November 24, 2004
“I’m thankful for our pack.”
“I’m…uh, thankful for food.”
“Nice one kiddo. I’m thankful for my wife and kids.”
“I’m thankful for my sister who is a truly wonderful Alpha.”
“I’m thankful for our territory and it’s safety.”
“I’m thankful for my new phone.”
“Really Laur? I’m thankful for my husband and kids, without them I’d be nothing. Same for my pack.”
The dinner table went silent.
November 25, 2004
“That was a real shit thing to do at dinner Der.”
Derek furrowed his brow, looking over to Laura through the brush and moonlight. Tonight the moon hung low in the sky, it’s round fat face full in all it’s glory. Peter had been teaching him how to control the shift ever since Paige died last school year, using anger as his anchor.
Tonight was one of few he’s started to spend outside the downstairs bunker with the younger kids.
Laura didn’t smell or look mad, more disappointed than anything. It hurt more, stung deeper than her yelling at him for being an idiot. For being stupid and falling for an older woman, one nobody really knew but Derek.
Derek trusted her though, trusted Kate. She was sweet and a few weeks ago took the news of werewolves just fine…not that he’d let anyone know he actually told her. It was his family’s secret, but like he said he knew her enough to trust her with it.
“What do you mean a shit thing to do? I am thankful for her,” Derek defended, curling more into himself while balancing on the rock he was sitting on. They were at Beacon Point, the very edge of the reserve that looked over Hill Valley, the city just beside Beacon Hills.
The twinkling of the bustling city below managed to calm him a bit but not by much.
Laura huffed, shaking her head full of curls before sitting beside him on the rock. Looking to the girl three years his senior he frowned, gritting his teeth together.
“Was it really that bad Laura?” Derek asked, voice low to hide the slight vulnerability he was feeling.
His sister’s coldness broke, her arm wrapping around his shoulder and pulling him into her. Derek didn’t hesitate to curl into her side because maybe he did ruin Thanksgiving.
“I think it just took us all by surprise, out of all the things you could’ve said you mentioned her. Definitely knocked Mom and Dad’s socks off,” Laura answered.
Derek could already see why she was the next Alpha in line, it was part of the reason he hated this situation. Hated that he’d disappointed her and their parents. He disappointed them with Paige and now again with Kate, he was such a shit excuse for a son in this family.
Cora is seven years younger than him and is a better child.
“Stop it Derek,” Laura warned, “I’m choking on your self pity and I know you’re pretty much drowning in it. Just try better next year, yeah?”
“Yeah,” he nodded, “next year will be better.”
For a while after that they sat in silence, watching the moon rise to it’s peak as the night went on. It’s soft glow casted a blue hue over everything. Over time he felt himself calm down and his sister’s hold was only making that easier for him to do.
Maybe this was his first full moon where he was perfectly calm.
“So,” he started, “how is everything with Josh?”
Laura snorted, a thing she did when she laughed, “over and done with. He only asked me out to get into my pants.”
“Considering how tight you buy your pants in the first place he had no chance anyways,” Derek said, looking at her with wide eyes.
They both erupted into easy laughter, eyes crinkling and noses scrunching up. This was nice considering Laura is attending college in New York which meant less time with her. Everyone had been worried she wouldn’t get her work done in time to make it home for Thanksgiving, but Derek had no doubt she’d made it.
She always does.
Before either of them could recuperate from laughter the light air was spliced with darkness. A weak excuse for a howl echoed within the night, broken and practically begging for mercy and help. It sent shivers through Derek and made his heart clench in his chest.
The moment he realized who it belonged to was the moment his stomach fell from his very body, eyes widening and jaw going slack. Laura mimicked his expression.
“Cora,” they said in unison before bolting from their place on Beacon Point, thrusting themselves into a beta shift as they sprinted through the woods back home.
Fear pooled low in his chest, vision swimming without control, and the only reason he was on track is because Laura was running in front of him to guide the way. A few times he tripped on messy underbrush, his knees and palms torn up from the rough ground but the pain was nothing and already healed by the time he was up and running again. The leafless trees and spiny bushes passed by in a blur of dull colors, the chilled air like ice in his throat as he breathed in deep to keep running.
They were less than a mile away by the time he caught wind of what smelled like fire and burnt ashes. Fire wasn’t good on werewolves, it took almost as long to heal as mistletoe or mountain ash burns. Depending on how bad the burns were it could take years.
He hoped more than anything Cora just howled because it was instinct and not because the others couldn’t.
When they broke the tree line Derek nearly fell to his knees at the sight before them. Orange crackling flames licked up the side of their house, the back and entire left side of it engulfed in it. Derek felt the fear within him manifest to pure agony when he realized none of their family was outside.
The smell of singed flesh made him gag.
The only thing worse was the sounds of screams and cries they could hear from inside, claws and fists banging against what must be the metal door from the bunker below.
“NO!” Laura roared, hysterical as she ran up to the house.
Derek froze watching as his sister was about to run into the house, “Laura! NO!” Before too much could happen she was thrown back off her feet, landing on the ground with a harsh huff.
Nobody was meant to escape, this was a trap, someone set this up…
A hand smacked him across his face, bringing him out of his thoughts, blinking wildly to see Laura shaking him. Her green eyes were soaked in tears and her body shook violently.
“Get your head out of your ass Derek! Help me find another way in before the cops get here!” Laura screamed before running off to the right side of the house where the flames had yet to touch. He watched her start to scale the ivy which curled up to the second story roof.
Shaking his head he made his way to the left side, wary of the flames that were anything but tame. They ran like wild and moved with lethal grace. Derek blinked away the blur from his sight, eyes flickering blue to see if whoever did this left any blank spots of mountain ash.
What he did find was the grated window that was part of the bunker. There was no mountain ash barrier but the iron itself was soaked in it to prevent a younger or out of control wolf from getting out on full moons. Derek wanted nothing more than to rip it out but knew it would be no good.
“Hey!” Derek yelled into the mass of screams, flopping onto his belly and wiggled in close to the grate to see inside. Large walls of flames were all over the room, basking everything in an angry glow.
There were bodies on the ground, one in particular had him crying out. It was the olive green shawl that gave her away; she wore it around the house and she wore it at pack meetings. Her hair and skin were burnt beyond compare and just looking at her made him want to die.
She wasn’t supposed to be dead! This was his mom, his Alpha, his everything!
“Mom!” He screamed, shoving himself closer to the window even as smoke billowed out and fire threatened to burn him. He didn’t care anymore though, he just needed Laura to get inside and get them out.
Hands suddenly grasped the bars, caked with blood and flaking skin. The face of his father appeared, mangled from the fire. Derek put his hands over his father’s, numbness washing over him.
“Son,” his father rasped but coughed before much more could be said.
“Dad! Hang on okay! Laura is finding a way in, and we called 911,” Derek said, flinching when ashes wafted out of the small window and into his eyes. His father’s hand wrapped around his, the grip tight and expressing everything that needed to be said without any use of actual words.
Derek opened his eyes again and looked to his father, shaking his head, “…no, please Dad…I-I can’t…”
Before much more could be said a flash of heat wafted out from the window this time, Derek screaming as it hit his face. Scurrying back from the heat he watched as his father’s face was swallowed whole by the flames.
The numbness that washed over him was astounding. The ringing in his ears was bliss compared to the rapidly fading screams of his family. He didn’t actually see the flashing emergency lights, or hear the sirens, or feel as a deputy pulled him away from the house.
Derek felt his body thrash around on it’s own accord and felt his throat move with a wail but heard no sound. Sturdy arms wrapped around him, shielding him as something exploded from inside the house which only created more flame and heat.
Finally he took a breath, he let the pain in because holding back made him feel like he was drowning. Once again the crackling of fire and screaming sirens filtered in, his body could comprehend the officer dragging him to an ambulance, and the realization that all he had left was Laura crushed him.
“Son! I need you to calm down, okay? We’re gonna get your family–”
Using his strength he ripped away from the cop easily enough, spinning on his heel to face him. The guy was young-ish, hair sandy brown/blonde, blue eyes worn.
His name tag read “Stilinski”.
“My family is dead,” Derek sobbed, wiping his eyes harshly, “I watched them…they…they’re dead!”
Stilinski deflated, a hand clasping Derek’s shoulder as he lead him to the ambulance without so much of a word. Laura was angry, so angry as she carefully kicked and flailed around on the gurney she was laying on. Her body was covered in black soot and her arm had a massive burn on it.
“D-Der,” she wheezed and he rushed inside, shoving the EMT away when he tried to tell Derek to stop. He threw himself into the back of the ambulance and held onto his sister for dear life, crying into her smoky scented hair.
“It’s my fault,” Derek muttered the next morning as they said and waited outside the Sheriff’s office to give a statement before Laura hauled them both back to New York.
Laura was hunched over, knees curled into her chest, “what?”
“I think I know who did this…who set the fire,” he clarified and his sister looked to him with such hatred and anger it made him recoil. Her eyes even flashed red for a second before turning to their human state. Fresh tears sprang to her eyes as she stood up on two shaky legs, making her way outside.
“I can’t believe you told her! Derek how could you have been so stupid?!” Laura screamed at him, the “this is all your fault!” was left unsaid but very clear in Derek’s mind. Every deputy froze, eyes wide at the two of them.
Derek didn’t protest when she stormed out of the station. Hell he deserved for her to leave too…he didn’t deserve to have her. What he’s done is unforgivable. He’s the reason Peter is comatose in the hospital. He’s the reason his ten other family members are six feet under in an empty casket because there wasn’t enough remains to bury them properly.
Choking on the lump in his throat he stood when the Sheriff called him in, not missing the sorrow stricken look on deputy Stilinski’s face as he walked in alone.
Thank you to @endgame-sterek who beta’d this for me! Have fun with the angst!