Reading Time: 162 Minutes
Title: Home Is Where the Heart Is
Series: We Are All Works In Progress 1
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Genre: Drama, Paranormal/Supernatural, Shifters, Slash
Relationship(s): Stiles Stilinski/OMC
Content Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Violence – Graphic, Canon Hunter Racism, Canon Hunter Hate Crimes, Discussion-Murder, Discussion-Other Trigger Topics, Discussion-Rape, Discussion-Torture, Violence-Canon-Level, Violence-Graphic, Explicit Sex
Author Notes: A wonderful thank you to my alpha readers VMures and Starkindler and to my beta ScarlsLikeVelvet, you all made my story better than it was! And a HUGE shoutout to my artist Twigen! Twigen made me such wonderful art. I love it so very much.
Beta: Alpha: VMures & Starkindler Beta: ScarsLikeVelvet
Word Count: 60,140
Summary: Stiles decides to leave home so that he can pull himself out of something that was no longer serving him. He had no pack with Scott or with Derek and while he loved his father, staying was hurting him.
Stiles rolled over and looked at the wall that he was facing. It looked like it was night, but he wasn’t sure. The room was full of blackout curtains that were pulled tight. He stretched and just laid there. He was gone from Beacon Hills. He was safe, and he was happy at least a little bit. He was happy to not be in Beacon Hills for at least a little while. He had no clue if New York would be better for him mentally, but it had to be. He worried about his father, but he trusted that Peter would at least look out for him. He had no clue if Peter was even going to tell anyone that he had left. He didn’t care either direction, but he hoped that Peter would make sure they didn’t need to worry about him. If they ever figured out that he was gone. He wasn’t sure about that really, but then again, he was sure it was going to be impossible for them to figure out that he was gone, given how much they all didn’t care about him over the last several months.
A knock on his door had Stiles rolling over. He waited for whoever it was to come in and frowned when they didn’t. “Hello? You can come in.”
The door opened, and it was Kaïs. Stiles looked at him as he stood there. He was just looking at Stiles with a fond look on his face.
“Did you carry me up here and put me to bed?” Stiles asked. He lifted the covers to see that he was just in his boxers, and he really hoped it was Kaïs who had stripped him down. He knew that his aunt was his aunt, and she had taken care of three other kids, but it was just strange since he didn’t know her as well as one would an aunt.
“I did. Celeste was too tired, and I offered it. I got to sleep while she dealt with a case. Breakfast is ready.”
“I know that the first meal after waking up is supposed to be breakfast, but dude, call it dinner.”
“Dude, you slept almost an entire day. It’s 0600.”
Stiles reached over for his phone and found that it was plugged into a charger that was not his. It was purple, a nice shade of purple, but Stiles just usually used the standard cord that came with it. He saw that it was indeed Tuesday, not Monday.
“Is dad worried?” Stiles asked as he scrolled through the random messages that he had. There were a lot of app notifications that he just dismissed and a few emails, mostly junk. A text from his father replying that he was happy Stiles had landed safe and that he was headed back to Beacon Hills after waking up. It was three in the morning there, so Stiles wasn’t going to reply, but he would later.
“No, Celeste called him yesterday afternoon, and he’s simply happy you are sleeping. He said you’ve not been sleeping well over the last few months and figured that you crashing was a good thing. Now, go get a shower. Your suitcase is there.” Kaïs pointed out where it was, and Stiles noticed that he had a bathroom.
“Where am I?”
“This is mine and Celeste’s wing of the house, but you are a floor below us. There is a library full of fiction and history books. Robbie, Adam, and Helena’s rooms are on the floor below. This whole area of this wing will be yours outside of the library, but then it’s the family library. Staff who live here have their own, filled with books they have bought.”
“Where’s my stuff that Adam brought?”
“It’s in the library. There is a desk in there for you already. Ask someone to move it where you want it. It should have enough space for your laptop. We have a printer that we can move in as soon as you know where you want it. The library overlooks a nice garden, so you might like the windows.”
“Wait, gardens, and shit? I missed the drive up here!” Stiles stumbled out of bed and nearly fell as he made his way to the window to look outside. The yard that he could see was massive. There was a hedge that kind of made like a barrier. “Is there a hidden garden?”
“Yes, and it’s where my first wife fell and gave birth to a son and then died,” Kaïs said.
Stiles turned around and stared at Kaïs, his face was impassive, but there was something in his eyes.
“Dude, you and I are going to get along swimmingly,” Stiles said. He had only talked to Kaïs a few times, and the stern man was very, very stoic looking.
“That’s what Celeste said.” Kaïs’ tone was very monotone, but he was smiling as he said it.
“So when am I getting the official tour?” Stiles asked.
“There is no official tour for you. You are a sneaky assed teenager who can’t stay out of anything. You get to get lost on your own after breakfast. Shower up and get your ass down to the kitchen. I’m sure you can follow the smell.” Kaïs turned and left the room, leaving Stiles laughing a little.
The shower didn’t take much time, and then Stiles was trying to find his way around. He could tell by the windows where the center of the house was. Or the center of the mansion. Given the size of his wing floor, Stiles was sure they were in mansion territory. After breakfast, he vowed to go outside, as long as it wasn’t raining, and explore out there. He could do other things inside at a later point in time.
There was a set of spiral metal stairs that went up and down. Stiles looked up to see that it went all the way up and all the way down. It was fucking epic. There was an elevator on the far side of the area, and it was kind of awesome. Stiles pulled out his phone and took a picture looking down the stairs. He had so much that he wanted to text his father.
Stiles was halfway down the stairs when a text came through. He stopped and knew that the number was Beacon Hills, but it wasn’t programmed in his phone, so he wasn’t sure who it was. Stiles sat down on the stairs and opened up the text. It was an image of his father asleep in bed. For a few seconds, Stiles thought that it was some kind of threat until he saw the words after the image.
Your father is asleep in bed and sleeping better than he has. You are safe, and that’s all he cares about. Please, stay safe, Stiles, and I’ll protect him.
It had to be Peter. Stiles programmed it as PH on his phone. He didn’t want to call him Zombiewolf like he had been taking to calling him. He tapped on the icon to go back, and he started to type.
Thank you. I hate leaving him, but I couldn’t stay.
You don’t have to give reasons to me. I understand fully. Since I don’t have an apartment as of yet, he’s offered up the guest room. Do you have any objections?
No. Stiles thought about it after he sent it, and he didn’t. The Peter who had come back to life was better than the one they had killed. It was all a hell of a lot better. The house would be safe, and his father as well.
There was nothing else sent, so Stiles stood up and saw Celeste at the bottom of the stairs.
“Who is awake at three in the morning to text? Well, I guess it’s almost four.”
“Just someone who is staying with dad right now. He’s a little homeless, so dad offered. I don’t think that dad wants to be alone.”
“Does he have the means to have a place?”
“Sort of, but he’s just out of a coma, and before the coma, his family was alive, and now they aren’t. So I think mentally, he’ll do better with dad than alone in an apartment with no one around.”
“You and your father and your love of helping people.”
Stiles stuck his tongue out at Celeste. It should be strange to be so friendly around her when this was the most time that he had ever spent with her before. Stiles wondered if this was what being a family was really like. Stiles’ mom had always said her issues with her sister were nothing that should affect Stiles and his love of his aunt. That she was a good person, the greatest person in the world, but they had differences.
“Hey, I’m hungry; lead me to food,” Stiles said as he stood up and headed down the stairs. He followed behind Celeste as she led him down a hall and into the largest kitchen that Stiles had ever been inside. It looked like one of the ones that he would see on TV for Hell’s Kitchen. He looked through a door at the other end to see a dining room, but Adam, Kaïs, and a few others that Stiles didn’t know were eating around an island in the middle of the room. It was kind of laid-out buffet style. A set of three was cooking at the stove, but Stiles was sure that what he was smelling was lunch.
“So, meals here are informal. You are expected to rinse your items and stick them into the dishwasher yourself. You can come down at any point in time and cook for yourself, but someone else will cook if it’s around the standard meal times.”
“Or I’m cooking on the stove and don’t want your ass in my way,” one of the males at the stove said.
“Or if you are in Kyle’s way. Kyle Dotson, this is my nephew Stiles Stilinski. Stiles, that is Kyle. He will probably end up cooking for you most of the time just because he trusts few around his food items.”
“Hey, I’m a good cook!” Stiles said. He glared at Kyle, who wasn’t even looking at him.
“We will introduce you to everyone as they come in and around. We have the staff wings full at the moment, so there will be a lot of people. Don’t worry if you don’t remember their names,” Kaïs said.
Stiles nodded his head. He looked at the two other people that were Kyle. One was male, and one was female.
“With Kyle is Daphne and Don.”
Stiles raised his eyebrows at that.
“I wish I could say that he didn’t hire Don just because his name started with D, but I can’t,” Celeste said.
Stiles took back all of the thoughts that he had about Kyle and his kitchen. He was his kind of person.
“Grab a plate and shove in,” Adam said as he literally shoved the person next to him. The girl got up and moved down a spot, leaving Stiles a place to sit. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to sit there with the one girl being moved.
“It’s fine, Stiles. Everyone kind of drops where they are, and since you know Adam, by him is the best spot for you,” Kaïs said.
Stiles nodded his head and looked at the pile of plates on the island closer to the kitchen area. He grabbed one and a bowl and settled in beside Adam. Everyone handed him stuff from around the island so that he could get what he wanted.
The sound of conversation ebbed and flowed around him, and he just let himself learn a little about each person. He looked at those who were talking, and he figured out one thing. His aunt and uncle hired fucking beautiful people.
“Are there any other people under eighteen living here?” Stiles asked. He was getting ever closer to eighteen, but it would be nice to not be the only non-adult in the place.
“Not at the moment. The Prides were the only ones who have lived here with kids. They have a house about a quarter of a mile away, and they come over a lot, so their two teenagers will be around a good bit,” Celeste answered.
“I see.” There was a tenseness of everything at the moment, and Stiles wondered what he had asked that was so emotional. He shrugged mentally and turned back to his food. The people who lived in the house ate a lot of food, and it wasn’t that strange to Stiles. He had seen the deputies put away a lot of food.
Slowly the others trickled out of the room until there were just the three who were cooking and then Celeste, Kaïs, and Adam.
“So rules,” Celeste said as she settled in with a coffee cup across from Stiles, where he was finishing off the food on his plate.
“Shoot,” Stiles said.
“Curfew is ten on weekdays and midnight on weekends. If a bus or subway is late, text. We all have been caught up by them, but we will check if it happens a little too much. If you cannot get an answer from the two of us, Adam is your go-to.”
Stiles nodded his head and looked at Adam.
“You’ll get a sheet with numbers later. I want them all in your phone.”
“There is every single chance that someone will see me as a weak spot; I know how that goes. I have all of the numbers for the deputies back home on my phone. Though, I am not sure that dad actually knew that.”
“He did. He said you would go about other ways of getting it, and it was better to be upfront. There are no limits on where you can and can’t go inside of New York City. I mean, don’t make them call the cops for you trying to get into a strip bar.”
Stiles laughed, but the look on Kaïs’ face said that she wasn’t joking.
“Dude, I left my fake ID behind,” Stiles said.
“Robbie was returned home four times, trying to get into strip clubs.”
“I would much rather do that kind of stuff at home. Or at least I think so. I’ve not even had a kiss yet, not one that I count, really. Sex is like this perfect little dream in my head, but I haven’t even made it to first base with anyone yet.”
“Make a note to keep him away from the rowdier staff,” Celeste said.
Adam laughed and pulled Stiles close to him. He kept his arm around his shoulder and rubbed his hand up and down. Stiles took a little bit of comfort for what it was.
“The other side of the house is off-limits. It’s for my staff that lives here. It’s their home.”
Stiles nodded his head. He knew boundaries, and he would keep to that. Those people could kill him.
“The first level of the basement is the training facility. I will give you a card that will get you access. If it doesn’t work, that means that some class you cannot be in is going on. Everyone here teaches each other. There is also a gun range down there.”
“Dad taught me all about gun safety, and I can fire a sidearm if needed.”
“Yes, and Adam, Kaïs, or I will be making sure that you are kept trained on it.”
Stiles nodded his head. He looked around. “So, the ‘family’ wing is where I need to stay outside of the basement?” Stiles asked.
“Yes. There is a smaller exercise room in our wing, on the floor below. Simple machines, but I am sure enough for you.”
“Several, Adam can show you at some point over the next few days,” Kaïs said.
“Cool. I like running outside more than running on a machine.”
“You are not alone.” Celeste took a sip of her coffee and smiled at Stiles. “Allowance will be higher than you are probably used to, but we have staff that keeps things clean here. Your rooms are your rooms, though you will keep them clean outside of vacuuming and light dusting. Your laundry will be picked up every Friday morning and washed over the weekend and returned to you. There are different colored bags. There is a sheet in your bathroom with the list.”
“Yeah, I remember seeing that. I hate laundry anyway. I tend to let it all go until I have no underwear left and then wash it all in too big of a load.”
“You and Robbie were the same. When we moved here, we chose to go the route of having staff with most of that. We chose to spend more time together as a family and less time cleaning. Your schoolwork will be your main job. Start to mess up on that, and the Allowance will go down.”
“Sure thing.” Stiles kind of liked that. His Allowance from his father was because he had the lion’s share of household duties, and it would be nice to not have to do them. His room was gonna be a little chaotic as he got used to having space, but he liked that someone wasn’t going to be straightening up his things.”
“Jennifer is a member of the cleaning staff that takes care of our wing. You’ll meet her at some point. I know that you have your Jeep, and it will be here at some point but give the keys to Kaïs at some point so he can make a few spares for the garage. Your Jeep will be added to the maintenance schedule.”
Stiles nodded his head, and the words fully penetrated his mind. He stopped and looked down at his last bite of fruit. He grabbed it and chewed on it slowly.
“What?” Celeste asked.
“Well, see…my Jeep is…well, it’s mom’s Jeep, and while dad and I have money, we aren’t…Roscoe needs a lot of work. Like it’s held together with duct tape and love at this point.”
“So, it needs an overhaul?” Kaïs asked.
“It needs a lot of everything. I mean, the exterior is rather good. I try my hardest to take care of her, but we aren’t mechanics.”
“So, it needs a lot of love?” Celeste asked.
“Yeah. Don’t worry about it.” Stiles waved like it didn’t matter. He had seen his aunt’s SUV, and he figured that every car here was like that. He could take his time and learn each part that he needed to replace. It would be a long project, but he had two years here before he went to college. He could do it. It would be his project to keep him from doing something stupid.
“Talk to Assisi,” Celeste said.
“What?” Stiles asked.
“Assisi Academy. It’s where Robbie, Adam, and Helena went. They have an auto body shop there and do year-long projects that are students taking cars and rebuilding them from the ground up.”
“Wait, the school that looked like their shit doesn’t stink online?” Stiles asked.
Kaïs laughed, and Adam shook Stiles. Stiles looked up at him, and he had a fond look on his face.
“They are a very private school, so there is not a lot online. I have it marked on the tour we will do of the schools that you like and the ones that I like. You emailed me that you want to go into criminal justice as of right now. Assisi has a good program for that.”
“Really?” Stiles asked. He thought about the stuffy-as-hell-looking school and thought that maybe it wouldn’t be as bad to go to as he thought, considering it was a family tradition. His aunt was going to pay for it, and while there was still a part of Stiles that wasn’t sure about that, he didn’t really care all that much. His high school education wasn’t worth going into debt for when he was going into debt for college. The family took care of family, and Celeste has offered to pay for his education since he didn’t like the local school he would be going to.
“Yes. So the rest of the rules are fairly low key, don’t bring anyone home until I get the chance to figure out who they are.”
“Yeah, dad said that you were pretty tight on security, but given how many people you have living here, I can understand it. I don’t make friends easily anymore, so I doubt that it will happen. I have three friends from Beacon Hills who are in college here, though.”
“Yes, your father gave me their names. They are fine for your wing of the house. I found the closest hockey rink that I think you’ll like. I left a file of stuff on your desk in the library. I would say that don’t be a smart ass is something that I want you to be, but you are your mother’s son and a Gajos by blood. Go and have a look around outside or inside. Kyle will have lunch at the table at noon. Don’t bother him when he’s cooking, and you’ll get along fine with him.”
Stiles nodded and picked up his two plates before heading to a sink and a dishwasher. It looked like the sink was used just for that. The kitchen was where he really wanted to look around, but not when Kyle was in there. He went out the back door of the kitchen but stopped when someone whistled sharply. Stiles looked back, and Kaïs threw something at him. He caught it. It was a key fob of some kind.
“That will get you anywhere on the grounds we’ve deemed you are allowed to go. Including the front door and the gates in and out.”
“Thanks.” Stiles waved his hand with the key and then shut the door behind him. He looked back to see that Kaïs, Celeste, and Adam talked softly but looked like it was a serious discussion. Stiles wondered what it was about, but he wasn’t going to go back inside. He looked around the yard area he was in and wondered if it was a yard or a lawn. He turned around and looked at the house, and he felt his jaw drop.
Stiles looked at the house and realized that it was indeed a mansion. It had to be in a suburb of New York City or something. It was fucking strange to think that he wasn’t that far from central New York City, really given how many trees were around the house.
It was very much a mansion. It was a huge, damned mansion, and he was living in it. Like with other things, Stiles had the urge to call Scott and tell him where he was and what he saw. He stopped, though, and decided to just take it all in. The house was massive, and Stiles didn’t even try to time how long it took him to walk around the grounds. He looked at where he thought his room was and laughed as there were too many windows. He would have to do something about that. He found a good spot and held his fob up to the little scanner, and it beeped, and the door unlocked. He let himself in and found another set of stairs going up. It was metal and reminded Stiles a little of the stairs that led to the upper area of Derek’s loft.
Stiles looked at every room on his floor, and he found the library and what his aunt thought he would want as far as decorations. He found an album of pictures that were from when his mother was young. Stiles settled down into a chair and looked through the book. It made Stiles feel sad as well as happy. Seeing his mother in Poland growing up with Celeste. He recognized his grandfather from the few pictures that his mother had shown him growing up.
“Hey,” Adam said from the doorway.
Stiles looked up as he wiped at his eyes. Adam had a fond look on his face.
“Your dad called the house phone as he just wanted to check in. If you wanna call him, go ahead. He’s just sitting at his desk working on paperwork.”
“I’ll call him tonight.”
“Sure. Lunch starts in half an hour. Do you need anything?”
“Kaïs said that the desk needs to be moved by someone else except for me. I want it where I can look out at the grounds, but I don’t want my back to the door.”
“Gotcha. Here.” Adam stepped inside, grabbed the desk, and lifted it.
Stiles knew that Adam was strong. He had a build that was a lot like Derek’s. Adam carried it over to the window and settled it so that Stiles could see the door as well as the window if he turned his head. He liked it. He dragged the chair over and settled it in and then sat down. He looked out, and he could see the part of the garden that he liked. He smiled as he saw a few birds in the birdbath.
“Want your tech bag?” Adam asked.
“Yeah. I can get this all set out and then spend the afternoon getting it all setup. I saw the paper with the Wi-Fi info in that stack somewhere.” Stiles waved at the pile of papers he had pulled off of the desk when he had figured out that he did want the desk moved. It wasn’t a big stack of papers, but it was thick enough. Schedules of various things in the house and any other information that Celeste thought he would need. Most of it, he wouldn’t, but then he could understand, making sure that he had anything that he would need. The Wi-Fi for his floor was different than others. His wasn’t nearly as secure, but also, given the house’s size, Stiles could understand having more than one point of Internet access in the house.
“Hey, come with me, and I’ll show you the exercise room.” Adam ruffled Stiles’ hair and then grabbed him and pulled him.
“But stuff!” Stiles waved his hand at the suitcase that Adam had brought over.
“Eh, you can do that later. I have to head out for a meeting about a job after lunch. Come on.”
Stiles huffed but let Adam drag him out of the room and down a floor. It was still not the ground floor. Stiles would make a map of the place later. Unless someone had one and wasn’t sharing it.
“So, how do you like living here?”
“My family in Mexico all lived in the same house. I’m used to it. Everyone who works for Celeste is like a family. We like living all together. There is a sick medical area in the lower area of this wing. It’s for everyone, but we can do simple stuff. No X-Rays and the like but stitches and stuff that don’t need ER visits.”
“That’s cool. I need to be shown there.”
“Yes, Celeste said you have ADHD and a tendency to not pay attention to what you are doing and hurt yourself. I’ll show it to you after I show you the exercise room.”
The exercise room was kind of nice. Stiles really liked the equipment, and he could see himself using some of it and the treadmills in winter, but with the weather warm, he didn’t want to just be inside.
Stiles was kind of in awe of the amount of medical stuff in the big assed medical room. The drugs were all locked up outside the standard over-the-counter stuff, but it was evident that someone was trained with medical knowledge. Stiles wondered if that person was employed by his aunt or if they were an on-call type of person and kept this stocked full, so they didn’t have to carry a lot around.
There was a lot inside of this place that he wanted to investigate. Even considering just the family wing of the house, he was sure that he would be captivated for a while, and that didn’t include the grounds. The gardens were massive. There were seven of them. This was the kind of place that Stiles could spend a long time investigating and still not find all of its secrets. He knew there were four wings. Two of them were for employees to live in, and then there was one that his aunt called the social wing. She had said there was a theater there, a huge screen and plenty of seats.
“So, can you see yourself living here?” Adam asked.
“Yeah, but it might take a little arm twisting.”
After lunch, Stiles grabbed a book out of his bag and settled down into the one garden that was mostly in the shade. The kinds of plants that were in there didn’t need full sun. He was sitting under a large patch of roses. The smell was wonderful, and Stiles found himself relaxing down into the chair he was in. He looked up and could see his desk, so he at least knew which one was his library.
Stiles heard the pounding of feet and turned to look out the small opening in the hedges to see his aunt and most of the people who had been at breakfast taking a run. They were all sweaty and barely clothed. Stiles had a feeling that inappropriate boners were going to be his way of life for the next while. All of them were adults, though, and none of them was anywhere close to his age. He knew that Adam was the youngest of the staff/family that currently lived with them.
Pulling his phone out, Stiles looked at it to see that his father had texted him while he had been reading. Stiles replied and sent a few pictures to him. He debated texting Peter but didn’t. He looked at his thread with Scott and held his finger over it before waiting for the phone to ask him what he wanted to do. He deleted it. He went through and did the same with everyone else who was part of the pack. He didn’t need to see them to remember being pushed away. He kept the numbers, but he changed all of the ringtones to everyone in the pack to something he hated. He wanted to know it was them, every single time. If they ever called him or texted him again. He didn’t think that they would.
This was a new start, and Stiles was looking forward to starting over.
Stiles hiked his backpack up onto his shoulder a little better as he looked down the street to see if the bus was getting closer. He smiled as he thought about the few presents he had found for his father to send to him. Celeste would take the package to the store and ship it tomorrow, and Stiles had finally found the last few items. In two days, he and Celeste would be running around New York, looking at the schools and getting tours. Stiles was looking forward to it. He was even kind of looking forward to a uniform as every one of those places except for Assisi Academy had them. Stiles still knew jack shit about the place, but his aunt had sent the three kids she had there. Stiles figured that those three had turned out fine. He was worried about coming in for his junior year and not really talking about why he had moved across the country without his father. At least in Beacon Hills, no one asked him about his mother. These kids wouldn’t know that.
“Got the time,” a man asked as he settled onto the bench that was behind Stiles.
“Yeah, just after three.”
“Thanks. I forgot my watch this morning, and my phone is in my bag, I think in the bottom,” the man said.
“Sure thing.” Stiles tensed enough to where he hoped that the man wouldn’t be able to get the jump on him. Stiles looked around at the people who were rushing about. New York City felt alive in a way that Stiles had never felt in Beacon Hills. He was enjoying the hell out of learning about the city and how to move around it. He had all of the passes that he needed to get himself around. He was more than happy to find a school so he could figure out all of the places to go on the way to and from school. The mansion was cool, but Stiles needed people around at least a little bit to focus, and there had to be a cool coffee shop or something like it on his way home that would allow him to hang out there for hours and work on stuff. He had a spot that he liked, but it was hell and gone from the routes to and from most of the schools that Stiles liked the look of. It was right beside Assisi, though.
Stiles had found it easily, and it was all behind a gate, and even trying to look, he hadn’t been able to see much. There were so many trees. It was all pretty, and he could hear kids outside talking, but it was pretty swanky. Stiles didn’t think that he would fit in there or like it. He would give it a fair shake since Celeste knew the school so well. It wouldn’t be horrible to go there, but then Stiles wasn’t that worried about going anywhere. He had already taken tests that showed where he was based on the New York City school system, so things would go well as far as placement. Thanks to his ADHD and spending a long time dealing with managing his research spirals, Stiles tested above where he would for an upcoming junior. He was pretty happy staying where he was, though, and not jumping up to senior. He had no clue how hard the school he was going into was going to be. He would rather take two years and do it well than to have one year and do it shitty.
The bus stopped in front of Stiles, and he waited for the people to get off before he stepped up and swiped his card before sitting down at the first seat that was totally open. The man got onto the bus as well and settled down a few seats in front of Stiles with another person. They greeted each other, so Stiles assumed they were both regulars for this route at this time. Stiles watched as the man who was already seated leaned in close, and Stiles thought they were going to kiss, but instead, he watched as they just nuzzled each other. He saw the flash of yellow from the one, and Stiles knew that at least one of them was a beta Werewolf. Stiles looked away as he wasn’t even going to do a damned thing to let them know that he had seen them. He was trying to start over in New York and not get dragged back into that.
Stiles was glad when the bus dropped him where he needed to be. The walk down the road to the mansion was short compared to some of the walks that Stiles had done in Beacon Hills. The road was a mile long, and it was all shaded with trees. There were many offshoots, but once Stiles got to where his aunt’s land started, he had to put in a code to get past the gate. There was a small door that allowed that to happen. Everyone had different codes, and there was even a panic code that was their code backward, and then the guards who were on duty, which was just a way of saying whoever was working that day but not on an actual job was to be a guard, would come running. Stiles snagged the handle on the door and pulled it shut as he crossed over. It was a wrought iron gate door, or that’s what Stiles thought that it was. It was heavy as hell and clanged shut with a loud noise.
The bark of a dog had Stiles looking around for who was on a run with the dogs that helped patrol the land. They had been kept secure while Stiles had got used to the gardens, and then he had been introduced to them on Stiles’ third day in New York, even though Stiles didn’t count the first day as he had slept it away.
Stiles dropped to his knees as the large Pitbull came running. He waited for the King German Sheppard as well and was right when it was right on the other’s heels. The rest of the dogs hung back with Adam and just watched. These two really liked Stiles and Adam said it was because they really like Celeste and knew they were related.
“How are my boys?” Stiles asked as he petted each with one hand. It was always nice to be greeted when he came home, even if it was by dogs.
“We got the pups in today. Did you wanna come and see them?” Adam asked.
“Sure. I need to drop this-” Stiles stopped when one of the other guys walked up and held out a hand. “I’ve got breakable stuff in there, so don’t mistreat it.”
“Never, Stiles.” Despite being big enough to rip a man’s arms off and beat him with them, Gerard was kind and gentle. Stiles called him Gerry because the name Gerard still gave him nightmares. Gerry said nothing when Stiles started to call him, and a few others had taken to doing it around Stiles as well when he kept flinching when someone said Gerard.
Stiles followed along behind Adam, stopping to play with King a little bit. King had been aptly named for his breed, and Stiles found it funny. According to Adam, they went through many dogs over the years, and naming them was getting a little hard. Notre was the name of the Pitbull. Stiles found that name funny as hell.
The kennel was butted up against the east side of the mansion. It was all open, and there were heated and air-conditioned areas for the dogs as well. Stiles followed Adam into the area where the puppies were. It was a set of random pups from a shelter that was full. They would be raised here and trained, and if the temperament of them wasn’t set for security, they would be rehomed to other places. A few farms up north were always looking for dogs to train as herders and the like.
“They are so cute,” Stiles said. The puppy area had grass ground instead of concrete, and really most of the pens were grass, but the area where they slept and ate was concrete to make it easier to clean. There was an animal handler on staff that was also a trained veterinarian. If something happened to a dog while working, though, there were places to take for emergency surgery and the like. Celeste and Kaïs took care of their dogs well.
“Yeah, we have no clue on the breed on most of these and won’t until they get older,” Mike, the vet, said.
Stiles dropped down in a corner, putting his back to the fencing, and the pups ran right at him.
“There is already one that we know we are gonna have to find a new home for once trained,” Mike said.
“Yeah?” Stiles looked over the pups, and he found one that was cuddled at his side that was smaller than the rest. The runt. He picked it up and found that it was a female and not a male. “Dude, this is a girl.”
“Yup. That’s why we are gonna have to find a home for her. It’ll be fine, and we will make sure she’s fixed and up to date on everything, but we don’t do well with a female in the group. We’ve tried, and there is just something that throws the others off. We’ve had pets here in the past, and they do fine.”
“Yeah, Robbie and Helena both have dogs with them in France. Robbie’s is a female, and we have a pen area set up for that.”
“So, if I wanted a dog, I could have one?” Stiles pulled the little girl up to his chest, and she settled on his front paws and started to lick at Stiles’ face.
“Sure thing. I’ll mark her down as maybe yours. Once she’s house trained, she can come inside with you. I’ll get you a few books on-”
“Nah, dude. I can research that. Can I go play?” Stiles pointed outside of the pen area to the dog run that was massive and would allow him to play with her without hurting the other pups.
“Sure.” Mike waved for him to go, and Stiles jumped up with her in his arms, and they took off.
Stiles played with her, and when she dropped where she was to take a nap, he laid on his side with her curled into his body and looked up what kind of dog she was. She wasn’t a mutt like the others, but he wasn’t sure if she was a pure breed.
“You have five minutes to get inside and eat, or I am giving the dogs your food,” Kaïs called out from the corner of the dog run.
Stiles looked up at him and saw that shadows were longer than they had been before, and that meant it was dinner time. He nodded his head and scooped up the pup before heading to the door of the dog run. Mike was there and waiting for him.
“Name her yet?” Mike asked.
“Nah. She’s not told me yet what she wants to be called.” Stiles scratched at her head before Mike turned away. Stiles was so coming back out after dinner to spend time with her.
“Then Stiles’ Little Girl it is for now. Go and eat.”
“Aren’t you coming?”
“Kaïs brought my food out. I don’t like to leave the pups alone for long until nightfall. Get them used to me. I figure that yours is gonna pine like something crazy for you, though.”
Stiles flipped off Mike even though the man wasn’t looking at him. He turned and ran toward the kitchen door so that Kaïs didn’t give away his food. He would do it too.
The kitchen was full of people eating, and the dining room was empty like it normally was unless there were too many people to eat around the island. Stiles slipped into his spot beside Adam and found that his plate had already been loaded down with food. He grabbed a fork and tried a little of each thing before grabbing the salt and pepper. A few of the guys were already halfway finished with their food, and Stiles laughed as he saw that there was even one who was heading back for seconds. The food was all on the counter by the stove this time instead of on the island. Kyle and the kitchen squad were all gone, which was fine. They usually ate early and were already headed to their area of the house before this.
“So, you bonded with a pup?” Kaïs asked.
“Yeah, she’s so cute, and I just love her. I’m still working on a name and her breed.”
“Mike will take her to get genetic testing so that we can figure that out sooner rather than later. The vet we work with is used to it. We got to have that to have the dogs working just if there is an issue that we need to look out for based on the breed. We can see about getting dog things bought for her.”
“No, dude, I’m going shopping for my princess.”
“Then you can take the card with you tomorrow on your scoping out of New York City and have everything sent to the office there in town,” Celeste said as she looked up from her tablet for the first time. Stiles was used to her working a little at dinner. Usually reviewing anything that was happening with clients who were overseas at the moment.
“Sure.” Stiles knew the address as he had a lot of stuff sent there his first week in New York City. He had been getting stuff for his bedroom and library and didn’t want to carry it all back.
“So is Princess her name?” Adam asked.
“No clue yet. I’ll figure it out at some point.”
Adam laughed and ruffled his hair. Stiles leaned into the touch a little, and Adam’s arm dropped to his back, hand on his shoulder, and he squeezed it, keeping it there longer than just a simple gesture of affection would dictate. Everyone was touchy in the house. It was kind of nice because Stiles missed his father a lot right now, and at least with everyone touching him, he wasn’t going touch starved.
Stiles let the conversation flow over him as everyone ate dinner and talked. He was lost in his own little world of what he wanted to do with his puppy. He couldn’t wait to take her up into the house and cuddle with her while reading in the library or just lying in bed and watching TV while playing. Stiles was looking forward to figuring out who his puppy was going to be.
Stiles looked at the gate that was barring them from entering the school. Every other school they had been to over the last week had felt wrong to Stiles, and he wasn’t sure why. He looked at the words Assisi Academy in metal at the top of the gate’s arch. Unlike most where it was woven into the arch, this sat on top with the words free-standing instead of blocked into the metal.
“Celeste Gajos and Stiles Stilinski here for the tour,” Celeste said.
“One moment, and the Headmaster will be down to greet you,” a male said.
“You know him?”
“He’s the assistant who heads the office, and he’s been there for years, through all of the kids’ years here. So yeah, I know him. He’s really nice. Blind but still runs the school better than anyone else could. He’s a good egg,” Celeste said.
The gate opened up, and the man standing there didn’t look old enough to be a Headmaster of a school like this. Stiles looked him up and down, and something was alluring about him. Like he was apt to trust him just from that.
“Celeste, welcome. And Stiles, I’m glad you are at least looking at our school for your last two years of high school. Please come in. We have our summer courses going on, so some kids are more than willing to show Stiles around.”
“Teachers telling you what’s so great about a school when it’s really the students that sell it? No, thank you. No, Celeste and I are going to my office, and you can wander around where you want.”
Stiles was sure that he was looking at the Headmaster like he had more than one head. He had never thought that he was going to get a student-led look at the school. Over the past week, every other place had been a teacher or even other higher-up people giving him a look.
“Right now, it’s our two-hour block, and it just started, so you can wander around the grounds of the school or go inside. There is nothing that we are hiding unless it’s a locked room. Those are usually our teachers’ offices and the like.”
“Gotcha. I’ll not pick any locks.”
The Headmaster laughed, but Stiles could tell that the man knew he was serious about it. Celeste waved him off, and the Headmaster handed him a little badge. It had his name on it but no picture and said that he was a prospective student. Stiles was actually shocked that it had M. Stiles Stilinski. He looked at Celeste with a glare, but she just grinned at him.
Stiles looked toward where he could hear some kids talking and headed that way. He knew that classes were in session, but that didn’t mean that he couldn’t figure out what they were doing. He found a greenhouse, and beyond it was the sports area where there was a gym class of some kind going on. The greenhouse area had many kids around it, and they were potting plants of some kind. Stiles saw that a few were used in spells and various things with Supernatural beings, but the rest were harmless. It seemed that the class was learning something, but Stiles didn’t get close enough to find out.
The school’s grounds were massive, and the gate and its trees hid a lot of it. It was like one of those places that were here before New York really got big, so it was pretty easy to keep everything together. There was a massive tree that Stiles found that was on a hill. It towered above even the school. He settled at the base of it to watch the kids that were stretching on the field. This was a two-hour block of time, which meant those kids were going to be worn out as hell when they were done.
“Into sports?” a voice asked.
Stiles looked at the girl who was at the base of the hill and looking up at him.
“I did lacrosse at my last school and did hockey outside of school.”
“Oh, which did you like better?”
“Then come with me.”
“Stiles,” Stiles said as he got to the bottom of the hill and held out his hand. The girl held out her hand as well and shook it.
Stiles followed behind her and saw that the part of the school they were in wasn’t for the older kids. It was full of classrooms that had finger paint pictures all over the doors.
“This is an all-ages school?”
“Yeah. I’ve gone here since I was three. This area is all just for the little kids. My badge got us in here, but not all students have access. I want to be a teacher, so I have a few classes a year where I go in here and help teach. It’s fun for me. The main two gym areas are in the middle of the school. We have a massive gymnasium and then a hockey rink.” Maia opened a door, and Stiles felt the temperature change.
There were a few people on the ice, warming up. A few of them were in figure skating clothes, and then the rest were in hockey gear. There was a large net that would keep the pucks from crossing the areas.
“If someone is into a sport of some kind, this is their block to do it. Also, you saw the herbology kids.”
“Eh, that’s not what it’s called, but Harry Potter influenced a lot of us, and it kind of stuck. Doing this kind of stuff would take too long to get geared up and then cleaned up, so we basically get a two-hour spread to do what we think we want to do.”
“My professor is out today with a family issue, so anyone with classes with her gets a study day. I heard there was fresh meat in the school and came looking. My uncle is the Headmaster here. So what do you want to be when you grow up?”
“Cop, like my dad. He’s the Sheriff back home. I wanna go into the FBI, though. Don’t know what kind of work inside of there.”
“Criminal Justice then. Come along with me, and I’ll show you those areas. We have a shooting range on campus as well. We have a few people who do competitive shooting, guns, and bows. Even sword fighting. It’s a lot of fun for those who get into that kind of stuff.”
“Sounds like fun. So summer school?”
“A few of us live here year-round. I do because my parents are back home in France, and I wanted to come here after visiting Uncle Jared. They allow it. They fly in for all of my breaks. It’s hella better than me flying to them.”
Stiles looked out onto the ice, watching as a few people were having a lot of fun playing with the puck instead of actually playing a game. It made Stiles itch to get out there.
Maia gave Stiles a school tour that left him with no thought other than he wanted to go there. He really liked what he saw, and Maia showed him the cool classes, and he got to sit in on a few for long enough to know that he liked the teachers.
Lunchtime came, and Stiles went with Maia to the mess hall. There was real food in there, and it was set up like a mall food court. Stiles just looked around and tried to figure out what he wanted to eat. He had money, so he hoped that there wasn’t some weird way of paying. The smell of pizza had Stiles heading that way. He found that it was all ready, and there was even where one could make their own and then have the staff bake it.
“For the kids who live on campus, we eat all of our meals here. Breakfast is pretty low-key and buffet-style, and dinner is closer to this but fewer options. Though we are also allowed off campus for dinner. We place our meal order in the morning based on what is being offered.”
“So, this is like a boarding school for the kids who don’t live here?”
“Half of the students are actually not from New York City, so they live here during the school year. Most of them are gone at the moment since they are back home with family. I like the summer courses as they are more aimed at lessons that aren’t done well in large classes. So Uncle Jared didn’t tell me who you are, other than your name is Stiles. Which, that’s a weird name.”
“Yeah, but it’s better than my first name. It’s a mess, and I hate how every mangles it. Know any Polish?” Stiles asked. He grabbed the pizza that he wanted and a plate of curly fries and a bottle of water, a cup of fruit, and a bottle of unsweet tea before sliding down to where they paid.
“Card?” the person who was holding a tablet asked.
“Um, cash?” Stiles said.
“Just give him the ID that uncle gave you. Your meal is charged to that for the day.”
Stiles fumbled for it and handed it over. The guy typed in something on the tablet and handed it back. Stiles saw a string of numbers when he looked at the back. It wasn’t hard to realize that part of it was something to do with visitors, and everything for them was rung up as. Stiles followed Maia back to a table filled with kids. He was introduced to all of them but wasn’t sure that he would remember even a few of them once he was done for the day.
A hush came over the room, and Stiles looked to see where everyone was looking.
“Is that Miss Gajos?” one of the kids at the table asked.
“Yeah, that’s my aunt,” Stiles said.
Everyone at the table looked at Stiles.
“You said your name was Stilinski,” Maia said.
“Yeah, Celeste is my aunt on my mom’s side. Mom was a Gajos before she married dad.”
“Oh,” a few said, and it sounded like they were disappointed. Stiles looked at a few of them that were still staring at him. He wondered what in the hell was going on. He didn’t realize that his aunt was so well known around the school.
The lunch hour passed quickly, and then Stiles set about looking around on his own. By the end of the school day, he settled in at the tree again, looking at the sports team getting ready to practice. Football was fun to watch, at least when he could make fun of the idiots who messed up things.
“So, Stiles, how do you like it?” Celeste asked.
Stiles looked up at her to see that she wasn’t alone. Headmaster Deering was there as well as another guy. “Who are you?”
The guy laughed, and his eyes focused on Stiles.
“Oh, you are Mark,” Stiles said.
“Told you he was smart. Stiles, meet Mark Deering, Jared’s brother and another uncle to Maia. Jared said he saw you with Maia.”
“Yeah, she came and found me under this tree, actually. So what do I have to do to go here?”
“Really? You wanna go to the stuffy school?” Celeste asked.
“Dude, I don’t know why you have nothing online, but I figure it has to do with security and shit. I wanna go here so bad, though.”
“Well, Stiles, since you are considered a heritage child, you don’t have a lot you need to do. I’ll come by next week and fill out the paperwork and get Stiles a permanent card. Thank you both so much for this. I’ll feel better knowing that you are going here, Stiles.”
Stiles wondered if she would think that, given that Stiles liked it here because of the security. Gerard Argent wasn’t going to get to him here, even if he ever found where Stiles was.
Stiles felt the crack of pain blossom across his mouth as he was backhanded. He felt skin split and blood run down. He was knocked down to the ground and looked up at Gerard Argent standing over him. Stiles screamed at Gerard and jumped up to lunge at him. He fell to the floor, though, and it took a few seconds for Stiles to realize that he was in his bedroom in New York, and he was fighting his blankets on the floor.
The bedroom door slammed open, and Stiles tried to grab anything to defend himself. He was still freaked out from the nightmare. It was the only reason that when he looked at Kaïs, he saw red eyes glowing at him. He blinked a few times, keeping his eyes closed after the last to help calm his racing heart. When he opened them again, Kaïs looked normal, and the bedroom light was on. There were no glowing eyes like the red of an alpha Werewolf in the room. There were no Werewolves in his life anymore.
“Stiles?” Kaïs asked.
“It was just a nightmare.”
“That was no ordinary nightmare.” Kaïs came close, and it seemed like he wanted to touch but was afraid to. Stiles tried to stand up, but he winced and dropped down. Kaïs was right there, untangling Stiles’ legs from the blanket and then lifting him up to set him on the bed.
“It’s just twisted, I think,” Stiles said.
“Still, we are going down and having someone look at it,” Kaïs said.
“Ugh, mother hen!” Stiles flopped back on the bed. He heard a noise and looked to see Celeste and Adam in the doorway. “Mother hens.”
“Quit bitching,” Celeste said.
“How did you hear me?” Stiles asked as Kaïs lifted him up off of the bed.
“I was in the library. Couldn’t sleep, so I was doing some light reading. I heard you scream, and then you did it again, and I heard you fall out of bed.”
Stiles nodded his head. He looked at Adam and Celeste.
“I also pressed the intercom and yelled. That goes to a few key rooms. I wasn’t sure if you were having a nightmare, or someone had come in to get you. The rest of the guys are securing everything now.”
“Dude, that’s so much of an overreaction! I’m not gonna be able to look anyone in the eye.” Stiles tried to wiggle out of Kaïs’ arms as they got into the elevator, but the man just kept a good hold on him. Stiles was mortified.
Stiles stayed like that until he was dropped onto the padded exam table and shoved down to stay there by Kaïs.
“Doc’s about ten minutes out,” Adam said.
“What? No. No.”
“You are getting looked at by him, or you are going to the ER,” Celeste said.
“Ugh, you have the same worst traits as my mom,” Stiles said.
Celeste grinned at Stiles like she was taking it as a compliment. Stiles relaxed down into the table and closed his eyes. He was glad that no one else was there. Adam was close enough to family. The sound of the door opening before ten minutes, though, had Stiles looking up. It was Mike along with Princess.
“Oh, hey,” Stiles said, and he tried to sit up, but Kaïs pushed him down again.
“Down,” Kaïs said.
“I am not a dog.” Stiles glared at Kaïs, and Adam burst out laughing as well as Mike.
“Stay,” Kaïs said next with a grin on his face.
Stiles huffed and crossed his arms over his chest. Mike walked over and settled Princess down on his lap before he left the room. Adam sat down on the table and kept his arm over Stiles’ foot. So that Princess didn’t make her way down and hurt him, Stiles assumed. Stiles looked at his ankle, and he could see the swelling now and understood why Kaïs was so insistent on carrying him. It looked kind of bad.
“Fine, as long as Princess stays with me, I’ll be good to stay right here.”
Celeste nodded and then left the room. Stiles couldn’t stop looking at his ankle.
“What was the nightmare about?” Kaïs asked.
“Just the bad shit that happened back home.”
“You know if you don’t tell us, we can’t help,” Kaïs said.
“And I’ve told everyone that needs to know. I’ve talked with dad; I’ve talked with people. Nightmares happen so rarely right now. If they were more, I would say that you are right, but you are not. So please just leave me alone,” Stiles said.
“Fine, but if you ever want to talk.” Kaïs turned and left the room.
“You going to leave too?”
“No. I get where you are coming from. My family was horrible. Kids don’t run away, right across the border, to get away from a good family unless the kid is fucked up. I’m proof now, though, that I wasn’t fucked up. I couldn’t take how they wanted me to be. What they wanted me to do. My family’s business isn’t nearly as nice as this one. They deal in shady shit. I had nightmares like you wouldn’t believe, Stiles. I thought that talking about it here would sully this.”
“That’s not why I’m not talking. To make you guys understand everything, I have to tell secrets that are not mine to tell. Dad knows, and I’ll call and talk to him tomorrow, or I guess maybe later today.” Stiles looked at the clock to see that it was just after one. “It won’t make me feel better to tell someone else’s secret even if it gets everything off of my chest.”
“I get that, but you can. If you ever just have to.”
Stiles nodded his head and looked at the door as a man came inside.
“Stiles, it’s wonderful to meet you. Well, circumstances could be better, but then again, is it ever a good time to meet a doctor?”
Stiles smiled as he had a feeling he was going to like this guy.
Stiles shook his body out and put in his headphones. It was only Kaïs and Celeste in the house, and Stiles was gonna have some fun dancing around. His ankle, thankfully, was fully healed. It was faster than it should have been, so the doctor thought it wasn’t as bad as he thought it was. The school year was just about to start, and Stiles had a lot of fun working with Mark to pick his classes for the first semester. He was even able to join the hockey team, not the one that actually played with other schools but the one that was considered the gym class team. Stiles had no desire to go on and be in a hockey team in college and the like, so he was content to just play during the day three days a week for two hours. The school’s team that played other teams was also there, but they were not really as horrible about fuck ups; at least that’s what Maia told him. She and Stiles emailed nearly every day. She was a grade below him, and they were getting to be good friends. Stiles knew how she felt since his father was the Sheriff, and people thought him to be a narc, and Maia was treated the same way.
Shaking out his body, Stiles found his dancing playlist. It wasn’t something that he danced any routine to. He just moved with the music as it played. He hadn’t done it here yet, and he was looking forward to seeing where he ended up when he was done. He had no clue where and it was all a big thrill.
It was just after lunch, and Stiles had let his food settle, so he hit play and let the sound of the pumping bass fill his head, and his arms started to move. Stiles secured his MP3 player to his shirt and let his body go.
Stiles wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but he was thirsty as hell, and so he stopped and headed into the kitchen to get a bottle of water. Kyle was cooking at the stove, and whatever it was smelled sweet and fruity. He looked to see it was some kind of fruit glaze. Stiles had learned that anyone in the house ate too well, but it was all surprisingly good, and with how active Stiles had become while running daily with Princess following him around the grounds, he was putting on the weight he needed and also a good bit more muscle.
After drinking the water, Stiles headed out into the common areas again and started up the music where he had left off. He kept his eyes open but didn’t pay too much attention to where he was until he entered a very bright room. He looked around and found that he had never been there before. It looked like the one training room that Stiles had been shown by Celeste when she had shown him some of the stuff for her staff’s training. This wasn’t the same, though. This place looked a little worse for the wear, and there was no padding anywhere like the other room. It was just concrete on the walls and the floor. The ceiling looked to be wood, but there was what looked like blood up there. Stiles wondered what the hell went on in this place. He paused his music and looked around again, and he saw a door that was mostly shut off to the side. He walked over to it, and inside were bright lights and what seemed like a greenhouse. Which made no sense at all.
Stiles stopped when he saw the plants, though. He knew what they were, and there were even a few of the strands that Stiles knew were rare as hell. This place was full of wolfsbane. Stiles didn’t touch anything, but he did back slowly out of the room and hightailed it out of there. He saw that he was on the first floor, and he remembered a library there. He headed toward it. There were many smaller libraries over the place, but as Celeste had said, this one was supposed to be full of staff training materials. Stiles wondered what kind of training manuals they needed. There was a pit in Stiles’ stomach that was growing by the moment. There was only a single reason to have that much wolfsbane. The lower levels he didn’t have access to were starting to seem more like Gerard’s murder and torture basement.
The library door wasn’t shut, so Stiles used his hand to open it. He stuck his hand under his shirt first so that he didn’t leave anything behind. The room looked like a standard library, but the books inside were mostly older. That didn’t help with what Stiles knew about the Argent library. He had seen it when being escorted down to the basement and then out of it after he had been beaten to shit. He felt a pull inside of himself and walked over to a book and picked it up. He saw a symbol on the front cover, and the name of it popped into his head.
The Serch Bythol symbol had been in the Argent Bestiary, but it hadn’t been attached to anything, just a warning to run from anyone wearing it. Stiles had looked it up but found nothing. All he knew was that the Argents were scared of whoever it was. There were pages inside of the book that detailed newer ways of taking out feral Werewolves. Stiles’ stomach started to roll. They were hunters. That was why they had joked about the whole dog thing weeks ago. Stiles read over it all, though. He made himself read through.
At the back of the book, there was a list of prominent hunting families across the world. Argent was at the top of that list, but there wasn’t a lot of good said about the American branch. Next was Calavera, just like Adam’s last name, and how they ruled Mexico and South America with an iron fist but were not much better than the Argents. There were a few others listed for main areas worldwide, even as far as Australia, and none of them were horrible, according to what Stiles was reading. They were holding to the code of actually going after the things that hurt people instead of killing someone for just existing. Which was a good thing, but still.
The last page of the book listed the most prominent hunting family besides the Argents, they had been formed at about the same time, but unlike the Argents, they had never gone after anyone innocent. The Gajos hunting family. Stiles stared at the family’s names, and he even saw the family tree that traced down the line from the first to the current, Celeste. It was all newer, so even though it said they were good, Stiles didn’t trust that. He hadn’t met anyone who was good. Even Chris, who swore he held up the code, had done stuff that wasn’t in line with the code.
Stiles leaned back from the desk he was at and tried to think. He needed to get away from there. He needed to go where someone wouldn’t hand him over to Gerard Argent. He had seen what Argent would have done to his family just to kill Werewolves. He wasn’t safe. He had more than enough cash. Celeste always gave him cash when he was headed into the city, even though he had the card given to him. It had a limit on it, but he could use it until they realized that he was not there. He had to get his stuff and Princess and get the fuck away. He would call his father and make sure that he didn’t freak out too much when Celeste called him about Stiles running away.
The first thing that he needed to do was slip up into the family wing and listen in. Celeste said she would be on calls all day long. Stiles had learned where the office was and how to hopefully get there without anyone seeing him. He closed the book and wiped it down with his shirt before picking it up and carrying it with the shirt between. It was a struggle to get it back on the shelf, but he made sure that the book was even with the rest of them. He left and went up to his level of the house to head back to his floor. He could get at least the cash just in case he had to make a run for it based on what he heard from Celeste. He swallowed as he made it out of the area that he wasn’t allowed in. The only good thing was that he knew that there were no Werewolves in the house to be able to smell him.
Celeste’s office had two different doors, and one of them was a little foyer-like room that held a desk like a secretary or assistant would use. Stiles slipped in that way and settled behind the open door. He had everything that he needed on him to make a run for it.
“No, listen, I don’t care about keeping the Argents from knowing that we are there. I just found out that Gerard Argent had my nephew and tortured him. He’s a wanted man by the State of California,” Celeste said.
Stiles swallowed. His hands started to shake, and he tried not to let out a low whine.
“Wait, what? Deucalion is in Beacon Hills as well? What the fuck has happened to that place?”
Stiles heard Celeste moving, and he hoped that she didn’t come out to where he was. Even though he was behind the door, he would be visible to pretty much anyone who went to the desk.
“I’ll get a team there as soon as possible to take in the Alpha Pack and to make sure that the Hale Pack isn’t harmed anymore.”
“Wait…go back. Say that again…McCall? Like Scott McCall?” Celeste asked. There was the sound of a thump, and Stiles jumped a little.
“Repeat that, please,” Celeste said.
“I said that it seems that Scott McCall was bitten by an alpha Werewolf and he’s now a beta. He’s resisting Derek Hale’s wishes on becoming part of his pack. I’ve seen him stalking the female heir for the Argents.”
“Allison is Scott’s anchor,” Stiles said loud enough that he hoped that Celeste heard him. He stood up and tried to get himself psyched up for heading into the other room. He pushed at the door and then walked around it.
Celeste was looking at him like he had said that he killed someone.
“Stiles, sweetie…what did you just say?”
“I said that Allison is Scott’s anchor. Has been since I finally figured out how to get him to control himself.”
“You were part of it.”
“The boy who told me I was shit? I wasn’t worth being with? Yeah, that was Derek Hale,” Stiles said. He really hoped he hadn’t just signed over Derek’s death warrant.
“Adam, stay the fuck there. Kaïs and I will be there as soon as we can be. I want Christopher Argent on his knees in front of me. I want to know why his family has been allowed to do what they have done. I heard the rumor that the Hale’s thought that the Argents had set the fire. I want to know the truth about it.”
“Kate Argent seduced underage Derek, and he was in love and did something stupid. He showed her how to get into the house to come to him for sex.”
“Who is the alpha that bit McCall?” Adam asked.
Stiles looked at the phone and then at Celeste. He shook his head.
“You are protecting the alpha…he bit a human.”
“Will you kill him?”
“Depends. There are a lot of circumstances that we can help them get back on a path to sanity.”
“Shouldn’t Kaïs be in here?”
“He’s getting everything ready for us to go to Beacon Hills. I was already going to go when a contact of ours told us that something was going on down there with the Alpha Pack.”
“I don’t wanna tell this again, and I think he should be here.”
Celeste nodded her head and picked up her cell phone.
“So, Stiles, wanna tell me about the nightmares?” Adam asked.
“Yes, it was about Gerard taking me to his murder basement and beating me up. He had two other Werewolves strung up, teenagers, and made sure they couldn’t change with a little electricity. They hadn’t done anything. They hadn’t hurt a single person.”
“My family is a hunting family who is not as bad as the Argents, but they are bad enough. I promise you, Stiles. None of us kill unless there is no other option.”
Adam sounded so sure and full of conviction, but Stiles had heard other people sound the same for bad reasons. He swallowed and just kept his mouth shut.
It was a few minutes later that Kaïs came into the room.
“Stiles has been in the restricted library,” Kaïs said.
Stiles looked at him. Staring at him. He stood up and walked over to where he was. “That wasn’t a leftover bit of my nightmare, was it?” Stiles asked.
“Your alpha eyes.”
“Celeste?” Kaïs asked.
“You used your eyes in front of him?”
“He was screaming, and I wanted to make sure that no one else was in the room. I didn’t want to turn on the light and give it away. I did as soon as I realized that he was in a fight with his blanket. I’m not used to kids who act like they had PTSD and go for the first weapon and look at where the sound came from like that.”
“Yeah, well, you try being at the hands of Gerard Argent and his twisted ways and come out of that without some kind of PTSD.”
Kaïs’ eyes flashed again, and Stiles knew that he was pissed off. Stiles wasn’t scared, though. He knew that he was safer with Kaïs than any other Werewolf he had been around.
“Dude!” Stiles hit Kaïs with the back of his hand. “You made dog jokes. No wonder Adam laughed his ass off.”
“Speaking of Adam, where are you?” Celeste asked.
“Sitting outside of the Sheriff’s station. I was about to go in when I heard one of the deputies talking about McCall and the issue they have been having with him.”
“We are going to need the Sheriff in on this,” Celeste said.
“Sure. So I should go in and say what?” Adam asked.
“Dude, just go in and tell whoever is at the desk that you need to talk to the Sheriff about an issue with Gerard Argent. He’ll see you. Keep your phone on.”
Stiles listened as Adam got out and walked into the station. Stiles could hear the chatter and the noise, and it made him a little homesick. Parrish was the one he talked to, and Stiles was glad. Especially when Parrish stayed in the room.
“Deputy Parrish is my main point on this case since it involves my son.”
“Ah, yes. Well, I should start this whole thing with you are on the phone with my boss and that my boss is Celeste Gajos.”
“Hello, Noah,” Celeste said.
“Daddio!” Stiles yelled.
“And why is Stiles on the phone?” Noah asked.
“Hey, dad, do you remember the weekend that we were in San Francisco, and I told you everything I had been lying to you about since January? You asked me if there was anyone that you could turn to for real help in sorting out everything?”
“Yes,” Noah said.
“Well, guess what? I found them. Dad, Kaïs is an alpha! Also, they want Gerard dead for a lot of reasons, and that was before they found out that he was the one who beat me to shit.”
“I think it might be best if this started at the beginning.”
“Claudia told you that she didn’t like the family business, the security firm that I moved to New York City, but what she was keeping from you is that it’s the public face of our hunting business. She didn’t like being trained to be like that. She was soft, and mom didn’t understand that. I want to start with none of my men and women have ever killed a Werewolf if there was another option. I am going to ask you the same question that I asked Stiles. Who is the alpha who bite Scott McCall?”
“And I’m not telling you that,” Noah said.
Celeste looked at Stiles and glared at him.
“I looked into it, I talked to him. I talked to his family. He would be found not guilty by reason of mental defect if he could go through a court of law. His murders were pinned onto someone else who was guilty of probably many more than we could ever find evidence. I feel that justice was done.”
“Explain,” Kaïs said.
Stiles let his father tell the whole story, and he knew that they were giving up enough information for Celeste, Kaïs, and Adam to put together who it was.
“How did Peter Hale become an alpha?”
“He killed Laura during a full moon one of the times he was moving around,” Stiles said.
“This is a shit show, but it’s a shit show that I feel you do have a good grasp on. Now tell me what is going on as far as the Alpha Pack?” Celeste asked.
“Peter is keeping me informed on everything that Derek tells him. We have not found where they are hiding after the betas were rescued from the bank. I would love help, and I trust you more than I trust Chris Argent when it comes to this.”
“Well, Kaïs and a team will be heading out to help you.”
“And you?” Noah asked.
“I’m hunting Gerard Argent. He will not make it to a trial, Noah. I am sorry, but I cannot let him live. Even in prison, he will get stuff done, and no one will be safe. He’ll gun for the Hales and probably Stiles for the rest of his life.”
“I don’t agree fully with him dying before he’s sentenced, but I understand that not everyone can get justice the same way. As long as he is unable to hurt anyone, especially my son. I will agree with it.”
“He’ll die of natural causes, so it will be easy for the regular law environment to find the body. I’ll make sure it’s done in Beacon County and that you are told.” Celeste looked at Stiles and then at Kaïs. Kaïs nodded his head. “Before we get off the phone here, we need to discuss Stiles and his choice of schools.”
“I refuse to go anywhere else,” Stiles said.
“Yes, I know that. There is a reason that the school is where everyone in the family went. It’s a blended school of supernatural races and new-age hunters that are nothing like the Argents. Stiles will be going there as one of a few who are not knowing who is really there. We have issues like this a lot, but even Stiles wasn’t fully safe going anywhere else.”
“Being around you makes him a target.”
“The risk is the same, just like I told you when we talked about him coming out here. Though the risk of the Argents doing something is much higher now that I understand he’s the reason why Gerard Argent is on a few most-wanted lists.”
“Do you think that Chris is hiding him?”
“On, I bet that he is, but the thing is that most people are more scared of me than they are of him.”
“How does it work? You being married to a Werewolf?” Stiles asked.
Noah laughed at that.
“What? I mean…I’ve only ever met the Argents.”
“We don’t have a stupid clause about killing ourselves if we are bitten. Kaïs is-”
“OH MY GOD! Robbie’s a born wolf, isn’t he?” Stiles demanded.
Adam was the one that laughed that time.
“Adam, we can talk and leave these guys,” Noah said. “Stiles, if you want to stay there. You can stay there or go anywhere else that you want to.”
“Do they teach magic?” Stiles asked.
“I think I have it?” Stiles said.
A pushpin could have been heard dropping to the floor and not just by Kaïs in the wake of what Stiles said.
“Why do you say that?” Celeste asked.
“Well, I kept thinking about my ankle and how I didn’t want to start the year off in crutches. Even Doc said that it healed quicker than it should have. Other little things have been happening when I really want something.”
“Noah, he’s not in danger, I promise you that, and the school can help him. Magic runs in our family.”
“I have it. My sister has it,” Stiles said.
“Stiles, you don’t-” Noah sighed. Stiles could just see him rubbing his hand down his face. “That was Star Wars, wasn’t it?”
“Yes,” Celeste said. She laughed a little. “He’s not wrong, though. It seemed, though, that magic skipped mine and Claudia’s generation across the board. Mom had magic, and all of her siblings did. Typically the strongest magic user is the one that is made into the head of the family to take over the business. Claudia wanted nothing to do with it, and it’s why she went with dad to Beacon Hills when he was offered a transfer in his company when mom and dad divorced.”
“I think mom knew,” Stiles said.
“Stiles?” Noah asked.
“When she was near the end. Some of the things that she said. Things that she called me. The hatred she had for me sometimes was massive. She said she knew that I had it and that she was scared of what it meant. I thought that she meant her sickness, but now I wonder.”
“She hated mom’s magic. She blamed it for why mom and dad divorced. I can’t tell you what she meant, though. I can’t help with that.”
“Do any of your cousins have kids with magic?” Noah asked.
“No. None of them. Kaïs and I only had Robbie, and since he was born a wolf, he doesn’t have it. So I just assumed that magic had left the family. It does that sometimes. We had a period of about fifty years where no one was born with magic in the 1700s. So, Stiles, I need you to go and meet with Jared as soon as possible. There will be a few classes that need to be moved around. You can take magical science instead of normal science, and it still counts for your graduation. We can also talk about magical colleges.”
“Is that where Robbie is going, and Helena is teaching?”
“Yes, it’s a magical college that is based more for supernaturals. There is a reason the Argents came to America. Europe couldn’t stand their family like it was. They fractured, and the horrible half came here to spread the seed of discord here and make it their fiefdom. It took me longer than I would have liked to make a foothold here that we could sustain.”
“I’ll go there. I’ll learn French. It took me only like a month to learn enough Japanese to be able to watch Anime without subtitles or dubs.”
“Stiles…you learned Japanese in a month?” Kaïs asked.
“French will be no issue. We have a library full of language books for my staff to learn.”
“You mean your pack, right?” Stiles asked, and he looked at Kaïs.
“Yes, our pack. We are about half and half on humans and Werewolves. Only a few have been bitten by me. Staff members we hire are always aware of the Supernatural, and they sign paperwork that states if they want to be bitten if they are injured, and it doesn’t look good. I’ve only had to do it to two.”
“Hey, Dad…I’m kind of really happy I came out here,” Stiles said.
“So am I, Son. Now you go somewhere else while I talk business with Celeste.”
“Yeah, I gotta put up the cash I have on me.”
“Cash?” Adam asked.
“Dude, Kaïs wasn’t joking when he said I had been in the library. I was dancing around in the halls and ended up in the bloody training room. I assume that’s where the wolves train and I found the wolfsbane and I went looking. Found books on hunting and about the whole family, and I was ready to run like the wind to get the fuck out of here. I’m glad that I didn’t, and I waited to talk to Celeste. She talked about Derek, and she was pissed at the Argents, so I took a chance. I’m gonna go out and play with Princess. Maybe check out the woods area that I haven’t yet and see what I can get her to do.”
“Stiles, a word of warning. Don’t wish for something too hard. Your magic seems to be receptive to that.”
“You got it.”
“Stiles, I’m glad you stopped by. I was going to visit the house and drop off your ID card and everything else that you need,” Jared said as he settled in behind his desk.
Stiles sat down across from him and got comfortable. “Well, Celeste is out of town. She’s taken a job while Kaïs takes a team to deal with something else. Celeste said that I need to change a few of my classes around. I hope there is time.”
“Well, there is time, but why?”
“Can I go and look at your plant?” Stiles asked.
Jared nodded his head, and so Stiles got up and walked over to where the plant was. It wasn’t in bloom, but there was a bud on it. He cupped his hand under it and wished for it to bloom. Stiles heard Jared gasp as it grew in size as well as bloomed.
“So, yeah. I have magic, and Celeste called me a Spark. I mean, I had a guy back home tell me that I had a spark. I didn’t realize that it was with a capital S. Also, I left home because of an issue with a Werewolf Pack and getting beat up by a hunter for siding with the wolves over a matter of genocide and sticking with the side that was on the side of good.”
“Celeste said you knew nothing of the Supernatural.”
“I never told her. I wasn’t outing the Hales to the world, and as far as my aunt knew, I was having an issue with my friends and wanted to get away. Which I was, but the friends were all part of the pack. I have PTSD from my time in the basement of Gerard Argent. Celeste wants me to see a counselor here.”
“I’ll not be giving you your ID badge today. I need to remove the spellwork that will make it so that you don’t see the Supernatural elements here. The younger children are good, but sometimes they wolf out if they are frustrated, and there are parts of the greenhouses that hold things you shouldn’t see unless you are in the know. The badge you were given before was spelled as well, short term for it, just while you were here. I’ll have you sit down and look at the classes offered and the track that we normally have students on. Your aunt said you are good at self-teaching, so I’ll send you home with the freshman yearbooks, and you can teach yourself. We can do a self-guided for the first two years of most things, and then I’ll drop you into classes when you are ready. You’ll have to study hard to get into them, but I think you can do it.”
“Mark and I are Immortal, Stiles. We are not Maia’s uncles but more like many greats removed uncles. She is Immortal like us, and it’s why her family shipped her over here. She talks about how she wanted to go here from a young age up, but it’s a lie. Her family, our family, are deeply religious as they stand, and it’s an affront to them. She’ll be happy that you are part of this world as she really does like you as a friend.”
“I like her as a friend too, Sir. Is she here today?”
“Yes, I’ll tell her to find you when she’s got a moment. Stay on campus for the day and figure out what you want to do for the next two years. Do you have an idea of where you want to go to college? We have many that have good programs for magic users.”
“I’m going to follow the rest of my family to France, Sir.”
“Splendid. I can get you what you need to make sure what you want to take here and what you want to take there as far as classes go. So a straight magic path, Stiles?” Jared grabbed a few files from a stack b behind him.
“No, Sir. I plan to follow behind Celeste and become a Hunter as well.”
“Oh, then we can easily work around your hockey. Most of the hunter courses are taught at a college level, but the foundation is taught here. We can do self-taught for them as well. Given you have magic, that changes a lot of what you will learn. I’ll mockup something this morning and find you after lunch. We can compare and talk and get everything set down for your two years here.”
Stiles nodded his head to that as he had a lot to think about overall. He had made a spur-of-the-moment decision on hunting. It was a family legacy that he could get behind. That Robbie was a Werewolf, that Kaïs was, and they treated their pack like family like every single member was precious was something that Stiles really liked. It was two weeks from the full moon, and Kaïs promised Stiles that he would be home before then, with some of the pack so that Stiles could spend the evening with them, how a true pack should be.
It was gonna be an epic night when it happened, and Stiles was looking forward to it.
Celeste had only visited after Claudia had finally told her that she was sick and dying. She hadn’t stayed long and had stayed in contact with Noah until it happened. Then she had come home for the funeral. She had heard of the Hale fire and had assumed that it had been exactly what it was, an accident. She hadn’t looked into it. Noah had been working it, and if anything was approaching foul play, he would have not stopped. She hadn’t expected the treachery that had paid off the insurance man.
“Who are you?” Gerard asked as he looked at her from the wheelchair he was in. Coughing up black blood and other body fluids. She looked at him with pity on her face.
“Death was coming for you, Gerard Argent, and you chose to continue your life in a way that is against everything that you have spouted your entire life. I remember when you broke off from the rest of the family, made your little fiefdom in the United States.” Celeste let her weird Polish and French merged accent creep into her voice. She had lived with Kaïs for too long to not have taken it on. Kaïs made sure that once they were here, they spoke with New York accents, closer to Brooklyn than anything else. “You hate Werewolves so much for things that a few have done that you can’t see how horrible it is, what you are doing. I thought that it would take me longer to find you, but Christopher didn’t move you that far away from Beacon Hills, and money speaks a lot when you are looking for someone like you.”
“How did you get in here?”
“What? You thought that the wife of one of your hunter boys would keep me out? You are quite funny, Gerard Argent. You were going to kill the Hale boy and take his alpha spark. You would never deign to be a beta to a Werewolf. It’s different, though, when it’s your own life, right? You don’t care what happens as long as you live. You are worthless scum to me,” Celeste said as she finally slipped into the room and shut the door. She could see that Gerard wasn’t that strong at all. He might have Werewolf in him, but he was bound to that chair as the Mountain Ash in his body wreaked havoc. She didn’t expect much at all from Alan Deaton, but this was right up his alley. Poison a man that he had helped so that maybe no one would know that.
“Who are you?” Gerard was looking around the room as he asked that question again.
Celeste figured that he was looking for something to call for help with. It was late enough that most of the patients were asleep, and the nurse assigned to this floor wasn’t allowing anyone down it. It would work for her.
“No one can figure out what is wrong with you as Mountain Ash powder doesn’t show up on anything. This place is good to pay off to make sure that no one looks too hard at the man who doesn’t leave his place and really doesn’t have the kind of security that makes people wanna pay attention. I mean, it’s a building full of various older people who don’t need to be watched over at a nursing home but also not good enough that they can fully take care of themselves in an apartment in a random place in the city.”
Gerard lunged for the phone on the dresser in the corner, falling out of his wheelchair and not making it. Celeste laughed, and she walked closer. She picked up the phone and unlocked it. She downloaded the file that she wanted that would clone the phone and send everything to a server that one of her tech guys could go through. It would be so easy to dismantle the Argent hunting family with this. She laid the phone down while it did what she wanted.
Celeste looked at Gerard, who was coughing up more black blood and other various fluids. She crouched and rolled him onto his back, it made the coughing worse, but she didn’t care. She laid a vial on his chest, and he grabbed it. It was only a few seconds of him looking at it for him to pop the lid off and down it. He swallowed it and just waited. It took only about a minute for blood to circulate out from the heart and then back into it. However, it would take the wolfsbane time to make it from his stomach into his blood and then start to move around. Celeste figured about five minutes. She stood up and walked over to the phone. She watched the progress as it finished up the task. She saw Gerard’s pallor becoming better, and so she waited. She was curing him of the Werewolf bite since it hadn’t been able to take full effect because of the Mountain Ash. Instead of being a Werewolf, he would be a human, with his cancer still in his body.
“Thank you,” Gerard said when he was able to sit up and wiped at the last of the black blood. He tried to stand up, but his legs gave out.
“There are no thanks needed. I healed you only to kill you.”
Gerard looked at her in shock.
“You’ve not figured out who I am. You’ve been so focused on the West Coast that you’ve not checked out the East Coast all that much, where my family and I have been slowly taking over everything. Celeste Gajos, Gerard, is my name.”
“Your family used to be something until you married a beast.”
“My family has married those you call beasts for a long time. One of my great grandmothers married one, but they could not have children, so one of her sisters’ kids took over. We tend to favor humans staying in the lead, but as my son Robbie is a Werewolf, there is no one else to take over. At least until now. I have a nephew, you know. His mother didn’t want him in this life, but that changed when he went out with his best friend, and that friend was turned. Then your family started to interfere. My nephew was kidnapped, you know, and beaten so bad that he now has PTSD.”
“No,” Gerard said.
“Yes, unlike the rest of my family where the Gajos name stays and the one marrying in takes a new one, she took her husband’s name. You attacked a police station with my brother inside, Gerard Argent, and then kidnapped my nephew. He’ll take over from me, you know. I can see it in his eyes now. He wanted to become someone who protects Werewolves from those who mean them harm just for existing. You did that. You gave me a weapon that I can make into someone who can do better than I at protecting the Supernatural from bigots and racists like you.”
Gerard’s breathing changed. The drug was taking effect.
“I laced that yellow wolfsbane with something, a poison mixed with a drug. It takes a few minutes to populate and hit capacity. The thing is that it is painful, and you’ll scream, so I made sure that you’ll just go to sleep and never wake up again.”
“Save me,” Gerard said.
“No. I won’t. You are a cancer that has injured most of the area. You are the reason why hunters kill innocents.”
“They are beasts, not innocents.”
“You are the beast. There was a time when I would not have been allowed to marry my husband. Your ways are no longer needed.” Celeste crouched over Gerard’s body as his eyes started to flutter as he tried to stay awake, knowing that death was coming if they shut. There was no way for him to fight it, though. He was going to die, no matter what.
When Gerard’s eyes shut, Celeste stood up. She didn’t need to see him die. She knew that he was going to. She cleaned the trace of what she had done on the phone and then wiped it for prints and wiped down the top of the dresser as well. She walked over and used her shirt to put his prints on the phone in places where they would be and smeared a few around, leaving the oils around before she put it back. She wiped the door handle on the outside when she slipped out. She hadn’t touched the door on the inside and used her shirt to open it, touching as little as possible. She had gotten good at this as time had gone on.
As soon as she slipped out, she went down the stairs. The place’s security was shit since it was why Christopher had chosen this place. Celeste got into her car three blocks away and then dialed Kaïs.
“Hello, my love,” Kaïs said.
“He’s asleep, dying as we speak. He’s also not that far. Have you engaged yet?” Celeste asked.
“No. I have not.”
“Good. Wait for me. Get everyone settled into the house.”
“You got it. Don’t make me wait long for you to arrive.”
Celeste laughed as Kaïs hung up on her. She looked around where she was and sighed. Celeste didn’t wonder if Christopher had actually been hoping that someone would find him and kill him, and he could be released from the burden of having to kill his father. It wasn’t hard to understand. Despite how much Celeste disliked her father, she didn’t hate him and would never want to be the reason why he died. That he had died happy had been a boon to her, even if she hadn’t seen him since she was a child.
Loving her father was an abstract thought. She loved the man who had taken her and Claudia to parks but hated the man that had not wanted to stay in this life. Celeste had hoped that Claudia would come home one day, but she never had.
The drive to Beacon Hills was short, and Celeste went to the address of the house that Kaïs had bought for them to live in while they were here and to keep on hand for any other visits.
“So, who knows that we are here?” Celeste asked as she entered the room that had been a library of some kind but was now their war room. The wards in the room were already strong. She looked at Adam and nodded her head in thanks. He was a gifted magic user, but he didn’t like using it, but he did for things like this, and that was about it. His family would have sucked him dry using his magic. It was why he had fled. He was afraid of what they would do to him.
Celeste had seen a scared boy, and as soon as she had found out his name, it wasn’t hard to move heaven and earth to get what she wanted. The FBI was more than happy to cede most Supernatural cases to her, so they didn’t have to have as big of a unit that dealt with it. She was happy with that. She talked with a man who seemed to have no sense of humor on the outside but inside, the man was a sweetheart.
“No one other than Noah and that deputy of his,” Kaïs said.
“Good. I want to keep it that way. I want nothing of this getting back to Stiles. We came because of the rumors of the Alpha Pack, and that is the only reason. I am going to make sure that Noah and Parrish understand this. We don’t need any of Alpha Hale and his pack trying to talk Stiles into coming. He’s loyal as hell. Look how he still worries about them.”
Everyone in the room nodded their heads, and Celeste was glad of it. Adam was glaring at a few of the guys who had looser lips than most. Celeste didn’t want to have to spell them to keep that secret, as it could be hard to discuss anything with the Hale pack about what had happened in the town. Celeste was mostly sure that Stiles had told her the truth. The thing was that he would leave things out to make some of them look better than they were.
“So the first thing that we need to do is declare ourselves to the Argents and then the Hales. Normally I would go with the Hales, but I think that finding and talking to Christopher Argent is better.” Celeste looked at the hunters in the room with her, and they all nodded their heads. Kaïs was last, and he agreed readily.
“Then I’ll reach out to him, and he can meet us on neutral ground. I know that Gerard is being looked for, and until everything is said and done, Chris and his daughter are being looked at hard. Adam, you and Kaïs will go with me. The rest of you get our gear ready. I want to be ready to move as soon as I get the approval from Argent and Hale to move in the territory.”
“One thing,” Amanda said from the back of the room.
“Yes?” Celeste asked.
“What about the wolf that lives with the Sheriff?” Amanda asked.
“I’ll talk to him and to Noah and see if he can be trusted with that and not tell his nephew.”
“Wait, that’s Peter Hale?” someone else asked. Celeste wasn’t paying attention well enough to know who it was.
“He was Talia’s left hand, wasn’t he?”
“He was way more than that,” Kaïs said.
“We can go through that once I meet with Derek about his pack. Depending on how things go here over the next few days and how the meeting with Argent goes, we might be leaving a team behind.”
“I’ll take that,” Adam said.
“Really?” Kaïs asked.
“I can do more good staying here to make sure that Stiles’ father is kept alive than I can with Stiles. It’s not like I can’t Skype him, and you always have a check-in once a month. We can up that to twice, and I can easily spend one of those weekends with him. I know that he’s attached to me, but I can’t stay there.”
Celeste nodded her head. Adam did well with being out and about. He was the one that she trusted most to go about and do what he needed to. He would sometimes move from one end of the country to the other following posts on sites about weird things happening across the country. Unlike the Argents, the Gajos covered all manner of Supernatural things. They were closer to that show about Sam and Dean than what the Argents were. Celeste hated that show, but it gave them a lot of ways to fly under the radar. Sometimes people noticed their weapons and thought they were fake and attributed them to the show.
The house that the Argents lived in was beautiful but very much a statement. Celeste parked in the horseshoe and waited as Adam and Kaïs got ready. It was easy for Adam to get ready, but Kaïs needed time to calm his ass down. Few things pissed him off, like the way that things were handled here in America. Celeste was doing this for him and for Robbie. Europe had plenty of families that kept everyone in check; America had none. Well before, they had none. Celeste was sure that he would be a force to be reckoned with once Stiles took over everything.
“You and Adam go up first. I don’t want to be seen as hostile,” Kaïs said.
“Sure,” Celeste said. She leaned over and kissed her husband. It helped to calm him down like nothing else.
The door opened as Celeste was getting out of the vehicle. Kaïs stayed close to it until Celeste came around.
“Can I help you?” Christopher Argent asked.
“Mister Argent, my name is Celeste Gajos,” Celeste said.
Chris paled, and he looked like he wanted to bolt. His eyes looked at Adam, looking him up and down before looking at Kaïs. Adam was probably unknown to him, but Chris had to know who Kaïs was.
“May we come in?” Celeste asked.
“Yes, of course. My daughter is in her room. Once I seat you in the living room, I will go up and grab her.”
“Of course.” Celeste smiled at Chris, hoping that she wasn’t freaking him out too much. She wanted a little of that, but people like him did weird things when they were too freaked out. She really didn’t want to have to dig a bullet out of her husband and kill Chris. Kaïs followed behind Celeste, with Adam taking up the rear. It was good and safe. There was no smell of wolfsbane to Celeste’s nose, and Kaïs followed along behind her easily. She could feel his steady presence.
The living room was pretty and decorated with a woman’s touch, obviously from Christopher’s now dead wife. Celeste hated Victoria Argent with the fire of a thousand suns, but nothing touched what she felt for her now. The woman had allowed a man to convince her to die when he would do worse than being bitten by a Werewolf and turned.
“Allison, this is Celeste and Kaïs Gajos and Adam Calavera.”
“Calavera?” Allison asked. She looked at them. “Why do we have two other hunting families here?”
“We don’t. Adam defected from his family and joined the Gajos when he was a teenager. He’s been raised as a son by Celeste. This is my daughter, Allison. She’s not stepped up as Matriarch yet, but she will when she graduates college. How can we help you today?”
“We are here to talk about the Alpha Pack and what you are doing to take care of it. We heard about it in San Francisco, how they took two of the Hale Pack.”
“And a Hale,” Chris said.
“We did not get the word about that. They took Peter?” Celeste asked.
“No. Word had reached South America about there being a Hale Alpha, and it seems that Cora Hale survived the fire and had gone to allies down there. She was on her way back to join her brother when the alphas found her.”
“I see. So that tells me that. What about what you are doing?”
“Nothing. The FBI is looking at me hard with everything that went on with my father and how he’s still missing.”
“I see. Well, then my family and I are willing to step in.”
“We don’t need your help,” Allison said.
“Then, you have a plan to do something about the Alpha Pack before they destroy a peaceful pack?”
“Derek is not peaceful,” Allison said.
“Really? What did he do that harmed humans?”
“He bit my mother.”
“Ah, I see. Well, then enlighten me on what happened. The word that I got from one of your father’s hunters in San Francisco is that your mother was trying to kill an innocent wolf. In the struggle, she was bitten after the alpha had been dosed with aerosolized wolfsbane your mother was using to kill the other wolf.”
“What?” Allison asked. She looked at Chris.
Celeste wondered what else Chris had kept from her about what happened with her mother’s death.
“And then your grandfather talked her into killing herself even though he was going to take the bite himself and then kill the alpha that bit him and take that from him. So do the Argents kill themselves when they are bitten, or don’t they?” Celeste asked.
“You came here to police our area,” Allison said.
“You are correct. Obviously, your family is not doing its job. I heard a rumor that your father had a human in the basement torturing him.”
“One of my men has loose lips, but then most of them have left. I have a few allies left and not enough men to take on the Alpha Pack.”
“Then you won’t mind us helping you. I have more than enough men and women brought with me to take care of them. Before they start to rack up bodies. Do we know why they are here?”
“No,” Chris said, and he didn’t seem to be lying.
“What is the modus operandi of the Alpha Pack. There have been packs like it in history that band together for a reason. What is this group’s reason?”
“From what Derek said to test the pack, but I’ve not talked to him since everything blew up. I tried to talk to Scott about where Stiles is. There is a rumor going around town that he’s in an insane asylum. If he was broken by what my father did, I want to step up and take care of him.”
“Who is Stiles?” Celeste asked.
“What do you know of what has happened in Beacon Hills since January?”
“Very little that I can trust.”
Chris took an hour to tell them everything, and it mostly matched Stiles’ version, with a lot of bias towards the Werewolves involved. She was happy to know that but also really hated Christopher.
“Also, I think that Derek has asked his uncle to seduce the Sheriff to make sure that he’s on their side.”
Celeste couldn’t help but raise her eyebrows at that.
“And you came to this conclusion how?”
“I saw them on a date,” Allison said.
“And it couldn’t be that he is doing it because he is attracted to the Sheriff. Thinking that every single thing that a Werewolf does has ulterior motives makes you just as horrible as your father in my eyes,” Celeste said.
“You don’t see them the way that I do,” Chris said as he looked at Kaïs.
“No, I don’t, but then again, I am married to one. He’s also Black. That wouldn’t have been something that was allowed in this country at one point. Racism is a good way to weed out those who don’t think like you, isn’t it? He’s different, so he’s not the same as me, and therefore he’s not worthy of the same freedoms that I have.”
“It’s not the same,” Chris said.
“No, it really is. Humans have those who act outside of societal norms. They end up in jail or psych help to make sure that they can’t hurt anyone. Your family burned down a house with humans in it. Children. One of the Hale children was human. Your sister killed a human to kill Werewolves. She seduced an underage minor and led him along until he gave up everything because he loved her. Then when revenge is sought, you condemn all Werewolves in town. By your own words, you shot at a beta with the intent to kill without knowing for sure if he was the one who killed Laura Hale. There used to be an order to everything, but your father corrupted it, and you see things through his jaded glasses, even though you condemn him. Think about it, Christopher. If what you are doing to a Werewolf would make you look racist if you did it to a Black man, a Chinese woman, or any other race on the planet, maybe what you are doing is racist. I’ll let you know when I am done in Beacon Hills but know this.”
Celeste stood up, and Kaïs and Adam were just a single second behind her.
“I will be keeping an eye here in Beacon Hills. I will be leaving someone behind along with a team. You can work together or apart, but if anyone dies and you cannot prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they harmed an innocent, I will make sure that you are found guilty of a crime that you will go to jail for.”
Chris and Allison said nothing as Celeste saw herself out of the house. A young man was standing on the other side of the street, his eyes locked onto the house like he was looking for something. The crooked jaw had Celeste fairly sure that it was Scott McCall. She grinned at him and waved. He took off quickly through the underbrush in a yard. Too quick for a human. Celeste wondered exactly what was being done about him.
“Who do you think he’s going to run to?” Adam asked.
“Deaton,” Celeste answered.
“Where are we going?”
“Deaton’s,” Celeste answered.
Kaïs laughed, and Adam reached out and shoved at Celeste’s shoulder. Celeste got into the passenger seat and let Kaïs drive. She was getting a headache from dealing with the two remaining Argents. She wasn’t sure if she really wanted to deal with them ever again. She would have to, and she knew it, but she might let Adam deal with them from now on.
“So, how do you want to play this?” Kaïs asked as he headed toward where the Druid’s business was.
“Let’s see what he does first.”
Celeste looked out the window as Beacon Hills passed her by. She saw the small changes as well as the things that had not changed at all. This was where her father had lived and died. Where her sister had lived and died. Celeste still wasn’t sure what had caused what happened to her, but she would make sure that it didn’t happen to Stiles as well. The kind of dementia that she had could affect Stiles. She would make sure that if it happened, he was cured quickly before it damaged him.
“Well, looks like you were right,” Adam said.
McCall was standing beside Alan Deaton as he stood by his own vehicle.
“I’m always right,” Celeste said.
Kaïs and Adam laughed.
“Are these the people you saw?” Deaton asked McCall as the trio got out of the SUV.
“Yes. She waved at me, and it made me feel bad.”
“She’s a hunter, Scott, and friendly to Werewolves.”
“She’s a hunter; they are not,” McCall said.
Deaton looked at McCall with a very paternal look on his face. He then looked at Celeste.
“Celeste Gajos, it’s been years, and I never thought I would see you in our sleepy Beacon Hills.”
“This is Argent territory, and even if they failed, it would go to the Calaveras before you.”
“Except when they aren’t coming and doing anything about it anyway. I’ve contacted Araya already and told her to keep her goons away.”
“Then you are here about the deaths?”
“What deaths?” Celeste asked.
“Dear me. Then why are you here?”
“The Alpha Pack. What deaths?”
“So far, there are two. Two young women.”
“I see, and how did they die?” Celeste asked.
“Threefold deaths,” Deaton said.
McCall looked at Deaton like he was kind of crazy. “Why are you telling them that? We don’t need them.”
“Then you can kill the Alpha Pack on your own? Without loss of life on the human or Werewolf side?” Kaïs asked.
“We don’t kill.”
“Ah, one of those,” Adam said.
“What?” McCall asked.
“There are ways to take out enemies who can be fixed or contained, but the Alpha Pack is neither. In just the short time we have been aware of who they are, we have found that they kill their entire packs to take power. What are you going to do? Cure them of that?” Celeste asked.
“They can be reasoned with,” McCall said.
“Holy fuck,” Adam said in Polish.
Celeste nodded her head in agreement.
“I came to talk about the Alpha Pack but also to check in on the human who was taken captive by Gerard Argent and tortured in his basement.”
“There was no human taken,” Deaton said.
“According to one of the men that Gerard had down there, a human was down there. A boy with a weird name.”
“Stiles?” McCall asked.
“That sounds like it might be right. I’ve also heard the rumor that he’s in an insane asylum here. If he needs help dealing with the trauma of what happened, I know many who are in the business and know about the Supernatural.”
“I’ll get him the help that he needs, now that I am aware.” Deaton did not look happy about that.
“But Stiles isn’t here. He went to New York,” McCall said.
“New York?” Deaton asked, and he looked at Celeste out of the side of his eye.
“Yeah, his aunt lives up there, and she’s some kind of rich person. I heard the Sheriff talking the other day that he got into some elite school there, and I know that money had to pay it off for him to go there.”
“He was second in your grade, Scott,” Deaton said.
“And? Lydia’s the only smart one.”
“So, what do we know of the three-fold deaths?” Celeste asked, getting the conversation back on track.
“I know little. The Sheriff’s department has been working on it since the first was found out in the Preserve. Beacon Hills Police Department is glad to be rid of it.”
“I would say a Darach,” Adam said.
Deaton looked at Adam with a keen eye just as a woman came out of the shadows near them.
“Oh,” she said as she saw Celeste.
“Marin Morrell, welcome,” Celeste said. She looked at Deaton next. “A lovely sibling reunion. Last I heard, you became an emissary to a pack. Did something happen?” Celeste asked.
Morrell said nothing but just stared at Celeste.
“I’ll return later,” Morrell said after a few minutes of uncomfortable silence.
“No, we were just leaving; I learned what I needed,” Celeste said.
“You’re a Werewolf!” McCall shouted as Kaïs turned to get back into the SUV.
“Yes,” Kaïs answered.
“But she’s…” McCall pointed at Celeste like they didn’t know what each other was.
“My wife,” Kaïs said.
“I thought that hunters had to kill themselves if they get bitten.”
“That’s the Argents and then the Calaveras,” Adam said.
“Yes, many older families who also originated around the same time as the Argents have a different view,” Morrell said.
“And you are really here to deal with the Alpha Pack and the person killing people?” McCall asked.
“Yes,” Celeste said. McCall didn’t need to know that she was here to deal with him and what he had done to a fellow Werewolf. Deaton had to suspect, but he held his balance in such regard that she doubted that he would warn his little protege.
“Then you need to deal with Derek as well; he’s not a good person.”
“I see. Well, I’ll be meeting with Alpha Hale after we leave here. So believe me that I always make sure that everyone is safe before I leave the area.” Celeste looked at Kaïs and nodded her head at him. He smiled back at her and slipped into the SUV. Adam was next and then finally Celeste, turning her back on the three. She knew that Morrell would go back to Deucalion that she was coming for him, but she didn’t care.
“Ready?” Kaïs asked.
“Sure thing,” Celeste said.
Celeste waited until they were a mile away before she turned on the device that Kaïs had dropped.
“How can we trust them?” McCall demanded.
“Who?” Morrell asked.
“Those hunters. I mean, he’s a Werewolf, but how can we trust them?”
“They have honor, and that honor has never been broken. Disrespect her, and you’ll find other packs coming to the area to deal with you. Even an alpha like Derek won’t be able to deny them the right to defend. She has stopped a lot of shit. It was only the suppression of information that I did during Peter’s slaughter that stopped the FBI’s team that is aware of the Supernatural from coming down. If they had known, they would have sent her.”
“Why does she have a say in anything?”
“Do you deny that the cops can tell you what you are and aren’t allowed to do?” Morrell asked.
“Well, they enforce the law.”
“So do the hunters. I know that your experience with the Argents made you distrust them, but she will get the law on her side, and you’ll go to prison, not a grave. There are more wolves in jail for their crimes that have been put there by her than anyone else. She uses the law, and if she can’t, then she kills. She’s more dangerous than anyone you have ever come across, Scott. Be afraid of her.”
Celeste grinned. She now knew why the FBI had not come down on Beacon Hills, or at least the right part of the FBI.
Celeste looked at the building Derek Hale’s loft was in. It was exactly how Stiles had described it, and there were two vehicles there as well, one was Derek’s and the other Peter’s. It was good as that meant that both of them were there. She wanted to know what Peter was like now instead of how Stiles saw him and how he would act around Noah. This was the best chance of her seeing the real Peter, or at least close enough to the real one.
“Let’s go,” Kaïs said.
Celeste looked at her husband, who was looking up at the building. Celeste couldn’t see, but she was sure that Kaïs was seeing someone looking at them. A flash of red in the dark said that it was Derek. She was glad he knew that they were there.
“He’s invited us up on the word of his uncle,” Kaïs said.
“Good. Good. Then let’s not keep him waiting.”
Celeste led them into the building and waited for Kaïs to tell her the floor. She knew which one, but she also wanted to not give that away. Adam had made sure that none of them smelled like Stiles before they had left New York. The private jet had been perfect to work the spell on. She would also make sure that Stiles didn’t call her for a little while, just in case. He would understand why, as well. If it got to the wrong people that Stiles was her nephew and connected with a pack, there could be a lot done to that pack to get him to get to her. She was happy with the state of the building. It gave her a good idea of where Derek’s head was at, and it would make what was coming a lot easier.
“Alpha Hale, thank you for granting us permission to enter your home,” Celeste said when she saw him at the end of the hall, standing in an open doorway.
“My uncle said you are representatives of the Gajos Pack.”
“As always, your uncle means to see you trip up over your words and see how you react. Bad wolf,” Celeste chastised. She caught Peter’s eye behind Derek.
Peter just shrugged his shoulders.
“This is the man who I think I will be leaving here with a team to make sure that nothing horrible happens around the Nemeton again. Adam Calavera.”
Peter’s eyes widened at that, and he grinned a little. Derek, though, growled.
“I’ve not seen my birth family in a long time, Alpha Hale. I left when it was shown that they were more worried about humanity than actual innocents. I joined the Gajos family not long after. I’ve been raised by Celeste and Kaïs since that time,” Adam said. He stepped around Kaïs and held out his hand to Derek to shake it.
Derek actually shook it, seeming happy about whatever he got from Adam.
“You can call me Celeste, Alpha Hale, and this is my husband, Kaïs.”
“We rate the head coming here?” Peter asked.
“You have an Alpha Pack that seems intent on doing more harm than good. So, yes, I am more concerned about making sure that no one is injured, wolf, or human. Where is your sister?”
“She’s staying with the Sheriff tonight. Peter will be joining them there later. I’m worried about her.”
“And you have every single right to be worried. I’ve come to deal with the Alpha Pack and the Darach that has killed twice so far. My main team is working on getting information. I’ll be going in the morning to talk to the Sheriff about everything. Mister Hale, will you be there?”
“Noah goes in late tomorrow. Why don’t I give you the address and you can come there? Best done away from prying eyes. He’s aware of the Supernatural and helped us save two of Derek’s betas and Cora. You are well informed for someone who just arrived in town.”
“Adam’s been close enough that he heard disturbing things. Do you know who the Alpha Pack is?”
“Deucalion, Kali, and Ennis so far. There is a set of twins that I don’t know.”
“Ah, those three are not a shock. Now the question becomes this, Alpha Hale, do you mind if we hunt them?”
“I just want to protect everyone. You are honorable. My mother talked about you when you moved the family here to the US. How she was looking forward to an era of peace between the Supernatural and the hunters. She had hoped you would take over for the Argents.”
“I moved as quickly as I could. Many are still extremely attached to being able to just kill Werewolves and other supernaturals for them to not revolt if I had taken over quickly. It’s the old adage of the frog and the water. Stick a frog in boiling water, and he’ll jump out. But put him in a pot of water that’s normal temperature and slowly heat it up; well, you’ll end up with frog soup that way. It’s best really to do that kind of thing with this as well. It’s becoming harder for a hunter to go rogue in the middle of the country to the East Coast. I’ll work a little faster on the West Coast, and working here to do that will be a good way. The only area where I might have issues is down south with the Calaveras. They feel like they are allowed into the US, but they are not.”
Derek nodded his head. He waved for them to fully enter the loft.
Celeste looked around and noticed that there was little there. It was barren like Derek was worried about someone coming in and taking everything, so he had nothing. It made Celeste’s heartache. She wasn’t sure what kind of shit he had gone through in the wake of everything, but it seemed like there was a lot that Laura Hale had dropped the ball on when it came to her brother. This was war footing. This was someone who didn’t put down roots. If the abandoned house and then the train depot were any clue, Derek didn’t want a place where someone could link to him. He didn’t want a place to live; he wanted a place to crash. Her looking into the building said that he did own it. That was at least something, and there were a few looks into making it someplace where people could live, but as long as the Argents were around, Derek wouldn’t. Anyone who lived here would be someone who could be used against him.
“There is not much here, but can I get you anything?” Peter asked.
“Water would be fine for all three of us,” Kaïs answered.
“Which of you is the Werewolf?” Derek asked as soon as he was seated at the end of his bed. The couch was left for the three of them, and it looked like Peter was content to stand up. He came back into the living room area with three bottles of water and a can of beer for himself. It looked like it was something fancy.
“I am,” Kaïs said.
“I thought that mom was joking about the Gajos allowing wolves into the bloodline.”
“We have a child, Robbie. He’s in France at college at this moment. He’ll not be taking over for me, though. He’ll be a good second. I think that my sister’s child would be willing to step up and run it. He’s magical, and we always favor those who have the magic to run the family. If there were no other children in this generation, Robbie would be taking over. He was quite happy to not be doing that, though. He doesn’t like having to sometimes make the decisions that I do.”
“Like what?” Derek asked.
“Like ending a family who founded hunting in France. I came to you for the information, Alpha Hale.”
“Derek, please. Every time you call me that, I want to turn to look for my mother.” Derek gave them a small smile.
“Derek. Adam heard some things that I don’t like, and I want to have my facts before going to the Sheriff. I’ve talked with the Argents and with Scott McCall and Deaton. I would love to understand what happened this past April with the Kanima and the human boy who was kidnapped and tortured in Argent’s basement.”
“Stiles was fine. He was injured, but he wasn’t injured too much,” Derek said.
“Bullshit,” Peter said.
Derek looked at him in shock. He raised an eyebrow.
“He had PTSD from that, and every single one of his friends abandoned him. Wait, no, he only had McCall. He left him, and no one talked to him. According to Noah, Stiles texted but never got a response. Then Stiles was pulled from school because of his Adderall needing a changing of dose, and no one fucking noticed that he wasn’t there.”
“Where were you during this?” Celeste asked.
“Looking for Boyd and Erica. I didn’t know until later that the Alpha Pack had them. I was trying to find them and rescue them. I thought that Scott had his friend.”
“Scott only cared about Allison, and when the cops started to come after them for what happened to Stiles, Scott blamed Stiles for telling his father that he was kidnapped, tortured, and then released as a message to Scott. One that he never got. He showed a few bright moments of greatness, but I regret ever biting that boy. I wish that I had bitten Stiles instead. At least he wouldn’t hate that part of himself.”
“Where is Stiles?”
“With his aunt. I’ve not looked into it out of respect for Stiles and Noah, but I know that he’s safe. Noah thinks that he’s in the best hands in the world. He was a little worried, but something happened not too long ago that calmed Noah down. Stiles made me promise to look after his father, so I’ve been doing that. I think that having Cora there is helping a little. Stiles is all that Noah’s had since his wife’s death, and being at odds with no child has been a little hard on him.”
“And he’s been made aware of everything?” Celeste asked.
“Yes, I told him everything. Including that I was the one that killed most of the people that were pinned on Kate Argent.”
“At least she was good for something, Peter Hale. Kaïs will talk to you about that. You might have to do something about the other deaths that were not part of your revenge spiral, but you are fine.”
Peter’s pose relaxed some, and he nodded his head.
“You, though, Derek, you need to get better at being an alpha. That means not only the Werewolves that are actually part of it but the humans who are on the sides. I know that you were never trained for this. Kaïs is an alpha in his own right, born and took over his family’s power when he was old and trained enough. We will be here for a while. Do you want that?”
“We need to figure out the hierarchy of your pack as well. That will help you settle. Do you plan on letting your uncle take over the part of the pack that he had before with your mother?”
“Yes,” Derek said.
“And who will take the better side of that?” Kaïs asked.
“I have no clue right now. The four other betas I have are underage, and I don’t think they would take it well. I was planning on looking around for other people who want to move packs or could benefit from being bitten.”
“What about a human?” Kaïs asked.
“There is a history of that in times when it wasn’t wise to add to the pack,” Peter said.
“Who are you thinking?”
“What about this, Sheriff?” Adam asked.
“I don’t know if he would like that,” Peter said.
“There is no harm in asking. He might like to be better kept in the loop. I’m sure that his son wants to come home someday. He would probably feel safer knowing what was going on than being left in the dark.”
“What are your plans for the Argents?”
“Well, right now, they have no one that they trust. I might just leave them here. Bind them to protect all innocents in Beacon Hills. I know that Argent Arms International needs Christopher to move around as needed, but he doesn’t need to live there, not with how we have for travel these days. It would be easy to have him travel as needed. I’ve not found the full scope of what was happening. I wasn’t aware of anything nearly as big as what I found when I heard the first rumors in February of what happened with Kate. I didn’t think that they were going after stable packs. Though I can see why. The larger the pack, the more stable the area, cut that off, and then there are more omegas. I will be sending two more Wolves back here once I get home after dealing with this mess. They will probably take over their former jobs, but they will not be in your pack.”
“Who?” Peter asked.
“Sean Wilcox and Matthew Roberts, they were part of your pack, from what I understand. They submitted to Kaïs after meeting Robbie last summer when he was home and doing some work at this side of the country.”
“They were part of Talia’s pack, and I wondered what happened to them. I’m glad they are not dead. They used to be Deputies. Good ones, and I know that the Sheriff had to be upset to lose them. They will be welcome here to help settle.”
“If you want to use them, once they are here to help you make decisions, Derek, that would be fine. They will answer to you and to Adam in times of crisis. This area is in flux at the moment. I would hate to see it descend into madness.”
Derek nodded his head. He looked at Peter and then at Celeste. He looked like he was thinking of something to say, but he wasn’t sure how to say it.
“What wrong?” Peter asked.
“I hurt Stiles.”
Celeste gasped in shock at that.
“Not physically. Peter knows that. I hurt him emotionally. I didn’t know that he had that many issues from Gerard Argent having him in his basement. I didn’t know that he was fully separated from everyone. I’ve failed as alpha, but I will do better. I want to do better.”
“Good. That’s the best thing that you can do. I’ll gladly help you, and then Wilcox and Roberts and your uncle will help the rest of the way,” Kaïs said.
Derek nodded his head, and his shoulders sagged like he had lost a great weight on them. Celeste watched him for a few more seconds before looking at Peter. Peter mouthed, thank you at her, and Celeste nodded her head.
“Let’s figure out what we need to do about the Alpha Pack. I want to know everything you know.”
“And who are you?” Kali demanded as Celeste stepped out of the shadows with Derek, Peter, Noah, Kaïs, and Adam behind her. “You are no Werewolf.”
“No, I’m not, but my husband is. Celeste Gajos at your service,” Celeste even competed it by bowing.
Kali opened her mouth to say something, but Deucalion made a noise, and she shut her mouth.
There was a pair of twin boys behind the three alphas. They looked a lot unsure of what was going on.
“We were supposed to meet with Alpha Hale and his pack,” Deucalion said.
“Yes, and I chose to come along. He has no right to tell me no. Not when you are violating every single law that exists between packs.”
“I’m above such laws.”
“I see. So if you are above them, then that means that we don’t have to keep them when dealing with you. Introduce me to your pack,” Celeste demanded.
“Do not speak to him like that,” Kali said.
“I will speak to him how I like.”
Deucalion took off his glasses, and his eyes were glowing red. There was madness in them. Celeste figured that he was insane. He had to be to think that taking power from betas like that was something that was done. Yes, when a beta challenged an alpha and lost, they lost their right to life, and their power was pulled back into the pack, but no alpha kept it like that. It was usually spread among the whole pack. A little boost of power for each of them. To keep it was a way of madness. Which explained why he thought that he had the right to come in and destroy the Hale Pack. The Hale alpha spark was something that was coveted. It was the oldest. Many stories spoke of how it came to be. Celeste had heard all of them, and she wasn’t sure which one she believed.
“You are going to die horribly,” Deucalion said.
Celeste smiled at him and waited for the movement of the twins before she nodded her head.
Adam threw out his hand, and Kali laughed when nothing happened. Celeste grinned at them before she stepped closer. Deucalion stepped forward and then hit a wall. He looked down to see the Mountain Ash barrier that Adam had thrown.
“You trap us like rats?” Ennis demanded.
“Well, it’s no better than what you deserve.”
“We will kill the twins,” Kali said.
“Good luck with that,” Adam said.
Celeste looked at the line that kept the main three from the twins. It hadn’t been hard to track down the pack they had come from and found out how they were treated by the few surviving members. They were trapped by someone they thought was going to free them. Deucalion’s hand went slack on his cane, and Celeste grabbed it quickly, drawing it out of the circle. Now there were no weapons in there.
“What do you think this will do?”
“Well, for starters, the FBI wants you. They have been looking into the packs you’ve killed over the years. So the first thing that is going to happen is that you three are going to have your alpha sparks taken from you. It’s going to happen tonight, and we will give them back to magic to cleanse them. No wolf will gain them. Then the twins will tell us what really has happened over the last little while, and we are going to then decide if you are going to live or die. The FBI will take either, by the way. I figure that once the alpha spark is gone, we can make it look like you killed each other. It would be easy; wounds are easy to die from if you are mortally wounded during a fight. Or Adam could spell you to fight each other. That might work best. Less chance of someone doing something that lets the FBI know that someone else was here. Though they will know the truth as I will tell them. But it’s just best this way, you know. So Deucalion, what is your choice?”
“I was turned into this by a hunter.”
“Yes, and that hunter will pay for his crimes. You went the way of madness and insanity. Though you are sane.”
“Do you not want to know who the Darach is?” Deucalion asked.
“Ah, bargaining. Don’t worry about that. I figured out who she was pretty easy. It’s easy to track that kind of thing. She’ll be dealt with. She’s doing it to power up to take you out, by the way. Well, at least Kali. I mean, Kali did try and kill her. If you had actually killed her instead of leaving her for dead, she would be dead. Poor Julia. She nearly died, but she got the power from a virgin sacrifice that had been made to the Nemeton. So Kali, how do you feel about the woman you used to be in love with aiming for you. Though I can tell that you have a new person to fuck you. Does Ennis give you what you want?”
Kali hissed and jumped at the barrier, but she was thrown back to the other side of it, bounced off it, and landed on her face in the dirt. Celeste laughed at that.
“Didn’t anyone ever teach you not to play with your prey?” Deucalion asked.
“Oh, yes, but see, that was also when the prey wasn’t right where I wanted it. So you are stuck where I want you, and no one can break that line; there is magic instilled in it. Your emissary can’t break it, can you, Marin?”
“No,” Marin said as she stepped out of the trees that had been hiding her.
“Leave now and go back to whoever you report to. Tell them who you have been helping and get help. Become the kind of Druid that actually helps, and I’ll not come after you.”
Marin nodded and disappeared.
Celeste had already got Deaton and Marin worked out on how to deal with them. Deaton’s care of the Nemeton wasn’t something that was balanced at all. It was his version of balance and not the actual balance that was right for magic. It was much like Dumbledore in Harry Potter and his actions for the greater good.
“How do you feel about things now, Deucalion?” Celeste asked.
“I’ll just get the alpha power again,” Deucalion said.
“I think not. Eichen has nothing on the place you are going. You’ll never escape. You might even be allowed to talk with others, but there are no alphas where you are going. There are only omegas as no one has a pack. Choose now, life or death.”
“Life,” all three of them said.
Celeste nodded her head and smiled before she looked at Adam and nodded her head.
Adam stepped up to the barrier and threw dust into it. All three of them were out like a light.
“How long will the ritual take?” Noah asked.
“A few hours to get it fully ready. Kaïs, Derek, and Adam will be the only ones staying for it. We can all head back to your house, Sheriff.
Getting Peter and Noah back to the house was easy. Celeste left the SUV for the other three to come back in after the FBI had arrived to take care of the Alpha Pack and the twins. She didn’t mind them just taking care of all of that. No one was in there that Deucalion could pay off or deal with in any other fashion.
“What about Gerard?” Noah asked as soon as they were inside the house.
“What about him?” Peter asked.
“His body was found. Heart attack,” Noah said.
“Yes, well, there is no one that can pin that on me, Noah. He hurt Stiles, and he was going to pay for that.”
Peter nodded his head and then stopped. He looked between them and looked worried.
“Mieczysław Gajos will take his spot at the top of the Gajos ranks when it’s time. Until then, he can stay Stiles Stilinski, Peter.” Celeste could see the abject horror spread over his face. She wondered if he was thinking about when he had offered up Stiles the bite.
“You’re his aunt? That’s why Noah never said her name. Fucking hell, and he ran right to you and spilled everything?”
“No, I was talking with Adam about things here when he heard me. Well, I should say he found the books about the Gajos family, painted us with the Argent brush, and set about running away back to here. Then he heard something that made him understand that I’m not like the Argents, and he told me what the Alpha Pack was doing here. He’s quite a powerful human. However, Peter, there is something that you need to understand. Who Stiles is to me and who Mieczysław is are not to be known by anyone. Noah thinks you will protect him, even from Derek. He’s not said he wants to be a hunter, but he’s joining Assisi Academy, and his classes are all around magic and hunting with a few fun ones thrown in. He’s thinking of going to France to the college there that Robbie is at. He’s not going to be influenced by me or anyone else. I will destroy this world to protect him.”
“And you killed Gerard so that Stiles never has to fear him again.” Peter looked pleased about this. Like it was the best news that he had ever heard.
“Yes, but also because Gerard has caused a lot of pain. His daughter was the product of what he was. He made her what she was. She’s the reason so many packs are dead. She was afraid of causing one too many, so she stopped and just hunted omegas after that, so there is not much on that side. We are sure that she is dead?”
“I ripped her throat out.”
“Did you see the body at the funeral?” Celeste asked.
“No. It was a closed casket,” Noah said.
“Hmm. I’ll deal with that. If your claws went too deep, there is magic in the turning of a human. She could be dead, or she could be alive, and a Were of some kind.” Celeste looked at Noah. “You’ll be getting two new Deputies. Well, two old ones. I know that you need a few more bodies. Do you think that Wilcox and Roberts will be good to help in the interim?”
“They would. I thought they worked for you?”
“I’ll be sending them here, and working for you will be good. As far as official things go, they will not break the law on that. They will answer to you on everything human, but they will answer to Adam and him to Kaïs and me on the Supernatural. They will never go against your though. They will always tell you what they have planned. Sell it as they offered to help since you are down many seasoned deputies, and once the new ones are trained, you can let them go. Do you think that will work?”
“Get the FBI to lean on the State agency some, and yes.”
“I can do that. The FBI will deal with the Alpha Pack and everything to do with them. They will stand trial for the slaughter of their packs. Enough evidence can be made up to make it stick. It’s not like they will want to try and tell the truth. That would get them thrown away for being crazy. The FBI tries their hardest to do things on the up and up, but there are times that it’s just not gonna work. They slaughtered their packs, and there was enough DNA left by them that they will be matched to it, but the official cause is death by animal mauling. So they will be the ones set about actually making that killing.”
“I never realized,” Peter said.
“The FBI tries to stay out of it, but they have those in the know, and they deal with it. They would have tapped the Argents to do it, but they didn’t like Gerard but could never pin anything down on him until you stepped in, Noah. They would have loved him alive, but I don’t want him spreading his poison. He would have been hung in the old days by his own hunters. If Gerard’s wife had not died of a disease, I think that Kate could have turned out different.”
“Or there was something wrong with her, and Gerard just made her worse. I know of people who hate Wereweovles but would never have sex with one, especially a teenager. It takes a special kind of person who thinks that it’s the way to go.”
“Yet, we see it all the time in war-torn countries.” Celeste stood up from the couch and headed into the kitchen to get drinks for them all. When she came back, Noah and Peter were talking in low tones with their heads together.
Celeste thought that maybe it was the time that Noah moved on. With no Stiles around, he was lonelier. Celeste knew that Cora spent some time here, and if she ended up staying, that would be good for Noah, but he needed someone for himself, not a child that he couldn’t lean on for support.
Peter Hale was nothing if not loyal to those that he loved. He would be someone who would protect Noah in the coming days. It was a good thing, but Celeste wasn’t sure that Stiles would thank her for shoving a Werewolf at his father. Though Stiles had asked Peter to take care of him before he left. She wondered if he chose that for his father, knowing that Peter would be loyal above all else to him.
Beacon Hills was going to need time before it was able to have Celeste and Kaïs leave it. She was happy to stay there as long as it was needed. Her hunters ran themselves when she wasn’t there to direct them around. Celeste would never be happy to just stay in New York and tell them all where to go.
Home called to her, though. Seeing Stiles happy and at school was calling to her in a way that nothing else did. She had not been too long with all of her kids out of the nest as it were, and now she had another that was used to not having a parent over them as much as Celeste and Kaïs had been before they had left for Beacon Hills. Stiles was happy, though, and his daily check-ins were good for both of them.
Stiles had not asked about anyone but his father and Peter, though, which helped Celeste decide that maybe a little bit of love between them would heal them both the rest of the way. Noah deserved love. He still wore Claudia’s ring, and Celeste was happy with his devotion to her, but it was time for him to move on. It was time for Peter to get a little something besides what he had already got as well.
Maybe Celeste had a few things to do here besides fixing what was wrong with the Supernatural in Beacon Hills.
Stiles ran out of the trees; he could hear Princess barking at him even over his headphones. He stopped and looked at the group of people that were standing around the front of the house. He stopped and felt Princess run into the back of his legs. He stumbled forward, letting out a bark of laughter as Princess came around the front of him and jumped up to lick his face. Stiles dropped to his knees so that she could get to him. She was getting bigger, so much bigger, and Stiles loved her so much. She was his faithful running companion. Every afternoon when he got home from school, he took a run on the path that had been laid out in the woods around the house’s grounds. It wasn’t the best route as it was made for fucking Werewolves, but Stiles was getting the hang of it. There were a few points where running at top speed, the turns were too quick. Kaïs had cleared the path when he and Celeste had bought this place a long time before they actually moved into it. They used it as a base for the first teams they sent to try and get legitimate work and worked on cleaning up the United States and how the hunters there took care of everything.
Princess ran over to the group when Stiles just stayed on his knees.
“And this is Princess Shepkita, the newest pet of the house,” one of the hunters said.
“Yes, where is Celeste’s nephew? I would have worried about her trusting us, but I heard from other teams that they had no clue what his name was either.”
Stiles perked up at that because he knew that voice. He had forgotten about Wilcox and Roberts being in his aunt’s employ, so he jerked his headphones out of his ears. The playlist was long over, so the headphones were doing nothing. He got to his feet and started to walk toward the group. He had so many questions about Wilcox and Roberts and especially how they just up and left. Stiles’ head was spinning as they had left only a few months after the Hale fire had been declared an accident. The little things that Stiles had thought were strange about Wilcox especially, were now making a hell of a lot of sense.
“I don’t think you can keep up with Celeste’s nephew,” one of the other guys said.
“You’ve never met the son of one of my former bosses. That kid nearly stumbled onto what we were, and he was eight. We both had to do a bit of fancy footwork to make sure that an eight-year-old didn’t out us to his father,” Roberts said.
“Yeah, about that,” Stiles said as he squeezed between two of the hunters. There were a few faces he didn’t know, so they had to be part of the team that had been out and about working a long case with Wilcox and Roberts.
“Fucking hell,” Wilcox said.
Roberts actually looked like he wanted to cross himself.
“So mom’s sister is fucking badass,” Stiles said.
Roberts and Wilcox both looked at a few of the other guys, their eyes asking if this was Celeste’s nephew without saying the words.
“Yeah, this is Celeste and Kaïs’ nephew,” the main guy said. He looked at Stiles. “I thought your father taught you better manners than that, Stiles.”
“Oh, he did, and the rest of us just fucking tried to make sure he didn’t get into damned case files. You’ve got a lot to tell us, kid,” Wilcox said.
“Dude, I have so fucking much to tell you. And I have a lot of questions.” Stiles looked at the two of them. He knew that they were both good at hiding, but Stiles had seen too much. “So bitten and born?” Stiles asked as he looked at Roberts and then at Wilcox.
“Wait…you used to work for the Sheriff?”
“Yeah, we submitted a few reports that spoke of how the Hale fire wasn’t an accident, even anonymous tips to the FBI, but nothing came of it, so we left Beacon Hills. He was the best boss we ever had before Celeste.”
“I remember Celeste telling dad that she had picked you two up, but I never connected that to her snagging you because you’re wolves.”
“How did you find out about all of this?”
“Oh, that’s a story for dinner time. Stiles go get cleaned up. I know you don’t have homework per se, but do you have any papers you need to work on?”
“Nah, I got that shit done during my free period after lunch. I kind of like not having a lot of homework, though the teachers also make sure that we don’t really need it to learn. The reading I get done easily enough while in between classes. I really like Assisi Academy,” Stiles said.
“Good, good. It’s a great school. Many of us who come from hunting families went there.”
Stiles nodded his head as it was something that he knew.
“Celeste wants you to call her, Wilcox, you, and Roberts. Might as well take Mischief along with you as he’ll just listen in. Oh, he’s got full access to the whole place, and he gets into the places no one wants him into at the worst moments. It’s how he found out about Celeste.”
“Dude, they know exactly what I am like. Wilcox is the one who taught me how to pick locks.” Stiles laughed at the looks that Wilcox got for that from all of the hunters that were all around them. He grabbed Wilcox and Roberts’ hands and dragged them along with him. He knew that they were just going along with it since it wasn’t like they actually couldn’t stop him from pulling them. Stiles chattered about his school and how happy he was to be here while at the same time making sure that they didn’t realize where they were going.
Princess figured it out and took off on a run through the halls. Stiles’ library was exactly as he had left it.
“Well, this is a flashback to you during school,” Wilcox said.
“His father’s office when he learned about science and not just the fun stuff.” Roberts didn’t sound shocked at the state of Stiles’ library.
“Yeah, well, this is all magic. I have magic, and Kaïs is making sure that I understand everything that I could do wrong if I fuck up. So yeah, this is all the magic books in the house. It’s pretty fucking cool. You can call Celeste on my computer. I need to check in with dad anyway, and I’m sure they are together.”
“Wait…they are in Beacon Hills?” Roberts asked. He dropped down into the chair that was in front of Stiles’ laptop. Wilcox grabbed a chair and dropped it down beside him. Stiles just moved to stand between them, leaning forward to get his computer up and running. He logged into Skype and found that his aunt was already online. She didn’t seem to be in a call, so he connected with her.
“Stiles, I’m waiting on…” Celeste trailed off as she turned to see that Wilcox and Roberts were in the view of the camera. “Never mind. I should have guessed. How did it go?”
“Good. The case was pretty open and shut. The FBI has the stalker in custody along with enough stuff to keep the guy in jail for years. He wasn’t the Werewolf, though. He had a young kid under his thrall and was using him to track her. He’s getting help from a close pack. His family pack isn’t one that I would ever want to raise anyone else again. Thankfully, all of the pack adults are above the breeding age; at least the females and the other younger ones have run for the hills as soon as possible. The locals are keeping an eye on them. They won’t get their hands on anyone else in the town.”
“Good. So you’ve met my nephew many times.”
“Yes, I apologize for everything I taught him now.” Wilcox sounded a little bitter about that.
“I told you that you would regret it one day,” Roberts said.
Wilcox grunted like he agreed but didn’t want to say it out loud. “How long are you in Beacon Hills?” Wilcox asked instead.
“Kaïs and I will be coming home soon, but Adam is staying here for a while. We’ve got a few issues that need someone besides the Argents in town. The Alpha Pack has been taken care of with no loss of life on our side.”
“Good.” Stiles watched the screen, looking for evidence of where they were. He had no clue where his father was. He wanted to see him. Celeste said there was no loss of life, but that didn’t mean that someone hadn’t been hurt.
“What’s going on in Beacon Hills?” Roberts asked.
“I didn’t want you two distracted with your case, so I made sure that no one told you. We’ve got a fractured pack, an omega wolf who refuses to learn how to be a wolf. He was bitten against his will, but thankfully he didn’t die of bite rejection. The Argents have made a fucking mess of the town. Gerard Argent is dead.”
“Who finally got the best of that old fucker?” Wilcox asked.
“I did. He…” Celeste looked at Stiles in the camera, and her face went soft. “He took Stiles and beat him to hell. I wasn’t going to allow his fucking ass to live. Stiles can explain more. We also had a Darach in town trying to set up a list of sacrifices that would have given her enough power to take out the Alpha Pack in revenge, but she would kill fifteen people to do it. I can’t stand that shit. I took care of that easily. The fledgling Hale Pack is getting its feet set.”
“Laura should not have a fledgling pack,” Roberts said.
“Ah, well, Laura was killed. Derek killed the alpha who killed her and took his family Spark back. Peter’s awake and healed up, and Cora has been found. That’s the fledgling pack. I am sending you two here. The Sheriff’s department took a few hits over the last six months, and they have too many green Deputies. So I want you two to work for him. You will answer to Adam on everything that we handle and Noah on everything legal. You are not to keep a damned thing from him.”
“Of course. So we will get the jobs with no issue?”
“You have to go to a refresher course that’s a week-long to make sure that everything that’s changed since you left has been covered, but I know you can pass everything else. They will give you the exit exams while you are doing the learning part. So yeah, you’ll get the jobs. We have a house here that you will live in. Everything is set for your arrival.”
“When do we need to head out?” Wilcox had grabbed a sheet of paper and was writing on it a few things.
Stiles tried to read it, but it was a language that he didn’t know. He made a mental note to figure it out. He wondered if it was one that only he knew, or Werewolves had a language that they all learned alongside English.
“A week. Stay there, and Stiles will tell you what he knows about everything, and then you can come and join us. How does that sound?”
“Sounds good. Do we need to bring anything?”
“I sent Stiles a list of books that I want copies brought here for. Not the originals. Peter’s chomping at the bit for a few of them, but he can wait. I don’t trust the postal system with even copies of these things.”
“I’ve got the books ready to go. They were gonna take them into town and get the copies made off of scans, but I haven’t had a chance for the scans,” Stiles said.
“That’s fine. I’ll do that. I can take my time with it,” Roberts said. He plucked the pen from Wilcox’s hand and wrote something below it. Wilcox nodded his head and jerked the pen back, and added something else that made Roberts laugh.
Stiles soaked that up. These two had been like that, and it was like having a little bit of home with him here. He smiled at Celeste when she frowned at him. He shook his head.
“Okay, now to get to the threats. No one here in town, outside of three people, knows that Stiles is my nephew. Noah, of course, does. Peter Hale and a Deputy that Noah has read into everything to make sure that he has someone who can help him. Jordan Parrish. If you bring up Stiles but don’t want them to know who he is, use Mischief or his real name.”
“Of which you two are still not allowed to ever fucking utter,” Stiles said.
“What was that about?” Celeste asked.
“We were the only ones at the station who could say his name, so one summer it was all that we called him. It was just before his mother died. He kept on getting so worked up when we did it. It kept his mind off of Claudia. We were good at that kind of shit. Text if you need anything.”
“Sure will. Stiles, tell them about Derek, or I will,” Celeste said before she turned off Skype.
“Derek Hale?” Roberts asked.
“Yes. He’s a good guy; I know that, but…I tried to ask him out, and he was just mean when he turned me down. It was not my finest moment, but I can’t regret it. I was part of his pack, or at least I thought that I was pack adjacent. He fucking destroyed me when he turned me down, and that’s what got me here. Then I snuck around and found out that Celeste and Kaïs are hunters. I was gonna run like fucking crazy, but I snuck in to listen to Celeste on a call, and I figured out that they are nothing like the Argents. Then I found out Kaïs was an alpha. Which he accidentally outed himself before that. I was having a nightmare, and he burst into my room with glowing red eyes. I thought it was part of my nightmare as when I looked again, there were no red eyes in the room.”
“He was obviously worried about you.”
“Yeah, he thought someone had got through security and was trying to kidnap me. So I’m magical, and I love it. You guys should see some of the things that I have learned, but I can’t do them in the house.”
“We have plenty of time for that over the week. So this is Princess Shepkita?” Roberts asked.
Stiles looked down to see that Princess had her head in Roberts’ lap.
“Yeah, she was a pup that ended up being female in a group that was recused. I bonded with her, and so Celeste and Kaïs let me keep her. She was Princess from the start, but when we found out her breed, well, that’s where the Shepkita came from as I just couldn’t help it.”
“No, really?” Roberts asked.
Stiles laughed and shoved at his shoulder before he dove in for a hug. Roberts hugged him back easily. Next was Wilcox, and he even scented Stiles. It was good.
“YO! Stilinski!” a voice called out.
Stiles stopped and turned around. He looked at the people as he got to the side of the sidewalk so that no one ran him over. He was heading back to the point where he would be heading toward the last bus stop that would take him to the road that he needed to get home. His Jeep was getting an overhaul in the school, and he didn’t like to drive it to and from school anyway. Someone always took him to the drop-off point, and more often than not, the last stop for the bus was where someone met him.
Movement had Stiles looking up, and he snagged a puck out of the air. He grinned and looked for faces that he knew.
“Dude!” Stiles yelled as he rushed Sam to hug him as he finally spotted him. Brad moved Stiles and Sam as they hugged.
“You got…ripped,” Sam said when he pulled back. Brad and Brandy were there to hug him next.
“New York has agreed with me.”
“Did we really see you heading into that fancy assed school last week?” Brandy asked when she finally let him go.
“Assisi? Yeah. Guys, they have a gym class hockey team. I mean, we play each other, but it’s still a lot of fun. Their hockey team is pretty much undefeated in other high schools in the area.”
“What are you doing?” Sam asked.
“Well, I was heading home. I had a study session after school, and so I’m a little later than normal. Let me text them to let them know that I won’t be home. We don’t need my family coming to find me.”
“So, you came to stay with your aunt?” Brad asked.
Stiles nodded his head. He texted Celeste and Kaïs what he was doing and then texted the head of security for the grounds. It was just best to tell them as they told everyone else that he wouldn’t be home. Someone would take Princess out on a run.
“What happened with Derek?” Sam asked.
“Derek shot me down hard, and all of my friends sided with him, so there was no one, but dad left in BH for me. So I came here. I have made more than a few friends at school. What are you guys doing all the way out here?”
“Hitting up a shop down the road, and then Sam thought he saw you in the crowds, so we followed. Wanna come back to our apartment? We can do dinner together, and then one of us can drive you where you need to go.”
“Home. If you guys don’t mind, I can direct you to my place, and then you guys know where to find me if you wanna hang out. I can show you my wing.”
“Wing?” Brandy asked.
“Well, it’s the family wing, but one of the floors I have pretty much to myself.”
“Oh…wait, where do you live?” Brad asked.
Stiles rattled off the address and then went on a tangent on the grounds. He stopped, though, when he saw the way that his three friends were looking at him.
“What?” Stiles asked.
“You live with the Gajos family?” Brad asked.
“Why?” Stiles asked.
“She was on campus earlier this year when someone was going fucking crazy. It was like the spring, from what we’ve heard. A team of them worked with the FBI to find a guy who kept attacking people who were moving around late classes. I’ve heard about them. No wonder you have bulked up as your family is fucking crazy. After hearing the rumors, we looked them up. They moved here from Poland and set up everything to do with their security business. I’ve seen videos of them on YouTube,” Brad said.
“Really?” Stiles would have to look those up. He knew that once things were on the Internet, it was nearly impossible to get them off. Still, it could be good to see what people said about them. He was going to be stepping into that.
“So is that what you are going to do? Or go home and follow your dad after college?” Brandy asked.
Stiles started to move them out of the little alcove they were in. Brad snagged him when he started to go the wrong way. Stiles told them about what Assisi was teaching him, at least the normal stuff. It was all a lot of fun talking about it with people who gave a crap about him. Stiles wasn’t sure that he could go back to a set of friends like he had in Beacon Hills. They only cared about him when he was doing something that they wanted. He sighed and waved off Brandy when she gave him a weird look. She backed off with a smile.
Hours later, Stiles was lying on Sam’s bed while Brad and Brandy went out to get dinner. He was flipping a hockey puck up into the air. He felt the bed dip and looked up to see Sam looking at him with a weird look.
“So you are unattached?” Sam asked.
“Yeah, there isn’t anyone in school who has caught my eye; why?”
“Wanna go on a date this weekend?” Sam asked.
Stiles raised his eyebrows at that, but he nodded his head. He sat up, and Sam ducked in quickly and gave him a chaste kiss on the lips.
“Seriously?” Stiles asked.
“Yes, I’m serious. You are cute as hell, and I’ve always felt like I would like you like that, but we weren’t close, and I wasn’t sure if you leaned that way. Brandy tried to get me to ask you out before we left for college. I think I could have done long distance, but with California, the age of consent is eighteen while here it’s seventeen, and while there are no Romeo and Juliet exceptions, you are seventeen, and I’m only eighteen. I don’t know if it will go anywhere, but…I don’t want to lose our friendship if it fails.”
“We won’t,” Stiles said. He reached out and pulled Sam to him again. He pressed their lips together. “I’ve never…done any of this.”
“That’s okay, I promise.” Sam was looking at Stiles like no one else had ever looked at him. He swallowed as it made him feel a little weird but a good weird.
“So explain this to me again,” Celeste said as she looked at him through the computer.
“I’m going on a date.”
“A date…with who?”
“Samuel Snyder. He started at a college in Long Island in September, and he’s from Beacon Hills. He, Brandy, and Brad are all going to the same school. Sam’s been out for a while, but only among those he’s close to. I just…we promised to stay friends if this doesn’t work out.”
“It’s just out of the blue,” Kaïs said.
“Not really. I mean…Look, I liked Lydia because she was safe. She was never going to see me. Then she and Scott kissed while she was still with Jackson, and I really saw what kind of girl she was. I moved onto Derek pretty quickly after that. He was there when I needed him, and it was easy to want him. I might not have that with Sam, but there is something there.”
“Yes, Wilcox told us that he caught you smelling like teenage arousal when you got home that night. He didn’t realize that it was more than normal. So you are going out where?”
“I have no clue, actually. He said that it was all a surprise.”
“How much do you trust him?”
“More than I think I ever trusted Scott. I just…we were all friends, and then things got really weird. I played hockey with them. Brad and Brady are twins, and I always assumed that Brad and Sam would get together, but I am not sure about that now. I just…they are a little of home, and everything back home makes me wary of trusting anyone. They were never in this. They stayed the hell away from it all. The whole not their circus, not their monkeys’ type thing.”
“Do you want this? You aren’t doing it because he’s a college kid, and he’s hot?” Kaïs asked.
“Hell no. Fucking hell. I don’t do that kind of shit. My obsession with Lydia was her brain. Yeah, she was hot, but it was all her brain. Sam’s smart.”
“So you like the smart ones,” Celeste said.
“Yeah, I guess. Derek’s smart: he just hides it.”
“He’s scary as fuck.”
Kaïs laughed and shoved at Celeste so he could get into the camera view a little more. “You know that even across this, I can read your heartbeat, right?”
“Oh, fuck you,” Stiles said. He felt the blush coming up on his face.
“So male and smart really gets you going, and it doesn’t matter on the age. Okay. Well, just one more thing. Jordan Parrish.” Celeste looked a little worried about something.
“He’s not dead, is he?” Stiles didn’t think that he could take more Deputies dying.
“Well…yes, but also no.”
“Okay. Are you saying yes and no like Peter or something else?” Stiles asked.
“Jordan Parrish died while he was in the military. He was found alive after an explosion of a bomb he was defusing. He was called lucky, and after it, he left the military even though he could give no reason.”
“Wait.” Stiles grabbed a book he had been reading a few days before. He pulled it over and opened up to the page he had marked to ask Celeste about. “Hellhound.”
“Holy shit. That is some felony-level shit that we have going on there if we pulled in a Hellhound.”
“Agreed,” Celeste said.
“Is he staying?”
“He still feels like he needs to, so who knows what is going to come. I’ve gotten to talk to the Hellhound inside of him. I’ve called in a favor from France, and a friend will come and train Parrish enough to where the Hellhound can guide instead of taking control. It’ll help.”
“Cool. So dad’s not in danger from him?”
“No. There is a volume solely on Hellhounds in the library in the staff wing. I’m sure you can find it. It’ll help you not freak out.”
“Cool. Okay, so I’m dressed and ready. He’ll be here in a few minutes. I need to go.”
“I’m telling your father you are going on a date with an older man,” Kaïs said.
“That’s not the threat you think it is, old man. He already knows.” Stiles reached out and clicked the mouse to shut Skype. He laughed as he got up. He looked at his jeans and his overshirt. Sam had told him to dress comfortably, so he had done it. He had tried to change who he was a little to get Lydia before realizing that it was worth it, and he hadn’t done it since. Sam liked him for who he was, at least what he knew of him. Stiles knew that if things got serious between them, he would have to tell him everything, Brad and Brandy as well.
Stiles rushed down the stairs and out of the house, running toward the gatehouse. He could see headlights down there and figured whoever was on guard duty was interrogating Sam.
“Ready?” Stiles asked as he butted between the guard and Sam.
Sam laughed, so it seemed like he wasn’t too upset by what was going on with the guy talking to him. Stiles looked up to see that it was actually Roberts. Stiles glared at him. He looked back at Sam.
“I am ready.”
“I was just telling Sammy here that I am going to be heading back to Beacon Hills to work for your father again as a Deputy and that I can easily give him a report.”
“That’s not cool. Come on!” Stiles said.
Roberts just laughed as he walked away. Stiles got into the car and looked at Sam for a few seconds. He blushed and leaned over and kiss his cheek. Sam turned his face and kissed Stiles’ cheek as well.
“So, he was serious?”
“Yeah, they used to work for dad, and then they moved on and ended up meeting my aunt, and as soon as she could, she stole them from their other job. After everything this spring, my aunt is sending them to help train up the new deputies since he needs help. She’s also making sure that dad doesn’t die.”
“Yeah, Beacon Hills went through a lot of deputies there for a little while. I know you were close to them. One day, you’ll tell us about it, right? The stuff you’ve been keeping.”
“Yeah, someday,” Stiles said.
“Good. Not before you are ready or trust. I know how trust is with you, Stiles.”
Stiles nodded his head. He looked out as the trees passed before they hit the streets and then the city proper.
“Where are we going?” Stiles asked.
“You’ll see. I know I need to take you home, but how late?”
“Since it’s a Saturday midnight, but I have to text my aunt if I’m staying out past ten.”
“You will be, but I’ll have you at least on the grounds before midnight. Do you have to be in your room or the house?”
“Nah.” Stiles pulled out his phone to text his aunt. He got a kissy face back. “Ugh. Though I guess it’s better than if I was at home. Can you see all of the deputies figuring out what car I am in and then pull us over or watch us?”
“I can see that happening. Even your father. Though, I guess this isn’t much better, though, is it?”
“What do you mean?” Stiles asked.
“I think we are being followed.”
Stiles looked back, and he did see a car with a few of the guys in it. He frowned at them and flipped them off. One of them flipped him off back. They were too obvious, so he was sure they were just fucking with him. He wasn’t going to put it past them, though, to follow them all the way to where they were going, but he hoped not. Stiles watched them, and they split off near the one restaurant that the guys loved to get food at when they didn’t want something home-cooked, which wasn’t often.
“They still following us?” Sam asked as he parked the car about ten minutes later.
“No.” Stiles looked at where they were, and it looked like a gym. He looked at Sam. Sam just grinned at him.
Stiles got out of the car, and he could smell the ice. They were near an ice rink. “Seriously?” Stiles asked.
“Yeah. We love it, so let’s see about having some fun with figure skating.”
“But my stuff.” Stiles looked into the backseat of the car, and he saw that there was indeed his bag with his hockey gear, which had been in his library as it was where he had dumped it after snagging all of his clothes out of it.
“I asked Wilcox to get it. He did. I got there early so that he would do it.”
Stiles opened the backseat door and snagged his gear before following Sam into the rink. It looked like a small one used mainly for kids and such. He didn’t see evidence of anything big happening there, so he figured that no one was fighting for this.
“So, how did you snag this?”
“The coach has an in, and when we wanna do stuff in here, we can. We just pay for someone to come in after and run the Zamboni. It’s a fairly good thing. We’ve had a few use it for dates, though I think they were doing a lot more body contact and then sex somewhere in here.”
“Well, I’m never having sex on the ice,” Stiles said.
Sam laughed as he dropped his bag down on the bleacher seats. He started to get his skates on, so Stiles did as well. He snagged a long sleeve undershirt from his bag and stripped down to put it on before he put his T-shirt back on. Sam glanced at him a few times as he did it, and Stiles stuck his tongue out at him. He figured that they would be touching a good bit as they did whatever Sam had in his mind. Stiles didn’t mind at all. He got touched a lot now, more though than even when he had been hella close to his father before all of the Werewolf stuff started out. Even the guys and gals that worked for his aunt that weren’t Werewolves touched a lot. He was sure that he smelled like all of them, like the pack that Kaïs and Celeste had made up of their staff. Stiles found that he liked touching people. He also really liked being touched by people. He wasn’t sure how everyone else got used to it, but he figured that at this point, normal people weren’t hired on by Celeste. Just those that knew about the wider world there were out there or had been dragged into it kicking and screaming.
“Ready?” Sam asked.
Stiles looked up to see that he was over by a stand that was accessible through the glass. He watched him turn on an MP3 player that was hooked up to what looked like the sound system. Then he pulled up the glass and secured it. It was a good way of making sure that everything was secure.
“Yeah, I am.”
Stiles waited for Sam to get out onto the ice, skating to warm up his body, and then Stiles followed, making sure to stay where Sam could see him. They took their time to make sure they didn’t hurt anything, the music pumping and getting them going. Neither of them was wearing any kind of gear, so there wouldn’t be checking unless they took each other into the boards for a little kissing. Stiles waited for the right moment to do just that when Sam was done with his warm-up routine. Sam laughed and pressed his lips into Stiles’ just as hard as he was kissing him.
“You are going to be a tease, aren’t you?”
“Well, not on purpose. I just wanted a kiss.” Stiles grinned at Sam before he pushed off and headed out to start some kind of routine. The coach at Assisi kept the team limber by having them all do figure skating routines and such. Just none of the leaps and shit that could hurt them. A song came on, and Stiles started to play. Sam was there doing something else, but it was fun. This was the kind of date that Stiles lived for. There wasn’t the need to get to know each other but just having fun was a blast.
Stiles looked at Sam, who was smiling at him. Yeah, Stiles could get behind these kinds of dates.