Tomorrow’s Yesterday – 2/2 – Chera

Title: Tomorrow’s Yesterday
Author: Chera
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Genre: Drama, Episode Related, Paranormal/Supernatural, Pre-Relationship, Shifters, Time Travel
Relationship(s): Gen
Content Rating: R
Warnings: Hate Crimes/Hate Speech, Major Character Death, Violence – Graphic, Typical Canon Themes, Typical Canon Violence, Discussion of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
Beta: PhoenixRising253
Word Count: 71,125
Summary: After dying in Mexico, Derek is given the opportunity to correct past events that have left the future of Beacon Hills in peril. He takes it.
Artist: Twigen



Chapter 15

February 12, 2011

Derek’s Loft

The pack had enjoyed a late brunch and praised Danni’s cooking. She was happy with that and was currently nursing the baby.

Bobby and Cora had done dishes, while Derek and Alex were forced to sit on the sofa and not even think about moving.

Dawson had driven over to his office to get the newest blueprints from the builder. The planning was in the last stages and he wanted to go over it one more time with the pack.

Derek answered his phone when it rang and he saw Sheriff Stilinski’s number. He listened as the sheriff told him that Argent had come to his office to report a shooting, and in the middle of their discussion, Stiles had accidentally learned about werewolves. He was wondering if they could come over and talk about it since it wasn’t his story to tell.

Derek told him sure, they would all be there. Once the call was finished, Derek tossed his phone back on the table.

“I guess I need to work on my aim. Kate Argent is still alive. Chris went to report a shooting, and he and the sheriff had a discussion, that his son Stiles walked in on and now he knows,” Derek said.

“They’re on their way over for us to explain it to him. Something about it not being his story to tell. I think he just wants us to shift for his son so he won’t think he’s crazy.”

Cora came out of the kitchen, “Stiles knows? That’s going to be interesting. I can tell you he can keep a secret.”

Derek arched a brow and asked, “What secret of yours is he keeping?”

Cora grinned, “The counselor made me go in for early continuing education planning. Dawson will be happy to know that if I continue to do well, I could get admitted to any university I want to attend. I have a 4.4 GPA. Stiles saw me looking at the paper in the library and asked, so I showed it to him. He hasn’t told anyone, yet. ”

“Congrats Cor, that’s great! Did she suggest any classes you should take?”

“She just said to stick with my AP classes across the board. She says we’ll do a practice ACT next year, so that will give me a better idea of where I’m at.”

“That’s great, I’m proud of you,” beamed Derek, pride shining in his eyes.

Cora sat beside Derek and he hugged her.

“You need to show Dawson, he’ll be pleased.”

“Yeah, I guess. I’m not sure I want to go off to college. I just got back,” Cora explained.

“You have time, at least two years anyway,” Derek said. “Who knows you may decide in two years that you can’t get far enough away from us.”

“Never,” she swore.

The elevator stopped, the door opened, and Dawson came out, leading both Stilinski’s into the loft.

“Look what I found lurking about downstairs,” Dawson said, as he laid his papers on the dining table.

***

The pack shuffled around to make room for their guests. When Krista decided she was not happy, Bobby and Danni decided to take her home.

Alex went down to his room to get some more rest. That left Derek, Dawson, and Cora to explain werewolves to Stiles.

Derek thought they were up to the challenge. At least this time he wouldn’t be getting his information off the internet.

Stiles leaned forward, saying, “So is it true that you howl at the moon and eat babies on the full moon?”

Well so much for that thought, Derek thought before he replied, “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.”

“Dude, there’s tons of information on werewolves on the internet, and I’m the king of the search engine,” Stiles claimed.

“Don’t call me dude,” Derek retorted. “My name is Derek.”

Noah jumped in saying, “Son, why don’t you just listen to what they have to say?”

Stiles sat back and said, “Okay baffle me with your bullshit. Because I’m thinking there is a serious case of water tampering and everyone is delusional.”

Derek stood up, fully shifted, and roared at the skeptical teen. He then stood there with eyes glowing red, full face shift, and claws hanging at his sides.

Stiles tried to climb out of his seat to get away from Derek, shouting, “Holy Crap!”

Noah shook his head, “He didn’t roar at me when he did that.”

Stiles calmed down when shifted Derek made no move towards him, got up, and approached him. He let Stiles get an up-close look and even let him touch his brow ridge when he asked politely.

Stiles sat back down and looked at Cora, saying, “You’ve been keeping secrets, Princess.”

Cora flashed her yellow eyes and bared her fangs at him.

Stiles looked intrigued and said, “You can’t do like he did, or is it a control thing? Do your feet change too? Must go through a lot of shoes,” and the questions went on and on.

Stiles finally ran down, and Derek had shifted back to human and asked, “Still think there’s a water problem?”

“No, but I think there’s another problem. That guy in Dad’s office, he called him Argent. He said it was his duty to hunt those who hunt him. Allison Argent is in some of our classes. Is she going to try to kill Cora in school?” Stiles asked.

Derek knew that his mind worked quickly, and he’d figured that out even while asking questions. He’d always admired the way Stiles had puzzled things out in the past. He just got on his nerves at first. But then he hadn’t been very patient either, he thought

Dawson answered that question. “From what we know, the hunters don’t indoctrinate their children until they turn eighteen. So no, I think Cora will be safe in school, as long as no one ever finds out. That’s why we keep our nature secret. It keeps us safe.”

“I can keep a secret,” Stiles said. “And I’ll keep this secret. Because that guy sounded like a fanatic and they never give up their cause.”

“You’re right, and that family has had that cause for generations,” Dawson replied.

“And you don’t fight back? You just let them hunt you? What the hel…heck?” Stiles asked incensed.

“For years that is what we’ve done. Only engage to escape. But our ideology has recently changed. We are standing up for ourselves.”

“And I guess the hunters use weapons, like that arrow Dad brought out of the office. Do you have weapons too? I mean it’d be sorta stupid to fight with your claws since they could shoot you before you get close to them. I’ll bet they use guns too, snipers, rocket launchers, and flamethrowers.”

“Stiles! They don’t use flame throwers…do they?” Noah asked

“Not that we have encountered. But yes they use guns, and snipers have been an issue in the past,” Dawson said.

“She stood outside the house when it was on fire. She shot through the windows whenever she saw someone. She was laughing and talking about how easy it was to get Derek to tell…,” Cora trailed off as her eyes met Derek’s.

Derek’s eyes closed as he knew what Kate had probably said. And his eleven-year-old sister had to hear about his failure as the family died. He got up and went to the stairwell they rarely used and headed downstairs.

The elevator door opened and Alex stepped out. “What’s going on?” he demanded.

“Derek…He…” Cora stuttered out, and then ran up the spiral stairs to Derek’s room.

“Where’s Derek?”

“He took the stairs, and he didn’t look too good,” Stiles told him.

Alex sighed and said, “I’ll go.” He turned and took the elevator down.

***

Derek watched Alex come out of the elevator and walk over to where he was sitting in the Mercedes. He tapped on the window, and Derek opened the door.

“Want to talk about it or just be?” Alex asked.

“She talked, she bragged about what she did, the whole time. My family died hearing how she used me,” Derek replied flatly. “What is there to talk about?”

Alex walked around to the other side of the car and got in. Derek could feel his scrutiny before he said, “She was going for the psychological torture as well as the fire. She taunted your family with the fact they failed you. That they failed to protect one of their most vulnerable members.”

Derek tried to interrupt and Alex shut him down.

“Stop, hear me out. Do you think you were able to hide the fact you were having sex with someone? You lived in a house full of werewolves! Your Mother was an amazing Alpha. She had super senses. Do you think she couldn’t smell her on you every time you came into the house? Did she ever ask? Talk to you about what you were doing? Even offer birth control advice? You were sixteen years old for god’s sake. Did Peter? Not that I think he would offer good advice. He would have probably given you instructions on technique.”

Derek rubbed his hands along the steering wheel in silence, and then rested his head on it.

“Did Laura tease you about it? I know the two of you used to pick at each other all the time. Did she even once notice that you reeked of sex? I mean honestly even if you used a wet wipe, you still would have carried the scent. So yeah they dropped the ball on that one. But you know what else she proved with her bragging? That she had to resort to using the underage son to get her information.

“She’s sadistic and psychotic; I would also call her an ephebophile. I will admit there are some good looking guys at the high school, and they are going to mature into stunning men, but I’m not attracted to them. And I would never fuck one. If they aren’t legal, and I don’t mean the age of consent, I mean eighteen years old or older, then they are children, and they are to be protected. Cora doesn’t have half a clue of what’s going to happen the first time she brings some guy home. He won’t just get the shovel talk; he’ll get the statutory rape talk. Dawson and I have it planned out.

“Your family, by their inattention, shares some of the responsibility, if you are going to continue to blame yourself. You had changed, you withdrew and shut down, and no one tried to pull you out. I noticed it and assumed that Talia was dealing with it. But then I was busy with school and the apprenticeship, so I wasn’t around much.

“But you can’t continue to take the blame for Kate and her psychotic behavior. She used you, and you were too young to realize it. This is where the pack and the family failed. Because we allowed, by our inaction or inattention, a predator to abuse one of our young. And I’m so very sorry for my part in that.”

Derek lifted his head from the steering wheel, met Alex’s eyes, and saw the sincerity there. While he’d never looked at it from that angle, he could not accept that his family was to blame for the fire. That lay strictly on Kate’s head. But Alex did point out a few hard truths that Derek had never considered. And that made what Peter did even more heinous because he knew.

“Now let’s go rescue Dawson from Stiles, and make sure Cora understands…I don’t know what Cora’s supposed to understand really. Other than it’s not your fault, and the Argents are monsters,” Alex said, getting out of the car.

Derek got out of the car and shut the door to preserve what scent remained of his mother. His mother made a mistake, and though it cost her life, it was still a mistake. It didn’t mean he loved her any less. It proved she wasn’t infallible.

Derek sighed and followed Alex back up to the loft only to walk in and see Cora shifted, pinning Stiles to the floor and roaring in his face, while the sheriff laughed at his efforts to push her off.

***

The Stilinski’s had left after Stiles had all his questions answered, with a promise to have more next time he saw them. Derek had to hold back a snort because he wouldn’t be Stiles if he didn’t have questions. Alex decided they needed a pack bonding evening, so they all piled on the sofa and watched a movie. They ordered take out from the Chinese place and spent the evening together.

When Dawson decided he needed to go home and work on getting his apartment organized, it left Derek, Cora, and Alex. Cora wanted to know about the guns, so Derek showed her their weapons storage down on the first floor.

They had constructed a small room in one corner of the area and built racks for all the guns. There were shelves for the ammo and other accessories as well. They had also installed a cabinet away from the guns, for the cases of wolfsbane and had them organized by color. Cora took it all in when she entered the room and then asked, “Where did you get all this?”

Derek explained his trip to North Carolina and their grandfather’s journals. He offered to let her read the last one, where he wrote about taking a stand against the hunters. He watched as she came to the same conclusion he had. That if they had fought back, then maybe more of them would have survived.

They went back upstairs, leaving Alex on the fourth floor to get some rest. Cora followed Derek off the elevator and sat beside him on the sofa.

Leaning her head on his shoulder, Cora said, “She talked about how easy it was to get you to go with her. She talked about how she coaxed the information out of you. She seemed proud of it; like it was a great accomplishment.”

Cora lifted her head in shock, “Derek did she…”

Before she could finish her question, Derek cut her off. “Yeah she did, and if I’d known who she was, I’d have never let her touch me. But I didn’t and I’d rather not talk about that anymore.”

Cora laid her head back on his shoulder and whispered, “Okay.”

The siblings sat there for a few more minutes, and then Cora began speaking again.

“They must have spread mountain ash around the whole house. Grandpa Seb opened the back door and tried to push out. His hands were pushing against a barrier. Then he slammed the door and she laughed. I’ll never forget the screams, Derek. They all screamed,” Cora’s voice dropped to a whisper at the end.

Derek wrapped an arm around her shoulders, saying lowly, “It’s not going to happen again Cor. We’ll make sure of it. You have seen the plans. There’s a sprinkler system throughout the house on all three floors and the attic, and an auxiliary generator just for the sprinkler system. There’s underground tanks for the water. Dawson has a lot of extra precautions built into the plans for fire suppression and retardant. He also had plans drawn up for the security system to include smoke and heat detection that will connect directly to the fire department by satellite so it won’t take them as long to get out there. It’s not going to happen again.”

He felt Cora’s head nod in acknowledgment and hoped she believed it more than he did. He had those same fears. But he was determined to make it right, to give his pack a future they could be proud of.

Shrugging his shoulder, he nudged Cora, “Ready for bed?”

Cora nodded and said, “Yeah, I’m going to go invade Alex’s space. He needs extra cuddling I think. He’s still pretty weak.”

“Why don’t we both go invade his space? I don’t want to sleep alone either.”

Derek got up and pulled Cora to her feet. “Go get changed and I’ll meet you down there.”

He watched as Cora left, then went to change, and turned off all the lights. He made his way downstairs and found Cora waiting for him. Knocking on the door, the siblings entered when Alex called out. Cora climbed onto the bed and said, “You need cuddling and Derek doesn’t want to sleep alone so here we are. Move over.”

Alex turned amused eyes to Derek and said, “Did your sister just take over my bed?”

Derek shrugged replying, “Look’s that way,” and then he too climbed in, and rolling over, buried his face in Cora’s hair drawing in the sister/family/pack scent.

Cora’s “Turn out the light Alex.” chased Derek off to sleep.

Chapter 16

February 24, 2011

Beacon Hills, California

Life with the Hale pack continued with no major issues. The foundation for the house was poured and construction began. The security system was installed at the Warehouse and the fencing surrounding it had an automatic gate installed that they began closing at night. He and Alex recovered from the wolfsbane and Alex was back to work. Satomi had called and told Derek that the Spark tutor would arrive in March and asked that she be allowed to inform Stiles.

Derek finally took the time to go to the family vault and found some things he wasn’t expecting. It seemed Peter had planned for his continued survival before the fire. His laptop was in the safe, along with the briefcase full of bearer bonds. There were a few things in the vault that Derek was happy to see. Most of the rare books had been stored there. He didn’t remember seeing them before, but then he was in a different situation at the time.

He also found a photo album. It wasn’t of family or pack, they were pictures of another family; a couple and their young son. He looked a little closer and realized he was seeing a younger Noah Stilinski. Then the woman was his wife, and the son was Stiles. But why was there an album of them in his family vault? This was something he was going to have to talk to the sheriff about.

Gathering up the laptop and photo album, leaving the bearer bonds in the safe as Dawson suggested, he left the vault closing the door behind him.

He drove up to the front of the school since he’d timed his visit to the vault to be able to pick up Cora. As he waited, he flipped through the pages of the photo album. It looked as if they ranged from when Stiles was a baby until he reached about three or four. Pulling one of the pictures out of the sleeve, he turned it over and read the writing on the back.

Noah, Claudia, and Mieczysław Stilinski Ostara 1997

Ostara was the Spring Equinox. The writing wasn’t his mother’s so he assumed it was Claudia’s. But then again the question was why was Stiles’ mother giving the pack pictures of her family? And what was up with that name? No wonder Stiles changed his name. The bell ringing drew Derek from his thoughts and he slid the picture back into the sleeve and gently tossed the album in the backseat.

Cora came to the car and leaned in the window and said, “I’m staying for Lacrosse practice. They are having their final cuts today for the first line for the championship and Stiles thinks he’s not going to make it. Want to stay with me?”

Derek nodded his head, and said, “Sure, let’s go park the car.” He didn’t want to stay but he wasn’t going to tell Cora that. He counted any time spent with Cora a plus.

Once the car was parked, they made their way to the practice field and took a seat on the bleachers. Derek kept an ear out for any interesting chatter from Allison, but all she and Lydia were talking about was a shopping trip they were going to make.

Cora was talking to Danny Māhealani about a research paper they were working on as a group. The coach blew his whistle, and Danny abandoned Cora, throwing a wink at Derek.

Cora burst out laughing at the horrified look on his face, and then they turned to watch the action.

Derek winced every time Stiles got slammed into the ground. And then when Coach made him take goalie, he was hit numerous times with the ball. This was an act of masochism on Stiles’ part. Derek leaned over and asked Cora, “Why is he doing this? He sucks at it.”

“Scott McCall asked him to try-out for the team. Stiles is nothing if not loyal; even when the subject of his loyalty turns his back on him,” Cora replied distractedly watching Stiles once again get hit with the ball on the helmet.

The coach blew his whistle and replaced Stiles with Scott, and that was a complete disaster. Before he could get set up, Jackson sent a ball hurling at him that hit square in the chest. While the padding protected from injury it still allowed enough force to knock the wind out of him and trigger an asthma attack. Stiles and the coach both went over to check on McCall, and after working with him for a few minutes, they were able to get him up off the ground and to the locker room where his inhaler was.

Coach Finstock came out and did his usual speech, which was based on aggression and sacrifice, and then he called out the first line. Neither Stiles nor Scott’s names were called. The players then ran laps before they went to the locker room and Derek nudged Cora saying, “Are we ready?”

Cora nodded, “Yeah. I’ll talk to him later.”

As they got up to leave, Lydia called out, “Cora has Stilinski asked you to the game yet?”

Cora turned and replied, “Yeah he did and I have a prior engagement so I can’t make it. But I did tell him that he could always ask you as his second choice.”

She turned with a smirk and left the bleachers before Lydia could offer a retort. Derek caught up with her and asked, “Did he ask you?”

Cora snorted, “No. He asked if I was going and I told him no. It’s not like I even like this sport.

“Besides, Stiles and I have an agreement. We are friends, good friends, but that doesn’t include benefits. So we just hang out at school and people assume what they want. He’s had a crush on Lydia since fourth grade. Then when she started dating Jackson, she began to dumb herself down. He lost all respect for her after that. I take every opportunity I can to jerk her around,” Cora explained.

They got in the car and as they were pulling out of the parking lot, Derek gave way to the ambulance that pulled in.

***

Derek called the sheriff when they returned to the loft, asking if he could stop by on his way home. Noah agreed and said he’d be there around 7 pm. Derek laid the photo album on the table and made himself something to drink.

He sat down, after plugging in Peter’s laptop, and started it up. As he waited for the laptop to boot, he considered if he even needed to move the bearer bonds. At this point, the only way to get them was to be a Hale, and Peter wasn’t around this time to open the safe. And there would be no reason for Kate to want in the vault. He’d have to think about it some more.

Once the laptop was running he began searching files. He wasn’t sure what he was looking for, if anything in particular.

He found where Peter had been digitizing a lot of books from the library. He also had a lot of files of video. He remembered the video of the Kanima was there and had no interest in seeing that again. That wasn’t going to happen this time. Not even on a bet. He continued looking through files just to pass the time. Dawson came in and put a document tube on the table.

He came over and took a seat and looked at what Derek was doing.

“Where did you find that?” Dawson asked.

Derek sat back, replying, “In the safe in the vault. It’s Peter’s. I was looking to see what all he was up to.”

“Did you make hidden files visible?”

“No, how do you do that?”

Dawson huffed, “Let me see it and I’ll show you. We are going to get you in a beginning computer class. Everyone knows how to do this.”

Derek slid the laptop over and watched as Dawson made the changes and several folders appeared on the desktop.

“There we go, let’s see what he was hiding.” Dawson clicked on a folder that opened to a window filled with Word documents. There was one named Talia’s Contacts.

Derek pointed it out and asked Dawson to open it. The document opened and there were hundreds of names with addresses, phone numbers, and information on who they were. They were scrolling down and when they got near the bottom, Stilinski, Claudia was listed. When Derek read the info part of her listing, it read Emissary Candidate.

He sat back and turned to Dawson asking, “Why would Stiles’ mother be listed as an Emissary Candidate?”

Dawson sat back too and said, “I wasn’t involved much with your mother when she took over. I dealt mainly with your grandfather and Peter in handling the Hale financial matters. When she assumed the position of Alpha, she chose her Emissary. And that was a private thing between the Alpha and Emissary. I never knew who she chose.”

Leaning back over, Derek scrolled up to Deaton, Alan and his Info was listed as Emissary – Final Candidate.

“There’s the Emissary, and this file came off my mother’s computer. If it was private, she’d have never given Peter that information.”

“True. What is your interest in Claudia Stilinski? Other than she’s Stiles’ mother?”

Derek reached over and grabbed the photo album and handed it to Dawson, “That was in the vault. And I was wondering why there were pictures of the sheriff’s family in a pack vault. Pull out that one and look at the back.”

Derek pointed to the picture he’d looked at.

Dawson did and looked up stunned, “Ostara is a pagan celebration. It occurs on the Vernal Equinox.”

Derek nodded, “Yeah, and here’s something else for you to think about, Stiles Stilinski is an untrained spark. I had Satomi look for a teacher/trainer/mentor whatever to train him. The person will be here in a week.”

Dawson stared at Derek and asked, “That is a lot of coincidences. I wonder if the mother was a spark as well. Are Noah and Stiles aware of this? ”

“I don’t know, I’ve never asked the sheriff about his wife, or Stiles for that matter. I assume talking about her would feel to them, like me talking about my dead family. I don’t do it with just anyone. And no, I was told the teacher wants to be the first to speak to them.”

Their conversation was interrupted by Cora coming out of the elevator, “Scott McCall’s in the hospital. That ambulance we saw? It was for him. His asthma attack was pretty bad. Stiles said they threw him out of ICU when Scott got upset because he wouldn’t go get Allison to visit him. I swear I’m going to break Stiles of his Scott addiction. He just keeps going back for more.”

“Can we go out to eat tonight? I need meat, lots of meat,” Cora said with a grin.

Derek got up and said, “Yeah go get Alex and tell him he can finish that work later. We’ll go eat then come back and see what Dawson has in that tube over there.”

***

Dawson pulled out the papers and spread them on the dining table. He smoothed them out and began explaining what they were.

“These are the completed plans for the house. The foundation, as you know, has been poured and they are about to begin the framework. The interior walls are set as far as the design team is concerned, but if you have any changes to make, now is the last chance.”

Derek looked over the plans and asked a few questions, but overall he was satisfied with them. Cora looked over them and pointed to what looked to be a small room on the plans that had no label.

“What’s that?” Cora asked, pointing to the unlabeled room.

Dawson leaned over and said, “That’s the safe”

Derek looked up from the plans, saying “When did that get put in?”

“After you and Alex got shot. We need to have wolfsbane on hand for those emergencies, and it needs to be kept secure. You have yellow wolfsbane in several forms and some hunters would be ecstatic to get their hands on it. So a safe is being installed. This model is fire and waterproof; drill and puncture resistant. I have been guaranteed that it will withstand any attack short of an explosion, but that would bring the house down on top of it. Of course, it can always be broken into with time, but not without an extreme amount of effort.”

“How big is it?”

“It’s outside dimensions are 72″ X 48″ X 24″ with adjustable shelving inside the safe. If you think that’s not large enough I can special order it, but that will add another 2 weeks on its delivery.”

“No that’s fine, I trust your judgment. I just assumed we’d keep the wolfsbane in the armory,” Derek stated, looking back over the floor plans.

“Actually, the armory is not as secure as the safe is going to be. There are only a few people who will be able to access the safe, while everyone will be able to access the armory,” Dawson explained.

“Okay, yeah we discussed that. Sorry, we have discussed a lot about this over the last few weeks,” Derek said apologizing.

“Yes we have, and less time over the fun parts of the house, like the workout room and the sauna.”

“We have a sauna?” Derek looked closer at the plans. He hadn’t agreed to that.

“No, but we need to discuss it. I think we could use one.”

Cora snorted, as Derek gave Dawson a blank look.

The buzzing of his phone drew Derek away from the ridiculous idea of a sauna. He looked at his phone and saw the text from Noah, he then shoved his phone back into his pocket.

“The sheriff’s here, and I’ve gone along with everything you suggested, but a sauna isn’t happening. You want a sauna, join the Beacon Hills Fitness Club,” Derek said, as he turned away to go let the sheriff in.

“I already have and their sauna is superb, but I have to share,” Dawson called out as Derek got on the elevator.

“Then build your own house and have a sauna in every room,” Derek retorted, closing the door.

Cora and Dawson exchanged looks, “You want a sauna, don’t you?” Dawson asked her.

Cora rolled her eyes, refusing to get into that debate. She walked into the kitchen and got a drink.

Dawson sighed as he rolled up the plans and put them back in the tube.

***

Derek and Noah sat down on the sofa, while Dawson fixed the sheriff a glass of iced tea. Cora excused herself and went to her room. Derek picked up the photo album and handed it to Noah saying, “I found this in my family’s vault. I’m not sure why it was there, I was hoping you might have the answer.”

Noah took the album and opened the cover. At the sight of the first picture, a smile crossed his face. He flipped through occasionally pointing out something in the picture. He got to the last and closed the album.

Handing the album back to Derek he said, “I can’t tell you why Claudia sent those pictures to your mother. She and your mother were close, for a while. They spent a lot of time out in the preserve, from what I understood. Claudia didn’t tell me what they were doing out there. But in the summer of ’97, it all changed. Talia didn’t come by and the trips to the preserve stopped. When I asked Claudia, she’d change the subject, so I just let it go.”

“I’m sorry for prying. It just struck me as strange that your pictures would be in our vault. You can have the album,” Derek said, offering it to the sheriff.

“Son, I have those pictures, I have some of them framed at home. I don’t know why Claudia sent them, but maybe you should keep them,” Noah said.

Derek nodded and put the album on the table.

“How is Stiles doing? Cora said he was upset about Scott being in the hospital,” Derek asked.

“Last I heard he was still upset. It’s not because Scott’s in the hospital, as that’s a regular occurrence, it’s just not usually so bad. His issue is that his best friend threw him out over a girl. Scott got upset because Stiles refused to call Scott’s girlfriend. He said that Scott told him he wasn’t a friend if he couldn’t get his girlfriend to come up there. I think it will eventually blow over. Teenagers are fickle, they change their minds like I change TV channels. Just wait, your sister is going to be the same way when she finds a boyfriend. We can commiserate over cheeseburgers.

“Speaking of cheeseburgers, I need to get home. Stiles promised eggplant lasagna, and I’m so excited,” Noah said as he stood up, rolling his eyes.

Dawson and Derek both snorted at the sheriff’s humor at his enforced diet. Derek escorted him down to the first floor and once he was in his car and out the gate, closed the gate and locked up the warehouse.

He went back to his loft and arched a brow at Dawson who shook his head, “It doesn’t mean anything. I’m sure your mother had very good reasons for spending time with Mrs. Stilinski. We’ll just have to wait until the teacher comes and perhaps they can tell us something.”

Chapter 17

March 4, 2011

Beacon Hill, California

On the day of the new moon, Derek got a phone call from an unknown number, so he answered cautiously. He wasn’t expecting to hear what he did.

“Alpha Hale, I am sitting outside this gate waiting impatiently for it to open. Would you mind letting me in?” the voice said that he thought was female.

“Who is this?” Derek asked a little more cautiously.

“I am Shasta Emerys and I’m here to help with your spark; if you’ll let me in!” the woman said, starting lowly and ending in a loud, annoyed tone.

Derek yanked the phone away from his ear and then placing it back said, “I’ll be right down.”

“Thank you!” she huffed and hung up.

Getting up and pocketing his phone, Derek went down to greet his guest. He was surprised, when after opening the gate, a pristine, gold 1970 Chevelle pulled up in the parking area.

The woman got out of the car and shut the door stretching, her dark curly hair fighting to escape where it was pinned up on her head. She had a wild look about her until she spotted Derek, then she smiled brightly and walked over. Derek took in her delicate features with her dark brown eyes that sparkled, as she approached.

Derek stepped out of the dock door and took her outstretched hand as she said, “Alpha Hale, it’s a pleasure to meet you!”

“You as well Ms. Emerys,” Derek replied.

“Oh call me Shasta, I think we are going to be beyond the titles before it’s over, might as start as we mean to finish.”

“I’m Derek; would you like to come in?”

“What I’d like is to know why you have druidic runes on your building?” Shasta walked over to the warehouse, frowning at the frame of the dock door.

Derek’s confusion crossed his face. “I have what?”

When Shasta turned back she saw his expression, “Ah! You weren’t aware. Someone is being a naughty oak. But that’s alright; they can be my new pupil’s first lesson.”

Derek was not sure how to take this woman, she seemed nice enough, but she scared the crap out of him if she could see Deaton’s work just by looking. And that was an issue in itself. When had he done it and why?

“Now let’s go inside and get the business part of this adventure started. Then you can give me a tour of the town before we meet up with my pupil,” Shasta said, walking inside.

Derek shook his head; scary. He followed the woman in and escorted her to his loft. He offered her a drink and called Dawson. She said business and that was Dawson’s area.

He set down her glass of iced water and sat on the overstuffed chair saying, “Dawson will be right over. He handles all the business aspects of the Pack.”

“And how many are in your Pack, Derek, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“Right now I have six betas, one is an infant. I don’t know if you’d count her.”

“Oh yes infant’s count, sometimes they have a closer bond to the alpha than the adults, simply because they reach out on an instinctual level, and their emotions tend to not get in the way,” Shasta explained.

Derek and Shasta chatted about the warehouse and the modifications he’d made to it, and general topics until Dawson arrived.

Then Dawson, Derek, and Shasta settled around the dining table and hashed out an agreement for her training Stiles; pending his acceptance.

They included in the agreement lodging, which meant a room downstairs, which she was happy with. And lucky for them, Alex had finished another of the rooms earlier in the week. Dawson had suggested they furnish the rooms as they were finished.

Once Shasta agreed to sign after Stiles agreed to her training, Derek showed her around the warehouse, pointing out the plans they had for the individual floors. They spoke about what type of space she would need as she had several boxes of supplies, and she mentioned that she may be getting more depending on how quickly the training progressed.

She met Alex as he was working in another room on the fourth floor and then she and Derek took a tour of the town. He also took her out to the house site and she studied the skeleton of the house.

She got out of the Escalade and walked towards the house. She turned back to Derek and said, “I want to meet the naughty oak. There are runes here as well. This will not do at all.”

Derek was beginning to get a little angry.

“What kind of runes are they?” he asked lowly.

“They could be anything. Protection, monitoring. I’m not certain, but he does seem invested in having his mark on you, or your residences. I can remove them but I’ll need to gather a few things from the preserve to do it. It requires a counter-evocation to remove druidic work if you’re not the druid who placed it. That’s why I was going to use it as a lesson. They aren’t negative, it’s just intrusive. Especially as you weren’t aware of them,” she explained.

“If you’re not a druid, what are you?” Derek asked.

Shasta smiled brightly, her brown eyes flashing, and replied, “I’m a Spark, just like my pupil. It takes a Spark to properly train one, with any good results.

“Well, let’s go see some more of Beacon Hills. It’s been a while since I’ve been here,” Shasta suggested as she walked back towards the car.

Once they both got in and began the trip back to town Derek asked, “You’ve been here before?”

“Yes, I did most of my training with your grandfather’s Emissary before he retired. I was also here when your mother ascended to alpha. Your grandfather looked both pleased and relieved at the same time. I was saddened to hear of their deaths.”

Derek nodded as he drove. He turned into the high school and pulled up to the front. Parking the car, he said, “I have to pick up my sister, and you might get to meet Stiles.”

“Alright, that sounds good. A meeting where he has no expectations,” she said as she got out.

Shasta and Derek leaned against the Escalade waiting for the bell to ring. Once the students began flowing out of the school, it wasn’t long before Cora showed up, with Stiles in tow. They were both carrying a stack of books.

Cora walked over and snapped, “Don’t just stand there, open the door, these are bulky.” Derek arched a brow and opened the back door and Cora put her books in and then Stiles did the same.

Cora explained that the partner they were supposed to work with on their history project decided he didn’t want to work with them, and they had to catch up on the part he was supposed to have done. They were a week into the project already.

“Why didn’t he want to work with you?” Derek asked. He was curious why someone wouldn’t want to work with two of the top students in their grade.

“Because Cora told him that if he didn’t get his ass in gear she was going to make sure the project reflected our work and not his. She told him our work wasn’t his free ride. It was awesome!” Stiles replied as he exchanged a fist bump with Cora.

“It was better than me telling him I was going to punch him in the face if he didn’t do it. Dawson’s already told me to stop doing that since he’s had two calls from the counselor already.”

Derek sighed and shook his head. Dawson hadn’t mentioned anything about it. He needed to talk to him about that, Cora was his responsibility.

“So Derek, rude much? Who’s your friend, or is it a secret?” Stiles asked, shifting his pack higher on his shoulder.

“Shasta this is Stiles Stilinski; Stiles this is Shasta Emerys. She was a friend of our mother,” Derek said making the introductions, and when Cora elbowed him, he added, “And this is my sister Cora.”

Shasta paled a little and said as she took Stiles’ offered hand, “Stilinski…yes the age would be right, Mieczysław Stilinski?”

Stiles squawked and dropped her hand, “No, it’s Stiles. I prefer to be called Stiles…wait how do you know my name and how are you able to pronounce it perfectly.”

With a small smile, she whispered, “Because I was there when she gave you that god’s awful name and she told me you’d grow into it.”

Stiles tripped over the curb, “You knew my mom?”

“Yes, we were friends for a while. Then I had to leave on…business and we lost contact. I’d like to go back to the warehouse please, Derek.” She offered a quiet goodbye and got into the Escalade and shut the door.

Cora climbed in the backseat and told Stiles she’d call him later.

Derek pulled away from the school and the three made the trip home in silence.

***

When the trio arrived at the warehouse, Shasta got out and walked along the first floor, while Cora and Derek unloaded the extra books and took them upstairs.

Shasta looked out the window and focused on the now, not the past. The past was gone. Talia and Claudia were both gone, and it seemed their sons were going to be the new force in Hale Territory.

She thought she might need to call Alpha Satomi and give her a good talking to. If she’d told her that Stiles was the Spark that needed training she’d have been more prepared for their meeting.

Her phone rang and she pulled it out of her pocket, saw who it was and answered.

“Aren’t you supposed to be working?” she asked as a greeting.

“I am, I’m driving to Window Rock. I figured I’d give you a call to see how things are going,” Colt Emerys replied.

Shasta smiled; sometimes her husband could be so considerate. After being married for ten years, they hadn’t lost that.

“It’s going to be interesting, that’s for sure. He’s Claudia’s son, Colt. It was almost like getting my heart ripped out again.”

“Are you going to be able to handle that? I know you don’t talk much about what happened, but I know enough to know that makes it a difficult situation,” Colt said

Leaning her forehead against the cool glass she replied, “It may be difficult the first few days, but I think I’ll be fine. If I can’t handle it, I’ll contact Justin and have him come out to take over.”

“Alright, just take care of yourself; don’t push through if you can’t handle it.”

“I won’t. Besides, I have a druid to vent my ire on. The damn tree-hugger has painted runes all over everything, without the Alpha’s knowledge.”

“Wow that’s a breach of their ethics or something, isn’t it? I thought they didn’t do that,” Colt exclaimed.

“Usually they don’t, but this one seems to believe that he doesn’t require permission,” Shasta stated flatly.

“Well I’m sure you’ll make him rethink that,” Colt said, confidence pouring through the call.

“Yes, he’s going to regret his presumption when I tear these runes down in a lesson for my newest pupil.”

“That’s my girl, give him hell,” Colt laughed.

“I certainly intend to. Now I have neglected my host for long enough. Let me go and you focus on your task. I love you,” Shasta declared.

“I got this. And I love you too, take care,” with that declaration Colt hung up.

Putting her phone back in her pocket, Shasta smiled. Her husband had been able to pull her out of the slump, just like always. If she didn’t know better she’d think they had some sort of bond that he could feel when she needed him most.

They didn’t have a conventional marriage. They had a house in Colorado that they spent less than six months total per year occupying together. They were often away on their own business. She, helping maintain the secrecy of the supernatural and helping magic users, and he ensuring that the world at large was safe from any out of control creatures. And yet they made it work.

Feeling a little better about the situation at hand, she took a deep, cleansing breath and went in search of her host. She needed to set up a meeting with Stiles and his father and wasn’t that going to be a nice reunion…not.

***

Dawson called the sheriff and invited him and Stiles over for dinner. It was a usual occurrence since Stiles has been let in on the werewolves’ true nature. They sometimes had the whole pack over, and Noah made a point to hold Krista for at least part of his visit.

They had ordered pizza, making sure they had a veggie pizza that they all knew the sheriff wouldn’t touch unless forced to. It was the illusion that counted. This wasn’t going to be a pack night, as Alex had left for the evening, saying something about a date. Derek felt his amusement and playfulness through the bond and assuming Alex was fine, refocused on setting the table.

When the buzzer for the door sounded, Cora said she’d go let them in. Derek and Dawson finished setting everything up as Shasta stayed out of their way. She’d offered her help once, and Dawson informed her that wasn’t how it was done, she was a guest, at least for tonight. After the signing of the agreement, then she could help all she wanted.

Cora led their guest off the elevator, as Derek greeted the sheriff. He then made the introductions.

Noah focused on Shasta with narrowed eyes, and then said, “Shasta Willows, it was Willows when you were here. My god, it’s been so long.” He then pulled the startled woman into a hug.

Derek watched as the tension flowed from Shasta’s body and she returned the hug muttering “It’s good to see you too Noah, but I need to breathe.”

The sheriff released Shasta and asked as he sat down, “It’s been what fourteen years or more? What brings you back to Beacon Hills, not that we aren’t glad to see you?”

Shasta sat on the adjoining part of the sectional and before she could reply the buzzer sounded and Derek said, “I’ll go that’s probably pizza.”

Stiles offered to help carry the pizza and the two left, as Cora and Dawson began filling up glasses, getting drinks for everyone. Shasta evaded Noah’s question and asked about his job and offered belated congratulations on his election to sheriff.

Derek and Stiles came off the elevator carrying the pizza, with Stiles informing Derek that he’d better not have gotten just meat lover’s or he would call the Fancy Leaf and have their healthiest salad delivered.

Derek sat his pizza boxes down and replied, “You’ll be wearing it if you do.”

“Dude! Rude!” Stiles exclaimed as he took his regular seat across from his father. To which Derek gave his standard reply of, “Don’t call me dude.”

The dinner was eaten with conversations of how much Beacon Hills had changed, and school projects with uncooperative partners. Derek also asked Dawson about the calls from the counselor, and he said that Cora hadn’t hit anyone, so he just blew the lady off.

Once the pizza was finished, with the Sheriff managing to get two slices of meat lovers over his son protests, they cleaned up and Cora made coffee.

They all took seats in the living area and Derek watched as Shasta prepared herself for the conversation to be had next.

***

Shasta took a seat on the sectional and took a breath. Blowing it out slowly, she began her explanation.

“Noah you asked what brought me back to Beacon Hills, but before I answer I need to ask you a question,” Shasta said.

Noah said, “Alright”

“Has there ever been anything odd happening around Stiles that couldn’t be explained?”

Noah shook his head and then stopped, “When he was four he got a hold of Claudia’s heirloom cookie jar. She was baking and she had filled it up and put it on top of the refrigerator to keep it out of reach. She left the room for a minute, and when she came back, Stiles had it on the floor with one hand in it and was stuffing a cookie in his mouth with the other. There was no way for him to have gotten it. Even if he’d used a chair, he wasn’t tall enough to reach it. We just blew it off that she forgot to put it up.”

“Anything else that you can think of? Maybe more recently? Anything unusual?”

“No, what’s this about Shasta?” Noah asked a little agitated.

“What do you remember about Claudia during the Solstices and Equinox celebrations?” she asked, hoping this wouldn’t trigger negative memories.

“They were different, not anything I had ever experienced before. It was like the more she decorated and cooked, the happier she got. The happier it felt in the house. Even after her diagnosis and decline, when Stiles did most of the work, it felt that way.” Noah said with a smile.

“Claudia was special, she had a magic all her own. But her magic was dormant. She passed that magic down to Stiles and his isn’t dormant, he just doesn’t use it visibly.” Shasta explained carefully.

“What the hell are you talking about? There’s no such thing as magic, you’ve been reading too much JK Rowling.” Stiles objected.

Shasta focused on Stiles, arched a brow, and replied, “And yet you are sitting in a room with three werewolves. Are you telling me you don’t believe in them?”

Stiles slumped back and said, “That’s different…” he trailed off.

“Is it? Why? Because you can see it manifest? Magic manifests as well, your father just gave an earlier example. You are magical Stiles, you have a spark of magic within you that could explode and make the most beautiful creations, or it could explode and render this building and its occupants to ash. And you wouldn’t even have to work hard at it either. You are only limited by your imagination.”

Turning to Noah she said, “I am here to train your son how to use his spark, to ensure that he doesn’t set the world aflame. Because after spending this evening with him, I can feel it. He has such great potential. He could be one of the strongest of us yet.”

“Dad this is stupid, I don’t have magic or a spark or whatever, Bellatrix here has just lost the plot,” Stiles said as he stood up, his arms flailing wildly.

“If I prove that you have a spark, will you at least consider training with me?” Shasta asked the agitated teen.

Stiles folded his arms and said, “Fine prove it!”

“Your eyes are glowing,” she said simply. “And if you tried you could bring that glow to your hand. Just try it.”

Skeptical Stiles glanced at his dad, who was staring at him in astonishment. In a fit of pique, he thrust out his hand. Nothing happened.

“Try something else, Trixie, it’s obviously not working.”

Shasta smiled and replied, “You didn’t ask me how.”

Stiles rolled his eyes and said, “How?”

“All you have to do is imagine it. Close your eyes and imagine that your hand is glowing like your eyes,” she explained.

Stiles huffed and closed his eyes. Slowly his hand began to glow, a soft amber light from the palm working its way out to his fingertips. Then it began to glow brighter.

“Stiles open your eyes,” Shasta said softly, impressed with his control.

He opened his eyes and brought his hand closer. Staring at his glowing fingers, he wiggled them asking, “How do I make it stop.”

“Just imagine they aren’t glowing anymore.”

It took a little longer for the glow to fade away, but when it did Stiles was still staring at his hand in amazement.

Shasta grinned, approached Stiles, and said, “Congratulations Harry, you’re a Spark.”

The hysterical laughter bubbled up out of Stiles as realization set in. Noah looked thoughtful and getting up, drew Shasta aside as Cora tried to calm Stiles down.

“This is what Claudia was talking about. During one of her lucid moments, before she died, she told me to find you, that Stiles would need you. I wasn’t sure if it was true or not at that point,” Noah confessed.

“Yes, this is what she was talking about. Do you still have her steamer trunk?” Shasta asked.

Noah nodded, “It’s in the attic. I moved it up there when I converted her craft room into my home office. Why?”

“She had several things that may make Stiles’ training easier since it’s connected to his mother,” she explained.

“I’ll pull it down; I’m not sure where the key is though. It hasn’t been opened since her death.” Noah said, glancing over at Stiles to see Cora and Derek calming him down.

“It doesn’t have a key. Once it was locked, only Stiles can open it,” Shasta said with a smile.

“What does this mean for Stiles, Shasta? Is my boy going to be alright?” Noah asked, his shock beginning to wear off.

“He’s going to be fine Noah. He’s going to learn to control the power within and use it to benefit the world, but most of all to benefit the pack. I believe we are looking at the Hale Pack’s next Emissary. But don’t tell him that yet, it’s supposed to be a secret,” Shasta told him in a low voice.

She walked over to the small group and said, “You need to have an early night Stiles. Training begins at 8 am tomorrow, if Alpha Hale will allow us to train here?”

“Of course, we can set up space on the third floor for you,” Derek replied.

“That will be fine, thank you, Derek. Well, Mieczysław do agree to allow me to train you?”

“If you’re going to keep that up no, but if you give up the name and call me Stiles then sure. Is there some sort of vow, or pledge we have to make?” Stiles replied.

“No vows needed, I think you will be one who’s insatiable curiosity will keep you in training. But you must remember one thing, you can’t mention this to anyone,” She said as she extended a hand, and pulled him to his feet.

“Now go home and get some rest, your first lesson is going to be how to piss off a druid, it’s going to be fun. You might even get to participate,” she said with a grin.

“Druids? Those are real? What about fairies and vampires? And do the vampires sparkle? Dad, come on, I have a ton of questions. Can I shoot fire from my fingers? Dad, we can stay a little lon…” his babble trailed off as Noah got him in the elevator and with a wave closed the door.

Turning to Dawson, Shasta said, “I believe you have some paperwork for me to sign?”

Dawson pulled the papers from the drawer in the island and handing her a pen, watched as she signed them.

Shasta handed the pen back and slid the papers over to him saying, “This is going to be an interesting time. He is stronger than I imagined. I’m surprised the druid didn’t pick up on it.”

Derek stretched his legs out, asking, “Could he really blow the warehouse up?”

“Most sparks are trained from an early age to master control. We are rigid in it, as most of our power is drawn in from our surroundings. Also, emotions play a lot in how it’s distributed. If he got angry enough and lost control, yes, he could level this building. Like I told him, he is only limited by his imagination. I’m sure we don’t need Stiles’ imagination giving form to his power while upset.”

“He has ADHD, is that going to make it harder for him to train? Sometimes when we are working together on something, I have to force him to focus. He goes off on tangents that have nothing to do with what we’re working on,” Cora offered.

“I’ll have to think about that. It may be that he has so much energy from his unused spark that it’s manifesting that way. We may find that once he begins training that may disappear. I’ll discuss it with him tomorrow. Now I’m off to bed, I had a long trip and it’s going to be a busy day tomorrow. Have a good night all.”

Shasta left the loft and went down to get her bags out of her car. The rest of her belongings could wait until they found her space. She went to the fourth floor and entered the room Derek had pointed out to her. She’d glanced at it during her tour, but now she explored it. The attached bathroom was spacious, with a tub as well as a shower stall. The room itself was larger than most standard rooms.

She thought she could stay here for a while and be comfortable. She would have to have an in-depth conversation with Derek sometime in the next few days and see just where he saw Stiles’ position in the pack and if it met hers. A pack doesn’t pay what they were paying for his training, for no reason.

Deciding that a long bath sounded good; Shasta put away all thoughts of Sparks and went to enjoy the large tub.

Chapter 18

March 5, 2011

Beacon Hills, California

Shasta was waiting for Stiles and Noah to arrive when they pulled into the parking area. She’d already been up, had breakfast, and opened the gate. Noah and Stiles got out of the sheriff’s pickup, that he rarely drove, and unloaded a steamer trunk from the back.

Shasta knew the trunk had been in Claudia’s family for years, and she’d considered it one of her most treasured possessions. She had them bring the trunk inside and directed them to the third floor, where Alex was working on framing a wall. He’d begun work early to finish the room for her. They took the trunk to an open area and stood it up. Shasta studied the trunk and then stepped back.

“Okay Stiles, you’re going to open it. What I want you to do is place your hand on the lock, and think about how much you loved your mother. I know these are feelings that you probably keep hidden, but you need to bring them out, just for a second. Can you do that?” Shasta asked.

Stiles and Noah exchanged a glance then Stiles said, “Yeah, I can do that.”

Shasta watched as the young man put his hand on the lock and closed his eyes. She could feel the love rising from the young man, and there was a soft click.

Stiles opened his eyes, and turned a wide-eyed gaze to Shasta and said, “I felt her. It felt like she was hugging me. It felt…” and Stiles began breathing erratically. Noah rushed over and wrapped his arms around his son and coaxed him to take deep breaths.

Shasta walked over to the trunk and ran a hand over the top. She could feel the love radiating from the aged leather. Oh, Claudia, what did you do? She thought as the feeling pulsed.

Once Stiles calmed down, Noah asked, “Is this what all his training is going to be like? If it is, I might have a problem with this.”

Shasta removed her hand and turned to the concerned man and said, “Noah, you know I wouldn’t do anything to hurt Stiles, I didn’t know that would happen.”

“No, I don’t know that Shasta, you’ve been gone for fourteen years. I know the Shasta that used to come around wouldn’t, but I don’t know you,” Noah replied suspiciously.

“After Stiles was born, Claudia said she wanted to imbue it with a ward that would allow him to access it when he was older. She couldn’t do it in her dormant state. I helped her with the rune work. We set the runes with her love for him, and to open it was his love for her. Her feelings manifesting shouldn’t have happened, that’s not how I designed the ward,” she explained.

“It was amazing Dad, it’s like she’s in the trunk. Come here,” Stiles said as he pulled his father towards the trunk and put his hand on it. A look of wonder passed over Noah’s face, and tears began welling in his eyes. Shaking his head, Noah pulled his hand away and took a moment to get control of himself. He turned to Shasta, “How is that happening?”

Shasta shook her head, “I have no clue. Let’s see if there’s anything that will help us figure it out. Stiles open the trunk up. It should slide open easily.”

Stiles placed his hands on either side of the trunk and slowly pried it open. Once the trunk was open they saw the drawers that lined each half.

“That’s not normally how those were designed. They had drawers on one side and hanging space on the other. Someone modified it,” Noah said.

“What I understand, from what Claudia told me, it was a special order. It’s been in her family for generations,” Shasta explained.

They watched as Stiles explored the trunk’s contents. He opened one drawer and there were three envelopes; one for Stiles, Noah, and Shasta. He handed the other’s theirs and kept his to open.

Shasta looked down at the flowing script, and took a deep breath and opened the letter.

June 27, 2004

Dear Shasta,

Why do we always start letters with dear? That’s boring. Anyways if you’re reading this, then you have come to train my Mischief and I’m not here. I know I’m dying. I lose time more and more often. I know you won’t understand why I did what I did or how I did it, but it doesn’t matter.

I decided that the ward we set wasn’t enough. And I’m going to try something that is either very stupid or very brilliant, depending on how you look at it. It will probably shorten the time I have left, but it will be worth it.

The ritual is in the green book in the fourth drawer on the left side. I know you will probably be angry with me, but I’m leaving my husband and son. The doctors say it’s just a few months, but I don’t feel I have that long. I want to leave them something that they can feel.

Train Mischief well and guard against the Druid. He’s turned Talia. I’m not sure what he’s done to her, but she won’t even acknowledge me in passing. Keep my son safe Shasta, and ensure he reaches his potential.

The force is strong with this one; those words have never been truer.

Meet you in Elysium,

Claudia

***

Shasta grabbed a small bag and herded Stiles and Noah outside and told the Sheriff they were going on a nature hike if he wanted to come with them. Noah decided that he’d rather go to the station and check on his deputies. He had a new one starting today, and he wanted to see how he was doing.

Stiles arched a brow and said, “No stopping by Dusty’s or the diner.”

“Stiles, go wander in the woods and leave my diet alone, it’s Saturday for god’s sake,” Noah complained.

Derek came out of the building and asked if he could go with them. Shasta had no problem with it and Stiles didn’t care. Derek offered to drive them to the Hale Property, so they got in the Escalade and made the trip.

Once they arrived at the building site of the new Hale House, Shasta led them away from the site, deeper into the preserve. She explained that they were looking for plants that would aid her in removing the runes on the warehouse and the new house.

“Why?” Stiles asked as he tripped over a clod of dirt. Derek grabbed him to stop his fall.

“Magic is in everything around us. The plants, animals, the earth; all have magic. We can draw on that magic, and we can work in tandem with it. That’s what we are going to do today,” Shasta explained as they walked along.

“We are going to gather a few ingredients here, and using some I have back at the warehouse, we are going to make some infused oil that I’m going to paint over the runes that have been placed on the warehouse and the new building and we are going to remove them. The person who placed them is probably going to come running when that happens, and then he will have to explain himself to the Alpha. It’s going to be interesting to see how he explains that.”

“Why do we need to remove them? Are they dangerous or hurting anyone?” Stiles asked, paying attention to where he was walking.

“No, but that’s not the point,” Shasta said, coming to a halt. She turned to Stiles and said sternly, “You never use your magic on someone or their property without their express permission, ever.”

“What if you’re trying to protect them from something? And you don’t have time?” Stile questioned.

“There is always time for consent. All you have to say is may I. It doesn’t have to be a thirty-minute conversation. But there has to be consent, never forget that. The druid who placed the runes on Derek’s property didn’t have permission. He didn’t bother to ask. That is not exactly a ringing endorsement for him.”

“What if you’re defending yourself?” Stiles asked.

“Stiles you will learn all types of magic as I train you.

“Placing runes takes thought and preparation. It’s not instant, like say throwing a mountain ash barrier. You will learn defensive and offensive magic. Of course, in a fight, if you’re ever in one, you don’t ask. But you will learn what magic you have to have permission for. Just keep in mind, as a rule, anything that has a long- term effect, has to have permission. That makes it easier. ”

“OK, I promise to always ask. What are you going to teach me?”

“You will learn magical ethics, rune carving, rune placement, warding, and control of your innate power. You’ll also learn how to work with herbs and amulets. By the time we’ve finished, you will be able to place wards on your home and defend yourself and others from almost any threat,” Shasta explained.

“Will I be able to levitate things and make them disappear? Can I heal people…,” Stiles trailed off, coming to an abrupt halt. Shasta heard the pitch of his voice change and turned back. She saw Stiles standing there, pale with a shattered look on his face.

“Could I have healed my mom?” he asked brokenly.

Shasta walked over to him and laying a hand on his shoulder, offering comfort, said, “At the age you were when she became ill, I doubt it very seriously. Your spark was nowhere strong enough to manage any type of healing. I’m sorry.”

“Could you have healed her?” he asked.

“Your Mother knew of my gifts and she knew what I was capable of. I have to think that if she thought there was a chance, she would have contacted me. We had common friends that contacted me as soon as they heard of her death. So, there was a way for her to have let me know. I’m not certain why she didn’t, but that is something we’ll have to always wonder about. And if she had reached out, I would have done everything in my power to ensure you didn’t lose your mother. I’m sorry I wasn’t given the chance.” Shasta then turned and walked further into the preserve.

Stiles started after her, only to be held in place by Derek. “Give her a minute, I think your Mom’s death affected her pretty deeply,” Derek said.

“Yeah, I guess it did. It’s just for a minute there…” Stiles trailed off.

“You thought you had someone to blame? You for not doing it, her for not coming? Don’t fall into that trap. It’s not a great place to be, and it takes forever to climb out, trust me,” Derek advised.

“It’s just…never mind, you don’t want to hear about this. Let’s go see if we can find whatever we’re supposed to find out here,” Stiles mumbled as he started walking again, and Derek let him go.

Shasta walked along, lost in thought. When she’d heard of Claudia’s death, she’d asked herself why she hadn’t reached out to her, why she hadn’t allowed her to try to heal her. It’d taken seven years to get over the guilt of wondering if she’d been allowed, could she have extended Claudia’s life, if not heal her. That if she’d kept in closer contact, would Claudia have called her? But she had finally accepted that Claudia didn’t think she could, so that had to be why she didn’t contact her. It was an ugly circle when you went down that path of survivor’s guilt. Taking a deep breath, she pushed down the emotions Stiles had inadvertently stirred up and focused on the now.

Hearing the tromping of feet and then the “oomph”, Shasta turned and saw Stiles laid out on the ground. He looked up at her and said, “Not a word, I’m not made for the Animal Planet routine, I need nice flat concrete.”

Looking down at Stiles she suppressed her smile and said, “We’ll have to get you a walking stick, so you can keep balance.”

Stiles climbed to his feet and said, “Like Gandalf in Lord of the Rings?”

“I was thinking more like Bilbo’s when he boarded the ship at the Havens.”

“But that was plain, and didn’t have any power.”

“You have to learn to walk before you can run.”

“Do I at least get a wand?”

Shasta bent down and picked up a fallen branch, broke off a piece and handed it to Stiles, “There’s your wand. 11 inches, solid Birch, good for nothing, like every other wand you have ever seen. Use it well.”

Stiles stood there in silence, while Derek started snickering. Stiles turned to the werewolf, and said, “Enough out of you, here… fetch.” and threw the stick.

Derek arched his brow and said, “The dog jokes will get old.”

Stiles shook his head and began following after Shasta, “They will never get old.”

***

After gathering the plants that Shasta needed, the trio returned to the warehouse. Shasta and Stiles went to the framed-in work area on the third floor that while they were away, had been outfitted with a large table.

Shasta laid the plants on the table and went over to one of her boxes that she’d moved to the area earlier. She pulled out a mortar and pestle and some jars with different ingredients in them.

She explained to Stiles, as she finely ground each dry ingredient, what they were, and what their properties were. Once she had them ground down, she grabbed a bottle of jojoba oil and a pack of beeswax. She handed those to Stiles and pulled a small cast iron pot, a wooden spoon, and her ground herbs and went upstairs to Derek’s loft to use the stove.

She melted part of the beeswax, added some of the oil, and then sprinkled the ground ingredients over the top of the liquid. She slowly stirred and explained to Stiles that she was pushing some of her power into the oil to charge and bind the ingredients.

As soon as she was finished, she removed the pot from the heat and had Stiles gather their containers and they went back downstairs.

As the oil was cooling, she braided the plants they had gathered, to form an applicator. Satisfied that she was ready she gave Stiles a nod and said, “Let’s go break some runes.”

They went to the first floor and exited the building. Shasta turned to face the building and then walked over to the dock door. She ran her hand around the door frame, feeling where the actual rune was placed. She then took the plant applicator that she had immersed in the pot and spread the oil on the rune. Once the oil had coated the entire rune, it exposed the hidden rune to sight. She explained that while the runes had a general meaning, intent played a large part in rune crafting.

Shasta pointed out each rune that was used, and explained their meanings, at least as much as she could.

“He’s used Thurisaz for protection, Othala for home, Sowulo for seeing and Inguz for spreading out power. Now if we guess what his intent was, we could say he was offering protection for the warehouse while watching over it. Or he was offering protection while monitoring it, keeping track of who’s here. Either way, not negative or harmful but definitely intrusive,” Shasta explained to Stiles and the others who’d gathered behind them.

“Why would he do that after I told him I didn’t want anything from him?” Derek questioned.

Shasta shrugged, “I don’t know. I couldn’t even begin to guess his motivations. He’s a druid. There’s not a lot they do that I understand, honestly.”

“He can monitor what’s going on? How can he do that? Is it like a hidden camera or something?” Stiles rattled off.

Shasta smiled and replied, “It’s not so much a camera as he’ll be able to discern changes in emotions and the magical aura of those here. Over time you can pick out individuals from that combined signature. I’m sure he’s known that you and I have been here. He’s probably not aware of our identities, but he’s certainly felt us.”

“I feel like I need a shower after hearing that. A druid creeper,” Stiles said sarcastically.

“Yes, it can feel that way. Well, how about we get this taken care of and we see who pops up?”

Shasta placed both her hands over the runes, closed her eyes, and focused on removing it. She felt heat beneath her hands and then heard a loud crack. The heat immediately dispersed and she opened her eyes to see a scorched spot where the rune had been.

“Well, that’s not obvious at all. I’m going to have to paint that,” Alex said.

Shasta ran a hand over the scorch, and it blended in with the paint on the rest of the door frame.

“Better?” She asked the blond werewolf.

Alex blushed and said, “That’s handy, do you do walls and ceilings?”

Shasta laughed lightly and replied, “No. But I think I need to find a place to sit down.” She swayed a little and Stiles reached for her arm to steady her.

“Are you alright? Do you need to lie down? Let’s get you inside and find you a drink,” Stiles said all in one breath as he guided her through the door.

Stiles and Derek took Shasta up to the loft and Stiles got her situated on the sofa, while Derek made her a glass of water. After drinking down half the glass Shasta said, “There is always a price for using your magic. It takes energy from you and those runes were set with a lot of power. I’ll be alright in a few minutes. ”

Alex came up a few minutes later and said, “Deaton’s here. He must have left as soon as you burned that off.”

“Alpha Hale I would be honored to join you in this confrontation. Stiles, you’re staying up here. We don’t want him to know you are involved. I’ll explain why later,” Shasta said as she stood up.

Derek nodded and said, “Alright let’s go.”

They both took the elevator down and walked out through the dock doorway.

Deaton was leaning against his car and pushed off when Shasta and Derek approached.

“You had no right to place runes on a building that doesn’t belong to you naughty oak. I believe there are rules against that,” Shasta said as she came to a stop before the incensed druid.

“You had no right to meddle in our affairs, witch. It was not your place,” Deaton rebutted.

“Witch?” Shasta asked, “Is that what you think I am? You must have had a broken connection to your runes if you think I’m a witch.”

“I think you have bewitched the Alpha and are going to be the end of the Hale line. He is already interfering in things he doesn’t understand,” Deaton declared.

Shasta stared at Deaton and a few things started falling together. Claudia’s letter for one. She and Claudia used to be close to Talia before she left for more training with Justin after Talia ascended to Alpha. But it seems after she left, Talia had turned away from Claudia. Deaton spoke of bewitching the alpha…is that what he did?

“I wonder why you make that accusation. Is guilt fueling that? Or jealously? Either way, it doesn’t matter, I’ve not bewitched, ensnared, seduced, or enthralled the Hale Alpha,” Shasta said

“You say I’m interfering in things I don’t understand? Are you talking about the Nemeton? That’s my responsibility,” Derek said, with a growl.

Shasta’s eyes snapped to Derek and she asked with a strangled voice, “There’s a Nemeton?”

Derek nodded, replying, “Yes, and it’s part of the responsibilities of the Hale Alpha to protect it.”

Shasta turned back to the druid and said, “That explains a lot about your actions druid. I suggest you leave, return to your clinic and worry about your animals. The Hale Alpha has his priorities straight.

“Your time is over druid. A new emissary will come and take their place beside the Hale Alpha, but it will not be you…or me. I’m sure you will know when that happens. But for now, you need to stay away from the Hale Alpha, his property, and his pack. You might also want to prepare yourself for the destruction of the rune on the new Hale House, because I’m headed there next.”

Deaton’s gaze shifted from Derek to Shasta and back again. He shook his head, got into his car, and left without another word.

As she watched the druid leave she thought about all her past training, and never did Micah say anything about a Nemeton. She was going to have Colt send her the box of Micah’s journals. There might be something in there about it.

Shasta turned to Derek and said, “Well, that was interesting and informative. I’m going to take Stiles to the House and see if he can follow directions. We’ll try not to burn anything down.”

Derek arched a brow and said, “Alex and I will go with you.”

“That’s fine,” Shasta replied. “Let me gather my things and my pupil.”

She went up to the loft and gathered up her supplies, Stiles and Cora, and they went down to go on a field trip.

Chapter 19

April 12, 2011

Beacon Hills, California

Stiles’ training began with a bang. After dealing with the rune on the Hale House, and not destroying it in the process, he found himself immersed in magic.

Most of his time was spent reading. He read about Sparks and their power. He found himself studying about himself almost as much as he studied for school. He read about plants and their magical attributes. He studied star charts and moon patterns until he could tell you where a particular constellation would be at any time during the year.

He could tell you when Mercury enters retrograde, and how it really affected things on Earth. He was stunned that it was a thing and not an urban legend. He was so busy with both school and spark studies that he didn’t realize that he hadn’t heard from his best friend in a while.

After he realized that Scott was more interested in Allison than their friendship, he began pulling back. He’d hoped that his friend would notice his absence, but he hadn’t.

He withdrew from the Lacrosse team, as there was no sense doing the off-season if he wasn’t going to play and he’d only joined to support Scott. He and the counselor had talked about it when he made his class selections for junior year, and they decided that he would be better off trying out for track. After a very confusing conversation with Coach Finstock, the man agreed, and he was looking forward to the following year.

He’d tried a few times to get Scott nailed down on a video game night, but he always got the standard answer that Scott was studying at Allison’s.

He’d thought he’d made a breakthrough when the week before Scott’s seventeenth birthday, he’d got his best friend to agree to go out to celebrate like they had every year since they met. But he discovered that even traditions didn’t matter in the face of true love. On the morning of Scott’s birthday, the birthday boy called and said that Allison wanted to spend his birthday with him, so he was going to have to cancel. Stiles didn’t even bother saying anything, he simply hung up. He was done.

That had been two weeks ago and other than an occasional ‘Hi’ in the hallways at school, he hadn’t talked to his so-called best friend.

He spent most of his time at the Hale warehouse, doing Spark studies with Shasta or school work with Cora. He managed to keep his dad in healthy dinners, sometimes cooking in the communal kitchen that Derek had set up on the fourth floor at the Warehouse. His dad spent a lot of time at the station training the new deputy. So instead of staying at home alone, he’d spend most nights with the Hale Pack.

He enjoyed being with the werewolves. He’d go running in the preserve with them to check on the progress of the new house. He found out that Alex could beat him at COD and he was determined to up his game. He enjoyed talking to Danni about recipes and even liked to hold Baby Krista until she began whimpering; then he found a mom or a dad or anyone other than him to take her, with the exception of Derek.

Derek seemed to be as averse to the squirming little girl as he did. He also noticed that Derek seemed to not be around as much as everyone else, at least in the common areas. He spent most of his time either in the preserve or helping Alex with the renovations on the third floor.

When he did manage to see Derek, he always managed to get clumsy around the guy. The last time he saw him helping Alex hang sheetrock in the last bedroom, he’d almost fallen through one of the sheets they’d already hung, because he was focusing more on the flex of muscles in Derek’s back. And that was embarrassing.

Stiles opened his eyes and took in his surroundings. He had been focusing on calming his mind, and he was not successful. And thinking about Derek blew the process. Getting up, he brushed off his jeans and walked through the trees back to the house.

As he approached he saw Dawson talking to one of the construction foremen. He watched as the werewolf pointed to something along the roofline and Stiles followed his gesture, and saw the work crew was laying shingles on the roof. Stiles tilted his head and then tilted the other way and it didn’t matter, the shingles they were putting on were darker than the ones already laid on the other side. He walked over to Dawson, and together they watched the foreman deal with that issue. “You know you could have not said anything and it could have been a new trend in roofing. Mix and match,” Stiles said.

Dawson turned and arched a brow, “I’d wager those darker shingles are of lower quality than the lighter ones and we’d have leaks on that quarter of the roof in less than five years.”

Stiles shrugged and said, “Maybe, probably.”

“What are you doing out here anyway? I thought it was your practical day?”

Stiles snorted, “Yeah that didn’t work out so well. I was practicing placing ward stones and charging them, and I sorta blew up something. Shasta told me to get my calm on, so I was communing with nature. Have I ever told you how much I loathe nature? It gets everywhere.”

Dawson turned to the house, looking it over, “How much damage has to be repaired?”

“Easy there Scrooge McWolf, I wasn’t practicing on the house. We had a wooden box that I was working with. I think it’s over there, and there, and maybe over there,” he replied pointing off in various directions.

Dawson turned back to Stiles, arching a brow, “That’s not normal. Your control has been exceptional lately. Is there something on your mind you’d like to discuss?”

Stile could feel the heat creep up his face as he moaned, “Oh god no. There’s nothing I want to discuss.”

Dawson grinned, and said, “Are you certain? I may be able to assist you with your issue.”

“Stop! Just stop! I don’t want to talk to you about it, ever. I gotta go! I think I hear Shasta calling me. Yep there she blows, Later McDuck!” Stiles said as he hurried around the house to where Shasta had been working.

He could hear Dawson’s laughter following him as he went. There was no way this side of hell he was going to discuss his Derek issue with that particular werewolf.

***

Derek ended the call with Dawson after hearing about the mix up with the roofing. The roofer’s assured his Second they could get the correct shingles the next morning, so it wouldn’t put the project behind. That was one bright spot of good news.

Derek sighed as he and Bobby approached the Beacon Hills Mortuary. The director, that had handled Laura and Peter’s arrangements, had called to notify him that the simple markers he’d order for both had been completed. He was going to approve them before paying for them and taking them to the gravesite.

They met the director at the door and he escorted them in. They went to a loading area and the crate that held the markers was opened up and Derek ran his hands over the smooth granite. They were simple in design, with Laura’s name and dates of birth and death on one and Peter’s on the other.

He tried to push down the grief that even through time still burned deep. He’d never had the opportunity to do this for Laura before, but now he wondered at the wisdom of it. That single marker represented everything that had not been done right in the past. He’d rage against the being that sent him back, for not sending him far enough back to prevent her loss. But he figured it would be pointless.

Peter hadn’t needed a marker before, but it did give him a little closure on the necessity of his death.

He felt a hand on his shoulder and relished the feel of pack. He had support this time. He had a strong pack to help him through the rough times. He felt the strength of the bonds and let that feeling soothe his grief. Derek was learning to accept comfort, to allow himself to feel the warmth of pack once more.

He settled the business with the director, thanked him, and told him they would return to pick up the markers the next day.

As he walked to the car he heard a raised voice. Looking across the cemetery he saw someone he’d completely let slip his mind. Isaac. How the hell could he have spaced out Isaac? He was his first real beta. He had been the one to call him on his bullshit before he’d let the beta down. He’d never made amends to the teenager, never even explained his misguided attempt to keep him safe.

He remembered now the type of life Isaac had been living, and he decided that becoming a werewolf wasn’t the answer for the young man. But maybe there was another solution. He called Dawson as he headed for the Camaro. He figured he would have an answer.

Explaining the situation to Dawson, the beta suggested simply putting a bug in the sheriff’s ear and letting him go with it. But Derek didn’t want to see Isaac in foster care for any length of time.

Of course he then got a five-minute lecture on how he wasn’t supposed to be dragging in every stray that he found. He then pointed out that if his Second didn’t want him to enlarge the pack, why were they building a three-story, ten-bedroom house?

Bobby snorted from the passenger seat as he tried to ignore the conversation. He wasn’t having much luck, with werewolf hearing involved.

After getting Dawson to agree to look into it, Derek hung up. He was not going to make the same mistakes again, but he couldn’t leave Isaac in that abusive situation.

His thoughts turned to another person left out in the cold.

***

Derek drove out to the house and parked the Camaro out of the way of the construction. He began walking out into the preserve proper, Bobby following along with him. He had no idea where Malia’s den had been located in his past. He couldn’t remember if Scott and Stiles ever told him.

He spent an hour just walking around, looking for an animal that didn’t want to be found. He circled back and made his way to the house.

He sat down at the table set up for the workers and pulled out his phone. He called the sheriff and asked him if he had looked into the Tate accident that happened about eight years ago.

Noah started to ask why, and then went silent.

“There were signs of a coyote attack on the two victims’. It was believed that the second child, Malia, was drug away from the scene by the coyotes,” Noah explained.

“What is the address of Mr. Tate?” Derek asked.

“Son, I can’t give you that information without a very good reason. You want to give me one?”

“Malia Tate’s adoption records were in the safe of my family’s vault. She’s Peter’s daughter. It’s possible that she was the coyote that was at the accident site. And if she was, that means she’s still out in the preserve somewhere. I need to try to find my cousin Sheriff. Coyotes, like wolves, set up dens. She would probably set one up close to her adopted father’s home,” Derek explained.

“Aw crap,” Noah sighed.

He rattled off the address and asked if Derek wanted him to accompany him to the man’s home.

“I’m not going to talk to Mr. Tate, Sheriff. I’m going to try to track Malia from there.”

“If you find her you know she has to be…”

“Sheriff, she’s probably been a coyote for eight years. She wouldn’t be in any type of condition to be around a human at this point.”

“Just keep me informed of what you find. We’ll work something out later.”

Derek agreed and disconnected the call. Looking up at Bobby he saw him staring at him in shock.

“What?” Derek asked.

“You’re going to hunt Peter’s daughter, who may be feral, and attempt to humanize her after eight years?” Bobby asked.

“No, I’m going to hunt Peter’s daughter and see if Satomi will attempt to humanize her, maybe foster her. I know I wouldn’t know where to begin.”

Derek stood and said, “I have the address of the father. It’s actually on the west side of the preserve, so it’s a good starting point. Want to go run?”

Bobby grinned and said, “Sure, let’s go, and if we find her you can explain to Dawson about her before you tell him your fostering plan. His face will be priceless.”

Derek shook his head and the two took off running through the preserve to see if they could track a shifted coyote.

Chapter 20

June 10, 2011

New Hale House

Derek loaded the last of the boxes from the warehouse into the back of Alex’s truck and closed the tailgate. They had been moving for the last four days.

The new house was finished after three long months of construction. There had been very few delays in the building, and everything was included from their plans. All of their furniture was moved and this was the last of the books that Deaton had finally turned over after Dawson offered to have him arrested for theft.

Derek had invited Dawson to join them at the house, and he agreed, even if he complained about having to repack everything. Cora and Stiles helped him the weekend before and his apartment was cleaned out. Alex and Shasta, of course, moved in and they both had little to pack, so they helped with Derek’s things and the remains of Laura’s belongings.

Derek closed the dock door and made sure the alarm was set. They were leaving the Camaro and Jag there until the construction on the garage was complete. They were enlarging it to accommodate all the cars. That was already in progress, but until then this was where they stayed. There was also a trip planned to get his grandmother’s BMW from North Carolina.

Derek opened the door to the pickup and looked back at the warehouse. They had had a great time there over the past five months. The pack formed and bonded. Cora came home. Stiles practiced his magic, and occasionally had accidents that scared them all silly.

They’d had moon runs and holidays here, including the Stilinski’s in those celebrations most of the time. Just last week they had a We-Survived-the-School-Year-and-Managed-not-to-Kill-Anyone party.

When he leased this warehouse, he had no clue how his life was going to go. He had just been thrown back into his past, with a monumental task to complete. He never dreamed it would turn out the way it did. He was still working on making sure everything was taken care of, and that he was becoming the Alpha he needed to be.

He’d slowly come to terms with the fact that he’d not been a failure to his family and his previous pack. He read his grandfather’s journals that he’d brought back from North Carolina and understood what mistakes he’d made, due to his lack of training. He realized that a healthy pack worked with respect, trust, and loyalty from both sides of the bond.

He also learned how important an emissary was to the workings of the pack. He knew who his emissary was; he just had to get trained first.

Stiles was coming along great in his training, and his progress was surprising Shasta every day. She said he had an instinctive ability with his magic that was almost scary. So, he simply had to wait. He could do that.

They had a lot of good memories here, but now it was time to make memories in the new house. And being in the new house would give him more opportunity to find Malia. He’d looked for her when he had the chance, but he’d been unable to find a trace of her.

With a grin, Derek got in the truck and shut the door, telling Alex to take them home. The truck pulled out of the driveway, and the gate swung shut behind them.

***

Alex parked the truck in front of the house and the two wolves sat and stared at their new home. The three-story house was sitting in a clearing near the old house site. There was still landscaping to be done, with the memorial yet to be built on the old house site. Dawson had a plan for that. As well as plans for the greenhouse, workroom and a new shed.

Derek turned to Alex and said, “Is your crew coming out tomorrow to work on the garage?”

Alex turned to Derek replying, “Yes, they’re going to be here at ten. I figured everyone would be up by then, maybe.”

“Should be, I think. This is the last of the moving until we go back to the compound and clear out the library and study there.”

“Are you planning on moving everything from there and closing up the house?”

“No, I just want the books and the car. Everything else can stay as a bolt hole. Never know when we might need it.”

Alex nodded and opened the door and got out, saying, “These books aren’t going to walk in by themselves.”

Derek laughed as he got out and he and Alex unloaded the truck, carrying the boxes inside. Once they placed all the boxes in the library, they went into the kitchen to get a drink.

Dawson had insisted on the kitchen being fitted out with top of the line appliances. Danni had pointed out the need for granite countertops and lots of cabinets. There was a center island for food prep and a nook with a small table and chairs.

Derek took his bottle of water and went looking for everyone. When he’d left to get the last load, they were in the den sitting up the entertainment system.

He found Dawson and Stiles discussing the importance of gaming systems versus satellite receivers, while Shasta and Cora were sitting on the sectional sofa watching a movie.

Derek sat beside his sister and asked, “How long have they been going at it?”

Cora pulled out her phone and checked the time, then replied, “About twenty minutes. We got tired of their crap and decided to watch a movie.”

The ringing of Stiles’ phone broke up the discussion. After a short conversation, Stiles hung up and said, “Scott’s in the hospital. He had a bad asthma attack. This is the second one in two months that’s put him in the hospital. Melissa says he’s pretty bad off.”

Stiles and Scott’s friendship had deteriorated to the point that the two rarely spoke, let alone spent time together. Stiles had become a fixture at the warehouse, and Derek expected him to do the same here at the house. He’d even set aside a room for the Spark on the third floor, where he and Cora had their bedrooms.

“Are you going to visit him?” Cora asked.

Stiles shrugged, “I don’t know, Allison’s probably there so he’d never even notice me. What’s the point?” He then walked out of the sliding glass door to the back deck.

Shasta started to get up and Derek stopped her, saying, “I’ll go talk to him.”

Derek walked out the door, closing it behind him and found Stiles sitting on the deck, looking out across the yard. Derek sat down beside him and nudged him with his shoulder, “Want to talk about it?”

Stiles snorted, “What’s to talk about? He’s focused on his life, and I’m focused on mine. And we aren’t even going to ask why his mom still calls me every time he’s in the hospital. I haven’t been over to their house in months.”

“How long have you been friends with him? Since birth? And you’re just going to give up?” Derek poked.

Stiles turned to the alpha and said, “Dude, I gave up in April when he called and said, ‘Sorry Stiles, I can’t keep our birthday plans today because Allison made plans for me and her.’ I mean it’s not like we had those plans for a week or anything. We always celebrate each other’s birthday, his in April, mine in December. I just don’t get it. I mean I understand him wanting to spend time with her, but seriously?”

Derek ignored the dude in that statement and said, “When you find a girl that you want to spend all your time with, I will remind you of this.”

“I don’t think that’s ever going to happen. I have too much to do that can’t be talked about. Too many secrets. Besides, I’m not really interested in girls.” Stiles stood up, adding “Thanks man…good talk.” and then walked back inside.

Derek sat there speechless. ‘Not really interested in girls’ ran through his head. That was not what he was expecting to hear. He thought back to the past, and all he could remember was Stiles’ near worship of Lydia and his relationship with Malia. He never gave any indication of being bi or even gay. It’s not like there wasn’t the opportunity for him to explore that; Danny and the Jungle came to mind.

Cora sat down beside him and said, “Did he break you?”

Derek turned to his sister and said, “Bi or gay?”

Shrugging, Cora replied, “I think he’s undecided. He still has his moments over Lydia, but he’s made comments that make me think that he’s focusing more on the male form… particularly your male form.”

Derek blushed, “I didn’t need to hear that. He’s in high school. He’s the sheriff’s son. He’s…”

Cora interrupted, “He’s hot and he’d never push himself at you. But he’s still interested. And I know you would never go there. But just keep in mind that he’ll be eighteen in six months.

Derek’s brain froze and he muttered, “Six months?”

“He was held back a year when his mom got sick and he spent so much time with her. He turns eighteen on December 9th,” Cora informed.

That was not something Derek was aware of. He just assumed that Stiles was the same age as all the other teenagers that he’d been involved with before. That… changed nothing. He stamped down on the thought. He could admit that Stiles was a nice-looking guy, and yeah, he’d noticed, but he was still the sheriff’s underage son.

The door slid open and Alex stuck his head out, “You might want to come in here and settle this argument. They are fighting over what kind of pizza to order.”

Derek heard a loud “pineapple and avocado are not pizza toppings you philistine.”

***

The moving process complete, the pack settled down for the night. Bobby, Danni, and the baby had returned to their home, while Stiles had taken a spot on the sofa in the den. Dawson, Alex, and Shasta were on the second floor in their chosen rooms while Cora and Derek were on the third floor.

The silence in the house was broken in the early morning hours by the sound of alarms going off on several phones, as well as control panels in the master bedroom, entryway, and security room. When they had installed the security system, they didn’t limit it to the house; they also had cameras placed along the perimeter of the property. These cameras were motion activated and had alarms when they were tripped. The company that supplied the cameras and software had also provided an app for smartphones.

Dawson was the first to make it downstairs and into the security room, where the monitors were. He focused on the monitor and saw a young man walking through the preserve. Looking at the time he noticed it was after 3:00 am.

Derek and Alex entered the room, with Derek on the phone to Bobby. Telling the beta to hang on, Derek asked Dawson what was up. After watching the man for a few seconds, Derek told Bobby that they could handle it, and he’d give him the details in the morning.

It was decided that Derek and Dawson would go see what the man was doing, while Alex stayed with the others. Both alpha and beta grabbed guns from the armory and snagged an extra clip, just in case. As they were leaving the armory they met half-asleep Stiles who said he’d make coffee and join Alex in the security room.

***

Derek led the way through the trees to where the man had been spotted. It took longer for them to find him since there seemed to be something interfering with his scent. Finally locating a true scent, telling them he was a werewolf not a man, they followed it. As they approached, they heard voices. Slowing down they crept up and saw the werewolf was kneeling on the ground, surrounded by three men, one of them being Chris Argent.

Both werewolves chambered rounds in the guns and walked up, Derek saying loudly, “You’re trespassing on private property.”

The three men turned and were faced with two werewolves with guns pointed at them.

Argent decided to be the voice and replied, “We’ve been tracking this wolf for the last hour, and we’re taking him down. We think he could be the one who killed your sister, don’t you want justice?”

“It’s not your responsibility to hand out justice in Hale Territory. Take your men and get out of here, I’ll deal with the werewolf,” Derek said, never lowering his gun.

One of the men with Argent said, “You think we’re going to let you deal with it. You’re probably just as rabid as it is.” He raised his gun to Derek and then began jerking and fell to the ground, leaving Stiles standing behind him, his taser in his hand, the electrodes still attached to the hunter.

“Alpha, I’ve called my dad. He and Deputy Parrish are on their way. Do you need any help?” Stiles asked as if it was a simple night in the woods.

The hunter on the ground continued jerking and Dawson pointed out that Stiles may want to turn the taser off before he did brain damage. Stiles released the trigger on the taser muttering, “Would have to have a brain to damage first.”

The sound of sirens pierced the quiet of the preserve, and the flashing lights bounced off the trees. The second unknown hunter looked at Argent and said, “They called the cops? What the hell man? That’s not how this is supposed to work, I’m outta here.” The guy took off through the trees, just as Noah and his deputy approached the group.

“Everyone drop your weapons!” Noah ordered. Dawson and Derek complied, while Argent looked mutinous. “Argent, I’m not telling you again. Drop your weapon.”

Argent took off running, then turned and shot the kneeling werewolf in the shoulder with his crossbow. Noah fired at Chris Argent, hitting him in the thigh.

Derek, Dawson, and Stiles rushed over to the unknown werewolf. They could see and smell the effects of the wolfsbane. Argent bragged as he lay on the ground, “He’s dead already. His body hasn’t caught up yet.”

Noah walked over to Derek, and said, “Son, take him to the house and see what you can do, Parrish and I will deal with this.” Turning to Stiles he said, “And you took a taser from the department. I recognize that model from when we purchased them. I’m not going to ground you since you used it properly, but I’m taking it back and we will be having a discussion about you appropriating County property.”

Derek took off towards the house, carrying the young werewolf, with Dawson and Stiles behind him.

“I want that kid arrested for assault,” Argent demanded between groans as Parrish put pressure on his gunshot wound,

“That’s my son, and I can make a case that he was just protecting himself and his friends, from crazed deer hunters who were obviously hunting out of season. Parrish, get the bleeding under control and I’ll get this one in the car,” Noah said as he hauled the unconscious hunter to his feet.

***

Derek made it to the house, the young werewolf shifting between wolf and human. He entered through the opened back door and took the injured werewolf to the kitchen, laying him on the large island counter. Derek ripped the bloody shirt from the young werewolf as he told Dawson to get the medical bag and to make sure he got the mag torch.

Shasta handed Derek a towel to try and clean some of the blood off the werewolf as he continued to shift uncontrollably. Dawson came in with the bag and set it on the table and began pulling out instruments and tools. He handed Derek the bolt cutters then moved over to the opposite side to help him remove the bolt. Derek told Alex to be prepared to hold his legs and instructed Shasta to get the torch ready.

“What is it with Argents and crossbows?” Alex asked as he took the position Derek indicated.

“They make less noise than guns,” Shasta said as she assembled the torch. “Why do you want this?”

Derek replied as he turned the werewolf on his side and used the cutters to cut the arrow off the bolt, “I have a good idea that Argent used yellow wolfsbane because he said he was dead, his body hadn’t caught up yet. The only cure for yellow is burning it out of the wound.” He rolled him back over and made sure Dawson and Alex had a good grip, and pulled the remaining bolt shaft out with a pair of pliers and tossed it over to the sink.

Stiles handed him another towel and he tried to staunch the flow of blood as he waited for Shasta. She rushed over with the assembled torch and handed it to Derek.

Derek took the torch, flicked the igniter, and adjusted the flame.

With a nod to Dawson and Alex, he pressed the tip of the torch against the wound and watched as the thin, blue flame was sucked into the wound. The young werewolf roared in agony and passed out.

Derek extinguished the torch and handed it to Stiles, and the pack watched as the wound lost its sickly yellow glow and began to slowly heal. The black veins of poison retreated as the healing continued.

Cora came into the kitchen, as she’d been standing at the door out of the way. She looked down at the unconscious werewolf and said haltingly, “Who is he?”

Derek’s head snapped towards his sister and replied, “We don’t know yet. Cora?”

Derek watched as Cora reached for the young werewolf, and her fingers trailed over his forehead. He reached for her hand to draw her back and was stunned when Cora turned, her face shifted, eyes glowing gold and growled lowly at him.

“Cora, what’s going on?” Stiles popped in.

Cora turned and growled at Stiles.

“Hey Princess, that’s enough of that. Don’t make me get the newspaper. Now talk like a human and tell us what’s going on,” Stiles said sternly.

Derek was prepared to restrain his sister from hurting Stiles, but she snorted and shifted back and said, “You ever hit me with a newspaper I’ll rip your throat out…with my teeth. And I think this is my mate. I feel very protective and…”

“No no TMI TMI!” Stiles shouted as he did the time out sign with his hands.

His shouting startled the werewolf on the counter, and he sat up suddenly. Alex pulled Stiles back, while Dawson held onto Cora.

Derek leaned over the recovering werewolf and flashing his red eyes, growled out, “Who are you and what are you doing in Hale Territory.”

The young werewolf flashed his golden eyes, lowered his head, bared his neck and spoke roughly, “I’m Ian Price of the Price pack of Packwood Washington. My pack was destroyed by hunters a week ago. My father called me at school when they attacked our pack house and told me to run, to come to the Hale Alpha. I haven’t been able to get in touch with any of my pack since. And the bonds…”

Shasta gasped, and sat down hard on one of the stools. Derek turned to the older spark, and said, “You know of the Price Pack?”

Shasta nodded and replied, “Yes they are…were one of the largest packs in Washington State. They had over forty members and lived in a commune type compound. The Alpha was Horace Price. He had no sons, only daughters. Xan was his younger brother. ”

Ian lay back on the counter saying weakly, “Alexander Price was my father. I have nowhere else to go. I have been Omega for a week.”

Cora gasped and ran from the kitchen. Stiles looked from Ian to Derek and said, “I’ll go tend to the Princess, you deal with Prince Charming.” Then he left followed after Cora, calling as he ran, “Hey Lassie, not fair you got a head start.”

Dawson shook his head and said, “One of these days the dog jokes will get old and someone is going to take a bite out of him.”

Derek shrugged and looked back to Ian, saying, “You’re safe here and welcome. We offer you sanctuary until you heal and can be on your way, or you decide to stay.” Turning to Alex he said, “Help me get him up to a room on the second floor. Let’s put him in the one next to you.”

Shasta offered to go get the room ready as Derek and Alex got Ian off the counter, and moving in that direction. As they left the kitchen, Dawson began cleaning up the mess. He heard Ian say, “Who is the girl? She’s beautiful.” Derek and Alex both let out a growl.

***

Noah helped the injured hunter to the interrogation room and sat him in the chair. Parrish was taking the other hunter to a cell for temporary holding.

Noah looked at the wound on Argent’s thigh and said, “It looks like it needs stitches. I can take you to the hospital, but then we are going to have to fabricate a story of how you got grazed. And you and I both know that it’s not going to turn out well for either of us.”

Argent slumped in his chair once the Sheriff replaced the bandages and said, “Call my wife. She can take care of me at home. We are prepared for injuries.”

“Alright, I’ll do that. And we are going to have a conversation about your actions tonight once she gets here.”

“Whatever. You know you can’t stop us. As long as those animals exist they are always going to be a threat, and it’s people like us that protect people like you.”

Noah snorted as he left the room, “You know, Hitler said the same thing, and look how that worked out for him.”

As Noah closed the door behind him, his phone rang. He answered it, listening as Deputy Collins explained they had an abandoned car on the north side of the preserve. The insurance and registration were in the car and it was registered to Alexander Price. The sheriff told him to have it towed to the station and he’d look at it once it got there.

Noah called Stiles and asked how the werewolf was, and if they got his name. Stiles told him the guy’s name was Ian Price from Washington, and that he was going to survive. He also told him that his pack had been wiped out a week ago by hunters.

Noah explained they’d found his car and had it towed, and they could claim it later today. He told Stiles to be careful, and they were still talking about that taser.

He then went to his office to call Argent’s wife.

***

Stiles caught up with Cora in her room, where she’d thrown herself on her bed. He looked around at all the boxes that still hadn’t been unpacked and pulled her desk chair over to the bed.

Sitting down he said, “Okay princess; tell me what’s going on, with as little detail as possible please.”

Cora rolled over and glared at her friend saying, “You call me Lassie again, I’m going to bite you.”

Stile raised his hands in surrender and gestured for her to begin talking.

“Werewolves mate once, for life. Just like real wolves. If they’re lucky, they will find that perfect person just for them. They can mate with anyone, but there is usually one werewolf who completes them. One who their whole being resonates with. I think Ian is my mate. I want to comfort him and keep him safe while he’s hurt. It’s an instinct. I can pick out his heartbeat from the others. They’ve moved him upstairs, into the room between Alex and the snack room,” Cora explained.

Stiles stared at Cora, thinking about what she said. That had to be an awesome feeling. To know there was one special person just for you, waiting for you someplace.

“OK, so you mate for life. I’m thinking mating and sex aren’t the same things? Because if they are Alex has a lot of mates,” Stiles said.

Cora sat up and her mouth dropped open and then snapped shut. “I am not giving you the talk Stiles. And no, mating and sex aren’t the same thing and that’s all I’m saying about that.”

“OK! OK! So, you think he’s your mate? Then he really is your Prince Charming.”

Cora smiled and said, “Yeah, I guess he is,” then her smile faltered as she continued. “But he’s lost everything and he says he’s Omega.”

Stiles leaned forward, resting his arms on his knees, saying. “Okay I understand Omega; lone werewolf, goes crazy, ends up having to be killed. But he didn’t look crazy to me. He looked terrified. So maybe he’s not as far gone as he thinks he is. And maybe Derek will let him stay and you can live happily ever after.”

Cora snorted, “Maybe not happily ever after, but happily would be good.”

Stiles’ phone rang and he talked to his dad for a few minutes and when he hung up he told Cora they’d found Ian’s car, and it was being towed to the Sheriff’s Station.

The friends sat in silence for a few minutes, and when Derek came in to talk to Cora, Stiles left the siblings alone. He went back downstairs and saw the light still on in the armory and went in to watch as Dawson sat at the camera monitor, going through the footage of the incident.

Stiles leaned against the table and said, “Dad did good with just winging him, but I have to ask when I started believing that shooting another human being was acceptable.”

Dawson turned in his chair and said, “Would you like me to replay the part where Argent shot Ian, while he was kneeling on the ground? He wasn’t even growling at him!”

Stiles shook his head, “No, I didn’t miss it the first time, thanks. But I sometimes wonder when it became my normal.”

“Truthfully, I think it happened when you tried to knock me down in the doorway of the school. You drew Cora’s attention to you and she felt amusement at your actions. We were having a slightly difficult morning, she and I.”

Stiles huffed, “I apologized for that.”

“Yes, you did, but that was your first interaction with a member of the supernatural world. And from that point on you were sucked in. You befriended Cora and have caused no little amount of chaos in our lives since. This…” Dawson gestured towards the monitors, “Is the ugly side of our lives, and hopefully it will not be a regular occurrence.”

Alex came in and said, “Actually we’ve been pretty lucky. After the sheriff threatened Argent they backed off, but we’ve been waiting for something. I’m not surprised it happened on the first night we were all here.”

Stiles nodded and said, “Yeah it’s like they were waiting…” He turned to Dawson, “The cameras are up around the house, right? And the sprinkler system is functional? And…”

Derek came rushing in, “What’s wrong?”

Before Stiles could answer, his chest tightened up and he couldn’t draw a breath. How was he supposed to explain the thought that the hunters were just waiting for the pack to be in the new house to mount a major attack? How was he supposed to help protect the pack when he didn’t know what direction the attack was going to come from?

Stiles felt arms come around his chest, as he was pulled against a wall of muscle. He heard a rough voice in his ear telling him to take slow, deep breaths. That voice told him to match his breathing to his… slow and deep. He finally caught on and his breathing slowed. He felt hands on his face, the warm hands of the woman who had been training him for the last five months. She raised his eyes to meet hers, and he focused on the brown depths, his vision filled with the soft color. And he felt the bands around his chest loosen, or was that the arms. He couldn’t be sure.

He felt the hands on his face slide down to his shoulders and then they turned him and forced him out of the room. At least he thought it was out of the room, his mind was spiraling in fifteen different directions. It had been a few months since he needed the Adderall to calm his mind, but this felt like ADHD in overdrive.

He felt himself being guided to a seat, and then laid back. A voice spoke softly in his ear, telling him to sleep. He couldn’t remember closing his eyes, but he felt his mind finally slow down, finally stop spinning…finally.

***

Noah sat with Argent in the interrogation room, sipping on coffee as they waited for the man’s wife to show up. He knew it was useless to talk to the man, fanatics couldn’t be reasoned with.

So he turned his thoughts on how to explain all this to his newest deputy. He figured he would drag the man out to the Hale House and simply do a show and tell and see if the guy kept it together. All the explaining in the world wouldn’t convince him otherwise.

A knock on the door drew Noah from his thoughts. When the door opened, Parrish told him that Victoria Argent was here, and demanding to see her husband. Noah sighed and told Parrish to get another chair and let her in.

The red-haired woman walked in and took the seat next to her husband. The Sheriff arched a brow and said, “We haven’t met, I’m the man in charge around here. And I’m getting very tired of having to remind you people of this. ”

When Victoria shifted in her seat, Noah said, “Hands on the table Mrs. Argent, now!”

The woman offered Noah a nod and placed both hands on the table, “Sheriff, I don’t believe you understand the seriousness of the work we do. You seem to be under the misguided impression that these creatures are tame. I assure you they aren’t.”

“Really? Because I just watched your husband shoot an unarmed boy, who was in no way threatening anyone. An unarmed boy kneeling in the dirt. Now you are going to sit here and tell me who is tame and who isn’t? Lady, if I had my way about it, I’d put all of you in jail, but since I can’t take this to the prosecutor and not be remanded to Eichen House for severe delusions, I’m going to have to find unique ways to deal with you.”

Noah’s phone rang and he pulled it out of his pocket and answered it with a “What?”

“Sheriff, this is Colt Emerys. Shasta just called and told me what happened. Do not release Chris Argent until I arrive, please. I’m twenty minutes out and I would appreciate a conversation with him.”

“And is there some reason you are so close?”

“Yeah, I was on my way to see the new pack house and help my wife break in her new room in style.”

Noah pinched the bridge of his nose, saying, “You have been around your wife way too long, that was more information than I needed to know. I’ll do as you ask.”

“Thank you, Sheriff, and just to give you a head’s up, I was in Washington looking into a pack annihilation.” Then the phone went dead.

Noah put his phone away and sighed, “I think we all need to calm down. Would either of you like a bottle of water or coffee?”

“What I would like Sheriff is for you to release my husband so I can take him home and ensure he is alright,” the woman demanded

“Yeah well that’s not going to happen just yet, so we are going to take a break. Deputy Graeme is going to come in here with some medical supplies so you can check his injury. And she’ll have instructions that if either of you acts up; she’s to tase you into submission. She’s the one who taught my son.”

Noah opened the door and gestured to Deputy Graeme. After a brief conversation, the deputy went to gather the supplies and then entered the room, closing the door behind her.

Noah went to check on the other hunter, and seeing the man sitting on the bunk in relatively good condition, he waited for Emerys to arrive in the observation room.

Chapter 21

June 11, 2011

Beacon County Sheriff’s Station

Noah watched the two Argents through the glass of the observation room. They were sitting stiffly next to each other, not saying a word. He wondered if the cold indifference they showed towards the werewolves transferred into their personal life.

His thoughts were interrupted when the door opened and Parrish leaned in saying, “There’s someone here for you, Sheriff.”

He nodded and gave the Argents one final look and left the observation room. He considered Parrish as he walked down the hall. He needed to explain the situation to the young deputy soon. The man had a future with the department if the crazy didn’t run him off.

Coming out of the holding area, Noah saw the man that was waiting. He’d met Colt a few months back when he’d come to visit Shasta. He was a large man with graying beard and hair, whose hazel eyes lit up when he saw his wife. He had a laid back attitude that let him interact with Stiles easily. But at the same time, his temper could flare hot when riled. He’d been let in on the issues with Argent and to say he was furious was a bit mild.

Noah walked over to the man, saying, “That was a quick twenty minutes.”

Colt turned around and grinned sheepishly replying, “I may or may not have exceeded the speed limit before I got to Beacon County.”

Noah laughed as he shook his hand, “I’m sure the moment you passed the county line you hit the brakes. You know I have a seventeen-year-old that tries that same thing. It doesn’t work for him either. Come on into my office for a minute.”

Noah led the man into his office and they both took seats, “Now why is it you want to talk to Argent? And by the way, his wife’s here too.”

Colt looked away shaking his head and then said as he glanced back at Noah, “That’s perfect, that way they can’t say they both weren’t informed and aware.

“I was up in Washington, where one of the packs we monitor was wiped out. There were forty members in the pack. It looked as if their entire compound was swept through by a wave of fire. We thought that all of them were gone until Shasta called and told me the nephew of the alpha was here. I didn’t think about the timing, that he’d have been at college when it happened. I’m going to talk to him later and get his side of the story.

“But anyway, this type of attack has been going on for a little over six years; it started with the Hale fire. There’s not a pattern, but there is an accelerant that is being used that makes the fire burn hotter and faster. And we want to know who has it and where it came from. Rumor has it the Argents had a beef with the Hales, for a reason we don’t even know. So, we’re wondering if it doesn’t all tie in together.

“Plus, I have a message from the Argent Clan Matriarch…in France, for Chris Argent,” Colt finished.

Noah nodded and said, “Okay, I’ll let you talk to them. But I’m going to be in the room and it will be recorded. I have had enough of these people. There’s nothing I can charge them with; even the guy Stiles tased I can’t keep. But I want them to get the message that they aren’t hunting here.”

“Stiles tased a hunter? Oh, that’s priceless. Where did he get it from?” Colt asked,

“It’s one of the department’s tasers that I wasn’t aware he had. Needless to say, that’s a conversation I’m having with him once this mess is cleared up,” Noah replied, standing. “Let me get the camera rolling and we’ll let you do your thing.”

Noah led Colt out of his office and down the hall to the interrogation room.

***

Both men entered the interrogation room and took seats across from the Argents. Victoria leaned forward and said, “I believe we are done here, Sheriff. I would like to take my husband home. We both know that you can’t charge him with a crime, not that I feel a crime was committed.”

Before Noah could respond Colt met Victoria Argent’s eyes and said, “Nous chassons ceux qui nous chassent.” in perfectly accented French.

Victoria sat back and said, “I beg your pardon?”

“We hunt those who hunt us. That is the code of hunters worldwide. That is the code the Argent Clan follows. I checked with Héléne Argent just last week to make sure nothing had changed. She assured me it hadn’t,” Colt explained as he turned the onyx signet ring on his right hand.

Victoria arched a brow, “And who are you to talk to us about the code?”

Colt glanced at Chris and said, “I need to talk to the matriarch of your family, not your wife. So, you need to get your sister to contact me.”

Victoria stood and said loudly, “I am the Matriarch of the Argent Family!”

Colt met the angry green eyes of the woman and said, “Unless Gerard has been dipping into the Nievins family, and you and Chris are half brother and sister, then no you’re not the Matriarch. According to the Argent Charter, the blood females are the leaders. You are not a blood female Argent… are you?”

Victoria sat down and said, “I am standing as regent for my daughter until she can take her rightful place.”

Colt nodded, “Huh, wonder how Katherine feels about that. She’s still recognized as the Matriarch of this faction, according to the main clan in France. But it doesn’t matter. The Matriarch will have to answer to Héléne over the report I file.”

Chris leaned forward and said, “Just who the hell are you?”

“I’m Colt Emerys, an Enforcer for the Emerys Clan. We are the Orion Order chapter in North America and you’re being warned. Leave Beacon Hills, take all your hunters with you. Your continued harassment of the Hale Pack and its alpha has put you in a precarious position. Your acts tonight, with the only survivor of the Price Pack, have not helped your cause.

“Another clan, that will work within the code, will take over this territory. You are facing sanctions from the Order if you refuse to leave. I have authorization to use extreme prejudice if I must. And personally, I have no problem doing that. If it’d been me out there tonight, you’d be on a metal table for shooting a kneeling werewolf.”

“I didn’t shoot him, I killed him,” Chris defended.

“I’ll make sure and tell him that when I see him. I have it on good authority that Ian Price lives. See, that’s what I don’t understand, you think Argents are the only ones with the rare ingredients. Hell, I’d have brought the torch myself if I’d known I needed to. You haven’t cornered the market on supernatural weapons. Not sure why you think you have.”

“You would help those monsters, to the detriment of humans? And you call yourself a hunter?” Victoria accused.

Pulling a card out of his front pocket, he flipped it to Chris, ignoring the woman’s outburst. “Have your Matriarch call me within forty-eight hours, or I’ll have to let Héléne know this faction is not cooperating.”

Colt stood from the table and walked out without another word.

Noah stood, saying “You’re free to go.” And he too walked out.

Snagging Colt in the hallway, Noah pulled the man into the observation room. “What happened, I thought you were going to ask questions?”

Looking through the glass, Colt watched as Victoria helped Chris out of the chair and then led him from the room.

Turning back to the sheriff he said, “I was, but there is something very strange about that entire situation. Victoria Argent comes from another hunter family out of Canada. They are matriarchal as well. She knows that she can’t be matriarch according to the Argent Charter. So, what makes her not only think it but be willing to announce it to someone who just said they spoke to the head of the family? It makes no sense. It makes me wonder if this faction has broken off ties to the main. And if that’s the case, then we are working with a rogue family and that’s going to change how we deal with this situation.”

Noah shook his head, “I don’t understand how all of that works. Is there any way for you to verify her position?”

Colt turned back to Noah, “Sure, I’ll call my brother and have him contact Héléne Argent. As head of our Clan and our branch of the Order, he’ll be able to push for her to get verification.”

“Then I guess we need to put everyone on alert and wait to see what happens. I’ll have extra patrols out by the preserve.”

“I’ll call Daniel when I get to the house, and I’ll let Derek know what’s happening.”

Noah escorted Colt back to the front of the station and then went to his office to fill out the report for the discharge of his weapon. And wasn’t that going to take some creative writing?

***

Derek was flipping through the camera’s trying to find when exactly the hunters crossed onto their property. He and Dawson had been searching for the last twenty minutes. A whispered, “Gotcha!” drew his attention.

Derek turned to see what Dawson found and his second pointed to the screen. “Right here. There’s too much distance between these two cameras. They caught the movement of a branch as the man passed on the other side, but the algorithm deemed it not enough to trigger the alarm.”

“How can we fix that? More cameras?”

“I’m going to speak with Jefferson and see what he thinks about spacing them every twenty feet going out from the house to the property line. Since the Hale Foundation is responsible for maintaining the safety of the preserve, I’m sure I can get approval to install them further out now that there is a constant presence in the preserve that would monitor them.”

“Who do you have to get approval from? I thought we were the Hale Foundation?”

Dawson turned to Derek, saying, “We haven’t gone over all that have we? You are going to get lessons in all matters of the Foundation.

“The Hale Foundation finances everything involved with the upkeep of the preserve. The preserve itself was granted to Beacon County in 1875 by the alpha at that time, with the exception of the Hale Homestead, which is the property that is owned by the family.

“The terms of the grant are the Hale Foundation maintains the preserve and the wildlife within, and the County has the exclusive right of use. But they can never encroach on the preserve or they lose the grant. Any major improvements to the security of the preserve have to go through the Beacon County Department of Wildlife.”

“So, any type of fencing or changes to security like fire towers has to be approved?” Derek asked as he stood up and stretched, causing his back to pop softly.

“Yes, and usually they are approved with no problem since we ensure that the forest is left untouched as much as possible. It benefits all of us for the preserve to be…preserved,” Dawson replied as he grinned at his pun.

“That was a terrible effort. Don’t let Stiles hear that, he’ll call you pathetic. I’m going to head upstairs; you should get some rest as well.”

Dawson’s muttered reply followed him through the door.

He met Shasta in the den as she pocketed her phone. “Colt is on his way. He stopped by the Sheriff’s Station to handle some business, but he wants to talk to Ian sometime during his visit. He thinks there’s a larger problem with the Argents.”

“Okay, I’ll leave that up to you and Cora to work that out. I don’t want Ian to feel pressured to talk to him if he doesn’t want to. But I do want to hear what Colt has to say about the Argents. I’ll talk to him after I get some sleep; this has been a rough morning.”

Shasta agreed, “Stiles is upstairs in the room next to yours. I never asked which one you were going to let him use. Hopefully, he’ll get some rest.”

Derek told her that was fine and then told her goodnight and made his way to his room on the third floor. He stripped off his clothes and crawled into bed, hoping to sleep for a few hours.

***

Derek woke to the smell of bacon cooking. He turned over, looked at his clock, and pulled a pillow over his head. It was way too early to be getting up. The knock on his door disabused him of that belief.

He pulled the pillow off his face as his bedroom door opened. He faced the cheerful smile of Cora as she approached his bed then sat down near him.

“It’s time to get up. Shasta cooked breakfast, and Colt is here and wants to talk to us. Ian is awake and I don’t know what to think about that whole situation. Derek, what do I do?” Cora exclaimed as she flopped over on his legs.

Derek pulled the pillow back over his face, without saying a word. He was right; it was way too early to be getting up.

Another knock interrupted his sullen thoughts, and he heard Dawson say through the pillow, “Cora, I need to speak to Derek alone, please.”

Derek tossed the pillow to the side and sat up as Cora climbed off the bed and left the room. Dawson took the chair beside the bed and said, “We may have an issue. We already knew that Ian was the last of the Price Pack and that he wasn’t at the compound where his pack was slain. The Argents tracking him last night probably weren’t aware as to whom he was. But now they know and have probably already passed along the information that there was a survivor. We need to strengthen our security if we are going to protect him. And we might also consider that there may be another survivor. Ian isn’t alpha, so then who is and where are they?”

Derek looked out the window that showed the view of the back yard with the pond not far out. The forest surrounded the area, making it easy for hunters to sneak in.

Turning back to his second, the Alpha asked, “Do we have all the cameras online?”

“Yes, and I have already called Jefferson and we are going to add the cameras I was talking about earlier. He can come out later this morning and begin marking off the installation lines and start installing them as soon as you agree. They are going to try to get at least seventy-five yards out from our current camera placement in the preserve, which puts us at one hundred fifty yards from the house. That will give us an early warning.”

“Are they going to be able to do that today? That’s a lot of cameras”

“He said he has enough cameras to do that. He can get both his crews out here, and it won’t take as long to do it since they aren’t wired in. These are going to have to be maintained, but we need this advantage.”

“Alright let’s do it. We need to explain to everyone what’s going on and do me a favor. Check the sprinkler system; make sure everything is good on that. As for the Price Alpha, we need to see if Ian can feel them through the pack-bonds now that he’s calmed down some after the snapping of them. Almost forty bonds snapping is very traumatic I would imagine.”

“Of course, Bobby and I will check that right after I call Jefferson and let him know to proceed. And yes I would imagine it was. Now you need to come downstairs, Colt has news and Stiles has already called him Daddy Winchester this morning. It’s not going to be pretty if he has to wait. I’m glad to see that we aren’t the only ones subject to Stiles’ renaming,” Dawson relayed as he stood.

Derek shook his head and got up from the bed, “Okay, I’ll be right down; save me some bacon.”

***

Derek entered the dining room to see everyone eating breakfast. He went over to the sidebar, grabbed a cup and filled it with coffee, then took his seat at the head of the table. As he sipped the hot coffee, a plate with eggs, bacon, fried potatoes, and toast was sat before him. He thanked Shasta and began digging in. He let the conversations flow over him as he ate. He didn’t bother trying to keep up with them until he heard Stiles’ raised voice.

“Princess, just take him a plate and spend some time with him. How are you going to get to know him if you don’t spend time with him? What the hell, are all of you emotionally constipated?” He said as he shoved a plate at Cora.

Derek watched Cora take the plate with a growl and a muttered, “You’re one to talk about emotionally constipated. At least I admit there could be something there. You can’t even seem to do that.”

As he watched Cora stomp out of the dining room, Derek could have heard a pin drop in the silence.

Clearing his throat, avoiding looking at Stiles at all cost, Derek asked Colt what he wanted to discuss with them.

“I’m waiting on a call back from my brother, but I think we might be dealing with a rogue faction of the Argent Clan. Either that or you’re a better shot than you thought and Kate Argent is dead and they didn’t tell anyone.”

Derek put his fork down, resting his hands on either side of his plate. “Can you explain that please?”

“Sure. I stopped by the Sheriff’s Station on my way in, after Shasta called and told me the situation here. I spoke with both Chris Argent and his wife Victoria. And from what I gathered from that limited conversation, Victoria is claiming Matriarch, which can’t happen if Kate is alive, unless she’s been deemed unsuitable. She claims she’s holding regent until her daughter is of age to take it, but I’m not so sure. The French Argent’s would be aware of this proclamation, that’s why my brother has reached out to them. He was under the belief, after his conversation with Héléne Argent last week, that Kate was the Matriarch.”

“What difference does it make who is Matriarch? From what I’ve seen they’re all psycho, no offense Colt,” Stiles stated.

“None taken and you’re right they’re psycho. They have a case of speciesism that doesn’t play well with the hunter code, as we define it. As to why it matters, the Matriarch of a faction of a Clan answers for the actions of its members. They are the ones who are in control.”

“Now I have another question, who defines the hunter code?” Stiles asked.

“The hunter families in Europe got together and hammered out a code, some two-hundred-fifty years ago. It has been handed down through the generations and we have all honored it,” Colt explained.

“And what happens when they break that code? Or go off the rails as we have seen recently?” Dawson questioned as he pushed his plate away.

“There is an organization that monitors the hunters and takes care of those instances when a clan or member steps outside the code. It is called the Orion Order. And my family is the North American chapter of that order,” Colt replied, then dropped his head as he knew what was coming.

“Holy shit! You’re the Men of Letters!” Stiles proclaimed loudly.

Derek watched Colt shake his head and then raise his head and glare at Stiles.

“If we were, we’d have already put you down for being a nuisance.”

Shasta’s giggles broke free as Stiles stuttered that he was not a nuisance, he was a blessing.

Derek cleared his throat loudly and said, “Back to the point. Why is it different if they are a rogue faction?”

“With rogue factions, they have no fucks to give. They don’t care who or what they take out. Collateral damage means nothing to them if they can get their target,” Colt answered.

“And you believe that is what we are dealing with in the Argents?” Dawson questioned.

“I’m not sure. A lot of peaceful packs have been annihilated over the last decade. And 90% of them were lost in a fire. In the last five years alone, there have been four medium to large packs that have been burned to death, much in the same manner the Hales were. Those packs included humans and young children. That’s a major no in the hunter code.

“An accelerant was used that is relatively new and hadn’t been seen before the Hale fire. It’s by design to leave no trace. But when the results are what they are, it’s common sense that an accelerant of some type was used. We haven’t found its source yet. After a few discussions, and some diligent tracking, we see the pattern that Argents have always been within a two hundred mile radius of the fires. That alone is very telling,” Colt explained.

Derek pushed back from the table and darted out the sliding glass door. He took off at a run through the preserve. He felt the guilt crashing down. He knew what it was. He knew that Peter had tried to kill the chemistry teacher because he created the accelerant. She was using it to kill other packs and he couldn’t tell them what it was or where it came from. He figured that Colt suspected that it was the Argents that set the fire, but the proof was in the accelerant. He ran hard, not even noticing where he was going.

He finally hit the point where the muscle strain was more than werewolf healing could counter and he had to stop. He bent over; drawing in several deep breaths, then stood up and began slowly walking. He had run straight to the Nemeton. And for some reason, there was a white glow around it.

***

Stiles was surprised at Derek bolting from the house. But then he shouldn’t have been since the topic had turned personal. He knew that Cora and Derek didn’t like to talk about the fire that took most of their family, just like they didn’t talk about what happened to Laura and Peter.

Stiles wasn’t stupid, and he’d figured out early that it wasn’t hunters that killed Laura and Peter. No one talked about it, but he suspected that Peter had killed Laura and Derek had killed Peter. The more he got immersed in the supernatural, the more he began figuring out the culture. He’d never asked why, and he probably never would. But it didn’t stop his suspicions and it didn’t change how he felt about the alpha and the rest of the pack.

Shaking off those thoughts he stood up and said, “Well, I’m not letting the Alpha run the preserve alone with psycho hunters running around. It’s time to try out that new ATV.”

He left the dining room through the same sliding glass door Derek used and went around the house to the old shed. The ATVs, which Derek had purchased for Stiles and Shasta’s use, were being kept in the shed while the garage was being renovated. Once that was completed, they’d be moved in with the cars.

Stiles grabbed a helmet, climbed on the red machine, and started it up. He backed out of the shed slowly and then turned to drive in the direction he’d seen Derek run. He knew he had a low chance of finding the Alpha, but he couldn’t just sit there while he was running alone.

He drove through the woods and occasionally saw tree-branch breaks where something or someone had passed. Shasta had been teaching him tracking and how to read the plants and trees for signs of disturbance that others might miss.

Stiles rode through the preserve for almost an hour before he finally spotted the wayward Alpha. He was standing in a clearing, staring at the biggest tree stump that Stiles had ever seen. Stiles turned off the ATV, and dismounted, leaving the helmet on the seat. He walked over to Derek and saw what had the alpha’s attention.

The monster stump was glowing like a neon light. The white light wasn’t harsh; it was just bright. And in the middle of the light was a huge freaking wolf.

Stiles poked Derek in the side and said, “Is that a friend of yours? Family? Ancestor? Someone you know or are we about to be eaten by Fenrir?”

Derek turned away from the vision in the light and said, “You see it too?”

“No man I see a fluffy, sparkly bunny. Of course I see the monstrous wolf made of light! Why else would I ask about it?” Stiles shouted as his arms flailed around him, something he hadn’t done in months.

Before Derek could offer an answer, the huge wolf walked off the stump and approached the pair. It wasn’t glowing near as bright as it stopped in front of them and sat down. With a brilliant flash, that left the werewolf and spark blinking, the wolf changed to a man.

Derek rubbed his eyes and said, “Howard?”

The man smiled and replied, “Derek Hale. Or should I say Alpha? And this must be Mieczysław.”

Stiles’ eyes narrowed and replied, “Stiles, it’s Stiles and what the hell are you?”

Howard laughed and replied, “I am Fenrir. And no, I’m not going to eat you.”

“If you’re Fenrir, then why did he call you Howard? And what’s up with the neon Nikes? They don’t exactly project omnipotence you know.”

Derek nudged Stiles and hissed for him to shut up, while Fenrir simply smirked.

“You are a feisty one. I like you, Stiles. But I do not have much time on this plane so let me offer my congratulations on the progress you have made Alpha and offer you some advice. Not all secrets are meant to be kept. If you must tell, you should only trust the secret with those you trust with your life. And a warning. There is one who would see you fail. You must protect all against that failure,” Fenrir intoned.

Stiles narrowed his eyes and said, “Could you possibly be any more cryptic? I mean, I don’t know, tell us WHO wants to see him fail? That would be rather helpful.”

Stiles was surprised when the man flashed back into the pure light wolf, and jumped back upon the stump, ignoring his remark. He watched the wolf walk over to the center, tilt his head back, and release an ear-shattering howl that faded with the light.

Stiles turned to Derek and said, “What the hell was that?”

Derek turned to Stiles and before he could answer there was a soft pop from the stump. They both turned and saw a seedling had popped up from the center. Its tiny leaves unfurled and waved in the breeze. It was barely two inches tall. Stiles approached the stump and rested his hands on the edge then jerked back in surprise.

“What the fuck?” he said and then placed his hands on the edge once more. He felt the thrumming energy beneath his palms that felt like a happy hum.

Turning to Derek, he saw an amused smirk on his face and said, “What?”

“I can hear the humming from here. I think it likes you.”

“What happens when you touch it?”

Derek laid his hand beside Stiles’ and the humming increased. They removed their hands and the sound died down,

“Can you still hear it?” Stiles questioned.

“Yeah, it’s very high pitched. But I can hear it.”

“Oh my god, this stump is a dog whistle,” Stiles proclaimed.

Derek rolled his eyes and said, “Yeah, whatever. Come on we need to get back before the search party arrives.”

Stiles followed Derek over to the ATV and then turned to the Alpha and said, “Derek what did he mean about the progress you’ve made?”

Derek sighed and said, “Let’s go back to the house. I promise I’ll explain everything. But I need you to be patient. Just give me a little time and I’ll tell you my secrets.”

Stiles put the helmet on and climbed on the ATV. Then he gasped, when what Derek said registered in his mind, “You trust me with your life?”

Derek grinned brightly at him, something Stiles had never seen before, “I always have Stiles. Now come on and don’t fall behind.” Then the Alpha took off running.

Stiles sat there for a few seconds in shock, then realized Derek was out of sight. He fired up the machine and sped off, determined to catch up with the running werewolf, filing the fact that Derek trusted him away for later.

Chapter 22

June 19, 2011

Beacon Hills, California

The next week was tense in the Hale House. Colt had received confirmation that the American faction of the Argent Clan was indeed rogue. Héléne Argent had admitted that she’d lost contact with Kate several years ago and had been dealing with Gerard. She’d made contact with him over her concerns and was impolitely told that she didn’t hold reign over him or his children.

Colt, upon hearing that information, had asked that an enforcement team be put on standby. His brother agreed, as there was a sole survivor of an annihilated pack involved and evidence of repeated harassment.

The additional cameras had been installed, increasing the range of the surveillance of the surrounding preserve. It involved many false alarms to get the cameras adjusted, but they were now operating at peak performance.

The biggest concern was the sprinkler system, and without an outright test and the chance of ruining the furnishings, they seemed to be in working order. The system was tested upon installation and it was apparent that no obvious tampering had occurred.

The Alpha, Second, and Enforcer were armed at all times, with additional weapons made ready in the armory. They had all practiced over the months, including Cora and Stiles.

Alex had developed an astounding competency with the rifles and Noah had suggested he might want to try a sniper rifle. The sheriff had suggested a rifle and scope set up and had even let Alex try one of the department’s sets before the purchase. Alex had set up several spaces in the attic that gave him the best visibility. He commented to Derek that if he’d known there was a need, he’d have petitioned for a turret in the construction of the house. Dawson looked intrigued at the idea.

Shasta and Stiles were working on the wards that would protect the house from any type of interference of the magical variety, and using it as a practical lesson.

After Derek and Stiles came home and told her about what happened at the Nemeton, she decided he needed to up his game so he could lay the same wards around the sacred tree. She’d been to see the famed stump earlier in the summer, and she could feel the power the tree harnessed. It needed cleansing, but that it was flowing as well as it was at that point was a miracle. She had planned for Stiles to work on cleansing rituals, but needs must and the new growth needed to be protected.

Bobby and Danni were stocking supplies for the pack while keeping an ear out for any stray people. They made deliveries every day from different stores so as not to draw too much attention.

Cora and Ian were getting to know one another and Ian was coming to grips with the loss of his pack. He no longer felt Omega, but he’d yet to request membership into the Hale Pack. He’d not been able to confirm if there was still an Alpha in the remains of his shattered pack-bonds, but he’d promised to try on occasion to see if he could tell.

Noah was keeping an eye on the Argents and getting his deputies up to speed. He ordered extra firearms training and ensured they could handle a variety of weapons. Deputy Parrish had reacted well when presented with the supernatural.

In the midst of all of this, Dawson got a call from the sheriff that Isaac Lahey had been admitted to the hospital with several broken ribs and severe bruising. Dawson told the sheriff not to let the boy go. He informed Derek of the situation, and with Alex tagging along, went to see about saving Derek’s stray.

He not only saved Isaac but brought the young man back with him, with a garbage bag of his things and an emancipation order that the ink was barely dry on.

Dawson and Isaac had agreed, while the young man was getting his broken ribs taped, that Dawson would arrange for Isaac to be emancipated, and Isaac would come to work for the Hale Foundation during the summer break and on weekends. He offered the young man an employment package that included room and board and a modest salary, in exchange for him putting his cemetery skills to use. The spot where the old house had been was intended to become a garden in memory of the pack that died there. Dawson believed that Isaac had the skills to help design that.

After talking with Isaac, he finally got an agreement from him and had the papers he’d already drawn up presented to a judge, along with Isaac’s medical records and sworn statement. The judge agreed, based on the fact that Isaac was already 17.

So, Cora showed Isaac up to a room on the second floor. She attempted to draw him into a conversation, but he wasn’t having it. She pointed out the snack room, which had a refrigerator, microwave, and sink. She showed him the workout room and took him upstairs to show him the spiral staircase that led to the attic. She then led him back to his room. As she left the room, she told him they would be downstairs if he needed anything.

***

The Stilinski Residence

Stiles was in the kitchen, making up some eggplant lasagna for his dad’s dinner when the doorbell rang. He wasn’t expecting anyone as most of the time he was out at the Hale House.

He went to answer the door and was shocked to the core to see Scott standing there. He stared at him for a few moments before Scott said, “Aren’t you going to invite me in?”

“Why? You haven’t been here in months. Why now? Why…today…” Stile’s trailed off. He went back to the kitchen and got his phone, speed dialing Shasta and turning off the oven. He turned around and Scott was standing right behind him and grabbed his wrist.

“I can’t let you warn them, Stiles. It has to be this way. You and I can be friends again once the Hales are gone,” Scott said as he wrenched the phone from Stiles’ hand and tossed it on the ground, stomping on it.

Stiles looked down at his phone then raised his eyes to Scott. He looked at the guy he’d once thought of as his brother and didn’t see any of that left. “Seriously, you think we are going to be friends? Did they seriously think this would work?”

Stiles twisted his hand forcing Scott to let go and punched Scott in the stomach. When he doubled over as he lost his breath, Stiles pushed him the rest of the way down. The training he’d been doing with the pack had paid off. Good to know that getting his ass handed to him three times a week was productive.

He grabbed the landline and called 911. Deputy Parrish was manning the phone and before he could finish his official answer, Stiles rattled off, “Argent’s at the Hale House; send my dad.”

Hanging up the phone, he grabbed the extension cord that hung by the basement stairs and pulled Scott’s hands behind his back and tied them up. He then pulled him to his feet, dug in his front pocket, and pulled out his inhaler saying, “Open up, I don’t want you dying on me. I’m not going to jail because of your dumb ass.”

He then administered the medication, slipped it back into Scott’s pocket, and pulled the distressed teen along with him, out the door to his dad’s pickup. He shoved Scott into the passenger seat, buckled him in, and slammed the door. He got in, started the pick-up, and tore out of the driveway headed to the Hale House. He checked the console for the spare phone his dad had and seeing it was charged, called Derek.

When Derek answered, he said, “I got Scott here. They had him trying to keep me away. They are headed your way. Be careful. And Derek, watch your ass. I got plans for it later.” Stiles hung up before Derek could say anything, and focused on getting to his pack.

***

Derek looked at his phone and wondered if he should be more concerned that the Argent’s were using another teenager or that Stiles just called dibs on his ass. Shaking that off, he turned to head downstairs. Before he got to the first floor, the alerts went off on his phone and throughout the house. The cameras had been tripped.

Hurrying down he met Alex, Dawson, and Colt in the armory, pulling out weapons. Shasta was standing in the security room looking at the monitors, talking on the phone.

Alex grabbed his rifle and several clips of ammo and headed to the attic. Dawson and Colt pulled out guns and gave Derek one as well. Shasta came out of the security room and said, “Stiles called 911 so Noah is on his way. He called the Orion team after Stiles called in.”

Derek slammed a clip into his rifle and said, “He called me and said they used Scott as a diversion. He’s on his way too.”

Cora, Ian, and Isaac burst into the armory. Isaac looked freaked out and Ian looked determined. Colt took one look at the young werewolf and handed him a rifle. “You know how to use this right?”

Ian nodded, “Yeah, me and Cora were target shooting yesterday. Not what I’m used to, but I can use it.”

“You don’t have to hit them, just make them think you can,” Colt said and he handed the young wolf several clips.

Dawson walked over to Isaac and said, “I know this is not what you were expecting, but things are rather complicated. We need you to stay safe. I want you to stay up in the attic with Alex. It’s going to be the safest place. When this is over, we will have a very long talk.”

“Okay, I can do that. And yeah, we need to talk, because I want to know why Derek’s eyes are red,” Isaac replied, then turned and headed back upstairs to the third floor, to the attic access.

Derek glanced at the monitors and saw several men with rifles approaching the house. He switched cameras and saw Kate, Gerard, and Chris walking toward the back of the house.

“So how do we want to do this? Let them fire off the first shot? Or just take them by surprise?” Derek asked Colt.

“Let them make the first move. Once they have, it’s on them what happens. Shasta is going to be our communication with the Orion Order. She’ll be giving Daniel updates. He’s aware and already drawing up papers.”

The window in the armory blew in from the impact of the smoke canister. The fight was on. Colt grabbed the canister and tossed it back through the window, and began returning fire at the attacking hunters

Derek ducked down and went into the den, and then made his way to the kitchen. The window facing the back yard gave a large view of the surrounding preserve. He saw a man raise his rifle and he fired through the window at the tree next to him. The shot sent bark flying, which startled the man enough he lost his grip on his gun.

It took everything he had to remain inside, behind the walls that offered cover. His wolf was all but howling inside to be released to savage the attacking humans.

Dawson was in the living room when Derek heard him shout, “They have bags of ash. They plan to trap us.”

Derek heard Alex’s reply, “Not if I can help it.” The sound of shots fired above his head and the resulting cry of “Yeah let’s see how those bags work for you now asshole.”

Derek focused on the hunters in front of him. He spotted Chris and Gerard and took potshots at them, making them duck behind trees. He refrained from shifting at the sight of the pair, but couldn’t stop the growl that came from his lips.

He heard the sound of sirens and almost sighed in relief. If the sheriff was here, then the Orion team was not far behind.

He continued firing off rounds just to make the hunters avoid being hit. He didn’t want to kill one of them, but if he had to, to protect his family, he’d wing one. His wolf, on the other hand, wanted to ravage the encroachers on its territory, those that threatened its pack.

“This is the Beacon County Sheriff. Drop your weapons and lay down on the ground with your hands on your head,” Noah said as he approached the house with his team of deputies.

Gerard Argent replied, “This is not your concern Sheriff. We will be dealing with you once we’ve finished with the mongrels.”

Derek heard Colt shout out his own instructions, “Argent! You are being sanctioned by the Orion Order! Drop your weapons before you force our hand!”

Derek watched as a group of men in tactical gear came out of the trees and came up behind the Argents. He assumed they had the others as well and turned to go back to the den when he heard Gerard speak.

“I think the sheriff may rethink that. I’m sure he isn’t aware of where his son is at this moment,” the man boasted as his gun was taken by one of the Orion men.

Derek picked up a voice, coming in through the preserve.

“I don’t care if she sucked your cock five times a day and six on Sunday, this was never a good idea asshole,” Stiles scolded as he pulled Scott out of the trees.

He watched as the Spark stopped and looked around and then said, “Whose half-baked idea was it to send this moron to my house? Did you douchbags seriously think I would just let his stupid ass in?”

As he drew his next breath to continue his tirade, he suddenly jerked to the right as an arrow flew past him.

“Really Allison? I train with freaking werewolves three times a week. You’re going to have to do better than that.”

Alex called down from the attic, “I got Kate in my sights with her crossbow up.”

Derek closed his eyes and said, “Do it.”

The shot rang out and Derek opened his eyes to see Stiles jerk a few seconds later. He threw down the gun and rushed out of the house as he heard Stiles’ pained cry.

“You fucking bitch. I will sacrifice your skanky ass to the wolf god,” Stiles yelled as his legs gave out beneath him, pulling Scott along with him.

Scott fell near Stiles and started screaming, “This wasn’t supposed to happen. You said he’d be safe.”

***

Noah rushed over to his son, unconcerned about the hunters being restrained by his men and the Orion team. He made it over to Stiles at the same time Derek did.

“Stiles… son. Damn it,” Noah said as he dropped to the ground. He pulled Stiles up and saw the bolt sticking out of his side. “Let’s get him up and into the car. We’ll get him to the hospital.”

Derek leaned over and sniffed at where the bolt entered Stiles’ side, and said, “I don’t smell wolfsbane, so he has that going for him.”

Stiles pushed Derek’s face away saying “Rude! Personal space!”

“Well thank god for that,” Noah replied and then he stood, helping Stiles to his feet. He was about to pick him up and carry him when Derek reached out and swung Stiles up into his arms and motioned for Noah to lead the way.

Stiles batted at Derek saying, “Sourwolf I’m not helpless, put me down damn it. I still have more to say to these assholes.”

Noah sighed, “I think you’ve said enough. Parrish come get McCall. I’m sure we can find something to charge him with.”

“Sheriff you don’t understand. They said that the Hales are dangerous and they are going to hurt Stiles. They are abusing him,” Scott offered as Parrish pulled him to his feet.

“Was that before or after you let Allison Argent suck your dick, Scott? Seems to me that is her family’s tried and true method to get cooperation from teenage boys,” Stiles yelled out as Derek placed him in the car. “Dammit Derek, can you be any rougher? This fucking hurts!”

Noah shook his head and then turned to see one of the Orion men leading, who he guessed was Allison Argent, out of the trees as he carried her compound bow.

Noah got in the car, started it up, and pulled away from the house, trusting that his men would handle the cleanup.

***

Derek sat in the waiting room at the hospital, waiting for the rest of the pack to show up. He’d sat in the back seat of the car with Stiles, pulling the pain from him and keeping a towel wrapped around the bolt shaft to slow the bleeding and keep it from moving. Stiles’ bitching about Scott was a good thing to Derek, it meant he was alive. He listened to the story Scott told Stiles about how the Hales were evil and the Argents were protecting normal people from harm. He listened as Stiles bitched about how Scott fell for the charms of Allison and how she used sex to get him to turn on his best friend.

Once they got to the hospital, they’d taken Stiles to the emergency room and then to surgery to remove the bolt. Derek sat in the uncomfortable chair, hoping that Stiles’ injury wasn’t as bad as it could be. He was aware some organs could have been damaged beyond repair in the area that he’d been shot.

He’d heard from Shasta that the Orion team had taken custody of the hunters and were transporting them to Colorado, where the American headquarters was located. Shasta also informed Derek that Alex had shot true, and Kate Argent was dead.

Derek wasn’t sure how he felt about that. He’d been so angry for so long about her, and now it was over and all he felt was numb. He thought about all he had been through before. There was no chance of a werejaguar, no Mexican temple, no age regression, and no berserkers. He knew he should be relieved that none of that would happen this time, but he couldn’t seem to pull it out.

He was pulled from his thoughts as the elevator opened and his pack walked out. Shasta led the way, handing him the fresh shirt he’d asked her to bring.

Cora approached him and flopped down beside him asking, “Have you heard anything?”

Derek shook his head and said, “Not yet. He’s only been in there for forty-five minutes. It probably took them that long to get the anesthesia to work. He was so wound up on adrenaline and magic that he talked the whole ride in.”

“Colt says that several of the hunters are willing to cut ties with the Argents since they weren’t aware that they were working outside the code. I’m not sure how Daniel is going to handle it. He believes that ignorance is no excuse,” Shasta offered as she sat down.

Derek watched as Dawson approached the sheriff and sat down beside him. The man had been quiet since they arrived and Derek had left him alone.

He heard the elevator open up again and Alex stepped out with Deputy Parrish, both carrying cardboard carriers of coffee. He took one from the deputy and took a sip just as Shasta said, “Well, aren’t you interesting. We are going to have to talk later, Deputy.”

He almost snorted his coffee as he saw the blush on Parrish’s face. The poor guy didn’t even know what he was in for.

Derek remembered how the man came into his hellhound ability, but wasn’t sure how it would happen now. He hoped the Deadpool didn’t happen. That was something he, Stiles and Shasta would have to discuss once he clued them in to his situation. Leaning back in his chair he let the sound of his pack flow over him as he sipped his coffee.

Alex explained that Bobby and Danni had shown up at the house and were helping Isaac and Ian clean up all the glass from the broken windows. He also told Derek he intended to go back and start putting plywood on the windows until they could get them replaced. He wanted to check in on Stiles and make sure Derek was alright.

Derek startled when he heard the sheriff exclaim, “Oh for crying out loud! Tell that woman that I’m not coming down there to tell her that I don’t have her family. Just tell her to call Colt Emerys, she’s got his card.”

Derek smiled as Parrish grinned and said, “Yes sir, with pleasure.” And then took the stairs down.

Derek closed his eyes and let the sounds drift over him as the adrenaline finally gave up its hold. He could dial down the vigilance now that most of his pack had arrived.

***

Stiles opened his eyes and looked around his darkened room. It was better than the last time he opened them; it wasn’t blinding like before. He shifted to get comfortable and a sharp pain ran up his side that took his breath. As he tried to curl up, he felt a hand clasp his and felt the pain recede. He inhaled slowly and went limp against the pillow, and rasped, “You can never stop doing that.”

He heard the soft laugh and then Derek’s rough voice said, “It’s about time you woke up.”

Stiles opened his eyes that he hadn’t realized he closed, and saw the Alpha sitting in the chair beside him, with his feet resting on the lower part of the bed.

“How long have I been out?” Stile croaked. His throat felt like sandpaper. When Derek offered the cup of water, instead of an answer, he sipped greedily from the straw.

“You came out of surgery five hours ago, and it took them two hours to fix everything, so seven hours total,” Derek said. “Your Dad was here until about twenty minutes ago. He got called down to the ER because McCall had an asthma attack in custody and his mother is demanding answers. The attack was bad enough they have him on a ventilator.”

Stiles closed his eyes and for a moment he felt guilty for punching Scott as he did. But that moment passed when he remembered why he’d done it. Scott had fallen for their line and was going to keep him from helping his friends, his family, his pack. He felt the anger at his former friend’s betrayal rise up and then was snapped out of it when Derek grabbed his hand and shouted his name.

His eyes flew open in time to see the flames dying out beneath Derek’s hand covering his. He snatched his hand back and met Derek’s shocked eyes. He watched as the alpha turned his hand over and there were no burn marks or blisters from the flame that had filled his palm.

“It didn’t burn,” Derek said softly.

Stiles looked down at his palm and rubbed it with his other hand, feeling the warmth that remained.

“Shasta says my magic won’t hurt those I care about most,” Stiles replied,

“Well as declarations go, that beats you calling dibs on my ass,” Derek said smugly.

Stiles blushed as he said, “I was afraid of what would happen; I had to say something motivating.”

“I’m not sure if that was motivating or mortifying.”

“Hey! I’ll have you know you should feel privileged to have me wanting your ass. I’m a prime catch,” Stiles defended.

“Oh god, you are also my underage son. Can you please stop saying things that make my blood pressure go up?” Noah said as he entered the room.

Stiles watched as Derek blushed and leaned away from the bed. He turned to his Dad and said, “Have we not discussed how not to be a cockblock? Because we definitely need to discuss that if I’m ever going to get laid after my birthday.”

Stiles saw his dad’s eyes narrow and then watched him look at Derek. “Did you drain his pain again? You know with him on the pain meds it makes him stupid.”

“Hey! I’m not stupid! I just…”

“You say things that come to mind with fewer filters than normal. No more wolfy pain killer. And we are going to talk about your blocked cock when you are off the meds,” Noah said. “But we have something else we need to discuss. It concerns Derek and Scott.”

Stiles tilted his head and said, “What can concern them both?”

Noah took a seat on the opposite side of the bed from Derek and said, “Melissa was informed by Scott’s boss that you have a way to help him. She said that he told her about the supernatural and that the bite of a werewolf would cure his asthma. She wants me to ask if you’ll give Scott the bite. They aren’t sure if he’s going to make it through this latest attack.”

Derek got up from his chair and looked out the window overlooking the parking lot. It was very early in the morning and the half-moon was shining softly in the sky. He thought of all the reasons not to offer the bite to McCall. And there were many. The biggest being his participation in the attack of his pack. Then there was his attitude the first time; his constant denial of his wolf. He didn’t want the bite then and he’d probably freak out to get it now. Scott had betrayed him in the past when he forced him to bite Gerard Argent. As far as he was concerned that made him no better than Kate. And the whole True Alpha thing was another reason.

He, Shasta, and Colt had discussed it once, and while Colt had never heard of it, Shasta said that there were rituals that could create an Alpha from a Beta, but they were done in extreme situations and tied the Alpha to the Spark that performed the ritual. She explained that it was always a Spark, and their power is what fed the Alpha spark. Shasta explained that according to legend, the Spark offered their power to the Beta, and when it was accepted, it weakened the Spark significantly and the pair had a relatively short lifespan. Maybe five to ten years at most.

Then he thought of all the reasons to offer it, and he simply couldn’t think of any. There would be no benefit to the pack. He had a stable pack as it was, and had one pending addition with Ian and he wasn’t looking for more at the moment.

Derek turned back to Noah and Stiles and shook his head. “No, I can’t do it. He was part of the attack on my pack. I can’t force them to face that every day, knowing that he helped the Argents. I’m sorry I just can’t.”

Noah nodded and said, “I told her I didn’t think it would happen, but she wanted me to ask anyways. I understand completely son. I’m sorry that Scott’s in that situation, but she needs to find some other way to help him.”

Derek turned to Stiles and arched a brow at his silence.

“If you had considered it, I would have sent Colt after a muzzle to prevent it from happening. You would be walking around looking like Hannibal Lecter,” Stiles stated.

Derek frowned at that and said, “You know that was almost a dog joke right, and that determines how close you get to my ass.”

“Son, please don’t encourage him, we’ve still got five and a half months before he can even think about it,” Noah said flatly.

Derek blushed again and turned away from the Stilinski men, who were determined to drive him crazy.

He heard Noah stand and say, “I’ll go tell her and Derek I want you to know that I respect your decision on this. I know how werewolves feel about offering the bite; you consider it a gift. You let me know if she tries to pressure you into it.” He continued to stare out the window as Noah left the room.

“Hey,” he heard Stiles call.

He turned around and faced him.

“I understand too. I think the only thing that could be worse is if they wanted you to give Kate or her crazy dad the bite. You are doing the right thing. And I’m going to hit this handy little button because my side hurts and dad took away my wolfy pain killer.”

Derek watched as he pressed the button, and his body relaxed in relief several moments later. It took less than two minutes for Stiles to be out. Derek turned back to the window and leaned his head against the warm glass. He refused to feel guilty about his decision. He was doing what was best for himself and his pack. He wondered if they even bothered to ask Scott or if they were making that decision on his behalf. He figured he’d never know.

***

Derek was in the cafeteria, grabbing Stiles something to eat when he felt someone come up beside him. He turned and found himself face to face with Deaton.

The druid didn’t waste any time on niceties, saying, “I understand you refused to give young Scott the bite that could save his life. I would like to think that Talia would have shown a little more compassion.”

Derek glanced around and then leaned forward, whispering, “Then you didn’t know my mother very well. She’d have considered his actions an attack, as much as those who tried to kill us. She would have ripped his heart out as he knelt in the dirt beside her injured human pack-mate. So, I think you should all be grateful that I didn’t follow in my mother’s footsteps.”

He leaned back and studied the face of the druid and decided to end this farce here and now. “There will be no chance of a True Alpha for you to control. The Spark will never willingly offer the power, and from what I’ve been told, the offer has to be willing. So perhaps it’s best if you leave Hale Territory. You are no longer needed here, druid.”

Deaton’s face showed his surprise for a few seconds and then smoothed to his normal calm expression. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. I don’t believe for a moment that Stilinski is a Spark.”

Derek grinned ferally, “I never said it was Stiles. So I’m telling you now; get out of Hale Territory. The Hale Pack and its emissary are capable of taking care of any issue that arises.”

Deaton shook his head and turned to walk away. Derek gave one parting shot, “And Deaton, take your druid sister with you. We won’t be pleased if she remains as the school counselor next year.”

The man didn’t even pause as he left the room. Derek took a deep breath and exhaled loudly, hoping that was the last he’d have to deal with that issue.

Now to see what kind of junk food he could get Stiles.

Chapter 23

June 24, 2011

Beacon Hills Memorial Hospital

By the time they released Stiles from the hospital, he’d been there for three days. He was ready to get out of there. He wanted his bed, his Xbox, and his curly fries. God, he missed curly fries. He figured between the pack and his dad, he could talk one of them into relieving his curly fry withdrawal.

He was sitting on the side of his bed, finally free of all the wires and tubes, waiting for his rescuers to arrive. His dad had to go into the office, so Derek and Shasta were supposed to be coming to get him. His patience was wearing thin and he wished they’d hurry up.

He’d spent a lot of time lying in his bed thinking of the ramifications of his runaway mouth. He wasn’t going to be ashamed of what he said to Derek. Over the last few months that he’d been interacting with him, he found that behind the frowns and grumpiness, there was a kindness that was hidden for only those close to him.

He’d watched as Derek had devoted months ensuring the pack had what they needed. He saw the smiles as he watched Cora and Ian do their strange dance around each other, even with all the tension surrounding them.

He’d watched as Derek would tickle Krista and then be horrified when she needed changing and rushed to find Bobby or Danni. But then Stiles could understand that, he thought Krista’s diet needed to be changed based on the odor that tiny girl could produce.

He’d spent a lot of time seeing what the alpha didn’t show others; now he wanted the chance to get to know what else Derek hid from everyone. He wanted to see what he would willingly show. With the threat of the Argents gone, maybe the grump would loosen up.

That would be his project while recovering; get the Alpha to unwind. It could be fun, or at least interesting.

His thoughts were interrupted when his door opened, and Cora, Shasta, and Colt came in. Looking around the others he felt a little disappointed that there was no sourwolf.

Cora rolled her eyes and said, “Seriously Stiles? He’s getting your room ready so you’ll have everything you need when we get back. Don’t look so woebegone.”

Stiles narrowed his eyes, “Is that from your word of the day calendar Princess? I couldn’t look woebegone even if I wanted to.”

Shasta stepped in before the bickering could build up steam, “Alright we have your discharge papers and instructions. The nurse was right behind us. She was going after the wheelchair.” At that moment the door opened and Melissa McCall pushed the wheelchair into the room.

Stiles lowered his eyes and then faced the woman, “Well I’m ready, let’s get this show on the road,” he said as he got up off the bed and sat in the chair. The others gathered his belongings and they made their way to the elevator.

Stiles felt very uncomfortable with Melissa behind him, but he wasn’t going to let it show. Cora broke the tension by asking, “How’s Scott doing, Ms. McCall?”

Stiles cringed when Melissa replied, “He’s still on the ventilator. They are going to try to wean him off of it tomorrow. So, we’ll see how he does.”

Cora replied, “I hope it all works out for him.” then silence reigned for the rest of the trip to the car. Colt had brought the Mercedes to pick him up, so it was easy for Stiles to get in. The others got in the back after loading his things and Colt drove them back to the preserve.

Shasta leaned forward as they were driving and said, “When you feel up to it, we have a few wards to place. The Nemeton needs to be the main focus for the moment. So, while you’re recovering, I want you to think about how you are going to build the ward structure, and what you need to include in it. Once we get the wards raised, then we are going to do a cleansing ritual that will probably scour the scruff off Derek’s face.

Stile chuckled and said, “But I like the scruff on his face.”

Cora moaned, “Oh my god, I liked it better when you were both emotionally constipated. Can we go back to that, please?”

Stiles tried to look back over his shoulder, but couldn’t pull it off, “You said you wanted me to admit it, so here I am admitting and you’re complaining. Make up your freaking mind, would you?”

***

Derek looked around the room once more to make sure everything was ready. Stiles had stayed in the room occasionally, but he hadn’t brought anything over to make it HIS room. The Sheriff sent Parrish over with a bag of Stiles’ clothes when he’d got called in to deal with an incident.

Derek had sent Alex out to buy a television for the room, and they’d set it up, and brought up the Xbox and games.

Isaac had helped with moving things around in the room. During that process, he’d started asking questions. Derek explained werewolves and hunters, even giving him a demonstration. Isaac asked if the hunters were a regular thing and if he needed to learn to shoot a gun.

Alex had fielded that question by saying that it was up to him if he wanted to learn, but he didn’t have to. Alex then explained that the only time he picked up a gun was to target shoot with his rifle. He didn’t feel comfortable being armed all the time or whenever they went out, but he was perfectly capable of sniping any hunter that tried to attack their home. Isaac had looked to be considering what Alex said and went back to remaking the bed they’d just moved.

Derek sat down on the bed and thought about Alex and his sniping. He shuddered to think what would have happened if Alex hadn’t shot Kate. He’d told Derek that he shot her and the reflex was her firing the crossbow. If she had more time to aim, how bad would Stiles’ injury have been? Would he have survived it? These thoughts had been plaguing Derek all afternoon since his conversation with Alex.

He came to close to losing his emissary, his friend, his pack-mate. his… The realization crept up on Derek as he sat there. He cared for Stiles greatly. He’d had more time with the Spark than Stiles had with him. He’d just never considered a relationship with him. Between Paige and Kate, his relationship experiences were pretty bad. Braden was sex and he didn’t even want to think about Jennifer Blake. That was something else that wasn’t going to happen again.

So his ability to make a connection emotionally was limited. But he’d seemed to do it with Stiles. Even before the incident at the Nemeton. He’d trusted Stiles the first time, when he asked for help with the gunshot wound; when he demanded that Stiles cut his arm off. And from then on, his trust had grown over time. It was different now, he knew the Spark was sincere in his words and he wondered if he could reach out and grab something special with him.

With no hunters, no lost pack-mates, a stable pack, and a home, Derek thought maybe he could. Maybe it was time to let the past go, and see just what could happen between them. Of course, he would have to irritate Stiles for five and a half months, but that shouldn’t be too hard. He had two years of previous experience.

He heard the Mercedes pull in the driveway and took one more look around, just to make sure everything was in place, then went down to greet his returning pack-mates.

***

Derek met Stiles at the door and asked if he wanted the den or his bedroom. Stiles decided the stairs might be more than he was ready for, so they went to the den. Derek got him situated on the sofa and sat beside him.

“How are you feeling?” Derek asked.

“It hurts. I took a pain pill before my escort got there, but it’s wearing off and the ride wasn’t the best, even with Colt’s driving. I swear he didn’t even go the speed limit,” Stiles groused.

Derek reached over and grabbed his arm and pulled some of the pain from him and watched as Stiles sagged in relief.

“Oh my god wolfy pain killer is back. Thank you!”

“Don’t get used to it; I’m not sitting here pulling pain all day. I have things to do,” Derek replied.

“That’s okay the Princess will do it.” Stiles looked around for Cora. “Where is the Princess?”

“She went upstairs. You want something to eat?”

“No, I think I just want to sit here and not move much. I was so ready to get out of there, but now that I’m out, I’m not moving from this spot.”

“That’s fine. You just sit here and watch TV.”

Derek got up and walked over to the window. Looking out over the back yard, he stated, “Kate Argent is dead. So, unfortunately, you don’t get to sacrifice her to the wolf god.”

“Who did it?”

“Alex saw her through his scope. He took the shot and it was her reflexes that fired at you.”

“Wow, she did that after being shot? Imagine what she’d have done if she hadn’t been. I would probably be dead. Need to buy Alex a thank you for saving my life present,” Stiles declared.

Derek turned around and saw that he was serious and not being flippant. He walked over and sat down again.

“Alex doesn’t need a present, he just needs you to heal up, just like the rest of us do. But we might talk about you not putting yourself in dangerous situations. You could have ended up dead. You should have waited until you heard from one of us before you came out here.”

“I wasn’t sure that he was the only one that would show up at my house. I wasn’t going to stay there with that pathetic idiot any longer than I had to. Besides, I needed to make sure my pack was safe. I had to make sure that no one died. Dammit, I couldn’t let you…,” Stiles trailed off as the reasons why he couldn’t stay away flooded his mind. He couldn’t let his family die the way the others had before at the hands of the same freaking people.

Shasta came out of the kitchen after hearing Stiles’ response. She motioned Derek over and sat down beside Stiles. Wrapping an arm around his shoulders she whispered, “That’s what we talked about. Remember when we talked about bonds between Emissaries and Alphas. You would react to a threat to the Alpha and the pack in irrational ways? You have to judge when it’s safe for you to respond. You’ll learn it in time. You have to be alive to help the Alpha, so you can’t just charge in willy nilly.”

Stiles ran a hand over his face, catching the tears that had formed, and muttered, “Willy nilly? Are you using the same word of the day calendar Cora is?”

Shasta laughed, “No, I have my own; one that’s guaranteed to get a smart-assed remark out of sarcastic pupils. Now no more talk of how the pack almost died and the Spark that tried to save them. We are supposed to be celebrating your escape from the halls of Beacon Hill’s Memorial. I have everything almost ready.”

“Celebrate? Are we having a party? Is there a cake and curly fries?” Stiles perked up.

Shasta stood and said, “You’ll just have to wait and see. Derek, you can help me with the drinks.”

She then led the alpha out of the room. Stiles took the time to get his emotions under control once more. He’d been so drugged up on pain meds the entire time he was in the hospital, that the thoughts of what could have happened hadn’t registered. Now his head was clearer, he was seeing the truth. But it hadn’t happened, they were safe and the house was still standing and evidently, Alex was the Werewolf Sniper. Stiles wondered if he could find a t-shirt with that on it. He’d have to look. He took a deep breath and exhaled, clearing his mind and getting his magic calm.

The shuffle of feet drew his attention and he looked over to see Isaac coming in from the armory. The guy looked a little leery and yet he didn’t seem to be rushing off.

“Hey Isaac, how are you doing? Sorry I wasn’t here when Dawson brought you out,” Stiles offered, trying to put the guy at ease.

Isaac walked over and sat on the other end of the sectional and said, “You alright? I know they said you were coming home, but are you going to be alright?”

“Yeah, the bolt missed the major organs, but it nicked the intestine. They got it all fixed and I’m on high power antibiotics and pain pills for a while. Just have to take it easy,” Stile explained. “So, first day here, bet you didn’t expect all the excitement.”

Isaac snorted, “Yeah, that’s an understatement. But I got the aerial view from the attic with Alex and watched the Orion Team act like the badasses they are. It could have been worse. And Derek and Alex explained the whole werewolf thing, which is sort of shocking since I never suspected Cora to be hiding anything, much less that.”

“Yeah, the Princess is good at hiding things.”

“Why do you call her that? You’ve done it at school and I never figured out why.” Isaac asked.

“Her first day at school, Derek brought her in the Jaguar. Well, that sent the elite into spasms. Lydia tried to suck up to her, and Cora pretty much froze her out. A few weeks later we were discussing our history project, and I told her if she wasn’t such an Ice Princess, maybe we wouldn’t be stuck with idiot partners. She informed me she wasn’t an Ice Princess, she was a Wolf Princess and I would do well to remember that. So I have,” Stiles explained.

“Yes, you have and it shall be rewarded,” Cora announced as she came in from the kitchen with a tray of curly fries. She sat them down on the side table and flopped down beside him. “You have to share those. Welcome home, Stiles.” She hugged him carefully so as not to irritate his injury.

“Of course, at the time, I didn’t know she was literally a wolf. Imagine my surprise at the great reveal,” Stiles mumbled through a mouthful of curly fries.

“Eww swallow before speaking! You pig,” Cora scolded, then reached across him to snag a few fries.

The rest of the pack came in, most of them carrying plates or trays with drinks on them. They spent the afternoon and evening celebrating Stiles’ return home. And if some were celebrating the fact they’d protected themselves in an unorthodox manner, for werewolves, no one called them on it. The sheriff even showed up and confiscated Krista for a good cuddle.

When Stiles began to flag, Noah suggested he take his pain meds and go to bed. Derek and Ian got him up the stairs, with them pulling his pain as they went and got him bedded down. As Derek closed the door to his room, he heard Stiles say softly, “Goodnight Sourwolf. I’m so glad to be home.”

“Good night, Stiles. I’m glad you’re here.”

Chapter 24

July 19, 2011

The Preserve

Stiles healed up and slowly began working out to regain what he lost from his convalescence. He managed to build up to twice a week working out with the werewolves, and he complained that they were taking it easy on him. But he was gaining in strength, so he was happy.

He’d worked out the ward schematic and was waiting for Shasta to look it over and agree with it. Once she did, they were going to the Nemeton and setting up the wards.

Derek had been around more during his training than before since they’d finished the house and all the work at the warehouse was complete. He was usually in his study, going over papers that Dawson insisted he look over. Stiles had ventured in there once and Derek showed him some of the investments and Stiles left more confused than he started. He didn’t envy Derek that chore.

The new school year was coming up soon and he wanted to get as much of his Spark training down before he had to go back. He was actually looking forward to school this year. He’d have Cora and Isaac with him, and he wasn’t worried about any hunters in the midst.

The Argents had been dealt with by the Orion Order. When Stiles asked, Colt had told him that the Order handled it and not to worry. He found out from Dawson that the adults had been detained, and Allison had been placed with her maternal grandparents in Ottawa.

Scott had survived his asthma attack, and it had been determined that while he was used by the Argents, it wasn’t enough to draw the Order’s attention. He was given a strong warning from Colt, that he needed to stay away from the Hales and they would be watching him for a while. Stiles wondered if his mother ever told him she was trying to get Derek to bite him.

Ian had formally joined the pack the first new moon after the attack and now he was officially courting Cora. Stiles almost hurt himself when he heard that and the Princess/Prince Charming jokes never got old.

Ian was planning on returning to college. Dawson had helped him transfer to UC Davis and he was picking up from last year. As far as his education went, he’d finished the semester and all his tests before the attack on his pack. He had never managed to feel an Alpha through his shattered pack bonds, and since he had one with Derek, the mystery of the Price Alpha remained.

Stiles drew out of his thoughts at the sound of someone entering the Library. He looked up and watched as Shasta approached the table and sat down.

“Well, what do you think? Is it going to work?” Stiles badgered his tutor.

“I think this is going to be amazing to see activated. You have all the stones carved right?” Shasta asked.

“Yes, they are in the hemp bag in my trunk. I’m just waiting for you to approve and Sourwolf to be available.”

Shasta stood and said, “Then let’s go drag Derek out of his study and go on a nature hike. You get the stones and oil and I’ll grab Derek and meet you in the garage.”

Stiles let out a whoop as he stood up and rushed up to his room. He was going to get to do his first major work. And the Alpha was going to be a part of it, even if he didn’t know it yet.

***

Derek, Stiles, and Shasta arrived at the Nemeton and began making their preparations. Derek stood by the ATV’s and watched as Stiles laid out his supplies on the tree stump. He was told to stay out of the way until Stiles was ready for him.

He watched as the Spark walked around the massive stump and placed the carved stones at the cardinal, ordinal and inter-ordinal points. He would rub the oil he’d mixed on the stone and then lay it on the stump.

Once the stones were all in place, he called Derek over and explained that he was to stand at the Northern Point and place his hand on the stump, after Stiles had pushed the stone into the earth.

Doing as he was told, Derek watched Stiles pick up the stone, hold it tight for a few moments then push it into the dirt next to the stump. He got up and nodded to the Alpha and Derek laid his hand on the stump.

He then watched as Stiles went around the stump, placing the remaining stones as he went. He never said a word, and by the time he began the inter-ordinal stones, his brow was beaded with sweat. As he placed the last stone, a wave of energy flowed over the stump and for a brief moment, the lines that had been created with magic were visible.

Derek felt the wave beneath his hand and watched as the magic sank into the stump. The sapling in the middle swayed in the magic wave then stilled. Derek watched as Stiles stood.

“Okay, you can move your hand now,” Stiles said softly.

Derek lifted his hand and the energy he had felt from the stump continued to flow up his hand and settled in his chest. He turned to the Spark with a look of wonder at the feeling.

“Stiles what did you do?”

“I tied you to the ward. The Nemeton has the power to support your connection, now you will know if anything threatens it. Anyone coming out here to mess with it will be repelled and you and I both will feel it when it happens.”

“Stiles, why am I feeling your exhaustion? And how do I know that’s what I’m feeling?”

“What? That wasn’t supposed to happen. What the hell tree that’s not how this is supposed to work,” Stiles demanded.

The little sapling remained still, its leaves occasionally fluttering in the breeze. Derek wasn’t sure if he expected the little thing to give a sign or not.

Shasta laughed and sat down on the ground near the Nemeton. “Oh, Stiles. What have I told you about working with organic magic?”

“That sometimes the plant’s magic will react in ways we don’t expect. Seriously? This thing has a mind of its own?”

“No, Stiles, you’re forgetting the basics. All magic has a bit of sentience. So don’t be surprised when it does the unexpected.”

“Well that’s not fair, I can’t feel Sourwolf,” Stiles complained.

Derek shook his head and walked over to Stiles. “It’s not that much. Besides, you’re tired and used a lot of magic, maybe when you rest you’ll feel it. Can you feel the ward?”

Stiles tilted his head, and slowly shook it, “No, but I know it’s there because I felt it as I charged the stones. Okay, you have a point. Let’s get out of here and we’ll do the cleansing tomorrow. I didn’t think it would take so much out of me for the ward.”

“Yes, being a conduit for great works of magic can be tiring. Let’s go home and order takeout. That will help you feel better,” Shasta said as she got up.

They loaded up their stuff and made their way back to the house. The little sapling’s leaves still waving in the breeze.

***

August 15, 2011

Beacon Hills High School

Derek pulled up in front of the school and got out. Cora and Isaac exited the Jag as well and they waited for Dawson to arrive. Cora and Stiles wanted to be with Isaac as he presented all the paperwork for his emancipation, and Dawson was going to make certain there were no issues. The Pack Second arrived in the Mercedes and got out as Stiles came up from the Student Parking.

As they walked towards the door Dawson said, “Are all three of you ready for another year at this fine institution?”

The three juniors exchanged glances and all plastered on a fake smile and replied in unison, “Our future’s so bright!”, then dropped the smiles.

Derek burst out laughing as Dawson turned around and said, “Yes that’s very amusing. If I get knocked over by a teenager this time, you will all be cut off from your trust funds.”

“I don’t have a trust fund!” Stiles complained.

“Me either,” Isaac chimed in.

“Let Stiles go first, just in case,” Cora offered.

Derek watched as the four walked into the building and felt a sense of accomplishment. The territory was safe, the Nemeton secure and healthy. He had his sister and his beta back, even if Isaac hadn’t taken the bite. He had his pack that was functioning as it was supposed to. He had his emissary-in-training that sometimes pushed the limits on personal interactions. But he was holding him at bay while they got to know each other better. He was content for once in a very long time.

It wasn’t perfect; there were always going to be issues. He knew that Deucalion was out there somewhere. But that situation would be different than last time. He wouldn’t let anything interfere with his hard-won peace.

Compared to his past, this future did indeed look bright.

The End

 


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Chera

I am a middle aged female who has been writing in my original universe off and on for 15 years. I am looking forward to this new experience.

26 Comments:

  1. That was a lovely story, good to see Derek getting all the good things.

  2. Reaper of Ghost Gum Pie

    Oohhhh, yessss. That was so awesome and satisfying, like a cup of hot chocolate & Tim Tams. Thank you.

  3. I really love that it was Derek who got a second chance to get it right because he deserved it more than anyone. Plus, Derek being a good Alpha is one of my favorite things in Teen Wolf fic. Your supporting cast really made this story though, Dawson especially was a ton of fun. Painting Peter as the true villain from grandfather Hale’s lack of trust, to the fire, to his crazy villain monologue was an interesting choice that definitely made it easier for Derek to act and move on. I truly enjoyed this fic!

  4. This was wonderful! I really enjoyed Derek getting the support of adult pack mates, as well as the knowledge from his grandfather’s house. Stiles’ earlier and more comprehensive knowledge about being a Spark, combined with Deaton being thwarted was a bonus on top. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I loved that Stiles totally own Derek ass, because I hate the stereotypes that people have about this pair

  6. I loved Derek getting a do over and actually having effective support. I also appreciated that you made no bones about how villainous the Argents are. There is so much eternal handwaving for them that drives me nuts. Awesome job.

  7. Wonderful! I love that Derek was the traveler. And really like how much he grew up and made such different pack decisions. Oh! And three cheers for the argents getting taken out and stiles moving on from Scott. Thank you for a great read.

  8. Terrific story! It was such an enjoyable read, thanks for the entertainment 🙂

  9. Great Story. Thank you for sharing

  10. notalwayshiding

    So glad to see Derek finally have good things happen. Great story . Thanks for sharing.

  11. Thank you for letting Stiles learn the true meaning of friendship and grow beyond Scott.
    Loved all of your OC’s. The showdown with the Argents was very satisfying. Poof! No more asshats. Thank you for sharing

  12. Terrific story! I especially love the new, adult pack you gave Derek and the way Scott and Deaton were dealt with.

    Very enjoyable. I have made myself late again because I couldn’t tear myself away!
    Thank you!

  13. I enjoyed this story. Thank you.

  14. All the heart eyes and glitter for this fabulous story. Your OCs are truly awesome and so easy to love. And as a Derek fan who thinks he deserves all the good things – having the Nemeton entrust him with the task of fixing things and then his doing so and in the process successfully building a pack and being a good Alpha was really, really satisfying. I just so loved this story. Kudos.

  15. Very good story. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

  16. Fantastic story! I loved Derek being able to go back since he deserved to help make the good things he and his Pack needed to function properly. Your OC’s were great, especially Dawson. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Oh, I love time travel fics, and this one didn’t disappoint. I loved Derek building a new, healthy pack, and Stiles being a Spark.

  18. \o/

    Yay! The Hales with a healthy, sane pack. Naughty Oak Deaton sidelined! Stiles receiving the training he needs. Yay!

    Thanks for writing this! I really enjoyed it!

  19. This is fabulous, loved the new characters, great fix it story, thank you.

  20. Wonderful story. Really enjoyed reading from Derek’s point of view. Thank you for sharing.

  21. good story

  22. What a lovely story! It was fun to see Derek as the time traveler and how he takes that deep breath to then do what he needed to. Your OCs were a delight and it’s always nice to see Derek get the good things he deserves! Kudos!

  23. A great read, thanks a bunch. Derek fixed all the things!

  24. Crazy Peter is crazy, and then Derek is better than ever! Thank you!

  25. This was fantastic! I loved a lot about it, but I think my favorite part was Shasta and all the Harry Potter references. (especially considering who you cast to play Shasta). Also, werewolves with guns will never get old. Thanks for sharing!

  26. An amazing story.
    Derek had a better start as Alpha and more adults than teenagers in the pack, so could achieve more in a short space of time and thought to look to Satomi for help. His memories also helped him to know who to trust and so Deaton didn’t get the chance to influence the pack.
    Scott still manages to betray Stiles, because he trusts the Argents over people he has known for years.
    I loved the different characters, all with their flaws and quirks, and the building relationship between Derek and Stiles.

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