so I rewatched The Wild Bunch today, and it got me thinking again about how much I want a reimagining of Teen Wolf as a vengeance Western:
Derek’s a cattle rancher who comes home from a drive to find his home in flames and his whole family dead or missing—everyone except his sister Laura, who’s on the verge of death when he finds her in what used to be their kitchen. She spends her last breath telling him what happened: the same group that’s been trying to buy their land at increasingly insulting prices came earlier that day and locked them in the house, set fire to it and stood outside to make sure they didn’t escape.
He holds her while she dies, and as soon as he’s buried what he could find of his family he rides to the nearest town—a one-horse kind of place called Beacon Hills—to fetch the law. Not that Derek has much faith in what passes for the law around these parts, but he’s known the Sheriff for a long time, knows he’s an honest man who can be depended on to do the right thing. And he wants answers.
When he gets to town, his hands are still streaked with ash and blood, ripped apart from when the shovel splintered as he was burying Laura. The sheriff isn’t in, though, and Derek doesn’t have time to wait for him. He knows what he has to do.
Nobody will meet his eyes as he rides through the main street from the worn wooden jail, and fury rises up in him cold and sure: he’s going to have to do this alone. Well, why should this be any different? Derek’s always worked better on his own anyway.
He stops on the edge of town when he hears hoofbeats behind him and a voice calling out to him. It’s the Sheriff’s boy, Stiles.
"My father rode out two weeks ago after the Argent gang, and he hasn’t come back," he says, and "Please, can I ride with you?"
"I don’t have room for you, kid," Derek says, and he doesn’t have breath to spare for sympathy now, even though he can see the fear in the boy’s face, knows what that kind of desperation feels like. "Sorry," he adds. The word is dry and unfamiliar in his mouth, and he swallows down the impulse to say something else, something more comforting.
"Please," Stiles says. "He wouldn’t be gone this long, not without—not if there wasn’t trouble." There’s a terrible hope in his eyes.
"Go home. He’ll come back," he says, and they both know that’s a lie. "Go home, Stiles. You’re not old enough for this."
"I’m seventeen," Stiles says, lifting his chin up defiantly. "Old enough to fight. I can handle myself well enough, you know that."
And Derek does—and that’s why he can’t let Stiles come with him. He’s not going to come back from this, and he’s not going to do that to a boy barely old enough to shave.
He rides off and leaves Stiles in the dust, but a few days later he hears hoofbeats again when he’s bedding down for the night. He reaches for his rifle and rises to his feet, ready to shoot.
"It’s me," Stiles says, dismounting.
"I told you to go home," Derek snarls, but there’s a sense of inevitability to the whole thing—like Stiles was meant to ride with him, somehow. He lets him stay and ignores the look of triumph on Stiles’ face; he could shake the kid easily enough. If he wanted to.
They ride alone for awhile, but they pick up others along the way, mostly by accident: Isaac, who they find beaten half to death on the side of the road. Boyd, a ranch hand, and Erica, who’s being driven out of town by some old biddies convinced that she’s a threat to the morality of the populace.
And at some point before that an odd kind of trust starts building between Derek and Stiles: maybe they almost get waylaid by bandits, and Stiles gets between them and Derek before he even really thinks about it.
"You idiot," Derek snarls afterwards, and he’s pulling Stiles into his arms before he can think about it. It’s more like fighting than fucking, really, and he shouldn’t be doing it—what he told Stiles was right, Stiles is too young for this. But he’s lost everything else, and he can’t bring himself to care.
And when they finally reach the Argents, Derek isn’t alone—he has Stiles by his side and Boyd and Erica and Isaac behind him, ready to fight.