Title: A Change Would Do You Good
Disclaimer: BtVS and Teen Wolf are owned by their creators, Jeff Davies and Joss
Whedon. This is for entertainment purposes only. I sadly own nothing.
Thanks again to Noturbaby for the beta!
(Chapter 2: B is for Bags)
(Chapter 3: C is for Challenge)
(Chapter 4: D is for Derek)
(Chapter 5: E is for Encounter)
(Chapter 6: F is for Family)
(Chapter 7: G is for Growl)
(Chapter 8: H is for Heal)
(Chapter 9: I is for Intoxicated)
(Chapter 10: J is for Jealousy)
Faith was greeted at the door by Stiles who was looking worried as she arrived home from her meeting with Derek. She had already told him about what happened with Scott and whilst it pained her to lie to him about Derek, she knew it was for the best. Unfortunately, knowing that it was the best option didn’t do anything to alleviate the guilt she felt with each new lie that fell from her lips.
Stiles dragged her upstairs clumsily and into his room. He started explaining what he had learned about the two dead guys; explaining that they were both victims of the Alpha. Faith sat and listened as he explained that they had also been burnt to a crisp afterwards. This fact unsettled her most as this wasn’t like the visceral remains left in the attacks on Laura Hale, the bus driver and the video store clerk.
Faith always had a gut feeling that the murders were related in some way; that there was some pattern here rather than just some random unfortunates. It made her think of something her uncle once said when she was younger,
“One is an incident, two is a coincidence and three is a pattern.”
A pattern was almost a given at this stage; the question was – what’s the Alpha’s end game?
He had mutilated the prior victims and eviscerated them upon death; leaving their mangled corpses in clear view. The fact that he had burned the bodies this time didn’t fit in with his usual ‘style’ and hiding what he had done didn’t appear to be a priority for him.
She knew there was a message here… something hidden in the details but she didn’t know what.
After saying goodnight to Stiles and heading off to bed, Faith composed an email to Dawn. She told her everything that had happened that night, including the conversation with Derek and the supposed ‘cure’. She didn’t need to emphasise that she needed confirmation on whether the cure was real or not, before detailing the murders and her findings that the Alpha was killing for a reason and that reason was in Beacon Hills.
The next day, Scott arrived at the house and proceeded to grovel to Stiles and beg for forgiveness; true to form, her cousin did not disappoint. Stiles had forgiven Scott for all that had happened and had easily reverted back to how they were before. Faith wasn’t surprised and had left them to discuss all that had happened the night before with Derek saving the day and the subsequent revelation that there could be a cure. Faith had made a point to leave during that part of the conversation; opting to run away rather than answering the endless questions that Stiles was sure to have.
She had returned a couple of hours later to an empty house and a note from her uncle stating he would be working late – again. This was another reason on Faith’s ever growing list of why she needed the whole Alpha business to be over and done with. She took a long shower and got dressed for ‘lounging’; using the rest of the day catching up on emails from everyone. She honestly hadn’t been ignoring anyone on purpose, however, she felt herself fitting in so well in Beacon Hills that she had temporarily forgotten the life she had before. It scared her to think what would happen once she left; going back to travelling around and never staying in one place long enough to throw down roots. Staying here instead had flitted through her mind already but she was equally concerned about making the commitment to that life either… not just yet anyway.
The thought made her think of how happy Buffy seemed now that she was in Italy; finally living a full and happy life free from slaying. Faith was not as willing to retire as she loved being a Slayer too much… but maybe the vocation she came here for could be more literal than she first intended. Beacon Hills may not be a Hellmouth but it still had its fair share of trouble and she had convinced herself that it could probably do with having a Slayer around for a bit longer.
Seeing as there wasn’t another slayer in the area she decided that she’d take the job. It definitely had more pros than cons at this moment in time.
It had often occurred to Faith that there was no real need for her to go patrolling in Beacon Hills since it had transpired it was pretty much demon and vampire free. It wasn’t that she liked patrolling as such, but old habits die hard… and she was bored. It also helped to keep her mind free clear as she blocked out the world; allowing for her to concentrate fully on the skills that came to her as naturally as breathing. Now she was walking around the deserted industrial park with nothing to do and a stake that hadn’t seen any action since she left Cleveland.
She could hear the city sounds around her, the music from the numerous clubs that were dotted around and the horns of the cars blaring noisily at each other. When she heard the sirens of several police cars, she ignored it, listening instead for anything out of the ordinary. When all she received back was silence she all but decided to give up and head back to her car and maybe finish off the chunky monkey that Stiles thought he had successfully hidden in the freezer at home. She was just approaching her car when her cell went off, breaking the quiet of the street. Faith knew it was Stiles by the ringtone she had chosen for him a while ago; he still hadn’t heard what she had chosen for him and was eagerly awaiting the day he would.
Faith pressed the answer button but her greeting was interrupted by Stiles. “Please tell me you’re out patrolling?”
“Hello to you too and I was just heading home,” Faith answered. She could hear Stiles muffle the speaker and speak to who she could only guess was Scott beside him.
“Are you near the Iron Works?” He asked after a moment.
“Close enough. Why? What’s going on?” Faith opened the car and got in.
“Derek’s there. He’s trapped by the cops and the Argents. You need to get there before they find him, or before dad does.”
Faith sighed. She looked at the clear night sky, silently asking, ‘Why me?’ “Should I even ask?”
“Please Faith. Kate Argent just overtook us and is headed that way. By the sounds of it, they are closing in fast. He needs your help. ”
Faith gripped the steering wheel, her knuckles turning white. “Where are you right now?”
“About five minutes away.”
“I’ll get there faster. I’ll go and get him and I want you two to meet us by the Preserve. Remember where you went the day Derek was shot?” She received silence as an answer. “Stiles, don’t nod at me. Use words.”
“Yeah, yeah. I’m sorry, I remember.”
“Good, now head there as fast as you can. Your dad will notice your jeep if you get too close.”
“Yeah, about that…” Stiles paused, “we have the Camaro.”
Faith gaped in shock, “Derek let you drive the Camaro? Is he dying?” She ignored the little blip her heart gave at the mere thought of Derek dying and the irresistible urge to punch something.
“Scott’s driving and it’s a long story but as far as I can tell, he isn’t dying or dead yet and why wouldn’t I be allowed to drive the Camaro? I’m a good driver! I’m way better than little ‘driving Miss Daisy’ next to me.”
Faith could hear Scott bickering in the background with Stiles as she started the engine. She knew it was risky using her car to pick up Derek during a police chase but with her tinted windows and her driving skills, she should get out of there with no problems. Dealing with the hunters, despite the fact she really didn’t want them knowing who she was, would be easier than dealing with the cops; she didn’t think her uncle would appreciate his niece in handcuffs and having to explain why.
“I’ll see you two soon.” Faith hung up as she sped away, heading towards the Iron Works. She knew there were a couple of entrances to the warehouse and she had a good idea where the police would try and trap Derek but was unclear on how the Argents would trap him; that worried her. She didn’t need them shooting first and asking questions later, let alone getting anyone else caught in the line of fire; collateral damage was unacceptable right now.
Faith heard the sirens long before she saw the cluster of cop cars at the entrance to the Iron Works; she swerved out of view and quickly made her way to the rear of the warehouse where she knew the trucks were parked. There was an entrance to the building that was for forklifts only but she guessed her car could fit through with no trouble before coming out the other end and bypassing the cops completely… and hopefully the Argents too.
She hit the gas and sped through the warehouse as she heard the shots ring out only stopping the car as she saw the explosion and Derek run for cover behind a forklift. She winced when she saw the flare go off and could see that it had affected Derek’s vision.
“Get in the car!” She shouted. She let out a high pitched whistle as she pushed open the passenger door to get his attention. She could see the look of shock on his face as he turned, squinting, before another shot ran out, hitting close to the open car door.
Derek ran towards the car and jumped in as Faith tore out of the warehouse, leaving dust in her wake. She kept the fast speed until she was far enough away, making her way to the opposite side of town, away from the Preserve and Scott and Stiles. She wanted to make sure they weren’t being followed first before heading in the right direction. It was another few moments before she realised that she did in fact have a passenger, who was looking at her in question; the after effects of the flare long since gone.
“What?” She finally asked, her eyes darting from Derek to the road. “Were you expecting someone else? I could go back if you want?”
When she received a huff in response, she gripped the steering wheel, her knuckles paling.
“You know, a thank you would be nice!” Faith barked, “I could have had other plans that may or may not have included a large tub of ice cream and a couch.”
“I didn’t ask for any help, especially yours,” Derek growled.
Faith frowned at Derek before pulling over to the side of the deserted road. Turning off the engine, she turned to Derek and slapped him upside the head. “I should just drag you back to the Argents!” she shouted.
Faith raised her hand to slap him again but was stopped short by Derek’s hand as it caught her wrist tightly.
“Let go,” Faith growled at him. She twisted her wrist to slacken his hold but could feel it tighten instead, her bones rubbing together painfully but not enough for her to give him the satisfaction of letting it show. She used her other hand to pry his hand off her wrist but he grabbed her other wrist, pulling it away so both her hands were apart.
“Let. Go,” she threatened, gritting her teeth. Faith watched as Derek’s eyes widened slightly before narrowing.
Faith breathed deeply as she pushed all her anger towards getting out of Derek’s hold on her, the air in the car started to crackle with the tension between the two. She closed her eyes, taking a deep breath and concentrated on slowly rotating her wrists around to grab a hold of Derek’s jacket, using the leverage to allow his hold on her to loosen. When she opened her eyes she could see Derek looking from her to back down to where they were connected in surprise as she twisted out of the crushing grip he had on her. When she finally got out she pushed away from him with breath and a hiss as she looked to her wrists and watched as they started to darken with fresh bruises.
She looked up to find Derek staring at her in open mouthed shock before looking down to her wrists in abject horror. He looked back at her in an expression she could only describe as guilt. She watched with wide eyes, her anger fading as he lightly took hold of her wrists, turning them so he could inspect them in the light coming from the streetlamp outside.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered.
Faith shook her head. “I hit you so I should be apologising. I shouldn’t have done that but you pissed me off,” she said lightly as she allowed Derek to examine her wrists. “I’m a big girl, I can take it. It doesn’t hurt and those will fade quickly.”
“You shouldn’t have to,” Derek frowned, letting her go gently. “And thank you.”
"See, was that so hard?” Faith teased, trying to defuse the tension that had filled the car, even though she could still feel the hairs on the back of her neck standing on end. She received nothing from Derek as he continued to stare out of the car window at the empty street. With a sigh, she started the car and headed off in the direction of the Preserve.
“Baby, you light up my world like nobody else. The way that you flick your hair gets me overwhelmed…”
Faith cringed slightly as she glanced at her cell on the dash to Derek, who was staring at her with an eyebrow raised.
“What?” she asked as she mimicked his expression. “It’s my favourite song by the best band ever! I heard Harry likes the older woman so I think I’m in with a chance.” Derek let out a breath in a slight laugh, giving a small shake of his head. “Ok, maybe not,” Faith relented giving Derek a small smile. “Stiles uses this song to express his man pain and I’ve decided to take advantage of that for funsies.”
Derek’s chance to respond was interrupted by Faith’s cell ringing again. She answered, hitting the speakerphone.
“Faith’s taxi cabs. Where we aim to pick you up before the cops do!” Faith sang. She smiled as she caught Derek’s grin in the car window.
“You think you’re funny but you’re not,” Stiles voice echoed through the car. “Where are you?
”Did she get Derek?” Faith could hear Scott ask in the background.
“You doubted me?” Faith kidded but she could hear the worry from both boys.
“Of course not,” Stiles said warily, “We were just worried, you know?”
“I wanted to make sure we weren’t followed but we’re on our way now. You two ok?” She asked.
Scott shouted that they were fine but was interrupted by Stiles. “I just love to hang around here in the dark with a psychotic Alpha werewolf on the loose. Yep, we’re totally ok. In fact, the only thing that could make it better would be the Alpha actually showing up … annnnnd now that I’ve said it aloud it’s totally going to happen, isn’t it? He’s is going to come out of nowhere and bite down on my ass, well, not my ass or maybe my ass… Faith, please don’t let him bite me… I kinda like my ass.” There was a pause as she listened as Stiles and Scott argued in the background about how Stiles had just jinxed them both.
Faith heard Derek scoff and roll his eyes at Stiles’ rambling which had her smiling.
“I think I actually heard Derek roll his eyes down the phone,” Stiles said “Is he being facetious or does he genuinely have concern for my well-being? Don’t answer that, now I’m being facetious.”
Faith laughed as Derek glared at her cell.
“He’s glaring now, isn’t he?” he asked with a slight hint of fear. “And I think I just heard the first growl.”
Faith laughed harder. “Yeah, and if you don’t want him to bite you then I’d quit while you’re ahead… We’ll be there soon.”
They said their goodbyes and Faith hung up with a shake of her head.
Derek and Faith drove in silence until Faith couldn’t stand it any longer and turned on the radio. She mentally winced when the sounds of Boston filled the car.
‘It’s more than a feeling…more than a feeling…’
Derek let out an audible huff of his displeasure to the song and the general silence being interrupted.
“You know, a friend of mine has a saying that goes very well with this situation. It goes something like this – driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole. Got anything to say?” Faith asked. She received nothing from the broody werewolf except stony silence. “Good.”
Faith parked her car beside the Camaro and got out as Derek waited in the passenger seat when her cell went off again with Stiles’ new ringtone. She grinned when she heard a groan coming from the dark.
“Like it?” She called out, allowing her eyes to adjust to the darkness surrounding them and hiding her cousin from view. “I think it fits you perfectly.”
She watched as Stiles and Scott emerged from the darkness in front of them; the headlights illuminating them both. She turned her attention to Derek as he emerged from the car, walking toward Scott.
Stiles stopped as he stood opposite Faith with only the car door between them. “I take it back about me being proud you’re family,” he stated. “It’s still on. I haven’t forgotten.”
Faith’s grin widened as she leant forward to bring her face closer to his. “I don’t need to be a werewolf to know you are a lying liar who lies,” she said. “You’ll never get me lil’ cuz so give it up, she teased, rubbing the top of his head.
Stiles pulled away from her sharply, harrumphing as he folded his arms and walked away to stand beside Scott.
Faith chuckled and took a step back, closing the car door, to then lean against it as she watched Derek and Scott argue. Stiles, as ever, was caught in the middle trying to calm both parties down.
“What part of laying low don’t you understand?” Scott shouted at Derek.
“Dammit, I had him!” Derek yelled back as he brought his fist down onto the picnic table. An audible snap was heard as the table collapsed in on itself. All eyes fell on Faith as she let out a snort of laughter.
“The Alpha?” Stiles asked.
“Yeah! He was right in front of me, and then the friggin’ police show up,” Derek growled in frustration.
“Whoa, hey, they were just doing their job,” Stiles argued, attempting to stand up for his dad. He took a step back as Derek glared at him.
“Yeah, thanks to someone who decided to make me the most wanted fugitive in the entire state,” Derek scowled at Scott over Stiles’ shoulder.
“Better than the entire country,” Faith commented quietly. She gave a small shrug at the three questioning looks she received, “Never mind.” It was definitely not the time to bring up the past.
“Can we seriously get past that?” Scott shouted, raising his arms up in frustration. “I made a dumbass mistake, I get it.”
“Yeah, you did,” Faith nodded at him.
“Really?” Stiles asked, rounding on her. “You aren’t helping,” he pointed out before turning back to face Derek. “How did you find him?”
After a moment of silence, Scott asked, clearly irritated, “Can you try and trust us for at least half a second?”
“Yeah, both of us,” Stiles jumped in, coming to stand beside Scott but promptly fell back under the threatening look from Derek. “Or just him,” he nodded to Scott. As Derek continued to glare at him, he pointed to Faith while talking steps towards her. “I’ll be over there.”
Derek watched intently as Stiles took a seat beside Faith before taking a calming breath to speak to Scott. “Look, the last time I talked to my sister she was close to figuring something out. She found two things. The first was a guy name Harris.”
“Our Chemistry teacher?” Stiles butted in. Faith slapped the back of his head as Scott sighed, while Derek glared at him again.
“Why him?” Scott asked, bringing Derek’s attention, and anger, away from Stiles and back to the issue.
Derek shook his head. “I don’t know yet.”
“What’s the second?”
Derek pulled a piece of paper from the inside of his leather jacket, showing Scott. “Some kind of symbol.” Scott took the paper and groaned. “What? You know what this is?” Derek asked.
Faith stood up and walked towards Scott, taking the paper out of his hands to inspect the drawing. She could make out what was obviously supposed to be a wolf in the middle of shield. She knew what it was immediately as it had been on some of the files that Dawn had sent her when she first started investigating the Argent family; she just didn’t know how to let Derek know that it was the Argent family symbol without giving away how much she truly knew.
“It looks like a crest or a coat of arms,” Faith said, handing the paper back to Derek, avoiding eye contact but she could feel his questioning gaze on her.
“I’ve seen it on a necklace,” Scott broke in, “Allison’s necklace.”
“Great!” Stiles piped up, coming forward. “So, now what?”
Faith looked to Scott. “Kid, you’re gonna have to get it.”
“How? If you haven’t noticed, she’s not talking to me right now,” Scott said, his puppy dog eyes giving away how much he hated the situation between him and Allison.
“There’s always the easier way of just stealing it,” Faith offered. She received three looks of disbelief. “What? You think she’s just going to hand it over with no explanation as to why? Or are we going to tell her the truth?” She didn’t wait for a response before continuing, “It’s the only logical thing to do. Besides, the only person who can do it is you kid. Stiles is to stealth as Derek is to using words.” She ignored the glares from both Stiles and Derek. “Also, she doesn’t know me and don’t you think it would freak her out if Stiles’ cousin came out of nowhere asking about her necklace?”
“She’s got a point,” Derek said.
“Yeah, you really need to start using your words more,” Stiles retorted. He received a scowl from Derek and another head slap from Faith. “Ow!" he yelped, rubbing the back of his head. "You keep doing that and it’s going to cause damage, even if you are holding back.”
“You’re lucky I am and how would you be any different to how you are now?” Faith laughed as Stiles stuck his tongue out at her.
“Are we finished?” Derek interrupted them.
“Are you asking or telling?” Stiles remarked snidely. “Do you need to get back to your lair?”
“No because he’s staying with us,” Faith stated. She gulped as her words sank in; she really hadn’t meant to say that. She refused to look at Derek and kept her gaze on Stiles, who looked to be catching flies, his mouth hanging open in shock.
“I did not and will not agree to that,” he protested. “There isn’t even an alternate universe me who would agree either.”
“Think about it Stiles. The police are looking for him, in fact, as he pointed out, the entire state is after him and the only safe place in this town is the Sheriff’s house,” she tried to reason. “Tell me I’m wrong.”
“What makes you think I’ll agree?” Derek cut in, his arms crossed.
“What makes you think I’m giving you a choice?” Faith countered. “The way I see it Hale, you need me.”
Derek’s eyes widened for a second before he frowned, letting out a huff.
Stiles watched intently as his cousin and Derek argued and waited for Derek to get angry and lash out but surprisingly the angry werewolf backed down at Faith’s words and gave her a small nod. Stiles had no idea what it was that Faith did but he knew he was going to beg her to teach him later on.
“Fine!” Stiles shouted while raising his arms in the air in defeat. “But you are feeding and walking him,” he commanded, pointing a finger at her and walked away to stand beside Scott as he ignored Derek’s warning growl behind him.
Faith let out a breath and clasped her hands together. “Good, that’s settled then. Scott, take the Camaro back to where you found it. Exactly where you found it and Stiles, go with him and you…,” she ordered, watching Derek, “are coming with me.”
Derek let out a sigh as he walked towards the trunk of the Camaro.
“You sure you’re going to be alright?” Scott asked worriedly as he eyed Derek pulling a duffle out of the trunk.
“Five by five,” Faith replied, giving a quick look over her shoulder at Derek.
“I have no idea what that means,” Scott said.
“It means you get in the car and do as I tell you,” she placated him, resting her hands on his shoulders. “Now, watch yourselves and make sure you don’t get caught.” She walked Scott and Stiles to the Camaro. They got in, albeit reluctantly, given the looks she was receiving from them both. She watched them leave; not moving until she couldn’t make out the taillights in the dark and made her way towards her own car and a patiently waiting Derek.
“Ready?” She asked, grinning as she got in the car.
Derek glared and got in; his duffle already thrown in the back seat.
Wow, this is going to be interesting.
Stiles returned home to find Faith in the kitchen, sitting at her favourite spot, looking relaxed in sweats as though there wasn’t a scary ass werewolf in the house. He looked around for Derek but couldn’t find the sour wolf anywhere.
“He’s upstairs, shower, I think,” Faith answered Stiles unasked question. “Everything go well with you and Scott?”
Stiles nodded, trying not to show how much Faith just saying that Derek was having a shower in his house wasn’t freaking him out. It was all too… normal. Normal shouldn’t be werewolves, slayers and Alphas running around killing people but it seemed that this was his life now and yet he was having more of a hard time accepting just how easy he had accepted it all. He really needed a vacation.
“You ok? You’re all twitchy and it isn’t Adderall related,” Faith asked as she jumped down from the countertop.
Stiles shook his head. “Nope. No problems from me. No sir. It’s not like there’s a werewolf in my house, upstairs taking a shower and you are down here like this isn’t the weirdest thing to happen ever,” he babbled, leaning back against the doorframe for support.
“As opposed to Scott…?” Faith argued, her arms crossing defensively.
“Not the same thing and you know it!” He shouted as he angrily pointed a finger at her.
“Can you just trust that I know what I’m doing? Do you think I’d even let him past the door if I wasn’t a hundred percent sure?” Faith didn’t mention that she may have, in her nervousness, invited Derek into the house as though she suspected he was a vampire. She could’ve sworn she heard Buffy laughing all the way in Rome and Dawn in Cleveland while she had given herself a mental facepalm. She had argued with herself that it was just habit and she did it with everyone, regardless of who they are.
“You trust him?” Stiles sneered. “We are talking about Derek Hale here. The werewolf with serious anger issues that rival the Hulk!”
“I didn’t say I trusted him. I just… know him,” Faith attempted to explain as Stiles scoffed at her. “Look kiddo, I know Derek won’t hurt me and I know he needs us as much as we need him.”
“We do not need…,” Stiles started to protest.
“Yes, we do and you know it,” Faith cut him off. “You want to take on an Alpha alone, then go ahead, be my guest, or need I remind you the state I was in the first time I went up against him? And I’ll point out now that Derek was the one who brought me home. He saved me. You said so yourself.”
“That’s not fair,” Stiles pouted. He had remembered most of what he had said the night he had returned home drunk, including having to be carried upstairs by Faith. As embarrassing as it was, he knew he hadn’t said anything that wasn’t true.
“You aren’t being fair. Ok, so he’s not going to win Mr Congeniality anytime in this century but he’s been fine since he got here.” Silent and broody as always but he didn’t look like he was going to leave so Faith counted it as a win.
“I’m not changing my mind about this.”
Faith nodded, uncrossing her arms. “Duly noted.”
“So, where’s he sleeping? And don’t say my room.” He could handle Derek in his house but he drew the line at him sleeping in his room.
“My room,” Faith answered. “It’s the safest place and he can sleep on the floor near the window. It’s an easy escape if anything happens and he’s hidden by the bed if Uncle Stan decides to check in.”
Stiles’ silence spoke volumes as he just stared at Faith in shock. Derek in the same room as Faith was worse than Derek in his room. He suspected Faith was trying to give him a heart attack.
“What if something happens? What if…? What if there’s… and something goes …?” He sputtered. “I don’t like this. I just want it known that I hate this idea more than any other idea you’ve had… including the one at the school!”
“This is not your job! Don’t use that as an excuse,” he yelled.
Faith sighed, letting her head fall into her hands, her elbows perched on the breakfast bar. She understood where Stiles was coming from but she was tired and really wasn’t up to fighting with him. She knew he’d have reservations but he was being over dramatic about nothing and it was frustrating. She couldn’t explain that she felt better knowing that Derek was at least safe and no longer had to worry, not that she’d admit it out loud, about where he was staying or if anything would happen and she wouldn’t find out until it was too late.
“I’m going to bed,” she said, standing upright to face Stiles. “I’m done arguing about this.”
Walking past Stiles and trying hard to ignore the hurt look he gave her, she made her way upstairs towards her bedroom. She opened the door to find the room occupied with a comfortably dressed and freshly showered Derek Hale, sitting on the floor underneath her window. Faith took a moment to take in the scene before her and how odd it truly was. Derek didn’t look so angry, almost peaceful and it gave away how young was; his cold, hard act had him looking older than Faith knew him to be.
“Hey.” She gave him a small smile as she stepped into the room, shutting the door behind her.
Derek, who had his eyes closed, opened them to watch her sit down on her bed and lean against the headboard. “You were fighting with Stiles.”
“Eavesdropping is rude and you should know better,” Faith admonished.
“I’m not known for being nice,” Derek exclaimed. “You don’t like fighting with him.”
Before Faith could respond she heard Stiles walking upstairs with slow heavy footsteps and making his way into his room, closing the door with a soft click.
“No, I don’t,” she said softly. “I fight enough as it is and I’m pretty sure I’m done for my next five lifetimes. It just feels… wrong. I’m not used to this family thing.” She looked to Derek who had his eyebrow cocked in question. “I haven’t been around for a while, a really long while.”
“You stayed away.”
“The alternative would have been much worse, believe me. It was for their protection more than anything and they wouldn’t have been able to deal with… things. After a while it was easier to just forget I had family and let them forget about me,” Faith sighed.
“And now things have changed.”
“Do you ever actually ask questions?” She asked as Derek shrugged in response. “Well, to answer even if you didn’t ask, no. Let’s just say things are more manageable than before and I have friends who like to meddle. So, here I am.”
“Here you are. What a life you must lead.”
Derek looked behind Faith to her open laptop and the screensaver, slide-showing numerous photographs; Faith followed his gaze and smiled. Amongst them were pictures of her with Dawn in Scotland and Paris, images of her and Buffy strolling through the sights and ruins in Rome and then onto pictures of her with Vi and Dawn in Cleveland. She was pretty sure there were a few of her and Xander in Africa but it had been a long while since she’d paid any real attention to her screensaver; a life that now felt so very far away. To anyone else looking at them it looked as though Faith was vacationing with friends but what they didn’t see was the apocalypse that had started in Paris that had had her in the infirmary for a week, to the vampires in Rome that had wanted to challenge the oldest living Slayers on record; Buffy had retired after that debacle. Pictures were deceiving, none more so than her own.
“It’s not as exciting as you think,” Faith said as her eyes shifted away from the photograph of her and a few minis and down to her own hands. Two of the girls in the photograph were now deceased but she liked to remember them as they had been, as they were in those photos, rather than… well, now.
“You never said what you do.” Derek narrowed his eyes as he watched Faith fidget uncomfortably.
“No, I didn’t,” she coughed. “Seeing as you actually asked, I teach.” Derek snorted to which Faith looked up grinning; her previous thoughts now pushed away. “It’s true. I teach self-defence at a girl’s school in Cleveland. It’s pretty boring.”
“And in your boredom you get involved with this type of stuff, Miss Stilinski?”
“Miss Lehane,” Faith offered. “I’m not a Stilinski. I’m from Stiles’ mom’s side of the family and boredom tends to mean that I’m not involved with this type of stuff. Boredom is a good thing.”
“Faith Lehane,” Derek said, leaning his head back against the wall again. “Suits you more than Stilinski.”
“That’s me,” Faith stated. “Do you know enough now or do I have to talk about my teenage years next? I’ll tell you, it wasn’t pretty.”
“They tend not to be,” Derek muttered.
Silence filled the room as Faith contemplated what Derek had said. She knew that her teenage years weren’t something she could be proud of but Derek’s would have been awful. Losing your entire family like that isn’t something she would wish on anyone and she could clearly see how much it still affected him and now with his sister gone, she could clearly see the loneliness was slowly eating away at him. The sad thing, Derek was allowing it to happen. Faith knew she had a lot in common with the werewolf, but she hadn’t really known how much until then. She may not have lost her entire family but she had lost something once – herself and even now she was still fighting to get some semblance of it back; all the while knowing if she never truly would. She could relate to the loneliness and helplessness he felt.
“Would you have come back if not for Laura?” Faith asked finally.
“Would you, if your friend hadn’t meddled?” Derek countered as he lay down on the makeshift bed he had created from the blankets and pillows Faith had left him earlier.
“Probably not but that’s fear for you,” Faith answered honestly. She got herself under the duvet, lying back against the soft pillows to stare at the ceiling. “And guilt.”
“What do you know of fear and guilt?”
Faith breathed deeply as she contemplated her next words, ignoring the accusing tone from Derek. She had an uncontrollable urge to just tell him everything, let it all out and bare her soul. It hadn’t gone unnoticed that she had never lied to Derek and that all those half-truths she had told were no longer going to cut it.
“Story time is over for tonight, I think,” she said as she leant over to turn off the light. She glanced down to see Derek watching her intently, his head resting on his arm as he stared up at her. “Night, Hale.”
“Lehane,” Derek replied, closing his eyes as the light went out. Faith lay back down, turning on her side, her back to the door and her face towards the window. It struck her that she didn’t feel weird about having Derek in her room as she thought she would. Her nervousness had long gone and been replaced with a sense of calm and peace that she welcomed like a warm blanket. She felt safe.
Faith let a small smile play her lips as she let that knowledge pull her into sleep.
When Faith woke hours later, it wasn’t to Stiles’ ringtone, or even her uncle getting up for work, which she was becoming used to but rather sharp, fast breaths and small whines. She let her eyes adjust a moment before turning to look down to where Derek was now writhing in his sleep; the blankets were haphazard and trapped under him, his pillow looked to be soaked. Upon closer inspection, she could see damp patches on his t-shirt and sheen on his body from sweat.
Without a second thought, Faith quietly slid her body out of bed and lay down beside him, making sure to keep her movements slow as not to wake him. She really didn’t know what he would do if she woke him out of what looked to be a pretty intense nightmare but she couldn’t take the chance that he wouldn’t shift. The fact he hadn’t even felt her move beside him gave testament that he was deeply enthralled in whatever was going on in his head.
She froze, her breath caught in her throat as he turned to face her, their bodies now facing each other. She watched as he shivered, his arms wrapped tightly around himself as protection from whatever he could see in his mind. Faith knew she couldn’t reach the blankets at his feet or under him without getting up, so instead pulled a cover down from her bed and placed it gently over the both of them.
Faith carefully pulled Derek’s arms from around himself, slotting their hands together and pulling herself closer to him. She rested her forehead against his, ignoring the dampness in favour of trying to calm down his rapidly paced heartbeat.
“Shh… it’s okay… you’re safe,” she whispered soothingly as she lightly squeezed his fingers. She didn’t know if he was aware of her presence, but she kept whispering words of comfort as he continued to shake and whimper. The sound cut her deep as she didn’t like how defenceless he sounded or how helpless it made her feel that she couldn’t help him.
She closed her eyes and allowed her own heartbeat to calm; she didn’t know what to do but she couldn’t leave him like this. She decided to take a leaf out of Stiles’ book and talk.
“Derek, it’s Faith. You’re safe and nothing’s going to happen, I promise. Listen to me, please,” she pleaded softly, her grip on his fingers tightening again. “It isn’t real. Whatever you hear, whatever you see isn’t real. You hear me? It’s. Not. Real.” She pulled back slightly to brush her lips against Derek’s cheek, murmuring, “You’re here… safe… with me.”
She softly placed a kiss on his head. It was nothing more than lips on skin but Faith tried to put as much comfort and reassurance as she could into it and hoped that Derek could at least feel it and know she was there. She began to pull back again but stilled as Derek growled low in the back of his throat. She let out a slow breath as he gently pulled her forward into his embrace, his face tucked deep at the join of her neck and collarbone. He pulled his hand from Faith and encircled his arm around her to pull her in and keep her tight against him; his fingers skirting along the base of her spine where her vest top had ridden up. She could feel him breath deep, taking her scent in and breathing out slowly, his warm breath hitting her neck as his fingers continued to stroke her bare skin. Not long after, his breathing calmed and the shivering stopped as Derek stayed wrapped around Faith.
Faith kept a hold of Derek’s hand, while her other hand was placed over his heart; the beating having slowed considerably. She stayed awake a while longer to make sure that he wasn’t going to have another episode, allowing herself to relax in his arms. She finally succumbed, letting the light touches from his fingers on her back, the heat from his body and his own earthy scent to lull her into a deep sleep.