Reading Time: 163 Minutes
Title: Born For This
Series: Werewolves of London
Fandom: Teen Wolf, NCIS
Genre: Crossover, Family, Paranormal/Supernatural, Shifters
Relationship(s): Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski, Noah Stilinski/Chris Argent
Content Rating: R
Warnings: Hate Crimes/Hate Speech, Violence – Graphic, Mentions of past DubCon, Canon Typical Violence, Minor Character Death
Beta: Alpha: Dark_Nights_Syn, Beta: Annabeth_Crestfallen_LeMorte
Word Count: 66,200
Summary: The Hale Pack are finally returning home after six long years away. They know their return will be tumultuous, but they can’t wait to be reunited.
August 17th, 2016
Stiles was excited. He and Jackson were finally joining the Washington-based members of their pack after five years. They would be having their first full team meeting on Friday. They had scheduled it to be after the full moon run, but before Jackson and Stiles started at the FBI Academy to complete the liaison course on Monday.
When they arrived at Quantico for their first meeting, the biggest surprise for Stiles was to see Ethan and Aiden present as members of the FBI team. He demanded, “What the hell? I thought you said they died, Sourwolf?”
Aiden smirked. “We did, technically. But because we were in our joined form, it just cost us our alpha spark. Deputy Parrish knew of another set of twins with the same ability we have, and he knew that what happened in the rescue wouldn’t kill us completely. He worked with the FBI to get us out of Beacon Hills, and they made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.”
Sam cleared his throat as he stood at the head of the conference table and went around the room to introduce everyone. The team was quite large, but they would break into smaller groups where necessary. He gestured to his left. “I’ll start with the core FBI team, starting with the Supervisory Special Agent, Alpha Derek Hale, his second, Beta Peter Hale, and twin Betas Aiden and Ethan Steiner. They’re joined by the team from MI5, led by the Senior Case Officer, Alpha Stiles Paddington, his second, Beta Jackson Whittemore, and Betas Dalton Cooper and Adam Nero. Supporting them will be the tech analysts on permanent loan from Homeland Security, Danny Mahealani, Beta Cora Hale, and Kira Yukimura.”
He pulled up a PowerPoint presentation on the screen behind him as he said, “Some of you know this already, but we had originally planned to merge what we did here and at MI5 under a larger series of teams reporting to the International Criminal Court in The Hague. We have since done extensive research, and based on information we received, we found that 95% of rogue supernatural actions happen in North America and Europe. While rogues happen in other countries, they are also dealt with efficiently by either the hunters, or the packs, in those countries. And it’s done in such a way that the collateral damage doesn’t spill out into the mundane community.”
Cora whispered to Kira, who had become her best friend. “That was Stiles throwing extra wrenches into the works.”
Sam gave her a stern glance, and the two girls sat back with matching innocent expressions.
The Deputy Director moved to the next slide and explained, “So right now we run five FBI teams out of Quantico that deal with cases of rogues, as they are reported. The supernatural community is slowly accepting that we are there to help them and that we aren’t just jumped-up hunters on a power trip. In coordination with Lord Paddington, we are changing it up on both sides of the pond. We will split all the teams 50/50 FBI and MI5 with tech support coming in from Homeland. Europe will have two teams, one based in London for the United Kingdom and one based in Toulouse, France for Central Europe. In fact, I believe that’s where Alpha James will be heading after his assignment in Beacon Hills is complete.”
Derek grinned. “He’s doing an outstanding job, Sir. We appreciate the loan. Having someone with the experience of living near a Nemeton would be good for the team in Toulouse.”
Sam agreed. “That’s why he’s agreed to the transfer. We’ve also spoken to packs that guard the other Nemetons around the world, and we have offered them support, should they ever need it. Our research into various packs and hunter families around the world resulted in the restructure we are implementing. So we will be restructuring the teams that are based in Quantico. They will work with MI5 liaison officers, and we will assign them to FBI field offices around the States, namely Phoenix, Houston, Detroit, Atlanta, Quantico, and Beacon Hills.”
Not one to shy away from the obvious, Stiles said, “There is no current field office in Beacon Hills. The nearest is at least two hours drive away, in San Francisco.”
Sam moved to the next slide of the PowerPoint, which showed an office building that those born in Beacon Hills recognized as being near to the Sheriff’s office. “Because this is a joint task force that comes under the counterintelligence division, our budget is a bit higher than other teams. We have used this to purchase a new field office in Beacon Hills. The two middle floors will be locked down to just the task force, and the basement is being retrofitted with two levels of cells. The lower level of cells are warded so that they will hold even an alpha werewolf. Alpha Paddington, you’re welcome to add wards to the building next time you visit Beacon Hills. We have warned the builders who are retrofitting the building that you may stop in.”
Stiles nodded. “If my memory is correct, the building itself has four levels above ground? What will the other two levels be for?”
Sam smiled. “The first floor will be the public face of the office, on the rare occasions that you will receive visitors. And the top floor is being fitted with apartment-style rooms for visitors either from other task force teams or even if you are on a long shift and just need a few hours to rest. The building itself won’t be advertised as a field office, nor will there be mundane FBI agents stationed there. There will be four admin staff members that will keep the office ticking. They aren’t officially part of the Talos Task Force, but they are all in the know about the supernatural, and they have requested transfers closer to home in Beacon County. They are due to start September next year, and we will place them on the ground floor.”
Stiles asked, “What about Agent Rafe McCall. He has a habit of turning up in Beacon Hills like a bad penny.”
Sam smiled. “I have warned him to stay out of Beacon Hills. He’s on a short lead right now. He tried to get your father impeached using FBI resources to do so. It failed when your father called me directly to demand answers about what the hell was going on.”
Stiles muttered, “Like father like son.”
Jackson had been considering the cells, as he thought they would need to ensure the pack could all be restrained, just in case they were hit with stray magic or poison. But their resistance to mountain ash would make that difficult. So he interrupted the incoming rant when he asked, “The cells downstairs, are they mostly mountain ash? Or have other precautions been taken?”
Sam said, “We have reinforced two of the cells as much as we can. When you see them, you will know which two are specifically for your pack. They can be operated by other creatures if need be, as we have created them without mountain ash. The rest of the cells on that level rely on mountain ash for containment.”
Ethan asked, “Why is that important. I thought mountain ash worked on anything supernatural?”
Stiles looked to Derek with a raised eyebrow, and Derek nodded slightly to show he trusted the twins. Stiles took a deep breath and explained, “I’m a spark, normally the bite would have killed me as the wolf and the spark fought for power; at least that’s the running theory. Except, when I was attacked, I killed Ennis seconds after he bit me. So, the alpha spark joined the party, and I was able to keep both my spark and my wolf. A spark’s magic works on belief, right, and I sort of accidentally believed our pack into an immunity to Mountain Ash.”
Aiden whistled. “Wow, Ennis was huge. That actually kind of explains your growth spurt. I remember you were a lot smaller and all gangly limbs back in Beacon Hills.”
Stiles laughed, “Yep, I was a pretty awkward kid. It’s awesome, though. When I’ve visited Beacon Hills to visit Dad, I could walk right past members of the McCall Pack, and they didn’t recognize me at all. Even Scott and Issac, who had known me for years. It makes me want to crack up laughing every time.”
Cora asked bluntly, “So, when are we moving home?”
Sam said, “The current plan is for the team to move in late next year. We want you all to train with the current teams, go out on cases, and get your feet wet. The four MI5 officers will be at the FBI Academy for the next six weeks. So, once they are back with us, we will divide them up to work with the various teams as they deal with cases.”
He moved to the next slide, which had a list of FBI supervisory agents. “These are a list of agents who are in the know but not part of the task force. We often use them to help us with jurisdiction issues. This list will be available on the task force intranet with details about when they should be called in on cases. There are also agents that we have liaised with from other agencies who are in the know. It will list them with instructions on when to loop them in and who to contact to make it happen.”
Kira raised her hand, but lowered it at Sam’s raised eyebrow. She asked, “What about us? Are we doing the liaison courses?”
Sam shook his head. “You three will remain under the purview of Homeland Security under Deputy Director Tom Morrow. If we absorb you into the FBI, you will be sent to the cyber crimes division, and it will be impossible to pull you out again. I understand, Agent Mahealani, that you and Agent Hale have trained several members of the Homeland Security tech team to be support agents for our task force. Is that correct?”
Danny nodded. “We have trained another ten agents in how to do deep searches, financial analysis, and other tasks that are essential to supporting a supernatural task force. We have also created several apps that we will install on the task force phones to assist in investigations. These include a comprehensive bestiary and an encrypted directory of packs and hunter families. The directory will work in conjunction with AFIS for identification at crime scenes.”
He saw the worry flit across the various faces in the room. So he reassured, “We have warded the phones, so they only give the information in the apps to their owners, and the apps won’t work until the phone itself is blood bonded to a specific agent. If they force the phone’s owner to unlock it under duress, the phone will be wiped, and an alert will go out to the nearest task force agents so we can mount a rescue. Thanks for the help with the runes, Stiles.”
Stiles smiled, “You’re welcome.” He glanced at Derek and the twins. “I need to have a private chat with my alpha. We’ll be right back.”
Stiles excused himself and Derek and took them to a second conference room that the older alpha promised him could be soundproofed. He said, “Everyone on our team is pack, aside from the twins. You’ve obviously worked with them over the last few years. Do you want them to be pack? Do they want to be pack? Do you trust them?”
Derek sighed and then nodded. “We had a long talk when Sam introduced us. They didn’t want to be part of Deucalion’s pack, but they didn’t really have a choice about joining him either. It was a case of being forced to kill their alpha and join Deucalion’s Alpha Pack, or die. They had no love for their former alpha, as their birth pack treated them like omegas.”
Stiles exclaimed, “But, they were still part of the alpha pack. They captured Boyd and Erica!”
Derek shrugged. “They died trying to protect them. I think that, and working with them for the last few years tells me I can trust them, I would like to make them both pack. Cora is dating one of them, so he’s likely to join the pack, anyway.”
Stiles sat, stunned. “Cora’s dating one of the twins? Even though they were in the pack that held her captive for several months.”
“Aiden,” Derek clarified. “I think that should be a big clue about how much we can trust them. You know how picky Cora is about who she trusts.”
Stiles nodded, “Are you sure they’re interested in joining our pack?”
Derek nodded. “We’ve talked about it a few times, but they understood that our pack needs both of us to agree to add new members. They don’t know about our full-shift, although they are curious about the tattoos we have. Ethan recognized them as runes, but he didn’t know they were wards.”
Stiles asked, “Don’t they have a joined form that’s huge? Would that translate to a full-shift?”
Derek looked flummoxed as he thought about it. “Fuck, if it does, they’d dwarf us easily. They might even be close to Jordan’s full-shift size. We’ll have to get them out to the forest behind the house to try. Shall we go and offer them a place in the pack?”
Stiles took Derek’s hand and pulled him to his feet. With a quick kiss, he led him back to the original conference room.
As they entered, Derek murmured, “Speaking of tattoos, Danny has figured out what he wants to complete his sleeve on his right arm. He just wants you to check over the runes first to make sure they are the right ones, and he wants you to confirm the runes will do what his research said they would do.”
Stiles nodded. “I’ll have a look tonight, and we can do some research with Adam in the library. I brought all my rune books from England in my pocket dimension rather than trusting the shipping company.”
They talked to the twins as everyone was catching up, and they were glad to be welcomed into the pack. They were in a local pack right now, but it was more of an arrangement with an alpha that they had minimal contact with so that they wouldn’t go omega. It was a pack that often took in wolves that joined the various federal agencies while they were in training.
Peter cleared his throat once he felt the twins join the pack bond and said, “Let’s adjourn to the house so we can celebrate with a post full moon run. Sam, you and Tom are welcome to join us. It would be a good chance for you both to see the larger pack gathering, although it still doesn’t compare to the entire pack running together.”
Sam grinned. “I’ll contact Tom and make sure he meets us out there. Do you want Tony and Gibbs there too?”
Peter said, “It’s already arranged. Tony said they’d be there later, provided they don’t catch a case.”
It surprised Tom Morrow to see Tony and Gibbs at the Hale Pack celebration. He knew it was the first time the pack had been mostly in one place for several years.
He cornered the pair and asked, “So, how do you two fit in?”
Tony smirked. “Alpha Paddington is my cousin. Our mothers were sisters. The family link is listed in the classified section of my personnel file, due to my uncle’s role as the Queen’s Alpha. As for how we were read in on the supernatural, I’ve always known that I grew up knowing about the supernatural world because of my mother’s side of the family. I had Peter and Derek tagged as wolves as soon as we met. Gibbs had to be read in after a case, though.”
Gibbs raised an eyebrow. “I remember knowing about the supernatural, but the why is still a bit fuzzy.”
Tony laughed. “We were on a case with Fornell and Peter. There was a drug ring, but the drugs weren’t the standard type. It turned out that the sailors were trading in hallucinogenics that could affect werewolves. It allowed them to get high, and it had a side effect of a reduction in control. They hit Peter with a faceful of the drug when they tried to run, and he wolfed out. We were able to get him contained in a storeroom so that I could contact my cousin. He walked us through activating one of his tattoos which was able to enhance his healing factor to flush the drug out of his system.”
Gibbs nodded. “That’s right. I remember nearly shooting him when his face changed. We were lucky he didn’t shift into his wolf form; he would have just disappeared.”
Tony agreed. “They are fast in their wolf forms, especially Peter and Derek. I tried to run with them before the plague incident, and even then, they both left me in the dust in their wolf forms.”
Tom asked, “You’re still not interested in taking the bite?”
Tony shook his head. “It’s not the bite that worries me. It’s the duties as Heir Paddington that I don’t want. I would be required to relocate to England when Uncle Clive is close to retiring, so I can learn the duties required of the Queen’s Alpha. Right now, Stiles is the heir, and I know he wants it even less than I do. Mostly because he has a mate, and it will mean leaving his pack. Something I know he’s not interested in doing.”
“Understandable,” Tom agreed. “They are a very close-knit unit, even though they have been separated for the last five years. This isn’t the entire pack, though, is it?”
Tony shook his head. “No, there are five members back in Beacon Hills holding down the fort. Kira’s parents, Stiles’ dad, his stepdad, and Asora. What’s funny is that Stiles’ stepdad is Chris Argent.”
The Homeland Deputy Director looked confused. He was sure that was a name included in his most-wanted list. So he asked, “Aren’t they hunters? I am sure we have at least one Argent on the most-wanted board.”
Tony nodded, “You do. The Argent you’re thinking of is Gerard Argent, Chris’ father. Chris has given up hunting and disavowed his entire family. If his father got in touch, well, Chris would hand him over to us before he could so much as blink. Chris won’t even talk to his daughter these days, and she’s part of a wolf pack herself. It’s a bit of a mess, to be honest.”
Tom looked at Gibbs, assessing before he said, “You seem more accepting of all this than I would have expected.”
Gibbs shrugged. “I was an active duty marine. Some of the things I saw were unexplainable, at least until I learned about the supernatural. I mean, we had soldiers with badly broken limbs from IEDs fighting the next day. Things were such a crapshoot over there, so you just learned not to question it.”
Peter had been monitoring the conversation. He approached and explained, “It’s not ideal, but a lot of wolves are drawn to the military, especially the ones that are not as close to their pack for whatever reason. Law enforcement is another career that draws them in. Wolves are protective by nature; it’s a way we can protect others and keep our wolves happy.”
“Makes sense,” Tom agreed. “When I was read in on the supernatural, I learned who were werewolves at Homeland. I could see the difference between the way they worked versus the human agents. They look at the world in a different way, and they can often outthink those we are hunting.”
Peter agreed, “That’s true. You’ll also find that humans who are pack will think a lot like wolves, even if they don’t take the bite. Danny is an excellent example of that. How are they going with the algorithms? The last time I spoke to Cora, she said they were setting a few programs up to search for supernatural events before they go viral.”
The two NCIS agents perked up; they had heard none of this. Tom nodded with a grin. “They are still refining the algorithms, but they have a pretty good hit rate so far. They’ve managed to catch a few wolf outs on camera, and Kira’s used her degree to build a program that they use to alter the videos, so they look fake. From what I understand, it adds marks that make the brows look like obvious prosthetics or makeup, and the teeth and claws somehow look fake as well. It’s a bit over my head, to be honest, but it’s working so far.”
Gibbs asked, “What about the subject of the videos, the one that was shifted or feral?”
“One of Sam’s teams are sent out to investigate,” Tom explained. “So far, we’ve found it’s been the hunters provoking the wolves nine times out of ten. We are investigating a sub-group of probable hunters that seem to be going out of their way to provoke various supernatural people so they will change in front of mundanes.”
Tony asked, “Seriously? Do they know who’s behind it?”
Tom shook his head. “It’s still early days in the investigation. But it’s one reason the FBI teams are being split out over the various field offices, rather than all of them being based in Washington. Right now, it’s just isolated incidents spread out a few months apart. But, they are slowly escalating.”
August 22nd, 2016
The four MI5 officers walked into the FBI training academy, looking rather intimidating. Stiles learned how to dress to look good with his body type and make an imposing first impression. Jackson had always dressed well, and even though they had completed their master’s in criminal justice as they attended Oxford with the pack, Adam and Dalton still considered themselves Stiles’ guards and dressed appropriately.
Stiles approached the desk, and with a cultured British accent that had taken him years to develop, he said, “Hello, we’re here for the liaison course that starts today. I believe Special Agent Roche is expecting us.”
The agent on the desk looked up, and she froze. She opened her mouth a few times to answer, but the appearance of the four men had stunned her.
An agent approached from the main doors with a muttered, “For fuck’s sake,” and he barked, “Janice! Marc won’t be impressed if you make them late with your ogling. Can you print out their temporary badges? The details are already in your email.”
Janice gave the agent an unimpressed look. “Which email Glenn, it’s Monday. My inbox is overflowing with requests.”
Glenn sighed. “Clearly, it’s the one asking you to print four badges in the subject line. The names are Dr. Stiles Paddington, Dr. Jackson Whittemore, Mr. Adam Nero, and Mr. Dalton Cooper. They are all liaison agents with MI5 on permanent loan to the FBI.”
Janice looked through her emails until she found the correct one. She printed out the four badges with a scowl at Glenn after she checked over the officer’s MI5 identification. She said, “These are temporary badges that you’ll wear throughout your training. Once your training is complete, and you’re assigned to a team, you’ll be granted a more permanent badge. Please do look after these as they will charge your agency for reprints.”
Stiles took the badges with a nod of thanks before passing them to his team members as they followed the agent through the building. “I’m Agent Glenn Fowler; please call me Glenn. Deputy Director Conway has assigned me to assist with your training. The training officer, Agent Marc Roche, isn’t read in on what your team deals with, and they would prefer to keep it that way.”
Jackson asked, “He hasn’t had his own agents trained up as instructors?”
Glenn shook his head. “Not yet. We have a few of us going through instructor training now. I am helping out on this course as part of my work placement before graduating as a full instructor. Before joining the FBI, I was a high school teacher until one of my students was attacked by an omega wolf on a camping trip. I transferred to the FBI when this opportunity came up.”
Stiles grinned. “That’s how it happens for a lot of us. Did the student survive?”
Glenn smiled. “They did. She gained a few extra scars, but I was able to draw the omega away from her and the other students. And the FBI who had been tracking the omega captured him without further injuries.”
He looked at Dalton and Adam, and he noticed how they were flanking Stiles more than Jackson. So he asked, “What’s with the positioning? It doesn’t seem like any pack behavior I’ve seen.”
Stiles grinned. “It’s not. They’ve been my personal bodyguards for the last five years. Old habits are hard to break, I guess.”
They entered the classroom, but just before they entered, Stiles saw what he thought was a familiar flash of blonde hair exiting an office down the hall. He thought she looked like someone he knew, but the introductions soon distracted him.
He saw the flash of blond hair a few times over his first week of training, but he could never get a good look at the woman that was niggling at his senses.
It took a few weeks, but Stiles finally figured out why the blonde had triggered his spidey senses. He was shocked when Agent Roche introduced them to their next instructor; she would be teaching their class on jurisdiction.
Agent Roche stood, and he welcomed the blonde into the room. “Class, this is Agent Katherine Stirling. She’ll be taking you through the minefield that is US Law Enforcement Jurisdiction.”
Stiles allowed himself a split second to panic at seeing a very, not dead, Kate Argent in front of him. He pulled himself together and sent a sense of calm down the pack bond. The rune cluster the pack had tattooed specifically to disguise the pack’s heartbeats and reactions was doing its job, for which Stiles was grateful. He hoped that the false agent hadn’t noticed the brief panic.
Jackson had seen his momentary reaction, and he sent a burst of worry down the pack bond, which Stiles returned with calm. He decided they would act as if nothing was wrong until they got home. He just hoped she wouldn’t recognize either himself or Jackson. Stiles decided if they worked like they were just another class, she wouldn’t pick up on his or Jackson’s worry.
She gave him a curious look before starting in on her lecture. Thankfully Stiles was thoroughly educated in US jurisdiction rules, considering it was the subject of his criminal justice doctoral thesis, so he didn’t need to worry about missing anything important.
While she lectured the group, he tried to understand how she was still alive, and he plotted how to handle the not-so-dead hunter that was claiming to be FBI. One theory he pondered while she was talking was if when Peter killed her, he actually turned her. He knew if the claws of an alpha went deep enough that the person could turn. He was sure they’d done an autopsy on her body, which would have confirmed her death, but he would get in touch with his dad to get the confirmation.
He used some of her lecture to write a note to the other three officers to explain his suspicions and the need for calm.
As they sat down in the cafeteria for lunch, he passed the note to Jackson. He noticed the fake agent sit at a neighboring table with a colleague, so he said, “Jax, here are the notes I promised you for your dissertation.”
Jackson threw him a confused look, but understanding took over as he read the note.
The agent teaching us is Kate Argent. She should be dead, and when we get home tonight, I’ll be asking Danny and Cora to look into her. For now, we need to stay calm and keep the accents. It’s possible she’s a wolf.
Jackson folded the note after showing it to Dalton and Adam. Just in case Kate was listening, he said, “Thanks, that’s exactly what I needed to complete what I’m working on.”
Dalton and Adam both gave subtle nods that they understood as they started their lunches.
Stiles sent off a quick text to his mate, and he asked him to get Sam to the pack house for dinner. He let him know it was important that Sam attend the pack dinner, but left out the details about why. It wasn’t something to discuss over a text conversation.
Derek had felt the brief burst of panic down the bond, so he immediately went to his boss’s office to invite him for dinner.
The British-born agents weren’t as familiar with the US law enforcement system, but they had learned a lot from listening to Stiles working on his thesis, so they used the afternoon to ask a lot of questions. They wanted to keep the fake agent distracted. They didn’t want her looking too hard at Stiles or Jackson; they were pretty sure she wouldn’t recognize Stiles, since not even his ex-best friend recognized him these days. But Jackson still looked pretty similar to how he looked when he lived in Beacon Hills.
On the way home after an exhausting afternoon, Stiles sent a warning to Derek that they were on their way. He also demanded cuddles time after the stressful day he’d had.
Derek pulled Stiles into a hug as soon as the group entered the house. He could feel the waves of distress pouring off his mate, and he wanted to offer comfort.
He maneuvered them into the living room, where the rest of the pack was waiting for them with Sam. The deputy director had arrived just before the MI5 officers. The alpha pulled Stiles into his lap as he sat on the sofa so he could deliver the promised cuddles.
Jackson asked, “Danny, can you please do a deep dive into Agent Katherine Stirling? She was our instructor today.”
Sam noticed Peter and Derek both freeze when they heard the agent’s name, and he asked, “Who is she?”
Peter snarled, “If it’s who I think it is, she’s supposed to be a dead woman. I killed her myself.”
Stiles muttered, “You probably turned her, you clawed out her throat, and somehow she survived.” He sat up and asked, “Cora, can you contact Dad and get the autopsy results for Kate Argent? He should be able to either email them through or give you access to the files so you can grab it yourself.”
She nodded and went through to her office to make the call. As she left the room, she motioned to Dalton, who dragged Peter down to their training room before he lost control completely.
Danny was already sitting on the sofa with his laptop, pulling records and trying to find everything on Katherine Stirling. Sam was helping by using his higher level of access to pull up training records and other classified information on the agent.
Sam swore. “These are good, but definitely fake training records. Danny, I’m sending you some files. I need you to try and trace their origin. It looks like we might have a hunter altering files so they can hunt down the supernatural agents in the agency.”
Danny just nodded his agreement and started searching. Sam had already used his team a few times to ferret out agents who had infiltrated the agency for nefarious means. However, usually, they were fully fledged agents who had been radicalized, and they were using their positions to hide hunter activities. It was rare for someone to pull the wool over the agency’s eyes and sneak someone in who hadn’t even been through the academy.
Cora walked out of her office with her laptop, and she looked pissed off. “I spoke with both Papa S and Chris, who was visiting his office. They said her father refused the right to an autopsy via his lawyer, and then had her removed to the funeral home within hours of her body being found. Chris has authorized an exhumation, just to confirm that there isn’t a body buried in her grave, especially after I showed him footage from the academy showing his sister walking the hallways.”
Stiles frowned. “I remember seeing a report on her death; the medical examiner classified it as an animal attack.”
Cora shook her head. “It looks like the report was placed in the file by one of the deputies. There is no corresponding report in the medical examiner’s files. Papa S said he is a stickler for only doing reports when he himself had done the autopsy. He’s doing a search to see how many other deaths have reports where there isn’t one in the medical examiner’s files. One of the wolves who moved to Beacon Hills to work as a deputy is a tech wiz like me and Danny, so he should be able to find out pretty quickly.”
Jackson pondered. “I wonder if there will be any reports after that purge just after we moved to London. I am pretty sure that a few of the deputies that were fired were on the Argent’s payroll.”
Derek was still trying to process the news that Kate was alive and hiding in the FBI. He asked quietly, “What does she have to gain? How does working for the FBI benefit her? What’s her end game?”
Peter and Dalton reentered the room, looking disheveled and sweaty as they collapsed on the floor near one of the sofas. Peter suggested, “She could be trying to find a way onto the task force. I think we should let her think she’s succeeded. We can watch her closely, but let her work through whatever mission she’s on.”
Derek demanded, “Are you crazy?”
Peter shook his head. “Think about it, nephew; it’s unlikely she will recognize Stiles. The official name on his file is Mieczysław Paddington, after all. So he and Jackson should evade her notice if they can keep their British accents going. It will give her a false sense of security that lets her think she’s winning. While she thinks she’s safe, Sam has Danny and Cora put flags on all of her access so they can monitor what she’s accessing in the files. Even in the manual files. Eventually, she’ll tip her hand.”
Jackson added, “She also doesn’t entirely suck at teaching. She knows her subject well enough to look authentic, even if she is teaching out-of-date information. So she hasn’t given any outright wrong information so far, but she’s definitely working off old course info. I think that our two usual instructors would have been quick to correct her if she had said anything blatantly incorrect.”
Dalton said, “I think it’s a good idea. We just have to keep our reactions under control. The rune we have tattooed to keep our chemosignals and heartbeats hidden is helpful. I think the bigger problem will be if she sees either Derek or Peter; which is a risk, since they are both currently based out of Quantico.”
Sam suggested, “Why don’t we assign the two of you to Fornell’s team while we work out her end game. I’m sure Tobias won’t mind your help.”
Peter grinned. He enjoyed working for the older agent, especially when he poked at other agencies during jurisdiction battles. Derek shrugged in an attempt at nonchalance as he said, “Anything, as long as I don’t have to see her.”
Sam agreed. “I think that’s for the best. Danny and Cora will come into the office tomorrow so they can set up the monitoring. I’ll also get them to go through her logs to find out what she’s already been digging into.”
Danny saluted from his chair; he’d been digging pretty deep into Kate’s background check. He said, “I think you need to look into your HR department. These records are impeccable and would stand up to scrutiny from most people. It’s only the fact that I know what she was actually up to that I know these records are fake. There are records of training courses taken and grades given. However, we know she was in Beacon Hills during several of the time periods listed in her files. Hell, she was apparently based out of a field office in So-Cal for four years, and there are even performance reviews showing her to be an excellent agent.”
Cora said, “She has an immaculate record. There is absolutely nothing in her history, not even a speeding fine. That in itself is a huge red flag right there. So it looks like whoever created her background, inserted everything she needed to make her look like a good hire. Especially for the courses she teaches in jurisdiction, multi-agency cooperation, and courtroom etiquette. They even included a relevant degree with a teaching certificate.”
Sam said, “I am going to bring in the other SSAs into the loop, but they will be sworn to secrecy. I think out of all of them, Charlie will be the best placed to manage the investigation into how she got in. He trained with IA after that mess with the Argents. We recognized we needed someone to deal with internal issues, so he knows how to investigate without leaving traces.”
Danny nodded. “I’ve worked with him on a few cases of hunter infiltration into police departments. This will be my first investigation of federal agency infiltration. Either the hunters are getting bold, or she’s working alone, and she’s after something specific.”
Derek suggested self deprecatingly, “Me? She’s definitely been obsessed with me.”
Peter agreed. “It’s possible. You’re the one that got away. It all depends on if she’s aware of my resurrection and Cora’s survival. It’s likely that far as she’s concerned, you’re the last surviving Hale. It really does depend on what she knows, and what she’s after.”
Danny agreed. “We should find out from her logs. If she is looking for you three, it would be a good idea to lock down your records, or at least put alerts on the file.”
Stiles suggested, “What if we set up records for the Derek Hale she’s expecting; we could show you moving back to Beacon Hills after university, and we lock down your actual records. Boss, you should be able to get authorization for the alteration with the evidence we have so far.”
The deputy director turned to the two tech analysts, and he asked, “Can you both prioritize the analysis of her logs? We should check she hasn’t already discovered your location. I would also suggest you go through the log files for the files of Derek and Peter. It would be good to see who has accessed their files since they both joined the agency.”
With a plan in place, Sam left to get started on contacting the other SSAs for his task force. He decided it would be safer to advise them from the pack’s office, which was less likely to be bugged.
September 8th, 2016
The jurisdiction module was scheduled to last just over a week, so they just had to keep their cool until she was done. Meanwhile, Tom brought Danny to Quantico for a meeting so he could pull the logs from the FBI systems, with help from Sam with his higher level access.
As Danny sat at his desk to pull the logs, Sam and Tom took a seat at his conference table on the other side of the room.
Sam took the time to give him the details for the investigation, as well as a history lesson on just how much damage Kate and her father have done to the supernatural world.
The logs were more extensive than they were expecting on both Kate Argent’s access and the access logs for the two Hales.
Danny admitted, “These are going to take us a few days to process. Which do you want a priority on?”
Sam thought through the issue before he made a decision. “Go through the logs for who has accessed their files. Does it show who has used the FBI systems to do background or location checks on them?”
The tech analyst nodded. “It’ll show both, with basic details on the agent that ran the files. It’ll also show if they connected the search to a specific case file.”
Sam smiled. “Prioritize Derek’s records. Odds are the hunters still believe that Peter’s dead, so his can wait until Derek’s are completed.”
“He will,” Tom promised. “I’ll be pulling Danny, Cora, and Kira from any other tasks they are currently on. Kira can assist them with going through the files. Are you sure she hasn’t recognized Stiles or Jackson? From what you were saying earlier, she’s had previous contact with them.”
Danny laughed, and he asserted, “She has no chance of recognizing Stiles. Even his own ex-best-friend doesn’t recognize him these days.”
Danny had a photo on his phone of the Beacon Hills High School Lacrosse Team before the supernatural shit show started, so he pulled it up for the two men. Sam hadn’t met Stiles before he’d been bitten, so he was surprised to see Stiles in the team photo. He looked a lot shorter and skinnier than Jackson, who was standing not far from him in the lineup.
Tom asked, “Wait, which one is he?”
Danny zoomed in on the image, so it was just Stiles on the screen, and Tom did a double-take as he asked, “Seriously? That’s Stiles?”
Danny nodded. “Before he got the bite, he was average height and more of a lanky runner’s build. He had ADHD, and he was on Adderall. I think it affected his ability to put on muscle or something. He’s never said, and I’ve never asked. When he got the bite, he killed the alpha in the attack, so his turning bite was more traumatic than most. The alpha that bit him was 6’5″ and built like a tank, from what I understand. So when Stiles went through his first full-shift, he grew into that alpha spark, at least that’s how I understand it.”
Sam added, “They have also been sticking to their British accents while they have been going through the academy. We think it should throw off any hints of them being from California.”
Tom agreed. “It sounds like you have it all under control. I’ll take Danny back to the office, and he’ll get his team started on processing the logs. We’ll let you know as soon as we find anything.”
There was nothing substantial in the logs. It took the analysts a few days to go through them all. They were investigating a few junior FBI agents who had accessed Derek’s arrest record. Thankfully, that’s as far as it went. And they hadn’t discovered that he was now an FBI agent.
Danny and Cora made a personal visit to the FBI deputy director, as they didn’t want their report going through the FBI systems. Especially since there were a few things in the logs that had them concerned.
Cora handed over the report to Sam as Danny explained, “There were a couple of agents who accessed Derek’s arrest records, but that’s as far as they went. They didn’t search for his current information, nor did they do a full background check. They didn’t include a current case number when they did the search, so it would be worth interviewing the agents to find out why they pulled the records.”
Danny opened the report he’d printed out for the deputy director, and he pointed at the short list. “The only names on that list I recognize are Vic Dubois and Bruce Greenaway. Both are likely members of prominent hunting families. However, they are also both families that are known for following the code. The other two agents, Emmett Richards and Rob Parnell, are not names I recognize, but they could still be worth interviewing.”
Sam agreed, “I’ll get Charlie to investigate them to see if this was a one-off or if they are perhaps providing information to someone outside the agency.”
Danny grinned. “Let me know if you need help. Meanwhile, I should get back to the office; we’re helping Kira design an update to her baby. She figured out a way for her program to add dental glue marks on the fangs in the videos. That way, the shifters look like they are wearing badly fitted Halloween fangs.”
Sam asked, “How’s it going with the trojan?”
Danny shrugged. “We’re still working on a reliable way to track the videos to the source device. Current testing has a 64% hit rate, which isn’t even close to workable. We’re still working on it around other projects, though.”
Sam smiled. “I’m sure you’ll figure something out. You kids are smart.”
Danny nodded, and the Homeland agents left the office as soon as Cora indicated the coast was clear.
Stiles was going insane. Kate was a passable teacher, even though she was teaching outdated information. It was evident that she had learned how to teach as part of her cover story, back when she was seducing underage betas for her father. But he wasn’t expecting this level of competence. It was taking everything in him not to poke and needle at the woman, which was causing no end of entertainment for the other three in the class.
While Dalton was asking a question for clarification, Jackson used the distraction and whispered, “It’s like watching you when you were in Harris’ class, that inner war to be a troll, but not wanting the detention for it.”
She stood up straight, and with a glare at Jackson, she asked, “Anything you would like to share with the class?”
Jackson flushed and shook his head. “Nothing important, ma’am. Sorry for interrupting.”
She turned to Stiles. “What about you, Mr. Paddington?”
Stiles narrowed his eyes at her. He stated coldly, “It’s either Officer Paddington or Dr. Paddington; unless we are at an official function, then it’s Baron Paddington. Never Mr. Paddington. I’m sure it states that in the notes you received for the class.”
She scoffed. “You’re only 21. Do you seriously expect me to believe you have a doctorate?”
Dalton chuckled. “He’s ABD in his second doctorate. He went to Oxford when he was 16 and blitzed his way through the first three years of courses in his placement testing. It’s why he was recruited by MI5 before he finished his degrees.”
“Fine,” Kate huffed. “Do you have anything to add, Officer Paddington?”
Stiles shook his head. “Not at all. Jax was just asking if I had included the negotiation technique you mentioned in my dissertation.”
She snapped, “And?”
Stiles shook his head. “I didn’t. I included a newer technique that resulted in less paperwork and more inter-agency co-operation.”
Kate sneered, “And what jurisdiction issues would you have in England?”
Stiles smirked, “None. Back in jolly ol’ England, we know how to work together. However, my criminal justice doctoral dissertation was about the US federal law jurisdiction minefield. I used various cases from the USA, where multiple agencies could have taken jurisdiction on a case, and I created a new method for resolving the cases in the best way for the victim. I do believe it’s currently required reading for the FBI Academy and various FLETC courses.”
Jackson asked, “Can we get back to it? We have a meeting to attend during our lunch break, and I would prefer not to miss it.”
Adam muttered under his breath, “I would like to know how she is teaching this course when she is unaware of your dissertation. She should be teaching it, as it is required for the tests in this module. I mean, she was doing well until that point.”
Stiles saw the telltale blue flush on Kate’s face as she turned back to face the board, which to him proved the existence of her supernatural abilities.
Jackson dragged Stiles to Sam’s office, and the two former guards followed them. Sam looked up as they entered and asked, “What’s up?”
Jackson growled, “Stiles is more qualified to teach this module than our so-called instructor. Stiles’ dissertation is required reading, and she’d never heard of it. That is a rookie mistake.”
Sam agreed. “The good news is, Charlie is on his way to pick her up for a chat. I’ll get someone to administer the test for this module early. Then once you’re finished, you can come and observe her interrogation.”
Stiles asked, “She finally did the deep searches?”
The older agent nodded. “Not just on Derek’s records, but on Peter’s records, and you two of you as well. It gets worse. She searched Stiles Stilinski, not Paddington.”
Stiles narrowed his eyes. “Allison! What’s the bet Kate’s been in touch with her darling niece.”
“I agree,” Sam said. “I’ve added it to the questions we’ll be asking her in interrogation. We’ve also sent Alpha James out to bring Allison in for questioning. We think we have a case for aiding and abetting two known fugitives.”
“Good job,” Jackson muttered. He was pissed off that the girl who was engaged to be married to a werewolf would be so willing to throw other wolves to the slaughter.
Allison was being led through the Beacon Hills Sheriff’s Station by Deputies James and Parrish. She saw her father in the sheriff’s office and yelled, “This is your doing?”
Chris shook his head, and he stepped out of the office with the Sheriff. “I have no idea why you’re here, Allison. I was just here to bring lunch to my husband, since he forgot to grab his from the fridge this morning.”
She stopped following the two deputies, and she hissed, “Husband? What the hell do you mean by ‘your husband’?”
Chris and Noah both held up their hands to show off their matching wedding bands, and he explained, “We got married six months ago on a trip to England. It was lovely. Lord Paddington let us use his country manor for the ceremony.”
Noah asked, “Do you think Stiles will get married there?”
Chris shook his head. “No, I’m pretty sure his partner has something pretty big planned for the eventual wedding. If I understood correctly, it wouldn’t be for a few years yet.”
Noah looked at his stepdaughter and said, “You should go with Deputy James. I understand he has some questions for you.”
She snarled, “I’ve done nothing to warrant being dragged in here like a common criminal.”
Chris snarked, “I thought they dragged common criminals in wearing handcuffs.”
The sheriff smirked, and he said, “Usually they are. From what I understand, Allison’s just here to answer a few questions about a couple of your relatives that are wanted by the FBI.” He looked at the young woman and said, “I’m sure you haven’t been in touch with them since they are known fugitives. I would say if that’s the case, you’ll be released after answering those questions then, won’t you? As far as I’m aware, you haven’t been arrested… yet.”
She ignored the snark from the two men and turned to follow the deputies.
Connor watched as Deputy Parrish lead her away. He waited until they were out of hearing range, and before he suggested, “You should both head to the observation room, Sheriff. I think, conflict of interest aside, you should be aware of what’s going on as it’s likely to have wider reaching effects.”
Noah raised an eyebrow. “Really? Fuck, does this involve the pack, Stiles?”
Connor nodded. “Yeah, jump into the observation room. Both of you.”
He didn’t wait to see if they’d followed his instructions. He just entered the interview room and took a seat opposite Allison.
He said, “While you’re not under arrest, you are welcome to call your lawyer.”
Allison gave him a slow blink before she shook her head. “I’m fine. It’s just questioning, right? I do reserve the right to call my lawyer at a later stage.”
Connor gave her a disarming smile as he agreed amicably. He opened his notebook, and he asked, “Tell me about your family?”
She sneered, and she said, “Well, you’ve met my father just now. We haven’t actually spoken in years. My mother died several years ago, the victim of a vicious animal attack.”
The alpha pulled a file out from the pile Jordan had brought in, and he pulled up Victoria Argent’s autopsy report. He pulled it out of the file and placed it on the table in front of Allison. He tapped the cause of death line on the report and said, “It states here she died from a self-inflicted knife wound. And I am well aware you had a meeting with Deputy Director Conway from the FBI, where he reiterated the findings that the bite Mrs. Argent received was due to her own actions.”
Allison shrugged. “That may be what it says, but I know the truth.”
He placed the file back in the folder and replaced the folder in the pile with deliberate movements. He was hoping to ruffle her feathers, so he asked, “What about other members of your family? I’ve heard mention around town about an aunt, and the former principal was apparently your grandfather?”
She said flatly, “They’re both dead.”
This time another folder was produced, and Connor asked, “Can you confirm your cell number for me, please.”
“Why?” she demanded. “I can’t see how that’s relevant or any of your business.”
Connor tapped the folder in front of him and said, “A number registered in your name has been in regular contact with a person of interest. We’d like to know more about those discussions.”
Allison shook her head, and she said, “I’d like to call my lawyer now.”
Conner gathered the files, and he said, “That’s fine. Jordan will arrange for a phone, so you can call them down here. Please be aware, any calls you make will be monitored.” He didn’t mention that the aunt she’d been in contact with had already been arrested, nor that her aunt’s phone was in the hands of the FBI.
It took nearly an hour for her lawyer, Barbara Hirst, to arrive. Allison already sounded quite stressed, as she was missing work. While she’d been waiting, she’d sent a few text messages to her aunt, warning her that she was being questioned by the local deputies.
Screenshots of the texts had been sent to Connor while they were waiting, and he had printed them out and placed them in the file with the call history.
When signaled by the lawyer, the two deputies entered the interview room, and they took up the same positions as earlier.
Connor asked, “Has Allison explained why she called you in?”
Barbara shook her head. “You had questions about calls and texts she made to another individual?”
Connor nodded. “An individual she texted with a warning while she was waiting for you to arrive.”
Barbara whipped her head around to Allison and demanded, “Is this true? Did you seriously call me to represent you, then send off a text to the subject of this interview?”
Allison shook her head in denial. But as she saw Connor pull the screenshots out of the folder, she wanted to sink into the floor.
“Oh,” she breathed.
Barbara snapped, “Don’t say another word.” Before she turned to the deputy and she asked, “What do you want to know.”
Connor asked, “How long have you been in contact with your aunt?”
Allison looked at Barbara, and the lawyer gave a brief nod of agreement, so she said, “Since late 2011, she was back in Beacon Hills trying to get hold of the Hales.”
“Why?” Connor asked, but he changed his question when she shook her head. “Are you in contact with other members of your family?”
Barbara narrowed her eyes, and she asked, “Just what are you implying, Deputy James?”
Connor shrugged. “I’m not implying anything. I’m simply trying to ascertain what family members she’s been in contact with, and what those discussions entailed. Two members of her family are on the FBI Most Wanted list. Knowingly contacting those family members without contacting law enforcement can be construed as aiding and abetting. So if you need a moment to confer with your client, we’d be happy to leave the room and give you a minute.”
The lawyer refused to give an inch, so she shook her head. “We’re fine. Allison, you can answer the deputy’s question. In fact, I would advise it.” She knew Gerard and Kate would throw her to the wolves to save their own asses in a heartbeat.
Allison looked down at her phone and admitted, “I’ve been in regular contact with Kate since 2011, and my grandfather, Gerard Argent, has contacted me a few times in the last year.”
Connor gave her a go on motion with his hands as he asked, “And what did you discuss in these conversations?”
Allison shrugged. “With Kate, it’s just been her catching up with what I’ve been up to. She was also tutoring me via video chat while I was attending university. As for Gerard, he’s been urging me to break up with my fiance.”
Connor nodded, and he made some notes before he asked, “Has Kate asked for information on anyone local to Beacon Hills?”
At the nod from her lawyer, she said, “She’s asked about Dad a few times, and oh, that’s right, she asked If I recognized some names a few days ago. Two that I identified were Stiles and Jackson. I let her know they left town before our Junior year at high school.”
Connor made some notes on the file, then he asked, “Have you seen Kate since her apparent death?”
Allison just nodded. They had taught her from an early age about how to answer police questions, short answers, or just gestures, so you didn’t give away too much information.
Connor sighed, and he asked, “When did the visits start?”
Allison shook her head. “I’ve only seen her a couple of times. She was here for about a month after the Hales ran away. She said she was there to see me, but Scott said he saw her car out in the preserve and parked outside Derek’s loft. I figured she was trying to find Derek, but she never asked me about him. If she had, I would have told her how the Hales left town without even looking back, like the cowards they are.”
Connor rolled his eyes at the comment about the Hales running away, and he asked, “What can you tell me about her activities for the last six years?”
Allison frowned. “Nothing much. She doesn’t actually tell me much beyond the fact she moves around a lot. I thought she’d got a job for a different weapons dealer, like what she used to do for Argent Arms. I did ask once, but she evaded the question, so I took the hint and didn’t ask again.”
“What about your grandfather?” Connor asked. “What’s he been up to?”
Allison shook her head. “I have no idea. His calls are always extremely short and to the point. He calls out of the blue and asks if I’ve come to my senses and stopped dating Scott. When I tell him that we were still dating, he’d hang up on me. The calls always came from blocked phone numbers. The only unique call was when I told him I was engaged to Scott. He spouted vitriolic hate for about 5 minutes, until I finally hung up on him.”
Connor sighed, and he asked, “One last question. Why didn’t you tell anyone you knew Kate had survived?”
Allison flushed. “She’s my aunt.”
Connor nodded. “We may call you in later for further questioning, so please don’t leave town.”
She nodded as her lawyer led her out of the room. She saw her father talking quietly with the sheriff outside his office, and she approached the pair. She looked at her dad, and she said, “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. Kate asked me not to say anything to anyone.”
Chris glared at Allison before he shook his head and walked into Noah’s office. It disgusted him that his daughter would be in contact with Kate after everything she’d done.
Before he turned to join his husband, Noah said, “I wouldn’t recommend trying to get in touch. This was very much the last straw for him.”
September 15th, 2016
Derek and Peter had been called back to Quantico as soon as Kate had been taken in for questioning. Sam was betting on the presence of the two wolves throwing her off her game somewhat. Even though the Talos Taskforce had been around for several years, hunters still believed that wolves and other supernatural creatures would avoid law enforcement like the FBI. He’d be the first to admit it wasn’t an easy road on either side of the fence to get the task force started. But he was happy with how much his teams had grown.
Peter walked into the observation room where Sam and Charlie were deep in discussion. He saw Kate sitting at the table in the interrogation room. With a huge grin, he asked, “She did the searches?”
Sam grinned, “Yep, but she only found the information we planted earlier this week. The files said that you were dead and Derek was still living in the loft in Beacon Hills.”
Peter rubbed his hands together like a cartoon villain. He asked, “Do we get to watch the interview?”
Sam shook his head and watched as their faces fell, “We were hoping you would agree to do the interview. Derek, I understand if you want to bow out, but…”
Peter asked, “Won’t that cause issues with the validity of the interview later? If it comes out that the agents that interviewed her were her victims?”
Sam shrugged, “It’s a gray area we will use to our advantage because you’re our best chance at getting her to actually break and talk. Anyone else we send is likely to have her clamming up.”
Derek agreed, and with a smirk, he said, “I’ll do it. You’re hoping it will throw her off her game? Make her sloppy?”
Sam nodded. “Exactly so.”
Peter asked, “Can we push her a bit?”
Sam nodded, “You’re probably going to have to if her reputation is anything to go by. We also had confirmation from Stiles that she’s a shifter. She overheard a comment that Stiles made that was subvocal. She didn’t seem to realize that she shouldn’t have been able to hear it if she was human.”
Derek raised an eyebrow, “If our suspicions are correct and Uncle Peter turned her back in Beacon Hills, shouldn’t she have control by now? That was over five years ago.”
Sam shrugged, “We don’t know how long it took her to actually turn, or if she was even buried in Beacon Hills. That’s on the list of questions we want answers to. We’ve also asked Agent James to add it to the list of questions for Allison. We should have the transcript for that interview in a few hours.”
Derek asked, “When do you want us to start?”
Charlie said, “Go get some lunch. I believe Stiles and his team are already in the cafeteria waiting for you. They’ve all requested to observe her interview.”
The two men nodded and headed to the cafeteria. They could hear Stiles ranting before they go there. He seemed more pissed off that she hadn’t done her research, than the fact she’d faked her way into the FBI. They could see the team had already got them their lunches, so they sat in the chairs left for them, and Derek leaned in and pulled Stiles into a kiss.
Jackson snarked, “Oh, thank god. He was going to explode.”
Peter asked, “Why?”
Dalton chuckled, “She was teaching the jurisdiction module without having read Stiles’ dissertation on jurisdiction conflict resolution. It’s required reading for both the FBI academy and all the instructors. She had been doing really well up until that point.”
Derek pulled out of the kiss and asked incredulously, “Seriously? From all our research, she’s not usually that sloppy.”
After finishing his mouthful, Peter said, “Maybe it’s all related to that control issue? Something we can use for sure.”
Stiles frowned. “Something you can use?”
With a smirk, the alpha explained, “Sam wants us to interview her. He and Charlie are hoping it will throw her off her game.”
Adam laughed. “After today, that won’t be too hard. Shit, I thought she was going to shift right in the classroom.”
Joining in on the laughter, Dalton agreed, “Her eyes definitely started to glow this weird green color before she got them under control.”
Jackson asked, “Is she being interviewed in one of our interview rooms?”
Derek nodded, “Yeah, she’s already in our main interview room, so any accidental shifts won’t go on the main servers. There’s also plenty of room for observers.”
They finished their lunches, all of them thinking of the coming interview. Derek knew she was after him, but he just couldn’t figure out why. Using FBI resources was too obvious. If she killed him, they would see her inquiries in the system.
Derek followed the rest of the group with a mental shrug to his internal musings towards the floor the taskforce occupied.
The four MI5 officers joined Charlie in the observation room. The interview room had been warded so supernatural ears couldn’t hear anything outside of the walls of the room.
Sam was waiting outside for Derek and Peter; he had a list of files and questions that he wanted them to ask. He said, “Since you already know the gist of it, the top two folders include her call logs to Beacon Hills, and her phone’s GPS data, which shows regular short visits to Beacon Hills. The rest of the files are mostly full of inconsequential evidence.”
Peter flipped the folder containing her GPS data open as he was curious. He took his time reading through the file before he murmured, “It looks like she spent some time in Mexico. The Calaveras?”
With a nod, Sam confirmed his theory, “We suspect Gerard called in a favor from Araya. It’s the only way she would be in Mexico without being ”
Derek asked, “Does any of this show she’s been in contact with her father?”
Sam shook his head, “There’s a few burner phones in there, but there are no calls that show regular contact with anyone but a few hunters and her niece Allison.”
“It’s possible,” Peter said, “That Gerard called in the favor to ensure Kate killed herself after the turn. The Argents and the Calaveras are two families who believe strongly in death before the turn.”
Derek pondered, “I wonder if she’s aware her father wanted the bite. That would put the cat amongst the pigeons.”
Sam squeezed his shoulder, “Have at it. Feel free to push a little; it would be good to identify her creature type.”
Derek took the file back from Peter and added it to the pile in his arms. He said, “I want you to lead the interview; she thinks you’re dead after all. I think if I stand in the corner and play on my phone, between the two of us, she’ll hopefully become completely unglued.”
Peter smirked, “Sounds like a plan. Let’s go.”
They entered the room, and they both smiled internally at the shocked look on the hunter’s face. Derek dropped the files on the desk, then he moved to stand behind her in the corner. He deliberately chose his spot so she couldn’t see him in the observation room mirror.
Before they entered, he’d turned on the keypad noise on his phone; he just knew the quiet beeps would get to her. He started texting with Stiles letting him know that he was texting to bug Kate.
Peter sat and carefully arranged the files Derek had dropped on the desk. Once he was happy, he looked up and said, “I’m Agent Peter Hale, and I think you already know my team lead, SSA Derek Hale.”
She stammered, “You’re both FBI? How?”
“Like most people,” Peter said like it was obvious. “We were recruited while we were in college. What about yourself?”
She sneered and tried to turn so she could glare at Derek, who was still texting.
Peter stopped her by asking. “So I am super curious; your personnel file has you based in San Diego in 2011. Yet, I seem to recall seeing you in Beacon Hills during that period. Vacation time?”
She rolled her eyes and said, “I’m sure you’ve already figured out I’m not an FBI agent. So let’s cut the crap, sweetie, and you can ask what you really want to ask.”
Peter smirked. “Well, that’s quite a list. How about we start with why are you hiding in the FBI, Kate. I mean, you made a good effort to hide, but your FBI background was lacking in the finer details.”
She shook her head, “It wasn’t like I needed to hide for long. It just had to be enough to get me access for a few weeks.”
“To what end?” Peter asked, “You must have had a reason.”
She shrugged, “Does it matter?” She gestured at the pile of files, “It’s clear I’m not getting out of here anytime soon.”
Peter nodded, “It does; matter, I mean. You’ve been off the grid for nearly six years. It would be good to know where you’ve been and what you’ve been up to. When you turned into whatever the hell you are.”
Kate prevaricated, “How is that relevant to why I am here now? Clearly, you’ve brought me in to discuss my impersonating an FBI agent. I fail to see how my activities outside of that factor in. I was mostly laying low and hiding from the Calaveras.”
“Mostly,” Peter said flatly, “And what about the times you weren’t hiding out?” He tapped the folders and said, “You do, after all, have a history of family annihilation killings by the method of arson.”
She looked away from the wolf; she refused point-blank to answer. Kate knew that after her apparent death that many of her secrets had come to light. Most at the hands of the FBI.
Peter knew she was stubborn, so he changed direction. He asked, “So why did you look up Derek’s records,” He looked down at the folder. “Oh, and the records of two of your students? Students that are liaisons with an international agency.”
He smirked at the shock on her face as he said, “What, did you think they didn’t recognize you?”
She snarled, and those in the observation room saw a flash of fang as she said, “They aren’t even old enough to join the FBI.”
Derek whispered from the corner, too low for the microphones to pick up but plenty loud for shifter hearing, “Careful Katie, your shift is showing.”
Her face started to tinge blue before she managed to wrangle back some control. Peter ignored it, and he went on, “I mean, we’ve come to the conclusion that if you wanted to kill the last Hale that survived the fire, you would have been more subtle. So what’s your end game here, Katie?”
She leaned back in her seat, “Why would I give you that info. As it stands, I am already looking at the death penalty. I have nothing to gain in giving up my secrets.”
Peter shook his head, “Oh no, you’re facing life in a supermax prison specifically for supernaturals. The death penalty would be showing lenience.”
Derek had pulled up information about werejaguars on his phone as soon as he’d seen the hint of blue on her face. He moved, so he was standing behind his uncle as he said, “The prison we use for supernatural creatures such as yourself is specially designed. All the cells are individually tailored to the creatures they contain; for example, alpha wolves are in wolfsbane lined cells with an outer barrier of mountain ash. For werejaguars such as yourself, it’s a mountain ash lined cell with an outer layer of foxglove and mistletoe.”
Kate frowned. “That’s barbaric.”
Derek shrugged as he moved to stand behind her again. He could tell it was getting to her in the way she kept twitching every time his phone beeped. As he walked past her, he stated snidely, “Some would say the same about trapping families in their house with mountain ash before burning the house to the ground.”
Peter asked, “So with the reality of your situation now laid out, what was the purpose in the records you pulled yesterday evening.”
Kate huffed, “I need access to the Hale Vaults. I was planning to have Derek framed for mass murder so I could force him to give me access to the vault in North Carolina.”
Peter laughed, “Seriously, you thought it would be that easy to get hold of yellow wolfsbane? Those vaults were cleaned out of anything dangerous to the pack years ago. Now the important question is, what were you planning to do with yellow wolfsbane?”
Kate narrowed her eyes. “How do you know that was even my target? It’s not like yellow wolfsbane is hard to find.”
He shook his head and with a chuckle, “Ahh, but I’m sure you’re aware that the sales are highly regulated, and all the black market sellers have been found and shut down over the last few years.” He glared at her. “For the last time, why were you trying to get your hands on a sample of yellow wolfsbane?”
She took a few minutes to answer, and Peter could see the emotions of her indecision play across her face. Eventually, she said, “I needed it for my father, so he would accept me back into the family.”
Smelling the blood in the water, Peter asked, “So you’re aware of your father’s location?”
She shook her head in denial. “No. He refuses to meet with me unless I supply an appropriate gift. He’s suggested Yellow Wolfsbane, Purple Mistletoe, or there is a rare strain of foxglove he’s been trying to get his hands on. There were rumors that your family had yellow wolfsbane, that it was placed in your vault in North Carolina by a paranoid former alpha.”
Peter smirked. “Oh, there was a small sample. It’s been moved to a new vault, and it’s secured under wards that only allow the Hale Alpha and the alpha mate to enter. It’s also warded with intent wards, so if they are there under coercion, the wards will refuse them entrance and notify the pack that the alpha is under threat.”
Kate raised an eyebrow. “Paranoid much?”
Derek snorted. “After you and other hunters like you nearly decimated our pack, it’s vigilance, a common-sense action. I want to know why she pulled the records for Doctors Paddington and Whittemore.”
She sneered. “Don’t you mean Stilinski, the Sheriff’s brat?”
Peter shook his head. “No, he means Dr. Stiles Paddington. The man who wrote the dissertation now used as required reading for the jurisdiction modules for the FBI Academy. Something I’m surprised you didn’t read as part of your research, I mean you have a reputation for your attention to detail.”
With a shrug, she said dismissively, “I was in a hurry, the jurisdiction module was the only course that needed an instructor, and I didn’t have the time to research. As for why I pulled the records on the two brats, that was at the request of my niece. Her fiancé has been trying to find them.”
Peter narrowed his eyes as he demanded, “Then why pull their records when you knew where they were? You knew damn well they were your students. And as much as I would believe that Mr. McCall would want information on two former residents of Beacon Hills. He would use his own father to get that information; since he is an actual FBI agent. So, with that in mind, do you want to try answering that again? This time I’d prefer the actual answer.”
This time she couldn’t hold back the shift as she snarled, “I wanted to know how two cowards could get into MI5 so young. My niece was very clear that they ran away when things went bad in Beacon Hills. She said the entire Hale Pack ran away, leaving the territory clear for her fiancé.”
Peter and Derek both started to laugh, Peter began to wipe tears from his eyes. “Oh wow, that’s impressive.”
Derek snarked, “I know, I had no idea the Fail Alpha was that delusional.”
Peter ignored the spluttering from the jaguar as he said conversationally to his nephew, “Maybe the local druid is more persuasive than we thought. He seemed pretty invested in getting control of the territory. I wouldn’t put it past him to manipulate the so-called True Alpha to get what he wants.”
Derek inquired, “Do you need anything else from her?”
Peter asked, “Why’s that?”
Derek shrugged. “The other interview is finished, and it looks like Kate asked last week about Jackson and Stiles. The younger Argent hasn’t yet learned to lie to an alpha, so I’m more inclined to believe her, and it’s clear we won’t learn anything from this one.”
He was grateful for the years of therapy he and his uncle had been given as part of their FBI training. It had taken a while, but he finally understood he’d been manipulated by a master; and that the fire and what happened afterward was no one’s fault but Kate’s. He knew through experience that if she didn’t want to give up information, there would be nothing they could do to get it.
With a tap to his ears to remind her that he could hear a lie, Peter looked at her directly and asked, “Where is your father?”
She laughed and shook her head, “You think he’d tell me? He doesn’t consort with beasts.”
Peter stood, but before he followed his nephew out of the room, he left her with a parting shot. “Do you honestly think he would take you back in the fold if you hand over the one thing that can kill you without the possibility of a cure?”
September 15th, 2016
The two agents entered the observation room, and they could hear Stiles chuckling at Kate. They looked through the glass and saw she was sneering at Peter’s parting comment.
Stiles commented, “She honestly thinks if she provides one of those rare poisons, that he will welcome her back with open arms.”
Sam wished he could borrow Rick from Clive for the task force, as there weren’t a lot of creatures that could subdue an out-of-control werejaguar. The one creature he didn’t have on the roster was a kanima aside from Jackson.
He turned to Jackson, and he asked, “Do you have any venom handy?”
Jackson shook his head, but he offered, “No, but if you bring me some of the darts for the tranquilizer guns, I’ll fill them with venom. As long as it’s only used for transporting her if she gets out of control.”
The older man agreed. “It’s not something I want to get into the habit of using. I just have a feeling that if anyone is going to cause us problems, it’ll be her.”
Stiles agreed, “Definitely. She has a sense of entitlement that defies belief, to be honest. I met her a few times in Beacon Hills before the big showdown at the Hale house, and my impression of her was that she believed that as a hunter, she had the right to end creatures with no due process.”
Peter said, “I’d recommend doubling the recommended number of guards and making sure they’re all armed with the venom darts. Her control is barely holding, and if she feels cornered, she’s going to try and fight her way out.”
Sam agreed. “I’ll put teams on rotation to guard her until her trial. We already have the evidence for each of the fires and the bribes. All we need to do now is formally arrest her, which I will do personally. I want to make sure all the paperwork is completed so there is no way her lawyers can cry foul.”
Stiles raised an eyebrow, and he said, “Technically, that interview won’t be usable in court. Not when she was being interviewed by two of her victims.”
Sam shook his head. “We have enough evidence with the fires and the bribes for her to go away for a long time. We made the call that we would rather use the interview to try and get information about Gerard. Rather than get nothing from her, and add what is a minor charge compared to the rest to the long list we already have.”
Peter said, “Make sure that they take the death penalty off the table. Even her cooperation was layered in lies.”
Charlie came in with a box of darts, and he handed them to Jackson. “We’ve earmarked these for Ms. Argent, for her prisoner transports once the court dates start.”
He flicked his hand to release his kanima claws, and with help from Stiles, he started filling the darts with venom. Stiles handed the first few to Sam so he could make the arrest and get her transported to the supernatural cells in the basement. Jackson promised, “I’ll leave the rest on your desk when I’m done.”
The arrest went smoother than they expected, as she seemed to go meekly with the agents without putting up a fight. The pack watched from the observation room, and Derek said, “She’s planning something. There is no way she’s just accepting this.”
Peter agreed. He recognized a fellow schemer. “She also hasn’t asked for a lawyer or her phone call. I know from talking to Chris, the Argent’s have a firm on retainer. He still has access to the lawyer, even though he’s no longer a hunter.”
Stiles shrugged, “We’ll just have to investigate if one mysteriously turns up; it’ll let us know if she’s the bait we’re starting to suspect she is.”
Derek requested, “In the meantime, I want to strengthen the wards at home, and probably back in Beacon Hills too. Perhaps a weekend visit to add to the wards.”
Pulling out his phone to check if he had any weekend classes, Stiles agreed. “Sounds good, Sourwolf. It’ll see if Dad and Chris are willing to move to the pack house with Jordan and Connor for a while. It’ll be easier to add stronger wards to one house, rather than splitting my focus when we will be on a limited timeframe.”
The group tested out of the jurisdiction module with high scores, primarily due to them all being familiar with Stiles’ dissertation. They had all helped him by acting as sounding boards as he formulated his ideas. Adam and Dalton definitely got more out of Kate’s lessons than Stiles and even Jackson, as the younger men had learned a lot of the basics as teenagers.
With the abrupt end to their module, Sam gave them Friday off. Stiles and Derek used it as an excellent opportunity to take an early morning flight back to Beacon Hills. They wanted to convince the sheriff and Chris to move into the pack house for a while. If Stiles got his way, the move would be permanent; they would be able to use the house he grew up in to host visiting packs.
As they were flying into Sacramento Airport, Derek asked, “Have you seen any of the deputies since you left after the attack?”
Stiles shook his head. “No, just the two that are pack, Connor and Jordan. All my visits home have been under the radar. I figure since we are not far away from moving home, it’s time to be a bit more open about our visits.”
“So wards first?” Derek asked, “Then we visit the station to convince your dad to move?”
The younger alpha nodded. “Yep, I want to strengthen the wards on the Nemeton, too. It would be good to check how it’s recovering.”
“Sounds good.” Derek stood to get their baggage to hide his smile. “Connor said he’d have a car waiting for us outside. I just need to pick up the keys from the info desk.”
He’d arranged with Noah to get the Jeep restored to its former glory with a completely rebuilt engine. He’d safely stored the Camaro at the new pack house, in the oversized garage they’d built, and he was sure that’s what Stiles was expecting to be waiting outside for them.
Derek handed over his ID to the girl at the information desk, and she handed back an envelope with his name on it. She said, “He said to tell you the keys, parking ticket, and the location of the vehicle are all in the envelope. He dropped it over just over an hour ago, and he said he’d see you both later at work.”
“Thanks!” Derek took the envelope and pocketed the keys before Stiles could get a good look at them.
Stiles asked, “So where are we going, Sourwolf?”
He pulled a piece of paper out of the envelope, and he read out loud, “Terminal B Parking Garage, level 2, left out of the elevator.”
They looked around for the signboard, and the girl at the desk helpfully pointed out, “Go through those doors, and it’s right across the street.”
Derek picked up the handle of his suitcase and, with a quick, “Thanks,” as he led Stiles to the parking garage. He wanted to see his mate’s reaction to seeing Roscoe.
He was not disappointed.
Stiles exclaimed, “ROSCOE! Holy fuck, she looks awesome, Sourwolf! Who rebuilt her?”
Derek grinned as he explained, “Connor and your dad organized it with one of Alpha Ito’s betas. He’s got an excellent reputation for restoring cars. He’s also Peter’s main mechanic, and he babysits Uncle Peter’s classic car collection whenever he’s away.”
Stiles held his hand out for the keys as he asked, “So what have they done to her? I can see she’s had the panels all fixed up, given most of the dents and scratches are all fixed up. What about under the hood?”
Derek threw the keys over after he got their suitcases in the back. “You can check it out later. We should get that warding done before people find out that you’re back in town.”
Stiles gave him a deadpan look as he said, “If you wanted us to sneak into town, you picked the wrong car.”
With a shrug, Derek said, “We can go to the house the back way from here. There is a little-known access road in the preserve. The entrance is well hidden, and you need to be shown where it is to get through it. I’ll let you know when we’re close.”
Asora welcomed them to the house, giving both of the alphas tight hugs. He said, “I hear you’re going to update the wards. Mind if I help out?”
“Dude,” Stiles enthused, ignoring the frown on the kitsune’s face. “That would be awesome. Did Connor tell you why the wards are being updated?”
Asora shook his head. “He just said they needed to be done, and he mentioned it would be fairly soon as a matter of urgency, which is why I offered to help. What are you planning to add? We already have pretty strong warning and intent wards.”
Stiles shrugged. “I was going to add to the intent wards, so they would warn us if anyone armed entered the property that wasn’t pack. I also want to double-check the wards around the Nemeton.”
The kitsune nodded. “Sounds good. I have a few wards to suggest; I think we should upgrade the fireproofing wards on the property. Also, I would like to add a new ward to the Nemeton that warns all pack members that are in the territory that someone is trying to breach the wards, rather than just the alphas. It’ll make the Nemeton feel a bit more secure.”
Derek asked, “Have there been attempts?”
“A few,” Asora confirmed. “Druid Deaton has tried a few times while Connor has been on shift. He’s been able to let myself and Noshiko know, so we could find the intruder. There have been other attempts, but by the time we’ve got to the Nemeton, they were gone.”
Stiles asked, “What if we put a trip ward that has an intent base half a mile, or even a mile out from the current ward line. We could make it undetectable, but it flares to all pack members who are local if the person walking through is intending to find the Nemeton.”
Asora grinned, “That’ll work. The dojo isn’t far from the Nemeton, so we should be pretty quick to respond.”
Derek smiled. “What do you both need from me to do this?”
Stiles shook his head. “Nothing. How about while we do the wards, you go and make nice with the tree? You know it loves to see you.”
“Come get me when you’re done,” Derek said as he started for the tree line. “You still need to meet the tree formally, you know.”
They got on with the warding. It took them both a few hours. Once they were done, they met their alpha at the Nemeton.
Stiles studied the tree, which had grown a fair bit since the druids cleansed it. He ran his hand down the trunk and said, “It’s looking amazing. Will it get much bigger? It’s already looking like a baby redwood. So how do I formally introduce myself?”
Asora and Derek both said, “Blood.”
Stiles took out the knife he had used to etch the runes needed for the wards and slashed it across his palm. He held back his healing and let the blood pool on his palm before he smeared it on the tree. He could feel the warmth from the tree as it accepted his introduction. “Wow, it’s happy. How’s it going to feel when we all move back here?”
Derek’s eyes flared red, and he said, “Ecstatic for sure, just like I will be. Right, let’s go to the station. We can try to catch your dad for a late lunch break.”
As they walked back to the rebuilt pack house, Stiles asked, “Do we know where Scott and his pack are working these days?”
Asora reported, “Alpha McCall works for Dr. Deaton as a vet nurse. Ms. Argent works at the local high school as an assistant coach and substitute teacher. Beta Lahey is a barista at the Starbucks in town; it’s on the other side of town from the sheriff’s station. I haven’t heard much about the younger betas. The last I heard, Beta Dunbar is doing his residency at the local hospital, Mr. Hewitt is still at Stanford, Beta Bryant is with him, and Beta Raeken is currently unemployed.”
Stiles nodded. “So we should be able to avoid seeing them all if we’re careful. I would rather have the impending confrontation at a later date. Do you want to join us for lunch, Asora?”
The kitsune shook his head. “I would love to, but I have a class starting in half an hour.”
They were about to jump into Roscoe when Stiles asked, “Should we take one of the other less conspicuous cars?”
Derek shook his head. “Nope. Honestly, I don’t actually care if they see us; it’s our territory.”
They drove down the main street heading for the station, and Stiles was pointing out shops that had changed as he went past. He was surprised to see a tea shop had moved in, and Derek promised they’d check it out before they flew back to Washington.
They pulled up at the sheriff’s station, and Derek asked, “Shall we see if we can get past the front desk before they realize who you are? Use our IDs?”
Stiles chuckled as he pulled his ID out of his back pocket and hooked it into his waist as he got out of the Jeep. “Sounds perfect. Let’s go!”
They entered the station, and Stiles recognized Deputy Tara Graeme, who was working the front desk. He gently tapped Derek’s lower back out of her eyesight, so he would know to take the lead.
Derek approached with his badge in his hand. “Hi, I’m looking for Sheriff Stilinski.”
She looked up at the pair of them and asked, “And who may I say is asking?”
Stiles could see Connor snickering away at his desk as Derek introduced them. “I’m Agent Hale from the FBI, and this is Officer Paddington of MI5.”
Tara frowned. She couldn’t figure out why a British intelligence agency would be interested in speaking to the sheriff. She checked her computer and couldn’t see any appointments on his calendar. The deputy was trying to place Officer Paddington; he looked familiar, but she just couldn’t think how she knew him. “Is he expecting you?”
Derek shook his head. “No, this was an unexpected visit. He won’t mind the interruption, I promise.”
She stood and went back to the office. Noah had his husband in for a lunchtime visit, which he often did between classes. “Boss? You have an Agent Hale and Officer Paddington waiting at the front desk for you.”
Noah stood and practically sprinted out of the office with Chris and Tara hot on his heels. She asked, “Do you know them?”
Chris grinned, “Stiles and his boyfriend are home.”
She froze and demanded, “What?”
Chris turned her, so she was facing the front desk; it gave her a great view of Noah with a death grip on the British officer. He explained quietly, “Officer Paddington is Officer Stiles Paddington. He changed his name when he moved to the UK in his Junior year.”
Tara approached the father and son pair, and she punched Stiles as soon as he let go of his father. “You little shit!”
Stiles grinned and pulled her into a tight hug as he murmured, “Missed you too, Tara.”
She held him at arm’s length and asked, “What the hell happened to you?”
He knew she was read in on the supernatural, so when he ensured no one could see, he flashed his alpha eyes at her.
She dragged him through to his father’s office as she yelled, “Deputy James, take over the desk, please. I need to have words with a certain delinquent.”
The station burst out laughing at that. Even the deputies who’d never met Stiles had heard stories of the sheriff’s son.
The five of them entered the office, and she demanded, “What the hell, Stiles. When did that happen?”
Stiles and Derek explained the alpha pack and the attack on Stiles while he was out running patrol in the preserve. He also told her about going to college early and getting his criminal justice doctorate.
She hugged him tight and whispered, “I’m so damn proud of you, kid.” She pulled back, and she asked, “So does this mean the Hale Pack is back for good?”
Derek shook his head. “Not yet. We are doing a final year of training with the Talos Task Force, then we are moving into a new FBI office that is currently being prepared for us down the street. We’ll be dealing with west coast based supernatural cases from the office. The team is all Hale Pack members with occasional visits from other teams when we need additional help.”
Noah interrupted the reunion. “As nice as it is to see you, Stiles, why are you here in Beacon Hills? Does this have something to do with what’s been frustrating you for the last week?”
Stiles nodded. “We had an instructor for our jurisdiction module, Kate Argent.”
Noah nodded in understanding, “That explains the interview with Allison the other day.”
Chris asked, “How did she survive? I saw her after the attack; she shouldn’t have been able to live through it.”
Derek flicked out his claws and raised his eyebrow as if to say, ‘Duh.’
Chris paled. “She’s a wolf?”
Stiles laughed. “Oh no. She’s a werejaguar,” he couldn’t help snickering. “She turns blue when she shifts; it’s hilarious.”
Chris’ jaw dropped. “Seriously? Does she at least have control?”
Derek and Stiles both shook their heads, and with a grin, Derek said, “It didn’t take much for Peter to provoke her into shifting.”
The sheriff frowned. “Wouldn’t that void the charges?”
Derek wiggled his hand in a so-so motion. “No. We pulled her in for impersonating an FBI agent, and we didn’t question her about the fires or the bribes, nor was she under arrest at the time. Compared to the charges she is facing on the fires and the bribes, the penalty for impersonating a federal officer was a mere drop in the bucket. They decided to use the opportunity to try and get her father’s location from her, and they wanted to know why she searched for the four of us.”
Tara demanded, “And?”
Derek shrugged. “She spent most of the interview either lying or evading the questions with misdirection. It’s made us wonder if she was bait for a trap we can’t see yet.”
Chris nodded in understanding. “It’s something Gerard would do; sacrifice a pawn to get closer to the king. With Kate being a shifter, especially one with a reputation of being a loose cannon, he has no use for her now.”
“He is after some rare poisons,” Stiles confirmed. “Yellow Wolfsbane, Purple Mistletoe, and there is a rare strain of foxglove he’s been trying to get his hands on, according to Kate. She was claiming to be looking for Derek so she could get access to the Hale Vault in North Carolina. There are rumors of the vault containing a vial of Yellow Wolfsbane.”
Chris sighed. “Yellow Wolfsbane has no cure. Odds are it’s for the pack, or Kate. I wonder what he’s up to?”
Noah said darkly, “Whatever it is, it can’t be good.”
Stiles said hesitantly, “We’ve spent a few hours at the pack house today strengthening the wards. I would like the two of you to move out there. It’s easier to strengthen the wards on one place rather than different places around town.”
Noah raised his hands in surrender. “Fine, fine. We’ve already been discussing it, and we were thinking of moving our stuff over this weekend.”
Chris nodded. “The interview Connor had with Allison just didn’t sit right. She didn’t lie, but I don’t trust that she told the truth, either. Speaking of moving since you’re here, Alpha Hale, I would like to join the Hale Pack as a human member.”
They all felt the pack bond snap into place before Derek did anything, and Chris frowned. “I don’t get it. You didn’t bite me, but I feel the pack bond?”
Derek grinned, “You already were pack, Chris. Your marriage to Noah saw to that. You just had to accept your own place in the pack to solidify the pack bond.”
Stiles suggested, “Why don’t we head to your place now and start packing?” He glanced at Tara. “Can you cover for him?”
Tara nodded her agreement. She knew if there was trouble, they would try to hit at the pack through the humans.
September 16th, 2016
As they were packing up the important things in the old Stilinski house, Noah pulled Stiles aside and said, “Mel misses you. All she knows is you left town, and I told her Scott didn’t even notice you’d left the country.”
Stiles asked, “Do you know if she’s working today?”
Noah nodded. “She’s a charge nurse now in the long-term care ward. If you avoid ED, you should be fine. Scott’s beta, Liam Dunbar, is doing his residency in the emergency department. I doubt he will recognize either of you, but he may smell your wolves. Go now, and maybe stop in at the diner and pick her up something for a late lunch.”
Derek asked, “Will she know we’re in town?”
Noah shook his head. “I don’t think so. The only way she would know your home is if one of the deputies has told her or Scott, and as far as I know, she’s not close to any of the deputies.”
Stiles shook his keys, and he asked, “You coming, Sourwolf?”
Derek nodded. “We’ll be back to help transfer everything once it’s all packed up.”
They had switched to Derek’s SUV, as it had the trunk space for lots of boxes, and it was fairly anonymous around Beacon Hills. When they arrived at the hospital, they were able to get through the emergency department without being stopped by anyone, to the relief of both of the alphas. They’d stopped on the way to the hospital to pick up Melissa’s favorite meal from the diner. It was an apology for being away for so long.
They waited at the ward entrance until the nurse she was talking to left the charge nurse’s office before they approached. Stiles asked, “Melissa?”
She looked up, and with no sign of recognition on her face, she asked, “Can I help you.”
He held up the takeaway bag from the diner, and he said, “Dad suggested I bring a bribe to apologize for being gone for so long.”
She beckoned the pair into her office before she stood and pulled her second son into a hug. “What the hell happened to you, kiddo. I can barely recognize you.”
Derek discretely shut the door behind the pair so they wouldn’t be overheard as Stiles explained, “I left town after one of the wolves from the alpha pack attacked me. I got home covered in blood and scratches, and it was the last straw for Dad. He sent me to live with my uncle in England.”
“Sit,” she said as she gestured them to the chairs. “Now, who’s your young man?”
Stiles introduced his mate, “This is Derek Hale, my alpha. Derek, this is Melissa McCall. I don’t know if you actually met her before we all left town.”
Derek shook his head, and he said, “No, I didn’t. It’s nice to meet Stiles’ other mama, finally. He’s told me a lot about you.”
Realization dawned on her face when she took in the name Hale. So she asked, “Are you both back to stay?”
Stiles shook his head, “No, not yet; this is just a short visit. I needed to update the wards on our house, and help Dad and Chris move to the pack house.”
She frowned as she asked, “So, you’re the emissary?”
Stiles smirked and let his eyes flare crimson as he shook his head. “Nope, alpha mate, actually. But, because of the circumstances of my bite, I was able to keep my magic.”
“I thought you didn’t want the bite?” She asked. She was a bit confused.
Stiles agreed, “I didn’t. After my patrol partner decided a booty call was more important than doing his assigned patrol run, he abandoned me to do the rest of the patrol on my own. I was attacked while running through the preserve, and I was able to kill the alpha that bit me within seconds of him biting me. It was lucky, due to being magical, I would have died from bite rejection if I didn’t have the stronger alpha spark to help me through the turn.”
Derek grabbed his hand and squeezed tight as he murmured, “I’m glad you survived.”
She was trying to get the timeline straight in her head, and she asked Derek, “So you joined him when you left?”
Derek shook his head. “No. Stiles only moved to our house in Washington a month ago. When he left Beacon Hills, he moved to London to live with his Uncle Clive and started at Oxford University a few weeks after he arrived. About a week or so after he left, I was invited to join the FBI with my Uncle Peter, and we moved to Washington to complete our degrees at GWU before we joined the FBI academy. I am now a Supervisory Special Agent with the FBI’s Talos Task Force, and Stiles is a Senior Officer with MI5 on permanent loan to the FBI.”
Stiles grinned and said, “I got my doctorate in criminal justice, and I am ABD in my second doctorate in psychology with Derek, who is working towards his first doctorate.”
“That’s amazing, kiddo,” she grinned. “Your mom would be so proud. She always knew you would excel at school.”
Stiles asked, “So what have I missed around here?”
Melissa leaned back in her chair, and she said, “Well, after you and the Whittemore boy left, there were a few more that followed not long after. The kid who played goalie on the lacrosse team left just before the end of the year? I can’t remember his name, sorry. Scott was ranting about him leaving because they didn’t have a backup. Then the Martin girl, the one you had a crush on, she left at the end of her junior year to start college early. No one’s heard from her since.”
Stiles nodded. “Jackson ended up in London with me and Cora, Derek’s sister. Danny, the goalie, attended GWU with Derek and Peter. We’re all working together on the same task force team. Last I heard, Lydia moved to Boston to attend MIT, but I haven’t heard from her since I left town.”
Melissa tilted her head. “And you all graduated early?”
Stiles and Derek nodded slowly, so she asked, “Don’t you find that a little odd. That a small town would have a higher than usual rate of genius students?”
Derek nodded and said, “We looked into it, as we did find it odd. Especially since Stiles, Cora, and Jackson skipped at least two years of university courses at a young age, Stiles and Jackson were 16, and my sister was only 18. It’s how Stiles and Jackson both have doctorates at 21. Even Uncle Peter and myself are also a bit unusual with how fast we can pass courses.”
He went on to explain the research they had done on those who had been born close to the Nemeton, and how they theorized that it gifted them with the intelligence to help it survive.
Melissa said, “It makes sense. I remember Claudia telling me how she went into the preserve to have you.”
Stiles nodded. “Now, I had an ulterior motive for my visit. I wanted to make sure you had protection both here and at home. Has Scott had your house warded?”
“Against what?” Melissa asked. She shook her head and continued bitterly, “I haven’t spoken to my son in months. I’m human, and Scott and his fiance have made it very clear that I’m not pack. Allison even told me that I should keep my nose out of pack business. Noah has spoken to me more in the last few years than my own son.”
Derek scrubbed his hand down his face. “Fuck. Look, we think Gerard is gearing up for something. We captured Kate Argent yesterday as she was impersonating an FBI agent. We didn’t get much out of her, but we did find out her father is looking for rare poisons, including yellow wolfsbane, which is fatal to werewolves without a cure.”
Stiles added, “We’re worried enough that Dad’s agreed for him and Chris to move to the pack house. It’s warded to kingdom come.” He glanced at Derek, who nodded. “We would like you to consider the move, too. Gerard sees you as a weak point for Scott, and you would be one of the first people he targets.”
Derek suggested, “You could also make her some of those holsters so we can arm her at work without anyone realizing.”
Melissa asked, “Holsters?”
Stiles pulled his sleeve up, and he touched the holster on his arm, so it was visible, and Melissa could see the large knife he habitually wore. He pulled his hand away, and it faded away and was no longer visible.
She moved her hand toward his arm and asked, “May I?”
Stiles smirked, “Sure. When it’s invisible, only I can feel it there. It’s part of the magic of the holster. I have worn one on each forearm since Gerard first kidnapped and beat me as a message to Scott. It wouldn’t take much to rig up a pair for you, and either Chris or Asora can teach you how to fight with them.”
Melissa thought about it and asked, “Just how serious is the threat from Gerard? I thought he was dying of bite rejection.”
Stiles shrugged. “Honestly, we aren’t sure, but we would prefer to prepare for the worst than be caught unawares.”
Melissa asked, “Where is the Hale house? The only house I know of is the ruins in the preserve?”
Derek smirked. “Magic is awesome. It’s warded, so only those who are keyed into the wards know the house exists. It took a couple of construction crews nearly two years to complete it, so we wanted to make sure it’s protected. And before you ask, yes, there is plenty of room for you.”
Stiles offered, “Why don’t you meet us at dad’s after your shift, and you can follow us out there to check it out. You’ll be able to meet Asora and maybe even the Yukimuras. It depends on if they are at the house or their own place further into the preserve.”
She nodded. “Give me an hour to get things finished here. I’d like to see the house and talk to your dad before I decide.”
They both agreed and gave her a hug before leaving her office. They had luck on their side on their way out, and they managed to avoid being spotted.
The two alphas were delayed getting to the pack house. They had stopped to pick up some pizza to welcome everyone to the house and kick off a full moon run.
Asora wasn’t keen on Melissa moving in, as she wasn’t part of the Hale Pack. That was until Chris and Noah explained her history with Gerard; and how she would be one of his first targets. The kitsune offered to put a personal ward on her, so if she was in trouble, the pack would know and would check on her.
Melissa decided to ask a few questions in the alpha’s absence. “Why?” She was curious as to why someone who wasn’t pack would be welcomed to the den. “I know I mean a lot to Stiles, just like he means a lot to me. But that can’t be all?”
Asora nodded. “It is actually, we trust his gut, and right now, his gut says you’re in danger from Gerard Argent. Keeping you out of harm’s way keeps him safe.”
Noah agreed, “If you were taken, Stiles would move heaven and earth to get you back. You know he’s loyal to those he claims as his.”
Melissa nodded. “Scott’s no longer his anymore, is he?”
Noah and Chris both shook their heads. Chris explained, “Scott changed after he was bitten. He became popular, and he finally had others who hung on to his every word. He no longer had time for someone he perceived as holding him back, someone so squishy and human. I think part of him, and probably a large part of him, still blames Stiles for Peter biting him. The way he tells it, Stiles dragged him out to the forest, and it’s his fault he was in Peter’s path.”
Noah laughed. “It’s hilarious because Scott would have been dragged into the supernatural world, regardless. Stiles was never fully human. I’ll let him explain more when they get back with Jordan and Connor.”
Chris grinned. “You are going to love the full moon run. I won’t spoil it, but it’s a fantastic sight.”
Melissa was curious. “I thought the Hale Pack was small. Just Peter, Derek, and obviously, Stiles.”
Noah chuckled. “No, there is a large contingent in DC waiting for the task force to spread out so they can move home. I think all up there are two alphas, three kitsune, five betas, a hellhound, and four humans so far.”
Melissa asked, “What’s a kitsune? It’s not something I’ve heard of before.”
The only kitsune in the room, Asora, explained, “We are fox shifters from Japan. You might have heard of the nine-tailed fox?”
Melissa nodded. “Sort of. I’m guessing they based that Pokemon on you.”
Asora scowled. “If I ever get my hands on the one who showed their true form… Sorry, yes, that is a good approximation. We live long lives as long as our tails are not destroyed. I am over a thousand years old and Noshiko, who you will probably meet later, is nearly 900 years old.”
Melissa’s eyes widened. “Wow, that’s a long time. You must have seen so much.”
Chris laughed as he said, “He helped build the Tower of Pisa.”
Derek and Stiles called out as they entered, both holding an enormous stack of pizzas.
Noah called out, “We’re in here, son.”
Derek asked, “What’s wrong with Melissa?”
Noah replied, “Asora told her how old he is. I think she’s still processing it.”
The alpha put the pizzas on the coffee table, and he took the pile from Stiles’ arms so the other alpha could get plates and napkins from the kitchen. He said, “Connor and Jordan are about five minutes behind us. We got a good selection, so we could all get a decent meal before the full moon run.”
Melissa snapped out of her stupor as Connor and Jordan entered the room, and she asked, “So, what happens on a full moon run? The most I ever saw Scott’s pack do, was hang around and watch movies.”
Derek explained, “My family always went into the preserve as a pack to go for a hunt. Our pack is a bit different from most, though. Stiles was able to help us all find our full-shift, so when we run, it’s as our inner animal.”
She looked stunned as she asked, “You can turn into wolves?”
Stiles put down the pizza he had been eating, and he shifted into his wolf form so she could check it out.
“Wow,” she breathed. “You’re huge.”
Derek nodded. “We suspect we are similar in size to the extinct dire wolf. My form is slightly bigger than Stiles’, and I think the betas are slightly smaller. Jordan is huge as a hellhound, I think around the same size as the Cerberus from the first Harry Potter movie. And the kitsunes are about half the size of us when fully shifted, but they can use magic in their shifted form.”
Melissa thought back to what Asora said about kitsunes, and she asked, “Do the kitsunes have all the tails when they are shifted?”
Asora grinned. “Yep, myself and Noshiko both have nine tails, and her daughter, Kira, had three the last time I saw her. Kira’s with the rest of the pack in Washington. My kitsune form is pitch black, like Derek’s wolf form, Noshiko is a deep blue that looks almost black, and her coat is speckled with flecks of purple and light blue through her fur. Kira is orange with flecks of light blue through her fur.”
Derek nudged his mate. “Shift back and finish eating so we can go hunt. I saw a nice 12 point buck I want to hunt down.”
The nurse gave him one last pat before he moved back and shifted back to human. As he picked up his plate, he said, “The best part of having a full-shift form is the puppy piles. When we get back from the full moon runs, we tend to pile up in the living room and snuggle together as a pack. The humans love it in the winter, as we all run hot.”
Chris and Noah both nodded. Noah explained, “It’s like being wrapped in a space heater. It was brilliant when we were in England. It was freezing over there in the winter.”
Derek said, “It also puts rogues off their game when we shift as they are trying to fight us. We’ve won more than a few battles that way.”
Connor grumbled, “Part of me wishes I had access to the full-shift for that alone.” He saw the confusion on Melissa’s face and explained, “I am here as a proxy alpha, so I am not a full pack member. Once the Hale Pack moves home, I’ll be sent to my next assignment, which I believe is in France.”
Derek nodded. “That’s the plan. There is a pack near the Nemeton in Toulouse that needs a bit of help.”
Eventually, they all moved outside, and the non-human pack members all shifted into their creature forms and ran into the preserve.
“Fuck,” Melissa exclaimed, “Jordan dwarfs the wolves; he makes them look like those little yappy purse dogs.”
The three men all chuckled. Ken had joined them for the regular full moon gossip sessions the human pack members had while the rest of the pack was out hunting. He mentioned, “The first time he shifted in front of me, I got such a fright I ended up on my ass on the ground.”
Noah nodded. “I think he gave everyone a fright that first time he shifted. It was awesome; I don’t even think he expected to be as big as he is.”
Melissa asked quietly, “Scott is in for a rude awakening, isn’t he?”
Noah nodded. “Sorry Mel, but yeah. He thinks this is his territory even though it’s been made clear to both Scott and Deaton, time and time again, that when the Hales left that they were not giving up the territory. They were both told in plain English that Connor would be representing the Hale Pack as the proxy alpha until their return, you know, once they were done with their education.”
Chris added, “We were both at that meeting, myself as the local hunter representative, and Noah as the Sheriff. We both overheard Deaton telling Scott that the Hales didn’t have the authority to declare the territory theirs. That it was up to the emissary who the land belongs to.”
Melissa said deadpan, “And Scotty would have fallen for that hook, line, and sinker.”
September 19th, 2016
After careful analysis of the two interview transcripts, they decided to pull Kate in for another interview. After talking it through with Charlie, Sam had reassigned the case to the team who initially went to Beacon Hills when the Alpha Pack and the Darach were causing issues.
They were familiar with the Hale Fire case, having looked into it while they were in town. They were also familiar with the local packs and the two Argents that were still living in Beacon Hills.
Sam sent in SSA Dean Samuels, an alpha wolf, with one of his betas, Maggie Gilroy. They were a solid interview team, poker faces that would kill at professional poker, and they were both exceptional at reading slight alterations in chemosignals. Sam agreed that Derek and Peter could watch from the observation room as long as they didn’t interfere.
Kate was looking mulish when they brought her into the interview room. Four agents escorted her up from the cells. All of them were shifters, and they armed the two agents taking the rear with kanima venom tranquilizer darts. Once she had been handcuffed to the table with specially made cuffs that were designed to hold shifters, Dean and Maggie entered the interview room with the same stack of folders that Peter had brought in during her last interview.
They both sat down opposite her and put the stack of folders between them. They wanted to ask about the various fires she had allegedly set, and they intended to find out about the bribes she had paid for the fires to be reported as accidents.
Maggie had the list of questions that came from the transcript of the interview with Allison Argent. “We let you know about this interview on Friday to give you a chance to call in your lawyer. Are they coming?”
Kate shook her head. “No, my lawyer has declined to represent me, and I’m still trying to find one on my family’s approved list to take my case. I will be fine without one for this interview, as long as you make the transcript available to whomever I hire later.”
Maggie nodded. “We can certainly look into it once you give us a name. For the records, can you please tell us your full name and date of birth?”
“Kate Gwyneth Argent,” she said in a bored tone. “I was born June 12th, 1980.”
Maggie did the math in her head, and she asked, “So at the time of the Taylor fire, you were 21, for the Shipton fire you were 22, the Hale fire you were 24, the Astor fire you were 25, and the Talbot fire you were 26.”
Kate drawled, “Your point?”
Maggie tapped the notepad with her pen as she said, “For each of those fires, you seduced a young teen for access to the house. All of them were under 15 at the time of the fires, which makes it five counts of statutory rape to start with. Then we can look at the numbers that died in each fire, 60 counts of murder across five house fires that we can confirm you planned and started. On top of that are the numerous officials you bribed to cover up each fire.”
Kate shrugged dismissively, so Maggie asked, “Why were you in Beacon Hills in late 2011?”
They both scented the flash of rage that flooded the room until Kate got herself under control as she said, “I was there to see my niece, so she knew I wasn’t dead.”
Dean’s grin was almost feral when he said, “Well, that’s odd because, according to her statement, you didn’t see her until early in 2012, but your own cellphone records put you in Beacon Hills from October 2011 until early 2012. Care to explain why you were there for nearly three months?”
Kate shook her head. “I don’t see how it’s relevant, to be honest.”
Maggie said, “That’s not up to you to decide. Now answer the question, why were you in Beacon Hills in late 2011? We can see from your cell phone records you spent time out by the old Hale house and also around the loft belonging to Derek Hale.”
Kate growled, “You’re just going to keep pushing, so fine. I woke up as a beast, and I was out of control. I remember Derek had issues with control when I was seeing him, so I was hoping I could convince him to help me.”
Derek muttered in the observation room, “She would have been better off buying a lottery ticket. At least that would have had a chance at working.”
Back in the interrogation room, the two agents who had gotten to know the alpha fairly well both raised an eyebrow. Maggie commented, “You honestly expected him to help you? Did you plan to kidnap him again?”
Kate scoffed, and she denied, “No.”
“Lie,” Dean said with a grin. “Want to try that again? I mean, you already kidnapped him once and held him for a week as you tortured him with electricity. Were you planning to do the same again?”
Kate snarled, “No!”
Maggie wrote some notes down before she said, “So you planned to kidnap him, but not torture him with electricity. So what was the plan?”
Kate said, “Stop putting words in my mouth. There was no plan!”
“Lie!” both agents said in unison. Maggie shook her head, and she said, “You might as well tell us, we can keep this up all day.”
Kate shook her head, and her fangs were starting to interfere with her speech as she lisped, “There is nothing to tell, he wasn’t in Beacon Hills, so I found another way to gain control.”
Maggie said sarcastically, “Sure you did. So what were your plans with Derek Hale? We’ve established that you planned to kidnap him. We just need you to tell us why, for our records, of course.”
Kate refused to answer, so eventually, Maggie pushed on. “How did you find out he’d left town?”
The shifter smirked as she said, “I ran into Allison and her pet alpha. I asked if they’d seen Derek; the alpha was very quick to tell me that the Hales had run away from Beacon Hills like cowards.”
“Wow,” Maggie said. “Okay. So you claim to have control and that you no longer needed Derek, so why were you looking him up in the system?”
With a look of disdain, Kate said, “I already told them that in the interview last week. I needed access to his family vault.”
Dean asked, “For access to the rare Yellow Wolfsbane?”
“Yes!” Kate yelled.
Maggie took the first folder off the pile. It was the evidence for the Taylor fire. She asked, “You attacked the Taylor pack in August 2003. We can see from evidence and witness statements that you worked as a substitute teacher at Maple Park School in Corte Madera. We have reports here that state you seduced Grant Taylor into a sexual relationship when he was just fourteen years old. Why did you target the Taylor Pack?”
Kate shrugged. “They were beasts, and there were rumors of animal attacks in the area.”
“Lie,” Dean said tonelessly. “Want to try the truth this time?”
The agents both knew that she’d been sent to target them specifically. They had met with Gerard about a treaty, and he’d left empty-handed when they wouldn’t agree to his terms. They’d been able to confirm that all the packs that Kate attacked had upset Gerard Argent in some way.
Kate sat back in her chair and tried to cross her arms, at least until she remembered she was handcuffed to the table. She sneered. “I wasn’t lying.”
Dean chuckled. “Feel free to lie to yourself, but we know from reading the local police reports that none of the areas had random animal attacks, not even rumors. So why did you target the Taylor Pack in 2003?”
The werejaguar shrugged as she leaned forward, and she said tonelessly, “I don’t recall.”
Maggie had a feeling she was going to refuse to comment on all of the fires, but they required her to continue the questioning. So she asked, “What about the Shipton fire in 2004?”
Kate smirked as she said, “I don’t recall.” She refused point-blank to give up the fact that her father chose her targets.
They interviewed her several times over the next month to try to get her to give up just a little bit of information, anything that they could use. Throughout the interviews, she gave up the fact she was not the one who chose the targets, that she seduced the younger boys because she saw them as beasts with no rights, essentially due to their lack of humanity. All the boys she targeted were born werewolves, which in her mind, human laws didn’t apply to them as far as she was concerned as they weren’t actually human.
She’d also tried a few times a week to engage one of the lawyers that her family employed on retainer, but they all refused to represent her because of her shifter nature. At each interview, they offered her a supernaturally aware public defender; but she turned her nose up at the offers and decided she would work on her own defense.
After six weeks of trying, with only a few tidbits of information to add to the files, the scheduled court date was finally upon them. Although the courtroom that was being used for the trial was not far away from the main FBI buildings, there was still a high risk of her escaping.
They had pulled in all the supernatural teams to be on hand for any escape attempts, and they spread out the 30 agents along the route from the cells to the warded van waiting outside.
Kate ignored the obvious increase in agents as they escorted her through the building to the van. She chose to walk with her head held high and her shirt sleeves hanging down over her cuffs.
It was something Stiles had noticed when she walked past him, as they had stationed him and Adam reasonably close to the cells.
He murmured to Adam, “Look at her hands.”
Adam and a few of the other agents saw her sleeves came down well past the cuffs, but her hands were still, and based on the angle of her hands, she appeared to be cuffed, so they weren’t too concerned.
The group had almost made it out of the building with her when she made her move. It would appear escape was not her objective. She slashed at both of her escorts to get them out of the way; before she attacked Derek like a berserker, and she took him down with her hand buried deep in his chest.
Before the surrounding agents could react, Stiles, who had listened to his instincts, and he had followed the group after they passed his assigned position, had moved in behind her with his claws at her throat. He ordered, “Remove your hand from his chest, or I’ll rip out your throat.”
Kate snarled. “What’s the point? I’d rather die than end up in prison for the rest of my life. If I have to die, then I’m taking him with me.”
Stiles dug his claws in, making sure to pierce her carotid artery with his thumb claw. Then, clearly within her sight line, he pulled the knife from the sheath hidden on his forearm, and he ran it under her nose so she could get a whiff of the poisons on the blade. He murmured too low for anyone but himself and Derek to hear, “I imbued this knife with a rare mix of herbs, one stab, and whatever it hits will never heal. Not even for a shifter with an advanced healing factor. So, if you don’t pull your hand out of his chest, I will embed this knife in your spine and leave you to live as a paralyzed defective shifter. That way, you can rot in prison for the rest of your life. Remove. Your. Hand. NOW!”
Derek was too busy concentrating. He kept a death grip on her hand so that she couldn’t slide it in further, so he missed the murmured comment. The rest of the surrounding agents had their weapons trained on the group, with various orders being shouted at the huntress.
Peter came sprinting when he heard the shouting. Kate had passed him earlier on the route, and she’d barely spared him a glance. “Fuck!” He slid down beside his nephew just as she pulled her hand out of Derek’s chest.
As he put pressure on the wound, the blue-eyed wolf demanded, “What the fuck just happened?”
Stiles, who was pulling Kate back, explained, “She was wearing long sleeves, and her escorts didn’t notice her slipping her cuffs. As soon as she saw Derek, she dropped the pretense and the cuffs before attacking him like a feral animal. She attacked too quick for him, or anyone else, to react.”
Sam had arrived just in time to hear Stiles’ report, and he yelled, “I want the full shackles like I originally ordered. Who the fuck decided she only needed cuffs.” One of the agents surrounding the small group sprinted off to the equipment room to find the warded shackles.
There was a groan from the floor, and one of the junior agents said, “The shackles gave her a panic attack; it’s why we were delayed.”
Sam hissed, “Someone get those two clowns to medical. We’ll be having words about your future on the team if you can’t even notice when you are being played.”
He first checked that Stiles was okay with holding the shifter in place while they got the restraints, and he got a nod. When he really looked, he realized Stiles was whispering to Kate, and the woman was getting paler with each word.
Sam decided he didn’t see or hear anything from the younger agent, and he turned to get the clusterfuck sorted out so they could get her to the courtroom.
Peter had sent Dalton to get a stretcher so they could move Derek safely to their medical bay, then he had stripped off his jacket and was holding it on the large hole in Derek’s chest to try to stop the bleeding.
When Sam crouched down for a report, he said, “Derek’s out cold now that she’s no longer a danger. He’s lost a fair amount of blood, but I can feel that his healing is already starting to kick in.”
Ethan came sprinting into the room with the shackles he had grabbed from the junior agent. He didn’t trust anyone else to protect his alpha. He handed them over to Jackson as he took over his guard position. Aiden moved with his twin to flank Derek. They wanted to guard him, as they were suspicious about the ease of her escape.
Jackson worked around Stiles to place the new shackles on Kate. The younger agent was silent, with his claws still embedded in her throat. Jackson said, “These are warded for shifter strength, and I promise you, none of us are naïve enough to believe you’d have a panic attack about being restrained. We’ll also be rolling up your sleeves, so the cuffs stay in full view until they place you in your cell in the supermax prison.”
He stood after rolling up her trouser legs and securing the last cuff around her ankle. “You can let her go now, Stiles. The twins will be her escorts from here. Adam, Dalton, and myself will join them for support. We’ll text you with updates from her trial.”
Stiles stepped back after he whispered darkly, “Remember my threat, Katie; any time anywhere. I won’t kill you… but you’ll wish I had.”
Dalton dropped off a stretcher from medical before he left with the group guarding Kate. Stiles and Peter worked fast to get Derek situated, so they could carry him through to medical. They wanted him out of the public eye before the agents that were not in the know noticed his healing rate; or that the wound in his chest was actually rather large.
Dr. Matthews came out of his office and pointed at one of the beds as he ordered, “Put him down here.”
They carefully laid him on the bed as directed, before they stood on the opposite side and started to pull his pain. The doctor examined him both visually and with a brief scan of his magic before he said, “He’ll be fine. He should wake up in a few minutes.”
Peter said, “We have a court date to attend, and it starts in a few minutes. When can he leave? The woman that caused all this is currently on trial. I don’t want him to miss it, lest she believes she’s won.”
Dr. Matthews nodded. “As soon as the wound is closed, he can go.” With a pointed look at Stiles, he ordered, “It’s important he does nothing strenuous for a few days while his body completes the healing.”
Stiles raised his eyebrows, and he asked, “Why tell me, Doc? It’s his body.”
The doctor gave him a raised eyebrow, and he said, “Yes, but it takes two to tango, and you might actually listen to me.”
Derek muttered, “I listen, when what you say makes sense.” He rolled his head to look at Stiles and asked, “Did she get away?”
Stiles shook his head. “Fuck no. I held her until they put her in warded shackles. Then five members of our pack escorted her personally to the courthouse. Sam ordered that they will keep her shackles on in full view at all times until they deliver her to the supermax prison. He also stipulated that they must keep her sleeves and cuffs rolled up at all times. Sam is going to rip the two fuckups who let her escape new assholes. That’s if he doesn’t rip their throats out for their incompetence.”
“The FBI frown on that sort of thing,” Peter deadpanned. “I asked.”
Stiles muttered, “Then I’m glad I didn’t rip her throat out. The paperwork would have been a nightmare.”
October 25th, 2016
When the three of them finally took their seats in the courtroom, they hadn’t missed much. The prosecutor had added charges of the attempted murder of a federal agent and attempting to escape custody, due to her attack on Derek at the FBI building.
Sam whispered to Derek, “Are you ok?”
Derek nodded. “I just have to take it easy for a few days, nothing strenuous while the healing finishes. How’s it going?”
Sam grinned. “Watch the judge. He’s presided over so many supernatural cases. I think this is the first time I have seen him look truly disgusted with a defendant’s actions. He usually has a great poker face.”
Peter agreed, “I’ve been in his courtroom when I’ve had to testify for a few of our cases, and he’s always looked impassive like nothing fazes him.”
The supernatural cases had a unique process. They weren’t jury trials, as it was impossible to find a balanced jury of their peers, especially for hunter versus creature cases. They presented the evidence to the judge, and they made the final decision on their own. The judges chosen for the supernatural courts had to swear a magical vow to remain impartial. If there was any potential conflict of interest, they would have to recuse themselves from the case. There were five judges in DC and a few others scattered around the country who had taken the vow so far.
Usually, the prosecutor would outlay the evidence like a standard trial, then they would give the defense a chance to defend their client. In this case, however, there was just too much evidence, and it would take several weeks to submit it all. The judge had held his hand out for the folders when he had seen just how much evidence there was against Kate Argent, and he was sitting at the bench reading through it all.
The judge looked up from the latest folder and asked, “I understand the death penalty is off the table. May I ask why?”
The prosecutor glanced at the Hales before he said, “Death is too quick a punishment. The survivors all agreed that life without parole in a supernatural prison was the preferred sentence.”
The judge nodded and went back to his reading. He looked up when a clerk brought in a new folder of paperwork. He asked, “What’s this?”
The clerk swallowed nervously, “It’s the paperwork for the added charge of attempted murder of a federal agent, Sir.”
The judge flicked through the photos in the folder before he looked up. His gaze narrowed on Derek. “SSA Hale, please approach the bench.”
Derek stood, and he approached the judge. The judge held the photos so the alpha could see them and asked, “When was this?”
The photos were screen captures from the security cameras in the FBI building showing Kate’s hand embedded in his chest. There was another photo of Stiles with an absolutely vicious expression, as he had his claws at Kate’s throat.
Derek said, “This happened a few hours ago, Sir. As she was being escorted to the court.”
The judge pulled the Hale folder out of the stack and asked, “You’re the Derek Hale she targeted for the Hale fire?”
Derek nodded. “I was. She was my substitute French teacher at Beacon Hills High School.”
The judge nodded. “Thank you, you can take a seat with your pack, SSA Hale.”
Stiles gripped his hand as soon as he sat back in his seat, and he murmured, “She’s going down.”
Derek whispered, “I wonder if she’ll get the cell next to Deucalion?”
Peter whispered to the pair of them, “We can but hope. Now shush, he’s about to deliver his verdict.”
The judge put down the last folder, and he looked at Kate as if he could see all of her past actions in the expressions on her face. He said coldly, “I have never in my long career come across someone so callous and cruel. You ruined entire territories with your actions. Without the packs there to protect the territories, crime rates have skyrocketed, and unsolved murder rates are climbing, all because dangerous creatures are going unchecked without the local packs to defend their territories. You left traumatized boys in your wake, several of whom have since died at their own hands. Those deaths are on you.”
He tapped his notepad with his fingertips in a steady rhythm as he contemplated his next words. “Death would be a kindness you do not deserve, Katherine Argent. My sentence is thus; you will spend the rest of your life locked away in the Supermax Prison in Colorado. It has specially warded cells for shifters like you. Yes, even Jaguar shifters.”
She started to rage, so he yelled, “QUIET! I’m not finished!”
“The rest of your sentence affects the Argent Hunting Family,” he looked at Sam. “I understand you have brought representatives of the Argent family to the court to hear the sentencing.”
Sam nodded, and he stood to open the doors at the back of the room so the three Argents could enter. He said, “This is Chris, Allison, and Dominique Argent.” Dominique was a statuesque woman with long white hair tied into a tight bun at the back of her head; she radiated confidence. Allison stood beside her, looking cowed. Her brunette hair flowing in gentle curls around her face as she stood between the two elder Argents. Sam introduced them to the judge, “Dominique is the Head Matriarch of the Argent family; she’s based in France. Allison is the current American Matriarch. Lastly, we have Chris Stilinski nee Argent; he has retired from hunting completely and is a member of the Hale Pack.”
He made this clear to everyone when he made a beeline for the pack after the introductions. He sat between Stiles and Peter, taking the seat Sam had been using. When he sat, he turned to give Stiles a tight hug. As Sam showed Dominique and Allison to their seats, Chris whispered, “I heard there was an incident before the trial.”
Stiles nodded. “Kate tried to kill Derek as she was being transported out of the FBI cells. I’ll explain later. Are you staying for a few days?”
Chris nodded. “It was a last-minute thing. Apparently, the preliminary evidence was enough for the judge to know the sentence would affect the entire family.”
The judge asked Dominique to stand, and he asked, “Were you aware of the actions of Gerard and Kate Argent?”
Dominique shook her head. “No, their actions were against the code our family follows. I have put the word out to other hunting families that Gerard is no longer affiliated with the Argent family. We have also disavowed Katherine for her despicable actions.”
The judge nodded, “Be that as it may, it is the decision of the court that the Argent family is on probation in the United States. All Argent hunters residing in the United States must either register and give a magical vow that they’ll follow the code, or they have to leave the country.”
Allison stood, and she shouted, “You can’t do that; you don’t have the right!”
“Silence!” the judge retorted. “I have every right. Even you yourself, Ms. Argent, are not blameless. Did you not capture two of your own classmates by shooting them with arrows until they could no longer move? What I struggle to comprehend is that you then handed them over to your own grandfather to torture. Then you stood by and watched while he tortured the human son of the sheriff, a boy who was supposed to be your friend.”
Dominique looked at her in horror. “Merde, what have you done, child.” She looked at Christopher. “Is this why you no longer speak to her?”
Chris shook his head. “No, Aunt Dominique. I no longer speak to her because she still hasn’t apologized to Stiles, the sheriff’s son, and the only one left alive after the kidnapping. She still refuses to admit that allowing Gerard to torture any of them was wrong. She still blames Alpha Hale for killing her mother. Even after learning the truth about that night, she still won’t admit fault with her actions. I didn’t raise her to be like that, and I want no part of someone so full of hate and bigotry.”
Dominique moved, so she was no longer standing next to her grandniece and asked the judge, “I would like to request permission to remain in the US. I think I could help the Hale Pack and work towards fixing the issues my relatives have created.”
The judge eyed her critically, and he eventually nodded. “I will meet with you in a week. I want to hear a proposal on how you wish you start fixing the chaos left by Kate and Gerard Argent. In the meantime, she will be transferred to the Colorado Supermax to start her sentence.”
He turned to Sam, and he ordered, “She must be both sedated and paralyzed with Kanima venom for the entire trip. I want no accidents allowing her to escape. If anyone tries to liberate her during the transfer, lethal force is authorized.”
Sam nodded, and he said, “I already have a team of my most experienced task force members ready to transport her. I’ve also had an offer of a SEAL team to back them up.”
The judge waved his hand at the captured werejaguar, and he said, “She’s all yours.”
He fixed his gaze on the youngest Argent and said, “Consider this a warning for your actions against members of the Hale Pack. These are the actions of a thug, not a hunter. Be thankful you’re not on trial today, or you would be joining your aunt in maximum security. My final order for you, Ms. Argent, is that you will take a secrecy vow. Nothing discussed in this courtroom is to be mentioned to any member of your pack.”
With that parting shot, he left the bench to a silent courtroom. Seth, a task force member who was ex-army, entered the courtroom and injected Kate with a combination of a were-strength sedative and kanima venom, so they could safely fly her to Colorado. Sam promised the pack that Charlie and his hand-picked team would be accompanying her on the flight.
Chris stood once Kate was out of the courtroom, and he pulled his aunt into a hug. He hadn’t seen her since Victoria’s funeral.
Derek offered, “Why don’t the pair of you stay with us while you’re in DC, rather than a hotel room. We still have a few spare rooms.”
Dominique nodded. “I would like that. It would appear I don’t have the full picture of everything that’s happened over the last ten years, and I would like to get caught up before I start on this proposal.”
As Allison was being led from the courtroom, Dominique called out, “Allison, we will be having a long discussion once I have the full picture.” She glanced at Derek as she said, “That is, as long as Alpha Hale gives me permission to enter his territory, under the rules of peaceful negotiations.”
Derek nodded. “You have it.”
He scowled at Allison and snarked, “I’m glad there is more than one Argent who understands that Beacon Hills is still Hale territory.”
The other agents not affiliated with the Hale Pack left the courtroom as soon as they understood pack business was about to be discussed. One of Sam’s magic users took her through the secrecy vow.
Allison waited until they all left before she hissed, “I don’t care what anyone says; Derek killed my mother.”
Chris shook his head. “As I have explained over and over until I am blue in the face, your mother was trying to kill Scott with an illegal form of aerosolized wolfsbane. She stabbed Derek in the shoulder, and he fought back and bit her in the melee. It is not on him that she decided to kill herself rather than live as a werewolf.”
Stiles agreed, “She was using the aerosolized wolfsbane to simulate an asthma attack. She wanted to make it look like Scott died of something mundane, rather than being murdered by a complete psycho.”
Allison snarled, “What would you know about it. You weren’t even there.”
Stiles raised an eyebrow reminiscent of Derek, and he asked, “Wasn’t I? I know that the kanima escaped and went on to kill several deputies at the sheriff’s station because of her actions. Five deputies died because she went off the deep end.”
Jackson snarled, “I was contained. Stiles had successfully laid the mountain ash around the building, trapping me inside. They could have rescued me that night. But no, your mother had to put her desire to separate you and your boyfriend over the safety of everyone else.”
Stiles nodded. “I had to break the line so Derek could rescue Scotty. Not that he’s ever thanked Derek for saving his life.”
Allison staggered back, and she asked, “Stiles?”
Stiles chuckled darkly. “Yes. And before you ask, I didn’t run away. Dad sent me to live with my uncle in England. He was terrified that Scott’s actions, or should that be inactions, would get me killed. Scott left me on patrol on my own in the preserve to answer your booty call. I was attacked and ended up going home that night covered from head to toe in blood.”
He turned to Derek. “I’m done. Can we go home? You still need to recuperate.”
Sam took Allison’s arm and led her from the courtroom. He reiterated the warning from the judge. “You won’t spill their secrets, and you won’t take action against the pack, or we will arrest you for the torture of a human. The crimes aren’t forgotten, just on hold to force your compliance.”
Allison agreed, “Fine. Can I go home now?”
They all got comfortable around the living room at the pack house in Washington, as they figured it would be a long story. Derek suggested, “It’s probably easier if you tell us what you know, and we can fill in the blanks.”
Dominique agreed from her seat beside her nephew and spent half an hour explaining the sporadic reports she had received. First from her daughter-in-law, Victoria, who had been acting as the regent while Allison was underage, then the sparse reports from Allison. None of which implicated the Argents in any of the chaos in California.
Stiles snarked, “Well, that’s all a gigantic pile of bullshit. Wow, it makes me wonder if Allison is still following orders. Victoria might have been the named regent, but she and Kate both took orders from Gerard. It’s likely Allison still is to some degree.”
Peter placed a binder on the table and said, “That’s the evidence we had collected on Kate’s actions; before a team of FBI agents that weren’t her victims took over the investigation.” He placed a much larger binder on the table. “This is our evidence of Gerard’s actions over the last twenty years. Unfortunately, he’s vanished off the face of the earth after Allison’s fiancé forced Derek to give him the bite.”
Dominique demanded, “What?”
Chris admitted, “He had cancer, terminal cancer, and the only way he could see to fix it was to take the bite. He had apparently planned to kill the alpha after they bit him, so that he could take their alpha spark. But the local druid had talked McCall into poisoning him with mountain ash so that he would reject the bite.”
Dominique asked, “Did you have a pack bond with him?”
Derek shrugged. “I don’t think so. I would have felt it, I think. We all went through a cleanse with some druids before we left Beacon Hills, and there was no bond to him at the time. It’s possible he found an alpha to kill or somehow survived the bite, but I am not sure. We only know he’s alive because Allison said he frequently calls her to find out if she’s left her beast.”
Dominique sighed. “There is not a lot I can offer there, to be honest. I would, however, like to stay and support my nephew. It’s time I returned to the States. I have already trained up my replacement as head matriarch back in France. She is aware of the issues here in the USA, which is why she is happy to take over early. My assistant is also going to remain to support her; rather than follow me home.” She looked slyly at Chris. “I would also like to meet the man who stole your heart.”
Chris flushed and shook his head. He asked, “Are you sure you want to come home. To be honest, the entire purpose of hunters is being slowly phased out by the law enforcement agencies. There won’t be a lot you can do here.”
She looked confused as she asked, “How so? How come we haven’t heard of this?”
Stiles grinned. “Because the task forces around the world work to keep it a secret, even from those involved in the supernatural. Our mandate is to protect the secrecy of the supernatural; which means keeping feral creatures under control where we can and eliminating them where we can’t. There are currently two major branches of the Talos Task Force. The North American branch is run by the FBI, under Deputy Director Sam Conway; and MI5 runs the European branch, under Lord Clive Paddington. They both monitor the other areas that aren’t explicitly covered, but the other countries around the world seem to self-manage just fine.”
She frowned, and she asked, “Isn’t Lord Paddington the Queen’s Alpha?”
Stiles nodded slowly, and he said, “Not many know that. It’s not a state secret, but…”
Dominique smirked. “The Argents and the Paddingtons used to be close. Back when the Argents used to be werewolves; before the first hunter matriarch went against her pack and killed her own brother for being a beast.”
Chris demanded, “What?”
Dominique nodded. “It is history only known to the head matriarchs. Something they teach us when we are trained to take over. There are some in the hunting circles who would not take the news well. Now, who can explain the task force to me? I want to assist in any way I can, and I think knowing about the task force here in the USA will make my proposal more successful for all of us.”
Peter sat forward. “I’ll do it. I am curious about your history, so how about a bit of quid pro quo?”
Dominique grinned, and she stood and beckoned for Chris to follow them. “Come along, Christopher, you can learn your family history at the same time.”
Eventually, with help from Chris and Peter, she had a proposal that was accepted by the judge. Dominique agreed to move to Beacon Hills and become an adjacent member of the Hale Pack. With support from Chris and the task force, she would work to find the survivors of the fires that Kate had lit, and help them re-establish their packs in the territories they had come from.
She also promised to help keep other hunting families out of the areas that used to be under the control of the Argent hunting dynasty. They removed Allison from her position as the US Argent Matriarch. They forced her to hand over her contact lists of the hunters under her command.
November 6th, 2016
Stiles was excited. They had a regular movie night each Sunday with Tony and Gibbs at their house in Alexandria; it wasn’t actually far from the pack house. It was usually just himself and Derek that went, but occasionally others tagged along, if the selected movie that week was a good one.
This week the movie they’d chosen was an old classic Bond film, ‘From Russia With Love,’ so Jackson and Peter had tagged along as they enjoyed the James Bond films.
As the four wolves pulled up to the house, they noticed Gibbs’ truck was missing, and there was only one sluggish heartbeat in the house. Stiles whispered, “Something’s not right. Jackson, you and Peter go through the back, and we’ll enter through the front.”
The two betas took off stealthily through the neighbor’s yard as Derek and Stiles approached the front door; they were being careful to avoid detection. They waited until they could hear Jackson and Peter approach the back door before they entered through the unlocked front door.
Stiles started to panic when he realized all he could hear was loud wheezing coming from the bedroom. He confirmed with Derek that it was definitely the only heartbeat in the house before he sprinted toward the sound.
“Fuck.” Stiles dropped down next to Tony, who was barely conscious on the floor. He checked over his cousin as he yelled, “Derek, get in here. Peter, find Gibbs!”
Tony wheezed, “‘ spital.”
Derek added, “Check Bethesda and call Brad Pitt.”
Tony shook his head. “‘oo ‘ate.” He tried to get a breath to explain, but he knew that his lungs were toast. He looked at Derek meaningfully and tried to lift his shirt.
Derek softly asked, “The bite?”
Tony nodded resignedly as he saw his cousin step back in horror.
Stiles knew it would take a lot to push his cousin into taking the bite. They had offered him the bite a few times over the years; even after he had contracted the plague from a vengeance filled mother, he had declined. Stiles said, “I’m going to call Uncle Clive; he needs to know. Once you recover, we are going to have to have a long chat.”
Derek reached down and bit into Tony’s side, just above the hip bone. When he pulled back, Jackson was waiting with the first aid kit to dress the wound.
Peter entered the room. “I found Gibbs. He’s at Bethesda, making a ruckus. Brad said he’s trying to sign himself out AMA. I’ve sent the twins with Adam and Dalton to stop him. Brad doesn’t know the whole story, but he said it seems like a bit of a mess. Something about a girl being kidnapped, an old friend of Gibbs’ late daughter.”
He looked down and saw that they had moved Tony to the bed, and he was currently unconscious. The blue tinge was slowly fading from Tony’s lips, which was a good sign that the bite was starting to heal him already. He asked, “How’s he doing?”
Derek said, “I can already feel the pack bond taking hold. You need to talk to Brad and get him signed out for at least a week. Is Brad in the know? This is going to fix Tony’s lungs, and as his doctor of record, Brad will need to know.”
Peter sent off a text to Dalton to ask Gibbs. He figured if anyone knew about Brad, it would be him.
At Bethesda, Brad was in the room with Jethro Gibbs, trying again to talk him out of leaving against his advice. He looked up when four very large men entered the room.
He turned to ask them what was going on when he recognized one of the men. He asked, “Aren’t you on the wrong side of the pond?”
Dalton grinned. “Not so much, Doc. They transferred my team into the FBI. What’s going on with Gibbs? Does he have to stay or what?”
Gibbs growled from the bed, “I need to go check on Tony.”
The twins moved to the bed, and Ethan murmured, “He’s fine now. He wasn’t fine, but Derek gave him the bite, and he’s recovering.”
Gibbs slumped back on the bed. “Shit, was he alone?”
Ethan nodded. “Yep. Peter said he was in the bedroom on the floor. It looked like he had been trying to reach for his cell phone. He was conscious enough to ask for the bite if that’s what you’re worried about.”
Gibbs growled, “McGee and Ziva were supposed to check on him. I ordered them to get him to the hospital if he was unwell. Clearly, they ignored my instructions.”
Brad asked, “What happened to Tony?”
Gibbs sighed. “I had a visit from one of my daughter’s school friends, Maddie Tyler. She was in trouble, and she remembered I was in the military. She was being stalked by a marine and wanted my help in stopping him. Maddie was adamant that no one else know about it. It turned out the stalker was her boyfriend, and she had broken up with him. It apparently impeded his plans. He was waiting for stolen money from Iraq to be delivered to her apartment, disguised as the personal effects of a marine killed in action.”
Adam asked, “How did that result in you and Maddie being brought to Bethesda and Tony nearly dead at your place?”
Gibbs explained, “They kidnapped her right in front of Tony and me. I was able to organize a trade with the money they were trying to get their hands on. It was delivered to her place not long after she was taken. The whole situation came to a head at the docks. While we were trying to escape the kidnappers who were shooting at us, we ended up in the Potomac in my truck. We had to be rescued by Tony, who shot the kidnappers before diving into the water.”
Brad cursed under his breath. “That water is filthy, and there is no way Tony’s lungs would cope if any of that got in.”
Dalton reassured, “He’ll be fine Doc, our alpha is with him now. He did mention his medical records would probably need an update.”
The doctor tried to process the statement, and he eventually asked, “He took the bite? He said he never wanted it. I know they offered him the bite while he was recovering from the plague.”
Dalton shrugged. “All I know is that when they got there, Tony was barely conscious, his lips were blue, and he could barely talk. He was able to lift his shirt and request the bite, so it was given by our alpha.”
Gibbs asked, “Any signs of rejection?”
Dalton smiled. “None, we can already feel him in the pack bond. Derek thinks it will take a few days for him to heal fully because of the damage to his lungs, and he’s going to need to stay with the pack for at least a week so he can train his senses and learn to control his shift. You’re welcome to join us. In fact, it’s encouraged since you’re likely his anchor.”
Gibbs nodded. “Of course, after I rip McGee and Ziva a new one for not checking on him as I ordered.” He looked at the twins with a mischievous look that was unfamiliar on the older man’s face. “Feel like helping? You’ve both worked with Fornell before, right?”
Aiden could see where this was going, and he asked, “You want us to say Fornell stopped in to see you and found him near death?”
Gibbs nodded. “It’ll also help me get the director off my back. She’s trying to con Tony into an undercover mission. I would put money it being her fault that McGee and Ziva ignored a direct order to check on Tony.”
Aiden said, “I’ll call Agent Fornell, see if he’s keen to help us out.”
Brad pulled out his notebook, and he said, “I will write you both off work for two weeks due to your near-drowning. That should give him time to get his shift under control, at least enough to hide from the supposedly observant people you work with. I’ll also lock down both of your medical files as classified under Lord Paddington’s authority.”
Gibbs smiled at him. “Thanks, Brad. We’ll head home once Fornell gets here.”
Brad left the room to sort out the paperwork and discharge notes.
Aiden grinned as he read the reply on his phone. “Fornell wants to take Peter with us in the morning. I get the feeling AD Fornell doesn’t like your underlings much.”
Gibbs shook his head, “No, they haven’t impressed him at all. He said once that he was surprised that they fit in the bullpen, with the egos they have.”
Brad entered the hospital room with a few pieces of paper in his hand. He double-checked he had everything, then he passed them over to Gibbs. “The two medical certificates, a prescription for the drugs Tony would have normally needed to treat pneumonia, just in case you need an excuse to leave. And I think you need to consider reading Ducky in since he’s the one who usually treats you both.”
Gibbs nodded. “I get that. I just need to find a way to read in both Ducky and Palmer where Abby won’t overhear us. Tony and I have discussed it, and we both agree that she can’t find out. Her loyalties are divided, and she would tell McGee and Ziva the first time Tony forgets to acknowledge her in some way.”
Aiden offered, “Do it at the pack house. We can make it clear that she is not to find out. We can see if Dr. Matthews will join us and explain the difference in treating a werewolf.” He checked his phone when he felt it vibrate. “Agent Fornell has arrived at the house. Peter is explaining what happened tonight.”
Gibbs stood, and he said, “Let’s go. Thanks for the help, Brad.”
Fornell was waiting for them in the living room at the pack house. He asked, “What’s the story we’re going with?”
Gibbs shrugged, and Aiden suggested, “You could go with the movie night thing; it’s close enough to the truth. It’s just not often that Fornell joins you all.”
Fornell nodded. “What was the movie?”
Peter said, “A Bond classic, ‘From Russia with Love.’ I believe you mentioned you like Bond films.”
Fornell agreed. “Especially the ones with Connery, he’s a great Bond.”
Dalton said, “Follow me. We have a guest room you can use so you can all head to the NCIS office from here in the morning.”
Tony was up in his room at the pack house with Stiles and Derek, getting used to his new senses while they were on a video call with Clive in the UK.
They explained what happened with Maddie to the bewildered alpha, and how that led to Tony receiving the bite.
Gibbs entered the room, and he waved at the MI5 Deputy Director as he settled beside Tony on the bed. He said, “Fornell is going to escort me to NCIS tomorrow, so I can read the riot act to the dense duo.”
Clive asked, “Dense duo?”
Tony grinned. “Junior Agent Tim McGee, he thinks he’s all that because he has degrees from John Hopkins and MIT; and our Mossad Liaison Officer Ziva David.”
Clive frowned. “Isn’t she the daughter of Eli David? The Director of Mossad?”
Gibbs confirmed, “Yep. Director Jenny Shepard didn’t give us a choice and placed her on the team. This was after Ziva’s half-brother Ari Haswari killed Kate, the junior agent that used to be on the MCRT.”
Clive asked, “Is she even a trained investigator?”
Tony snorted, “No. She’s a trained assassin with limited experience in undercover, mostly as a honeypot. Her ego, however, could fill a stadium.”
In a good impression of the officer, Gibbs mimicked, “I could kill you with this paperclip.”
Tony snarked, “As if I would ever let her get that close without putting her on the ground.”
Clive asked, “Do you want me to put feelers out to find out why she’s there and on an investigative team rather than the international desk?”
Tony shook his head. “Not yet. The director is up to something, she’s been trying to pull me into an undercover mission, and I have been resisting. Something is not right with it. I would rather figure out what she’s up to first.”
Stiles piped up from where he and Derek had been chatting quietly, “We’ll keep an eye on him, Uncle Clive.”
They exchanged brief small talk about the task force, now that the MI5 members were now full FBI liaison agents, now that they had finished their liaison training. Despite the minor hiccup in the form of Kate Argent.
Adam had them all up reasonably early. Tony had agreed to stay with the pack to get his senses under control. The twins had offered to help after they returned from their escort duties. Most of his daytime work would be working with his wolf using the techniques that Stiles had formulated. He’d written a book to explain things to new pack members, especially those unused to the gifts that came from being in the Hale Pack like the full-shift. He also explained how to communicate with the inner wolf, which was a tremendous help in gaining control quickly.
Gibbs picked up the paperwork and prescription and walked out with the twins, Peter, and Fornell. As Tony waved them off, he called out, “Good luck with the dense duo.”
As they were getting in the cars, Gibbs mentioned, “We need to get Ducky and Jimmy to the pack house without Abby finding out.”
Peter offered, “If he’s in the office, I can get Balboa to take me down to see them. I’ve worked with him on a few joint cases now.”
When they got out of the elevator at NCIS, Aiden and Ethan both blinked as if trying to get rid of sunspots. Aiden snarked, “I would file this under ‘unsafe working environments’ if we had to work like this, Agent Fornell.”
Tobias snickered, making no effort to hide his humor from their comments. “Why do you think I swear so much when we have a case here. It’s blinding. Right, Gibbs, hand over your paperwork to Director Sheppard and grab your bags, then we can drop you off where you’re supposed to be.”
Jenny Shepard, the director of NCIS, was already descending the stairs, and she asked imperiously, “What’s going on?”
Peter was already talking to Balboa in the next cubicle, disclosing that he needed to talk to Ducky privately. They used the distraction of the director to enter the stairwell without being seen.
They were both thankful that Abby was in the bullpen chatting with Agent McGee, so she wouldn’t see them enter autopsy.
Gibbs handed over the two medical certificates. Once she had finished reading through them, he said, “They have signed both myself and DiNozzo out for two weeks off, due to the fact we both nearly drowned yesterday. While I ended up in the hospital, DiNozzo almost died at home.”
McGee scoffed. “The big baby is just milking it, like normal.”
Fornell narrowed his eyes. “Really? That’s why when I turned up for movie night, I found him nearly dead on the floor, blue lips and gasping for breath? It certainly shocked Gibbs when I finally found him at Bethesda last night to let him know. He said he sent you two knuckleheads to check on him.”
Ziva sneered. “He’s just weak, like a dog.”
McGee corrected, “I think you mean kitten, Ziva.”
Gibbs yelled, “ENOUGH! I sent you to check on him, and you both completely disregarded my orders. He almost died! It will be up to him if he returns to NCIS, after what you both put him through, god knows he gets enough offers from other agencies.”
Abby hadn’t noticed her silver fox entering, but she growled about Tony daring to leave their family. “He won’t leave his family, Gibbs, you know that. Besides, those agency offers are just him boasting.”
Fornell smirked. “I’d take him in a heartbeat, and he knows it. He has standing offers from most of the alphabet agencies, and several divisions within the FBI have made offers.” He saw Balboa give him a nod as he sat back down at his desk, so he said, “We should go. You need to pick up that prescription for DiNotezo.”
Director Shepard spoke up. “Excuse me, who are you to order my team around, Agent Fornell?”
Tobias gave her a flat look. “Oh, I’m sorry, are you displeased that I did the job Gibbs assigned his underlings to do after they ignored his orders? I would have thought you’d be happy that I was able to save the life of an exceptional agent?”
Ziva scoffed from her place behind Director Shepard. “He is hardly exceptional. I have more training in my little finger, thanks to Mossad.”
Fornell let the Mossad agent have her delusions as he shook his head.
Gibbs gathered his and Tony’s backpacks from their desks, and he passed them to Ethan when the younger agent reached for them. He then gestured to the paperwork the director was now holding. “We have two weeks off to recover from our near-death experiences as decided by Dr. Pitt. I’ll contact you if he decides either of us are not ready when the two weeks are up. Do not call, do not visit. We would both like to recover in peace.”
Jenny asked, “What are they supposed to do while you’re both off sick?”
Gibbs gave her a strange look and said, “You’re the director, isn’t that up to you?” When she didn’t answer, he suggested, “I’m sure they can handle doing cold cases under Balboa’s supervision quite easily.”
They finally entered the lift, leaving behind a pissed off looking director and two underlings who looked smug. As they descended, Peter murmured, “Drs. Mallard and Palmer are already on their way to the house. They had just finished the autopsy of the two kidnappers and were off rotation. I have to admit, Dr. Mallard seems unusually observant.”
Gibbs chuckled. “Yes, and he’s seen a lot in his long life. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has you all figured out within five minutes of arriving at the house.”
November 7th, 2016
Ducky and Jimmy were waiting outside the pack house when the group arrived. Gibbs asked, “Why didn’t you knock on the door?”
The older doctor said, “We knew you wouldn’t be far behind us, dear boy. Now lead us to Tony. I want to see he’s ok with my own two eyes.”
Jimmy chuckled, “He’s been champing at the bit.” He glanced nervously at the group, and he asked, “Just out of curiosity, where are we?”
Peter grinned wolfishly, and he said, “This would be my family’s townhouse.” As they walked inside, Peter introduced himself. “I’m Peter Hale, and I live here with my extended family. Behind me are Aiden and Ethan Steiner, and you already know Tobias Fornell. He doesn’t actually live here. I think he’s just here for the entertainment value.”
They entered the living room where the rest of the pack were hanging out. Sam and Tom had given them a few days off to help Tony get settled.
Peter pointed around the room as he introduced the rest of the pack. Ducky ignored the introductions as soon as he saw Tony.
He sat down on the convenient ottoman in front of the newly turned werewolf, and he asked, “What happened?”
Stiles stood from where he had been talking quietly with his cousin, and he let Gibbs take his place. Tony couldn’t help the flash of his new blue wolf eyes when he saw his mate.
Ducky smiled. “Finally. I thought Clive would never convince you.”
Tony shook his head sadly. “He didn’t, Ducky. I was adamant I didn’t want to be Heir Paddington. You know this. My dive into the Potomac led to what looks like a case of sudden onset pneumonia. When Stiles and Derek arrived for movie night, they found me on the floor in our bedroom trying to reach for my phone.”
Ducky blinked as he recalled the name. “Hale?” He looked around the room for Peter. “Did you say your name was Peter Hale?”
Peter nodded. “I did.” He pointed at two other Hales in the room. “These are my niece and nephew, Cora and Derek. Derek is the current Hale Alpha.”
Ducky smiled. “I knew Sebastian Hale. I met him on my travels around Europe. He was traveling before taking on the mantle of alpha of his pack in California. Was he related?”
Peter nodded. “My father, I think. I recall stories of his backpacking adventures around Europe, before he took over from my grandmother as alpha.”
Jimmy murmured to Tony, “It’s a small world when you know Dr. Mallard.”
Tony agreed wholeheartedly. “It’s handy. Ducky and his contacts have got us out of many sticky situations. Although he still won’t tell us how he knows Uncle Clive.”
Stiles added, “All I know is that Dr. Mallard was in the know before he met Uncle Clive, and I think it was because of Grandpa Paddington that he was read into the supernatural.”
Jimmy looked between the two men, and he noticed the similarities. He asked, “Cousins?”
Tony nodded. “Our mothers were sisters. This is my cousin, Stiles Paddington. He grew up in Beacon Hills, California. He moved to live with our Uncle Clive after a werewolf attack when he was sixteen. He is the alpha mate of his pack.”
Jimmy shook Stiles’ hand, and the younger man said, “Thanks for looking after Tony while Gibbs was away getting treatment for his head injury.” He grinned wolfishly as he stated, “The terrible trio were lucky I was still in England at the time, or I would have let rip on their bullshit behavior. I’m still pissed that the NCIS director let them get away with it.”
Tony shrugged. “I think it’s all part of a long game. That’s why I am letting it play out. I want to know her end game before I act.” He saw Stiles was grinning, and he asked, “What’s going on?”
Stiles murmured, “Ducky is in the kitchen regaling Peter, Derek, and Cora with stories from his adventures with Sebastian Hale, and they are loving it.” He wondered if Tony could hear them, so he said, “If you focus your hearing, you should be able to zero in on the conversation. Just go slow like I taught you.”
After a few minutes, they could see Tony was wincing, and Stiles reminded him. “Ask your wolf if you need help.”
Tony started to smile as his wolf helped him narrow the focus of his hearing. “Wicked, this will come in handy on investigations.”
Stiles agreed. “It really does.”
He saw the group walk back into the living room and announced, “Right, I’m going to go for a run so you guys can chat with Ducky. You need to figure out how he and Jimmy can help you stay hidden at work.”
With that, he shifted in front of the pair and walked over to Derek, and he barked to let him know he wanted his mate to join him.
Ducky looked at the enormous wolf and asked, “What? Is that..?”
Peter explained, “The Hale Pack is gifted with the full wolf form. For years it was just the alpha that would learn how to shift. But then Stiles came along with his wonderful limitless brain, and he taught us how to talk to our wolves. Now we can all do the full-shift.”
Derek shifted and joined his mate as they left through the wolf-sized door at the back of the house. They had a fair bit of land they could run around in that was heavily warded to keep them all safe. Cora, Jackson, Kira, Aiden, and Dalton joined them for the run. Danny was up in his office working on a case, with Ethan keeping him company and acting as a sounding board.
Ducky watched them all leave, and he asked Peter, “Where do their clothes go? I would have expected them to be in ripped puddles on the floor given the size disparities.”
Peter asked, “Tony?”
“I trust him,” Tony confirmed from where he was now standing beside the group. “While he is an expert storyteller, it’s never people’s secrets. If it helps, he is one of the few people Uncle Clive trusts enough to let him close if he’s injured.”
Gibbs agreed. “I’d trust them both, and you always have the vow if you need it?”
Peter rolled up his sleeve, and he explained, “Stiles is a magic user that’s known as a spark.”
Ducky sat up. “I remember hearing about Sparks. They are magic users only limited by their imagination?”
Peter nodded. “And science fiction, fantasy novels, comics, and movies fuel Stiles imagination.” He pointed at a tattoo on his wrist and said, “He created magical tattoos that work as runic wards, but some also function as pocket dimensions.”
Ducky nodded. “I recognize a few of the runes on your arms, dear boy, protection, stealth, and is that the kanji for self?”
Peter nodded. “Possession prevention. It’s one that was recommended by one of our pack mates who is a void kitsune. He’s been around a long time, and when he found out about Stiles’ ability to do magical tattoos, he suggested a few runes that would protect us from more than the obvious.”
The wolf concentrated, and his service weapon, a Glock 19, was suddenly in his hand. “We all use the storage tattoos on our wrists, so we always have a few weapons on us, well, on top of our claws and teeth.”
Ducky reached out and asked, “May I touch?”
Peter nodded, and as Ducky felt the tattoos and he said, “They don’t feel like a normal tattoo. Often, there is a slight difference in how the skin feels, especially on shifters, but there is no difference with these. Did you have to burn the skin to allow the tattoo to stay?”
Jimmy squeaked as he asked, “What?”
Peter grinned. “Werewolves have evolved healing, so if we get a standard tattoo, our bodies will heal it over completely within an hour or so. For a regular tattoo to stay, we have to use a blowtorch to set the tattoo. It’s entirely unpleasant, and it’s why tattoos on werewolves feel different from a tattoo on a standard human. These tattoos, however, are done entirely by magic. No tattoo gun is needed. As long as Stiles has the art, and he can see the image that needs to be tattooed, and more importantly, he can visualize how it will form on the body, he can do it.”
Adam approached the two doctors, and he took off his shirt so they could see all the artwork he’s had Stiles do over the years. “If you feel down my arms, you can feel the difference between the ones I got done the standard werewolf way, and the ones Stiles has done for me.”
Jimmy commented as he felt the difference in the various tattoos. “There seems to be more vibrancy in the ones Stiles did as well.”
Adam agreed. “The larger pieces tire him out a bit, so I have tried to keep it to smaller pieces when I get the urge for more art. It’s great though, most of these are my own artwork. Usually, when you get a tattooist to do them, there is always a touch of their own interpretation in the tattoo. With Stiles, there is no interpretation, no alterations, just the art I hand over.”
He saw the look Jimmy was giving the art, and he said, “It works on humans too, you just have to ask.”
Adam turned to Peter. “I’m going to make sure Danny and Ethan are taking breaks to eat. I think Danny’s following a lead, but he’s been glued to his computer for a few hours now.”
Peter nodded. “Thanks. I’m going to help these guys brainstorm how to keep Tony’s secret at work. Especially from the observant Miss Sciuto.”
Tony slumped back into his partner. “Yeah, she’s going to be an issue.”
Gibbs agreed. “The entire time I was away getting treatment for my head injury, she was helping the dense duo bring Tony down. Insubordination was the least of it from what Balboa was saying.”
Tony griped. “It’s not insubordination if the director endorses it. They were barely doing 30 hours a week, they never showed up on time, and nearly always left early. Tim was supposed to do the SFA paperwork, but he refused, saying he wouldn’t do my work for me. I wrote them up a few times for it, but Shepard threw the reports out and disregarded not just my complaints but the reports from other team leaders in the building.”
The group got to planning, and they decided on a few runes that would help keep him from being discovered by other creatures, as well as one that would assist him in controlling his shift. This way, he wouldn’t accidentally wolf out when the trio got on his last nerve. There was also a bit of discussion about the undercover mission the director seemed determined to assign to Tony.
Best as the five men could figure, the mission didn’t seem to be sanctioned or official. The only information Tony had been given was that she wanted him to seduce a doctor at a local hospital. There had been no mention of getting a TAD to cover his SFA work, nor had he been advised of who would be his backup team for the operation; something that was standard operating procedure for any undercover operation.
Tony had stated he was reluctant to accept because he was already in a long-term relationship and didn’t want to jeopardize it. But the director didn’t seem to care, since as far as she was concerned, it was just an undercover mission.
She was unaware that Tony and Gibbs had been in a relationship for several years. It didn’t impact their work, so they hadn’t declared it. They had looked into it, and they found that it wasn’t actually against the agency’s fraternization regulations.
Peter said, “You’re going to have to tip her hand. If it’s unsanctioned, that will give us grounds to investigate. I know Fornell will help; he seriously doesn’t like her.”
Gibbs laughed. “No, he really doesn’t. They clashed a lot when she was an agent. She hates cooperating with other agencies more than I do.”
Ducky said, “Now that we have that out of the way, we need to have a discussion on what to do when you get injured on the job. I recall Sebastian could hold back his healing when necessary. Is that something you can learn?”
Peter nodded. “It’s something we’ll be teaching him on top of how to hold back his shift while injured. Dr. Pitt is in the know, so if he gets shipped to the hospital, it has to be Bethesda, and his records will need to be updated to reflect that. Dr. Pitt and his staff are aware of how to treat shifters, and they are experts in how to disguise wounds that healed too fast.”
Jimmy asked, “You have to learn how to control the shift while injured? That sounds a bit brutal.”
Peter nodded. “One thing that can make us lose control is extreme pain. If we are shifted, it can force us to shift back and vice versa. It’s handy having people like yourself and Dr. Mallard in the know, for those occasions where Tony may be unconscious and unable to hold back his healing.”
The other wolves returned after a few hours of running, and Kira came in and curled up on Jackson in her fox form once he’d settled on the sofa. Ducky asked, “Is that the kitsune you mentioned earlier?”
Peter shook his head. “No, Kira is young hence only having four tails; she’s a thunder kitsune. Asora is a 1000-year-old void kitsune, and he’s a nine-tailed fox. The tails look fantastic when he’s in his full-shift form, and he’s melanistic in color. We also have Kira’s mother in the pack, who is also a nine-tailed fox; Noshiko is a celestial kitsune and is just over 900 years old.”
Tony added, “I know that look Ducky! Yes, it is unusual to see kitsunes in a wolf pack, but it works for the Hale Pack. Asora and Noshiko, and her human husband Ken, are part of the pack that has remained to help protect Beacon Hills. This branch of the pack will be moving back in just under a year, I think.”
Stiles nodded with a look of pure mischief on his face. “Yep, I can’t wait; it’s going to be a chaotic return.”
Ducky said, “I would love to meet Asora and Noshiko. The stories they could tell must be fantastic.”
He stood and said, “Right, Mr. Palmer, we should return to the office. If Madam Director asks, I’ll let her know I’ve checked you both over, and I fully agree with the diagnosis of two weeks of medical time off to recover. I would recommend staying here instead of your own house, since you know the other three will likely want to check on you themselves.”
Jimmy agreed. “We’ll stop in every few days to see how you’re going. Let us know if you need anything, ok?”
Tony’s training went pretty well, especially with Gibbs there every step of the way for support. There were also a lot of discussions between Stiles and Tony over the Paddington Earldom. Stiles knew it wasn’t an option for him because of Derek’s position as the Hale Alpha. He knew his place was by his alpha’s side in Beacon Hills, protecting the territory and the Nemeton.
Tony shrugged. “I know it’s easier for me to take up the Barony and become the heir, but I’m not ready to leave NCIS.”
Stiles smirked. “So don’t. Uncle Clive is going to be around for a while. All he expects is that eventually, one of us will move to the UK to train under him. The only real downside is you’ll have to join the Paddington Pack officially, and you’ll lose the gift of the full-shift. But I think it will be easier for you and Gibbs to move to MI5 together. Since the only thing really keeping you both here seems to be NCIS.”
Gibbs shook his head. “Honestly, that’s become more of a chore lately. But I’m an American citizen. Don’t you have to be a UK citizen to work for MI5 and MI6? So what would I do?”
Stiles laughed. “I’m an American citizen as well. So is Jackson, but we are both MI5 agents. Uncle Clive’s division has a bit more leeway with the origins of its agents. I am fairly certain he would have plenty for someone with your vast experience to do.”
Tony agreed. “Uncle Clive already knows you’re part of the package, and he already has plans.”
Stiles cheered as he bounced around the room. “Yes! Now I can just be Stiles instead of Baron Paddington.”
Derek laughed at his mate’s antics. “Sorry, the formal side of the being the Paddington Heir drove Stiles crazy. He loves his uncle but not the pageantry that came with the title.”
Gibbs whispered, “There is one positive, Senior won’t bother you if you’re with Clive. Remember that time you mentioned visiting your Uncle Clive.”
Tony nodded with a feral grin. “He paled so fast I thought he was going to faint. That is a huge positive. Maybe we can resign once we figure out what’s going on at work. The only thing keeping me at NCIS is you, and if you’re willing to move with me to London, then we could both work for MI5 on the Talos Task Force.”
Tony reached out when Stiles, who was still bouncing around like a lunatic, bounced past him, and he yanked him down to sit on the sofa beside him. “Can you keep the title until we move? No one at work besides Gibbs, Ducky, and Jimmy knows about my relationship to the Paddington Lord, or even you. It’s all locked down above top-secret by SECNAV. Not even the director knows. I would rather keep it that way as long as possible.”
Stiles nodded. “Sure, you know Uncle Clive is already looking into your director, though, right? He is doing it quietly, but he’s asked a few pointed questions recently on our daily calls.”
Tony smiled. “Are you still doing those?”
Stiles nodded. “Yep, I call Uncle Clive after I get home from the office most days and catch him just before he goes to bed. Dad and I work around his shifts, but I usually call just before I go to bed and catch him and Chris just as they’re getting home or during dinner on Dad’s night shifts. He and Chris usually catch me up on everything that’s going on at home. The calls help with the separation of the pack bonds.”