- Character Bashing
- Dark Themes
- Discussion-Child Abuse
- Discussion-Domestic Abuse
- Discussion-Sexual Abuse
- Hate Crimes
- Fix It
Section Six (Season Finale): Do I Stay or Do I Go?
Derek sat on one on the benches surrounding the memorial to his family. He supposed it was somewhat morbid of him, considering that this was the place the majority of his family and died, how often he had come here over the last month, the sense of peace and comfort he found while sitting in the shadow of the marble wolf pack.
But he had never seen the devastation left behind by Kate Argent. He had memories of the house as it had been while he was growing up and that is the only way he could remember it. He had never seen the burned out husk or smelled the ash and burned flesh as Laura had, as Cora had, as Uncle Peter had experienced firsthand. Derek found peace in this beautiful memorial garden and spent hours just sitting and thinking almost everyday.
Derek knew he had a big decision to make. Uncle Peter had made it clear that Derek was welcome to join his pack. But that would leave Laura totally alone as an Alpha with no betas at all. Not that she had been much of an alpha once he was old enough to move out. Once he had his GED and a job, she had almost forced him to get his own small apartment. And it was a good month when he saw her more than twice in the month once that had happened.
Derek had spent the last month thinking about his future, talking with members of his family, having conversations with members of Uncle Peter’s – of the Hale Pack. And it was the Hale Pack, regardless of who held the actual historically Hale spark. An alpha and a single beta did not a pack make.
Uncle Peter had made a flourishing pack here in Beacon Hills. Derek had wished several times over the last month that Laura had not come upon him on the road that night. He would have been found by Cora or someone, or he would have followed the tugs of the pack bonds inside him to the hospital like she had. He would have been here in the middle of a stable, vibrant pack, loved and cherished, surrounded by Pack bonds instead of struggling to not go omega with a single, impossibly thin bond, nearly alone in a strange city, far from the land he called home.
Stiles had often seemed to come upon him when he was at his most depressed, dwelling on what might have been. The mage would sit with him and chatter on, filling the silence with stories of the pack, or of movies, or books he had read, not expecting any replies from Derek beyond a listening silence. It helped. Stiles was annoying with his inability to stay still and be quiet but it was just what Derek needed when the depression and self-hatred were at their worst.
Cora had sparred with him several times a week. And hadn’t her proficiency been a revelation. The Cora he remembered had been a little girl, one who loved the woods, but who was more interested in dolls and books than in fight practice. But now she was incredibly competent and put him on his ass nine times out of ten. She was going to apprentice to the Left Hand, Janet, when she graduated.
The sparring soothed Derek’s nerves, the hits, the sharp pain, the bloody cuts feeling like penance, like absolution for his actions six years ago. For allowing Kate Argent to play him and use him. And Cora was always more brutal when Derek was indulging in self pity.
Derek’s conversations with Jackson were interesting. He had a very definite view of the world and the pack. And hadn’t Jackson’s paternity been a shock. But learning that Uncle Peter had been used by an older woman when he was even younger than Derek had been was comforting. Derek didn’t tell his uncle that and he never would but he supposed there was something to schadenfreude, after all. Even if he was the only one who knew how he felt about it.
And the way Derek’s mother had handled the situation with Uncle Peter and Jackson’s birth so harshly, the taking of his memories, bothered Derek and made him doubt his mom. He wondered if she had survived if she would have banished him or worse. How would she have reacted to the knowledge of Derek’s unwitting relationship with a huntress? He wasn’t sure he ever wanted to know.
Derek had several talks with Noah Stilinski. The Sheriff of Beacon County was a great interrogator. They were three conversations in before Derek even realized how skillfully the older man and gotten him to open up about things like Laura, Paige, Kate, New York. And the Right Hand of the pack had given him a possible route to the future. Not something he could pursue if he returned to New York, he didn’t think his fake papers would stand up to the background check required. But to live under his own name, the name his parents had given him, a name and history, and go to school for criminal justice and then the police academy. That was an idea that called to Derek, to get justice for those that were hurt as he had been, as his family had been. Noah promised if he chose that route there would always be a place for him in the Beacon Hills Sheriff’s Department.
There were more reasons for Derek to want to stay than to return to the life he had lived for the last six years. But he still struggled with guilt because he didn’t want to abandon Laura. But Stiles had mentioned an idea in passing that Derek was going to give a chance. To give Laura a chance, a choice. It wouldn’t be an easy choice if she chose to change, but it would be healthier than how she lived now. And if she chose to remain as she was, well, Laura was her own person and her life was up to her. Her decisions and their ramifications on her were on Laura, not Derek. Not once he gave her the facts and the choice.
Derek took out his cell phone and dialed Laura. She should be out of work and finished her dinner by now. The phone rang, once, twice, three times. After the fourth ring, the voicemail chimed in and the message was heartbreaking to Derek.
“Rick, you’re the only one who still has this number. I left the phone behind. I saw the news about the Argent bitch going down in a firefight with the feds and cops, taking several hunters with her. Our family is avenged. And me – I’m gone. I’ve left the city and moved away. I left no trail, I’ve done it before. You’re on your own, you made your choices, six years ago and now, since you haven’t come home. Goodbye, little brother. Good luck, little omega. You can keep the car.”
Derek walked into the pack house and down the hallway to Uncle Peter’s office. He knocked on the door, making sure to hit the area designed to be heard through the soundproofing.
The door clicked as it unlatched, Uncle Peter having released the latch with a button on his desk. Derek entered and began to take a seat at one of the chairs in front the desk but his uncle waved him off to the seating area instead.
Derek slumped down in the chair, his chin on his chest. Uncle Peter sat across from him and his eyes shined with sympathy.
“She said no.”
Derek sighed and shrugged, his eyebrows lowering and twitching. “I don’t know what she would have said. I called and I took too long to figure stuff out. When I came out here and didn’t come back right away, she gave me up for lost, I think. Considered me dead to her, more or less.”
Peter rose and sat on the coffee table, laying a hand on Derek’s arm. “Disconnected?”
Derek shook his head. “No. It went to voicemail and there was a personalized message for me. I didn’t come back right away and then she heard on the news about Kate Argent’s bloody death by cop. She ran again. And this time it would be even easier for her to disappear. She’s alone, no teenager dragging her back, no need for worrying about social services and homeschooling. And no worries about the hunters who might be after her specifically. She can go just about anywhere. And get lost in a crowded city or just live in the wilderness. Or she could slip out of the country and head to South America and the jungles. Or to Africa and the wide open spaces or even Europe, if she wanted to. I’ll never know if she would have decided to give up the alpha spark and come home to our actual home, not a lonely apartment, to our family, to the Hale Pack.”
Uncle Peter laid his hand on the name of Derek’s neck and squeezed lightly, nearly a massage. “Unless she comes here on her own someday. As long as her intentions are peaceful, she’d be welcome, Derek. She’s your sister, your alpha, but she’s my niece. I may not approve of her choices and her behavior, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love her.”
Derek gave a small sob. “She broke the pack bond. I didn’t feel when she did it, probably because of the magic bubble over the county, and the fact that it was so thin and brittle already, but she called me ‘little omega’ in her message. I don’t have an Alpha.”
Uncle Peter put his clawed fingers under Derek’s chin and forced his head up to meet the older man’s eyes. “You have an Alpha if you want it, Derek. You have a place in my pack, our family’s Pack. Just accept me as your Alpha, Derek. I told you it was an option for you.”
Derek blinked and let out a breath he had been holding. “When I picked up the phone to call Laura, I had already decided to. No matter what her choice was. I made my choice, the best way for me. And she made hers. Peter Hale I accept you as my Alpha.”
Derek raised his chin from Peter’s hold and fully bared his neck. From the corner of his eye, Derek could see his uncle’s wide smile. The alpha wolfed out and lowered his jaw over Derek’s vulnerable neck. If Uncle Peter had been playing him and was bitter about Derek leaving Beacon Hills, about him and Kate, he could take his revenge and Derek would be dead before he could ask why. But Derek’s pulse wasn’t even racing, he was calm, happy. He knew uncle loved him and forgave him. The Alpha clamped his jaw around Derek’s throat and bit down, hard enough to draw blood but not deep enough to cause true injury.
Alpha Hale pulled back and smiled, his teeth and lips slightly bloody. Derek placed a hand over the bite marks and returned the grin.
“Welcome to the Hale Pack, Derek. Welcome home, nephew.” Uncle Peter pulled Derek into a tight embrace and Derek buried his nose in his alpha’s shoulder, his scent pleased and content.