Peter watched the scene before him with fascination. In the week that she’d been awake, she’d only just begun to grow comfortable with the Hales. With the fact that her trust was currently limited to the two of them. As much of faith, they could earn in such short of a period. This situation, however, was something that he hadn’t expected.
Bella stood behind Derek as he stared at Deaton, who come to look over their guest. She had been having some complications from her time in captivity that he Hales agreed to call the doctor in, but neither anticipated her reaction. Despite having explained that the man was on their side and held pure intentions, she did not share the same views.
“He only wants to help. I won’t let him hurt you,” Derek said as he tried to assure her, looking over his shoulder.
She shook her head as she glared at the stranger from around his body. “No. His father was a doctor too and drugged me for him,” she whispered.
Deaton’s eyes raised at that knowledge, looking up to the wolf that she sought protection behind. “It is fine Derek. I do not wish her additional harm and stress,” he said with a nod. Shifting his gaze to her, he smiled gently. “If you do change your mind, please know that I am always available for you. I know that you have questions about yourself, and I have managed to locate someone who may be able to answer them.”
Derek shook his head, the rumble of a growl starting in his chest. “Bella, please let him look you over. You’ve been in pain long enough. I promise he won’t hurt you. If he does try anything, I will kill him,” he vowed.
Bella bit her lip, her instinct to resist letting the stranger closer. Stepping closer to her friend for reassurance, she looked up to him. “Promise?”
“Yes. I promise,” he nodded, wrapping his arm around her. He pulled her over to the chairs, sitting her down. “Deaton has also been involved from the beginning in trying to learn more about you. Give him a chance like you gave us. You don’t have to give him everything, but Peter and I will be here with you.”
She had been watching the doctor the entire time, her defenses on high with him around. “He tries something…please make him suffer,” she whispered, finally giving just enough permission for the man to slowly make his way over with his bag and hands up to where she could see.
Setting it down on the table, Deaton was careful and precise as he began pulling a few tools out of it. “No drugs,” she glared as her eyes darted up to him.
“No. No drugs. I can see you are quite capable of getting around. I just wish to make sure there was nothing permanent from your time with the vampires. To see if there may be anything we can do to fix what they may have inflicted on you. I won’t do anything without asking you first, of course,” he smiled back at her. His eyes glossed over her briefly. “Derek had said that one had bitten you. May I see that first?”
Bella shot Derek a ‘go to Hell’ glare as she reluctantly held out her arm. Pulling her sleeve back, the overlapping bite mark where she was bitten by two separate vampires over her time with the Cullens was revealed. With the light coming through the windows, it glistened softly.
Deaton reached out to run his fingers over the already healed scar with a frown. “It is truly fascinating that you managed to survive this. I have no idea how it is possible. I am hoping that once Jessica arrives, she would have a theory.”
“Jessica?” she repeated, her fist clenched as she dreaded the thought of dealing with another stranger.
“Hmm, yes,” he answered as he moved onto her other wounds. “Mrs. McCall did a good job with your stitches. I am concerned about this one here,” he said as he felt around one of the larger, deeper wounds she suffered that was on her upper thigh and visible due to her shorts. “Derek, or Peter. Would one of you mind coming past the clinic this evening? I can have some antibiotics for Miss Bella to prevent the infection from growing worse.”
“I said no drugs…” she repeated. “I don’t know who the hell you are…”
“Deaton? Can you get us a prescription that we might be able to get filled from somewhere else?” Peter asked, winking at Bella as he could see her let out a breath to his suggestion.
The Druid nodded in understanding. “Of course. Of course, it will have to be under the guise of you filling for a pet but the medication itself is the same.” He pulled his prescription pad out from his medical bag and penned out a couple scripts, one for the antibiotics, and another for pain medication and handed them to the girl.
She immediately looked them over and nodded, having been familiar with the names already. Derek ran his hand over her back, trying to keep her calm. “Thanks,” he nodded to the man as he packed his things up.
“I told you already; there is no need to thank me. Anything you need, just call. I am happy to help,” Deaton smiled. “It has been a pleasure to meet you, Miss Bella. I do hope to see you around town. Good day.”
Once he was gone, Derek took the slips from her hand and handed them off to his uncle. “Get those filled,” he ordered.
Peter smirked as he made his way closer to the two and took the papers. “If you wanted to be alone, you could have just said so,” he taunted, taking pleasure in the blush that graced Bella’s cheeks. On his way out the door, he threw out one last line. “Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do kid!”
Derek let out an exasperated sigh. “I’m going to rip his tongue out one of these days,” he muttered as he moved his chair in front of her.
She only smiled back at him. “He means nothing by it,” she whispered as she was still unsettled from the doctor’s visit. “I quite like him.”
He looked up at her, wondering if she might truly have some brain damage. “That would make you the only one in this town who does. Tell me the truth, how are you feeling?”
Bella shrugged a shoulder. “How am I supposed to feel? My ex is a delusional vampire who has a sick obsession with me, wanting me turned after denying me when I was willing. He needed me to agree again though I don’t understand why the change.”
Taking her hand, he softly ran his finger over the swirls of her Triskelion. “Don’t worry about that now. I do think that we should start going into town more now. After what just happened with Deaton, it would be a good idea to get to know the people that were involved in your rescue.”
“What if one of them are around? What if they see me?!” she questioned, resisting leaving the loft.
“Bella…Bella…listen to me,” Derek said trying to hold her still as he took hold of her arms. “Look at me. Listen. Beacon Hills is crawling with werewolves. We’ll be able to tell if any of their kinds come near you. You won’t ever be alone without one of us with you. Until you feel you can trust Scott and Isaac, and then either Peter or myself will be with you if that is what you want. Do you think that’s fair?”
She was anything but happy about having to leave the area she’d long before sought for refuge. He had reasoned with her on her level, and she knew there was no backing out for all he and his friends, had done for her. Sighing, she turned her eyes up to him. “Don’t leave my side with them. Please…”
Reaching up, he tucked her hair behind her ear. “I’ll protect you from the teenage wolves of Beacon Hills and any vampire that tries to come after you. I’m only asking you to give everyone a chance. Like you gave Peter. Like you gave me.”
“Fine,” she sighed. “I suppose it wouldn’t hurt.”
“No. And we could go get you some clothes that fit. Argent’s is…” he trailed off as he looked away from the shirt that was snug around her form. “We’ll get you some things of your own.”
Bella stood and glared at him. “I don’t have any money. It’s bad enough that I’m taking up your bed and eating your food without a way to pay you back. I’ll make do with what I have.”
Derek pulled a pair of his sweatpants out of a basket and handed them to her. “I don’t want anything from you but for you to stay alive. Now just put this on. I doubt you want people staring at your legs all day.”
She looked down, seeing the different shades of yellow and green from the bruises that were healing. There was also the bandage covering her stitches. Taking the pants, she turned and slowly made her way to the bathroom. As soon as she was safe in the privacy of the small quarters, she ran her hand through her hair. Her eyes focused on the pants he had given her and smiled. Dressing on her own had been a difficult task, but from the very beginning she was determined to do it on her own. Living with two men, she wasn’t about to let them help her with her needs that made her uncomfortable.
Once she changed into the sweats, she pulled at the ties and rolled the waistband so that they stayed on securely. Smiling to herself at his small gesture to help with her wounds, she took in a deep breath to prepare herself for the world again. Stepping out, she found Derek waiting for her on the steps to the door.
He silently held his arm out, and she was quick to join his side as he guided her out the door. It had been so long that she’d been out in the direct sun, or unfiltered sunlight, in general, that it forced her to cover her eyes. Neither one spoke as he opened the passenger door, helping her in. His eyes looked around the area out of habit and instinct before rounding it to get in himself.
Looking over to Bella, Derek smirked. Pulling out his sunglasses that he almost always kept on him, he shifted in his seat as he turned and placed them on her face. “There you go. Now you’re cool enough to be out with me,” he said playfully.
Bella glared at him behind the dark shades but was extremely grateful for them as she didn’t have to cover her eyes for their new sensitivities. Scoffing, she punched him in his arm. “As if. You’re the one lucky to be seen with me!”
He grinned as he drove off, taking her through town just to see the area. Now and then he would speak up, pointing out different areas that he felt she should be aware of and know. As they passed the high school, he glanced at the time. “Did you manage to graduate?” he asked parking.
She hesitated and nodded. “Yes. It was my birthday after that everything started,” she murmured. “Why are we here?”
Derek thought about how to answer and pointed to the field where the boys were making their way out for practice. “These kids aren’t bad. They try to live as normal as they can like you. Now Peter and I aren’t held in the highest regard with them. We each have done our share of things that they have their reasons to have their opinions. I make mistakes Bella, but I want to help you the best that I can, and you may not like the methods I choose.”
“Derek…” Bella warned, her anxiety rising as she had an idea of where he was going with this line of discussion.
“No. Peter and I could do our best, but we are only two wolves. It took all of us up there to get you out. Scott, he’s young, but he’s smart and strong. I want you to know everything here so that you have no reason not to trust us,” he damn near pleaded as he looked at her.
She couldn’t face him and sat staring forward out the window. She had a clear view of the school field and saw that three boys were standing off to the side together, looking back at the car where she sat. “I know you aren’t perfect Derek, and Peter certainly isn’t a bag of rainbows, but what are you getting at exactly?”
“Trust me. You don’t have to trust anyone else until you are ready but trust me. If I tell you that one of them is safe to be around,” he said with such sincerity that nearly brought tears to her eyes. He reached for her hand and gave it a squeeze. “Now I’m going to go talk to Scott about something. If you are willing to give me that chance, you’re welcome to join us.”
With that, he let go of her and left her in the car as he made his way to his friends. He fought the urge to turn to encourage her to follow, continuing to make his way to the bleachers to wait for the young wolf to get a break.
It wasn’t long before Scott, Isaac, and Stiles made their way over during their water break. “You got her out. It’s progress,” Scott reassured Derek after seeing his concerned expression.
“Bella has major trust issues. I explained this already,” he muttered. “Has Deaton heard from this other emissary about her?”
“All he says is that she is coming. Just not when,” Scott answered. “Has she tried to use her ability at all?”
Derek glared at him. “No. She’s been a little busy healing from the massive beatings from a vampire. I don’t know how to get her to try to open up more.”
Stiles scratched his head. “What I don’t get is why she seems to stick to you and Peter out of everyone considering what she’s been through. Does she have any clue of what the two of you have done around here? Peter more than anyone.”
The man growled at the subtle jab about his worth to the girl. He had started to approach the boy threateningly and the two others were distracted enough in trying to hold him back and settle him down that they hadn’t heard anyone approach.
“What I know and feel about Derek and Peter are none of your business,” Bella said as she eyed them all. “Hearing you talk about the two of them makes me wonder why the fuck Derek has been trying to convince me that you guys are worth letting in. What I just saw and heard makes me think otherwise. Stop underestimating them because of their pasts and maybe one day I can consider giving you the time of the day.”
Derek backed up until he was beside her and stared at the boys. He was surprised at her reaction, not having anticipating such a response. He was floored even more as she continued, staring down at her with growing affection and pride in her strength.
“Next time one of you try to knock either of them down, you won’t be dealing with them. You’ll deal with me. I don’t give two shits who you are or what you did for me. You all still have a lot to learn about people if you think you’re going to win anything,” she sneered. “Now…tell me who the hell each of you are. I at least owe you a thank you for what you did.”
Scott’s lips fought against the smile that wanted to come out as he could see there was more to her argument than she revealed. Nodding to her demands of respect, he spoke first. “I’m Scott. My mother was the one that helped with patching you up when we got to town. She’s a nurse at the hospital.”
Bella nodded at him. “Thanks,” she muttered. “I’ll look for her if I ever agree to go there.”
“Isaac,” the other boy raised his hand. “You look like you’re doing better than the last time I saw ya. That’s good.”
She looked at him, glancing up to Derek briefly who nodded his assurance. “Thank you. I – uh – am still a bit sore after everything.”
“Understandable. I been in that boat before,” he nodded as his eyes lingered for a moment on her neck where there was a large yellowing bruise visible. “Derek helped me out of that life.”
That was something she hadn’t thought she’d hear. She looked back up to the wolf who tried to appear indifferent, but at that time, while he had his motives, he saw something worthy in the boy. Smiling at him, she took his hand and held it. “See! I knew you were a good man in there,” she winked as she poked him in the chest, then patted him over his heart. “Just keep following this and you’ll do fine.”
His head tilted to the side at her words, growing uneasy with everyone around as she behaved so comfortably with him. And he let her.
“I’m Stiles. Look…I’m sorry for what I said. Really. Can you understand that it’s hard for us to get over some things that they’ve both done? Derek, yes. He is a good guy – when he wants to be. But Peter tried to kill all of us at some point,” the last one rambled on.
Sighing, Bella looked upon him with boredom. “And since he’s been back, has he attempted anything of the sort? From what I had seen before when you all never even knew I was around because I was barely able to make myself visible. He was working on trying to find out more about me and looking up everything he could. None of you knew how much he was already helping and you continued to bash his contribution. If I find out this shit continues…don’t try making me angry enough to do something about it,” she warned as she walked up on him.
Stiles watched her, blinking in surprise at the threat laid on him. “Uh..of course. Yes…” he quickly agreed, nodding jerkily. “My apologies! Sorry, Derek!”
Derek said nothing and reached out for her. “Come on. That’s enough now. They know how you feel, and I’m sure they will be more mindful in the future,” he said as he pulled her until her back was against his chest. He could feel her body vibrating with her anger. From the corner of his eye, he could see Allison and Lydia making their way over and held on tighter.
“Hey, guys!” Lydia greeted them cheerfully before focusing on Bella. “Wow…you’re a stunner. I’m happy you’re finally up and about. I wish I could have been there to help, but they wouldn’t let me. I’m Lydia,” she said as she held out her hand.
“It may not be a good idea right now,” Scott started to say but stopped saying more as Bella eyed the girl curiously as she took her hand and shook it.
“Hello,” Bella murmured. “Why weren’t you allowed to help? Are you a wolf?”
“Oh heavens no! I’m a banshee. I can sense death,” she replied like it was nothing. “Peter said I would have issues because of the vampires, so it was better that I stayed behind.”
“Vampires are dead. The living dead. I can see the problem,” she mused, growing curious of her ability. “Did you ever see me?”
Lydia frowned and shrugged. She wanted to give her more, but she had nothing to offer. “That day when we finally learned about where you were. I heard you coming before you were there. I’m still learning my abilities, so it’s hard to tell.”
Bella smiled genuinely in gratitude. “Thank you regardless for trying,” she said before looking to the other girl that had moved over by Isaac. She’d seen her with the wolves often but what she’d witnessed, she wasn’t particular fond of her.
“I’m Allison,” she introduced herself. She was nervous as she pulled her backpack around and dug inside for something. “Um, my dad had gotten some things for you. I was supposed to give them to Derek, but I hadn’t seen him lately to be able to pass them on. At least I can give them to you directly,” she said as she handed her a manila envelope.
The young woman was careful as she took it, opening it slowly. Peering inside, she grew more confused. Reaching in, she pulled out a driver’s license, passport, social security card, and birth certificate. “What the fuck?” she rhetorically questioned as she stared at the materials.
“My family has connections all over. He helped with getting you some new identification. Sheriff Stilinski, Stiles’ dad, confirmed that your – um vampire friends, well they made sure it appeared that Bella Swan died in Washington. So he set this up for you so that you don’t have to live hiding all the time,” she explained further, causing Bella to tear up.
She did not know how to handle what this stranger who she never met, or even was involved in her rescue had done for her. It overwhelmed her to the point that she looked around for some escape but with Derek holding her as he was, she felt too confined.
Lydia turned to stare at the metal of the bleachers support, struggling to not let out the scream that wished to come out just as Bella collapsed in Derek’s arms without warning. The teens rushed over to help the two girls, one to calm, the other to see if she was alive.
Scott pressed his fingers to her throat, searching for a pulse as Derek brushed her hair from her face and frowned. He turned to try to listen to her heart and swallowed back the lump that grew in his throat. “Nothing. Let’s get her to Deaton. Maybe he can help her,” he urged. “She has no pulse…”