New BTS photo of Tyler Hoechlin and Jill Wagner.
It’s really important to me that there’s a universe where Kate and Derek made it work—like, she flirted with Derek, got close to him, the first time he kissed her she told herself that it was disgusting, that it was part of the lie, but it wasn’t, really, Derek leaning in shyly and saying, “is this okay?” touching her cheek, and his lips were soft and a little chapsticky.
Kate dated hunters, good-looking guys she was smarter than, the kind of guys she could bring home when Gerard was around. Derek is quiet, so it takes her a little while to realize how sharp and funny he can be. He’s—they’re in community college together, Derek for real and Kate pretending, and the fucking—homework, the fucking homework, she’s close to failing a bunch of her classes. Kate had trouble focusing in school, barely scraped out of high school and is defensive and prickly about it. Gerard told her a million times how she was too smart for school, and she pretended to believe it, but deep down, she knows she’s dumb, like she didn’t really learn to read until second grade, when they were finally in a town for a full school year. She knows that the only thing she’s good at is killing monsters, so—
The thing is, it’s a mindfuck, being back in classes, reminded of all the school stuff she didn’t understand the first time around but having to pretend she cares this time, the first time she gets frustrated and snaps at Derek, just leave her alone, she’s too fucking dumb to learn this shit, who cares anyway?
Derek says, no, she’s not, and he’s so—nice. She thinks it’s weak and pathetic, calls him a baby, tells he doesn’t know anything about her, and Derek leans in and says he knows what it’s like to be a fuck up who has to go to loser college, watch the guys who weren’t as good as he was get basketball scholarships to good schools and his voice is so full of hatred and misery and self-loathing that—
like, up until now, Kate has been thinking of Derek as this naive, sheltered, rich kid, with a sweet ride and leather jacket and quick careless grin, and now she sees Derek is just as empty inside as she is, that he’s going through the motions.
He’s a monster, she tells herself, in the mirror. He’s vermin. She just needs to get the job done and get back to her real life, the life where Gerard’s still training her, where she spends Saturday night fighting her way out of whatever fucked up situation Gerard decides would be good for her, where he tells her to stop being so lazy, so afraid, and she used to sneak into Chris’ room at night, they used to play cards or just talk, but Chris is away at college—he also got good grades—and she doesn’t have anyone to talk to anymore.
Derek makes her flashcards, shares his notes. They go joyriding, they fuck in the backseat of his car, she wants to hate it, she wants to, she wants to hate Derek’s little sisters, the time he shows up for a date with them in tow, apologetic, and they all get ice cream and the girls run around on the grass by the ice cream place, pretending to be airplanes, she wants to hate Derek when he finally tells her about Paige, that she’d been hurt, that she’d died, that it was his fault.
Kate’s been waiting for this, of course, has practiced it over in her mind, the things she has to say to make Derek really trust her, and she says them all now, leans in against him and says fiercely that it wasn’t his fault, that shitty things happen sometimes, that—he was just a kid. He was—she loses track of the script; she’s so tired, there’s a bruise on her back where she fell badly, training, she’s hungry because Gerard told her she was getting too fat, she—I did things, she says. I hurt people, the horror of it flooding up and over her, I didn’t mean to, I didn’t know, if you knew—
Derek says, well. They can be shitty, worthless people together, right?
"I guess," Kate says. She spent a lot of time getting dolled up to see Derek, curling her hair or putting on makeup in a way that it would make it seem like she wasn’t even wearing any, that her skin was just that good, her cheeks just stained pink, and she catches sight of herself in his rearview mirror and her face is mottled and raw looking, her eyes bloodshot. She’s supposed to be telling Derek she loves him, she’s supposed to be so beautiful, perfect.
"I love you," she says, and bursts into tears. She gets snot on his shirt.
"The thing is," she says, her voice high and thin, a week later, standing on the Hale front porch, shivering in a tank top and jeans, her hair braided tightly back, clutching a gas can in one shaking hand, "I’m supposed to—burn your house down. But I don’t think I can, and I—can’t go back until I do it, so—"
"I think you’d better come in," Derek’s dad says. Derek and Laura are out, but Mrs. Hale is there, the little girls, Derek’s uncle and his family, the baby.
"You should just kill me," she says. They’re in the enormous kitchen, Kate sitting opposite Derek’s mom at the scarred wooden table. Derek’s uncle, leaning against the counter, opens the can and sniffs, makes a face. Derek’s dad comes down the back stairs with a sweatshirt and gives it to her, stands there until Kate takes it and puts it on. "You can tell Derek," she says. "that I—left, or just—tell him the truth. But tell him it wasn’t his fault."
"Oh, I don’t think that will be necessary," Mrs. Hale says. There’s a odd little smile playing around the edges of her mouth. "Derek’s been so dedicated to his studies since he started seeing you."
Kate tries to tell them, how dangerous she is, how she isn’t to be trusted. Derek’s dad makes her a cup of tea. She doesn’t go home.
Of course she’s hurt eventually; Gerard doesn’t give her up so easily. And when Derek’s mom gives her the bite, she turns into—it’s not a wolf, exactly.
Derek spends six months of moons with her, curled up around her in the basement, until she’s safe to be outside.
"I’m a freak," she says at the time. "This is—you should find someone normal." She tries to break up with him a million times. Derek says she’s beautiful to him, that he doesn’t care, that she needs a better reason to break up with him and just turning into a weird animal once a month, that he’s proud of her, even if she isn’t.
They get a crappy apartment in town, Derek finishes school and Kate ends up teaching self-defense and martial arts classes, runs week long camping/canoe retreats for families. Chris comes around sometimes; things are hard between them for a little while, until Allison comes and cries and cries and cries, until Derek says, “Can I?” and Victoria is too tired to say no, to do anything but put Allison in Derek’s careful hands.
"How," Victoria says, her voice breaking, when Allison stops crying.
"He has a lot of nieces and nephews," Kate says comfortingly.
They grow up together. Kate doesn’t—she knows she doesn’t deserve Derek, his huge terrible happy family, the way he smiles when he looks at her, but doesn’t want to disappoint him. They’re ridiculously happy. The insides of their wedding rings are inscribed with worthless & shitty and the date.