Notes: Buffy setting is post season 7; Teen Wolf setting is post season 5. I might possibly write a follow-up story.
Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy or Teen Wolf.
Challenge: 31daysoffandom (LJ), as well as my H/C bingo square "Electrocution"
In a dark room, in a dark basement, his eyes were a bright, glowing electric blue. She knew, the moment she saw them, exactly what the blue meant.
"I hate freelancers," Xander said, his boots clomping down the wooden steps behind her.
His voice jarred her, the hatred she heard in it, and Buffy couldn't help but shiver because she remembered a time when Xander would have reserved that hate for the vampires and the demons, not the humans who were supposed to be hunting them. Supposed to be on their side. She agreed, of course. She agreed about a thousand times over, but she couldn't voice it at the moment, still too caught up in the way those unnatural blue eyes shifted their focus from her to Xander and back again. It reminded her of the way a homeless dog would look at food, all cautious, afraid, but so very hungry.
She wasn't sure how long he'd been down here or what the hunters had done to him, but judging from the empty cages upstairs and the weaponry the group had in abundant supply, he wasn't the only creature they'd been holding here. He was the only one still alive though. She hated to think of what they'd find if they searched the rest of the property.
"We need to get him down," she managed finally.
"Buff," Xander warned. His voice tapered out and he sighed. "How?"
Buffy had been friends with Xander long enough to know what he wanted to point out. He wanted to say the werewolf currently chained to the wall was probably too far gone. Rabid. That the wolf would want to rip their throats out if she turned off the humming box sitting on the table in front of him, sending an electric current through wires attached to his body and keeping him secured. That the wolf had blue eyes, and they'd both read Dawn's tedious essay on werewolf species and knew those blue eyes meant they were dealing with a killer.
"Carefully?" Buffy answered, shrugging one shoulder.
Xander snorted. "Sure, oh wise leader. Never would have figured that out. What about Adeline? Holly is upstairs with her, but..."
"She shouldn't have to be here." Buffy nodded. "Get her out of here. See if she's going to need a hospital. You can come back for me."
"I'm not liking this plan. What if these guys weren't alone? What if the cops get wind of the, oh, five dead bodies upstairs and find you and Mr. Growley here at the crime scene?"
Buffy glanced over her shoulder at him, giving him a pointed look. She tried to ignore the way the shadows made his eye patch look like a dark crevice on his face. Literal years had passed and it still shocked her to see him like that some days. Forcing the past to stay put, she rolled her eyes at him. "Adeline told us how many hunters were here, and we're in No-Where-Ville, USA. If the cops didn't notice the practice shooting range or the sounds of screaming, they're not going to suddenly decide to stop in for a check up." She paused, forcing a small smile. "Go on. I've got this. Your slayers need you."
The reminder that those were his girls upstairs, one of them injured, seemed to straighten his back. "Fine. But I'm not okay with this plan. And when I Skype Dawn tonight, I'm going to inform her that this was entirely your idea."
"I'll expect a verbal thrashing," she assured. At Xander's frown, she nodded him on. "Go. It's one werewolf."
She heard him muttering under his breath, but she ignored all but the sound of his retreating footsteps. If she listened closely, she could even hear the floorboards above shift as Xander helped Holly lift Adeline.
That girl...Adeline would need more than a hospital, and she wasn't sure how the rest of the council was going to handle the young runaway afterward. Buffy hated situations like this. Life for a slayer was supposed to be so black and white. Force of good versus force of evil. Slayer versus demon. But that had never been the case for Buffy, and she was beginning to think it was never the case for any slayer. There were always gray areas, vampires with souls and demons who preferred watching reality tv to eating babies, victims who were supernatural and villains who were human.
She pushed her way out of her thoughts when she realized she couldn't see blue eyes anymore. The werewolf was looking down at something, anywhere but at her, the muscles of his jaw tight, his body tensed, as if ready for...Buffy shook her head.
"I'm not going to kill you. I mean, sure, I'm a slayer, so I can see how you'd make that assumption, but you're not going to die, ok? So, calm down already."
She walked the perimeter of the room, finding a light switch. It seemed to only light the bright florescence bulbs behind him. She had barely noticed that the chain-length fencing he was secured to was dividing the room in half. The area behind him seemed to be serving as both a weapon room and an operating room. She could see a stainless steel table at its center, covered in blood matted with hair. Fur, she mentally amended, and almost gagged.
"Not really talkative, are you?" Buffy noted, to cover up the momentary weakness.
She could see him better now, but she tried not to look too closely, to give him some sort of dignity, and maintain that she wasn't a pervert who enjoyed staring at naked, chained men. Still, she couldn't help but notice he was fit, tense muscles lining every limb, rippling over his abdomen. And she couldn't help but see the wounds now. Buffy didn't know what it said about her life that she could tell a cut made from a razor from a cut made from a blunt blade, that she could tell the brands from the electric burns.
The electric burns...
Now she could smell it, past the decay, the scent of blistered flesh. How long he'd been here, suffering, she wasn't sure. He'd been cleaned, she could tell, probably sprayed down with the hose laying limp against one wall, but she wasn't sure if that was to keep the stench down or if it was part of whatever torture his captives had put him through. Buffy didn't want to think too hard about that.
"I need to get you down, but I also don't want to be puppy chow, so maybe you could answer me," she prodded. She really hoped he wasn't too far gone. A psych ward wasn't going to be able to hold something like him. "Earth to wolf-man?"
His eyes lifted again. They'd lost their glow, and they looked olive green in the harsh light. Like human eyes. Pissed off human eyes. Maybe leaning closer to annoyance than anger.
"Who are..." He trailed off, as if losing his train of thought. His gaze wondered from her and he looked momentarily panicked, as if he'd forgotten what he was planning to say.
"Buffy. I'm Buffy."
Her answer brought his attention back. She moved closer to the small table holding the battery box, looking like a massive spider with its many wires splayed out, casting shadows across the floor. The box was on a lower setting. Probably just high enough to keep him from shifting and healing. Buffy hated that someone had figured out how to do that. Was there some sort of werewolf restraint manual for jackass hunters? The thought made her want to call Oz and check on him.
"You're not one of them," he said, quietly.
Buffy cocked her head to the side. "By 'them' I'm assuming you mean the hunters who've been using you as a pinata. Nope." She popped the word. "A girl I know fell in with them. They talked her into doing things their way. Which was more Spanish Inquisition and less saving people, as I'm sure you've picked up on. Then they realized she wasn't quite as normal as they'd hoped and they tried..." Buffy hesitated. She wasn't sure exactly what had happened, honestly. Adeline had been in no shape to explain herself when she'd called, out of contact with her watcher for months, then suddenly crying and begging for help.
"To kill her," the werewolf supplied. He was quiet a moment longer, blinking, as if he were trying to collect his thoughts. "She killed them back."
Defended herself. Those were the words Buffy had used when she told Holly that they were going to go find her MIA sister slayer, the runaway who'd gotten in too deep. "Adeline defended herself." As if that would somehow erase the image of those dead men and women upstairs, of a nineteen-year-old girl covered in their blood and sobbing.
"Did she have another choice?"
Buffy wasn't sure why she asked the question, or why the answer from the man in front of her mattered. Adeline still murdered five humans. That was still going to weigh on her soul, no matter the reason for it.
"They were bringing her down here."
Buffy winced. She'd asked, and she received her answer."What's your name?"
"Derek," she repeated, tasting the word. She watched him closely as she slowly eased the electricity level down a notch. He flinched, as if the lack of pain had woken something inside him, but held his control. "Were you defending yourself, too?" she asked. "When you got your blue eyes? When you took an innocent life?"
He was quiet, so still she was afraid he was dead, then a deep growl left his throat. She saw the strain at his chains a second before the first one at his wrist popped free. Buffy went for the knife strapped to her hip, but only held it in place when she saw him slump forward in defeat, the smooth curve of his back rocking as he hung his free arm and head as close to the cement floor as they could reach. Buffy could see the thick black blood at his cuffs, wolfsbane poisoning leeching from the torn skin, the metal no doubt laced with enough powder to keep him in place but not kill him.
"You've already decided, haven't you?" His voice was muffled, but she could hear the clarity of the words. How calm he sounded. "You want me to tell you I deserve it." He propped himself up on his hand, his other arm twisted behind him still, and looked up. His eyes flashed blue, the ridge of his brow shifting, canines long between his lips. He showed her his true face. "Fine. I'm a monster. I've earned these eyes. You have your excuse. Do it already!"
Buffy wasn't sure why it felt like she'd been here before. Or why it felt like she already understood the stranger in front of her. But she'd been around enough evil to know it when she saw it. Those blue eyes, the ones staring up at her, they didn't mean a thing. His answer was all she'd needed to hear.
"So you'd rather be killed than tell me what you did wrong." Buffy slipped her knife back into its sheath and sighed. "Why do I always get stuck with the broody ones?"
He looked up at her sharply, but she could see the confusion in his eyes. She yanked the wires connecting him to the battery off the machine and marched to his chained hand. His eyes widened in shock when she pulled and the other chain wrenched loose, leaving him sprawled on the floor. She tried to hide her uncertainty as she watched him react to his freedom, waiting for to make a dash for her. Instead, he winced as he pulled his strained muscles, curling his legs in closer to his body so he could get on his knees.
Buffy wasn't sure how to answer. Instead she eased herself down onto the floor beside him, trying not to stare down as she leveled her gaze on him. "Because all the monsters have already been slayed tonight." She reached out, holding onto one of his wrists. The cuff was heavy against her palm and she could see where the poison was still biting into his skin. "Do you know where the key is?"
Derek only stared at her, as if somewhat dazed. "Who are you?' he said.
She raised a brow. "Buffy Summers. We've been over this. Now, you look like a big burly ball of pain, so I'm guessing the sooner these cuffs are off, the better you'll be able to heal. And you healing means I don't have to carry you out of her like my new bride." She felt her cheeks flush slightly and mentally chided herself. "Cause I can do that, but we'll need to get you some pants first."
"I'll heal best if I can shift fully." He hesitated, his cheek twitching slightly. "And it doesn't require pants."
Buffy raised a brow, ready to comment, when he pulled away from her, his body tensing.
"I don't know what my control will be like though, with my body like this," he said, frowning. He glanced down at her knife. "I don't want to hurt you."
"I'll keep you in check," she assured.
She expected an argument, but he only nodded.
The fresh sheen of sweat over his skin was the only warning she received before the bones beneath cracked and shifted, dark fur spreading over his body. A moment later, a black wolf with shining blue eyes was laying on the floor in front of her, panting breathlessly. He looked too exhausted too move, but he was still a magnificent creature, and Buffy felt her jaw drop in awe.
"Dawnie is going to want to write another paper on this," she muttered.
Without a second thought, she reached out, slipping the now loose cuffs away from his limbs and combing her fingers through the thick fur at his back. He whimpered at her touch, but shuffled his body closer to her knees instead of rolling away. Buffy pulled back slightly, remembering the wounds across his body and moved her fingers more gently over them. She could almost see the cuts knitting together beneath the fur. His paw lifted slightly, covering one of her hands to keep her in place, as if the touch was comforting.
Instinctively she eased herself down onto the floor beside him, letting him curl against her chest as he whined and twitched his way through the healing process.
He calmed when he heard her voice, and she enjoyed the way the name sounded on her lips. She slipped an arm over him, holding him close. Dawn's essay had mentioned how tactile some pack werewolves were, but Buffy hadn't thought she'd ever be in a position to remember that little detail until now.
Oh, this was trouble. So much trouble. Because while he was currently an admittedly adorable predator acting like a giant puppy, he'd shift back into a man soon enough. And she wasn't entirely sure what she'd do with him then. She wouldn't just send a victim back into the world to be picked off by another set of hunters. And was he part of a pack? Had he lost them? Dawn had called lone wolves Omegas. She said this species rarely lived if by themselves. The thought soured Buffy's stomach.
"I leave you alone for twenty minutes and you adopt a dog?" Xander said.
Buffy glanced up from her position on the floor and saw her friend standing on the top step of the basement staircase, biting down a smile. Even laying in a bloody torture chamber, hoping someone else would take care of the crime scene upstairs, she could still appreciate Xander's sense of humor.
"His name is Derek, and we're taking him home with us," she declared. Derek shifted against her, tensing as if he wasn't sure what to make of the two humans.
"As long as he's house trained," Xander commented.
Derek growled but didn't move. Buffy took that as a good sign. She frowned, remembering there was more to this night than a rescue. "Adeline?"
"With Holly at the safehouse. She'll make it. She'll heal. It'll take time," Xander replied. His smile became sadder. "We'll be there for her, right?"
Buffy could see the wolf out of the corner of her eye, the way his ears perked up, curious to hear them. "Of course we will. It wasn't her fault."
Buffy wasn't sure if she wasn't imagining it, but she was certain she felt Derek press in a bit closer to her. She smiled against his fur, glad he'd understood her answer.