Derek’s not really sure when his reality became a sanctuary for Hellhounds in Hell, but he thinks maybe the fact that he was a werewolf when he was alive created some sort of unspoken solidarity between him and the hellish dogs.
He doesn’t know much of the legends and history behind the hellhounds, but he does know that they were created by ancient demons to serve as a herald of death and a protector to graveyard entrances and even the entrance of Hell itself. However, the ancient demons didn’t really care or think it through where the hellhounds would go when they weren’t on duty. Now, it’s Derek’s property. His property in Hell. Where he houses lonely hellhounds. What even is his afterlife?
Derek had too big of a (non-existing) heart to pass up enough hellhounds lounging around random areas in Hell that he invited one back to his property with the promise of uninterrupted sleep without demon-children pulling their ears or even just space from the bustle of demons racing around causing mischief. After the first time, every time Derek would go out to his yard he was surprised to see the number of lounging Hellhounds multiplying until he finally wasn’t surprised anymore and had taken to napping outside around them. He’s been known to be a pushover and invite a few inside to heal up after a particularly rough encounter with a demon or demon-hunting human.
And now? The fucking things are too loyal to leave. Derek’s not really complaining, though. His afterlife was getting pretty lonely anyways.
Derek had sworn himself to an eternity of solitude after getting his entire family killed by a group of rogue hunters. When he had first came to Hell, Derek had kind of assumed he was in for an eternity of torture by a demon that looked like Kate Argent or even Kate herself. He figured that being an accomplice (unknown and unwillingly, sure, but he was the one that was stupid enough to date a hunter) to the murder of his entire family would bring him to a pretty evil part of Hell.
Instead he was brought to the part of Hell that was…pleasant, for lack of a better word. Technically, he was even above the crossroads demons and any other demon that had to deal with humans as punishment, because he was left unbothered and unpunished in Hell. So he decided to punish himself, since the King of Hell wasn’t going to, and decided that he didn’t deserve an afterlife deserving of anything good.
The hellhounds probably technically fall under good, because he definitely enjoys their company, but none of them can talk to him and none of them are really there for any other reason than not having any other place to go.
He has a feeling Laura would probably call his place The Martyr Fortress of Solitude featuring Hellhounds. Derek misses Laura, misses his entire family, with each aching day. Sometimes he thinks the bone-deep aching of missing his family with each passing undead breath is his punishment.
Sometimes he still doesn’t think that’s enough of a punishment.
The Hellhounds come and go; to fulfill whatever duty they intend to carry out. Sometimes they’re gone for a few hours or a day. There was a time the largest one (Buttercup, Derek has started calling him in his head. He has a dumb made-up name for all of the regulars) was gone for almost a month before returning, exhausted, and slept for three days straight.
His favorite he has taken to call Laura (after his sister, no doubt in Heaven and judging all of Derek’s life and afterlife choices). She’s fiercely protective of Derek, and makes sure the new-coming or visiting hellhounds don’t try to harm Derek. Laura doesn’t leave Derek alone for longer than a few hours, always making sure to circle back home even if it is briefly between duties.
He’s outside today, attempting to brush knots out of Laura’s mangled fur. He doesn’t think she’s been brushed at all since being created, and seems to mostly enjoy it until Derek gets to a particular area and has to spend a few moments pulling and tugging the brush through the unknot it. The first time it happened, she actually turned her head and tried nipping at his fingers. Now she just grumbles and angrily squints her red eyes at him.
Derek says a quick, patronizing ‘poor baby’ to her before her and Derek both snap their eyes up at the sound of oncoming footsteps. While Derek did lose his ability to shift in the afterlife, he still kept all of his abilities and knows he can protect himself if he needs to.
The Prince of Hell. Stiles Stilinski is approaching his property.
He’s got long limbs. Long, long legs that seem to last forever. He’s got a mop of unruly brown hair and is muttering something to himself while running his left hand through his hair. The Prince of Hell is more handsome in person than he was expecting.
Laura is already crouched down with her hackles up in front of Derek. Buttercup and a few of the other regulars have jolted awake with their eyes locked on the approaching Prince, growls prevalent under their breaths. None of them have gotten up, but they are all tense and their muscles are set back like they will attack at a moments notice.
The stupid, loyal beasts. Would rather get themselves killed than let something happen to Derek.
“Fluffy!” Prince Stilinski calls, colliding with a hellhound that had slipped Derek’s notice. The hellhound jumps up, resting its enormous paws on the Prince’s shoulders. Prince Stilinski laughs, shouting out something that sounds like ”dude, gross! You smell!” when one of the three heads on the hellhound goes to lick his face.
Buttercup and the other ‘hounds have settled down, placing their heads back down on their paws. Derek notices that all of them still have their eyes open, keeping Prince Stilinski in their sights while he is still on their property.
Derek rests his hand between Laura’s shoulders, trying to get her to relax while Prince Stilinski is making his way over to Derek. It’s slow going, ‘Fluffy’ keeps running excited circles around the Prince while he tries to walk.
Derek finally gets a closer look at the Prince and ‘Fluffy’ and he can’t believe his afterlife right now. The Prince of Hell calls the Kind of Hell’s fucking hellhound Fluffy. Jesus Fucking Christ. Apparently the King of Hell’s hellhound, Cerberus, had made his way to Derek’s property.
Derek’s not sure how he didn’t know that was Cerberus, especially since Derek has never met another hellhound with three heads. He’s suddenly glad his sister Laura isn’t here with him. She’d be here laughing at him, exclaiming that she can’t believe someone has this shitty of luck in their life and afterlife.
He thinks hellhound Laura is probably doing enough judging for both her and actual Laura because Derek is not making any move to protect himself from the intruder on his property. Derek doesn’t think hellhound Laura knows this is not someone he can really start shit with, unless he actually does want to spend an eternity being tortured.
“Dude!” The Prince exclaims excitedly at Derek. Laura has finally stopped growling, but her muscles are still tense.
“Erm, your majesty?” Derek doesn’t mean for it to come out as a question, is that offensive? To question royalty? He knows to never address an Alpha with that much uncertainty. Man, Derek is regretting this hellhound thing now. He should have just lived the remainder of eternity in solitude like he planned. Prince Stilinski dips his head back, exposing his throat, and laughs.
Derek can’t help but let his eyes immediately wander over the pale skin of Stiles’ neck. He’s leaving himself so exposed right now (but instead of the feral killkillkill no doubt he would’ve suppressed in his ‘wolf form) and all Derek wants to do is bite and lick over the skin of his neck.
“Stiles, is fine. No one really pays attention to the Prince thing anymore.” Stiles flaps his hand absentmindedly at Derek. “I just can’t believe this place is actually real! Are you Derek?”
“Um, yeah?” Derek really needs everything to come out of his mouth to stop sounding like a question. Stiles grins and absolutely lights up, though. Gosh, he’s really pretty. He doesn’t look quite as threatening as Derek assumed he would in person, especially for someone Stiles’ rank. Derek guesses though Stiles is able to use the innocent look and the wide, brown eyes to his advantage a lot.
“This is awesome! Everyone kind of thought Dad was pullin’ our chains about a hellhound sanctuary, but when Fluff didn’t come home today he told me to check here first before worrying. I still didn’t believe him until I saw this for myself, but this is incredible!”
Cerberus, Fluffy, is staring at Derek with three pairs of unimpressed, red eyes.
“Oh, um, thanks. I didn’t really mean for it to happen?” Stop making statements sound like questions, you idiot. “It just kind of happened.”
“Really? That’s awesome! People expect more of cute little kittens when you say ‘don’t feed the strays’ and not Hellhounds!”
“Um, am I in trouble?” Derek asks tentatively. He doesn’t think he would be, doesn’t really know if there is a rule, written or spoken, against the hellhounds following him home or him providing shelter for them if they want it.
“Dude, no! My dad is actually pretty stoked by the turn of events. He’s felt bad for awhile now that the ‘hounds have been kinda neglected, but he didn’t really know what to do with them. They seem happy here, y’know? They’re not too much of a bother, though, right? If they are I can get my dad over here to banish them to a different area.”
The King of Hell coming to Derek’s property? Yeah right, Derek would rather have to go through some horrific death everyday for the rest of eternity. Plus, the hellhounds definitely grew on him. They’re even kind of cute if you look past the horrible odor and sometimes weirdly distorted body parts. (For instance: Cerberus’ three heads.)
“No, I like them here. They’re good company.” Derek finally forces out. He figures he should probably make that more convincing, so Stiles doesn’t try to take the hellhounds away from him.
“Well, thanks for looking after Fluffy for a bit! Sorry that he snuck away over here, but he seems like he enjoyed himself.” Stiles scratches between Cerberus’ ears on the head closest to him. The tongue on that head lolls out, grinning happily up at Stiles. “Maybe I’ll see you around, Derek?” “Yeah, sure, uh Pr - um, Stiles.” Derek stutters out, awkwardly waving at the Prince when he waves goodbye and turns away. He kinda hopes he never has to see the Prince of Hell again, especially because his social skills are pretty rusty.
Until Derek notices Cerberus comes the next day. And the next. And the day after that. And each time Cerberus comes, Stiles, awkwardly gangly limbs and all, is strutting down the path to Derek to collect his dad’s hellhound and talk to Derek for a bit before happily returning home.
His home. Where he lives with the King of Hell. Because the Price of Hell has decided to hang out with Derek. How is this his afterlife?
Today, in particular, Stiles has an extra bounce in his step as he’s strolling towards Derek. Derek didn’t even know demons could be this peppy.
“Dude! You were a werewolf in your life on Earth! That’s probably why they’re so drawn to you!” Stiles exclaims, clearly excited by his findings. Derek really wants to know where he found out about Derek’s mortal life. Is it possible that he knows about all the horrible things he’s done? (Most likely. You’re in Hell, a voice sasses him that sounds oddly like Laura).
“I don’t know. That’s what I thought at first, but I can’t shift into my wolf form here.” Derek explains, “I think they were all just lonely and knew I was too.”
Stiles looks over and gives him a small, sad smile. Derek notices that Stiles stays away from the werewolf questions, even though Stiles’ body language holds that he’s barely containing himself from bursting with questions.
Maybe one day Derek will be able to tell him.
“My brother and his wife have a three year old, so I think he comes here as a little breather from them.” Stiles tells him. Cerberus has been coming daily now. He plays with Laura or Buttercup, sometimes even Floyd, until they’re either tired or Stiles comes to collect him. Today, Stiles is reclined back laying with his head on Cerberus’ flank. “It’s like doggy day camp for him.”
“It’s like what?” Derek asks, raising an eyebrow at Stiles. Sometimes Stiles makes modern day references that he does not understand, mostly because Stiles is obviously still in touch with humans on Earth unlike Derek and most other demons in Hell. And Stiles always gets the cutest little smile on his face when Derek doesn’t understand his references, like he’s finally excited to share his findings with someone new.
“Dude! Doggy day camp is the best. So humans bring their dogs to the place, and then they just play with other dogs for the day and then they come pick them up whenever.” Stiles explains, moving his hands around when he talks. He always talks with his hands, and his long fingers do nothing but distract Derek’s train of thought. “So this is Fluffy’s doggy day camp.”
“Does he get mad that you call him — ” A low growl cuts off Derek’s next word. That’s just fine, he was not looking forward to getting mauled by Cerberus. While Cerberus is usually calm and relaxed here, Derek has seen him angry and wants no part in that.
Stiles is too busy laughing, his head thrown back like always, to show off the column of his long, pale neck. Every time he laughs like this, it gets harder and harder for Derek to resist. Stiles knows his neck is vulnerable and this is him showing in a way that Derek understands that Stiles trusts him.
“He loves me too much.” Stiles finally tells him, and Derek can’t help but grin at him. Being surrounded by the hellhounds definitely makes Derek feel like he’s pack again; something he didn’t realize he was aching for until Stiles appeared in Derek’s afterlife.
Derek watches Stiles’ eyes track down to Derek’s lips and snap back up to his eyes. He thinks if Stiles wasn't sprawled out on his hellhound that he would’ve tried to kiss Derek. And Derek probably wouldn’t have minded one bit.
And then everything makes sense. Cerberus, the King of Hell’s hellhound, is trying to set him and Stiles up.
Derek needs to think that one through one more time: Cerberus. The King of Hell’s very own hellhound. Is trying to set the Prince of Hell up. With Derek.
His afterlife is so weird.
“I want to tell you something,” Stiles says, turning his body so he’s facing Derek. “But I don’t think you’re going to want to talk to me for the rest of the day if I say it.”
Derek thinks this is the moment that Stiles finally tells him that he can’t keep coming here; that he won’t be seeing much of him around anymore. He wouldn’t be surprised, if that happened. Derek’s just kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop.
“Okay.” Derek replies, quietly. Already going through every countless scenario of Stiles telling him he can’t keep coming here. Derek’s hoping that if he goes through it enough times in his head that when Stiles finally says it, it won’t hurt so bad.
“I spent about a decade living among humanity on Earth a couple hundred years ago.” Stiles begins. Derek freezes slightly, he wasn’t expecting this outcome. “I actually took on the job as an emissary for a werewolf pack so I could still use my magic in the form it travels with me to Earth. And, um, I was actually the Hale Pack Emissary for your Alpha, your mother, before Deaton was relocated to Beacon Hills and even before you were born.”
Derek opens his mouth to say something, but no words are coming out. Stiles has to know, has to know that Derek killed his entire family. He knows that Stiles has seen a lot of evil in Hell and maybe this is the beginning of Derek’s punishment, this is the start of the rest of his eternity of torture and pure anguish.
“Before I finish my thought, because I brought this up for a reason, I want you to know that regardless I will be back here tomorrow, okay?” Derek looks up from his hands to see Stiles’ brown eyes searching Derek’s face. Derek knows all the rumors, to never trust a demon, but its hard not to think of Stiles of one of the most trustworthy beings when he’s looking at someone with his big, brown eyes. “Your mom, your alpha, wouldn’t want this for you. She would have wanted you to choose Heaven, because she doesn’t blame you for what happened. No one in your family blames you for what happened.”
Derek wants to argue until his voice runs hoarse, that he deserves to be here, that he is a murderer but Stiles stands up and brushes off his pants before Derek can even think of what to say back to him.
“I’m gonna give you the rest of the day, okay? I know you probably need space. I’ll be back around tomorrow, but I won’t bother you if you’re not outside and don’t want to speak to me.”
Derek gets up and he can hear the like ticks of Laura’s nails behind him. He flops down on his bed, staring up at his ceiling. He feels the mattress dip under Laura jumping up and cuddling into him.
“You stink.” Derek mumbles to her. Laura doesn’t do anything but let a huff of breath in his face. It’s too Laura-like that Derek can’t help but crack a small smile at her.
Regardless of his feelings, Derek knows that the jumbled mess in his head isn’t Stiles’ fault and waits outside for Stiles the next day. Derek watches him walk, shoulders slumped and his eyes downcast until he sees Stiles risk a glance up to where Derek always sits. Derek manages an awkward wave and hears Stiles laugh in relief. Cerberus gallops ahead, knocking one of his heads playfully against Laura as he approaches her.
Stiles grins and lightly bumps his shoulder against Derek’s. Derek talks less than normal today, but he can tell Stiles is just glad that he’s not mad at him. As if Derek would ever be able to be mad at Stiles.
“Derek.” Oh, fuck. Stiles has his no-funny-business face on and is in the most serious mood that Derek has ever seen him in. Derek glances up from his slow-going process of brushing out the tangles in Laura’s fur. She’s finally seeming to enjoy it more than hate it.
“Stiles.” Derek replies back. He’s glad his voice is kept sturdy, because he has no clue what is coming next. The unpredictability is sometimes one of his favorite things about Stiles. This moment? Not so much.
“You’ve been in Hell for 250 years in a self-induced solitude because you feel responsible for what happened to your family.”
“Stiles, I practically gave her a blueprint and key to the house.” Derek chokes out. It’s been so long since he’s had to deal with this aloud and not just in his head or hear Stiles just talk about it at him instead of with. “Everyone was killed, including my two year old baby sister.”
“Derek, it wasn’t your fault. You said yourself that she hunted your kind and she would’ve found a way to do it anyways. She was an older, beautiful woman and she made you feel important and special.”
Derek looks away, he can’t handle this right now. He wants to crouch down and cover his ears with his hands and scream until his voice is raw. He wants to cry. He wants his mom, something that he has never once thought since he banished himself to Hell while he was standing at the pearly gates of Heaven.
“Derek, look at me.” Stiles voice is soft, and Derek’s eyes immediately snap to Stiles’ for the comfort he always sees and gets from Stiles. “It wasn’t your fault.”
He wants to cry out from the sorrow, the grieving, the sadness he didn’t allow himself to feel because he didn’t think he deserved to feel anything but loneliness.
“Do you think that maybe you could give yourself the chance to be happy? With me?” Stiles asks, big brown eyes open wide and pleading.
Derek’s initial thought is no, I don’t deserve it, but he can’t find his mouth to work properly to say that. Is he being selfish? All he wants is to be with Stiles, but can he allow himself this after everything he did to his family? Or has he punished himself enough now?
“I think that, um,” Derek pauses, knotting and unknotting his fingers from Laura’s long, mangled fur. “I think that I’d like to try.”
The smile that Stiles gives him is brilliant.
“M-may I kiss you now?” Stiles asks, taking a step closer to Derek. He barely registers the feel of the warmth of Laura’s body leave his feet and legs and the slight tick her nails make as she walks away from them to give them privacy.
“Yeah, I’d — ” like that gets cut off by Stiles tentatively pressing his mouth against Derek’s. Stiles pulls away a little, revealing a silly grin on his face, and Derek pulls him in for more.
Derek still misses his family, and knows that they will always be a hole in his heart that the hellhounds and Stiles won’t be able to fill. But he knows that maybe, just maybe, he can allow himself to be happy past the hurt because while he doesn’t have his family, he does have his hellhounds and his Stiles.