Fandom: Teen Wolf
Summary: On Thursday, Cora says, “If I have to eat one more burrito in a plastic wrap I may vomit. Just FYI.” Tag to 3x12.
For they won’t be there when you’re dead
Muffled out and pushed back down
Pushed back through the leafy ground
They don’t decide to go on a road trip. They don’t really decide to do anything except leave.
“Where’s Peter?” asks Cora as Derek pulls shut the door to the loft. He shrugs. “He kinda creeps me out these days,” Cora continues. “You know he’s not on our side, right?”
Derek says, “He helped me save you.”
“He’s not on our side,” repeats Cora. They both know it’s true. There’s not much else to say.
They leave Beacon Hills behind them.
The first night, Derek rents two motel rooms. Cora knocks on the door of his room just after midnight. He’s still dressed. She curls up on the other twin bed and after another hour or so goes by, says, “Sometimes I just forget what they all looked like.”
After another hour or so goes by, Derek replies, “Yeah.”
They drive for hours, mostly in silence. After they stop at a gas station for lunch, Cora offers to drive. Derek just looks at her.
“I have my licence,” she says, stung.
“I didn’t know that,” says Derek. Cora hasn’t told him anything, about what happened to her, about where she’s been, about what she’s been doing. Before he appeared in that bank vault she’d hardly remembered what he looked like. He hands her the keys, just like that, and she thinks how easy it must have been for Jennifer.
She adjusts the seat, the mirrors, and puts the car into gear. “I was in the pantry, sneaking cookies,” she begins. “I don’t know, maybe when they laid the mountain ash they missed some at the back. I managed to get out. Deucalion found me.”
“Pull over now.”
Cora pulls over. As soon as the car stops, Derek snatches the keys out of the ignition. “Whoever gave you your licence should be shot,” he says. “You’re a terrible driver.”
“I am not,” retorts Cora, grabbing for the keys. “Derek, gimme the… ow!”
“You’re not driving my car!” says Derek, shoving the keys into the pocket of his jeans. “Shit, Cora! Get off me!”
She pulls his hair. She’s not even ashamed about it.
Lying in bed, Cora remembers having almost exactly the same fight over Derek’s favourite baseball cap, right down to the hair pulling. She smiles as she falls asleep.
They continue driving east. They talk some, listen to music. They fight a lot, but it’s good, almost, like they’re finding their footing. Cora reminisces at joyful length about the time she and her friends had a princess tea party and Mom forced Derek to be their butler. Derek honest to god snarls at her. It’s hilarious.
On Thursday Cora says, “If I have to eat one more burrito in a plastic wrap I may vomit. Just FYI.”
They eat at a proper restaurant. Diner. Whatever; as long it’s not a gas station she’s not picky. The next booth is full of a family: dad, mom, three kids. Cora watches the adults deal with the children, and scratches the edge of the menu where the laminate has peeled off the paper.
“I’m sorry you lost your alpha mojo,” she says. She knows it’s her fault. Or, not her fault, exactly, but because of her.
“I’m not,” says Derek. She looks up, but he’s paying way too much attention to the condiments. It’s funny, Cora thinks; they’re half a country away from Beacon Hills and it’s like they’re still there.
They eat their lunch. The diner’s not that busy, and they take their time, stretched out on plastic banquettes, enjoying post-prandial languor as the sun shines through dusty blinds.
“I remember watching Mom,” says Derek, “and I used to think that – y’know, when you were the Alpha, it just came that easily. You knew what to do. Even Laura always knew what to do.” He’s silent for a moment, runs his thumb along the label on the ketchup bottle. “I never knew what to do. Every decision I made turned out to be the worst thing I could do. I got people killed.”
“You saved me,” Cora points out, because the rest of it is true. He looks up. She says again, “You saved me, Derek,” and kicks him gently under the table. He nods, and they sit in the dusty sunshine a little longer.
They listen to My Chemical Romance, too loud for werewolf hearing in the confines of the car.
“Hey,” says Cora, feet up on the dash, even though Derek has told her to put them down about a million times, “why don’t you teach me to drive properly?” She makes heavy use of air quotes. “It could be, like, a bonding activity.”
“No,” says Derek. It’s like he doesn’t even remember that he’s supposed to be the butler to her princess.
“Aw, c’mon, Derek, it would be fun.”
“It would be horrific,” says Derek.
“If I had a long-lost little sister,” says Cora, “I would teach her how to drive. Had I unfairly determined that she wasn’t fit to drive my car despite having a valid licence.”
“Great. When you find a long-lost little sister, let me know how that goes.”
Cora shakes her head. “I can’t believe there were actually times when I missed you.”
“I can’t believe there were times when I missed you,” replies Derek, and pushes her feet off the dash.
That night, Cora lies in the bed next to Derek’s and thinks about the years between. She says, “I did miss you. I mean, all of you, together and, like, individually. I missed you all so much.” She can hear that Derek’s awake, but he doesn’t say anything, and she thinks he won’t respond. Then she hears him climb out of bed, and hers shifts as he perches on the side. He reaches out and hugs her, tentatively at first until they’re clinging to each other. Cora tucks her face into his shoulder and maybe cries a little. Despite everything, he still smells like home.
They’re getting closer to New York. That’s where they’re going; where they’ve always been going, really. Cora vaguely remembers the apartment the Hales owned, remembers staying there once, getting dressed up, going to a show. They’re talking more, now. About their family, their lives before the fire, about Erica and Boyd and some guy called Jackson who had a pre-werewolf life as a vengeance lizard (what). Cora tells Derek about the years she spent as a weird kind of Victorian ward to the Alpha pack; Derek tells her about going back to Beacon Hills, about Scott and Stiles and the Argents and killing Peter.
“He’s really not on our side,” says Cora, again, because it bears repeating and because Derek needs to stop letting people who want to hurt him into his life.
“It’s not that simple,” says Derek. “It’s not kindergarten. It’s not always about being on someone’s side.”
Cora thinks Derek totally made it that simple that time he killed Peter. And Peter definitely made it that simple when he killed Laura. And that time he almost killed Derek to come back to life. And probably that time he talked Derek into giving up his Alpha power to save Cora’s life (which, OK, she’s pretty grateful about). But she’s not going to push.
In another diner, on the border of New York state, Cora asks, “So, are we, what, omegas now?”
Derek shrugs and eats some pie. “I don’t know. I’m not sure how it works.”
Cora isn’t sure how it works, either. Given they both grew up as werewolves, their ignorance is kind of embarrassing. But hey, they’ve got each other.
“Hey,” she says, and steals his pie. “We’ve got each other, right?”
“Not if you steal my pie,” Derek replies, but she knows he’s kidding.
“I’m not kidding,” he says. She stuffs another forkful into her face.
Cora texts Stiles about the omega thing, because he seems like a guy who can find things out, and she’s got a vague suspicion that he saved her life or something. His reply is mostly indignation about being treated like a research minion (please, cry her a river; he’s got research minion written all over him), but he says he’ll look into it.
“Stiles says he’ll look into the omega thing,” she reports.
Derek’s hands tighten slightly on the wheel and he says, “Stiles is an idiot.”
Derek unlocks the door to the Hales’ New York apartment and just… stops. Then he disappears behind a door and Cora’s left standing there in the hallway.
“Jesus Christ, honestly,” she mutters, and kicks their bags to one side, closing the front door behind her. She takes a breath. It’s musty, a little; the place has been closed up for over a year. It smells – well, it smells like Laura and Derek. Cora swallows and tries to ignore the lump in her throat, because she’s kinda tried to forget that Laura was alive until pretty recently.
She advances further into the apartment. They lived here for years, Laura and Derek; finishing high school, college, work. It’s funny, the living room is very Laura, even though Cora doesn’t remember – wouldn’t remember – any of the stuff in it. Her hands flit over bits and pieces on shelves, on the coffee table; a magazine left on the arm of the sofa. Cora and her friends used to sneak into Laura’s room and read her Cosmo. It’s pretty cool, when you’re in elementary school, having a sister who’s a senior in high school, especially when that sister is Laura.
Laura is—Laura was—and the thing is, it’s so unfair. Cora finds herself sitting in the corner of the sofa and she’s trying not to cry, because that’s not going to help anything, but it’s so unfair that Laura was here, Laura was alive, and Cora didn’t know, and now she’s gone. And Cora sort of remembers that Laura pissed her off sometimes, and wouldn’t let her play with her stuff, and was kind of a know-it-all, but mostly she remembers that Laura was so awesome and just really, looking back, y’know, just really kind to her kid sister.
She sits there for a while. There’s paperwork on the coffee table, never tidied away, and after a while she sits forward to look at. Beacon Hills Hospital; a bill for Peter’s care, Cora realises, and it’s marked Paid and the date, in Laura’s loose handwriting. She wonders how Derek can possibly get past Peter killing Laura. Then again, she’s mostly sure Derek hasn’t got past anything. She can hear him crying, in the room he’s hidden himself away in, but tries not to listen too hard. That’s a skill you develop, growing up as a werewolf.
There’s a shelf of DVDs. Some sci-fi, some black and white because Laura could never say no to Cary Grant or James Stewart. A shit load of sports films, baseball and basketball and football, because Derek has always been drearily predictable. Shelves of text books and novels and a few antiquarian books that are probably to do with the occult. In the kitchen, there’s a calendar on the wall, proof that in spring 2011 at least, Laura and Derek Hale had real lives, doing things that normal people do. There are take-out menus stuck to the refrigerator, and Cora orders pizza with Derek’s credit card number.
Derek emerges a few hours later and eats cold pepperoni pizza as they sit on the sofa in the dark and watch A League of Their Own.
“Stiles says Deaton says we should probably find a pack, but we’ve got some time,” Cora tells Derek. They’re eating breakfast in a pastry shop down the street from the apartment. The owner knows Derek; asks after Laura and says he’s sorry when Derek tells him she’s dead.
“OK,” says Derek.
Cora consults her cell phone again. “Also we have to try and not go feral.”
“Right,” says Derek.
Her phone buzzes. “Stiles says Scott once saw a feral omega get chopped in half by hunters.”
“I get it,” says Derek, pushing away his plate. “No feral werewolves.”
“Just say no,” says Cora, then, “Are you gonna eat that?”
They’re cleaning the apartment, which is taking a while on account of Cora stopping every two minutes to look at Laura’s and Derek’s things, when Cora says, “I want to visit the Empire State Building.”
Derek looks at her and frowns. “You’ve already visited it,” and, huh, yeah, he’s right. They went once, the whole family, when Cora was seven or eight or so. She’d forgotten.
“That was years ago,” she says, shuffling the coffee table papers into a single pile. “All I remember is you trying and push me off the side.” Derek honest to god grins at that, and Cora’s taken back to that afternoon, can feel the rough, warm concrete against her back as Derek wrestles with her until their mom tells them to cut it out.
She comes out of the shower one morning to find Derek going through a bunch of statements and bills with a calculator. She raises a questioning eyebrow, and Derek says, “I’ve got a meeting with our financial advisor later.”
They’ve got a financial advisor. That’s kind of weirdly hilarious. So is the sight of Derek hunched over a calculator. Cora shakes her head, and goes off to dry her hair.
“Stiles texted,” says Cora, looking up from her cell phone. “He says Peter’s going evil.”
“Stiles doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” says Derek dismissively.
Cora wishes she was that confident.
“It’s your turn to do the dishes,” says Derek.
“It’s your turn to stop being a pain in my ass,” Cora replies, and punches him in the head on her way to the kitchen.
They still talk to each other, about their family, about Laura, about Boyd and Erica and Isaac and the Beacon Hills experience. (Derek tells her about Kate.)
It gets easier, maybe. They have a cleaning rota.
One day, Derek says, “We should get the house demolished. It’s not safe,” and Cora says, “OK.” They order Chinese for dinner and pack some of Laura’s shit into boxes.
“Incense, seriously,” says Derek, throwing packets of it into a box with what appears to be extreme prejudice. “What part of werewolves with sensitive noses did she not get?”
“Yeah,” says Cora. “Older siblings, man. They’re the worst.”
Derek throws the next packet of incense at her head.
She gets another text. It’s Stiles. He still thinks Peter’s going evil. Cora’s mostly sure he never stopped, but that’s just her opinion.
You sure? Evidence-based reasoning only.
Well, the signs are all there. Crazy eyes. Maniacal laughter. Shit load of monologuing. KEEPS TRYING TO KILL US.
Hey Derek ur uncle tried to kill me last night. Thought u shd know.
The thing is, the apartment is mostly sorted now. Laura’s belongings are mostly packed away. Derek’s met with the financial advisor three times. Cora should probably get back to school at some point. Derek stands in the middle of their living room, cell phone in hand, and says, “Sounds like Peter’s a problem.”
Cora nobly refrains from rolling her eyes. Then she thinks, really, there is no call for nobility, and rolls them anyway. “No kidding,” she says.
“He’s still our responsibility,” says Derek, and Cora thinks about the hospital bills with Laura’s loose handwriting on them.
“Yeah,” she says. And, see, this New York vacation has been kinda fun and sort of heart-wrenching, but Hales belong in Beacon Hills. She knows Derek feels that too. “This time,” she says, “please can we have an actual place to live? With rooms and a kitchen and a TV, Derek.”
“You’re such a freaking princess,” Derek says, which is basically a big fat yes.
They go back to Beacon Hills. It’s not all terrible.
Derek buys a TV.
But none, I think, do there embrace