Title: Lost in the Wild
Author: Anthea Davis
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Word Count: ~2900
Primary Pairings/Characters: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski
Rating: PG-13, it may change later on.
Content/Warnings: Canon level violence, thoughts of being stranded
Summary: Derek’s gone missing. Isaac and Stiles seems to be the only ones worried about that.
Beta: None. Causal spell check. No bitching.
Lost in the Wild
Derek took a deep breath as he focused his mind like he had gleaned from Peter. He focused on the image of the wolf in his mind and pushed that image into reality. He imagined the feel of four paws on the forest floor, the breeze rushing through his fur. He pushed that image into the connection in his mind where he kept his wolf characteristics and instincts at bay, letting them free than he had ever done before.
He felt himself shift to his beta form, knew his eyes would gleam red if they were open. He pushed harder at the image and then harder still until he finally felt the change he had been looking for. He grimaced at the feel of bone, muscle and organs shifting in a queasy way but he didn’t waver from his focus. He remained intent on the image in his mind until it consumed his consciousness.
It took him a few minutes to realise the transformation was complete. He almost regretted having done this in the middle of the Beacon Hills preserve as he wouldn’t have minded having a mirror right now. From what he could see, he wore a thick dark brown pelt so far without any markings. He was taller and bigger built than the average wolf. It annoyed him that he wasn’t any bigger than Peter’s form had been, though he was glad to see for the most part that his from was that of an actual wolf and not the monster that his uncle had become. He refused to think of his mother’s form.
The feel of his tail behind him and the way he could move his ears took some getting used to, but before long he was as steady on four paws as he was on two feet and he was bolting through the forest.
For once in a very long time he was joyful and carefree.
“I don’t get it, it’s been days since I saw him,” Isaac whispered with a frown.
“So what?” Scott said through his mouthful of lunch.
“There’s no fresh scent of him anywhere. Not out at the house, not at the depo, and his car hasn’t moved from outside his apartment in days. “
“Wait wait, Derek has an apartment?” Stiles demanded. “If he has an apartment then why the hell have we been meeting at the depo for all this time? That last tetanus injection burned like a motherfucker.”
“Well you were never invited to the pack meetings. If you were so worried then you shouldn’t have come,’ Isaac sniffed angrily, refusing to even look in Stiles’ direction.
“And let you lot run around aimlessly as the Alpha Pack picked us off one by one? Thanks, but no thanks. One torture session a lifetime is enough for me thank you.” Stiles snorted.
It was the ensuing silence that clued him into the fact that he hadn’t necessarily been listening to what he had been saying. The whole table was quiet as they looked at him in various expressions of shock and horror.
“Excuse me,” Stiles said softly, abandoning his half eaten lunch to quickly escape the cafeteria.
He walked quickly to his next class and took a seat near the back, before promptly banging his head on the table. He groaned in both pain and mortification as he played back what he had said. He was an idiot for letting it slip and he knew he would be facing an interrogation as soon as Scott of Lydia got him alone. He wasn’t sure who would get to him first. He wasn’t sure who he even wanted to get to him first. It was going to be painful either way.
Though he’s surprised Erica and Boyd never said anything after they had been released. He would have assumed Isaac would’ve known, but judging by his expression a few minutes prior, it would seem that wasn’t the case.
Stiles sat in silence in the empty classroom, head still resting on the desk. His mind raced as he spun scenario upon scenario of what was awaiting him until the reason Isaac had approached them came flashing back.
Derek had been missing for a few days.
He didn’t necessarily think it was cause for suspicion as going by Derek’s personality, he was introverted to a fault. He took taciturn to new and unprecedented levels. That the Sour Wolf hand wanted a few days’ space after the nightmare that had been the last year, could be completely understandable. Logical even.
So why did his mind rebel against the conclusion?
He was saved further contemplation by the arrival of the teacher, closely followed by the bell signalling the end of lunch.
He forgot he only had Lydia this period as she determinedly strode into the classroom and all but slammed her books on the table beside him.
It was going to be a long day.
The following Friday saw Stiles and Scott make their way to the train depot at the normal time.
For months they had met at the same time every week to update and discuss the Alpha Pack that had invaded their territory. By this stage it was habit and it hadn’t been called off yet, so Stiles easily convinced Scott it was still a good idea to keep going.
‘Forewarned was Forearmed’ was Stiles new motto concerning anything Supernatural.
Inside, Isaac was curled up by himself on one of the decrepit lounge suites, whilst Jackson and Lydia were perched on another. Lydia was focused on her phone whilst Jackson could almost be mistaken for being asleep. Stiles knew better though.
The room still felt wrong without Erica and Boyd’s presence, something Stiles was sure the werewolves felt more keenly.
Stiles and Scott took another lounge, their same spots as normal. A few minutes later, Allison arrived and took her seat on a random dining chair next to Scott. No body moved or said anything.
Five minutes later there was still not a sound, and it was getting to Stiles.
“So where is our fearless Alpha?”
Nobody said anything but Isaac seemed to curl into himself even tighter.
“Anyone?” Stiles prodded to no avail.
“Has anyone seen him lately?” Isaac asked in a whisper which the humans in the room could barely hear.
“Nope,” Lydia said distractedly, still focused on her phone. The others all shook their heads.
“Hands up anyone who finds that pretty strange?” Stiles raised his hand. Isaac joined him
“Hands up anyone who doesn’t give a shit,” Jackson snarled, not even bothering to open his eyes.
There was silence in the room but for Isaac’s whimper. Stiles just sighed heavily.
It shouldn’t have surprised him that they weren’t more concerned. It was only by a wind and a prayer that they had managed to dispatch the Alpha Pack. There was no bonding experience, no working as a Team. Just grudging alliances and more backstabbing. At least it hadn’t necessarily been just Scott this time. He had forgiven his best friend but he certainly hadn’t forgotten.
So now that Derek was actually missing, no one overly cared. Stiles felt guilty as his first thought that perhaps things might finally settle down on the supernatural front.
“Well, if he’s not going to come, maybe we should get going,” Scott said to Stiles quietly. Of course they were in a room with werewolves, so the volume of one’s voice was a moot point.
It was all the break needed in the room as after that everyone was noisily getting up and leaving with barely a word said between the different groups.
“So this was a waste of time.” Scott added as he waited for Stiles to move.
“You’re not the tinniest bit worried about Derek?” Stiles prodded, loathe to leave the depo.
“He’s strong enough to take care of himself. And he’s always going on about how he regrets biting teenagers. Maybe he just wanted time to himself,” Scott reasoned.
“For over a week without going to any of his normal haunts, without a word to anyone, leaving his car, wallet and mobile behind. Not even a new or recent scent of him that your wolfy noses can pick up?”
“Ok, so it sounds a little strange when you put it that way,” Scott admitted as they climbed into the jeep.
“Right. Now that we agree he’s missing, where do you think he’s gone? Or do you think anything has happened to him? You don’t think he’s been captured by hunters or another Alpha from the Alpha Pack that we didn’t know about? He’s been captured again and is probably being tortured as we speak.” Stiles mind ran with possibilities, visions of the Alpha strung up and the electric current turned on, Kate Argent Style.
“Calm down Stiles. He’s not been captured. There’s not been any evidence of that.”
“But we can’t rule it out. Lack of evidence doesn’t mean that it’s not a possibility.”
“Okay, it’s highly doubtful, but not ruled out.” Scott allowed with a sigh, well used to Stiles after all their years as friends.
“So why would he leave then, and especially leaving everything he would need for the human world behind, unless he meant to leave the real world behind. That’s it. The emotional baggage has grown so much that he’s had a mental breakdown and is lost somewhere. Do you think he’s gone full amnesiac or is he just hiding somewhere?”
“If he’s broken down, then he just needs the time to get things back together again. And that’s what we should do. Give him some time to get himself back together.” Scott said resolutely, leaving Stiles to bite his tongue.
One week later and there was still no sign of Derek. Isaac was even more depressed, Jackson, Lydia and Allison were still uncaring and decided to go and get pizza together. Scott shrugged his shoulders and made his way out of the depo.
“You coming Stiles?” Scott’s brow furrowed in confusion when the human didn’t follow him.
“I’m going to stick with Isaac a bit.”
Scott just shrugged again and left.
“So this is pretty awkward.” Stiles started, hoping to draw Isaac out.it wasn’t successful. “So looks like we’re the only ones worried.”
“He wouldn’t just leave without saying something.” Isaac affirmed, it sounded well-rehearsed.
“No, I think he would. He takes being an Alpha more seriously than that.” Stiles reassured.
“You don’t think something bad has happened, do you?” Isaac asked, seeming to curl into himself even more.
“I’m pretty sure you guys would feel it if he’d been killed or something,” Stiles grimaced when Isaac started whining. “Your wolfy pack bonds would tell you that kind of thing.”
Isaac just nodded, the whimpers stopping.
“Then we just need to retrace where he had been. Maybe check out the Reserve a bit deeper. He grew up in them so he’s bound to know them better than any of us.”
Isaac nodded again, pulling himself together. All at once he looked determined again instead of broken.
“So let’s go back over his usual haunts around town once more, and tomorrow we’ll go to the Reserve for the day.”
That night Stiles dove around town whilst Isaac very embarrassingly had his head stuck out the window. they didn’t catch Derek’s scent anywhere. but they also didn’t find any evidence of new hunters either, so Stiles counted that as a positive.
They parted ways just after midnight and stiles slunk home glad for once his dad was on a night shift. he crawled into bed and slept for what only felt like five minutes when he was prodded awake by Isaac looking earnest and determined.
An hour later, having gathered supplies and breakfast Stiles drove them to the Reserve and parked at the start of the hiker’s trails. the car had barely stopped when Isaac was already Climbing out the passenger side and hiking his back pack over his shoulder.
Stiles took a moment longer to yawn widely and glare into the dawn light before getting out and hitching his own bag over a shoulder. Isaac was already at the entrance to the first trail so he quickly jogged to catch up.
The first few hours were spent following the trail deeper into the forest before they agreed to leave it behind. If Derek wanted to be alone or if he had been captured, it wasn’t like they would remain on the well-worn track.
Progress slowed considerably as Stiles struggled to make his way through the uneven forest floor and soon enough he had lost sight of Isaac altogether. He wasn’t overly worried as he knew Isaac’s hearing would still find him should he need it. So Stiles trudged on until another few hours had passed, with no idea what he could be looking for.
It was getting into late afternoon when he realised at some point Isaac had gone out of ear shot. He had tried calling to the other werewolf but there was no answer. He tried calling him on his cell, but there wasn’t enough signal this deep in the Preserve. He shot off a text anyway and began to make his way back in hopefully the right direction. A little while later he received a text back saying the werewolf was following a potential scent trail.
Stiles contemplated a moment remaining in the Preserve but quickly vetoed it. He was exhausted from the all day hike already and whilst the sun wouldn’t be setting for another few hours, he would probably better spent that time hiking back to Betty and his bed.
The compass that he had packed seemed to be defective as the needle remained northeast no matter which way he faced. He only wished he had discovered this earlier as now there was a distinct possibility that he was lost.
He grumbled loudly as he roughly shoved it back in his bag and got his last water bottle out. He sat on a nearby trunk to drink, taking a five-minute break to work out what to do next. He could vaguely make out the direction of the sun, so from that he decided on a direction and promptly face planted on his first step.
The yell he let out surprised even him, but then the pain started, radiating from his ankle and up his leg. He rolled over to look at the damage and almost wished he hadn’t as it was rapidly swelling. He swore loudly and colourfully when he tried to put some weight on it, but it couldn’t support him.
Sighing in defeat he pulled his phone out, but it looked like he had hit it somehow, going by the crack in the screen and that it was refusing to turn on. Stiles barely refrained from throwing it in his anger. He didn’t want to add litterbug to his list of humiliations for the day, or whenever it was he was eventually found.
Over the next ten minutes the swelling increased to the point he had to loosen the shoe some. He didn’t dare take it off, knowing he would never get it back on. If he was going to have any hope of leaving the Preserve, he was going to need both shoes on. Though by this point he was really wishing for a werewolf to be nearby purely for the sheer pain management. Any time he shifted or seemed to move sparked off another wave of pain that brought tears to his eyes.
Stiles swore again as the frustration mounted and he realised how futile his options were. he would have continued his ranting monologue if he didn’t hear the snap of a twig not too far away. The silence that followed was deafening as now there weren’t even the normal sounds of the forest. Only the wind rustling through the trees.
Stiles inwardly cursed, it was typically his luck that he would be killed by a bear or a stupid mountain lion. But when he looked around himself it was to find the biggest black wolf he had ever seen, still partially hidden amongst the bushes.
He spent at least half a minute freaking out that he was about to become the wolf’s dinner that night when he remembered that there were no wolves in this part of California, only werewolves.
“Derek?” Stiles stuttered, looking the massive over, looking for any hint it was him.
The wolf stared at him for another minute as Stiles grew more and more worried. But then the wolf’s eyes flashed a familiar Red and he started walking forward.
“You scared the crap out of me, Sourwolf.” Stiles groused, relaxing back again on the ground. “Did you know your pups have been worried about you? Isaac is out there somewhere trying to find you right now. How could you leave them?”
The wolf huffed, looking away.
“So you’ve been off wolfing around the Preserve all this time, huh?”
The wolf merely sat down in front of him.
“Congratulations, by the way. I wondered if you could do the full transformation or not. And let me tell you, you look much more awesome than Uncle Creeper Wolf ever did.”
The wolf’s tail wagged once through the dirt and leaf strewn forest floor. Stiles snorted at the aborted display of canine happiness. “Yeah, you’re real badass!”