Disclaimer: I own nothing you recognize. Lyrics belong to Lana Del Rey.
A/N: This is late and for that I am extremely apologetic. There has been a lot going on in my life: my LSAT testing date is swiftly approaching, my work schedule is getting more hectic, my love-life is getting more complicated and so this story has unfortunately been on the backburner. That will change, I promise.
In addition, another thing sapping my motivation is the fact that I really don't like how Derek is being written this season. The individual episodes have been great, but I feel like this season especially, Derek is being used more as a plot device than as a legitimate character. It makes writing him in this story that much more difficult. And as enlightening as the backstory episode was, it seemed trite and shallow. Though I did also think it was ironic that his first love's name was Paige. You can bet that'll be coming up in my story.
Anyway, thank you all so much for reading! I truly appreciate it.
Big Ugly Lofts
Baby put on heart shaped sunglasses
Cause we gonna take a ride
I'm not gonna listen to what the past says
I've been waiting up all night
Paige gave herself only a few seconds to lean forward and press her nose into his matted hair. Inhaling his scent, everything worry and every doubt she had been experiencing this entire day and a half floated away. And just as suddenly as there was relief, the reality came crushing back. Okay, he was alive - barely. There was still definitely something wrong with her eyes. And the alpha pack could be looking for the currently injured Derek in order to take revenge while he was still weak.
"Okay, time to get up," she told him, knowing that he was still unconscious. Grasping under his armpits, she pulled her remaining strength into dragging him away from the open area of the parking lot. Settling him down behind a navy blue pickup truck, she tried to determine who she could call for a ride. Boyd didn't have a car, Isaac had her Prius parked somewhere or another. Peter had some automobile, somewhere.
Just as her hand slipped into her jacket to grab her phone, footfalls met her ears. Instantly, she tensed. It must be the alpha twin that had been tracking her - he must have followed her here, to her mate.
But what appeared around the pickup truck was no werewolf. Paige didn't recognize the woman, but she did remember at least a whiff of her scent. When Paige had been crazed by the moon, she, Boyd, and Cora had trapped this woman in the boiler room. The only reason Paige hadn't ripped her chest open and tore her limps off was because Derek had interfered. If Paige recalled correctly, she was a teacher here at the high school.
"Do you..." the teacher began. "Do you need help?"
For a moment, she hesitated. Paige glanced down at Derek and frowned upon realizing that his breathing was slowly becoming more shallow. Looking back up at the teacher, she searched the woman's dark brown eyes. If this lady already knew about werewolves, what was the harm of taking her up on her offer of help.
"Do you have a car?" Paige finally asked.
"Yes!" she offered, earnestly. "I can take you wherever you need to go!"
Paige slipped her phone back into her pocket and pulled Derek back into her arms.
"He looks very heavy, do you need help?" the teacher offered.
"I'm stronger than I look," Paige snapped back and instantly regretted it. This woman was doing nothing except offering her assistance - assistance that Paige desperately needed currently- and she couldn't be civil for a moment or two?
It was slow going, but she gently dragged her mate to the teachers car and situated him in the back seat.
"Where are we headed?" the older woman asked.
"Turn this way out of the parking lot," Paige gestured to the right and then turned back to check on Derek.
"I'm Jennifer Blake, by the way," she offered.
"Paige," she responded, purposefully not adding her last name. Once again, she felt bad. Had she been so involved with the Hale clan that she had picked up their constant paranoia and bad attitude? To make herself feel better, she added, "Thank you for doing this, Ms. Blake."
"Please call me Jennifer," she told Paige. "You graduated last year, didn't you? You aren't a student, you can call me by my first name." Jennifer turned a bit in her seat and glanced back at Derek's broken body. "It's truly not a problem. He saved my life, I owe him."
The werewolf didn't speak, knowing full well Jennifer must also remember who Derek had had to save her from.
Paige gave monotone directions until something occurred to her... Her eyes. If Derek was still alive, why were her eyes flipping out? Paige yanked down the overhead visor and studied her reflection in the mirror. She noted that Jennifer had glanced over to check out what she was doing, but Paige didn't let that break her concentration. Focusing, she tried to light up her eyes and was startled to find that they were still a deep, pure red. Almost to reassure herself, she reached back and touched her mate. His pulse still beat beneath her fingers, so why were her eyes red?
How was that possible?
"Something wrong?" Jennifer asked, discreetly.
"Hopefully not," Paige answered honestly just as they pulled into the building parking lot. "Thank you," she told Jennifer again and then she was out of the passenger seat, yanking the back door open.
"If there's anything I can do, just tell me!" Jennifer offered one last time.
But Paige was no longer focused on outsiders or manners. Derek had started gasping shallowly from the top of his throat, like his lungs couldn't hold air.
"Hang on, babe," she whispered as she heaved him up the stairs. She nearly tripped over him, getting his body into their bed and once she let him go, he gave a groan of pain. Instantly, Paige leaned back over and ran a hand down the side of his face. He relaxed and leaned into the touch. "I'm here, Derek," she told him. "I won't go anywhere so long as you promise you'll stay here too."
It only took her a moment to remove his bloody shirt and pants. Despite the vast amount of blood on his clothing, most of those wounds seemed to be stitching themselves together except for the biggest, taking up half of his stomach, up to his ribs. But that wasn't even counting all of the deep purple, green and blue motifs bruising their way up and down his torso. The internal bleeding was the most dangerous.
She had barely stood up from the bed in order to grab disinfectant and bandages, when Derek let out a low whine. "Paige," he breathed. "You... this isn't real. You left. I sent you away."
Smoothing some of his hair back, she didn't say anything to that - probably because she didn't want to think about all the pain he had caused her. Not now, not in this moment - she had been mourning his death all last night and this morning and now she had him back, this wasn't something she wanted tainted with past mistakes and stupid regrets. Instead, she quickly retrieved the first aid kit tried to bandage the gasp. Having no experience with internal bleeding, she didn't know how to help.
Derek let her bandage him, watching her with pain-stressed eyes. When she finished, she made a move to leave the bed and perhaps boil some water for tea - the man must be starving but she didn't want to feed him. And maybe she should call Scott's mom. She was a nurse - she could help. And then maybe she should call the pack to let them know Derek was alive. But Derek had different plans and grasped her wrist. The hold was weak, but Paige had no intention of fighting him anyways.
"Something's wrong," he told her. "I feel like my bones are burning and my organs are throbbing."
"It's the internal bleeding," Paige told him. But already, she watched as his eyes began to glaze over. Either the pain was too much for him or there was truly something wrong. Paige immediately pulled out her phone. She needed to call Melissa or Peter or both.
"No," Derek murmured. "Don't leave."
"I'm just making a phone call," she rationalized. This time she did break his hold and was halfway through dialing Melissa's number when she realized what Derek was doing with the hand she had let go of - he was using it to peel back the bandaged on his torso. "Stop that!" she ordered. But it was too late, the gauze was off and underneath it, his wound was leaking black. Instantly she decided to call Peter instead.
Unfortunately, she never got the chance to, as Derek then sat up and started heaving black blood.
Paige sprinted to the kitchen to find a glass of water. By the time she returned, Derek was already lying on his back again, groaning. She felt his forehead and cursed at the abnormally high temperature.
His pain was radiating around the room and around her chest cavity. Each throb of his heartbeat released more agony and very quickly it was beginning to overwhelm Paige as well. Her brain started aching and there was a thick fog settling around her thoughts. It wasn't until her phone started buzzing that she was able to remember that she was feeling Derek's pain through their mate-bond, not because she was actually in pain. There needed to be some kind of relief - she needed to break him out of whatever haze he had fallen into and fast.
Derek had told her long ago that werewolves did have the unique ability to pull pain out of someone. Humans, mostly. But sometimes it could work between an alpha and their beta. Derek definitely wasn't a beta and Paige had no idea what she was, but she thought it was worth a try.
Leaning over him, she pressed her hands over the deepest purple bruises and tried to pull the pain out of him. She had seen Isaac demonstrate once, knew there should be black being sucked into her veins. But nothing happened. In fact, Derek only seemed to be getting worse. Tears of frustration seemed to be building up in her eyes, but Paige tried to keep her head clear. Derek's pain in her heart was a distraction enough. And... that was it.
If Derek was projecting his pain onto her and it was physically affecting her, why couldn't the reverse be true?
Replacing her hands back on his torso, she concentrated on peace and happiness and numbness and tried to force those feelings through her veins, out her hands, and into his body. There were no black veins up her arms, but she hadn't expected there to be. Instead, there was a pressure in her head, right behind her eyes, that was building. The more Paige concentrated, the more it hurt. But Derek wasn't reacting at all. The deep lines in his face shifted with each second, deeper and deeper.
Letting out a frustrated growl, Paige felt her face shift. She knew her claws were out, her fangs were out, and her eyes were glowing some color or another. This was the form she felt strongest in and right now Derek needed her at her strongest.
The pressure right behind her eyes flared and she had just enough time to say Derek open his eyes and gasp and then there was blackness.
The first thing that occurred to her when she finally gained some sense of self was that her head hurt like a bitch. In addition, her mouth felt dry and her back ached. If she didn't know any better, she would have assumed that she was hung over after a night of drinking and fighting. But getting a werewolf drunk was so difficult that it almost wasn't worth the effort and Derek had told her that it was even more impossible for a wolf to be hungover. So, she could conclude that she wasn't waking up after a night of debauchery.
"Her eyes were red?"
Peter's voice pushed its way into her brain and she groaned. Instantly two sets of footfalls rushed closer to her.
"Paige?" Derek asked. But Paige was still too weak to respond. Which was unfortunate, because there was nothing in this world she wanted more than the ability to roll over and bear witness to the fact that Derek was alive and well.
Instead, she managed to grunt, "I feel like shit."
"Well, you look like it, too," Peter snarked from somewhere far off.
Dereks gentle hands cradled her face and gingerly pulled her body so that she was facing him. God, she felt like shit but he looked almost completely back to normal. There was still dried blood clinging to his face and torso, but all of the wounds and bruises had vanished.
Did I do that? Paige wondered.
"Your eyes were red," Derek explained softly, running his fingers through her hair.
"Which would have made sense if you had been dead, but you weren't," Peter added, frustration lacing his words.
"They had been malfunctioning even before," Paige told them. "Last night, I was here waiting for everyone to get back and..." She glanced away from Derek before revealing, "I felt when you fell and then my eyes started feeling weird. When I was finally able to look at myself, they were flashing between yellow and red and orange and then... They stopped. All this morning, they've been primarily red." She looked back to her mate. "I thought it was because you had died."
"Could that have happened?" Derek asked Peter. "Could she have developed the power of an alpha merely by believing I was dead?"
Peter shrugged. "The mind is a powerful thing, but at the same time, the power of an alpha transfers without conscious awareness most times. Laura didn't know about the fire until after the power of the alpha had been given to her."
"Then what happened?" Derek continued to search Paige's face.
"Any theories?" Paige added.
"A few," Peter admitted. "My favorite involves your mate-bond, though."
"How so?" she asked.
"Mates occur within a pack," he explained. "The connection is already forged between you and Derek that would allow you to become alpha if he were to die. Derek was very close to death at the time and so your body was probably preparing take on that power, sensing that he was nearly dead. The longer he was in that kind of state, the longer your body had to adjust to the power, probably."
"I felt it," Paige admitted. "I could see and hear everything so much more clearly."
"Two alphas can't exist at the same time in a pack," Derek rationalized. "How did we both have that power?"
"Paige probably stole it," Peter shrugged.
"What?" Paige squawked and struggled to push herself up. Derek soothed her back down.
"You undoubtedly didn't mean to," Peter conceded. "But as mates in a pack, and one of you being an alpha, I'm willing to bet the power transferred away from Derek because he was too weak to lead the pack in his current state. Paige hadn't been in the fight - she was perfectly healthy and ready to accept leadership in the pack. But that meant that Derek stopped being an alpha. It made healing that much more difficult and that's probably why he nearly died."
"I'm so sorry," Paige whispered.
"You didn't do it on purpose," Derek said at the same time that Peter reminded her, "You fixed your mistake pretty quickly, so it's fine. He's obviously still alive and kicking." He put a hand on Derek's shoulder, which was promptly shrugged off.
"Am I still...?" Paige wondered aloud.
"No," Derek shook his head. "When you forced whatever it was that you forced into me, I saw your red eyes and I watched them bleed back to yellow."
"You probably gave him back his alpha power," Peter clarified.
They sat in silence for a moment before Derek turned to Peter. "You called Cora, correct?"
"Yeah, she knows you're still breathing. She'll be here soon."
"Can you go take her to your place?" Derek requested. "I don't want her attacked here if the alpha's come for revenge."
"And Paige?" Peter nodded to the girl. But Paige was more focused on calming her nerves. Now that she was completely awake, the pressure was gone, but now she was nauseous.
"I'll bring her over later," the alpha explained. "She shouldn't be moved just yet."
"Not unless you want to clean up my puke," Paige added.
"I'll get you some water," he offered. Paige watched him head into the kitchen and then sighed.
"You need to learn not to run off," Peter scolded her once Derek was out of human earshot. "Cora and I followed your trail and watched it overlap with one of those creepy alpha twins. Your rashness got you in trouble."
"I'll keep that in mind," she snarked back.
But Peter continued to frown. "I meant what I said, Paige. This pack needs you. Try to stay alive for a bit longer, okay?"
Derek returned with the glass of water just in time to see his mate nodding her head. He opened his mouth, probably to ask what they had been talking about but the front door buzzed and Cora came striding through. "Derek," she breathed, and threw herself at him. Fully healed, he caught her easily. She allowed herself to be put down after a moment and looked her brother over. "You're perfectly healed."
"That's Paige's fault," he gestured to her prostrate form. She tried to lift a hand to wave, but her arm felt too heavy.
"Are you okay, Paige?" Cora asked, stepping closer to the girl.
"Been better," she tried to joke. The stark reality of the words made the humor fall flat.
"Peter is taking you to his place for now," Derek told Cora. The girl looked like she was going to put up a fight, but then she glanced down at Paige. Sometime in her eyes softened and she nodded. They left immediately, while dusk was still clinging to the sky.
Gingerly, Derek helped her into a sitting position and let her sip the cool water. She finished the cup quickly and asked for some more. When Derek returned with a fresh cup, she only drank about half. Her mate placed the cup off to the side and shifted their bodies so that Paige's back was snug against his chest. His arms wrapped completely around her and squeezed just hard enough to remind her that he was there.
"You didn't go to Chicago at all, did you?" he asked softly. He didn't sound mad, just resigned.
"You hurt me, Derek," she told him in barely a whisper. "You hurt me a lot and I have no idea what you hoped to gain from it. If anything you had said had been true, you wouldn't be here now," she concluded. "But I didn't know that at the time and I don't honestly think I'll ever forgive you for some of the things you said. Even if you didn't mean it, you tried to hurt me purposefully and no mate should ever do that." His grip on her tightened and she almost stopped talking right then and there. But something pushed her forward - maybe her need for him to understand that she didn't trust him nearly as unconditionally as before. "At this point, I don't trust you not to hurt me again," she finally said.
For a good long while, neither of them spoke until Derek eventually ventured, "You stayed, though."
"I didn't want to," she admitted. "But I knew something was wrong and then Isaac called. I didn't want to turn my back on this pack without knowing the full story, especially with the alpha pack still out for blood. Isaac stayed with Scott and I stayed with Peter. I knew you guys were planning to take on the alphas and I wanted to help, but Peter told me I would just distract you."
Derek didn't say anything. Paige noticed that he hadn't apologized either.
"You should rest," he suggested.
"I thought we were moving to Peter's?" Paige inquired. "Or is that just me?"
"Rest for a bit longer and then we'll both stay there for the night," he explained. "We'll decide what to do tomorrow morning."
And that was exactly what they did. Peter arranged a massive blanket-pillow nest on his living room floor and together the Hales, plus Paige, camped out together. By later that evening, she was able to keep down some broth and then the next morning, she kept her eggs and whole grain toast down quite nicely. As they sat together all eating, something occurred to her and she put her fork down loudly. "Isaac and Boyd don't know," she told them. "They are at a cross country meet right now - they still think Derek's dead!"
"Scott, too?" Derek added.
Paige looked at her alpha sideways. "Yeah," she confessed. "Scott also still thinks you're dead."
"Aren't the alpha twins on cross country?" Cora asked.
Derek stood up from the table and retrieved Paige's phone from the overnight bag she had had him pack. Paige was already beginning to feel more like herself and strained her ears in order to pick up Isaac's side of the conversation. It rang twice and then Isaac's voice boomed through the speaker, "Hello?"
"Isaac, it's Derek," the alpha announced.
"...Derek?" the relief was evident immediately in his voice. In the background, multiple voice erupted. She could make out Boyd's, Scott's and Stiles' very easily. "We... we thought you were dead."
"I'm not," he responded briskly. "Are you guys okay?"
"Yeah," Isaac instantly answered, a little too fast. A brief pause occurred where Isaac must have realized his answer wasn't too convincing. "Well, Scott wasn't healing properly for a while, but he's fine now. And I got a mild suspension for beating up one of the alpha twins and then we had to stay at this motel and something happened..."
"What happened?" Derek pressed.
"We think the darach attacked us," Isaac finally admitted. "We were poisoned with wolfsbane and it made us all hallucinate but we're fine! Everything is fine, everyone is alive, especially you."
"The darach?" Paige turned and asked Peter.
"Evil druid who is ritualistically sacrificing people to gain power," he explained.
"I'm out of the pack for a few days and I miss everything," she complained.
Peter shushed her just as Derek told Isaac, "Get home safe and meet us back at my loft. We'll touch base there."
"Roger," Isaac joked but Derek was already hanging up the phone.
"Are werewolves part of the three things that need to be sacrificed? Cora immediately questioned.
"All Deaton said was that each group of three stood for something," Derek told her.
"So... you're telling me that on top of dealing with this stupid alpha pack, there is also an evil druid who wants to kill us?" Paige asked. When all Derek did was nod, Paige sighed, picked up her fork and accepted that it was obviously just a normal day in Beacon Hills.
Take another drag turn me to ashes
Ready for another lie?
Says he's gonna teach me just what fast is
Say it's gonna be alright