Title: It’s the Education That Matters
Series: We Are All Works In Progress 2
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Genre: Drama, First Time, Paranormal/Supernatural, Shifters, Slash
Relationship(s): Stiles Stilinski/Jackson Whittemore
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: VMures & Starkindler Beta: ScarsLikeVelvet
Word Count: 65,030
Summary: Stiles has a lot of schooling left to get him ready to take over a team on his own. Along the way, he finds out what it really means to be family and he might even have a chance at love.
Stiles settled into his tree’s hiding spot and waited. It was July 4th, and he was stuck in a tree while he waited. The fireworks were a distant thing. He couldn’t hear them, but sometimes he could see flashes of light. Oregon’s backwoods were not exactly a high point for fireworks; mostly, it was idiots getting drunk and shooting off weapons. Which made Stiles’ job a hell of a lot harder.
If the Werewolf was out hunting tonight, it was going to be hard to catch them with the gunfire spooking them. Yet, there was nowhere else for Stiles to be at the moment. It was the full moon, and if there was going to be an issue with the feral omega that was running around attacking people, it would be now.
Stiles felt his phone vibrate just once, and he pulled it out of his pocket before throwing the blanket over his body so that the light wasn’t visible. It was from Celeste, telling him that if he got injured, she would ground him again. Stiles wanted to laugh, but he didn’t. He didn’t make a sound as he locked the phone again before pulling the blanket off of his body. He listened to the animals’ sounds around him and waited to know if there was something bigger and badder in the forest with him tonight.
The entire team was spread out. Stiles was one of two humans, and there were four Werewolves out with them, including Kaïs. Stiles still wasn’t sure why Celeste wasn’t with them, but he was the one who was making those decisions.
The snap of a twig had Stiles going stock still. There was underbrush all around him, but that didn’t mean a thing since it was summer and everything was soft and quiet. There were no leaves to crunch, no half-dead bushes to run into. It was just him and a lot of alive things.
Stiles knew the others’ location, a Werewolf close to each human, in hearing distance, but many animals were in the forest with them. There was no way to guarantee that whatever had just moved around wasn’t a skunk looking for food.
A soft growl told Stiles that he was wrong. It wasn’t a skunk. It wasn’t a guarantee that it was the Werewolf, though. It could be from the local pack as well. There was one that was close, a family unit more than a pack. There was an alpha but also seven teenagers between the siblings of the alpha. There was a small chance that this might be one of them, high on being a teenager and thinking that they could take care of the omega.
A second snap came from behind Stiles, and he knew one thing. Kaïs was wrong. It wasn’t an omega, it was more than one, and they might not be omegas.
Stiles carefully drew out his twin daggers. Adam called them his crysknives. They were not made of bone at all, but they were made to resemble the Dune books’ knives. Stiles had not smelted them himself, but he had a hand in every single step of making them. He had several sets as they were now part of the kit when he went anywhere with Celeste and Kaïs. So far, he hadn’t been allowed to hunt with anyone unless one of them was with them. He knew that it was mostly to make sure Stiles wasn’t going to mess up and do something stupid.
Moving silently, Stiles crept around to where he could see things. Moving to where even Kaïs couldn’t hear him, outside of his heartbeat and breathing, was the first thing that he had been taught. His junior year of high school had been rough as hell between Hunter lessons and school; he had been run ragged. However, his grades were perfect, and he was good at hunting. His ADHD was being managed well with his Adderall and activity. His new doctor was happy about it all. He was well versed in the Supernatural, so he wasn’t shocked when Stiles came in a walking bruise.
A movement to his left had Stiles staying right where he was. He wasn’t looking away as that would just be asking for something to come at him from the right. Two seconds later, something did. Stiles tipped backward, letting the thing jumping at him pass in front of him. He kept going, and as he fell from the tree, he flipped to land on his feet, knives at the ready. The sound of him going would have alerted Kaïs that something was up. He moved just as claws swiped at his head. He leaned forward, putting his all behind running. He went for where Kaïs was. He heard two Wolves following him, so he ducked and waved like he was taught how to do. The point wasn’t to be fast; it was to be smart. He spun around when one was getting too close. He buried the knife in the chest of the wolf. It howled in pain and jerked away.
Kaïs roared an answer at the second as it tried to leap at Stiles.
Both omegas’ eyes lit up blue. Sties really didn’t care what color their eyes were. He jerked his knife free and waited to see what was going to happen. The rest of the squad appeared around the omegas. They looked at them and stopped, growling as they realized there was no escaping.
“You might take us down, but you won’t the rest,” one of them said.
“You’ll be shocked about that.”
The omega who had spoken already opened his mouth but stopped when a dart entered his neck. A second one appeared just an inch from the first. Two appeared in the neck of the other as well. It didn’t take but a few seconds for both of them to drop down to the ground, out cold.
“Blue-eyed omegas. I would say that we will find the others with blue eyes, but we all know that if they have no remorse, they won’t have blue eyes.” Stiles walked over to the first one and rolled him to where he could see his body. There were scars all over it. Omegas didn’t heal all that well, and wounds by an alpha would sometimes scar. They were battle-hardened. Stiles wiped his knife on the pants of the omega before he looked up at Kaïs.
“What do you think?” Kaïs asked.
“Who knows how many they call pack. We could be dealing with a few others or fifteen. I know that the damage done is much more on a scale for a small pack, but we thought it was one, to begin with.”
“Sand People,” Kaïs said.
“Yes, they walk in a line to conceal their numbers. So we will be staying.”
A few stray gunshots pierced the air, and Stiles looked at the rest of the squad’s people. It was one that he hadn’t been with before—a four-person one that handled this area now.
Celeste’s official business was spreading like wildfire. Some handled the humans who needed security, but then most of the staff were out on hunts. With the full collapse of the Argent family and the two left stuck in Beacon Hills protecting it, the Gajos family had spread far and wide. Some families welcomed them with open arms to take care of things, so they didn’t have to. Other families were warier of them. Burned by the Argents.
Oregon was such an area. The main family that protected the whole of the state wasn’t happy that another family had called in the Gajos. However, having Kaïs be the one to come in, an alpha Werewolf had smoothed over a few ruffled feathers. Stiles wasn’t even going to pretend that he understood most of the shit that went on as far as diplomacy was. He didn’t like kissing ass.
“You okay?” Kaïs asked.
Yeah. They tried to trick me. Made noise to the left while the other came from the right. I dodged that easily.”
“Then why do you smell like blood?” Kaïs asked.
“Oh, that. There was a vein in the first tree I went up. It had thorns. I sat on them. So yeah, my ass is bleeding.”
Cara reached out and pulled Stiles close to her. “I’ll take care of that when we get back to base. Only you, Stilinski,” Cara said.
“I know. I really hate it when nature bites back.”
Stiles snagged a protein bar before he dropped down onto the bed. He unwrapped it and laid it on the wrapper before he started to push down his sleep pants. He wasn’t wearing underwear now, as that would only make Cara looking at his wounds that much harder. He wasn’t into making things harder for anyone. Cara was a Werewolf, and it wasn’t a shock that she wanted the smell of his blood gone. He had found that she was a mother hen when it came to her team, and for now, Kaïs and Stiles were on her team. Jake was the team’s actual leader, stepping up and refusing to allow another onto the team. They worked well as a foursome. With Supernatural cases and the normal human ones.
“Dear God,” Bee said from somewhere behind Stiles.
Stiles wasn’t sure if it was the state of his ass or the fact that he really didn’t care about showing it off. It hadn’t taken long for Stiles to learn that no one in the place was really all that caring about nudity. It wasn’t strange to see any of the staff members who lived at the house in half or even no clothes. Especially now that Stiles was an adult. He hadn’t seen Kaïs or Celeste that way, thankfully, but he sure that he would at some point. He was already gearing up for it.
It had taken Stile a little while to get used to being at least partially nude in some situations. Sparring hadn’t taken that long, and being seen for medical treatment by whoever was around that was taught how to take care of humans had been the worst.
Stiles was in no way as ripped as the others, but for a human, he had a good bit of muscle. He needed to get a grip on his shame. He was never going to be like them, but he didn’t need to be. He needed to be himself. He needed to be someone who liked who he was in his own body.
“Celeste said you were thinking of getting a tattoo. Where?” Cara asked.
“My back. Like from side to side. I want to get the family symbol there and another on my wrist. The one on my wrist is going to be the anchor for my magic. Headmaster Deering thinks that it will work well there for me. It will also make sure that no one messes with me. The fear the Argent used to make people feel is only slightly less than the shit they know will happen if anyone touches me.”
“You are getting that ego like Celeste,” Kaïs said.
“Well, it’s well-founded.” Stiles laid his head on his crossed arms as he smelled the astringent that was about to be used to clean his wounds. The pain was there, but it was one that Stiles was used to. He cut himself a lot when in the forest. Small things that most Werewolves didn’t notice. It pissed Cara off, though, that Stiles was as dismissive.
“I still don’t understand why you are the way you are,” Cara said when she was done cleaning Stiles’s ass and smearing some kind of cream before also sealing the wounds with crazy glue.
“What do you mean?” Stiles asked.
“You don’t really give two shits about yourself if it means protecting someone else. Most humans aren’t made that way,” Cara said.
“Stiles gets that from his father. It’s not a Gajos trait. Also, he learned first hand that he had to protect idiots, so he thinks that everyone is.”
Stiles turned to glare at Kaïs as he sat up and pulled his pants up. He turned and dropped onto the bed. He grimaced in pain a little, but the salve put on him was slowly taking that pain away. He wasn’t sure if he would be able to sit down much at all, but at least his boxers were going to save his ass from the jeans in the morning.
“What?” Bee asked.
“Yeah, I mean, we know that he was found to be in the middle of shit in Beacon Hills, but not like the middle, middle, right?” Jake asked.
“Yes. He was in the middle of the shit with Argent.”
“I heard Celeste say that a human had been kidnapped and beaten up. It was you?” Bee asked.
“Yes. It was me. A message to McCall that he never got. He didn’t even believe that I had been beaten up. He thought that I had run away because of getting attention for turning the tide in the game and then scoring the game-winning point. He also was a shit friend to me and everyone else. He was more focused on Allison’s feelings about her mother killing herself for no good reason.”
“They have their reasons; they are shit reasons.”
“Oh, no. Gerard forced the issue and then turned around and took the bite himself to cure his cancer. He was then going to kill the Hale Alpha who had bitten him and take that. He was going to turn into what he hated to save his life. There was no fucking reason why the Argent Matriarch had to kill herself other than Gerard not wanting her to have the chance to usurp him. he wanted the power, and he used Allison’s grief to try and take it.”
“I feel like we have been told so little of what happened. We all hear rumors.”
“Celeste didn’t want to talk about it as much to not make Stiles feel like he had to talk about it.”
“I’m fine talking about it. McCall allowed himself to be used and forced Hale to bite Argent. He then saw no reason why it was a bad thing. From what I understand, Allison is not happy about it.”
“No,” Kaïs said when Stiles looked at him.
“It’s been pressed upon the Argent heir just what it means that she didn’t tell Scott no when her own grandfather threatened her life. She allowed the Hale Alpha to be used as a weapon. She’s learning from her mistakes, and her father is being… educated.”
“What?” Stiles asked. He looked at Kaïs.
“Your father and Peter are making sure that he knows just what horrible shit has been allowed to happen because of his father and their prejudices.”
“I bet you he hates that.” Stiles looked at the foursome, and they were looking at him in shock. “What?”
“You know Peter Hale?” Bee asked.
“Yes,” Stiles said.
“Holy shit,” Jake said. He looked awestruck.
“The Hales are from Beacon Hills. I’m from Beacon Hills.”
“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean you were running around with them. Only now we know you were. You held up the alpha for two hours in a pool.”
“There are some things that even we weren’t able to keep hidden,” Kaïs said.
Stiles snorted at that. He had wondered why no one had made comments in the near year that Stiles had been there. It seemed that while a few knew what was going on, not everyone did.
“No wonder Adam is pissed all the time. He’s dealing with the issues that have popped up while probably having Robbie at his heels,” Bee said before she cackled.
“You guys are assholes,” Stiles said.
“Duh,” Paulie said, finally chiming in on the conversation.
“Dude, I forgot you existed.” Stiles laughed when Paulie threw a rolled-up set of dirty socks at him. Stiles hit them away from him. Paulie was used to being the only human in the group. He had adjusted well to having Stiles and Kaïs there, though. He was a man of few words until he got to know someone. He had been opening up with Stiles a good bit more but not nearly as much as he did with his team.
“Let’s get some sleep. We have the two in the cells in the jail. We can talk to them tomorrow and see what’s up, but we need sleep.”
“Fine,” Bee said with more than a little bit of derision in her tone, but Stiles had gotten used to the whole of the squad being like that. They were chafing a little under Kaïs being there, but Kaïs did nothing with the tones that they used.
Kaïs’ ways of being an alpha were vastly different from how Stiles had been around Derek. Though Derek had been on the offensive and had not only the Argents after him but also the Alpha Pack threat. Thoughts of Derek still made Stiles feel weird. He wasn’t over what Derek had done to him. He hadn’t really thought about moving on from it, though. It wasn’t that he was hung up on Derek. It was that he wasn’t sure that he wanted to put himself out there. If everything went according to plan, Stiles wouldn’t get going to college in New York, and long-distance was hard to do. He hadn’t had time the year before, but his training had slacked off since he was good in most areas now. He was hoping that maybe he could see about dating.
Stiles would have to figure out who Maia thought would like to go on a date with him. He was looking forward to getting home. He had plans to go camping with Maia as soon as he got back. His summer wasn’t all that busy, thankfully, since he had done so well during his junior year. He wanted to focus a little more on his magic, reading everything that he had in his possession to make sure he was ready for his final year at school and learning what many knew the year before starting. He was pretty happy with everything he had done so far.
Grabbing his pillow from the pile on the bed, Stiles dropped down onto the air mattress that had been brought for him. He was the youngest, which meant that he could sleep on the floor better than anyone else. Stiles grabbed his blanket and pulled it over his head, blocking out the light as the rest of the group got ready for bed. There were the sounds of them all getting into bed. The hotel they were in was kind of shitty, but then the town they were in was pretty shitty. This place was the best of the bunch, and Stiles was pretty sure that he wasn’t going to catch a disease by touching anything, unlike the first place they had gone to.
It wasn’t long before Stiles was asleep.
The man standing in front of Stiles was grinning at him. He wasn’t sure that the guy wouldn’t try and kill him, but he was okay with that. He had a few tricks up his sleeve, and he wasn’t going to go down without a fight. He gripped the handle of his dagger and waited for the guy to make the first move. It was the best thing. The guy was a Werewolf or something, at least. He knew that the guy would be faster than him and stronger, so Stiles had to be smarter. He was smarter than most people that he went up against. He was going to win, and he was going to go home.
Stiles waited and moved when the guy did. He used the guys’ speed and strength to roll over his back when he lunged. He turned just a little and dragged his dagger down the man’s side. The man screamed and rounded on Stiles as soon as he was able to stop. The man growled, his eyes flaring red at Stiles. Stiles grinned and waited to see what the man was going to do. It wasn’t hard to know what he was going to do first, either.
The man lunged again, and Stiles made sure that he buried his dagger into his flesh, hitting a few organs that he was sure were going to make him unwilling to go after Stiles again.
“You think you are so smart,” the man said.
“Oh, I am very smart. You are pretty stupid. However, you’ll feel why I’m so smart soon.”
With the attacks they had been going against over the last week here in Oregon, Stiles had changed his tactics a little. He had coated his blade in Wolfsbane as well as a sedative. With the whole healing thing, the poison and sedative were going to be hitting him in a few seconds.
“What?” the man asked. He just looked around before he fell down, his eyes open wide before they closed.
Kanima venom had nothing on this shit. Stiles loved it. It was something that was used by a lot of the group. The only ones who didn’t were the ones that couldn’t. It didn’t react in humans, so even if Stiles had nicked himself, nothing would have happened.
The sound of people running had Stiles turning toward where the sound was and preparing to fuck shit up, but as Jake came around the corner, he relaxed. There were two bodies on the ground. The first had been killed by the alpha that Stiles had taken down. The sword that he had used was stuck in the rock close by. Stiles had lodged it there with magic, a gut reaction.
“Don’t touch the sword. I can get it out without touching it,” Stiles said as Paulie walked over to look at it.
“Is he dead?” Paulie asked.
“No, just out cold. I saw him kill the alpha, and then I took him down. He’ll be good to go to jail. That’s his sword, his prints, and he used it to cut her in half. I think that we will have to stay longer than we want.”
“No,” Kaïs said.
“What?” Stiles asked.
“The FBI arrived, the locals called them in. So the BAU will probably want to talk to you. I’ll make sure it’s someone who is in the know and only them.”
“Why?” Stiles asked.
“Well, they didn’t send the big unit, which is all in the know. It seemed that a few wires got crossed, but as soon as Steven saw me on the sidelines, he knew what he was dealing with. He’s got a new agent on the team, his new boss that has been read into the Supernatural after something happened. I still haven’t heard as the FBI is keeping it under wraps.”
“Ah,” Stiles said. He thought that he would have loved to meet the main team of the BAU. Probably a lot of hero worship would have gone around then. Still, meeting any FBI agent was going to be fucking awesome. “Sure. Still don’t understand why I won’t have to stay.”
“They will make sure that the guy pleads out and goes where he can actually get help. There is a place in Washington State; even if he can’t get help there, he’ll be treated humanely and left to his own devices. So they will just need to talk to you and then go from there. If it goes to trial for some reason, we can get you back here for it easily, or they will do it over the Internet talk if it’s during the school year. Don’t worry about that.”
“Sure. Are we sure that the FBI isn’t going to try and blame me for this?” Stiles asked.
“Yes, I’m sure. We wouldn’t allow it. Now go get…cleaned up. What is that?” Kaïs asked.
“Something that the alpha threw at the guy when he was holding me.”
“He had you?” Kaïs asked. He stepped up, his hand going right for Stiles’ neck.
Stiles sidestepped him and settled down on a rock close to the edge of the cliff. He looked down, knowing that down there was the alpha’s purse. He didn’t feel bad at all for whoever was going to have to go around and down there to find it. He was all of a sudden very, very tired.
“Do you have your ID on you?” Kaïs asked.
“It’s in the car in my bag.”
“Okay, what is that shit?” Cara asked as she crouched over the body of the knocked-out alpha.
“I have no clue. It did nothing to him or to me.”
“I think we had better take you to the clinic downtown where the pack’s emissary works. The alpha will be glad to look you over, I am sure.” Kaïs was looking at Stiles like he was afraid that he would die right in front of him. “I’ll let the FBI know that’s where to they will find you, and you will gladly give a statement.”
“Sure.” Stiles stood up, swooning a little. He felt a hand on his back and found that it was Jake.
“I’ll take him. Keys, Paulie.”
Paulie tossed over the keys, and Jake tugged Stiles along with him.
“You know, your aunt said that you have the worst luck, and I just assumed it was like tripping over shit at the wrong moment. No, you are fucking bait. We didn’t even realize that we weren’t following the main guy until we heard you scream at the guy and then nothing. Kaïs had to find your heartbeat, and then we followed it. The body hitting the ground in two places, Kaïs looked like he was going to rip the world apart until you snarked at the guy.”
“Yes, well, my father has long told me that my fear response is not normal. He said it has something to do with Mom and then raised by a Sheriff and around Deputies. I just think I’m really special.”
Paulie laughed and ushered Stiles into the SUV bought for them before they got to the area. Stiles had no clue what kind of people Celeste had working for her that came through and set up small offices in places, but they really rocked on doing it. The SUV was awesome, and it had a few secret compartments. For all, he knew it was specially bought for them, and they had a warehouse of them that they drove around to get where they needed to go.
The heat had a warmer on it, and Stiles turned that on as he felt cold. It was summer in Oregon, and he felt cold.
“Maybe, put some heat on it?” Stiles asked when Paulie was barely going the speed limit.”
“Why?” Paulie asked. He turned his head, and when he looked at Stiles, he swallowed, and at the same instant, his face paled. He put a little more into the gas and speeded along the roads to get them out of the area they were in.
Stiles felt the shivers start despite the seat being warm, so he reached up and turned all of the vents he could reach toward him and turned the heat on full blast. Paulie reached over, turned off the vent that was aimed at him, and turned the second to face Stiles.
“Kaïs made sure that they were waiting for us at the clinic, the alphas, and the emissary. He said the FBI will probably be around in about an hour, but until you are fine, I’m not allowed to let you talk to them.”
Stiles nodded his head. He couldn’t really think, so he just settled in and tried not to chatter his teeth.
The clinic looked like any other doctor’s office that Stiles had seen. It was only the pair of people that were outside that made it different. The alpha for the area, a lovely woman named Andrea, looked worried while the emissary, Andrea’s best friend Sophie, looked calm and collected.
“Well, we have an easy fix,” Sophie said as she ushered Stiles out of the SUV and into the clinic. He was taken to a room at the far back of it and settled down onto a chair, not the bed that was right there. She reached out and touched his face. “Yup.”
“Yup, what?” Paulie asked.
“It’s a simple potion. The vagabond alpha bought it from the store down the road. It’s a simple freezing potion. It’s meant to be used by humans, in the know, and hiking in areas where bears like to be. To animals, it just makes them cold, and they wander away. Humans and supernaturals, well, react a lot differently, and this is what happens. It’s a simple fix. Just drink this. Kaïs texted what was going on after I guess Paulie told him, and I knew what it was.”
Stiles looked at the cup of what looked like hot chocolate with marshmallows that were handed to him. It had a hint of peppermint, and then under that a lot of other scents that he wasn’t sure he wanted to know what they were. Peppermint was used in nearly all potions that he knew since it never, ever reacted with the potions but allowed for things to be drunk so that the disgusting taste wasn’t here or at least wasn’t as bad. Stiles was happy that he liked peppermint. He took a sip of the potion, and when nothing reacted with his taste buds or stomach, he worked on drinking the rest. It was the perfect temperature for drinking like that.
“You have magic?” Sophie asked.
“Yes, why?” Stiles asked as he looked up at her. Now he wanted real hot chocolate, not the thing that this was masquerading as. He would have to hit the coffee shop in the middle of town to get his fix on that.
“Well, this will take a bit longer to take care of. You just sit here. We have books. I’ll get you one,” Andrea said.
“Thanks.” Stiles grabbed the blanket he could see on the floor and pulled it up to his body. He shivered only a little. It felt like his whole body was getting warm from the inside out, a little at a time.
He was in there for a little while and wasn’t sure what was going on outside, and then he heard voices. Three voices getting closer to where he was. He heard Paulie and another voice that teased at his memory. Like he hadn’t heard it in a while.
The door opened up, and Stiles looked at the first man in the room. The man was looking at him like he had seen a ghost.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Stiles asked.
Rafael McCall was standing there in the door with another guy right behind him, and Paulie was holding up the end of the little train of people.
“What the fuck are you doing here?” Stiles asked when Rafe didn’t answer him.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Rafe asked.
“Okay, you two know each other.”
“Thanks for stating the obvious, Steven,” Paulie said.
“Wait…Kaïs said only those who know would be here.”
“Yes, Agent McCall has been read in on the Supernatural,” Steven said.
“Holy shit.” Stiles tried to wrap his mind around that. He wondered if either of them had been in Beacon Hills. It was all a little too much. He tried to breathe, but that was causing a few issues.
“Shit,” Paulie said. He pushed through the two FBI agents and slipped down to kneel in front of Stiles. He took the book from Stiles’ limp fingers and dropped it to the floor. “I don’t…Stiles. I don’t know what to do.”
Stiles shook his head back and forth as he tried to catch his breath. He hated his panic attacks. He really hated them. A hand on his cheek and then one over his chest helped him calm down. He forced his eyes to focus and was shocked to see that it was Rafe.
“Stiles, what are five things that you can see?”
Stiles worked through what Rafe had him doing to help him focus on anything but his breathing.
“I would have thought that you would have gotten better about that,” Rafe said, but his tone was soft, gentle. It was like he remembered it was in the aftermath of his mother dying.
“How do you two know each other?” Steven asked.
“I was stationed in Beacon Hills for a while, the FBI liaison to the county.”
“You are Scott McCall’s father?” Paulie asked.
Stiles could see the way that Rafe’s brain latched onto that. He looked at Stiles and raised an eyebrow.
“What are you doing with these guys?” Rafe asked.
“Remember that kerfuffle that I talked about?” Steven asked.
“Yeah,” Rafe answered.
“That was Beacon Hills. I never put you and Alpha McCall together.”
“Alpha?” Stiles asked.
“My son’s a Werewolf?” Rafe asked.
“That can be worked on later. Miec-”
“Just call him Stiles. I tried to learn how to say that, and even I failed,” Rafe said with a grin.
“Yeah, Stiles is just fine.”
“Stiles, what are you going with these guys?” Rafe asked.
Steven made a noise, but Rafe just waved his hand.
“Remember how dad talked about my aunt and uncle? How they didn’t visit much?”
“Yes,” Rafe said.
“Kaïs is my uncle,” Stiles said.
“I see. Well, the rest can wait. I wanted to make sure that you were here and safe. Your father does know that you are here, right?”
“Well, not so much here right now, but he knows I’m with Kaïs, and when I talked to him last night, he knew I was in Oregon.”
“Good. Okay, so you…saw someone get killed and knocked out the guy who did it?” Rafe asked.
Stiles launched into what happened after he got separated from the rest of the squad, chasing someone. By the time that he was done with that, he felt normal, all warm and good. He slipped the blanket off of himself and pulled his knees up to his chest, wrapping his arms around.
“You turned eighteen, right?” Rafe asked.
“Yeah, this past spring, you don’t need to notify my dad or my aunt about me getting hurt. Kaïs knows, and he’ll tell them both. Celeste is back in New York, and dad’s in Beacon Hills.”
“Steven and I are headed there next. There is something a little weird going on and the hunter there.” Rafe looked at his notebook, flipping back a few pages. “Adam Calavera asked for help.”
“He’s with Kaïs and Celeste, well part of the Gajos hunting family. Not the Calavera. He’s a good guy.”
Rafe raised an eyebrow at that. “The last time I saw you, you were railing against authority; now you aren’t.”
“Well, I…” Stiles trailed off and looked at Paulie and Steven.
“Steven, let’s go and get coffee. Leave these two alone.”
“Yeah, that’s fine.”
“We have a lounge where you guys can settle in and talk,” Andrea said.
Stiles followed Rafe and Andrea to the lounge area. The clinic was closed, it seemed.
“What is going on? You and Scott seemed damned close before I left.”
“A lot happened, and it’s in an FBI file somewhere. We grew apart. He was wound up in a girl who was…dealing with issues in the wrong way. She tortured and captured two innocent teenagers. She wanted to kill someone close to me just because he defended himself. By the way that she did it, it was pretty horrible. If she had succeeded, I think that Peter would have gone off the deep end, again, and started to kill. Also, it was stupid as that meant that anyone that Allison was close to, Dad, could have gone after since you know Gerard had me in his murder basement.”
“You sound like you have been in therapy,” Rafe said.
“Yeah, therapy. So much therapy. I spent the last year in it, roughly. After discovering that I knew about the supernatural, I got into Assisi Academy; they made me talk about everything. Anyway, my authority complex has gotten better because of that therapy. I hate my dad less for leaving me to my own devices and drinking. I loved him, but I hated him. I didn’t know that.”
“Ah, well, that explains a lot of things, including why you didn’t punch me when you saw me.”
“I know why you left. I heard Melissa on the phone with dad.”
“He said he thought you were listening in on his calls more than once.”
“Yeah, I had to…” Stiles closed his mouth. This was going nothing like he thought it would if he ever ran into Rafe McCall again. “I had to know.”
“I tried to explain that to him once. You were clingy after your mother died, but nothing that I thought was bad.”
Stiles shrugged. This was like a slap in the face a little bit. He hadn’t expected to feel as much as he did right now. He was going to blame nearly being attacked by a deranged alpha.
“We have everything that we need. We can hopefully make the guy see that a quiet plea deal is the best option, but I know how to get a hold of you if I need something else. Go to your uncle and settle down for the day. If you think of anything, have Kaïs get a hold of us.”
Stiles nodded his head. He wasn’t sure what he wanted to do right then. He wanted to sleep. They had spent the night chasing the omegas. The jail was pretty full of the pack of ten that the now alpha had control of. It had been a bunch of omegas who tried to make a pack, but without an alpha, it was impossible.
“Do you think that Steven minds talking about how Scott became an alpha? No one has told me that.”
“That’s because we just found out,” Kaïs said.
Stiles looked up to see him in the doorway with Steven behind him and Jake.
“Scott was keeping it from everyone. He’s been pretty hidden from the rest of Beacon Hills. His mother is pissed, and he’s grounded. We are still trying to figure out how he became alpha. Adam is looking.”
“Is Derek alive?” Stiles asked.
“Yes, and he’s still an alpha. That was the first thing that Adam checked.”
Stiles nodded his head. He didn’t want to see Derek dead. He didn’t want to see anyone dead, really. He just wanted away from it all. He wanted to feel safe, and feeling safe had caused a lot of really good things to happen. He had got what he wanted, and nothing horrible had happened.
“Did Deaton do something?” Stiles asked.
“We have no clue,” Kaïs answered.
“Rafe and I will head there to give help as soon as we can,” Steven said.
“Good. Good. Don’t let my dad do anything stupid,” Stiles said.
“I won’t. I know that the FBI has been looking into a few things in Beacon Hills over the last year, starting with the budget cuts that had only four deputies on duty the night that the station was shot up. That your father was there, and everything hasn’t really tipped anything.”
“That was Gerard,” Stiles said.
“Yes, we know, but we mean more than that. Budget cuts are the main reason why we think that most of the shit happened. There should have been more than four on duty at the time, given everything that was going on, but the interim Sheriff was unable to get what he needed. We can’t ask Gerard about that, but we will make sure that everything is fully looked into. It’s not gonna bring anyone back from the dead, but it will make sure that it never happens again.”
Stiles for once believed the words out of Rafe’s mouth. He could see that he meant it and the look of a drunkard wasn’t there.
“I’m tired,” Stiles said.
“Then let’s get you back to the hotel, and you can sleep.”
“Okay,” Stiles said. He stood up and looked at Rafe. “Dad’s dating someone. I wouldn’t piss him off.”
“Why?” Rafe asked.
“He’s of the stab first ask questions later when someone hurts those he loves kind.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” Rafe said with a smirk on his lips.
Stiles nodded his head and stepped around Rafe before heading to where Kaïs was. He was so damned tired. He knew it was the shitty sleep and then running around all night long, followed by that position that had hit him.
“Stiles, Kaïs has my number. You can check in with me at any time. I’ll answer what I can.”
“Thank, Rafe,” Stiles said.
“Only you,” Celeste said as she hugged Stiles tightly.
“I didn’t do anything to make it all happen. I just have shitty luck.”
“That you do. Okay, so up to bed to sleep. You’ve been flying most of the night, and I know you don’t sleep well on planes. No fighting. Princess is moping, so she’ll be happy you are back. She’ll probably sleep on you to make sure you don’t escape again.”
“I missed her a lot,” Stiles said. He knew that someone would bring his stuff up to his room. His weapons would be taken care of, and his clothes washed. Just to be safe, nothing was ever just unpacked without being looked at. Before it had been Adam who did the looking, magically, but now there was another guy who did it. Celeste had more male magic users than female, but then Stiles knew that she didn’t pick and choose at all who worked for her. She took all who wanted to work that wasn’t crazy, really. If there were no females drawn to work for her, there were none. Most of the staff were still of another origin than the United States; the Gajos hadn’t been here long enough to fully get all of the US’s people on her side.
Stiles’ bedroom felt like home. He slipped in and found that Princess was asleep on his bed, her head on his pillow, nose buried in it even though it probably didn’t even really smell like Stiles anymore. He stripped down to his boxers before heading into the close to get sleep clothes. His ass still hurt as not only had he scratched it and punctured it pretty good, he had bruised the hell out of it.
As soon as Stiles dropped onto the bed, Princess was up like a rocket, growling at him. As soon as either the sight of him or the smell hit her, she was leaping at him, nearly taking him all the way off of the bed. She flopped onto him, making sure that him getting up wasn’t going to happen without a lot of work. Which also usually meant that he didn’t get up. He hugged her tightly, making happy noises back to the ones that she was making. He had been not happy when he would have to go without her; it wasn’t even the flight that had stopped it but the area. Kaïs didn’t trust anyone not to mess with her.
“How are you, girl?” Stiles asked when she finally calmed down enough that she wasn’t making a lot of noise. “I missed you so much. Next time I’m going to make sure that no one separates us. We are going camping first, though. Me and you and Maia. Camping in the wilderness. How does that sound?”
Princess let out a bark, and she wiggled on top of him more. Stiles laughed and worked the blankets out from under him to cover them both up.
When Princess realized that Stiles was going to bed, she got off of him and laid down at his side. He rolled onto the side and laid his arm over Princess’ back. It was good, this kind of cuddling. He could get used to it instead of the thought of having someone in his bed. There were times like right now where anything was better than nothing.
Stiles woke up, and he felt like he was hungover. Princess was not in bed with him anymore, which meant she had gotten bored. She was probably in the main room somewhere or out on a run if it was morning and the staff who lived at the house were all out on a run.
Grabbing his phone, Stiles found that someone had plugged it, and it was fully charged. He looked around to see that his travel bags were back as well, pretty much empty except for his books. His daggers were laid on top of the one bag, ready to be put up with the rest of his weapons. All of his personal weapons were kept in his room. His ones that were not as personal but just a preference were in the armory with the rest of the items that everyone was allowed to use.
Stiles saw that it was just after nine, which wasn’t bad considering the time change and him passing out yesterday afternoon. His magic hadn’t liked that potion that he had been doused with. Hell, it didn’t like him trying to do a spell before they had headed home from Oregon.
A shower sounded good, so Stiles slipped in there and washed off quickly. He smelled like an airplane still and hated it.
The house was quiet, but then most of the staff was actually working simultaneously as the last year had been good for getting business. He knew that seven teams were active in California just to guard celebrities that were having stalker issues. These things were the firm’s bread and butter and allowed Celeste to send other teams anywhere and everywhere. Some packs would pay for help; others couldn’t. Celeste refused to refuse to help someone because of money.
Stiles slipped out of his set of rooms and walked down the hallway. A man was posted at his door, the one that led into the rest of the house. He stopped and frowned.
“Your aunt has someone in the house that she doesn’t trust and refuses to let him know that you are here. You have two options, the glamour ring that Adam made for you or staying here. Food will be delivered to you.”
Stiles thought about that. He really didn’t want to be trapped here. The ring that Stiles had was in his rooms. He carried it with him everywhere, just to be safe. If he ever went with Kaïs or Celeste back to Beacon Hills, he was going to be forced to wear it. That meant it was someone that either Celeste really didn’t trust or someone who would know him.
“Ring,” Stiles answered. The face used for it was something that Adam, Robbie, and Celeste had spent a lot of time perfecting before Adam had put the glamour on the ring. The face came from the Gajos side of the family more than the Stilinski. Stiles kind of looked like a brother to Robbie, just in white skin. It was magic that was beyond Stiles to do at the moment and nearly beyond Adam’s ability. He had tapped into Stiles’ magic to finish it off. That had felt weird, and Stiles really never wanted to do it again.
Stiles found the ring in its case there between his daggers on the top of his bag. He slipped it on. The Gajos sigil made of magical metal that Stiles called Adamantium since the other word was Polish, and even he hated to say it.
The houses’ main part sounded at least a little more lively now that Stiles was getting closer. He found his aunt in her main office, not her personal one. What he didn’t expect to see was Chris Argent sitting there across from her at the desk.
“Mieczysław,” Celeste said as she held out her hand. “you look better. The sleep did well for you.” Celeste stood up and pulled Stiles into a hug when he got close to her. He glanced at Chris.
“This is your nephew?” Chris asked.
“Yes, Chris Argent, I would like you to meet Mieczysław Gajos, my sister’s only child. He’s been living with us for a year now after his father wanted him to go to Assisi for his last two years of high school.”
“I heard the rumors that your nephew was magical and would be taking over the Hunting side of the family, and Robbie would stick as just Alpha of the Pack. That ought to be interesting when they are both in their roles.”
“We get along well enough,” Stiles said. Even his voice was changed slightly with the glamour.
“Well, Mieczysław, I look forward to getting to know you as you take over for your aunt.”
Stiles tried not to let his eyes bug out of his head. He had forgotten what Chris was like when he respected someone. He hadn’t got to see it much at all before.
“Chris here is trying to get me to buy his company,” Celeste said.
“What?” Stiles asked.
“I find that I don’t want to run the business anymore. I don’t…need it since I am mainly in Beacon Hills now. Allison wants nothing to do with her legacy when it comes to that. She barely wants to touch a weapon right now. She’s learning well from Adam and his squad, so we don’t have to worry about that.”
“Yes, Adam is in touch with me daily about Beacon Hills. What do you hope to gain from me buying it?”
“There are aspects of weapons development that would be impossible to hide from anyone else who would buy it. You are the only family in the United States who has the money to buy it. The only thing I want is access to weapons needed to protect Beacon Hills.”
“That’s not exactly a tall order there,” Celeste said.
“My legacy is already ruined; I can only hope that protecting Beacon Hills will give Allison a good legacy to build off of.”
Stiles could see that for her. Protecting the town that had been fucked up by the Argents.
“So you see why your father and sister messed up,” Celeste asked.
Stiles wasn’t sure if he should be staying for this or not. He was hungry, but if Celeste wanted him there, he needed to be there. He was learning little by little what she did during the day, leaving Kaïs to focus more on Robbie. Robbie was home for the summer between his junior and senior year of college, but he was spending time with other alphas in New York, getting an idea of how others ran their packs. Stiles had only seen him once.
A knock on the door had Stiles moving over to open the door. Outside was Kyle with a large tray filled with items. Stiles stepped back to allow him into the room. He put the tray on the sideboard before he nodded at Celeste and slipped out.
“Mieczysław, your breakfast is on there as well. He would send you in here as soon as you graced the kitchen, but you came here first. Chris, there is coffee on there as well. Please help yourself.” Celeste stood up and walked over to get herself some coffee.
Stiles found his breakfast. It was his normal breakfast that Kyle made for him. He saw that a chair was on the far side of his aunt’s desk with enough room there for him to settle in and eat. He laid his plate down before heading back over to get juice from the glass and then his large cup of tea. He walked those two things over before checking that Chris and Celeste were ready to go before he sat down. He tucked into his breakfast. It was all cooked perfectly, just like everything that Kyle cooked.
“Your house is lovely. It’s not something that I would have ever done with anyone in the group of hunters that my father had. You have built a family as well as a pack with this.”
“Yes, we have one of the largest packs in New York at the moment since we have so many who are human as well as other walks of Supernatural beings. We are a very happy family. Kaïs said that you wanted to go on the next big hunt that we have. There are rumbles of a few things happening in Florida.”
“Yes, I heard about that. It’s why I’m here besides the whole selling my business. A former Hunter that I know settled there, and he needs help. I have the files that he sent me. He’s in Tallahassee.”
“That’s where we hear rumbles as well. You can talk with Kaïs after lunch. For now, I want to talk about what exactly your family has done in Beacon Hills.”
“My family has done a lot of bad in Beacon Hills,” Chris said.
Stiles wanted to snort, but he didn’t. He really didn’t need to do a thing that would have Chris looking at him. He listened as Chris listed everything he had found in Gerard’s records, starting with the cutting down of the Nemeton, hoping that it would destabilize the area.
“He’s who had it cut down?”
“He did it with the help of Alan Deaton. I guess that Deaton talked Talia Hale into doing it as well. My father kept extensive notes, and it was easy to see what he had done. The Hale Pack kept the west coast from going to hell. I’m working to make sure that it doesn’t now.”
“You seem like you have learned a lesson on how the Werewolves of the world aren’t monsters,” Celeste said.
“My father and sister were monsters. I knew that she had done a lot of things, and I never fully trusted her. However, I just assumed it was my father’s influence and making him hate her. Yet, it was so horrible what she had done. I didn’t see it, and I don’t like that I didn’t. I was blinded by what my family did. I knew that Kate was sadistic, but I never realized how horrible she was. I never knew what kind of shit she had done to Werewolves. Someone tried to make me see it before I did, but I…I had blinders on that are gone now.”
“Who?” Celeste asked.
“A young man named Stiles. Well, I have no clue what his birth name is, but he tried. I was trying to kill the Werewolves, and he was trying to make me see that I didn’t need to do that shit. I needed to look at my family.”
“And your wife?”
“You really don’t pull punches, do you?” Chris asked.
Stiles laughed a little at that, and Chris looked at him with a smile on his face. He looked more relaxed than Stiles had seen him. He looked…happy. Chris Argent happy was something that Stiles wasn’t sure he had ever seen before.
“I don’t. My sister used to call me a bitch for it. I never cared that it pissed her off.”
Stiles could see his mother doing that. He was sure that he had heard his mother calling her that once before on the phone, he had chalked it up to the disease that had killed her, but he wasn’t sure that it was it with what he had learned from Celeste about her.
“I can see that. As to Victoria, I regret what I let my father turn Allison into in the wake of Victoria’s death. I should have seen what he did. Victoria told me what happened. That she was trying to kill Scott and then Derek saved him, but there was Wolfsbane in the air.”
“What was going on that had Victoria there at all?” Celeste asked.
“We were trying to catch the Kanima. Talking with Derek, I learned that the breaking of the Mountain Ash barrier laid down was how the Kanima escaped. If Derek hadn’t needed it broken to get to Scott to rescue him, then the Kanima would have been trapped, and we could have done something about it. So it was because of her that more horrible shit happened.”
“I see. Well, I know that we’ve spent a lot of time in Beacon Hills. How are Adam and his squad doing there?”
“Good. He’s doing really well at helping me. This brings me to the second thing that I want from you. I’m learning a lot from Adam about my own bias. His team is good. They are all strong, and they are good together. I want to learn more from them. I know that you said that you wanted to keep them there for another year. I would like to caveat that with Allison, and I will follow the Gajos until such a time that I can build my own team that will stay in Beacon Hills. I will gladly work with anyone that you have. I will also submit to Gajos rule.”
“You are giving up all of the legacies? What does Allison think about that?” Celeste asked.
“Well, she’s not happy, but she agrees that the Argent name needs to go away. She doesn’t like our legacy as it is right now. She wants everyone to know that we are moving on and becoming something better. Your name is the way forward.”
“I never thought that I would hear that from an Argent.”
“Well, I have eaten a lot of humble pie over the last year, Celeste. I was born to be a Hunter. I don’t want to be anything else, but I also don’t want to be the kind of Hunter I was before. The kind of Hunter my family was. I can make a difference in the place that my family fucked up the most.” Chris sounded like he meant the words. He looked like he meant the words.
Breakfast was done, so Stiles picked up his teacup and leaned back to look at Chris better. The man looked a hell of a lot better than he had the last time that Stiles had seen him. Not having the stress of what had been going on in Beacon Hills on his back was good for him.
“Adam has said that you are doing well at helping him. Provisionally, we will accept you and Allison into the business. We can spend time with our lawyers and figure out what to do about the company. I will, of course, keep most of the employees.”
“Most?” Chris asked.
“Well, we will be doing our own audit of everyone who works there to make sure that there is no one there that I don’t like. I’m sure that some Hunters work there, and who knows what their thoughts are. I have high standards for who I will and won’t employ. So, yes. I will be making sure that it’s not a cesspool of horrible people. I don’t have time to run it, so I’ll see who I can hire in to act as CEO for it in my stead. The board, if there is one, will be reseated with other people, though.”
“I hate the board that my father put into there, and I was working on replacing them. I’ll give you the names of the people in the business who I thought would be a good replacement. You can, of course, make your own choices on that.”
“Thank you. We can figure out a good buying price. If you and Allison stay with the hunting side of the family, you’ll draw a good wage. We have good people who invest the money that I make in the business’s security side so I can make sure that the business is stable. If you would both like, I can run you through the full training that we do for that, and you can take jobs as someone who protects idiots from stalkers.”
“Idiots?” Chris asked.
“Well, not all of them are, but there are a few who we protect from stalkers who mean them harm for the harm they have done. Usually, that also ends with them in jail, but they don’t know it’s us.” Stiles grinned as Chris looked at him.
“Mieczysław really likes that part. He was the one who found the dirt on our last person,” Celeste said with pride in her voice.
“Well, there is something about protecting someone so they can go to jail that just makes me happy,” Stiles said.
“We’ve talked enough business. Let me show you the grounds. I’m sure that Mieczysław will come with us to track down his dog. She has missed him terribly.”
“You have a dog?” Chris asked.
Stiles started in on the tale of how he got her and how much he missed her while he was in Oregon dealing with a pack of omegas who had designs on being alphas.
“You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders,” Chris said.
Stiles stopped and looked around. Celeste wasn’t anywhere near them. He looked behind to see that she was talking to a few of the guys who had been running.
“I’ve seen a lot of hatred. I hate that people hate Werewolves just for being born. I mean, if they were as beastly as some Hunters make them out to be, well, there would be actual proof of them to the rest of humanity. Most just want to live a happy life away from people and just live. Like the Hales.”
“The Sheriff of Beacon Hills called me a racist, and for a few minutes, I was blinded by that because I am not. I don’t look at someone and see the color of their skin. It didn’t take long for me to realize that he was right. It was like a slap to the face. I had been raised that way, well, close enough. I tried not to do it with Allison, but I still failed her by allowing Gerard into our life. I had been away from him for so long that I forgot what he could do. How he could be. I am actually glad that he’s dead.”
“I guess there isn’t a lot to be said for men who want their fathers dead,” Stiles said.
“Do you hate your father?” Chris asked.
“No, I used to, but I also loved him fiercely. It was not good. I got help, and I worked through my issues; we worked through them. It was good for me.”
“Allison wants me to go to talk to someone. Adam gave me a list of therapists, psychologists, and psychiatrists who are in the know. There is a world that I never knew existed, and I thought that I knew the real world.”
Stiles nodded his head. He looked at Celeste again, who was grinning. He knew her game plan, and he didn’t like it. He really didn’t like that she was making him like Chris Argent.
“Are you sure you really want to do this?” Stiles asked as he looked at the omega who had cornered him in the alleyway. He was going to get into so much trouble for this. He had just been coming home from school. Well, he had been at the library, then stopped to get dinner, and had technically been on his way back to his Jeep to go home. It was dark as hell, even for eight at night. His curfew wasn’t for a while yet, but when he wasn’t home before it, he knew that someone would be coming after him. The family worried about him even though they knew that he could take care of himself. The first semester of his final year at Assisi had been working him into a lean, mean fighting machine, as he called it.
“Oh, I do. I wanna feel your flesh splitting and smell your blood as it coats me and the ground.”
Stiles really wished that it wasn’t so cliché for the guy to say something like that. His aunt was going to tell him, again, that he attracted crazies. Hell, he really didn’t want any part of that. He just wanted to be happy and live his life, learning everything that he could. He went on local hunts with his aunt, but mostly it was stupid shit. They had evicted a ghost two weeks ago. He felt like the Winchesters. He had also finally met a vampire, and she had been lovely, protecting a family from a horrible human serial killer who had targeted them. It was more than enough to make Stiles love what he did and what he was going to be doing. He was looking forward to going to France to Rivers University and learning even more. Assisi had a good set of classes for Hunters, but their focus was on teaching all of the basics. College was where it was at to learn everything else.
“Well, that was all very serial killer-like. I can probably assume you are the person who had been killing people from Maine downward.”
The man’s face split into a grin.
Stiles had a few plans, but he didn’t want to take the time to call anyone. He had a knife on him; it wasn’t his switchblade as he wasn’t actively hunting at the moment. It kind of sucked as he loved that blade, and during school time, it was hard to carry his daggers. He had one strapped to his leg that he would have to hide if he drew the eyes of the cops. He would have to live with his pocket knife. Stiles reached into his pocket and drew that out, popping it open and drawing the blade out. It wasn’t the biggest thing in the world, but it was made to last and spelled. His phone was in his backpack that was on the ground three feet away; the straps broke when the omega had ripped it off him. The alley they were in was dead. They were in the city’s outskirts, closer to the house than the school, so that meant at night, the area was dead, even just eight at night. No one touched Stiles though, they all knew who he was related to, and even the gangs didn’t touch.
The omega lunged at him, and Stiles sidestepped to hopefully start to wear out the wolf. It wasn’t going to be hard; even alphas tired out. Stiles was an expert at doing that to Kaïs when they trained. Fighting Werewolves was hard, and it needed a brain cell to do it and take them down without killing them. This one, though, Stiles hoped that no one was pissed at him for killing if it came to that. He didn’t fit the profile of the people that had been gone after before. Celeste had been made aware of what was going on through friends, but there had been no proof that it was a Werewolf that had been making the killings. There were the claw marks, but they were fairly standard and could have been done by a claw made to look like a wolf. There were no massive marks all over the body, just a few, so not a Werewolf in a rage.
Looking at the man in front of him, Stiles was pretty sure that someone hadn’t done their due diligence in turning someone and had created this. It wasn’t like it was impossible. Most people had no issues becoming a Werewolf or whatever form they took. If someone had a little bit of bloodlust in them, they would turn into something like this when changed. Stiles was looking forward to the epicness that would be Celeste and Kaïs’ beatdown of whoever turned this guy and turned him loose into the world. Once his name was figured out, it wouldn’t be hard to figure out where he was from and then who had turned him. Unless he was in a big city like this, there was usually only a small amount of alphas in an area, if there was even more than one.
The omega growled, and Stiles focused fully on him again and watched as his beta shift moved over his face. He growled and lunged at Stiles again. Stiles snapped his arm out, and it caught on the omega’s shoulder, ripping into flesh, and then was slipping out. The blade was sharp enough to split a strand of hair in half lengthwise. Wilcox had been good at teaching Stiles how to keep his things sharp as hell.
“Oh, I like it when they fight back,” the omega said.
“Well, that’s just fucking creepy.”
“I hate it when they talk back,” the omega said.
“Well, guess what, Sherlock? My own father can’t even get me to not talk back; you sure as shit aren’t going to be able to stop me. So keep on going with that shit.” Stiles looked around while also keeping an eye on the omega to make sure he couldn’t get a blitz attack in. He didn’t seem all that inclined to rush this, which didn’t work in Stiles’ favor. He needed him off-center, pissed off, and tried to win in the best way possible, given that anyone could walk down the alley at any point in time.
Behind the omega was a fire escape. It looked like it was newer, and the ladder part was attached up at the top, so it wasn’t able to be climbed, but Stiles could grab it and use it to swing himself off. He thought about what he needed to do to get there. Just as the plan finished forming, the omega rushed at him again. He followed the path of the omega and rolled at the last second, dragging his knife across the chest of the omega. He wasn’t wearing layers like a lot of the homeless in New York, too warm for that kind of thing, so the knife left a good gash along his chest. It would heal, of course, but for now, it was something to distract the omega. Stiles stopped right where he wanted and grinned. He waited for the omega to rush him again before he took off running, grabbed the lower bar of the ladder, and put his full force behind the swing of his legs through the air. His feet connected with the chest of the omega and sent him flying backward. If there was a little magic behind it as well, no one needed to know that. The omega crashed into the dumpster, and his head bounced off of it and made a horrible crunching sound.
“Shit,” Stiles said. He hadn’t meant to do that. Yet, the omega wasn’t moving, and the wound on his chest wasn’t healing. There was just enough light for Stiles to see that. He dropped down and rushed to his backpack, and called 9-1-1. Then he called Celeste. He was an adult, but there were pack members who were lawyers. Stiles found a box to sit down on while he waited for the cops to show up, his knife still in his hand just to be safe.
The ambulance got there first, checking the body and confirming that it was dead. Stiles just stared at the body until the first cop came into the alley. It was a woman, and she looked very put together for the time of night. It was a detective, not just a regular beat cop.
“I was in the area and heard the call. Now, do you have a nickname as the dispatcher just called you Mitch, and your name was unpronounceable?”
“Yeah, Stiles. Stiles Stilinski,” Stiles said. He handed over his ID and waited.
“That a knife?”
“I cut him across the chest. He chased me into here.”
“I don’t have any evidence bags on me right now, my partner does, and he’s on his way. Checking cameras and such for the area. You said that you think he’s a serial killer.”
“Uh, yeah. He said that he couldn’t wait to feel my blood on his skin, just like the others. So he’s at least a serial assaulter.”
“You look pretty young to know that kind of thing,” the woman said.
“Yeah, I bet. My dad’s the Sheriff for Beacon County in California. I got invited to Assisi Academy, so I came to live with my aunt and uncle. She’s on her way with the family lawyer.”
“Who is your aunt?” the woman asked.
“Celeste Gajos. And yes, I’m talking to you of my own free will. Don’t worry.”
“Detective Bellows, and this is my partner, Smith.” Bellows waved at the man who was coming up behind her with a bag hanging from his shoulder. He had an evidence bag in his hand.
“Stiles, I would say it’s nice to meet you, but I really don’t think it is for either of us.” Stiles held out his hand, and Smith moved the evidence bag closer to let Stiles put the knife in there.
“Walk us through it,” Bellows said.
Stiles started by leaving the place where he had dinner and how he was walking to his Jeep. That the man had blitzed him and then shoved him into the alley. He pointed at where the alley’s other end was blocked by a huge fence that was ten feet high and locked. Stiles had noticed that right away.
“So, how did this happen?”
“I take self-defense at Assisi. I have a big mouth, and I use sarcasm as a weapon. I was bullied a little in my old school, so my aunt wanted to make sure that I could safely defend myself. Anyway, I was just going to knock him back and then take off running—anything I can do to delay the guy coming after me to get to safety. So I ran, grabbed the bars, and swung my whole body into hitting him. I must have just caught him right since he sailed back like that. I’ve never…” Stiles closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths. He didn’t need to have a panic attack. “Sorry, I get panic attacks. Ever since my mom died when I was younger. Just give me a few here.”
“Sure,” Bellows said.
Stiles nodded his head and worked on calming himself down. He was just about done when Celeste, Kaïs, and Jaime entered the alley.
“Celeste,” Smith said as he stood up to shake her hand.
“Is he okay?” Celeste asked.
“Reaction to the attack. He’s stopping a panic attack. If you want to-,” Smith waved his hand, but it was Kaïs that walked over to Stiles.
Kaïs crouched in front of Stiles and laid a hand on his knee.
“I didn’t mean to,” Stiles said.
“And they know that,” Kaïs said.
“He talked about bathing in my blood and feeling my skin split. I couldn’t do that to dad. I couldn’t let him kill me and leave dad all alone.”
“He won’t be charged, right?” Celeste asked.
“No, there is video footage of the area. We are sure that it will match up. He said serial killer, and the method matches the guy we have been tracking down the seaboard.”
“I’m taking him to the hospital, just to be checked out,” Celeste said.
“That’s fine. Only one ambulance is here. If you don’t mind, I’ll have Bellows go with you. I have the shops getting their footage copied and given to uniforms to take back to the precinct. You’ve talked about your nephew before, in general terms. His panic attack started when he said he’d never and then trailed off. He said something under his breath about not leaving his father alone.”
“My sister’s death affected him horribly, as the death of a mother should to all kids who love their parents and their parents love them in return. Kaïs,” Celeste said loudly.
“Bellows will take his official statement at the hospital.”
Stiles stood up when Bellows and Kaïs held out their hands to help him up. He had heard everything that had been said. The acoustics of the alley was good at making sound carry. Followed his uncle to the SUV that they had arrived in, and Bellows slipped into the back with him. He wasn’t paying attention too much at all as Celeste drove them to the closest hospital. He knew that he wasn’t injured, but it was best, just if something else happened, to have documentation. He had hit his head, but he was pretty sure that he didn’t have a concussion.
Getting checked out took little time at all, and by the time he was done, there was confirmation that the prints of the dead guy matched the bloody prints from the first crime scene in Maine. Stiles wasn’t going to be charged, considering that it was just lucky that some eighteen-year-old high school student had taken out a serial killer who was on a killing spree across states.
“Only you,” Celeste said as she sat down beside him on the bed while his discharge papers were being processed.
“I was just going home, and he jumped me. I didn’t draw the dagger as that would have drawn attention to me that we didn’t need. I didn’t mean to kill him.”
“I know. I am not even sure that he would have been taken alive by Kaïs and me. He put seven officers in the hospital in Vermont. It was better to be safe.”
Stiles nodded his head. He knew that, but he was hesitant. Death wasn’t always the answer with most killers out there. Stiles liked to try and rehabilitate them, especially when it’s an omega who hadn’t been in control. A pack usually fixed that. There were ones like the one he had just killed, though, that couldn’t be fixed with anything going for them.
“Ready to go home?” Celeste asked.
“Yes,” Stiles said. He was. He was ready to go home and go to sleep.
By the time Stiles was in second period, the whole school knew that Stiles had been attacked by a serial killer and accidentally killed him. Maia had just been pissed that he had been attacked when he was alone.
“So, dude, what the hell?” Liam asked as he dropped down into a seat beside Stiles in history.
Stiles laughed and looked at him. He still had the black eye from the weekend before when Stiles and accidentally elbowed him there. It was very pronounced now and ugly looking.
“He went after me.”
“No, I know that. One of the cops on your case is my uncle.”
“I wondered, but then again, Smith is a very, very common name.”
“So my house after school?” Liam asked, wagging his eyebrows.
“What? It’s been two weeks since we last were able to do anything. Well, we tried, but between your uncle coming home early and this-” Liam waved at his face, “it’s not like I was in the mood after those two things. Though I do wanna be there as soon as Adam gets back and he finds out that you have the house warded to tell you when your family gets home and when anyone comes onto your floor.”
“Dude, I did that with his help. He said that growing up like he did, he needed all the help in not getting caught. His rooms are warded the same.”
Liam laughed and stood up to head back to his normal seat.
Stiles spent the day pushing away people who were awed by what he did. He would rather not talk about it. He hadn’t meant to take a life. He knew it was an accident, and he didn’t feel sorry that it had happened, not really. He would have rather the man stood trial and got justice that way. The families would know that he was gone and their loved one’s killer was gone but not seeing justice was hard.
A little bit of evidence was planted in the car that the cops found him to have stolen help to sell that he was a normal human with a wolf fetish.
Over the last year, Stiles had learned that there was a lot behind the scenes in getting Werewolves to serve justice for the crimes they did. Planted evidence helped people not see how they were creatures, and that’s how they killed.
The last serial killer that was a Werewolf had used a knife. Nothing needed to be pinned on that one but Werewolves had been the ones to catch her. Stiles wasn’t sure what the hell was going on with many things in the world, but at least he knew that justice was served as much as it could be.
At lunch, Stiles sat with Maia, which meant no one really bugged them since they didn’t want Maia to tell her uncle what they were talking about. It worked well for Stiles.
“You are home early,” one of the guys who was at the security office said.
“Eh, after yesterday, I don’t feel like heading out to get mugged again.”
Liam snorted in the passenger seat. The guard looked at him and kind of glared. Stiles was sure that the guy could smell the hormones on them both; he was a Werewolf. Liam was part of another pack on the other side of town, but he was a human, born to a family that literally had a fifty/fifty ratio on born wolves and humans. It was fascinating, and it was how Stiles had got to know him. Stiles had been fascinated by learning about it. Which had then turned into late nights talking and then sex.
Friends with benefits was a good way to describe it. After dating Sam for most of his first semester at Assisi, Stiles had learned that he wasn’t ready for something committed at the moment. His therapist said that he was holding out for Derek, but Stiles just thought she was stupid.
“Well, have fun and don’t do anything that I wouldn’t do.”
“Dude, I’ve heard the tales of what you will and won’t do. That’s not asking me to restrain myself much at all.” Stiles laughed as he pulled away.
Liam’s eyes were everywhere, like normal. His pack lived in the same apartment building, slowly having taken it all over and then bought it about a decade ago.
“I still say you lucked out.”
Stiles parked in his spot and waved for Liam to head into the house first. Stiles has the spot closest to the door inside for this garage. There were two, one that held personal vehicles, and the other held work vehicles needed to quickly respond to things. Another garage was at the gate’s main area and held the rest of the vehicles that didn’t fit in the first garage. Usually, wolves parked there and ran the rest of the way to the house or took an underground tunnel during bad weather.
The tunnel was something that Stiles had used a few times when he parked back when he had gone mudding and was not going to track up the main garage.
“So, sailor, come here often?” Liam asked as they slipped into Stiles’ rooms.
“You are so stupid,” Stiles said. He laughed and shoved Liam onto the couch in his sitting room. He climbed into his lap and snagged his face to kiss him.
Stiles liked Liam; he was good friends with him. They could hang out with other people or just by themselves, but the sex was great, and Stiles liked it. He wasn’t going to turn it down.
Liam slipped his hands under Stiles’ shirt, his thumbs tracing up the center of Stiles’ chest before spreading out to thumb at his nipples. Stiles ground down into Liam’s cock.
Making out with Liam was half of the fun; unlike a few other kids that Stiles had tried to date after Sam, the kissing only ever led to sex, and it was like right away.
Stiles and Liam had made out the first time they had done it for two hours before pants came off. It was never rushed and never a wham, bam, thank you, ma’am. It was always slow. Unless they were both really worked up, those times were fun, but Stiles likes this.
“I watched you today,” Liam said when Stiles broke the kiss and ducked down to suck a bruise into the skin of Liam’s neck. It drove others in Liam’s Pack nuts that he would put a claim like that on Liam, but Liam did the same back. It didn’t have the same effect, though, as Kaïs and the rest of the wolves in the pack just laughed.
“Yeah?” Stiles asked.
“When you guys were conditioning on the track for hockey. You stripped down to almost nothing even though it’s fucking winter. Your shirt was soaked, and I got hard.”
“Oh, you poor thing. Wait, why were you there?”
“Free period since Miss Ramy was in court today.”
“Oh, yeah, the divorce. They just did free periods in all of her classes. I don’t have her this semester, but I will next one. I look forward to it.”
Liam hummed in agreement before kissing Stiles again. His hands scratched down Stiles’ back, making him arch into his body, grinding down on his cock again. They were both hard, but there was no pressing need for anything else to happen at the moment.
Stiles’ phone went off, making him jerk away from Liam and look around for it. He wasn’t sure where he had dropped it in a rush to get into the room. His backpack was on the chair inside the door, and he found his phone on the desk in the corner. It showed his Dad’s face.
“Gotta take this,” Stiles said.
Stiles dropped down into the desk chair and accepted the call. He put the phone to his ear in time to see Liam grinning at him before he dropped to his knees and shuffled over to Stiles, slipping between his legs before Stiles could close them. Stiles glared at Liam, but he gave puppy dog eyes. He didn’t believe that for a second.
“Hey, Daddio, what’s shaking? Besides Peter’s leg when you scratch his belly.”
“Very funny, Mieczysław,” Peter drawled.
“I live to be funny. So I have both of you. That means I’m on speakerphone, and shouldn’t you be working, Dad?”
“I am working, but it’s been a few days since we’ve talked, and even though you are an adult living outside of my home, some people actually warn me about things that happen in your life.”
“Ugh, Kaïs blabbed, didn’t he?” Stiles asked.
“Why did you keep it from me?”
“I wasn’t. I was going to call today just after dinner since I knew you were off work then. I needed a day to process it.” Stiles tried to tell Liam with his eyes that he didn’t want him doing what he was doing, but Liam kept ignoring him and working the zipper of his jeans down. It wasn’t that he didn’t want it but anyone but his father, especially when he was on speaker.
“And you are fine?”
“Well, I had no nightmares last night, but I figure that-” Stiles bit his lip to stop him from moaning when Liam mouthed up his dick still in his boxers. He gave into what Liam was doing and used his free hand to bury his fingers in Liam’s hair. “Well, I figure those will come later when the shock has worn off. I’ve seen dead people before, and it was him or me. I have an appointment with my therapist tomorrow already. We were just about to go to once a month instead of once every two weeks; she’ll probably keep me on two weeks, just to be safe.”
“Stiles, are you alone?” Peter asked.
“No, but he’s from a pack.”
“Sweetheart, I can hear what he’s doing.”
“Call me after dinner,” Noah said before he hung up.
Stiles laughed. It was a good payback for the one time that the two of them had come for a visit, and Stiles had walked in on them having sex on the couch. Not the thing he ever wanted to see his father doing, even if part of him was happy that Peter was good to his father.
“Finally,” Liam said.
“I could have been off there quicker if someone isn’t keeping my blood out of my brain,” Stiles said. He leaned over and tipped Liam’s face up to his so they could kiss.
Liam broke the kiss after a few minutes to work on mouthing at Stiles’ cock again. Stiles stripped his shirt off and tugged at Liam’s to get him to move his head to where Stiles could get the shirt off. Stiles was glad of the fact that he was only wearing a single-payer at the moment. It had been a little cold until Roscoe had gotten warmed up, but it was okay. He was used to it. New York was a hell of a lot colder than California this time of year. Last winter had been a bitch to get used to.
“Liam,” Stiles warned as he kept on playing instead of getting down to it.
Liam laughed and pulled Stiles boxers down, snagging his jeans and taking it all off of him. There was a few seconds of fun as Stiles got his shoes off, and then he was naked, sitting in his chair.
“Bedroom?” Liam asked after he licked up the underside of Stiles’ dick.
“Yes, please,” Stiles answered, and he stood up to let Liam tug him in there.
Liam is the one to shove Stiles down onto the bed, and he stripped as he stood there laughing at him. They were both pretty ripped; Liam had more muscle than Stiles, but Stiles still had many things going for him.
Liam held Stiles down by his hips and licked up his cock before taking it in his mouth. The time for fun and games was over.
Fuck, he wasn’t going to last long, and he knew it. Liam knew it as well, Stiles reached down and tapped his head to let him know he was close, and when Liam sucked him in just a little more, he came. Liam kissed up his stomach and chest as Stiles tried to get his breathing under control. He reached under his pillow and snagged the lube.
“Really going all out with the whole clean tests, huh?” Liam asked. He was grinning, though, happy to be doing what they were doing.
“Yeah, come on.” Stiles rocked his hips up into Liam’s, feeling Liam’s still hard cock pressing into his skin. It felt good, then it always did when he was with Liam.
Liam wrapped Stiles’ legs around him and reached around to work two fingers into Stiles. Stiles was good friends with his prostate and fingers himself, usually daily when he was jerking off in the shower. His body opened up to Liam’s fingers with ease. Liam groaned as his fingers slid inside.
They were old hat at this but only recently got through the testing to make sure they didn’t have diseases. Stiles was pretty sure considering that he had always used protection, even when sucking cock or trying his hand at oral on a woman.
Liam and Stiles weren’t dating. They were having sex regularly, but that was it; there were no feelings involved beyond friendship; they didn’t seek anything in outside partners. Liam had gone on a few dates, but no one clicked with him. So he just kept on trying while fucking Stiles.
So going to no protection seemed plausible to both of them. Stiles had talked it over with his aunt, his uncle, his father, and even Peter. They all agreed that as long as Stiles trusted Liam, it was understandable. Stiles did trust Liam. He trusted him with a lot of things.
“Eyes on me,” Liam said, pulling Stiles out of his thoughts.
“Just thinking about us,” Stiles said. He reached up and gripped the headboard to get a good motion when Liam finally got into him. Stiles was looking forward to seeing how it felt when Liam was inside of him with no condom, especially the end. Stiles didn’t think it was the big romantic thing that some books made it out to be. He would rather use condoms and be safe than risk his health, but something felt almost forbidden about it.
“Think about this instead,” Liam started to push into Stiles.
It felt different, not wrong, but just weird when he was so used to the feel of the condom. There was a warmth that he hadn’t felt before that settled quickly, and then Liam was pulling out to push back in again. When Liam had a good rhythm down, Stiles started to rock on him, getting his own hips going to feel even better.
Sex was great. Sex with Liam was even better.
Liam braced an arm on the headboard, gripping the edge so that he could watch Stiles as he fucked himself on Liam’s cock. It was par for the course for them. Liam would pause in his thrusts and wait for Stiles to get going.
“Switch?” Liam asked.
“Yeah,” Stiles said, but he didn’t stop rolling his hips until he was done with his movements. He enjoyed this, maybe a little more than when he fucked Liam. He wanted to keep on doing it for a long time, even though he knew that at some point, they would end. Stiles was going to France, and Liam was going to Beacon University. Stiles found it funny as hell that he was going there, but he had said nothing about it being where he was from. Hopefully, no one in Beacon Hills would talk to him at all. Stiles was all for that.
Liam laid down on his back, slicking up his cock again before wiping his hand on the bed.
“Dude…sheets,” Stiles said.
“Like you aren’t going to flop and leak all over the bed,” Liam said. He grabbed Stiles’ hips and scooted them both up the bed a little bit. He pulled a pillow up to give his head a barrier from the headboard, but Stiles could grab onto the headboard and use it to rock himself on Liam’s cock.
Orgasms were a gift, and orgasms with another person were awesome. Stiles would gladly keep on having orgasms with other people. If he liked them. Stiles slid down Liam’s cock, feeling it stretch him in a different way than he loved. Stiles found the rhythm that he liked easy; it was the same every single time. He kept on until he came, gripping the headboard hard as he rolled his hips to try and get Liam off next. Liam seldom came first, called himself too much of a gentleman to not give his lady her pleasure first. Stiles still liked to smack him in the chest when he called Stiles his lady.
One day they would both find a good person to settle down with and be the most spoiled people in the world. Stiles had seen how his parents spoiled each other. Seeing how Kaïs and Celeste were just helped to build that up in his mind as well.
Stiles slipped off of Liam, lying on his back just like Liam said he was going to; he just didn’t flop. Only because he didn’t want to prove Liam right in all ways.
“Six months of school left, then it’s college. I wonder what’s going to come after that,” Liam mused.
“Well, I’ll be out there hunting. I’m getting dual hunting and business degrees. That way, I can take over that part with Robbie when the time comes.”
“How will that work after you both marry?”
“Still splitting it all. No one will question an order from me or an order from him. That’s a long way from now, though. I fully expect Celeste and Kaïs to retire from being active and stay in business. Who knows when Kaïs is going to want to move the alpha power to Robbie. Maybe one of our kids will be the ones to get it after Robbie, and they will find a good mate, and the power will go back to a couple. I like the idea of being in charge, though, helping people. I just really like that.”
Liam rolled over and cuddled into Stiles for a little while before they headed to shower.
Stiles’ year was going fast as hell, but he was enjoying it.
“So, how is Beacon Hills?”
Stiles shook his head as he entered the kitchen and headed over to where his breakfast tray was. He pulled his arm closer to his chest. He frowned at the cast on his arm. Just another week, and it should be coming off. His healing was fast, nowhere near as fast as Werewolves but much faster than humans. His aunt wasn’t allowing him to just heal it, though. Stiles understood why given that the broken arm had been from his own stupidity. It was why he was confined to the compound over the holiday. His father wasn’t even going to be getting to New York until Christmas Eve, four days from then. Though it seemed that Wilcox and Roberts were back given the discussion in the other room.
“Good,” Chris Argent said.
Stiles looked up and frowned. He reached up and tugged on his necklace, the clasp popping out without breaking, and Stiles stuffed the necklace into his sling while he slipped the ring onto his finger. The glamour fell over him, and he calmed down. He snagged his plate of food. It seemed that Celeste was doing a breakfast meeting. He really hoped that she had drinks in there since there were none with his tray. He wasn’t sure what Chris was doing here.
The dining room only had Chris, Celeste, and Allison. Stiles stopped in the doorway to look at Allison. She looked pretty good. Stiles wasn’t sure why she was here at all. Unless Chris was formally presenting her.
“Ah, Mieczysław, welcome,” Celeste said.
“Mieczysław,” Chris said, his pronunciation perfect of Stiles’ name.
“Chris, I assume that this is your daughter?” Stiles asked. He settled his plate down beside Celeste and found that his drinks were already in there. His tea was still steaming, and there were his pain killers in a little cup along with the anti-inflammatory that he was taking. He was not on a high dose of painkillers; thankfully, just something small given that he forgot and moved his hand. Most normal over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatories didn’t work with Stiles’ magic. The magic burned them out. Thankfully, Celeste knew a few to try that worked well, but it meant that he had to take two different pills.
“Yes, Allison, this is Mieczysław Gajos,” Chris said.
Stiles offered his hand out and shook Allison’s.
“Allison will be going to college here in New York and will be working with me when she’s on breaks, learning everything that I have to teach her.”
“I didn’t realize that Mieczysław was the same age as me,” Allison said. She looked unsure. “I don’t want to take away time from him.”
“Oh, I’m going to Rivers.”
Chris coughed and looked like he had nearly choked.
“Rivers?” Allison asked.
“It’s a French college Université de Rivières or Rivers University. Mostly it’s just called Rivers or Rivières,” Chris said.
“Okay,” Allison said. She looked confused.
“Your great grandfather and grandfather were both denied being allowed in the school. I never thought much of it, and I never tried to apply there to keep my father happy. Before, it was a big thing, and they made it out like it was because they moved here; I wonder if my grandfather moved here after being denied. It’s actually not that hard to get into Rivers if one is from a hunting family. To be denied speaks a lot to things in your family. I never put it together after I learned more about Rivers from Robbie when he came for a visit,” Chris said.
“So even your grandfather was corrupt,” Allison said.
“Yes, it seems that way. I congratulate you, Mieczysław,” Chris said.
“Thanks. I’ve never been outside of the US, but I’ve spent the last year learning French well enough. Since it’s international for the hunting side, I shouldn’t have any issues.”
“Chris and I will work on finalizing the details for Allison’s college experience. I know that you are going on a run with Princess, Mieczysław, don’t feel like you need to stay after you finish your meal. Adam came back with them, and he’s going to take Allison on a showing of the grounds. You have no obligation to do anything with Allison.”
“Well, I was heading into the city after my run and shower. She’s welcome to come with me for that if she had nothing else to do later this morning. I’m going to meet with Liam to swap gifts and then check in on the various stores to see if they have what I wanted for my dad’s boyfriend.”
“Ah, yes. That’s right. I did allow you out of the house for that today. That will be good, I think for her. Back by dinner. Take her to the Faerie run diner for lunch.”
“I planned on it. I had no meetings with anyone else. I gave Maia her gift before I left school.”
“You go to Assisi, right?” Allison asked.
“Yes.” Stiles looked at Allison and tried to get a read on her. She was pretty locked down, but Stiles didn’t really expect anything else. She was in the presence of a woman who could destroy her if she so wished. She was going to act much better than she would with Stiles once Stiles got her going.
“I’ve heard it’s a good school. My parents wouldn’t let me go since it was across the country, and they didn’t want to just see me at breaks.”
“Actually, that was what we said, but I wanted you to go there, and your mother didn’t.”
“You were against me knowing before I was eighteen,” Allison said.
“The school is covered in a magical spell that lets normal people see nothing that’s out of the ordinary. I was spelled like that before my aunt revealed that I knew. I was looking for things that had missed the spell work, but nothing had. It was a good learning experience for me.” Stiles knew that neither of these two would catch that lie. “So yeah, you would have seen nothing but you would have been exposed to a lot of education that’s damned good. Then you would have been exposed and told that your new friends are all Werewolves, Wendigos, and other beings. It was easy for me because I never hated them, and I guess that by the end, neither would you.”
“It’s why I wanted her to go there, but Victoria didn’t want her learning from anyone who had a bias. Now, I know that it’s that it was a bias that Victoria didn’t have.”
“Yes, I was told about her trying to kill an innocent boy who had been bitten against his will, and when his alpha saved him, he was dosed with a variant of wolfsbane that had it ending with her bitten,” Stiles said.
Allison opened her mouth, but Chris moved a hand, and she shut up.
“No, I want to hear it all,” Stiles said. He leaned back. “I heard she drank the Kool-Aid that her grandfather was spouting and sent her on a revenge quest that had her kidnapping two more innocent Werewolves to use as bait. That she didn’t care that she was torturing Werewolves that were the same age as her and had their own trauma before being turned to gain a family.”
“I did go off the deep end. I hated Gerard, was scared of him but after Mom. I just never realized that I was being manipulated. I would have killed the whole pack just to get to Derek Hale for what he did. I didn’t know until after it was all over that Derek hadn’t just bitten her. Or that those who are bitten were only killed in our family.”
“Except for your grandfather,” Celeste said.
“Yes, well, we learned from that, didn’t we?” Chris asked.
Stiles snorted and finished off his food. He was not as hungry as he normally was, but Celeste wouldn’t let him leave the room if he didn’t eat all of this. “I have a date with my Princess.” Stiles picked up his tea and finished it off. The juice was long gone.
“I’ll come and find you, Allison, when I am done with my shower. We might be taking Princess with us. Sometimes she wants to go for rides, and sometimes she doesn’t.”
“I have an order you are picking up, so take the bigger SUV today,” Celeste said.
“Sure. I’ll get the keys from the guy and head out.” Stiles nodded at Chris and gave Allison a hesitant smile before he left the room.
“New York is different than I thought it would be,” Allison said as she pulled her milkshake closer. They were waiting on their food but had put off ordering for a while since they wanted to enjoy their milkshakes before eating.
“I had this image in my head about what it was like for normal people. Yeah, there are the assholes; we met a few. But mostly, everyone just leaves everyone alone. It’s not much different than LA when we lived there for a while. I didn’t know about the underworld back then, and now I do, and I just wonder what I missed because I didn’t know what it was. There was this shop that I wanted to go into, but my mom never let me. It was next door to this book store that I loved. It looked cool.”
“It was probably run by a Supernatural being. It was pretty hard to not hit one in LA. Just like New York City.”
Allison looked around but stopped when she saw a few people who were not human in the corner.
“This place is only visible to those who they want it to be. Me bringing you here doesn’t mean you’ll be able to just find it later, but if they like you and how you feel, you might. They hated me for a while, but then again, I did make an entire tray of milkshakes spill when someone hit on me.”
“I was a little freaked out. I was over the age of eighteen, so that wasn’t the issue, but they came onto me pretty strong, and I didn’t like it. After that, they watched me like a hawk, but they didn’t feel like they could actually make me stay away. Being the Gajos heir is…heady.”
“I bet. I thought that being the Argent heir was, but your aunt is so much bigger. I get that she came from Poland, but what’s with the whole France thing?”
“Kaïs’ family is from France. A family who never bowed down to Argent rule. Celeste and Kaïs met and fell in love during a hunt. Celeste was hunting a witch, and Kaïs was hunting a wolf. By the end, Kaïs was ready to marry her.”
“That’s kind of sweet. When are we meeting Liam?”
“We will be meeting him at a coffee shop across town, closer to where his pack lives.”
“He’s a wolf?”
“No, human in a pack that’s pretty much half and half. So I’ve already let him know that you are with me, and he’s excited to meet you.”
“He’s the first in a long while. I’ve been a pariah, and I know why. I’m in therapy, and there is one step I can’t quite finish yet.”
“Yeah?” Stiles asked.
“Apologize to those that I hurt.”
“Why can’t you?”
“There is one that I didn’t hurt myself, but I hurt those around him, and he’s pissed at me, but he went away. I had hoped to meet him here in New York. I know it’s a big city, but he’s here. I tried to text him, but he blocked me.”
“Write him a letter. Don’t you have someone who can get it to him?” Stiles asked.
“Yeah, back in Beacon Hills, I do. I might do that. Tell him what I need to tell him and go from there. That’s a good idea.”
“You are welcome.”
“Mieczysław, your food,” the waitress said as she laid down a plate.
Allison’s eyes widened in shock.
“I eat nearly as much as a wolf. My magic burns a lot, even just to stay ready for me to use it. I tend to eat more meals instead of larger meals, but I forgot my snacks before we headed out, and the bubble tea we got wasn’t enough. So a big meal. I’m gonna hit the shop down the road and get some pastries for us for the afternoon.”
“I’ve never been around magic users.”
“The Argents see even them as abominations. Even though magic has been part of this world since before the time that humans walked it. Humans learned how to use the magic all around them. Where are you headed for college?”
“Columbia. Dad says that it has a good program for basic education, I would need for being a Hunter if I chose to stay in it.”
“It does; the only better school would be Yale. However, the packs in and around Yale don’t talk much with invaders. They stay pretty isolated, so you would get a shit education outside of it. Celeste is a good option for that. She’ll educate you right, and with her beside you, no one will worry about you.”
“Thanks. Though I am not sure how much I trust your words.”
“Until it was found that I had magic, I was away. My mother didn’t want this life, and she didn’t know that I had magic. So when it came out, my father decided that this was the best. I wasn’t raised in this life either. I was kept ignorant just because I didn’t need to know.”
“I wish I had a choice between the blue or the red pill.”
Stiles laughed despite himself. He looked at his food and started to eat finally. Alison tucked into her salad, making eyes at Stiles’ french fries. He slid the plate over. His curly fries were not to be touched, but his cheesy bacon fries were more than enough to share. Stiles was actually used to having someone steal some anyway. Usually Liam.
“So, is Liam, your boyfriend?”
“Nah, just good friends. Well, bed buddies, as he likes to call it. I say friends with benefits. We aren’t what either wants or needs for a partner, but we are close enough that sex is fun.”
“I’m not ready to settle down, even in a steady relationship. Liam dates a little, but we are exclusive on sex.”
“You sound so much more grown-up than I am, and we aren’t that different in age. Or at least that’s what my father said.”
“No, we aren’t that different—just a few months. Life experience changes a lot. I lost my mother when I was a lot younger than you.”
“Oh, I see.”
Stiles knew that she didn’t, but she would take one day when someone close to her lost their mother, father, and things were different. Allison had a lot of changes to make. She had a lot of growing up to do as well. Stiles wasn’t ready to forgive her, but now he could act like this, don the persona of Mieczysław and live life as he was supposed to be. For now.
Stiles heard a noise, and he rolled over in bed, his arm moving under the sheets and then under his pillow. He gripped the handle of his dagger and waited. Princess had left the bed hours ago, probably seeking the warmth of the fireplace on the first floor that went all winter long. She would stay there like she had every other morning lately.
The soft scrape of something over the carpet of the rug around his bed told Stiles that someone was too close to him. He rolled again, dropping onto his back and flopping. There was a hesitation from the person, and Stiles took advantage of that. He shot up, launching himself at the person as his eyes took them in. He went down, putting the person on their back, dagger at the throat. Blue eyes flared at him, but Stiles didn’t stop. He pressed the knife in when he felt arms moving.
“Another twitch, and I’ll slit your throat,” Stiles said.
“STILES!” Noah yelled.
Stiles looked up as the bedroom lights were turned on. He looked down and saw that it was Peter. Peter, who was grinning at him. He didn’t seem too upset.
“You guys are early,” Stiles said.
“Yes, well, someone conspired to get me more days off. With Wilcox and Roberts fully settled in and Roberts as my second, it’s been pressed upon me that I need a relaxing time and that time is better spent where you are.”
“Though I wasn’t expecting this,” Peter said.
“Well, you are the one that knows exactly what training I am going through. You were rather blunt in your assessment of me when you told Celeste about everything when you were crazy.”
“And it looks good on you, sweetheart.”
Stiles crinkled his nose at the affection, but he was used to it. His father was either darling or love, but Stiles was always a sweetheart. It was creepy and so very much Peter. Stiles knew that Peter wouldn’t make any kind of move on him. He had fallen in love with the elder Stilinski while helping his father navigate the world he was thrust into.
“I have breakfast ready,” Kaïs said as he slipped out the door.
“We aren’t eating Kyle’s snooty food!” Peter yelled after Kaïs.
“Ugh, it’s too early.”
“It’s eight,” Noah said.
“Yeah, like I said. Early. With no school until after the new year and training on hold, I can relax, especially with my arm still healing some. Even though my magic is being mean and not healing it as fast it has other injuries, I’m enjoying sleeping until noon. It’s my right as a teenager who is not in school.”
The school holidays that were no summer were easy for Stiles to relax during. His aunt gave him free rein to do what he wanted, as long as he kept up his physical training at his leisure.
“Teenagers do like to sleep. Derek was horrible. I had to throw him out a window to get him awake before noon when he wasn’t in school.”
Stiles laughed at that. It was hard to reconcile the man who Stiles knew and the boy that Peter remembered.
“We are taking you out to breakfast, Stiles. Get ready. Adam said he would take Princess on her morning run.”
“Sure. That sounds good. I want to shower.”
“Then get going.”
Stiles looked down at Peter and finally removed the dagger from his throat. He got up off of him but didn’t offer a hand up.
“You are a brat,” Peter said as he rubbed at his already healed neck, getting the dried blood off of there as he sat up.
“You had better believe it.”
Stiles rushed through his morning routine. He was excited that his father and Peter were early by two days. They must have taken a red-eye to get there, considering that he had talked to his father over Skype the night before, and they had been home.
Getting dressed was easy. He would wear stuff that would make other’s eyes bleed. He had a t-shirt that had plaid on it and then a flannel overshirt that had plaid that went a different way. Kaïs had laughed his ass off, then Stiles had bought them on a shopping trip to upstate to get a few things for Celeste for Christmas. Stiles had planned on a lot of things over the break to piss off Peter. His clothes were just one of them.
“He’s exclusive with the boy, Noah not in love,” Peter said.
Stiles stayed where he was, more than sure that Peter knew he was out of his bedroom. They were somewhere down the hall, probably in Stiles’ library. It was a mess in there, but then he was working on his final project for his magical defense class that he was taking. It was a year-long course, and Stiles had busted his ass to get into it.
“Are you sure? We don’t love often, and he was half in love with Derek before the shit happened.”
“I’m well aware of how he felt for my stupid nephew, but Noah trust me on this; he’s not in love with Liam. He’s having a good time with him, and they are solid friends. His pack has gotten a hold of me to make sure that he has a place. They don’t think he will do well in the dorms at Beacon University. I wasn’t sure what to do about the whole thing, so I’m going to talk to Celeste. I don’t know if she trusts Liam with the secret that is Stiles or not.”
“Why you and not Derek?”
“Derek is an unknown. Even with the whole, I went on a revenge spree; they trust me more than him.”
“I wouldn’t mind him knowing,” Stiles said as he slipped into the room.
“That’s up to your aunt,” Noah said.
“I’m well aware of that. Liam loves me enough to make sure that the secret holds, and it’s not out of the ordinary for kids moving across the country to live with another pack during college. It’s not done as much since the Argents started to gain power and destroy the trust, but Celeste wants to see it come back.”
“So would I. I did it. Though back then, the Hales were the strongest pack in the country, before Talia really started to par down the pack to a smaller number, isolation is the only reason that the Argents were able to do what they did. I was too young to talk her out of it at the time, and her left hand was not the greatest at seeing threats on a large scale.”
“So, how are you feeling?” Noah asked as he looked at Stiles’ arm.
“Good. Still a little emotionally sore about it but healing fine, if slower than I would like.”
“Celeste said that your Jeep was fully good to go.”
“Yeah, the school did well with the guys who are in the automotive track. She probably runs better than when mom bought her. You should see her.”
Stiles headed toward the elevator that would take them down to the ground floor. It was down only unless a code was put in. The house’s security had been stepped up a little; Kaïs was paranoid with Stiles around and gaining the name he was getting from the new out of New York hunts that Stiles had been going on.
“That her?” Noah asked when they walked into the garage.
“Yeah. They kept a little of the robin’s egg blue on the details, but the rest is all red, and I kind of love it.”
“She is very, very pretty,” Peter said.
Stiles laughed at how Peter’s eyes looked at the Jeep. he looked like he wanted to scoff at it as he used to Roscoe before the facelift.
“No one would recognize it if they saw you in it.”
“Yes, that’s what Celeste said as well. I’m enjoying it. She handles really, really well, and there is no duct tape inside of her. Except for the roll in my bug-out kit, that is.”
Noah laughed and pulled Stiles in for a hug. Stiles wrapped his arms around his father and held on tightly to him. He missed this something fierce, and he wanted as much as he could get of it before his father and Peter went home just after Christmas.
“Show me this glamour,” Peter said when Stiles finally let go of his father.
Stiles pulled on the chain, and the necklace clasp popped open like it always did. With his arm out of commission, he was really glad of that. It took only him holding the pieces together for them to close back around his neck. He slid the ring onto his finger on his injured hand.
Peter’s eyes widened. “Even your scent changed. You smell like Celeste and Robbie more than anyone. There is none of your father in there.”
“No, Adam thought that having any of him would have people question that I’m not who I say I am if I come across the pack back home. I’ll be going to college in France, but I could very well end up back here for hunts during the summer, and we all know how much things are going to shit with the Nemeton’s influence.” Stiles slipped the ring off and put it on the chain again before holding the necklace up to where it would close itself off on his neck. He looked at the slimmer cast that he had on and was looking forward to getting it off soon.
“Adam said that his magic isn’t nearly enough, and they are shopping around. Now that the Darach is fully cut off from the Nemeton, it’s healing but slowly. It’s going to take years for the damage to be fixed,” Noah said.
“Yeah, Adam’s worried about it, but it’s pushing back against everyone. It doesn’t want to be healed with magic. It wants to heal itself. Though with what all has happened to it since it was cut down, I can understand.” Stiles had been reading every single report that had come through from Beacon Hills. He really didn’t want anything happening there that he didn’t know what was happening. He was also reading most of the stuff for California. Things that were close to home were going to be watched by him. He would rather watch the hell out of everything than to have something happen, and he does not know about it.
Thankfully, Celeste and Kaïs weren’t trying to keep anything from him. Instead, they helped him manage his anxiety at leaving for college and being not just across the country but having an ocean between him and his father. Stiles wasn’t happy about any of it, really, but he was learning to do better. He had a feeling that his first few weeks in France were going to be horrible. He was just glad that he didn’t have to stay in the dorms. That would make it worse on him.
Helena was coming back to stay for a while before they went to France together. Kaïs and Celeste were going to be shipping what he would take with him before he left. New clothes and things like that were going to be bought as Stiles was all for a new him for school. He had done something like it in New York, but this time, he would go a little more.
“How are your classes?” Noah asked when they were in Roscoe.
Stiles looked to the side at his father and glared at him. His father knew exactly how classes were.
“I have to admit that the letters that Celeste sends me from your science teachers make me wonder what changed between Beacon Hills and here.”
“That would be not having Harris. I told you that he was a shit teacher and hated me, especially after questioning him about the Hale fire. He rode me hard and not in a good way after that.”
“Well, I’m just glad you are doing well. I worried that after the first year, things would change.”
“Like I was doing my best and then would do less than my best after that?” Stiles asked.
“So little faith, father. To let you know, we were allowed to take one essay that we had to write in previous years and update it and add more details. Since I had only been there a year, they allowed me to use one from Beacon Hills. I did my economics paper.”
“For English?” Peter asked.
“Oh, no, Peter. That’s not the worst of it. What was the subject of your econ paper?” Noah asked.
“The history of male circumcision.”
“Oh, he got an A on it. A+ if I remember correctly. What about the new one?” Noah asked.
“Same. I added in what I have learned about Werewolf packs and their stance on things like that. It was a very fun write, and my teacher really wanted to know how the hell I passed with it. Which then had me spending my lunch hour talking about Coach. He’s about the only person that I miss from school.”
The tension was thick as Stiles drove them. Peter asked questions about places that they passed, but they didn’t talk about school again. Stiles kind of felt bad for bringing down the feeling inside of the Jeep, but he hadn’t been the one to start it.
“Since we’ve already hit the low point, might as well make it lower. Noah,” Peter said when they got out of the Jeep at the restaurant that Stiles had been talking about taking his father to since he had found it during the summer.
“I already know that Allison slipped you a letter to give to me. I can look at it later. She was here two weeks ago with her father. Anything else?” Stiles asked.
“Scott. I’ve not told Adam about this. I wanted you to hear it from me.”
“I need…a milkshake for this.” Stiles walked over to his normal table and found that it was recently cleaned off. He settled in with his back to the wall and his eyes on the door. He looked at the doorway as it opened up, and someone that he knew on sight entered. The guy came in here at least three times a week based on what the main waitress Danni had told him.
“Let’s order, and then we can get into heavy topics,” Peter said.
“Sure,” Noah said.
Stiles didn’t even look at the menu. He did look at the milkshake board to see that a peanut butter strawberry was the daily special flavor, and he was intrigued. He liked both things, but he wasn’t sure what he thought of them together. Though it would kind of be like a PB&J with strawberry jelly instead of grape.
“Ready to order, or do you need time?” Danni asked as she stepped up to the table.
“We are ready,” Peter said.
Stiles glanced at Danni to see her looking at Peter first since he talked first. Peter listed off what he wanted, and then Stiles’ father did as well.
“The special,” Stiles said.
“You got it.” Danni turned around to leave.
“Hold on, Ma’am. Stiles, I don’t care that you are an adult; you need to eat something besides a milkshake.”
“I will be. Danni knows what I want. I get the same thing pretty much every single time. That I didn’t tell her anything different means, I want that.”
“You eat here that much?”
“I pissed off Kyle a month and a half ago. I needed to get breakfast somewhere, and I didn’t want just cold cereal. This place is on my way to school, so I stopped in here to eat.”
“He chased off a few guys who were not taking no for an answer when they were hitting on me. I gave him a free milkshake every day after school because of that. He didn’t have to resort to violence either. Are you his father? You guys kind of look alike,” Danni said.
“Yeah, this is my Daddio,” Stiles said with a grin at his father. “And his boyfriend, Peter.”
“Boyfriend, really, Stiles?” Peter asked.
“Partner? Nah, he’s got a work partner. Husband? You’ve not put a ring on it. Lover? I mean, that probably works, but it’s a little public here. Beau? Oh, that one might actually work. Do you like beau better, Peter?” Stiles stared at Peter with his eyes wide, almost doe-eyed-like.
“You are getting coal for Christmas.”
“Oh, really? Cool. Make sure it’s real coal. I have a thing to use that for.”
Danni laughed and walked away, her head shaking as she moved.
“A thing?” Noah asked.
“Well, I wasn’t going to say a spell. I need like four pounds of it, and no, it’s not to make a diamond. Well, not a diamond that would pass muster with a jeweler. It would be a magical focus type of thing. I found the spell last week-”
“I forgot what a Stiles ramble was like,” Noah said.
“Dad,” Stiles said, and he laughed as his father reached out and ruffled his hair. He soaked up the affection and relished in it. He wasn’t looking forward to when they left again. He would have to make sure that Princess stayed with him at night to help.
The heavy topics would come when they were ready and not a moment before. For now, Stiles was happy just talking about what they wanted. He wasn’t going to rush in the feelings of dislike he had for Scott.
Stiles snagged the glass of fake alcohol from the tray as it moved around the room. Even the adults were not drinking alcohol. It was a fun little event. The kids were all in their suits and dresses from graduation, but that was about the only stuffy part of this. The band that was playing was a sort of local group. Stiles was pretty sure the one on drums was a Vampire, but he wasn’t absolutely sure. He looked for his father and Peter, finding them talking to someone who was in a fancy as hell suit. He smiled as his father was bored as hell, but Peter looked to be in his element. Stiles knew that Peter was still trying to figure out what he wanted to do. Stiles was trying to get him to go back to college to get the degree that he would need to help people. He didn’t need to go through law school again, thankfully, but he needed a few classes and needed to pass the bar again to get what he wanted. Maybe now that Stiles would be far away from where the Argents or anyone really could get him, Peter would go back to school.
“Having fun?” Maia asked.
“Yeah, this is pretty swanky. How did you get in?”
“Good thing about being the headmasters’ niece,” Maia said.
Stiles laughed and wrapped his arm around her and tugged her with him where he was heading to save his father.
“Hey, Daddio, Maia wants to dance, and I refuse to.”
“Oh, well, that just won’t do. Come along,” Noah said, and he held out his hand.
Maia let Noah pull her onto the dance floor. Everyone there was related to someone who had graduated or staff, so it was safe as hell.
“And who is this?” the man asked as he looked at Peter. His French accent was nearly so thick that Stiles was pretty sure that he was a born and bred French man.
“Mieczysław Gajos,” Peter said.
“Oh.” The man looked at where Noah was dancing with Maia.
“Celeste’s sister’s boy. That was her husband.”
Stiles knew by the look on the man’s face, he knew that Stiles’ mother was dead. Stiles had no clue what to do with that, really. He wasn’t going to say a thing about it. He was just going to go about his mingling with people and try not to talk to too many people. Maia was the only one here who knew where Stiles’ nickname came from. After Stiles had decided what he wanted to do with his life, he had the records changed at the school and a little touch of magic from the Headmaster, and everyone thought that he had been Mieczysław Gajos the entire time. Stiles would normally think wrong of magic for something like that, but it literally changed the name. Stiles stayed, and Stiles had made up a lovely story about a stile he had fallen off of. It had been an entertaining story to the few who he had told to the first thing, so it had been easy to just keep that story.
Noah had been happy with it since it gave Stiles and himself a layer of protection from the rest of the world. Celeste had a hacker who made sure that if anyone did more than just a search of who Stiles was, she would know about it. It was mostly for Noah’s safety on that as even someone going after him would hurt her. She wasn’t one for allowing weaknesses to stay where anyone could get to them. Stiles had no legal name change to Mieczysław. He was still Stiles Stilinski, but when he went into college, he would be registered under the name of Mieczysław, and then after that, he would be moving the degree to his legal name. Stiles wasn’t the only one in the world that did that, and it was easier for European colleges to allow it. Stiles figured it had to do with royalty.
“You look like your mother and your father. It has been years since I’ve seen her, but you have her look.”
“You knew her?”
“Ah, you don’t know who I am. I’m actually a party crasher, hoping to talk with your aunt. Then I saw Peter here and wanted to pass on my deep regret on what was allowed to happen.”
“Who are you?” Stiles asked. He could see a familiar something on the man’s face. He just couldn’t really place it.
“I’m afraid to tell you, really, since you are here with Peter Hale.”
“Argent,” Stiles said.
“Sweetheart, he means no harm,” Peter said, and he laid a hand on Stiles’ shoulder.
“Gerard was my uncle. Celeste made me aware of what he had done and why she killed him. My mother is Gerard’s sister. He did not like that his sister was picked to lead when he had Kate. He is the eldest male, and in his mind, the family line should have gone to her. Mind you, Kate was a baby at that time. He should have been a ruler in her stead. Yet, it’s the firstborn female that the line passed down. Not the firstborn male. We had no idea that he was treating America like a fiefdom even before that. The line was very damaged. I’m not here to do anything other than talking to Celeste since I had heard that her nephew was coming to France to continue his education. I wanted to make sure that she knew that we would do nothing with him. Unless he comes along with Helena on a hunt.”
“She goes out with you?”
“When the urge hits her. She loves to go on occasion, usually during breaks and in the summer. Her research project for her Ph.D. is going along well, so I expect to see her a few times this summer. I know she is coming here for a short while before coming back with you.”
“When you both arrive in France, I will hold a dinner party for my family. I have seven brothers and sisters. My parents were very much in love. Three of them teach at Rivers, so I want to make sure that you know them before being confronted with them. We are nothing like Gerard and his ilk.”
“Are you meeting with Chris and Allison?” Stiles asked.
“No, after the last summer where Allison came with him to France, we have found that our ways of being are just not the same at all. Chris is still dealing with his father’s taint, and he’s trying to be someone who knows who he is when he doesn’t. There may be a day where the two sides are one again, but for now, we are all content with your aunt taking a hand in them.”
“I would have thought that given the history that all Argents would hate Werewolves.”
“Our ancestor was a lone wolf, Mieczysław. He had no pack to attach to. If he had a pack with even one person, he would not have been that mindless beast killing. He bit and ravaged, killing before the change could occur since he had no clue what he was. I have learned a lot. I wrote my Ph.D. paper on the myth of it. I am certain that Celeste has a copy somewhere.”
“And your name?” Stiles asked.
“Oh, dear me, how silly of me. It’s Henri, Henri Argent.” Henri held out his hand, and Stiles shook it before he felt a hand on his shoulder. He turned to see that it was Celeste and Kaïs.
“You snuck in like you always do,” Celeste said, but her tone was soft, gentle. She wasn’t upset with him being there. Stiles was glad of that.
“I was in town for work, a meeting with a new investor, and I thought that I would find you. Your lovely husband told me that you would be here for this. I assumed it was recruiting, not that your nephew was here.”
“And has he been a perfect gentleman?” Celeste asked.
“You wound me. He’s too young for me,” Henri said.
Stiles laughed at that and looked at Peter, who was smiling as well. He didn’t seem upset by anything that had gone on.
“Though, he did try and hit on my lover,” Peter said.
“Well, he’s very handsome, and I adore his laugh. I didn’t know he was taken when I started to flirt. Though it went over his head,” Henri said. He was pouting.
Stiles laughed at a grown assed French man pouting at a man being unavailable to be flirted with.
“Yes, it’s a trait that his son picked up as well,” Celeste said.
“Look, I’ve never been flirted with outside of a mess of Drag Queens once. They really thought I was adorable, but I was also underage. They just looked and flirted but never touched,” Stiles said.
Celeste laughed at that, and she pulled Stiles into a side hug. Another hand dropped on his shoulder, and he knew it was Kaïs from the heat and the way he did it. No one clasped him on the shoulder quite like Kaïs.
“It’s a wonderful party; Assisi always does well. I have made my words with Peter, flirted with a lovely man, and talked to the new Gajos heir. I think that my trip here is a success. I’m going to find Jared. He owes me money from last year. I need to collect it. Excuse me. Congratulations on graduation, and I look forward to knowing what you think of my lovely country,” Henri said. He gave a half bow and then headed over to where Stiles the Deering brothers were.
Stiles wondered if the Argents knew about the Deerings. He seemed to be well informed.
“Henri keeps his fingers on the pulse of the rest of the hunting families in the world. He’s the diplomat in the family.” Celeste’s tone was still fond.
“So not a mindless soldier?” Stiles asked.
“No, that’s more the American branch. The others are a wild variety of tasks, but the matriarch’s eldest female is the next. Unless then she has no females, then it does to the second born’s eldest female. It’s rarely happened, though.”
Stiles nodded. He looked around to see that his father was still dancing with Maia. Liam was hanging with a few friends across the ballroom they were in. Stiles laughed as he saw Liam down what looked like a normal water bottle, but he was pretty sure that there might be vodka in there. Liam wanted to celebrate being free of high school. They had plans to meet up the next day. They were both happy to be ending the relationship that they were on friendly terms. Stiles would miss the sex, but that just meant that he would need to find someone in France to have the same thing with. Condoms at first, though, and then maybe they could move on from those. Stiles had no wish to start a full-on relationship with anyone, but he hoped that maybe he could find a few good friends. Helena has her own place, and Stiles not being in the dorms would help that a lot.
The future was pretty damned bright for right now.
“Hey, let’s dance,” Liam said as he grabbed Stiles’ elbow and started to drag him out onto the floor. Stiles went along with him, laughing as Liam started to wiggle and dance as soon as they moved. Stiles didn’t protest it. There were many dancers on the floor that was much, much worse than him.
Letting go around Liam was easy.
Between Liam and Maia, Stile had learned to let go and be himself. He could just as easily be himself as he could anyone else, and hiding hadn’t done a damned thing for him in Beacon Hills.
“So, what are the chances of us sneaking away to have a little fun?” Liam asked.
“How much have you had to drink?” Stiles asked. He couldn’t smell anything on Liam’s breath, but that didn’t mean a thing.
“Actually nothing. I promised the alpha I would go through this sober. So sober as a…whatever the fuck is sober, I am.”
Stiles believed him. Liam would never lie about something like that as if Stiles found out afterward that he had lied, it was over. Yeah, they were heading apart, but they planned to keep in contact.
“Then let’s go now while no one is looking.” Stiles double-checked, but all of his people were talking to each other and not looking at him. Liam’s other few packmates that were graduating were not looking either.
Stiles knew right where he wanted to head. He pulled Liam along with him. The gym that had the hockey rink inside it was open, even though no one was in there. Stiles wasn’t going to do anything on the ice, but he wanted one last good memory of this area. He pushed Liam down onto one of the benches and dropped to his knees.
“Fucking hell, going right for it?”
“We don’t have time for foreplay,” Stiles said.
“You don’t have time for anything, Mieczysław Genim,” Peter said.
“Fucking hell,” Stile said. He turned around to see Peter at the bottom of the row they were in with his father right beside him.
“Really, Stiles?” Noah asked.
“I was bored,” Stiles answered, which just made Liam laugh his head off.
“If you boys want to do that, go back to one of the houses,” Peter said.
“Like you never tried this shit,” Stiles said.
“We are done here if you boys want to go back with us,” Noah said.
“I’ve got to go home, Sir. The pack has a party-ready for me and the others there.”
“Well, you’ll live without dick for one night, Stiles,” Peter said.
“I’ll see you tomorrow,” Stiles said before he leaned in to kiss Liam goodnight. “Without cock blocks around.”
Liam hummed and nodded his head before kissing Stiles again.
Stiles rushed down the stairs and hoped that Peter said nothing else.
Kaïs was grinning when they exited the rink. There was little chance he hadn’t heard all of that. Stiles stuck his tongue out at him, and it just made Kaïs laugh more.
“If you weren’t so very enamored with going to France, I would say you would stay for him.” Kaïs reached out and pulled Stiles into his side, and they started to walk toward the exit.
“I’m not in love, Kaïs.” Stiles tried not to sound like a whiny kid, but he was sure that he failed on that one.
They had all driven in the same SUV, so they were all heading back in the same one. He was only slightly mortified as the adults discussed some of the more interesting places they knew Stiles and Liam got up to sex in.
“He’s young and sowing his oats, finding who he is. There is nothing wrong with that,” Kaïs said as he pulled into the lane that would take them home.
Stiles was looking forward to his bed; between going to pick up Peter and his father from the airport fucking early to have a day full of training and then meeting people at the graduation ceremony, Stiles was tired. He wanted to sleep for a week, but he would only get a few hours extra. He was sure that Kaïs and Celeste had a few things up their sleeves on things for him to do now that he was out of school until he was in France.
Busy was good, but sometimes, Stiles did want to enjoy life a little more than he did.
Stiles got out of the SUV and took a deep breath. The smell of the trees and just life around them had him feeling a hell of a lot better.
“How did you manage this? Really?”
“Can you afford that?” Stiles asked.
“He has no choice. I told him that he was coming along for the two weeks or I was taking you to the seediest brothels in the country.”
“And I made sure those who looked at that knew they could give me two weeks and change here, or I would be taking more time between now and next summer to go and visit you in France. They caved on that. I’m allowing Peter to pay my bills next month as well as pay for this.” Noah looked at Peter like he was put out, but Stiles could see the happiness in his eyes.
Peter looked around the area they were in and looked like he wanted to run for the hills. “I assumed you meant a cabin, Noah.”
“Nope, we sleep on the ground in sleeping bags or on them, inside of tents,” Stiles said.
“I fully regret saying that I would join you for the Stilinski family outing.” Peter really did look like he would rather be anywhere else. “Heathens.”
“It won’t be that bad, Peter. Your back will heal better than mine after a night on the ground.”
Stiles laughed and started around the SUV to get the gear out. They were using gear from the business. It was much better than the stuff that was back home that they used to camp and fish. Stiles was happy with the stuff, and he easily lugged it all out of the back and onto the camping area. They were in a section of land that butted against one other State Parks in New York, land owned by Celeste and Kaïs, and they used it to get away from things or train new wolves.
Peter grumbled but helped to get the two tents set up. Stiles’ had room for Princess in his. She was asleep in the back of the SUV, conked out like the baby she was. She had slept for the last hour of the trip, so Stiles was more apt to let her sleep.
The camp was set up in no time, and they had most of the morning and all of the afternoon to fish.
“Ready, Daddio?” Stiles asked.
“Yeah. Let’s grab the tackle and get going.”
“You are really going to just fish?” Peter asked.
“Yes, Peter. That’s why I told you to bring the Kindle as well as books.”
“I only mess with raw fish with sushi,” Peter said.
Stiles headed away, letting those two bicker as he followed the directions that Celeste had told him. He heard his father and Peter following along behind him, so he listened to ensure they were staying close by.
If there was one thing about Peter that Stiles had learned after he had stopped hiding who he was and started to be the little snob that he was, it was that Peter liked the finer things in life. He had a Shelby Cobra and had tried to talk his father into taking the second.
Stiles was sure that Peter had bought his dad the new SUV he had and that it might be bulletproof. Stiles really hoped that it was. It wouldn’t work on most of the things that went bump in the night that might go after his father, but it would stop that fear.
“I guess the weather could be worse,” Peter said.
Stiles figured that was about as good as it was going to get. He kept his eyes out for anything that wasn’t supposed to be there. The trail started to widen some, and then they were standing at the lake.
“Holy, shit,” Peter said.
“Yeah, pretty ain’t it?”
“Why aren’t we staying there?” Peter asked as he pointed at the cabin across the lake.
“You can if you want; I’m staying in the tent in the middle of the area. Mosquitos are bad here at night, Celeste said. And I don’t do that kind of shit.”
“Only at night?” Peter asked.
“Yes, magical pests that only drink blood at night. Which I think is funny. The cabin is off-limits at night.”
“Then we are not staying there.” Peter was looking at the cabin like it told him the most wonderful thing in the world and then told him it was a lie.
“I have no clue about how to deal with magical pests like that. It takes advanced magic, or you can make it a hell of a lot worse, so Celeste is waiting until Adam can come home and take care of it. Since you two are gone from Beacon Hills, that means that he’s not leaving until you guys are back.”
“Well, that sucks,” Peter said.
“And you sound like Stiles when we stopped him from blowing Liam in the hockey rink.”
“Dad, come on. I have stopped with the sex jokes about your life. Can we stop with the commentary on my sex life, please?”
Stiles laughed as his father’s face turned a red shade that he hadn’t seen in a while. He was happy that his father was happy. Peter seemed to be good for him, and he was good for Peter. Peter was much less crazy acting, and from what Stiles had found out, Peter and Derek’s relationship had been fixed.
Beacon Hills was better, but Stiles still wasn’t going back there for a long time. He loved camping in upper Beacon County with his father, but he wasn’t going to be anywhere near that. He would rather figure out new things to do with his father that they could do anywhere, and camping wasn’t hard to do anywhere that he liked.
Stiles wanted to enjoy his time with his father before he went to France for nine months. He wouldn’t be able to see his father in person until the next summer. Christmas was iffy on his father getting away again since he had been around this last one, so it was probably just going to be a Skype Christmas for them.
Peter was staring at the dock that was out over the lake and looked like he was afraid it would break on him.
It was one of those times that Stiles wanted to ask Derek if his uncle was always like this. There had not been a lot of time for him and Derek to become good friends, but he had got close enough to the man to know that he would have had a good friendship with him. Stiles had been around enough people the last two years that he was sure that he finally understood what real friendship was about. Scott’s friendship with him hadn’t been good at all.
“Where did your mind go?” Peter asked as he bumped into Stiles’ shoulder.
“Far away but not to a galaxy long, long ago,” Stiles said.
“He’s fine!” Peter yelled.
Stiles looked to see that everything was set up for their fishing. He walked over to drop down onto the dock and started to take off his shoes and socks. He rolled his jeans up to where he could slip his feet down into the water when he wanted to. The path between the cabin and the dock was pretty well maintained, and it didn’t seem to have anything that he couldn’t walk on without shoes. Stiles looked around to see how far back the tree line was. There was a nice spot if it got too hot; they could head over and eat lunch in the shade if they wanted to eat outside.
Peter would probably hate that. Stiles really wanted to do it to hear him bitching. Peter would be an old hat at living outdoors when they were heading back that Stiles hoped that he would go camping with his father during the spring when the fish was the best at that little spot that Stiles used to go with his parents.
“So, how are you feeling?” Peter asked.
“What do you mean?”
“Celeste said that you had been more thoughtful lately.”
“Ah, just processing, really. I thought that I would be graduating with everyone. Throwing my hat up in the air with Scott right there beside me because fuck alphabetical order. To fight with Lydia for the top spot. To be there when the people I went to school with all graduated. It’s just a lot to take in, really. I love everyone I got close to, but I wasn’t with them from kindergarten up. I didn’t have that bond. I’m fine, I promise.”
“This is something that I think that Derek would be better suited for, but that’s impossible. He missed his last two years at Beacon Hills as well. Well, two and a half years. Which is just above what you missed. I went to school with the same kids from kindergarten up, and I was glad to see their backs. I played basketball and was close to a few there, but most I really didn’t care about at all. I wouldn’t miss a single one of them. I had no one who wanted to be around me while I was in my coma. No one came to visit me. It wasn’t a life I wanted at all. The pack was the only thing I needed, but now that pack is long gone, and I was left with nothing. It’s good you are putting yourself out there with new people. Liam’s who you needed to learn how to love again.”
“I don’t love him,” Stiles said.
“I didn’t say you were in love with him. You can love friends as much as you can love anyone else. You love him, but you aren’t in love with him. One day when you are both ready, the lust will go away, and you’ll be great friends. I can see it lasting for a long time.”
Stiles nodded his head and leaned into Peter; the man wrapped his arm around Stiles’ shoulder and pulled him close. Stiles leaned his head on Peter’s shoulder and watched as some of the fish below started to really swim around. “Dude, are even fish scared of Werewolves?”
“Everything is, well, the things that actually follow their gut instinct are. Most humans are kind of too stupid to actually follow what their brains are telling them. They see a human; most of us are not big and ripped like Derek got, you know. The alpha becomes more. Derek was all about power, and I was about revenge. Everyone becomes more of what they are. Laura was afraid and scared, so that’s what she became with Derek. Kaïs loved his family and his pack. He fell in love with your aunt nearly instantly. I remember Talia talking about it when it was happening. How upset the Argents were. Then their eyes turned to here. The Argents, Gerard fought them coming here, but there was no way to stop them. It just took too long to get a foothold into the world.”
“Everything could have been vastly different, but it’s no good to ask for changes like that. Something even worse could come out of it all.”
“And that’s wisdom,” Peter said.
“Your talk is scaring the fish,” Noah said.
“Actually, that’s Peter,” Stiles said. He reached behind himself and grabbed his pole and set about baiting it. “I guess you should head a little ways away.”
“Why?” Peter asked.
“We only eat what we catch,” Noah said.
“I have to rely on both of you to feed me?” Peter asked.
“Yes,” Stiles and his father answered at the same time.
The morning and afternoon passed in a blur of soft talking and just existing in the same place as his father. Stiles loved it more than any of the other recent memories that he had of his father. He remembered doing stuff like this with him growing up, usually with his mother taking a hike in whatever area they were in.
“Noah said you guys did this with your mother,” Peter said.
“Yes. We did. She usually went hiking. I liked fishing better because I tripped over everything while hiking. It was really bad. So she hiked, dad and I fished, and then we all ate dinner together. It was nice.”
“Well, I’m not one for hiking alone, but we have two weeks out here. There is a nice little town I did want to head into and do some shopping.”
“Yeah, dad said that. It should be fine. We can leave our stuff here. This area is pretty safe. Hikers don’t make it this far from the park, and other than animals, nothing is around.”
“I can tell that. The animals mostly seem used to Werewolves. Many aren’t getting close, but they are getting close enough like those in the Preserve when I was growing up. I asked your father if it really was okay to come with you two. He said yes.”
“It really is. Dad loves Mom still. I know that. It was a good love, and just because he made room in his heart for you doesn’t mean he loves her less. I’m secure in my father dating, I promise. I know this will be the longest that we are around each other. I’m glad he had you when he was adjusting to life with the way the world really is, and then me leaving and all of the fall out of that. If you hadn’t promised to help him with everything, I never would have left, and I don’t think that things would have gone well at all.”
“Fishing, not talking,” Noah said as he walked over and settled in on the other side of Stiles, his feet pulled up to not get into the water. Since he still had boots on, that was a good idea.
Stiles looked at Peter’s legs to see that he was wearing shorts. Actually cut off above the knee shorts. Stiles didn’t think that he had ever seen him like that. He tried to think, and no, always pants.
“But that’s the point of fishing, talking,” Stiles said.
“Not when the fish run away,” Peter said. He reached out and patted his stomach. “I might be a Werewolf, but even I need food.”
“The cabin is stocked. The only food we have to catch is what we want to eat. Even I can’t guarantee to catch enough fish to make you happy,” Noah said.
“I couldn’t even tell you were lying about that,” Peter said.
“Just a little fib. I guess we’ve played it long enough with Mom that we didn’t register as lying. We’ve played that game for years, even with each other.”
Stiles reeled in his line a little bit, shocked when something bit it. He felt the tug and knew it was a big one. He laughed when he finally pulled it in, and it was bigger than his head. “We are eating well tonight.”
“Are you sure it’s safe?” Peter asked.
“Yes, the lake is only stocked with fish that we can eat. Some make it downriver from there, but yes, everything is safe. If it’s not safe, we will be able to tell. Have you never eaten anything like this?” Noah asked.
“I never caught fish, squirrels, bunnies, and other animals like that, yes, but not fish. I’ve never done anything like this.”
“We will make a fisher out of you yet,” Stile said. He held the fish out to Peter, who looked at it with a weird look on his face. Despite being a Werewolf and hiding in the woods like had, Peter really was the kind of guy who was more at home in his apartment than anywhere else. Stiles figured that they would get him cured of that in due course.
San Francisco was pretty but hot, and Stiles loved it. He looked around the bay area from his hotel window, it was July, and the city was hopping. He tapped the ring on his finger. He was doing a few meet and greets with the packs in the area as Mieczysław Gajos, and he was ready for it. By the middle of the month, he would be flying to France and getting settled into the new living arrangement there. He didn’t have a lot of time to get anything done at all. Celeste wanted him to meet with several of the newer packs that had made alliances with them. Adam was the one setting all of that into motion from Beacon Hills. He snagged an apple from the basket that he had found on the little kitchen table. He had carried it over to where he would be spending a great deal of his time. The pack’s histories were extensive, mostly from items taken in from the Argents, and Stiles could read through the lines of hatred in the packets and know what truth was and what wasn’t.
A knock on his door had Stiles turning and frowning. He wasn’t expecting anyone. He pressed his hand to his hidden dagger on his side to make sure it was there. He had gotten used to wearing it since he had gotten it as a gift from Celeste and Kaïs for graduation. The first of a new set of items would easily get him through airport security when a rush job was needed.
Stiles opened the door to see a woman standing there. She looked to be only about a decade older than Stiles.
“Mister Gajos?” the woman asked.
“Yes, who are you?”
“My name is Maddie, short for Madeline Smith.”
“Yes, I know. Never marry a man if he has a horrible name and not force him to take yours.”
Stiles nodded his head. He took in Maddie and tried to figure out her mental state more than just freaked the fuck out.
“I am Alpha Kane’s second daughter.”
“Ah, yes, the Kane Pack. I am set to meet with them tomorrow.”
“We have a minor issue with someone from another pack which has tried several times to invade our area to find something that he refuses to tell us about. My father refused him the right to come into our pack lands, and he’s come back three times now. Your aunt said that you mediate. He refuses the other pack stating that he would only listen to a Hunter.”
“I see. Well, I need to grab a few things, and then I will gladly go with you. I don’t have a rental car.”
“I brought my own car.”
Stiles stepped back and waved for Maddie to come into the suite, but she just waved him off. It was a good idea to send a human. Stiles wouldn’t have attacked a Werewolf but being in the car with a strange one would have made him a little wary. Maddie seemed like she could wipe the floor with him. He read her as a threat, but human threats were easy to take care of. Stiles grabbed his backpack full of tricks, as Peter called it, and snagged his cell phone. He saw no message from Celeste, so that meant this was a test. She had not warned him to know how he reacted. He was sure that the Kane Alpha would be reporting back everything. Stiles had already read through everything he had about the Kane Pack since he was meeting them tomorrow. He snagged his cup of coffee when he passed by it. It wasn’t cold yet, but the caffeine would help him settle down a little.
“I need more. If you want, I know this awesome place we can go outside of where I need to take you. We never meet or treat with anyone at any place that’s sacred. There is a coffee shop next door. I can give you my phone, and you can text them my order as well as your own.”
“Sure.” Stiles drained his coffee in a few swallows and tossed the cup away. He snagged his hotel key and closed the door behind him.
“Ready?” Maddie asked.
“Yup.” Stiles was glad that he had not taken off his ring after arriving. He had traveled under Stiles Stilinski, but once he landed and got out of the airport, he slipped the ring on just outside the airport. He was pretty happy with how it had happened. He was on the other coast with only Adam as backup, and he was hours away.
The drive from the hotel was quick; Maddie knew the city well and how to bypass major centers of congestion. Stiles did text the coffee shop, and they gave him an ETA.
“Get a lot of coffee from them?” Stiles asked as he dropped her phone down into the cup holder Maddie had put it in when they got into the car.
Maddie just laughed in response.
Stiles had been watching where they were going and making a list of places they passed, just to be sure that someone would be able to come and find him if this turned out to be a trick.
The bookstore that they parked in the parking lot looked just like any other, but the symbol for the Kane Pack was in the store’s logo. It was also in the logo for the coffee shop. So the pack owned both. It was a wonderful way to stay in the thread of the town. Hunters would know to stay away and know where to go when they were in town and talk to the pack.
“I see,” Stiles said. He got out of the car and headed toward the door of the coffee shop. Maddie followed along behind him.
“Yeah, I run the coffee shop for Dad. I love coffee and tea, so it made sense. I’ve worked here since high school, mostly as a way to make more money other than watching the pack kids for an allowance. I don’t like kids all that much.”
Stiles held the door open, and Maddie went inside. More than a few eyes turned to them as they came in. He looked at each person who was looking at him in the eye and then nodded at them. When he did that, they looked away. He had made it through the first look at him from the pack. The Kane Pack was the biggest in San Francisco. Celeste had their numbers down at around one hundred but never tried to find out more than that. The Kane Pack was the law in San Francisco. If another pack had an issue with another, they came to the Kanes. Celeste didn’t want to change that; she just wanted to let the Kanes and the rest of the packs know that they could come to them if things were something they couldn’t handle independently.
“So this is the Gajos heir? Looks like he would choke on air,” someone said.
Stiles took a deep breath and turned around to face the person who spoke. It was a brick house of a man who had come out of the back. No one else was looking at them in alarm, so Stiles assumed that he wasn’t that big of a tempered of a person. Stiles gave the man a truly wicked grin. “The only thing that I choke on is cocks.”
The man’s face kind of changed, and then he started to laugh. “Your aunt said you were a firecracker. Joe Kane, Left Hand to my brother, Clark.” Joe offered his hand to shake.
Stiles shook his hand, letting the man dictate what happened next. Joe was human, one of the few humans to hold that position in packs around the world.
“Was he a perfect gentleman?” Joe asked.
“He barely said anything. Was too busy keeping track of how I took him through the city and learning locations of things.”
“Good, I like smart people. I’ll take you both around to where Clark is along with the interloper.”
Stiles liked a man who was business when it was needed but didn’t mind breaking it a little. Stiles looked at the cup offered to him and took a drink of it right away. He had asked for kids’ temp for a reason. “This is good.”
“We make good coffee and tea here. Lovely shop, we get the tea from just a few blocks over. She makes her own blends. It’s very nice,” Maddie said.
Stiles nodded his head and followed Joe into the back. There were a few doors that he could see, but the one they were headed to was already open and opened up onto the shops’ back parking lot. It looked like employee parking as it houses many businesses and now a quick way to the front. The lot they had parked in wrapped around the side of the building.
“A little more information?”
“In the mid-seventies, a man came through the area; we were hunting what we found out was a Chupacabra after a little looking it into. He worked together with my father, and they took it down. The man’s life was saved by my father, and he gave us a knife. It was a family heirloom. I have no clue why this Werewolf thinks that he has a right to it. It sits on display in Clark’s office at the law firm. The young man broke in to steal it and was caught last night. He is not happy that we kept him, but we’ve alerted the man who takes care of the area he is from, and Chris has washed his hands of it.”
“Chris Argent,” Stiles said. He stopped when he saw that they were heading to the high-rise building behind the coffee shop. It looked like one of those places with many people in suits, and Stiles was in a T-shirt with a Henley on. He had left his plaid behind since he didn’t want to draw attention to himself, just in case someone from home was in San Francisco. It was summer, and it meant a lot of chance for it.
“Yes, you have met him?”
“Yes, I have. Him and his daughter, Allison. Allison is going to be learning under my aunt while she goes to college in New York.”
“And you are going to Rivers,” Maddie said.
“Yes. My cousin teaches there. I look forward to going there.”
“You have French down?” Joe asked. He opened up a door after placing his palm on a reader.
“I do. It was stupidly easy to pick up when I finally put my mind to it.”
The elevator ride up to the top floor took little time at all. Stiles could tell that the floor had been emptied for the time. It looked like it was nothing but conference rooms anyway. He could feel the magic of the one they were heading to. He waited for Joe to open the door. Inside was Clark, the one person in the pack that Celeste had given him a picture of. He was sitting at the head of the table and staring at someone who had a black bag over their head.
“Did he get to you?” Joe asked.
“He wouldn’t stop whining.”
“What about?” Joe asked.
“How he needs the knife to show the woman he loves that he is the perfect person for her. I guess he wants her to not go to New York and stay and go to Beacon University.”
“Fucking hell,” Stiles said. He walked over and took the bag off of the head of Scott McCall. “Scott McCall.”
“Who are you?”
“Mieczysław Gajos, from the Gajos Hunting Pack. I was asked to mediate this, but I think that little needs done. You need to go home to Beacon Hills with your wolf tail between your legs.”
“He’s not quiet now,” Joe said.
“It was the bag that was muffling him. You know him?” Clark asked.
“Of him. He’s part of the reason why everything went to shit in Beacon hills. He was forcibly turned by a feral alpha, and he thinks that it gives him the right to shit on everything that being a Werewolf is.”
“You can’t make me do anything. I will have that knife,” Scott said.
“I think that you are doing too well at hiding how fucking crazy you are. I’ll make sure that alpha Hale knows. I hoped that college would straighten you out, but it seems that we might have to find you a new school.”
“Or I can head down and help Alpha Hale,” Joe said.
“What?” Stiles asked. He turned to look at the left hand.
“I need to get a few more credits for my business degree. I can transfer there instead of going to Berkeley. It’ll make everything easier for everyone. I’ll take my wife down as well.”
“That’s putting fuel on the fire,” Clark said.
“She’ll straighten him out right away.”
Stiles figured that he was missing something when a woman entered the office. She was dressed in a suit, but there was something about her.
“Dearest, this is Scott McCall. He was at least smart enough to not bring ID with him.”
“Well, cops found his car parked in a protected lot. There was a note on the file that he’s a wolf.”
“Alpha Werewolf who bucks tradition because he thinks he is entitled,” Stiles said.
“A second alpha in Beacon Hills?” Joe asked.
“Theoretically, Derek Hale is training him to be an alpha, but I assume that he’s been playing coy with Hale and biding his time.” Stiles hadn’t thought much about Scott since finding out he was an alpha. Junior alpha was not uncommon in packs that had fights happen. It usually meant that some of the pack members split off, or in the case of the Kane Pack, they stayed and worked with smaller packs within the larger pack. A good strong alpha could have up to four alphas under them, keeping the pack close and tight.
“Well, I guess I need to see about a quick transfer to Beacon university. I’ve been bored with Berkeley anyway,” the woman said. Stiles knew that she was Joe’s wife, but his file had no name for her. There were a lot of Kanes, and he didn’t want to assume a damned thing.
“Would the Gajos be up for that?” Clark asked.
“Yes. The Hales might have pushed against that a little bit, but I assume that with Peter Hale agreeing, there will be little fuss.”
“The Hales will have no issue,” the woman said. She stepped up to Stiles and held out her hand. “Aurora Hale-Kane, at your service, Mieczysław Gajos.”
“You are…”?” Stiles asked.
“Talia Hale’s Aunt and therefore Derek Hale’s Great Aunt. There was a rift between Talia and me when I wanted to marry Joe. She forbade it and therefore cut me off when I did it anyway. I hold no ill will. Peter kept in contact right up until the fire.”
“I see. The Hales are finding family left, right, and center, it seems. I know of the ones in Virginia.”
“I’m probably the only one in the area. I called weekly to check on Peter, but he’s not reached out to me since he woke up. I wasn’t bringing the Argent eye down on us here. Gerard and, by extension, Kate seemed to have it out for them. I wanted them to forget that I existed.”
“I can see that.”
“I need the knife!” Scott yelled, his eyes flashing red.
“You want the knife; there is a big difference. That knife isn’t going to get Allison to take you back, Scott. I was there when Chris and Allison talked to my aunt about what they thought of you and your attempts at wooing her back. You hold that you are always going to be waiting for her, but she doesn’t want you.”
“I love her.”
“And that means? You were willing to harm someone just to save her life, which don’t get me wrong, I understand, but she now has to live with that guilt. Ultimately it’s on her grandfather, but you have to understand that in that case, I would have held an innocent life above hers.”
Scott roared at him, his wrist breaking the binding, keeping his wrists bound, and he jerked up and out of the seat.
Everyone in the room moved; Maddie backed away from the fight while the three wolves reacted. Stiles laughed inside, and he drew his dagger, throwing it full force at Scott. It embedded in his shoulder and carried him all the way back to the wall, pinning him there. It was a love dagger that was already proving its worth.
“That’s pretty shiny,” Maddie said.
“Graduation gift. It grows once it’s fed on blood and will trap the person I impale on it against the closest surface. If the wall had been a little further back, it would have taken him to the floor.”
“It’s not like those walls haven’t seen more blood. Alpha McCall, you have trespassed on Kane land, despite being told you were not welcome. You come to take property that is not yours to take. It was freely given to us, and we will guard it with our life. Hunter Gajos, your decision?”
Stiles looked at Scott, who was still stuck to the wall; the wound was bleeding as it tried to heal but couldn’t.
“I am not ready to make a decision. Call Alpha Hale and his emissary here.”
“Your will be done,” Maddie said.
Stiles was sitting down with a cup of fresh tea in his hand when Derek and Deaton came through the office doors, Aurora leading the way. Derek was looking at her like he had seen a ghost. Behind them was the right and left hands. Boyd and Peter were a shock but not an unwelcome one.
The Kane Pack was sitting on one side of the table with room for the hales on the other. Scott was across from Stiles, bound up again, and this time he had a ball-gag in his mouth. Stiles had found it funny when Maddie had pulled it out of her bag. Even more fun when she had said it was for unruly pack members.
“Who is this?” Derek asked as he looked at Stiles.
“Mieczysław Gajos,” Stiles said. He stood up and walked around the table to shake their hands. He shook Derek’s first and then Deaton’s before moving to Boyd and finally Peter. He squeezed a little harder on Peters’ hand and caressed the inside of his wrist. Stiles wasn’t sure if he had ever shown Peter what he looked like when he was like this.
“You look like your Aut,” Peter said.
“Thank you, she is a beautiful woman. My Mom’s genes did well on passing that along to me as well.”
“So this is the Gajos heir?” Deaton asked.
“Yes, Doctor Deaton, I am. Why?”
“You are shrouded in magic.”
“I’m recovering from a nasty fight, and magic is the only thing keeping me going at the moment.” It had been Stiles’ wish that no one knew the real reason he was covered in magic. The glamour was only noticeable to someone like Deaton, but magic was used to heal and keep people from looking vulnerable.
“And if I demanded that you drop it?” Deaton asked.
“Then I would tell you that you have no right to ask that since I am not here to treat with your pack. I’m mediating between the packs, and your pack is at the low end. Your junior alpha broke into not only a business but another pack’s land to take something that wasn’t his.”
“He’s young,” Deaton said.
“He’s not that young. He knows right from wrong. He doesn’t care about right from wrong unless it impacts him. If someone hurts him, he’s upset, but it’s okay if he hurts someone since he wasn’t hurt. I know about the death of the feral alpha, and after that, he was ranting that one is not supposed to kill. Pick a side, McCall.”
“Be that as it may,” Deaton started, but he stopped.
Stiles looked to see that Clark had stood up and was moving around to shake hands. He introduced the pack he had with him, and Derek introduced his pack to them.
“So, how are we going to deal with this?” Peter asked.
“How do you want to deal with it?” Stiles asked.
“Well, chaining him up does no good. Argent has already made threats about his overt interest in the girl. They have all told him that she wants nothing to do with him, and he still pushes himself onto her, not sexually.”
Scott said something, but behind the ball-gag, no one could understand him.
“What was he after?” Derek asked.
“A knife was given to the Kane Pack from Alexander Argent when they fought off a monster together. He has no right to it. It’s not even contested as I talked to Chris Argent about it myself. It’s well known where it is, and he has no cares about it.”
“Then why does Scott want it?” Deaton asked.
“He thinks it will get Allison back.”
“Scott’s a little thick,” Derek said.
Scott looked at Derek and glared at him.
“The hardware does look fetching on him.”
The glare from Scott deepened.
“Peter,” Derek hissed.
“Oh, don’t be a stick in the mud,” Aurora said. She grinned at Scott. Her eyes flashed red, and he flashed back at her. “Yeah, there is nothing I like better than seeing an alpha trussed up like that, especially when they have been naughty. Be lucky that I wasn’t the one to find you, Alpha McCall; you would not have been in a position to say much of anything for days. I would have made your crooked jaw look straight. Alpha Hale, I will be returning to Beacon Hills to train this whelp of a child.”
“I agree,” Derek said.
“I do not,” Deaton said.
“You have no say in this.”
“I am the emissary. How do you know that she doesn’t want the land?” Deaton asked.
“I’m a Hale, Doctor Deaton. I could come and take it at any point in time. Peter is my nephew. I have no want for their land. I’ve never been one for the woods, even when I was young. I don’t even go running with the rest of the pack on the moons. Sometimes my husband stays around with me, and I’ll fuck his brains out until we are both sated and unable to move.”
Scott’s eyes widened, and Stiles just laughed at him.
“I still protest this,” Deaton said.
“Noted,” Derek said. He turned his head to look at Peter. “And your thoughts?”
“Well, I am still for shoving McCall in a hole and leaving him there until he can play well with others, but I’ve been told by Noah and Christopher that it doesn’t actually work that way. So, of course, I agree with it. It would be lovely to have Aurora around. Though that also means frequent trips for Joe to San Francisco. I’m sure that we have space for them.“
“Yes. The loft on the ground floor is ready to go. I was going to open it up to a realtor for renting, but we can wait for the next unit to be open.”
“So we are in agreement? Aurora trains the new alpha, which lessens the burden on Alpha Hale, Emissary Deaton, Hunter Calaveras, and Hunter Argent.”
“I look forward to it. You are going to college, correct?”
Scott didn’t answer.
“Yes, Beacon University since it was the only one that he got into,” Peter said.
“Oh, my. Well. What happened there?”
“His grades slipped at the end of sophomore year, and they never recovered. I think it was a pity invite. The area was much calmer after the Alpha Pack and the Darach were taken care of over that summer, so there was no reason other than that to get as poor of grades as he did.”
“I would never have dishonored my mother by not getting the best education that I could at school,” Clark said.
“Well, we have learned that he doesn’t care about dishonoring anyone in his family. His father tried, but he rebuffed him as well. He’s figured out that he needs no one telling him what to do, and it got worse after he was turned. Right now, he lives with me. His mother kicked him out when he turned eighteen. I took him in,” Derek said.
“So he also spat in your face,” Clark said.
“He’s spat in a lot of faces; I would welcome someone else who had not been involved in everything to teach him. He hates me for what my uncle did. He adores the Argents to the degree that actually frightens me some. Even though with everything he’s learned, he listens to Chris before me.”
Scott started to say something, but the gag muffled him. He growled enough that Stiles understood that part, and then he kept on talking. Stiles was enjoying him sitting there yelling. Peter looked gleeful, Derek contemplative, but Deaton looked pissed off.
Stiles waved his hand, and the strap around the gag unlatched itself. A tug with magic, and it pulled out of his mouth.
“I will not sit here and be talked about like this. Release me at once!” Scott demanded.
“I’ll go ahead and head home to pack,” Aurora said. She looked at her husband and then her alpha. “Take care with him. I need him alive to teach him. Other than that. You may do as you wish.”
“She’s not your alpha,” Scott said.
“A pack is more than the alpha; the alpha needs betas that will follow,” Derek said.
“Yes, alphas who do not take in the wishes of their betas are alphas who will be killed. I knew that and welcomed it. I never fully expected to wake up again, to live even though I had made plans. That I was sane when I woke up was a blessing and a burden. I died for my crimes. You ignored your best friend, Scott.”
“Stiles again? Really? Can’t you ever let that go?” Scott asked.
“No. Scott, because you haven’t learned what you did wrong in that. You have lived a life of denial about throwing Stiles away in favor of keeping Allison happy. You ignored him when he was in pain, beaten to shit over your own arrogance. Gerard Argent played you a fool, and you might have given him a road bump, but you didn’t put him off of his game. Thankfully, someone else stepped up and took care of him.”
“Aurora is going to have her hands full with him,” Derek said.
“He did no damage other than breaking a few locks. I’ll let you know how much it was to fix everything that he did and welcome my left hand and his wife into your land to teach Scott while he’s in college, and we will call it even. He’s allowed in my lands but not my private lands. This is private land, McCall.”
Stiles looked at Scott. He wasn’t sure that Scott really cared, but Deaton had made a motion. Deaton was still weaving his web. Nothing had been found that linked anything yet to Deaton, but it was strange. “I’ve heard the rumors you are looking for an emissary.”
Derek looked at Stiles sharply. “And where did you hear this, Mieczysław?” Derek asked.
“Words on the wind or in the wind. My stories are my own,” Stiles said.
“I don’t like being mocked,” Derek said.
“I am not mocking you. I am just refusing to tell you my sources. I would have thought that your mother’s emissary would be enough for you.”
“He is bound to another, and he helps until I can find someone. I had offered to Adam, but he said he didn’t have enough like of me or enough power. I am not sure which one made his choice for him.”
“Adam is not that strong in magic, so let’s go with that.”
“And there is the mocking again,” Derek said, but he was smiling a little bit.
The words that Stiles would have said died like ash in his mouth. Peter noticed as he drew Derek into a conversation. Stiles looked to the side to see that Clark and Joe were both looking at him with a strange look on their faces. He knew that he was on a tightrope in giving away too much. No one who was in play now had been around Stiles when he had been weak. It had been two years since then, and Stiles could still feel the pain of knowing that his friends had wanted nothing to do with him.
“Who is hungry?” Clark asked.
“Why?” Peter asked.
“Ah, you have heard the tales. I am hungry, and all of this talk has made me thirsty as well. There is a lovely Asian buffet three blocks over that has a room that we can take over and talk about better things. I would renew the formal Hale and Kane alliance. Your enemies will be mine, and mine will be yours. I’ll even pay.”
“Do they have good sushi?” Peter asked.
“Then, I am in. Derek as well. Deaton will leave with Scott, and we can all talk like adults. Hunter Gajos?” Peter asked.
“We can get a few things out of the way, but I suggest that if you are all going to drink, you will have to let me as well.”
“You are only eighteen,” Clark pointed out.
“And I am the youngest here,” Stiles said.
“What would your mother think?” Derek asked.
“My mother? I don’t know. She’s dead,” Stiles said as he stood up. “My father, on the other hand, would be happy I talked my way into it. Get me drunk, Alpha Kane, or I will be at your house at six in the morning for the meeting that we have on the books.”
Joe laughed and looked at his brother. A few seconds later, Clark was smiling, and he nodded his head.
“Besides, I have an ID that puts me at twenty-one. Celeste knew that I would need it.”
Peter laughed at that and stood up, pulling Derek with him. Stiles didn’t want to go out with them, but he needed to. Ass kissing and alliances was what he was going to be doing over the next two weeks, and then at the end of that, his father would be able to come up and spend a few days here and there. He had been able to move three weeks around to where his days off were good that he could leave and come back at the end of it.
Stiles was looking forward to that.