when one of the seats was occupied by a 200 plus pound muscley werewolf, space was limited. It didn’t help that after his senior year, Stiles had sprouted up several inches and had finally (finally!) grown into his shoulders. He felt like Lurch from those old Addams Family reruns. Stiles had never been in a plane before, and he hadn’t realized that instead of cute stewardesses. . . no. Wait. They were called flight attendants, according to all those years of watching LOST. Instead of cute flight attendants, he just had Derek’s surly attitude as company.
He hadn’t wanted to go on this little jaunt to Great Bear Island, but Stiles hadn’t been above blackmail, and Derek hadn’t much appreciated being blackmailed, so there they were. The air was cold, and there was no heat, and Stiles had been so fucking worried about getting there that he hadn’t taken the time to pack appropriately. His jacket was fine for Beacon Hills, but up here in the great, white, what-the-fuck-was-the-temperature-again North, he was freezing.
Derek’s anger practically wafted from his pores, but the icing on the cake was the fact that Derek had a wonderfully warm parka that he was wearing just to spite Stiles; weres didn’t get as cold as humans. Stiles’ rather pitiful ‘can we please switch jackets’ had been met by a surly growl and roll of Derek’s eyes.
Stiles almost went limp when his hand felt nothing and he realized that there was some sort of cave. He shuffled into it gratefully, stumbling on his half-frozen legs. It was obvious that this was some kind of home for something large; the bones scattered around the floor of the cave were pretty telling. Stiles put down the branch he’d been using and dropped the wood he’d collected with a clatter. Thanking Scott’s insistence on getting the camping badges in cub scouts back in 3rd grade, Stiles awkwardly broke down some of the branch he’d used as a cane into a tinder plug.
Fortunately, there were some leaves and moss that Stiles knew he could use for a flame. The problem was- he didn’t have any matches.
He stared at the small area, dismayed. He had moved to the back of the cave, where he knew no wind would get to his tiny fire. It was marginally warmer, but Stiles knew that without that fire, he’d be dead sooner rather than later.
It was just so hard to focus.
Stiles fumbled at his pockets. He didn’t think he had anything useful, but it would be better to check and know, then have something and ignore it. He found a slip of paper, a a travel container of Advil, His phone, cracked almost beyond belief, his car keys, and. . . wait! His car keys! Stiles almost sobbed with relief. It was one of those things they give you for signing up for a credit card, cheap shit that was rarely useful. But, Stiles had a nail file on his key chain; the kind that folded out into a decent sized one. There was also a tiny bottle of hand sanitizer.
Stiles grabbed a rock and used the nail file as flint for a spark. He had to hunker very close, and lacked the dexterity to take the nail file off his key chain, but he did produce sparks that occasionally got close to his pile of tinder.
It didn’t work.
Stiles found himself exhausted, and had to rest. He stared at his keychain again and frowned. Maybe he could use the hand sanitizer. It had a pretty high alcohol content, and it would probably burn.
Stiles caught himself from huffing out a frustrated breath just in time. He was just so tired, and so cold. A little nap sounded. . . no. No, that was dumb. He’d never given up on anything in his life and he for damn sure wouldn’t start now.
With shaking hands that didn’t want to work properly, Stiles used the nail file to get a tiny amount of sawdust from one of the sticks he’d broken down. After what felt like hours, there wasn’t very much, maybe enough to fill the palm of his hand. Stiles sprayed the hand sanitizer onto the sawdust, saturating it. This time when he used the rock to create a spark, the spark ignited the tiny pile of sawdust with a low whump and Stiles quickly fumbled to feed it some of the dried leaves and moss, biting his lip when it all ignited. He forced himself to be patient, slowly building up his tiny fire until with the wood he’d found and the sticks he created from the branch, he had a fairly respectable blaze.
With fire came light. With light, came warmth, and with warmth came the realization that he was in a very desperate position. A small drip of blood hissed onto the fire and Stiles gaped at his hand, stupidly. The piece of metal was still in his windbreaker’s pocket, but he’d never bound up his wound. The blood had frozen, which certainly wasn’t good, but now that he was warming up, it was dripping everywhere. Stiles stared at the wound and at the hand sanitizer. He didn’t know if he should use it on his hand, which yeah, infection wasn’t a thing that he particularly wanted, but that would be a problem for another day instead of the immediate issue of not having a way to start a fire the next time he needed to. Swallowing hard, flooded with uncertainty, Stiles ripped off part of his plaid shirt and used it to quickly bind the wound.
The fire cackled merrily, but he’d only found enough wood for a few hours. . . maybe six at most.
“If I go out again, something could happen. It can’t see very well. Derek said there was a lot of mountains around here, and falling off the one I’m on would suck. A lot. But, if I stay here, I might not be able to find more wood. Going out- supplies. Staying, warmth and. . . oh fuck it.”
Stiles ignored the way his voice sounded feeble and terrified in the echo of the cave. He was exhausted. The thought of going outside of his little cave was terrifying. Six hours was six hours. With some sleep and a clearer head, he could do more, with better decision-making ability.
Forcing himself not to think of any one particular thing, Stiles curled up near his cheerful little fire. He lay on some leaves, and made sure that there was plenty of stone between them and his makeshift pallet. It didn’t help much, but it did help keep the cold stone ground from leeching what body heat he had.
The fire crackled and popped, and the wind howled. Stiles wanted to stay awake, to keep his exhausted and battered body alert, but he could do neither of those things.
Stiles woke all at once. It was astoundingly quiet, and he realized that the wind had stopped howling. The fire crackled in front of him, although it had burned down quite a bit. Stiles could still smell the heavy fuel of the plane wreckage, thick and sratchy in the back of his throat. Stiles flipped to his back and stared up at the cave ceiling for a moment, trying to get his bearings.
He was lost. He fell out of a fucking plane when Derek crashed after the . . . well, whatever it was that had caused them to crash. He didn’t know where he was, or where Derek was. He didn’t know if Derek was even ali--
“No. Not even going there,” he whispered, ignoring the funny twist his stomach gave at the mere thought. “Okay. You need first aid. Food. Water. Wood to keep burning. Derek will smell the wood smoke and be here before you know it.” He blinked a few times, taking stock of his body. His hand throbbed horribly, and there was something really unpleasant wrong with his leg. Stiles stretched, slowly, and sat up.
The sun against the snow was incredibly bright. Stiles cursed and averted his eyes. He had to blink a few more times to make sure that he wasn’t actually struck blind. Stiles looked around, blinking away tears from the brightness.
The fire was his first priority. Without that, he was a popsicle. Stiles didn’t have the branch to use as a cane, but he found that by moving very slowly he could take halting steps. Standing away from the fire caused him to really feel how cold it was. The wind wasn’t an issue, but he wasn’t dressed as warmly as he should have been. Stiles sighed and made his careful way out of the cave.
The first thing he saw was what looked like the landing equipment. That was what had been on fire. There must have been some kind of fuel source still, because the metal and rubber still smoked, although the actual flames were out. With the storm, it was amazing that they had burned as long as they did. Stiles looked up. “Looks like. . . Shit. I fell out of the window?! ” Jesus fuck. If Scott was here he’d shake his head. Stiles was known far and wide for being a complete klutz, but that was some kind of special, next-level shit. “The trees broke my fall.” He looked down at his leg. “Well, mostly.”
Stiles frowned. Honestly, part of him expected to see Derek striding up, Eyebrow of Doom being all judgmental. He was a little surprised that Derek couldn’t smell him. Stiles couldn’t see any blood on the snow, but Derek had once tracked a Hobgoblin over three weeks and through two counties only from its sweat. Stiles looked down at the bloody rag on his hand. He shivered again, and reminded himself to focus- he needed more wood. Fortunately, his dad had insisted on two layers of long johns under his cargo pants, and Stiles had worn two pairs of woolen socks under his boots. He could see more smoke in the distance, but at a higher elevation, so it was easy enough to assume that that was the plane. He’d go and see once he was able to walk without wanting to scream. Climbing wouldn’t be possible right now. Hell, walking was barely possible.
It was something with his hip. He could walk, but there was something that caused him to wince each time with pain.
Stiles slowly bent to pick up all the wood he could find. He took three or four trips, limping back and forth, hands full with all wood he could hold without losing his balance. He stacked it on the other side of the fire, close enough that some could probably dry, but far enough that it all wouldn’t burn at once. He could see that a tree had blown over onto a nearby cliff, and Stiles tilted his head, staring at the roots on the rockface.
“Yeah. I can climb out, no sweat. Just need to find some food, and rest a bit.”
The fact that he knew he could get out was immensely cheering. Besides, Derek would probably be there before he had the chance. But, in the meantime, Stiles wanted to look around.
Some of the shapes he’d taken for snow-covered rocks were in fact crates. One had busted open, and Stiles helped himself to some of the reclaimed wood. When he awkwardly kicked over the top part of the crate, he saw that there were three small bottles of accelerant.
That shit would make even damp wood burn. With this much snow, the fact was that some of the wood was wetter than Stiles would like. He hummed to himself as he made his slow way back to the cave, his pockets bulging with his find. Several small sticks and branches littered his path, and Stiles found his energy quickly zapped as he broke down limbs and branches.
“I’d give damn near anything for a hatchet, or an axe.” Stiles sighed, popping his back. By now, he’d found enough wood to last him for at least 24 hours, and Stiles didn’t hesitate to feed the fire before he went back out to look on the other side of the little ravine.
It was almost dusk, and Stiles supposed it was bending down, picking up, and breaking apart wood had kept him warm. Now he found himself shivering as he hunted through the wet clumps of snow for anything he could use.
He almost sobbed with relief when he found the small metal container. He recognized it as one of the containers that Derek had loaded into the small cargo area of his plane before they took off. The container didn’t have much, but it did have a water bottle, a small sewing kit, a can of peaches, a flare, and three books.
“Fuck, yeah!” Stiles pumped his arm, then winced when it caused the palm of his hand to throb dully. He dragged his haul to the cave and worked about making himself comfortable for the night. He drank the water immediately, shocked at how thirsty he was. The peaches he simply vented the can so it didn’t explode, then let it cook. The sweet scent of peaches filled the small space, and Stiles moaned, all at once absolutely ravenous.
Waiting for it to cool was torture, and using a stick to pry open the top of the can made him want to cry. Eventually he got it open enough that he could slurp down the peaches and the sticky juice without burning his face off.
It was the best fucking thing he had ever tasted, and he was including the time Erica and Boyd cooked Thai for the pack.
Frowning, Stiles absently licked his fingers and filled up the empty peach can with snow to melt. Thinking of the pack made the reality of his situation all the more dire. He pushed the thought of them out of his head, knowing that if he lost his concentration, or started thinking about what they left, or even why they were out here in the first place, he’d lose his shit.
Stiles waited until the melted snow boiled before filling his water bottle back up, and melting some more. He needed to clean up his hand and change his bandages, and the full belly and day of labor was really making him sleepy.
Stiles also wanted to make sure his hip wasn’t broken or something. With his luck, he had fractured the fucking thing.
It occurred to him that he must be either still in shock or massively dehydrated, because he hadn’t had to pee since he woke up. Even now, it took awhile, like his body wasn’t quite sure what it wanted to do. Stiles inspected his hip and winced to see the bruising. It looked like he had slid into base or something, with a huge contusion over his hip bone, stretching onto his thigh. He stretched it a bit, and that hurt, but it held his weight, so Stiles wasn’t going to worry about it, not when he had everything else to worry about.
Stiles hummed when he saw that his water had boiled, and set it to the side to cool a little before he washed down, and rebandaged his hand.
After that, he put a large firelog on the fire, smiling a little when it caught almost immediately. Today was already so much better than yesterday, and hopefully he could do better and climb out of this little ravine tomorrow, towards the remnants of Derek’s plane.
When Stiles slept, it was with a full belly and a much lighter heart.
“You want me to what?”
Stiles huffed a breath, rolling his eyes. “I know you heard me, man.”
Isaac stared at him, completely unimpressed. Stiles was very aware that werewolves’ freakishly amazing hearing was goddamn inconvenient at times. The rest of the pack had been at the other end of the house, and from the sound of it, Scott and Allison were kicking Lydia and Boyd’s ass at Mario Kart. Stiles had waited until Derek was outside with Erica before pulling Isaac aside to ask this one tiny favor. Now though, he could have heard a pin drop.
Shit. He should have planned this better. Maybe waited until he and Isaac were alone or something. He was out of practice with dealing with the pack.
Knowing that everyone was listening, but keeping his voice conspiratorial because Stiles was nothing if not a stubborn asshole, Stiles whispered his request again. “I need you to make me another Triskelion urn.”
“I didn’t make the first one. Deaton did.”
Stiles shrugged with one shoulder. “I checked into it. You just need to carve it from the Nemeton, and have Deaton put the whammy on it. And while we’re at it, I need you to come to Paris with me. It shouldn’t take too long, maybe a quick half of day there and a half of a day back some cheese and maybe some vino, and we can get it all taken care of in one fell swoop.” Stiles knew he was babbling towards the end, but as always, he couldn’t make his mouth stop.
He made a fist. Since the time he. . . since the Nogitsune had possessed him, Stiles had done his very best to come to terms with what had happened to him. With the things he had done. Therapy and some moderately shameful and frankly next-level avoidance tactics had allowed him to finish his senior year with cousins in New York. While Stiles had done his best to keep in touch with almost everyone, there were times when it was painfully obvious that he stuck out like a sore thumb. Stiles didn’t know what had happened, but Derek had himself a real, working pack. He was the Alpha, and the wolves and their human (and not so human, in Lydia’s case) friends had solidified into what seemed like a solid, healthy pack.
And yeah. That hurt a little. But Stiles was the one who had left. He couldn’t, and didn’t, blame them for becoming a pack, although he did think it was a little surprising that Derek had stopped being such a . . . fail wolf.
“Why do you need to go to Paris.”
Stiles jumped and whirled at the low growl in Derek’s voice, and his elbow hit the counter, sending the glass bowl of fruit wobbling precariously towards the edge. Isaac caught and righted it, then took a step back.
“You ah. You still have that disturbing habit of questioning without question marks,” Stiles blurted, then winced when he saw Derek’s expression go even more blank.
Derek just waited him out, and knowing he was folding like a house of cards, Stiles nonetheless began speaking. “I live in New York, and while I’m not the pack researcher, I do keep my ear to the ground.” Stiles shrugged at Derek’s raised eyebrow. “I like to keep busy. Anyway, there was some trouble up north. An earthquake. Pretty nasty one; but confined to one small island in Canada.”
Derek’s eyes narrowed, and Stiles couldn’t help the small step back he took. When he was younger, Derek hadn’t really scared him, even with the occasional slamming of Stiles’ person into flat surfaces. Isaac made a sound behind him and Stiles realized that he’d stepped back so that his back was flush against Isaac’s front. Isaac touched his hip lightly, then jerked his hand away. Stiles couldn’t say why he felt. . . safer with Isaac, but he did. At the were’s touch, Stiles was able to take a deep, calming breaths, and turn his gaze back to Derek’s face.
Derek’s face was carefully blank, but his eyebrows had narrowed.
From behind him Isaac gulped, then took a deliberate step back.
Stiles was painfully aware that the rest of the pack was crowded into the small hallway, staring at them through the passthrough from the hallway to the kitchen.
“There are. . . signs. Weird shit that’s happening. People bugged out after the earthquake, but they all spoke of. . .” Stiles couldn’t help the way his voice shook. He wanted to tell them everything, calmly, but the panic was making his mind whirl more than it did before he’d left Beacon Hills. He could feel his chest start to tighten, and he forced himself to breathe slowly.
“Stiles,” Scott’s voice was very soft as he spoke from the hallway. “Just tell us what’s wrong. We can figure it out.”
Stiles took a deep shuddering breath. “I think. . . I think the Nogitsune is back.”
This chapter has some images at the end, and finally (!!!) Derek!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Stiles held out until his fire went out. The peaches he had found were long gone, but he had scavenged what looked to be a half-eaten bag of beef jerky in some snow, and that had helped. He’d spent most of his time resting, drinking water, and making sure his hand wasn’t infected. One of the books had turned out to be a survival guide, and Stiles had read through it several times. It had been separated into chapters for each region of the globe, and Stiles had burned anything that wasn’t relevant. There were some lichen and plants that he knew he could find and use if he needed to. Weirdly enough, there were three different kinds of wolvesbane that grew here naturally. The pages also detailed the wildlife, but that was pretty much what Stiles had expected: wolves, deer, fox, moose, and bears.
The other two books were a copy of Call of the Wild and Into the Wild which Stiles thought was some pretty fucked up irony, but he read the both of them before he burned them, convinced now that he would both starve to death and be saved by a sledding dog, but the cold, hard truth is that one of those was much more likely than the other, especially if he stayed in this cave for much longer.
Eventually though, he knew it was time to go.
His leg wasn’t great, but the rest had ensured that it was just a terrible bruise. He’d been very, very lucky.
Stiles took a deep, calming breath, and made his way back to the cliff face. There were several roots and rocks that jutted out, and Stiles knew that he could use them to help him climb. It took a lot more effort than Stiles had thought, that, or he was much weaker than he’d ever dreamed. He pulled himself up the last little bit and lay gasping on the flat ground. The sky was getting dark, either from an oncoming storm or from the coming night, and the sight of it made Stiles start to panic. He had to find more wood, another shelter. His gaze was caught by something red on a small branch, and Stiles used his guide to double-check that it was indeed a rose hip before he managed to poison himself. It only took a few minutes to harvest them. The book said that they were a natural painkiller, and steeping them as a tea would serve as an anti-inflammatory. He added them to his pockets and heaved himself up to his feet.
He had to push through. A wolf howled, and the sound echoed around the snow-covered mountains, echoing in and around until it sounded like a pack of wolves howling.
Stiles couldn’t help but freeze, but the sound was strangely motivating. Wolves didn’t attack people, but he had also been bleeding, and Stiles didn’t want to push it. He made it up the next rock face without any troubles, but he was exhausted. Stiles huddled against the smooth rock surface, feeling miserable. His hand throbbed- there was no way not to use it, and using his palm to squeeze the roots and his burned fingers to grab the rocks in order to climb was staggeringly painful.
“Derek. . . feel free to swoop in and save me about any time now. I won’t even care if you tease me for being a damsel in distress.”
Stiles had tried and tried to remember exactly what had happened when they crashed. The details were foggy. He did remember bits and pieces, but it made his head throb to try to think of it too carefully.
The wind picked up, and Stiles shivered, chilled through. He couldn’t stay here. He had to keep climbing. Stiles groaned and pushed himself to his feet, allowing himself a tiny sip of his water before he began. This was a longer climb, but there looked to be a ledge that he could rest on if he needed to.
“Fuck.” Stiles sighed and began.
The climb was much more difficult. He was winded, and his heart seemed to be beating too fast. When he climbed to the ledge, it had some wood on it, but the act of getting the wood to ignite in this wind was so daunting that Stiles decided just to keep climbing.
He slipped, once, catching himself more by luck than anything else. The adrenaline from that allowed Stiles to practically scamper up the rest of the rocks, and heave himself up over the final edge.
He gasped for air, then gagged. The heavy, acrid smell he’d thought was fuel or rubber was most definitely not. Stiles coughed, covering his mouth with his sleeve. He blinked, tears coming to his eyes from the heavy stench.
He pulled himself to his feet, the muscles in his legs and arms shaking. He coughed again, and looked around, staggering against a tree. The small plane had obviously hit the ground hard. Stiles could see that there was a vaguely plane-shaped break in the trees slightly higher up, but it had either bounced or fallen to where it now lay, broken and crumpled. The front glass was gone, and Stiles marveled that he had. . . well.
How the fuck was he still alive?
It had taken him a good hour to climb up the cliff face. It had to be . . . what. 500 yards? 600? Stiles didn’t know. He didn’t know how he could fall that far, how he could be alive after falling, and how. . .
Where the fuck was Derek?
“Derek! Der-- !” Stiles broke off his scream, coughing hard enough that he saw spots behind his eyelids. The smoke and altitude was fucking with him, and if Stiles didn’t calm the fuck down right the fuck now , he was going to have a panic attack and none of this would even matter.
Stiles forced himself to breathe shallowly, and looked back at the plane.
The smell wasn’t the fuel. Or rather, it wasn’t only the fuel. The plane had crashed next to what looked like a plateau of sorts, and the fire from the plane had melted the snow down to the actual earth.
Stiles didn’t need the survival book to recognize the plant. Years of training with Deaton and different covens made sure that he knew and recognized most plants that the pack would come in contact with. He knew it flourished in the cold, and was hardy enough to survive even in the Alps. One of the more expensive, and one of the most dangerous.
The plane had crashed into a large patch of aconitum anthora.
Jesus fucking Christ.
Stiles looked around frantically for Derek, convinced he had collapsed somewhere. He saw where the snow had been disturbed, but there was enough rock that he couldn’t see tracks, or drag marks, or anything that indicated Derek had left the area. There were other signs that he hadn’t been here. The plane looked like the Hulk had batted it out of the air. The cargo hold and undercarriage had been ripped open, and more of the containers and crates lay everywhere, undisturbed. Or at least, they didn’t look like someone had desperately searched through them. The landing gear had been ripped off and had fallen down near where Stiles had landed.
Stiles had been operating on the assumption that Derek would be coming to find him. Stiles knew that he’d pissed off the Alpha (although not his Alpha; him leaving had pretty much solidified the certainty that he was not a member of the Hale pack) but even at his most pissed off, Derek would never, ever leave Stiles to freeze to death. He was an asshole, but he wasn’t cruel.
“Okay. I can’t stay here. I need to gather up what I need for now, and find another shelter. I can search for Derek in the morning.” It was still difficult to tell if the oncoming darkness was a storm or dusk, but Stiles didn’t want to be out here either way.
Habit had him checking his hand, and it looked okay. He wasn’t bleeding, and the roots and rocks had hurt like a bitch but hadn’t caused him any more damage.
The containers were full of supplies that Derek had been transporting to their contact, but it was pretty obvious that some of those supplies had been damaged. Stiles did find four canned goods and -thank fuck- a pack of waterproof matches, but he didn’t want to stay around too long. Once he had the time, he could make a travois of some sort with the straps of their seatbelts, and haul the rest of the stuff to. . . wherever it was that he was going to go.
Stiles sighed. He was just so tired.
Stiles took his few items away from the ravine, noting that there was a path of sorts. The wind blew harder and Stiles wiggled his fingers and toes, biting his lip. If he didn’t find some kind of shelter quickly then he would be pretty fucked, and finding Derek wouldn’t matter. The snow and storm had obliterated any traces of whether or not Derek had come this way, but at least the snow was fresh enough that the powdery stuff didn’t impede him walking too much.
Stiles couldn’t see too far with the swirling snow, but he could make out snow covered rocks, trees, and more land. The path he was taking wasn’t any kind of trail, but it was fairly easy to walk on. Snow drifts had stacked up in varying spots. Stiles veered left around a broken tree and stopped short, staring slack-jawed at ground on the other side of the fallen tree.
Tears sprang to his eyes.
There were a pile of clothes next to his backpack. Stiles stumbled to his knees, blinking rapidly. He could feel the few tears that escaped freeze to his cheeks. With shaking fingers, he reached out to pull Derek’s coat towards him. It was a thick parka, with a fleece-lined flannel hood. Stiles buried his face in it and inhaled, trying to keep himself form sobbing. Everything was just so sharp; he felt so close to breaking, and seeing Derek’s clothes in a pile next to Stiles’ backpack was enough of a shock that Stiles felt like he just had to take a minute.
Stiles squinted at the snow and laughed when he saw the paw prints heading away from the tree trunk. They veered off slightly from the direction Stiles had been going, but the paw prints and pile of clothes fairly shouted one simple fact: Derek had been okay enough from the crash to change to his wolf. Stiles raised his head and put the coat on, zipping it up over his lighter jacket. It was cold from being on the ground, but it still smelled faintly of Derek and Stiles was gonna lose it, right there.
He gulped at air, biting his lip again. With shaking fingers he reached for his backpack. Stiles’ wallet, the snacks, and bottle of water, his radio, and the felt piece of cloth were all still there, shoved down in the largest pocket. Wrapped in the felt was the urn Isaac had carved for him. Stiles traced his fingers over the Triskelion.
Stiles tried the radio, but it was dead. Figures. Between that and his phone he wouldn’t be that lucky. The problem with the earthquakes was that most of anything electronic or mechanical failed to work. Refugees from the area had reported that the area was a complete dead zone, but Stiles hadn’t been able to leave it at home. . . just in case.
With a wet sniffle, Stiles shoved everything back in the backpack. He folded Derek’s boots, and shoved his socks and tshirt in the holes. His jeans were hard to fold, and the sweatshirt were both stiff from the melted snow freezing in the hours since Derek had shifted. He managed to cram everything in the backpack except his boots, which Stiles tied together and strung around his neck.
His hip protested when he stood, but the fact that a gust of wind could obliterate Derek’s trail was enough of an incentive that Stiles forced his exhausted body into some semblance of action. The paw prints were far enough apart that Stiles could guess that Derek had been running at a lope through the woods.
Stiles followed Derek’s trail for almost twenty minutes before he heard the click click that made him freeze.
He was on some kind of frozen river, or stream. It was obvious that the ice was thick enough to hold him, but the mere thought of walking on the frozen surface was terrifying. A quick burst of panic had Stiles searching the two banks, to be sure that Derek hadn’t ran in either of those directions, but it was so dark that he could have easily missed it.
“God damn it” His voice echoed back to him and Stiles frowned, cocking his head to better listen. Stiles squinted. He took a few steps forward, then stood gaping for the second time in less than an hour.
It was tiny, but there was some sort of building about 100 yards away, on the other side of the riverbank.
“Derek!” Stiles scrambled, hissing in pain when his hip most definitely didn’t approve the abrupt movement, but he managed to keep to his feet as he ran full out towards the little cabin. “ Derek !” Stiles flung open the door only to flinch away from the emptiness of the cabin.
The relief of finding a shelter paled in comparison to the crushing disappointment of realizing that Derek wasn’t here waiting on him. Stiles shut the door on autopilot, dropping the backpack and the few things he’d gathered near the door. Stiles squinted in the darkness. The bed was empty, made with blankets for some long gone tenant. Stiles could make out a table, and a chair.
Stiles’ legs gave out on him, and he barely made it onto the bed before he collapsed. Stiles curled up on the bed and cried, disappointment, and terror and the relief of being indoors all too much.
He felt terribly small; alone and afraid and just so fucking sorry that he’d gotten them into this mess. His sobs eventually tapered off, but Stiles didn’t have the energy to light a fire. With his clothes and under the blankets of the bed, he felt warm enough, and the way that he could smell Derek’s scent was comforting in a way that Stiles didn’t want to examine too closely.
The wind howled outside, and Stiles lips trembled at the realization that he had no idea where Derek in his wolf form could have gone. He could be literally anywhere, and Stiles had to face the realization that he might not ever find him.
Feeling strangely empty, Stiles shut his eyes. It took a long time for sleep to come.
The sound woke him.
Stiles’ eyes flew open and widened as he realized that he could see as clearly as it was full noon. The sound was an eerie ringing, and with a shocked breath, Stiles remembered the strange glow when he’d first woken up after crashing. The past two nights had been normal, but something. . . something was going on.
Stiles flung open the door and stepped out into the small clearing, staring around him. The sound was louder outside, but the sky. . .
He walked towards the frozen river, stunned.Stiles had heard of Aurora Borealis before, of course. He’d seen pictures of the Northern Lights on many occasions, but as he stared up at the sky, mouth and eyes wide open, he realized that pictures didn’t do the phenomenon any justice. Purples and greens and yellows and blue all shone together like someone in the sky had a light show just for him. The sound rang in his ears so loudly that he almost didn’t hear the low growl.
When Stiles jerked his gaze towards the river, he almost had a heart attack. The wolf was huge, almost seeming to shimmer in the glow of the Lights. Its eyes were a green that Stiles was pretty sure never occurred in nature, and was stalking slowly towards him its growl unmistakable.
“D-d-derek?” Stiles’ stuttering whisper made the growl’s volume increase.
Stiles took a slow step back towards the cabin. He hadn’t realized just how far he had wandered while staring up at the sky, but it felt like miles between where he stood and the safety of the cabin. Stiles gulped again when he saw that two other wolves had joined the growling wolf, and he couldn’t help the way his heartrate skyrocketed.
This was wrong.
Wolves, even pissed off wolves, didn’t act this way.
When the fourth wolf joined the others, Stiles panicked. Four pairs of glowing green eyes caused whatever nerve he had to break; he turned to run, but before he could another wolf raced by him, growling and snarling. It planted itself in front of Stiles, between him and the advancing wolf pack, and growled in challenge.
Its eyes glowed red.
Stiles tripped once, but he made it back to the cabin, slamming the door behind him. He could hear the snarls and growls as the wolf attacked. Stiles cautiously opened the door and peeked through the small space, gape mouthed as the wolf attacked.
Two of the other wolves ran away, but Stiles’ savior refused to give any ground. One of them lay obviously dead or horribly injured, blood spilling out onto the snow.
Stiles had only seen Derek in his wolf form a handful of times, but even now it was easy to see the difference between the werewolf and the natural wolves. Or- supernatural. Stiles wasn’t sure what was going on with the green glow, but it for damn sure wasn’t something he’d find on a nature documentary. Derek’s form was easily twice the size of the natural wolves.
The green-eyed wolf got a good bite in on Derek’s hindquarters, and Derek retaliated with several snarling growls and a swipe of his claws. To Stiles’ shock, he changed from his wolf form to his Beta form, and from then the fight was over in a blink.
Derek was partially changed,covered in blood from ripping out the wolf’s throat with his teeth, but his howl of victory sent goosebumps all up and down Stiles’ spine. The glow of the Aurora bathed him in ethereal light, and Stiles had to pinch himself to make sure that this wasn’t some weird fever dream.
Definitely not a dream.
Derek heard the sound and Stiles couldn’t help but freeze in place when Derek turned to look at him. His eyes were still the red of the Alpha, and his partially wolfed out form, naked except for the blood and reflection of the lights, was just as jarring to Stiles’ wide gaze.
“Jesus fuck am I glad to see you.” Stiles grinned in giddy relief, staking a step forward.
Derek’s low growl caused Stiles to freeze in place again. There was absolutely no recognition on Derek’s features as he started to stalk forward, graceful and terrifying with single-minded intensity.
“Uh.. Derek? Buddy?”
The sound Derek made made Stiles regret his human slow reflexes. He tried to slam the door but Derek tackled him, pushing them into the cabin so that Stiles landed painfully onto his back, Derek landing on top of him on all fours, still growling low in his throat.
Stiles froze, smelling his own rank sweat of absolute terror. “Derek” wasn’t there. There was absolutely nothing of the man he’d known off and on for almost six years.
There was only the Alpha.
(Here is a picture of what Aurora wolves look like in TLD, and the Aurora itself!)
Oh, one quick thing. When people started playing this game, the developers had to put this message at the beginning, and it's apt here too.
Ugh I am so into this story right now. I wish I could make chapters the same length, but alas, that is not a talent I possess. Thanks so much for reading a WIP!
is a real thing, but I’ve taken many liberties with the uses. In TLD,
Old Man's Beard Lichen
are real things, and used about the same way. Any of you that play the game will notice that I took a teeny weeny liberty with the plane crash; usually you
crash near Milton
, but I have them crashing on the
Coastal Highway, near the Ravine entrance
. Idk I just like this area.
Stiles was glad that he was still a little dehydrated, because he felt like he was about to piss himself.
The low growls were not playing, and up until this point, Stiles didn’t realize there was a difference in the type of growls Derek had emitted over the years. He was very familiar with the ‘fuck off Stiles, not funny’ growl and the ‘Stiles you best stop whatever foolish thing you’re saying right now ’ growl, and the ever popular ‘Stiles I swear to fuck I will rip out your throat and beat you with it if you don’t shut. Up. ’ growl, but this? This was different in every way.
The low sound was a warning, and Stiles took it to heart. He didn’t move. He barely breathed when Derek’s red, glowing Alpha eyes narrowed on his. Derek bent at the neck, and seeing his fangs and wolfed-out snout was as nerve-wracking as always, but when he felt his hot breath against his throat, Stiles couldn’t help but swallow, hard, absolutely terrified. He felt sick; he could smell the iron tang of the wolves’ blood when Derek had ripped out their throats. Derek’s naked body was almost fever-hot, emitting an almost palpable wave of heat.
The low growl stopped for a moment as Derek inhaled. Stiles started to move his muscles to straighten out his sore leg, but Derek snarled at him, snapping at the air right above Stiles’ throat in warning.
Oh fuck oh fuck ohfuckohfuuuuck.
Apt, but hardly helpful.
Derek sniffed at him again, and Stiles’ terror kept him from moving. Derek’s nose started at his forehead this time, and Derek’s wet tongue licked at his forehead. He moved his nose so it was under Stiles’ ear, down over his jaw to the spot where his neck met his shoulder, to his armpit, and down to the wound on his thigh. He licked at Stiles’ cargo pants, and moved his nose to Stiles’ groin, and down towards his boots briefly before working his way back up to Stiles’ hand.
The wound on his thigh, his head, and his hand all got another passthrough, and it occurred to Stiles that Derek could smell his pain. Or maybe the blood under the skin from his various wounds. The growl stopped, and Derek shifted back into his wolf form.
Stiles let out a breath that was so hard it ruffled some of Derek’s fur. He licked his lips and shifted a tiny bit towards the bed. Derek watched him, sitting on his haunches, but didn’t start growling again. Stiles shifted a tiny bit more. Derek still didn’t react other than to stare at him with red eyes, but Stiles was getting cold. The door to the little cabin was wide open. The problem was, well. One of the problems was that Derek was in between Stiles and the door.
One problem at a time.
Stiles slowly, moving in such minute increments that it actually hurt his muscles. He pulled himself up with the bedframe, then took a slow step towards the door.
Derek growled low in his throat, and Stiles froze in mid-step, easing back towards the bed.
Derek stopped growling, but his eyes seemed to glint in the weird light from the aurora. Stiles caught his breath; there was nothing human in that gaze.
He swallowed hard, nervousness almost hanging around him like some perfume. He counted his heartbeats. One. Two. Three. Four. Five. By Ten, Derek had turned and trotted outside, bored with whatever was in the cabin. Stiles waited until Derek had moved far enough that he couldn’t just turn and leap back towards the tiny cabin, then slammed the door shut.
There was silence as Stiles breathed heavily. He didn’t understand what was going on, but Derek wasn’t “Derek”; and Stiles just wanted to make it long enough to live through this.
There was a scratching on the wood of the door, and Stiles froze. But, when Derek howled, Stiles felt like shit. He swallowed, waiting. There was another snuffling sound at the door, another scratch of nails against the surface, and another mournful howl, but Derek eventually wandered off.
Stiles had to blink tears out of his eyes. His back stung where Derek had tackled him, and his ears were ringing with the weird sound of the lightshow in the sky. Stiles licked his lips and carefully made his way to the window. It was shuttered, and Stiles opened the shutter just enough to let in some of the light, peeking out into the small area below. In the odd light, he could clearly see the dead wolves, the spill of blood, glinting purple against the snow.
Derek was nowhere to be found.
Stiles collapsed on the bed, holding his head in his hands.
“What am I supposed to do? He doesn’t recognize me. He almost bit me, and. . . and yeah some of that could be carryover from him being so pissed off, but. . . but. . .” His voice cracked. “It would be dumb to trust the werewolf just because I trust Derek.” And that doesn’t mitigate the crazypants fact that I’m here talking to myself. Shit.”
It occurred to him that his back really did fucking hurt. Stiles brought his hand up to feel the sore spot and realized that when he fell onto his back, he must have fallen onto something. Stiles looked around the floor and saw something on the ground. He made his way over to the floor in front of the bed and saw that he fell on a whetstone.
Stiles sighed, blowing out a frustrated breath. He really couldn’t catch a fucking break. Stiles’ eyes caught on his backpack and he moved to the doorway to grab it. The eerie light almost seemed to brighten for a moment, the sound ringing in his ears so loudly that Stiles thought he could feel it in his teeth.
He took out all his supplies and set them on the desk. He looked around, frowning, realizing that this was the first time he was actually taking in his surroundings. The cabin (if you could call it that. “Shack” might be more apt) was pretty small. Stiles discovered a flare buried in a crate in the corner, a desk, an open book, and an empty metal container under the bed.
Rote movement got Stiles moving. He didn’t have much water, but the peach juice was delicious. He went ahead and ate the content of two cans, delighting in the sweet, surpy taste. The two empty cans he stuck on the desk. It was a rather pitiful showing. He had a flare, a tiny bit of hand sanitizer, a tiny file, a whetstone, a book of wooden matches, two Advil left in the tiny plastic container, his phone, two bottles of accelerant, a sewing kit, a half empty water bottle, a double handful of rosetips, a few bags of pretzels his dad had insisted he throw in his backpack,one can of pork and beans, one more can of peaches, another bottle of water, his radio, the sharpened metal piece he pulled from his hand, and one velvet-wrapped slightly mystical urn.
The scratch on the door made Stiles jump, and his arms flailed around a little more than usual. He swallowed hard. The scratch came again, and to Stiles’ absolute shock, there was a sharp bark.
The fuck? Werewolves didn’t bark. Or at least, Stiles didn’t think that werewolves barked. Since Scott had been bitten, Stiles had made approximately seven hundred billion dog jokes and puns, to both his best friend and the rest of the pack, but he’d never heard any of them bark before.
Stiles stood up and peeked out of the window again. He saw Derek sitting several feet away from the door, for all the world looking like an overlarge husky.
There was something in front of the door.
Stiles didn’t even think about it. He slowly opened the door and stared, dumbfounded, at the two dead rabbits in front of the doorway.
Derek had brought him dinner.
Stiles had an insane urge to laugh. He looked around the small clearing and saw several pieces of wood near a large snow drift. He shut the door and grabbed one can of accelerant, the matches, and the piece of metal, and cautiously opened the door again.
Derek hadn’t moved.
Stiles wasn’t sure if what he was doing was all that intelligent, but the fact was, he hadn’t eaten much since the crash. Hell, he hadn’t even eaten much before the crash, truth be told. He’d been too nervous. The idea of eating fresh meat was making him act-- well. If Derek wanted to gut him, he might as well have a full stomach before his untimely demise.
It didn’t take long to gather the wood and get the fire started. With the matches and the accerant, it was easy enough to get a respectable blaze. Outside, under the lights of the night sky, Stiles couldn’t help but notice how beautiful it was. There were indeed several peaks and valleys, and now that Stiles was listening, he could faintly hear what sounded like a waterfall over the strange ringing sound that seemed to permeate everything.
With the metal piece, Stiles made a face and gutted the two animals, quickly field dressing them so he could cook the meat. Without thinking, Stiles tossed the viscera towards Derek, who snatched it out of the air and ate it in one gulp. He didn’t seem interested in the skins, and Stiles buried them away from his little shelter. Stiles absently cleaned his makeshift knife in the snow, and wiped it off.
After being so feral before, the fact that Derek was placidly lying in the snow, watching Stiles cook the rabbits was a little surreal. Stiles didn’t miss the way that Derek would slowly inch his way closer and closer to Stiles. He could see it clearly out of the corner of his eye, but as soon as Stiles turned his head, Derek would immediately stare at something else, freezing in place.
It was weird as fuck.
And, slightly hilarious.
Stiles made quick work of the rabbit, but his belly was partially full of peaches. Stiles thought about giving the meat to Derek, but instead carefully wrapped it in one of the ziptop bags that had had his pretzels in it, and set it under some snow so it wouldn’t spoil. Stiles didn’t think it was warm enough to spoil, but thoughts of food poison made him be cautious.
Finally, exhaustion caught up with his full stomach, and Stiles carefully kicked out the fire. Derek was beside him in a second when Stiles put his hand on the door, and shrugging, Stiles let him inside. He took off Derek’s jacket, and his boots, putting them near his desk so that he could get to them quickly if he needed to. The makeshift knife he put under his pillow, and he carefully curled up in the blankets. Before, he had been so exhausted and so heart-sore at finding shelter that Stiles hadn’t really had the spoons to think about his situation.
He still didn’t particularly want to. “Tomorrow. I’ll. . . I’ll try to make sense of it tomorrow.” Stiles yawned hugely and nestled down in the warm covers. It didn’t shock him when he felt Derek leap up onto the bed. Stiles had to bite his lip, grinning at nothing in the muted darkness when he felt Derek turn exactly three circles and lie down behind Stiles’ curled knees. He made a low chuffing sound, and sighed. Stiles’ grin grew in the darkness. He and Derek weren’t exactly best buddies, but once they got out of this, Stiles would be mentioning this in great detail.
Feeling exhausted, a little too full, and most of all. . . safe, Stiles slept.
TBC- Next chapter... we finally find out why Stiles and Derek were in the plane....
Omg guys, thank you for reading. I'm so excited that people seem to be enjoying this. I know it's a little Stiles heavy, but there are some definite hints of Derek now... :) Sort of.
Some spoilery potential consent-based trigger warnings in the end notes.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Stiles could feel his heart pounding in his chest. It had been so long since he could connect with his own body; since he could feel anything other than the too-blank numbness of only having access to a tiny corner of his own mind. He wasn’t always aware, but when he was, he could see what his body was doing- the havoc it was wrecking.
He was so ashamed. He was responsible for all of this destruction. . . these deaths.
He was so fucking sorry.
Allison. Manipulating Borrow to go after Kira. All the doctors and nurses that got in its way at BHH.Parrish, his dad, Melissa and Deaton. Aiden.
Then knowing he was going to end it. Knowing his sacrifice would kill the Nogitsune. Watching, screaming in the little corner of his mind and realizing that everything wasn’t real, that this was yet another trick, another illusion.
Watching himself, the pale skin, the cruel twist of his lips and watching Scott, wolfed out in his Beta form bite him. Watching the katana slide through his own-but-not-his-own stomach and watching Isaac trap the fly in the urn, sealing the power forever.
Running out of the school after Lydia, knowing by her reaction that someone was dead and being so, so grateful that it wasn’t Derek.
And the guilt.
In the weeks that followed, realizing that their pack was broken. His dad, sitting down with him, tears in his eyes when Stiles begged him to let him finish school with his cousins in New York. When Stiles told him that the nightmares hadn’t stopped. When Stiles confessed to seeking out the fights, the hatred, the anger of those that he’d hurt just for the chance to feel something when they beat him.
His dad had been so, so afraid for him.
Afraid for what he’d do.
He’d helped Stiles to enroll in the school in New York before the end of the week.
Stiles woke with a gasp and a shiver. He hadn’t dreamed about the Nogitsune in months, but he supposed it was only natural to do so given the clusterfuck of epic promotions that had been his life for the past few days.
Hell. Stiles didn’t even know how long he’d been here. He knew that he was in this hunting shack in the middle of goddamn nowhere, and he thought it had been four days since they’d crashed, but it wasn’t like Stiles knew. The strange light filtered in through the cracks of the door and window, and Stiles could feel that his breath had frozen to his face.
He also had to pee.
That made him whimper, because the thought of his tender bits naked in the cold like this. . .
Stiles thought it was damn brave of him to get up and get dressed and slip outside. He almost forgot about Derek until he heard the click of his claws on the wooden floor. Stiles went over to the side of the house, still half asleep and took a few seconds to psyche himself up to undo his cargo pants and lift his dick out of his long underwear, but he really had to pee , and so he made the best of it, gritting his teeth manfully.
Derek’s howl caused Stiles to jump, which caused his dick to jump, and he was just glad he didn’t piss all over himself as the sound echoed through the trees. He whirled, then tucked himself back into his pants, cursing himself for not thinking to bring a weapon.
Derek’s howl turned to low growls, and Stiles gulped when he realized that Derek had his back to him, sitting on his haunches but with his pelt puffed out threateningly. Stiles hustled inside, heart thumping in his chest. The weird ringing sound seemed to almost get louder, and Stiles shook his head, trying to rid himself of the sound of it. If it hurt his ears, it must be driving Derek nuts.
From the safety of the door, Stiles noticed two things. One, was that Derek was once again protecting him from some unseen threat. The second was that the dead wolves from before were gone. The lights had dimmed slightly, so Stiles couldn’t tell if there were track marks around the spot where Derek had killed them, but it was weird enough that Stiles very much wanted to be safe, inside. Stiles couldn’t see what Derek was warning off, but that didn’t stop him whistling for Derek to come inside.
Derek broke off mid-growl, head cocked to the side, then turned and trotted to the spot where Stiles had peed and lifted his leg for a minute before coming inside the small shelter.
“You good?” Stiles didn’t expect a response, but when Derek just started sniffing around the cabin, Stiles took it in stride. He yawned and this time made up the bed so that Stiles was under all the quilts and blankets the small mattress had to offer. He debated about sleeping in Derek’s jacket and his boots, but thought that it would be best if he just stuck to his shirts, cargo pants, and underwear. Stiles made himself comfortable, and Derek wasted no time jumping up onto the bed and curling into Stiles’ heat, and maybe it was stupid, but Stiles couldn’t help the small, goofy smile that quirked his lips.
“I’m. . . sorry, Derek. I’m sorry I blackmailed you into coming here.’ Stiles swallowed through the sudden tightness in his throat, and ignored the hot splash of tears on his face. He’d gotten Derek to come here because he found out that Derek done something nice. Something beyond nice. Something so selfless and kind that it had seemed so glaringly out of character that Stiles had felt guilt for using his knowledge to get Derek to do what he wanted. Now he was here in the middle of nowhere, with a feral werewolf whose safety that Stiles was also responsible for, in a situation that frankly. . . didn’t bode too well for them. Stiles hiccuped a sob, and only sniffed back his tears when he realized Derek was whining next to him.
Somehow that made the guilt even worse.
Stiles buried his face in the pillow and cried himself to sleep.
The Nogitsune had been relentless about using Derek as a bargaining chip. He’d had no problem with taunting Stiles with what he knew he could never have. Stiles had lost count of how many hallucinations he’d had where Derek fucked him up against just about every available surface and a few Stiles never would have imagined. Derek had taken him during the full moon, during the pack’s dinner, during the dead of night, in the bright light of day, in the train station, in his bed, in Derek’s loft, in the locker room, in Stiles’ jeep and in Derek’s Camaro. The Nogitsune had made sure that Derek had seemed so fucking real that each and every time Stiles burned for what he couldn’t have, knowing that it wasn’t real but helpless to break his mind away from the demon’s hold. The sex had been rough, and hard, and Stiles found that he could barely meet the real Derek’s gaze, so ashamed by the almost-real images that he lived with playing like a movie in his head on repeat every time he closed his eyes. He’d felt such guilt for so many things, and this? This was just enough to ensure that Stiles could never feel comfortable in Derek’s presence again.
This dream started out the same.
They’d been arguing. Derek had flashed his eyes at Stiles, who had refused to back down. He was right, dammit , and Derek had to see it his way. Stiles wouldn’t let the stubborn ass put himself in danger anymore. Derek had hissed something, low and hurtful, and Stiles had yelled back, furious. Then Derek’s lips had crashed onto his and oh. Oh, this was different. This wasn’t the mindless fucking that the Nogitsune usually shoved into his head. The kiss might have started in frustration, but it quickly changed. Derek kissed him hard, then the kiss had gentled into something unrecognizable. Stiles had never made out with Derek before, in any of the living dreams the Nogitsune used to fuck with him. Now though, their lips met gently, then not so gently, and when Derek finally licked into his mouth, Stiles hadn’t been able to hide the low, needy sound he’d made. It seemed like only minutes before Stiles was sprawled against him, gasping for breath as his cock pressed against Derek’s. Derek pulled away to gasp his name, and he slowly reached down to wrap his hand around Stiles’ length, and Stiles could only shake, trembling on the knife's edge of coming.
He was so fucking close and when Derek gasped his name, Stiles bit his lip as he started to shake, coming hard moaning low in his throat.
Stiles could feel Derek behind him, growling low in his chest. Derek was no longer in his wolf form, but something more human. The weird lights had disappeared. Stiles could see just the barest glimpse of shapes in the darkness. Derek’s chest vibrated against Stiles’ back, and Stiles felt absolute fire-hot shame when he realized that he had been rocking his ass back into Derek’s naked crotch. Derek was hard behind him, and either Stiles or Derek had shoved Stiles’ clothes out of the way so that he could feel the wet head and heat of Derek’s cock against the top of his ass and small of his back.
Derek’s face was buried in the curve of Stiles’ neck as he rocked against him.
Stiles could smell the heavy musk of his own come, thick and heavy in the room. He gasped when Derek’s teeth scraped lightly against the skin of Stiles’ neck and then shivered at the realization that Derek was half-shifted behind him, instead of in his fully human form. Stiles pressed back into Derek’s body on instinct and Derek made a high-pitched yipping sound before coming against Stiles’ ass. Stiles heard his heart thumping, and he was shocked that his cock gave an interested twitch. Derek made a different, lower sound and Stiles felt his hands against the mess on his back, rubbing it into his skin, up his back, into the crack of his ass, and over his hip to Stiles’ groin until the heavy musk was that of the both of them, almost thick enough to taste in the humidity of being under the covers.
When Stiles started to move away, Derek growled a warning, holding Stiles to him. He grudgingly allowed Stiles to adjust his clothes so that his ass and his dick wasn’t hanging out, but he refused to let Stiles move from the nest that they’d made.
Derek’s low growl turned into a satisfied grumble, and Stiles found himself drifting as Derek held him, sleepy and content as their scents mingled heavy and satiated in the predawn silence of the cabin.
Stiles has a very vivid wet dream and comes while sleeping, waking up at the end. Derek is feral, in his half-shifted form and rubs off against Stiles, scent marking him. Not intended as dubcon, but since Stiles is asleep and Derek is out of his mind, consent wasn't explicitly stated.
Sorry for the extra wait. Having some RL issues that caused me not to be able to update regularly.
Stiles woke up all at once, flailing his limbs as though electrocuted, the memory of the brush of stubble against his skin and warm, heat-filled eyes making Stiles wake with his heart beating and his breath heavy in his chest.
His flailing let in the cold air to the little nest of blankets and Stiles fell out of the bed onto the floor with a heavy thump.
“Ouch! Shit !”
The fact that there wasn’t a snort of laughter told him more than anything else that Derek hadn’t miraculously changed back to the grumpy sourwolf Stiles knew and lo--.... Stiles knew.
It was obvious that it was later in the day. Stiles had a moment of panic before he realized that Derek, back in wolf form, was curled up on the blankets on the bed. Stiles fumbled for his water bottle idly scratching at his stomach as he drank.
When he realized that he was scratching dried come off of his stomach Stiles’ eyes widened and he froze, growing almost dizzy with how quickly the blood rushed to his cheeks. He checked his back, and yep. Definitely not a dream.
“Shit. Shit, shit shit .”
Stiles squeezed his eyes shut then opened one, staring at the flaky evidence on his hand. When it didn’t go away, he had to allow the possibility that he and Derek really had. . .
He sighed gustily and stood up. Derek opened one unimpressed eye, and went back to sleep. Stiles shook his head. He felt a little silly when he shoved his feet into his boots and his arms in his coat, but even with the sun out, the temperature of the cabin had dropped enough that now that he wasn’t under all the blankets, Stiles knew that he couldn’t possibly stay here long-term, not without some way to burn fuel. Stiles jammed the hat back onto his head and reached under his blanket for his makeshift knife.
Stiles thought that Derek was completely ignoring him, but when he opened the door Derek trotted out after him. Stiles walked first to the bloody area where Derek and the other wolves had fought and frowned. He could see no evidence of something larger that had taken them, but the bodies were definitely gone. Stiles wasn’t exactly a tracker, but even he could look for the prints in the snow. There were a few, all canine, and a lot of blood that had darkened to an ugly stain on the white snow, but that was it.
Stiles glanced up at the sky and frowned. It was sunny, but he could clearly see clouds coming in. “Maybe the light show fucked up the weather patterns.” Derek huffed at the sound of Stiles’ voice, and Stiles couldn’t help but grin a little. When Derek came back to himself (and Stiles frankly refused to believe that he wouldn’t, eventually) the two of them could be awkward over what had happened in the cabin. As it stood, Stiles knew he’d been asleep, and Derek had been reacting to some weird instinct, and that was that. And if the fact that he smelled like Derek was just dandy with him, well, Stiles figured that he could just keep that little factoid under wraps.
“Okay Der-bear, what’s the plan? I have a tiny bit of rabbit and very little supplies. Either I go back to the plane, and expose you to the wolvesbane again, or we try to go find another place to hole up. Look for some more supplies, maybe.”
Derek lifted his leg and pissed against a rock outcropping, clearly unconcerned.
“Yeahh. Exactly. The plane is within walking distance, and I could keep you in the cabin. . .” Stiles trailed off, thinking. Actually, that wasn’t a terrible idea. The plane was close, and it did have supplies. Stiles was dressed more warmly than he’d been before, and had gotten actual food and rest, so he knew that he was stronger as well. The only drawback was the wolvesbane.
Stiles frowned. For all he knew the amounts on his clothes or the trace amounts of the 'bane in his hair were the reason that Derek was acting so weird. He had no idea how long Derek had been in the plane crash, and no idea of how much exposure he’d had.
Well, standing out here wasn’t going to do any good. Stiles made some work for himself, staring another fire and boiling enough water to allow him and Derek to both drink their fill, and still fill up his water bottle.
Inside, Derek seemed to be utterly content in the nest of blankets, and Stiles felt his cheeks heat a little when he realized why; that their scents were strong and mingled there, and Derek was probably in Were heaven, if by the way he barely twitched when Stiles went in and out of the cabin was any indication. By the end of two hours, Stiles had packed up his meager belongings and was ready to go. He’d set out enough water in the plastic container that Derek would be good for awhile. He debated awhile on whether or not to latch the door behind him, and eventually decided that Derek could always shift into his Beta form to get out if there was some sort of emergency.
Derek didn’t really do anything when Stiles left, having been used to Stiles coming and going. The wind had picked up, but Stiles figured he still had a good four or five hours of daylight left.
“Well let’s go. No time like the present.” Stiles turned and began walking back the way he came, makeshift knife at the ready in case he came across another wolf.
The sound of his boots crunching in the snow was calming, and the landscape was breathtaking enough that Stiles made the trip back up the little stream with no issues. He saw the log where he’d found his backpack, and Derek’s coat. A twig snapped and Stiles froze, looking towards the sound. A deer bounded by and Stiles breathed easier. If deer were around, then the larger predators probably weren’t.
The walk back to the plane took longer than Stiles remembered. The wind had picked up to something much more bracing, and Stiles found himself having to fight to stay on the correct path. He stopped, looking around with alarm. An hour ago, he’d thought that he had several more hours of daylight left. Now though, the storm that had threatened had blown in much more quickly than Stiles had ever dreamed. He was probably only another mile or so from the plane, and a good two miles from the cabin where he’d left Derek.
A gust of wind made it down the neck of his coat, and Stiles shivered, wishing for gloves. Blowing in his hands did nothing, and Stiles ducked his head, deciding to push on.
Within fifteen minutes, it was almost impossible to see. Stiles knew that this was wrong. He should have hit the wreckage by now, and the realization that he had gotten turned around somehow was terrifying . He’d been a complete dumbass to leave Derek in the fucking cabin. The wind pushed him and Stiles tried his best to keep going, but it was almost impossible.
“So. . . cold. . .” Stiles sucked in a shuddering breath, feeling the curls of panic begin to darken his lungs. Stiles could barely see in the swirling snow. “Can’t stop. Can’t st- st-stop.” The wind cut through his clothes like Derek’s claws swiped through cloth. The wind screamed and Stiles thought that he was legitimately losing his mind. He could hear howls and chitters and the endless, whirling sound of the blizzard as wind and snow fought each other for supremacy. He lost track of time. He lost track of everything. All he could do was concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other, desperate to try to make out some sort of landmark.
It probably shouldn’t have surprised him, but when he stepped out into nothing, not even the adrenaline could save him. Stiles fought, trying to flip and cling to the snow on the edge, but his body was too cold-stupid. He barely had time to scream before he fell out into nothing.
He slammed against something hard, then rolled and rolled, unable to stop his downward motion. Stiles saw stars when he whacked his head against the ground, and the spinning and spinning seemed endless until he slammed one more time into something hard and unforgiving.
The tree probably saved his life.
Stiles clung to the bark, sobbing for a moment in complete shock. His head hurt so badly that for a moment, he thought he heard his name in the wind. Stiles shook his head, trying to focus. Stiles shivered again, trying to take stock of anything that was broken.
His head was probably the worst of it all, although his shoulder and arm pulled uncomfortably when he tested to see how hurt he was. He was either the stupidest or the luckiest motherfucker alive. Stiles honestly didn’t know which. The snow had piled up and once Stiles squinted around, he saw that he was not on a tree like he had thought, but a railing made of logs.
His body was almost starting to warm up. Stiles felt panic dimly, as though far away, and knew that there was something about that that he was forgetting. Some stubborn spark of survival made him stagger to his feet in the swirling snow, trying not to jostle his shoulder too much. His head spun crazily, but Stiles thought he could see some sort of structure not too far off. He squinted into the swirling snow and started towards it, forcing himself to keep moving.
He walked for forty steps, then sixty. At ninety he realized that he wasn’t walking on land anymore; he had somehow found the stream again. Only. . . he must be in a much larger section of it, because Stiles couldn't see a snow bank on either side, as he had done previously. Well, that didn’t matter. If he was on the stream again, then he was close to Derek. Maybe Derek wouldn’t be too mad at him, and would let him curl up with him under the blankets. Both his wolf form and his Beta form put out so much heat. Stiles yawned, staggering hard enough against a gust of wind to go to his knees. The ice was stunningly cold against his bare hands.
He could barely see.
Stiles squinted again, and got to his feet, managing to take a few more steps, despite his exhaustion and the ringing in his ears.
The cracking sound made Stiles freeze, a sudden and shocking clarity clearing the cobwebs out from his head. He was on a lake. A frozen over lake. Well, a mostly frozen over lake. The sound he heard was the ice cracking under his weight.
Whatever luck he had had definitely ran out.
He tried to take a step backwards, but the ice cracked again, this time louder. Stiles moved on instinct, easing himself down and backwards, trying to even out his weight. He rolled slightly, moving as carefully as he could. The third crack was under his left foot, and the shock of the cold water as his leg fell into the lake caused Stiles to scream. He could barely hear himself over the next crack of ice.
“Stiles? Stiles ?”
Stiles wasn’t sure if he was hallucinating again, but realizing that it was Derek running towards him was both incredible and terrifying.
“Derek?” He had a moment to hold up his hand, to try to stop Derek’s headlong rush towards him, but it was no use. The ice cracked under him, sending Stiles plunging into the frigid water.
The last thing he heard was the growling howl of Derek, screaming his name.
Okay so a couple of notes for this chapter.
I know... having everything be snow, snow snow is annoying, but that's part of the game. You can be perfectly hunky dory one second and the next second attacked by a bear, save yourself from that, and fall off the side of the mountain. (okay, okay I did that once. #stillbitter. So I while plot wise, it seems very deux ex machina... yeah it is. I know. Bear with me. :)
Sorry for the cliff hanger. I do it because I love you.
(OH and I realized I did a dumb. I've been calling the half man half wolf form "Alpha" but it's technically Derek's Beta form, although in this story, he's an Alpha. (Ignore that bullshit of S3b. IT NEVER HAPPENED.)
Sorry for the wait! Hope you like this chapter. :) Some slight TW in the end notes for what happened in the previous chapter.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Derek knew, probably better than most, what Wolvesbane poisoning felt like. Wolves couldn't get hungover of course, but Derek imagined it felt a lot like this: heavy limbs, headache, lethargy. There was an acrid, heavy bite in his throat. And for him, everything tasted like anise-flavored burnt Fritos.
When he woke up, it was all at once. Derek snarled at nothing with every sense dulled, then all at once overwhelmed. The burnt Frito taste in his mouth immediately made him nauseous, but when he turned his head he froze in shock.
His scent was saturated throughout the small shelter, and as he swung his legs to the floor, Derek sucked in another greedy breath. Stiles’ spicy sweet scent practically wafted off the pillow, reminding Derek of the kid in the Peanut cartoons, and he breathed in, feeling a little drunk. The scent was equally strong on the blankets and sleeping bag on which he’d woken up. There was another scent that mixed with it, and that made the wolf in Derek’s chest pace and rise up with a satisfied rumble, but when Derek realized what it was he froze again, heart thundering in his chest with something very close to panic.
His and Stiles’ come, musky and heavy in the confined air.
“What the fuck?”
Derek both wanted to scramble away from the bed and press his face into the covers and breathe it in, but the horrified shock was sharp, followed by the sick slide of shame. Had he. . .. had they . . .
Well, very clearly, someone had. Two someones.
He blinked, trying to remember. Derek couldn’t shake the sick feeling. He didn’t like that he couldn’t remember everything in detail and forced himself to go through it all. It was a trick Laura had made him do when the anxiety and fear got too bad, and Derek found himself doing it indiscriminately whenever he needed to calm himself down.
He knew they were on Great Bear Island. He remembered the pants-shittingly terrifying panic of his little plane bucking in the air, then stalling with a shudder as the electrical failed. There was something else- something. . .. no. He lost it. Derek tried to shake the feeling of almost remembering something important, but the memory fizzled away. His mom, who had for some reason liked the Harry Potter books more than all of her kids put together, used to say it was because Derek had lost his Rememberall, but Derek couldn’t shake the feeling that whatever he had forgotten was important- elusive and out of reach.
Derek forced himself to his feet. His senses told him that he was alone; the familiar thumpthump of Stiles’ heartbeat was nowhere close. And that? That was even more terrifying than realizing his plane had been dead in the air.
He suddenly winced in shame, remembering.
The litany of ways he’d failed his pack crowded his head for a moment. He’d overheard Stiles once call him a ‘failwolf’ to Isaac. It hadn’t been meant as something cruel. Stiles had said it jokingly, in much the same way that he called him Sourwolf when Derek got too grumpy. Failwolf seemed to fit. He’d fucked up in so many ways, with so many cowardly, dickish moves, that Derek felt incredibly lucky that any of his pack had bothered to stay after Stiles, then Lydia and Jackson had all left. Erica, Isaac, Boyd, Scott, and Allison might not have been much, but Derek appreciated their loyalty if nothing else.
If his pack knew that he’d lost Stiles. . . especially after just recently getting him back?
They would murder him in his fucking sleep.
None of them had really blamed Stiles for leaving. And, Derek knew they’d all gone out of their way to keep in touch with their Spark. It hadn’t been all that long ago that his already splintered pack had been allowed to break. Derek could never, would never forget that it was his ineptitude that had resulted in Stiles “death” and subsequent possession by the Nogitsune.
Derek looked blindly at the room again, thinking. The intoxicating StilesandDerek scent was something that Derek had never smelled before, but Derek knew that he’d go out of his way to smell that again. It seemed impossible that Derek and Stiles had had sex, but the sensory evidence was undeniable. He and Stiles had---
Oh God!. Derek had no memory of anything. If he had done something to Stiles. . . and that was the reason Stiles had left. . .
Panic squirmed low in his gut, and Derek jumped to his feet, pacing around the small space, then forced himself to think. It was only after a few minutes that he realized that there was no overscent of fear or pain. Derek’s panic receded, but just lightly.
Okay, so first. Plane crash. Great Bear. Wolvesbane. He’d been out of it long enough that he’d instinctively chosen to use only his wolf and beta form. Derek had no idea why he didn’t remember from point A to point B, but it was a great, frothing mass of mass confusion. The wolvesbane was a good enough place to start as any. Unfortunately, Derek was all too familiar with this lethargic, stuffed up feeling. Kate had used it to keep Derek sluggish and confused. 8 years ago he’d curled in that fucking bed, burrowed into the warmth and fake comfort Kate had gone out of her way to provide. The anise-burnt Fritos had been bad, but comparing then to now was like comparing a firecracker in a bathroom to a live shootout ten feet in front of him.
Okay, so fact. He’d been given enough wolvesbane that he’d actually lost time.
Fact. Stiles was missing, but he’d spent some time in the cabin with Derek, who’d either been in his beta or wolf form for the majority of that time.
Given their reasons for being here on Great Bear in the first place, it was hard to think that the two weren’t related, somehow.
Derek breathed deeply and walked to the door to open it, desperate to see if his senses were at least giving him the right information. Derek could barely see out of the swirling snow. The cabin was hardly weather or sound proof, but the sound of the wind had been so constant that Derek hadn’t even realized how loud it actually was. For the first time, Derek realized that he was wearing only jeans and his long-sleeved Henley and woolen fisherman sweater he’d flown out in.
A sudden spike of shame made Derek want to whine a bit in the back of his throat. He felt sick when he remembered that Stiles had at one point asked for Derek’s warmer parka. Derek had been petty and shitty, and had refused, despite the fact that he didn’t need the fucking thing. Hell, he only wore it because in these parts, people liked to keep to themselves, but they sure as shit would have asked questions if he turned up without a coat in the dead of winter.
Now, Stiles was without proper clothes, god knew where, possibly hurt, and most definitely alone.
. . . all because Derek was a dick.
Derek sucked in a slow breath, trying to scent the air for any trace of Stiles. He caught a whiff of rabbit, and some of a woodfire that had burnt down to embers, buried under the snow. So, for whatever reason, Stiles had stayed in the cabin for one, possibly two nights. He went back inside to shove his feet in his boots, and went outside to investigate further.
If he’d woken up with his clothes, that meant one of three things. Either he’d shifted in the cabin, which didn’t seem right. Derek couldn’t remember specifics, but he did get fuzzy impressions of snow and smoke. He remembered the plane crash, and Stiles flying through the air after the belt broke. So, Stiles had dressed him. . . or, he could have shifted, gone back to where he’d shifted and changed into his clothes, and then stumbled upon the cabin, but Derek thought that sounded a little too far-fetched, even with the wolvesbane poisoning him.
Derek could smell his own, rank, panic.
He couldn’t waste anymore time. Derek had to go find Stiles. Derek frowned at the realization that there had been three. . . no. Four wolves near the cabin’s entrance, but the rancid scent of their blood turned his stomach. The only thing that kept Derek from wolfing out then and there was the realization that the Stiles smells were much more recent than the wolves smell.
Derek set off to follow the train, but even for him, the storm was difficult to maneuver through. Weres didn’t get cold as humans did, but even they could freeze to death. Derek had to find Stiles, but if he didn’t find some kind of clothing, he’d not be able to help Stiles at all.
There was a small frozen over stream running perpendicular to the small cabin, with a larger area in front of him, behind the stream. Stiles’ scent went in two directions, and after a bit of deliberation, Stiles went straight. Stiles must have come into the cabin from one direction, and walked out from another.
Shit. Stiles could have been wandering out here for hours. Derek set off towards the stronger of the two scents, the one that smelled the most recent.
The landscape, even through the swirling snow, was breathtaking. Derek’s careful gaze caught the broken “Bear Campground” sign, and he could see that the land leveled out for a few feet in every direction; this must have been a fairly popular campground back in the day if the allotted space was any indication. Now though, Derek could see through the snow that there were several snow-covered concrete areas, and some snow covered lumps that must have been fire pits or grills. After the flat, paved area that once held campers or tents, the area sloped dramatically, and Derek frowned, sniffing at the air again for some trace of Stiles’ scent. Here, Derek saw the first actual sign of Stiles. It was easy enough to see what must have happened: the broken rail and messed-up snow told its own tale.
Derek growled and leapt over the broken rail, running carefully down the slope of the mountain. He saw several areas where it looked as though Stiles had bounced and the ground cover was saturated in Stiles’ scent. Derek was too panicked to worry about the biting cold, or the snow still swirling in the blizzard-worthy winds. Stiles had nothing to protect him, and had fallen, and could be hurt and---
Derek almost tripped when he caught the familiar sharp-spicy sweet scent. The snow was impossible to see through, and Derek only realized he was on ice when the texture of the snow beneath his boots changed.
“Stiles! Stiles !”
He wasn’t even sure if Stiles could even hear him over the sound of the wind. It was a constant roar, confusing and unending. Derek knew he was moving quickly, but he had a bead on Stiles and he refused to let anything distract him. Ah! A shape, moving away from him, further out onto the ice. . . “ Stiles !”
He ran hard, only to freeze, windmilling his arms when he heard the lake surface crack. With his hearing, Derek could easily hear the rabbit quick thumpthumpthump of Stiles’ heartrate pick up as the figure in front of him slowly moved, attempting to redistribute his body weight so that he wouldn’t fall through. Derek knew what was going to happen a split-second before it did. The crack was monstrous, and Stiles was helpless in its wake. Derek thought he bellowed something, thought he heard Stiles say his name before the human fell through the cracked ice into the freezing water. Derek forgot caution, forgot that the ice was unstable. He felt like he was seeing events unfold in slow motion: Stiles’ temple whipping against the cracked ice, then him falling without a splash through the ice, bumping up against the underside of the surface about three feet from where he started.
Derek howled , leaping again towards the hole in the ice, covering the few feet in seconds. He could see the lump of Stiles' body and without thinking of the repercussions, drove his clawed fist through the ice, grabbing a hold of Stiles’ jacket and then using his other clawed hand to bust up the rest of the ice around where Stiles had slipped under the surface to pull him up and through. Derek could hear the cracks and groans as the ice shifted, and as much as he wanted to check on Stiles-- his heartbeat was slow, sluggish, his breathing even slower-- Derek’s instincts had him swinging Stiles’ body into his arms and running hell bent for leather towards the opposite side of the lake, the cracking and groaning behind him loud and terrifying.
The swirling snow and screaming wind made it difficult to see, but Derek had reflexes and he used them to make sure he could get Stiles someplace warm. As he ran, Derek’s ears picked up the sound of wood creaking nearby. With as fast as he was moving, he could still discern the sound was coming from a higher elevation than where he currently was, and that had to be safer. Maybe he could burn the wood, find some kind of protection to make a fire. Fortunately for them both, it was child’s play to follow the sound. There were rocks on either side of him and the crunch of snow under his feet. Derek slowed, then listened hard, for anything. He didn’t care for the even slower sound of Stiles’ heartbeat, and the only reason Derek wasn’t completely losing his shit was because Stiles needed him. But it was clear that hypothermia had started to settle into Stiles’ fragile human state..
Derek squinted and could smell the deer trail well enough, although there hadn’t been any game on the trail in awhile. It still inclined, and to Derek’s mind, that was all to the better. He’d rather be up at the top of an easily defensible position, than down on the ice, waiting for it to sweep away or drown Stiles. Either the storm had slackened, or the rock formation on either side of the land provided adequate cover, but the wind abated slightly. He could see sticks and limbs from the storm, and rising up almost out of nothing was the knocking sound he’d heard. Had the storm not been so strong, it might not have knocked the branch of the cedar into the wooden trim.
Derek moved quickly, and saw that there was a door to his left. He opened it and walked through, still clutching Stiles’ almost frozen body to him. Derek glanced around in the dark. He could see clearly that this door lead to a kitchen. The room was gloomy even to Derek’s enhanced eyesight, but he could see a stove and a fridge.
Later. All that could wait until later.
He listened for another heartbeat, relieved that he heard nothing. If it was empty, Derek would use what he needed to get Stiles safe. If it was occupied, Derek would apologize, but he was still going to use what supplies he needed. The temperature in the cabin wasn’t warm- but it definitely warmer than the temperature outside. Derek moved through the dark kitchen into what looked to be a living room, his nostrils flaring at the scent of old woodsmoke, mothballs, and dust, and wasted no time in setting Stiles on the couch. Derek turned to the fireplace and searched for any supplies.
Derek realized his hands were shaking when he set the firelog near the hearth, and saw the box of wooden matches in the fire bucket off to the side. Whoever lived here already kept woodshavings at the bottom of the bucket, and Derek started a fire. He built it up carefully, using all the kindling he could find. Some of the sticks were pretty large, but they caught quickly. As an afterthought, Derek checked the flue, and then pushed back onto his feet.
The cabin wasn’t large by any stretch of the imagination, but it was much larger than the one-room shelter he’d woken up in. Derek walked quickly through the living room into a bedroom. He didn’t really have time to explore, but he did snap the blanket off the bed, sneezing once at the plume of dust that poofed off the blanket.
Whoever this cabin belonged to hadn’t been here in awhile.
Derek stuck his nose into the bathroom to look for a few towels, but only found one. Even with as quickly as he had been moving, Stiles had still been too cold for too long. Derek hustled back to the living room and sighed at the already warmer temperature as the blazing fire battled back the ambient temperature of the small room. He set the firelog and what looked like a piece of cedar in the fireplace, arranged carefully so that neither of the bigger logs would smother his cheerful little fire. Derek dropped the towel and blanket near the hearth, and turned to Stiles.
The clothes crackled with ice as he stripped Stiles down to his skin. Derek was alarmed at the slightly bluish tint to his lips. He had to get him warm, and get him warm fast. He tossed aside his coat, Stiles’ clothes, and a backpack, and began vigorously towel drying Stiles hair and body. There was ice in the strands of hair. Derek tried to move faster, careful not to hurt him, but rubbing the skin of Stiles’ body as much as he dared to stimulate some sort of heat.
Derek stood, stripped down to his skin, kicking aside his clothes and boots, and pulled Stiles into his arms again. Derek arranged himself so that he was facing the fire, with Stiles in his lap getting the brunt of the heat, and cocooned them in the heavy blanket. Stiles was just as lean and lanky as he’d been in high school, so it took some arranging to get Derek wrapped around Stiles’ body to share his higher-than-human body heat and manage to get all of Stiles under the dust blanket. . . but he managed.
Stiles made a small sound, and Derek was so relieved to hear it that he felt his body sag, the release of tension almost palpable. Stiles shivered violently, and Derek held him more tightly, listening to Stiles’ chest. Derek didn’t hear anything rattling, but he also didn’t know what pneumonia sounded like. Maybe they’d gotten lucky. Maybe Derek had gotten to Stiles in time. With Stiles, one never knew.
The sharp, coppery scent of blood made Derek’s heart stop beating for the split-second it took for him to freeze in shock. He clutched Stiles to him in shocked instinct, then pulled away to look at his head. How had he forgotten that Stiles had hit the crust of the ice? Derek berated himself as he pulled the hair away to see the damage. It was bleeding slowly, but heavily as Stiles’ body warmed more thoroughly. Derek needed supplies, and he needed them quickly. He reached over to his clothes and grabbed his t-shirt. It wasn’t clean, but it was drier than Stiles’ clothes, and would do for a few minutes while he found a bandage. Derek folded it and pressed it gently against Stiles’ temple, arranging Stiles on the floor under the blanket so his head applied the pressure.
Derek started to walk towards the small bathroom, but instead swiped a stick and made a half-assed torch. Maybe it was a bit pathetic, but he wanted the comfort of the light. He didn’t think that he’d make a mistake and miss something with his werewolf eyesite, but he wasn’t willing to take a chance.
Derek smelled water in the toilet tank and frowned. He had a fire; he could melt snow. He supposed he could use it if they needed to, but he wasn’t quite that desperate. Yet. For some strange reason there was an unused flare in the middle of the shower. Derek saw a newspaper near the toilet, and a pair of socks on the other side of the tub. Those weren’t particularly clean, but they looked to be made of a thick wool, which could come in handy. There wasn’t anything in the medicine cabinet, but a small first aid kit on the wall held what looked to be a silver emergency blanket folded up into a tiny square, four matches in a tiny waterproof plastic container, and a half-full bottle of antiseptic.
Derek sighed, grateful. The bedroom, now that he stopped to really look, bore signs of some kind of earthquake. Heavy furniture was knocked around, and Derek frowned, suddenly worried. He listened for anything that sounded off- he’d be able to hear water under a cracked foundation for instance- but nothing jumped out at him. He couldn’t be sure of course without ripping up the floorboards, but Derek wasn’t quite at that level yet. For now, this worked. He righted the heavy cabinet near the bathroom, and opened it to find a t-shirt and a pair of long-john underwear hanging up inside.
“Good enough,” he whispered. Hearing his own voice shocked him, and Derek moved quickly back to Stiles, figuring he could search the rest of the place later. He tossed the makeshift torch into the fireplace, then dropped the items near where he’d left the now wet towel and knelt by Stiles’ body.
Derek only realized he was making a low whining sound when he saw Stiles twitch towards him, one hand flailing towards Derek even in his unconscious state. The move was just so Stiles that Derek immediately breathed a little easier as he knelt and cleaned the shallow but jagged scrape on Stiles’ temple. The fact that the blood had frozen in the short time- maybe ten minutes, fifteen at the most- that it had taken Derek to run across the lake spoke to the danger of the wind chill and frozen temperatures outside.
He bandaged Stiles’ wound by ripping the thankfully clean tshirt into strips, feeling horrendously out of practice at caring for a human. Not that he’d ever cared for Stiles like this. Stiles continued to shiver for several minutes until Derek wrapped him back up in his body and the blanket.
An hour passed before Stiles stopped shivering. Derek rearranged Stiles so that he could check the fire, settling him on the hearth, burrowed in both the heavy blanket from the bed and the emergency blanket. Stiles’ hair had dried to floofy curls, and Derek couldn’t help but notice the dark spread of lashes on Stiles’ cheeks. He looked peaceful in a way that Stiles didn’t often look while awake.
Feeling a little uncomfortable, Derek turned away.
In the bedroom, Derek found a sweatshirt, a can of something called Summit cola, and what looked like a water bottle, half-filled. He also found a half-empty bottle of antibiotics, made out to a ‘Jonas Leifekson’. The kitchen didn’t have much; a few cans of pork and beans, some lantern fuel, and a box of crackers. In the living room, he found a small sewing kit and a large basin that was likely used as a washbasin. He filled it with snow and set it on the hearth to melt.
There were no phones, and while the place was wired for electric and water, neither worked. They had crashed in the middle of goddamn nowhere, that was for sure.
Derek frowned. He wasn’t too worried. The storm sounded bad enough that he didn’t particularly want to be outside in it, and in a bit he would go out and get some more wood. They had a little bit of food, and Derek knew he could hunt for meat if it came down to it.
Derek took a moment to neaten up their area. He spread the towel, his, and Stiles’ clothes over the couches,and took the cushions to make a more comfortable nest in front of the fire. Derek knew damn well that he could just move the couch closer and there would be no reason to hold Stiles as he’d been doing, but it was easy enough to ignore that little fact. Maybe it was selfish, but being close to Stiles like this calmed something in him that Derek hadn’t even realized needed calming.
Derek sighed, as he leaned over Stiles’ prone form to brush a curl of Stiles’ hair off of his forehead.
The sleepy smile made something turn over in Derek’s chest and he stared down at Stiles in shock. Derek’s heartrate increased, but Stiles just shifted, passing into true sleep. Slowly, Derek eased himself down by Stiles, arranging him so that Stiles’ head was pillowed on his arm, big spoon to Stiles’ little spoon.
The feeling he recognized. It was the same feeling that Derek had felt when Stiles was in high school, hastily pushed away and ignored, masked as indifference or outright anger. It was the same feeling Derek had felt when the Nogitsune-free Stiles had first looked up at Derek through eyes too wide in Stiles’ pale, shocky face, one tear speaking for the loss and relief of being alone in his own head again. It was the same feeling that had let Derek be talked into this crazy scheme, on some trumped-up excuse to expand his little bush service into something further north than Derek usually ventured, going out of his way on an errand for a man he hadn’t seen in years. Derek swallowed heavily and listened to the steady heartbeat next to him, comforted and lulled into finally resting.
Derek wakes up, disoriented and smells the fact that he and Stiles have both come. He has no idea what happened, and he panics, assuming the worst.
Quick note on the setting: My headcannon is that the plane crashes after the ravine that's between Mystery Lake and the Coastal Highway. (Not sure if I mentioned that before.) The first tiny cabin is the one you find just after the bridge heading towards the lake, and the second is the cabin on Jackrabbit Island. (The ice crack is by the fishing hut- also the first place I found that that hey! Ice can crack and it's no bueno in the game.) The items aren't exactly right and have been tweaked for the story.
Thanks again for reading this! Hopefully RL will chill the frak out so that I can write again, and updates will be back to once a week.
TW for mentions of sickness and flu-like symptoms.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
He was swimming in the ocean.
Seaweed and other bracken slid against his legs. The water was bitterly cold, and smelled strongly of fish.
Stiles swam for what felt like miles. The inky night made it almost impossible to tell where the water ended and the sky began, but Stiles knew that he couldn’t give up.
Once, something grabbed his leg, causing him to scream. The shock of being pulled underwater caused Stiles to gasp, and his lungs felt heavy with lack of oxygen. It was impossible to see in the water, and the salt burned his eyes as he fought off his unseen attacker. Stiles thought he saw a glimpse of familiar bandages, and even the idea that he could be down here with the Nogitsune terrified him into fighting off his unseen attacker.
Stiles surfaced, with a gasp. The air here was warm, and strangely comforting. Stiles took a moment to breathe, but the idea of being pulled under again was so terrifying that he couldn’t help but force himself to swim.
“Just. . . keep. . . swimming. . .”
It was so difficult. He was tired, and so thirsty. It was hours, or years, or millennia before Stiles realized that there was someone swimming behind him. Startled, afraid, Stiles jerked around to see Derek’s profile, obvious even in the dim luminescence of the stars. The feeling of comfort in knowing that he wasn’t alone was enormous; had Stiles been on land his knees would have sagged with relief. The bulk of Derek’s larger body almost seemed to make the water around Stiles warmer, and Stiles swam with new energy, taking solace in the company.
Stiles woke all at once, sitting up with his heart pounding in his chest, the faint memory of him and Derek and comfort dissipating as he flailed. His arms and legs were buried in blankets, and it took some effort to wake up and disentangle himself. Stiles had time to look around-- there was a blazing fire not too far away, and a mattress, and several blankets on the mattress- before there was a crash from outside.
The door opened, letting in a frigid gust of air, and Derek fell through in a show of what was for him an unnatural lack of grace. He almost seemed to trip over his own two feet, and the logs he had been carrying fell to the ground with a clatter.
It was too bizarre. Panicked, Stiles looked at his fingers, counting to himself desperately in the way he’d done before, whenever he wasn’t sure if he was dreaming or not. One.Two.Three.Four.Five.Six.Seven.Eight.Nine.Ten.
“ Stiles ?”
Stiles winced when the door slammed shut, realizing all at once that his head and chest felt tight. He tried to respond, but started coughing instead, deep, wracking coughs that made him feel dizzy.
“Shit.” Derek crossed quickly to the makeshift little nest in front of the fire and supported Stiles as he coughed. It felt like Stiles’ throat was lined with sandpaper, but even after coughing his lungs still felt tight.
“Wh--what?” Stiles gasped, in between coughs.
“Don’t try to talk. This is the third time you’ve woken up. You’re sick, Stiles. We crashed, I found you, you went under the ice and have been sleeping off and on for three days. I think you have a type of pneumonia or bronchitis from the lake water and being so cold.” Derek moved so that Stiles was sitting up, leaning against Derek’s body. Stiles shivered at the touch of the cold clothes against his naked skin, and Derek cursed under his breath before moving away, yanking everything off, and moving back to support Stiles as he tried to sit up.
Stiles, for once, didn’t know what to say. Where to begin. He wasn’t sure that this was real, even after counting. Stiles looked down at his hands, and Derek pulled his arms tighter around Stiles’ body, then pinched him.
Stiles jumped, then had to fight off a small feeling of contentment as he realized why Derek had pinched him. “You uh. You weren’t there when we realized that the dreams-- uh. I can feel pain in the dreams, so pinching me doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It’s. . . it’s my fingers.”
Derek’s frown was obvious, even though Stiles couldn’t see him. The entire air around him felt like he was frowning. “Your fingers?”
“Yeah. Back-- then, I had.” Stiles shut his eyes as a flood of memories made him swallow hard, throat made even tighter with with guilt. “Six. Six fingers.” He held up his hand, surprised at how whispery his voice sounded, stretching out his fingers and counting.
Derek inhaled sharply. They were quiet for a few minutes. Eventually, Derek moved away, and Stiles struggled to prop himself up against what looked to be couch cushions. He watched as Derek tossed the heavy jacket over the wooden skeleton of the couch, and put on a shirt and plaid shirt, neither of which were his if the way they stretched over the musculature of his chest was any indication.
“I’m sorry for getting you into this.” Stiles watched as Derek froze, then turned to look down at him. “For blackmailing you. It was a shitty thing to do, and I’m really sorry, man.”
“Yeah,” he said shortly.
Stiles wanted to cringe, but was also afraid to move too much. He felt hot, and looked around for water. He made a movement to reach for the large water bottle to his left, and Derek practically sprang forward to help Stiles drink it.
He was starting to get a little concerned. He felt weak, and exhausted, but there was so much to tell Derek. Stiles bit his lip. “I fell through the plane windshield. It’s totaled, and somehow with your incredibly shitty luck, you managed to find wolvesbane. But, like, not a little bit of wolvesbane, but a whole fuckin’ field of it. The plane was on fire, and it was enough to melt the snow around it, and torch the plants. I uh. I fell. Down into a ravine. Took me a bit, but I managed to get back up, but the plane was empty.”
“Yeah. I found you, but you were. Uh. Different. “You” weren’t home. The Northern Lights were like, unbelievable. I’ve always wanted to see them, but the shit was just too weird. They made a sound. A ringing. . .” Stiles trailed off, still a bit weirded out by the memory. “ I don’t know if it was that or if the smoke made you higher than a kite, but you were gone, man. Feral. There was a tiny cabin, and--”
“Yeah. I woke up and you weren’t there.”
Stiles nodded, then immediately regretted it when his head swam.
“You.. you need to eat something, and go back to sleep. I can take some more of your pain, but it’s not doing anything to make you better. I can smell the sickness on you.”
Stiles was too exhausted to nod again. He opened his eyes and stared at Derek in front of him. He was holding out a small cup.
Stiles knew that Derek hadn’t had that before they talked, which meant he was losing time again. Dozing.
“Here. Drink this.”
‘This’ looked to be some sort of broth. It didn’t taste like very much of anything, but the heat of the liquid helped soothe his sore throat. Stiles felt sleepy, and awkwardly embarrassed when he realized that he needed Derek to help him to the bathroom.
Stiles swallowed hard at the realization that Derek was awake, and seemed to have all his memory. The utter, complete relief at having Derek be okay- at having him know who he was. . . Stiles felt his throat tighten. He cleared his throat, then winced at the sensation.
Stiles didn’t remember the specifics of how he got back to the little nest of blankets, but when he fell back asleep, Derek’s warm, solid body was wrapped around him.
Stiles’ dreams were strange and fragmented. Once, he remembered vomiting when Derek tried to get him to take some sort of medicine, and that his nose had started bleeding from coughing so hard. Stiles remembered Derek patiently cleaning him up, and tucking him in, and then nothing as he slept.
He was just so hot.
Stiles whimpered, cringing away from the cold thing on his face. Stiles caught a glimpse of green eyes alight with worry before he buried his face into the makeshift pillow. He was burning up. Someone was whispering something, the tone low and concerned but Stiles passed back out before he could take in what was said.
The sound woke him again. Stiles felt strangely hallowed out, almost light-headed as he slowly blinked awake. From the window in the cabin’s living room, he could see the blues and greens and pinks of the Lights as they swirled in the night sky.
Derek, in his wolf form, was curled up by his side.
Stiles was thirsty, and he had to pee again, but he lay there for a moment, trying to take stock. He still felt sick, but there was nothing of the heavy feeling in his lungs that he remembered from before. He felt. . . pretty good, given what he remembered from before. Stiles sat up and cautiously got to his feet. He staggered once, but caught himself against the bedroom wall as he made his careful way to the bathroom.
Without running water it was pretty gnarly, but given that he wasn’t about to go take a piss outside in that wind, he’d make do.
The faint glow of the aurora, and the weird ringing sound seemed almost to permeate everything. As before, Stiles could almost feel the ringing sound, and as he made his way back to the living room, he noticed that Derek had been busy while he was out.
Everything usable had been broken down.
The room wasn’t too large, situated in a square shape, with two interior doors on two walls, the outside door and window on one of the walls, and the fireplace sharing space with the door to the bedroom. The wall without a door or window had a large pile of firewood broken and stacked into neat little piles. Derek had put a bucket of water, two cans of accelerant, and two boxes of wooden matches in front of them.
Stiles looked down at himself and realized that he was still naked, and blushed, looking towards Derek. The wolf opened one eye and went back to sleep, uncaring of Stiles’ embarrassment.
There was a small metal shelf by the door he’d not gone through, and stacked on it were a number of items. Stiles saw two piles of clothes, and draped over a large chair were his and Derek’s jackets. Stiles reached towards his clothes and dressed himself. The air in the small room wasn’t as cold as he remembered from being outside, but it still wasn’t warm . Stiles sighed as he pulled on socks, two pairs of longjohns, his cargo pants, a tshirt, and a sweatshirt. His old Beacon Hills lacrosse hoodie was folded up, and Stiles put it on with a small smile.
His and Derek’s boots were on the floor.
There were a number of items, but Stiles couldn’t help but gasp when he realized that sitting dead center, and held down with a jar of chocolate pudding, was a note.
I can feel the compulsion to turn. It’s hard to concentrate and write this, but I don’t want you to worry. You have food, water, and firewood for several days. DO NOT LEAVE THE FUCKING CABIN . I scavenged a few places and found some antibiotics. They worked, but only take a half a pill. You have three left. I’ve been giving you one a day. We’ll talk when I’m back to me again.
Stiles looked at the small bottle of antibiotics, and now some of the fuzzy memories made sense. The original prescription had worn out, so Stiles couldn’t see who they’d been for or the expiration date. Derek had probably had to do a few hit or miss trials before he found something that worked. Stiles bit his lip. He remembered being sick, and Derek’s body wrapped around him as he shivered, but most of the past days were a loss.
The idea of Derek providing for him made things Stiles had worked hard to ignore come flooding back. He looked back at the shelf and saw some saltines, several dented cans, a can opener, his backpack, and Derek’s clothes. There were four books and a stack of old notebooks.
The fire crackled cheerfully, and Stiles made his way back to the little nest of blankets. Derek seemed perfectly content to lay curled up there. Stiles could see a small pot of something covered on the hearth, and what looked like a large washtub full of water.
The idea of being clean was like some kind of siren’s song, but Stiles didn’t think he was quite up to it. Sure, he felt better, but he wasn’t all the way well. Stiles used the blanket to pull off the cast iron lid, and saw what looked to be a thin soup with chunks of meat and onion floating in it. Stiles’ mouth immediately started to water. Derek had even left him a mug and a spoon next to it.
Stiles sighed and arranged himself so that he was sitting cross-legged. His hands trembled a little as he served himself some of the soup, and he burned the roof of his mouth as he ate it too fast, but the meal warmed his belly enough that he felt indescribably content as he finished and curled back down under the covers.
“You’re gonna stay with me, aren’t ya, big guy?” Stiles whispered. The wolf gave no sign that he understood, but he allowed Stiles to tentatively pet its head, and down his back.
Stiles fell asleep with a tiny smile on his face.
Next chapter--- actual plot! \o/
Very sorry for the delay. :) Hope it was worth it!
Stiles woke up slowly, in increments. He was aware that he was warm, and comfortable. The fire had burned to embers, and daylight illuminated the cabin enough that Stiles could see the shadowy interior. Stiles heard a low sound behind him and froze. He sucked in a sharp breath and realized that he was literally buried in Derek’s scent. Derek was behind him, his legs tangled with Stiles’. Derek’s arms were wrapped snugly around Stiles, as though even in sleep, he was trying to keep Stiles safe.
Derek’s chin was hooked over Stiles’ shoulder, his beard scraping slightly against Stiles’ stubble. He could heart Derek’s deep, measured breathing as he slept.
Stiles warred briefly with himself before sleepily deciding ‘fuck it’, and relaxing back into Derek’s body with a contented sigh.
“You don’t smell sick anymore.”
Stiles’ eyes flew open. He tried to freeze in place, but Derek wouldn’t let him, nuzzling against the back of Stiles’ neck and inhaling deeply. His sigh echoed Stiles’ own, and it made the beginnings of a smile pull at Stiles’ face. “I don’t smell any pain.”
Stiles took stock. “I feel like me again.”
“Well, you had some pretty terrible bruising, a wound in your hand, a cut on your temple from the ice, hypothermia, pneumonia- or a cold so bad that it may as well have been, and you’d managed to dislocate your shoulder when you fell in the snow.”
His voice was low, and Stiles fought a shiver. He had a bizarre need to count his fingers.
“And no, this is not a dream.” Derek pulled away and rolled to his back, stretching. He got up from the blankets and walked naked outside, shutting the door firmly behind him.
Stiles immediately flailed, kicking off the blankets and sitting up. He was only wearing about half the clothes he remembered wearing and immediately shivered. He also winced, realizing just how badly he smelled.
“Oh ugh, no wonder he ran outside.”
“Nah. I just had to pee.” Derek’s voice came faintly from outside. Stiles winced again and tried not to feel jealous that the werewolf was outside, naked, while Stiles felt cold just from the ambient temperature of the cabin.
Stiles pulled on a few more layers and waited patiently until Derek came back in. Stiles managed to avoid looking at him and scuttled outside, feeling massively awkward. He remembered that at one point- yesterday or the day before- Stiles had used some of the melted snow to flush the toilets, but true to form, he didn’t remember this until he was already done.
Stiles sighed, squinting. It wasn’t the first time he’d looked out at the landscape, but it was the first time that he hadn’t felt so alone. Snow, of course. Endless, endless snow. He could see what seemed like an endless expanse of lake, with little fishing huts periodically dotting the surface. On the other side of the lake, he could see what looked faintly like power cords, but the idea of getting there was just too exhausting to contemplate. He inhaled deeply. The air was cold enough that the wet parts of his face- his eyes, the inside of his nose, burned. With a shrug, Stiles turned and went back inside.
Derek was staring at the now roaring fire with his hands on his hips, lost in thought. He was (thankfully) dressed, but his feet were bare which Stiles couldn’t help but find weird.
“I found a few tubs for water if you want to wash up. It will probably take a good two hours to melt that much snow.”
Stiles looked at the remains of the food, thinking. “Yeah but with it being so cold, it would then take a good day or so to dry what we wash.” Now that Derek was awake, and himself, it wasn’t gonna be easy to keep him fed.
“If you’re worried about food, don’t be. I can easily catch anything we need.”
Stiles smiled, remembering how Derek had brought him rabbits. “Well, in that case, that sounds like the best idea. We can probably use the bathtub to hold the water.” He wrinkled his nose, trying to remember how dirty it was. He took off his jacket and boots, but kept on both pairs of socks, his jeans, and both the sweatshirt and the hoodie. He’d long ago explored the small cabin- it hadn’t taken very long since Derek had demolished everything they could burn or otherwise use and had moved it to the room with the fireplace. The tub wasn’t great , but since Stiles had found half a container of bleach under the kitchen cabinet, he knew that they wouldn’t catch anything. “Hey! It-- ooof .” Stiles turned around and right into Derek, who had followed him to the small bathroom on silent feet. Like always, Derek’s body was hard as a damn brick wall. To Stiles’ surprise, Derek took a step back, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly.
“Uh sorry- I. Uh, I’m having issues with. . . uh. I just need to see you.”
Stiles nodded absently. That made sense, given everything. Still- “Well, we should probably talk before something else fucked up happens.” Stiles brushed by him and back to the living room. Had it been his imagination, or had Derek winced at the word ‘talk?’ Stiles started to head towards the kitchen, but before he could, Derek pushed past him.
“I got it. You stay warm and eat something.”
Stiles raised an eyebrow. “I’m not that pathetic.”
Derek snorted. “No, you’re not, but the cold isn’t as bothersome to me, and you are human-frail and recently very sick. Just. . . “
But Stiles got it. He nodded once and went back to their little nest, straightening the blankets. The mattress was still pushed back, in case the fire sparked, but Stiles had left a lot of cans strewn all over the place. He busied himself with domestic tasks, while Derek brought some laundry powder, a brush, some dish soap, and carried most of their water to the tub, using a washtub that looked big enough for Stiles to sit in.
“The bleach- not much, maybe three drops or so per liter- will kill the bacteria in the water so that we don’t need to boil everything. Once we have the water, we can probably use the containers to actually wash the clothes.” Stiles stopped, thinking about how weird Derek’s sense of smell was. “Wait, will the bleach bother you?”
“I’ve used bleach before, Stiles.”
Ah. Back to grumpywolf. Well, at least that was familiar. Derek filled what he could with snow, and Stiles, mostly to be an ass, went purposefully outside and filled all the little cans he could with snow, placing them on the hearth next to the huge washtub of snow. Derek had been right though, and Stiles quickly grew both cold and tired, and huddled by the fire, watching the flickering flames while Derek got dressed, went outside, and putzed around the property.
Just that bit of activity made Stiles sleepy, so he took a nap, waking up a few times when Derek moved the melted snow to the tub, or put the newly-filled washtub of snow on the hearth to melt.
Finally, it seemed to occur to both of them that they’d stalled enough.
Derek came to the fireplace and spitted two rabbits over the fire, and Stiles smirked.
“What’s that for?”
“Oh, just you did that before. Guess you really like rabbits.”
Derek shrugged with one shoulder and sat down.
“I think we need--.”
They eyed each other. Derek gestured to Stiles, who nodded. “What do you remember from being feral?”
“I’m feral?” Derek sounded shocked. “I--shit. I don’t know. Impressions, mostly. Nothing concrete. I just know that there’s this ringing sound that pulls me, like the moon.”
Stiles’ mouth dropped open. “Shit! When is the full moon?! Wait- how long was I sick? How long since you got me out of the ice?”
Derek’s held tilted as he thought. The smell of cooking meat started to permeate the small room. “I think it’s been. . . eleven days?” Derek counted on his fingers. “You were sick for sev-- no. Eight days, and out of it completely for two of those. I left you four days worth of antibiotics, so assuming you followed directions, I was out of it for three days.” He counted again, then nodded. “Yeah. Eleven.”
“I left you on the afternoon of the fifth day to look for supplies, so we crashed here sixteen days ago.”
The silence stretched, filled the small room.
“We were due back after a week. Between your dad and my pack, I’m sure there’s been some sort of rescue--”
“I don’t think so. Derek, how many humans have you smelled? I mean, you said you’d ventured out to a few places. . .”
Stiles nodded. “And doesn’t that seem a bit weird?”
Derek thought for a moment, his brows narrowing. “Stiles, what happened? Why did you need to come here? Why here ? I mean, there has to be someone here, somewhere. On Great Bear, I mean. I was contracted to meet McKenzie at Jackrabbit Transport, and the supplies were all exported from the States.”
Stiles bit his lip. He knew Derek deserved an answer. On the plane, he’d been too pissed at being manipulated into coming to ask, and after the crash, they’d been so busy surviving that it hadn’t come up. Now, Stiles was nervous, and the explanation was overdue.
“Have you heard of Dr. Astrid Greenwood?”
Derek shook his head, once.
“She is a medical doctor, but she also is one of my teachers. She uh, she helped me get my shit together after I left Beacon Hills.”
Derek’s clear, green gaze zeroed in on Stiles. Stiles had not spoken at all about his time away from Beacon Hills, other than in general terms.
Stiles took a deep, shuddering breath.
“Astrid is also one of the most talented and powerful Sparks in probably the whole world. And she. . . she told me that it’s back.”
Derek’s voice was a bare whisper after he waited a beat. “It?”
Stiles shut his eyes, counting his fingers by wiggling his thumb then touching the tip of each finger to his thumb, Right hand, then left. Ten. Ten .
“The Nogitsune. And it’s pissed. ”