Lion Inside – 1/2 – HarleyJQuin

Title: Lion Inside
Series: Werewolves of London
Author: HarleyJQuin
Fandom: Teen Wolf, NCIS
Genre: Crossover, Family, Paranormal/Supernatural, Pre-Relationship, Shifters
Relationship(s): Pre Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski
Content Rating: R
Warnings: Hate Crimes/Hate Speech, Violence – Graphic, Mentions of past DubCon, Canon Typical Violence
Beta: Alpha: Dark_Nights_Syn, Beta: Annabeth_Crestfallen_LeMorte
Word Count: 68,400
Summary: When Stiles is left in the lurch, again, by Scott, and it results in him being attacked by one of the alphas, his dad decides enough is enough and sends him to live with his Uncle Clive Paddington in London. What neither of them realized is that rather than saving him from the supernatural life he had been drawn into, it just pulled him in deeper. Leading to a change that could save the Hales, the Nemeton, and Stiles himself.
Artist: Bibbity88



Chapter One

August 15th, 2011

Stiles’ first week back at school was a complete clusterfuck, much like a lot of his summer break. The school week started on Tuesday with an entire murder of crows committing mass suicide by dive-bombing their English classroom.

The alpha pack had tried to capture Isaac after their first day back at school, but Scott and Derek were able to stop them. It was lucky Derek and Peter had the wolfsbane they needed growing at the old Hale House ruins to heal the beta.

He took Scott to his childhood best friend’s birthday party on Wednesday night. He just wanted a night of normalcy, a night to be a typical teenager. When he arrived, Heather dragged him into a kiss, which he immediately pushed her back from.

“Heather?” Stiles asked with a look of shock on his face.

Heather pouted. “Don’t you love me, Stiles? You promised.”

Stiles looked around for Scott, but saw he had already wandered off, so he asked gently, “What did I promise, Heather?”

Heather pouted. “I don’t want to be a seventeen-year-old virgin and you made me a blood oath in elementary school that you would help me.”

Stiles hung his head. “Ahh… That could be a problem.”

Heather was hanging off him by this stage and she asked drunkenly, “How is that a problem, St.. Stiiiiles.”

Stiles looked pleadingly at Danielle, who started helping Stiles pry Heather off before he said, “Well, aside from the whole drunk people can’t actually give consent. The problem, Heather, is my aversion to girls.”

Heather turned to Danielle, and she asked, “Dani, whass that mean?”

Stiles chuckled, “I’m gay, Heather. The idea of sex with a girl is a bit nauseating, to be honest.”

Danielle narrowed her eyes at Stiles, and she said accusingly, “The entire town knows of your crush on that Martin girl.”

Stiles stage whispered, “Rule number one of living in the closet, openly crush on the unattainable. Lydia is so far out of my league, so it gives me the best alibi.”

Danielle shook her head and Heather said, “That’s so sad. I need wine, more wine.” She left to raid her parent’s extensive wine cellar.

Stiles watched her go, then he asked, “You’ll keep an eye on her? I’m going to find Scott and head home.”

Danielle nodded. “Yeah, sorry. I would have stopped her if I knew she was planning this.”

Stiles nodded as she took him through the house to where he was likely to find Scott, as long as he hadn’t left without him. He just hoped Scott hadn’t heard his declaration to his childhood friend. Scott had been a douche to Danny since he came out as gay, and he didn’t think Scott would be any better toward him if he came out as well.

Thursday sucked entirely since he ended up being questioned by his dad after Heather disappeared from the party. He fessed up that she’d invited him because of the blood oath they had made as kids. He admitted how she had said she didn’t want to be a seventeen-year-old virgin.

He saw Heather’s friend, Danielle, as he left the station, and she was waiting for her parents to pick her up. She explained that no one saw Heather after she went down to the wine cellar.

She said, “I went down to the wine cellar after I showed you where your friend would be and I couldn’t find her. She’d only been down there a few minutes at the most. Everyone ended up helping me look for her and it was like she vanished into thin air.”

Stiles pulled her in for a hug when she looked close to tears, he’d known Danielle as long as he’d known Heather, but they weren’t as close. In all that time, he’d never once seen her cry. He murmured, “I’m sorry, if I’d known she was missing, I would’ve come back to help look.”

“I know,” Danielle agreed, “I didn’t have your number, or I would’ve called you back to help us.”

Stiles smiled sadly and with a last quick hug he said, “Let’s just hope the search parties find her.”

-x-

Heather was not so fortunate. Stiles woke up with his dad sitting at the end of his bed on Friday morning. He pulled Stiles into a hug as he said sadly, “Heather’s body was found last night. I’m sorry, kiddo.”

Stiles blinked as he processed that his friend was dead. He croaked, “How? I mean, how did she die?”

Noah sighed. “I can’t tell you that, Stiles. You know I can’t share details on an open investigation.”

Stiles begged. “Just promise me that it wasn’t self-inflicted.”

His dad frowned as he tried to think what about the interview the day before would trigger the question. He recalled Stiles mentioning Heather’s vow to not be a virgin at seventeen so he asked, “She didn’t take being turned down well?”

Stiles shrugged, “It was hard to tell, she was already quite drunk, it’s why Danielle was watching her like a hawk. She only let her out of her sight to show me where Scott was likely to be. She thought Heather would be ok, you know, since she was only going to the wine cellar.”

Noah nodded. “I feel fairly confident in saying it wasn’t your fault. I am curious though, I thought you liked Heather.”

Stiles smiled sadly. “I did, she was a good friend.” A tear slipped out. “She just wasn’t my type, I guess.”

“Do I want to know what your type is?” Noah asked nervously.

Stiles let out a wet laugh. “Probably not something you’re ready to hear, if I’m honest with you, Daddio.”

Noah raised an eyebrow and thought back to that night when he caught Stiles outside Jungle and he challenged, “Try me. What’s your type these days? It’s clear it’s no longer 5’3” and strawberry blonde.”

Stiles laughed. “It was never Lydia. I think if it had to be labeled, my type would be tall, dark, and broody.”

“So that night at Jungle?” Noah asked gently. “That wasn’t just you saying that to get out of trouble?”

Stiles shook his head. “No. Well… a bit, yeah. But I definitely enjoyed my time there.”

Noah chuckled. “So, girls don’t do it for you at all?”

Stiles blushed and shook his head. “Nope. I tried, I really did, that’s what started the crush on Lydia, I guess. I am attracted to her brain, especially now that she’s stopped trying to hide her intelligence. But the thought of kissing her, so much nope.”

Noah laughed. “Plus, I would imagine the young Whittemore boy would rip your face off for trying.”

Stiles shook his head. “Nope, they broke up. He’s moved to Boston with his parents. They wanted to get out of this hellhole, apparently.”

“Oh,” Noah said with a sigh. “That explains the email I got from the Mayor on Monday. I thought David quit in protest at my reinstatement.”

Stiles shook his head. “I thought Jackson rescinded the restraining order and took partial responsibility for the prank war? He told me he had when he let me know he was leaving.”

Noah nodded. “He did. But David was still pissed off about it. He didn’t think you should have gotten away with it with no punishment.”

Stiles shrugged. “I disappointed you, that’s punishment enough for me to be honest. Anyway, Jackson told us at the end of the last semester he was leaving. He said his dad was looking for jobs around Boston, they wanted to be closer to Harvard when it came time for Jackson to attend college.”

Noah frowned. “Helicopter parents. Ugh.”

Stiles shook his head. “Not really. At least that’s not how it looks to me. When you come to my games, even when I am benchwarming, you cheer me on and you’re there to support me. When they come to his games, they scowl whenever he is sent off the field; even if it’s just after he’s scored a goal and needs a rest. They spend most of the games networking with the other parents, and looking around to see who’s noticing them being perfect parents. They barely even speak to Jackson. At him, sure, but not to him. They treat him like a possession to be shown off, not like a kid.”

“Seriously?” Noah asked incredulously. “They adopted him, though. Oh.”

Stiles nodded sadly, “Yeah. I guess I should get up for school. It’s gonna be a crapshoot.”

Noah stood, and he said, “I’ll make dinner tonight.” He held up a hand to stop Stiles. “Yes, yes, it’ll be healthy. Get your butt to school, kiddo; and do try to stay out of trouble.”

Before he got dressed, he checked the group chat he had going with Derek and Peter.

Big Bad: We found your friend, sweetheart. Derek let a deputy friend of his know.
Lil Red: Thanks, Peter. Dad just came up to let me know. He said it wasn’t self-inflicted but he wouldn’t give me more information.
Sourwolf: Definitely not self-inflicted, not an accident either. My friend said they will need to do an autopsy to figure out how she died.
Lil Red: It wasn’t obvious?
Sourwolf: No, she had strangulation bruises. A head wound from a knock to the head, and her throat had been cut.

Stiles frowned. That was twigging a memory of something he’d read, but he couldn’t quite place it.

Lil Red: That sounds familiar. Not sure how though. I’ll think on it.
Big Bad: She wasn’t the first body. There was another in the preserve the night before.
Lil Red: Messages from the alpha pack?
Sourwolf: They didn’t smell like wolves
Big Bad: They didn’t smell like anything, nephew.
Lil Red: Was the other body related to the pack at all, distant friend, etc?
Sourwolf: Not that I know of, but we’ll keep you updated. Promise.
Lil Red: Thanks, right, off to torture. Harris first. Yippee… why can’t the crazy killers attack him instead of the nice people.
Big Bad: I tried, you all interrupted me.

Stiles muttered under his breath about stupid decisions as he left for school.

School dragged. He tried to talk to Scott at lunch about Heather, but Scott was too busy mooning after Allison to pay attention. He gave up and decided he wouldn’t bother telling Scott, unless the beta actually asked what happened to Heather. He was betting Scott probably wouldn’t ask.

-x-

He was scheduled on patrol with Scott after lacrosse practice. The pack was taking turns to run the patrol route through the preserve. They spent the run looking for signs of the alphas, or any other intruders.

They usually paired Scott with one of the Hales. Neither of them trusted him to stay on task, or around the pack in general, but they both had an appointment with their lawyer that they couldn’t skip. Stiles volunteered to run with Scott. He knew that Derek didn’t trust Isaac and Scott to patrol together.

They were about ten minutes into the patrol run when Scott’s phone rang. Stiles grit his teeth and he hissed, “Scott, you’re supposed to leave your phone on silent when running patrol. I know Derek explained it to you when he agreed to let you run patrols with the pack.”

Scott scowled. “You’re not the boss of me. I have to go, Allison needs help.”

“What the hell,” Stiles yelled. “You agreed to run the patrols and you’re just going to leave before we’ve finished?”

Scott gave him a deadpan look, and he said, “It’s not like you have to run the patrols, you’re not even pack. You’re just a human.”

Stiles sneered. “Why don’t you tell me how you truly feel, Scotty. Actually no, just fuck off. It’s obvious that getting laid is more important to you than keeping Beacon Hills safe, even when there is a clear and present threat.”

Scott tried to protest, claiming Allison really did just need help, but Stiles just ignored him and continued to run the patrol route. He was still salty about the fact that Allison never apologized to Derek for her part in capturing Boyd and Erica for her psychotic grandfather. She also hadn’t apologized to him for knowing he was in the basement being tortured, and doing nothing to help him.

He was around the back end of the preserve patrol route when he first heard the sounds of footsteps following him. They were trying to match his running pattern but occasionally when he jumped over a root or dodged a rock; the footstep didn’t match his.

Stiles flexed his forearms to double-check his knife sheaths were in place as he prepared to stop and face whoever was following him. He wanted to be ready for whatever came next.

He thought to himself, ‘Fuck you, Scott. See if I ever volunteer to help you again. Yet again I’m in danger because your girlfriend is more important than my safety.’

He felt the air change behind him before the claws swiped at his arm. Stiles spun around to face his attacker, and he saw a huge bear of a man, red eyes blazing and claws out and ready. He spared a brief second to think, ‘Oh Fuck!’ before he braced for his attack.

He snarled. “What, killing civilians isn’t enough for you?”

The alpha shrugged dismissively. “I wouldn’t bother with civilians. Hale’s pets, on the other hand, are fair game. How else do you teach wolves that humans aren’t worthy of their time?”

Stiles smirked, “You’re missing out then. Team Squishy Human have their uses. Now, why don’t you toddle back to your pack and get the fuck out of our town.”

The alpha rolled his eyes, and he rumbled, “It’s cute how you think you have a say.”

He lunged forward and swiped out at Stiles, however; the teen had spent the summer training with Peter and Derek, learning how to fight like a wolf, how to dodge and evade claws, and getting fitter and faster with more stamina than he’s ever had before. His lithe form was working to his advantage, giving him a bit of extra speed over the mountain he was facing.

He arched back, feeling his shirt move slightly where his claws nearly snagged it. He danced back a step, evading his claws, before he started to sprint for the Hale ruins, which were warded as a safe place for the pack to shelter.

He wasn’t so lucky. The alpha was on him before he’d even taken a few steps, grabbing his arms to yank him backward and biting down hard on his shoulder. Stiles was stunned when the alpha started shaking his head violently with his teeth embedded in his shoulder, trying his best to rip out flesh.

Stiles was quick to grab the two wolfsbane imbued knives he had in the magically hidden sheathes on his arms. With the arm the alpha wolf was trying to mangle, he stabbed the first knife deep into the alpha’s thigh, and as he let him go when the shock of the wolfsbane hit his system, Stiles spun and drove the other knife up through his chest and into his heart before he could get away.

He fell to his knees, breathing hard as he tried to process what the fuck just happened. He felt around his shoulder, and he could feel just how mangled it was. Thankfully, the deep claw marks the alpha had left on the teen’s arms were healing already.

Stiles scowled and barely resisted the urge to scream at the preserve in general as he recognized that he was turning already, and he wondered if the influx of alpha power was speeding up the change within his body.

He pulled up the maps app on his phone to try and figure out the best place to hide the body and he realized he wasn’t actually that far from the old Hale house ruins. He knew there were parts of the ruins he could use to bury the body, areas where the smell wouldn’t be noticed over the cloying smell of death and ashes already permeating the old house.

He checked the body for a wallet or even a driver’s license and he hit pay dirt in his back pocket. He found his license identifying him as Ennis Browne. His address put him in LA, which seemed like an odd choice to him for a werewolf to live.

He pocketed the ID before he pulled him up into a fireman’s carry on his good shoulder, and he made his way to the ruins, gaining strength as he walked. The alpha had just over half a foot on him in height, and he was built like a tank. It was slow going, and he thought briefly about calling for help, but he knew Scott would be too busy with Allison, and the Hales had their appointment that they had already been putting off. There was no way he would be calling his dad for body disposal.

Stiles sighed when he thought about his dad. He was going to kill him. After he buried Ennis in the grave they’d used for Peter, he stunk of smoke, was covered in both of their blood, and he’d missed dinner. His dad was already on his last nerve, and he was going to be pissed that Stiles was late without warning him.

He took off through the trees, straight for where he’d parked the Jeep on the boundary of the preserve. He made a mental note to send Derek a text later to let him know that he’d had to leave his patrol run early.

When he got back to the Jeep, he looked down at himself and he thought briefly about changing into his lacrosse gear, but he decided against it. He would still stink of blood and it was all over his neck and shoulder and would likely just bleed through.

Chapter Two

August 19th, 2011

Stiles walked into the house, itchy from the drying blood, and he was already stripping off his outer layers so he could dump them in the laundry hamper in the bathroom.

He heard his father stand from the dining table as he walked past the dining room, and he hung his head in defeat as the older man called out, “Stiles?”

Stiles walked back, and he faced his dad with a resigned expression.

“That’s it, I’m done!” Noah exclaimed. “I talked to your Uncle Clive. You left me no choice when you missed dinner without letting me know you’d be late. He’s agreed to take you in, you’re going to live with him in London.”

Stiles looked at him, feeling betrayed. “What? Why now?”

Noah sighed, and he sat at the dining table where he had been going over case files. Well, before his son came into the house covered in blood. Again. “Look kiddo, this isn’t the first time you have come home covered in blood. Going by the increase in laundry, and the clothing purchases on your credit card it’s become a frequent thing. Since you won’t tell me what’s going on, I am sending you to your uncle, who I can trust to keep you safe. Maybe you will at least tell him the truth of what’s going on. All I seem to get from you these days is evasion and misdirection.”

Stiles rolled his eyes. But he figured after the night’s events, it would be a good time to leave for a while. “Fine, when do I leave?”

Noah narrowed his eyes, and he said, “I expected more of a fight to be honest.”

Stiles shrugged. “Nope. Like you, I’m done. I would be happy to leave as soon as the flight is booked. I need to get the hell out of this town before Scott gets me killed.”

He turned to walk up the stairs to pack but when he reached the bottom he asked, “Can you do me one favor, though?”

Noah asked, “What’s that?”

Stiles took a deep breath, and he asked, “Can you keep an eye out for the Hales? The way things are going, Scotty is going to get them both killed, and they don’t deserve the level of shit he keeps dealing to them.”

Noah nodded. “Sure, I can do that. You ever going to tell me what’s going on in my town?”

Stiles shook his head, “Nope.”

He turned and walked up the stairs to pack for what was likely to be a permanent move. What he couldn’t take on the flight, his dad would drop it off at a shipping service to be shipped to his Uncle’s house in London.

He took the time to inspect and dress the wound on his shoulder, since it was still healing. With the mess the alpha had made, he was amazed he had been able to get away without any stitches. He also took the time to check the claw marks on his arms, and he was happy to see they had already faded without any scars.

While alone in the bathroom, he took the time to center himself and search to find his wolf. He had sat in on enough pack lessons, watching Peter teaching Derek how to connect with his wolf, to know the basic idea. His wolf was standing, proud and tall, just waiting for him to notice.

His wolf could feel his stress at being bitten against his will and how much he wanted to keep the bite a secret from his pack, so it pushed the knowledge from the alpha spark telling him how to control his shift, hide his emotions and pain from his pack mates. It also took the time to show him how to concentrate on his anchor and his pack, and most importantly, the knowledge on how to hide the change in his pack bond from his pack mates. It was important to him that the pack bond only have the same feel of static that a normal human bond would have.

He also learned how to hide the scent of his wolf from other supernatural creatures so he would come across as completely human. Something his wolf smugly pointed out, was only able to be done by alphas.

He turned off his phone, not wanting to deal with it right now, and he packed it in his carry-on when he heard his dad approach his room.

Noah leaned on the doorframe, and he said, “I’ve booked your flight. It leaves in a few hours. You’ll be going on a direct flight to Heathrow, and your uncle will be there to pick you up when it lands.”

Stiles nodded, and he pulled his dad into a careful hug. He murmured, “I’m sorry. Promise me you’ll stay safe.”

Noah nodded, and he said, “Come on, let’s get everything into the cruiser. I’ve already booked a freight pod to send your boxes after you.”

-x-

When Stiles landed hours later at Heathrow Airport, his Uncle Clive was waiting for him by the plane with two guards behind him. Lord Clive Paddington was a tall, solidly built man with piercing blue eyes. He was wearing his usual three-piece suit, but he still gave off a menacing aura that screamed ‘Don’t fuck with me!’. He was his late mom’s younger brother, and the current Earl of Faolán, Baron Paddington.

Stiles snarked. “You know it’s cheating if you use your position to escort me off the plane, Uncle Clive.”

Clive smirked. His nephew was even quicker with the sass than his sister ever was. “Well, it was implied you might be a flight risk.”

Stiles growled, barely keeping his shift under control. “I agreed to come, didn’t I?” He glared at the guards before he snarked at his uncle, “Well, are you coming?”

Clive chuckled, and he waved his guards ahead as he walked with Stiles to the baggage claim. He explained, “I used my ID so we could get through Customs a bit quicker. That’s why I collected you from the plane.”

Stiles chuckled. “I guess there have to be some perks to all the paperwork that comes with being an MI5 Deputy Director.”

Stiles had packed pretty light for the flight, as most of his things were being shipped in the freight pod. Even with that in mind, he was surprised when they were in the Bentley, driving away from Heathrow, less than half an hour after the flight landed.

He commented, “That was some perk, Uncle Clive.”

Clive chuckled, and he asked, “Worth the escort?”

Stiles nodded. “Sure. Would have been better without the guard dogs, but I guess an MI5 Deputy Director needs the protection.”

Clive ignored the sarcasm, and he commented, “I hope you’re hungry. Louisa has been in the kitchen all day cooking your favorite lasagna. You’ll need to give her your food preferences, so she can keep the kitchen stocked.”

Stiles brightened. “YES! I have missed her cooking. She does the most amazing pasta dishes.”

Dinner was a peaceful affair with Clive’s bodyguards, Adam Nero and Dalton Cooper, using the time to get to know the nephew that they would be protecting.

The group retired with hot drinks to the coziest living room. When the conversation died down, Adam glanced at Clive. When he got a slight nod, he flashed his electric blue eyes at Stiles, who instinctively flashed red eyes in return.

“Well,” Clive said as he sat up, flashing his own alpha red eyes. “That was unexpected. How long have you been an alpha? Or even a wolf. The last report I saw from Beacon Hills said you were still human.”

Stiles narrowed his eyes. “You have been monitoring me?”

Clive shook his head. “Not you specifically. We receive the FBI reports from the supernatural teams they have that monitor supernatural hotspots. The reports from Beacon Hills have been concerning but not enough to send in the FBI… Yet.”

Adam leaned forward, and he asked, “When did you get the bite?”

Stiles looked at his watch, which was still set to California time, and he said, “Around 18 hours ago, maybe?” He pulled his shirts off so he could check the wound, and he pulled away the gauze pad he had stuck to his shoulder. “Yep, it’s just about healed.”

Clive frowned, and he asked, “Wait, they only bit you yesterday? And you’re an alpha already?”

Stiles pulled up his sleeve, and he touched the knife holster he had concealed on his forearm so it was visible to the others in the room and he explained, “It’s been a rough year and after I was kidnapped and tortured by Grandpa Bad Touch. So, I found a way to add runes to a knife holster to hide the knife from detection. So the alpha who bit me against my will was dead, not long after he got his teeth out of my shoulder. I think he was a member of the alpha pack who have been tormenting the Hale Pack for several months.”

Clive turned to Dalton, and he ordered, “Can you get the reports for the last year and load them onto a tablet for Stiles to read, please?”

Stiles cleared his throat, and he asked, “Can you also include the reports from 2004 to 2005. I would like to see what they reported about the fire that took out a peaceful pack.”

Dalton looked to Clive, who nodded. He returned a few minutes later with an iPad, which he passed to Stiles.

Adam stood, and he asked, “Can you take your shirts off? I would like to check your bite and re-dress it if necessary while you’re reading.”

Stiles leaned forward and stripped off his layers so the bite mark was easier to see. Adam commented, “It looks like he gnawed on it rather than it being a clean bite.”

Stiles shrugged with the other shoulder as he said absently, “I don’t think I was meant to survive the attack. I suspect I was supposed to be a message. That’s all humans seem to be good for in Beacon Hills.”

Adam finished cleaning out the bite, and he indicated that Stiles could get dressed.

An hour of intensive reading later and Stiles placed the iPad on the coffee table as he said, “Whoever is writing those reports is being paid off. Probably by Gerard Argent, given that the events that involved him or his family, have been either under-reported or not reported at all.”

Clive sat up and he picked up the iPad to read through the reports, and he asked, “Can you give me an example?”

Stiles nodded, and he explained, “January 2005, the Hale Fire. The pack was peaceful and worked hard to keep Beacon Hills safe from supernatural dangers. Kate Argent, who had been working her way around the states, targeted them. She was taking out big packs, usually by burning the pack house down. She would seduce a minor into giving her information about the pack and the house. This enabled her to know about the secret tunnels that wolf packs usually add to their main pack houses, which she would then line with mountain ash so they couldn’t escape. There were only three survivors of the Hale fire. Laura and Derek escaped to New York, and they placed Peter in the long-term care ward at Beacon Hills Hospital, where he languished in a coma for six years. It’s not mentioned at all in any of the reports and the fire was reported to the local police as an electrical malfunction, rather than the arson it was.”

Clive asked, “Wasn’t Peter Hale the Hale Pack Left Hand?”

Stiles nodded. “Yep, and after six years in a coma reliving the fire over and over, he went a bit bugfuck crazy.”

Adam asked, “Was he behind the animal attacks at the start of the year?”

Stiles nodded. “They were all people responsible for the Hale fire in some way or another. We eventually had to kill him, as it was the only way to stop him. He was hell-bent on death to all Argents, even the innocent ones.”

Clive raised his eyebrow, and he asked, “We?”

Being careful to not name specific people, Stiles shrugged, “It was a group effort. He was strong, and he had nothing to lose.”

Dalton frowned, and he looked down at the tablet as he asked, “But, he was mentioned in a few of the more recent reports.”

Stiles smirked, “He got better. Lydia Martin, one of my classmates, resurrected him during the Worm Moon. He bit her, but the bite didn’t take. He’s not fully healed yet, but he’s getting there, he’s currently Derek’s Right Hand.”

Clive shook his head in disbelief. “How about over the next few days, you go through the reports and make notes on the various happenings in Beacon Hills, then we can start looking into the irregularities.” He could see the protest forming on Stiles’ lips, so he held his hand up to prevent the interruption, as he said, “You don’t have to be exact or name anyone. We just need a starting point to find where reports have been misreported, or not reported at all. I’m not asking you to incriminate yourself or your pack.”

Stiles nodded in silent agreement, and he started yawning. He hadn’t been able to sleep on the plane, and he had a feeling he had a long few days ahead of him, working hard to get his new abilities under control. He asked, “Is there someone who can help me with my new wolfy abilities? I’ve done ok so far but I don’t want to cause problems shifting at the wrong time. I mean I should be fine, I was the one that trained most of our betas on how to control their shift, but teaching is different from doing in most cases.”

“I’ll talk to a friend of mine and see if he can help us out, he’s a local alpha here in London. I’d help you, but we have a few missions going on at work that I need to oversee, plus I need to work with the FBI to figure out what’s going on in Beacon Hills.” Clive explained. “You can also ask Adam or Dalton. I have moved them to your protection detail while you’re in London. Especially now that you’re a werewolf, which automatically makes you the eldest Paddington wolf eligible to be my heir.”

Stiles raised an eyebrow, and he asked, “Your what?”

Clive laughed at the incredulous look on Stiles’ face as he said, “The Paddington titles are a bit different from the mundane peerage titles. They don’t go to the firstborn, the eldest wolf automatically inherits them. It doesn’t matter if the wolf is born as a wolf or bitten, it just depends on who is the oldest. Both Tony and Crispin were born human, your cousin Tony refused the bite, and Crispin was disowned by his father, for betraying the family secrets to an enemy. Your younger cousins are wolves, but they are too young for the responsibility of being my heir. They are also more distantly related to the Paddington line.”

“So, what?” Stiles asked slowly as he tried to process. “I’ll be the next Earl of Faolán?”

Clive nodded. “You will, as well as being the current Baron Paddington. Your dad has already agreed to the name change, and your new ID is already being processed.”

Stiles glanced at his babysitters, but he nodded as he said, “I am at information overload, so I am going to get some sleep, can someone point me to my room, please?”

Dalton stood and led the way to Stiles’ new bedroom. It was fairly plain, but definitely larger than the one he had at home in Beacon Hills. Dalton commented, “Lord Paddington left the room plain, so you can decorate it how you would like it. Adam and I will take you shopping tomorrow for anything you need.”

Stiles nodded, and he sat down heavily on the bed. He looked up when Dalton cleared his throat, “If you need anything Adam and I are just across the hall.” He nodded and left Stiles to his own spiraling thoughts.

Stiles plugged in his phone. Once it was charging, he turned it on, climbed into the plush bed, and he was out cold in minutes.

-x-

Back in Beacon Hills, Derek and Peter were getting worried. Stiles had been radio silent for nearly a day, which was unusual for the teen. They’d both tried calling, but he wasn’t answering.

Derek called Scott. “Have you seen Stiles?”

Scott replied, “Yeah, we ran patrol last night, he’s fine. He’s probably having a quiet day at home with his dad. He said his dad has the day off for once.”

Derek was a bit suspicious, so he asked, “When did you last see him?”

Scott hedged, and he replied, “In the preserve last night. He was fine and heading back to Roscoe.”

Derek hung up, as he knew he wouldn’t get more out of the beta.

He turned to Peter. “That was a crapshoot. It was obvious he was lying, but I couldn’t tell what about.”

Peter suggested, “Why don’t we go check out his house. It’s not like him to not text after a patrol, let alone be radio silent for this long. I checked the pack bond, but it feels normal.”

Derek shrugged, and he asked, “Would we feel the difference? I’ve never had a human in the pack bond before.”

Peter shook his head. “Probably not. We had a few before Talia took over and gave them an ultimatum of turn or leave. Their pack bonds felt like static for the most part. The only time there was a difference, was when they die you can feel them cut off like any other pack bond.”

They arrived at the Stilinski house, and found that the sheriff wasn’t home. However, they were dismayed at the complete lack of any heartbeats in the house.

Derek looked at Peter and he said, “You can’t hear him either, can you?”

Peter solemnly shook his head. “Not a peep. Window?”

Derek nodded, and they quietly made their way to Stiles’ bedroom window. They knew Stiles usually left it unlocked for them.

“Fuck,” Derek whispered, as they opened the window. “He’s gone.”

Chapter Three

August 20th, 2011

His phone woke Stiles early as it was buzzing incessantly. He saw the group chat he had with the two Hales going crazy.

Sourwolf: Stiles, where are you? Are you safe?
Big Bad: Please reply sweetheart, we just want to know you’re safe.
Sourwolf: Stiles? Your room is empty.
Sourwolf: Please answer. Scott said you’re fine but…
Big Bad: But we believe little of what comes out of his mouth these days.
Lil Red: I’m fine. Dad shipped me to London to live with my uncle.
Lil Red: He said he was sick of the lies.
Sourwolf: We can tell him if that would help?
Lil Red: No, only if he’s likely to find out, anyway.
Big Bad: Are you sure?
Lil Red: Yes. Just keep an eye on him, please and don’t tell Scott where I am.
Lil Red: I mean, I doubt he will even realize I am gone, but if he asks, distract him with Allison.
Big Bad: Sure. What about Miss Martin, Isaac?
Lil Red: Nope. No one. Once I have a new number, I will set up a new group chat for us.
Sourwolf: Are you safe with your uncle?
Lil Red: Safer than BH.
Lil Red: Just stay away from Scotty, please.
Big Bad: Why?
Lil Red: He’s up to something with the druid and as much as he was my friend, I don’t trust him to keep you two safe.
Sourwolf: Are you coming back?
Lil Red: Not for a few years at least.
Lil Red: Dad handed over full custody of me to my uncle until my 18th birthday.
Lil Red: Look, if things get bad in BH, please find somewhere safer to stay until I can come back and help you reclaim the territory. Maybe go back to New York?
Sourwolf: We’ll think about it.
Big Bad: I have to ask. Why was my fail beta so shifty about you being fine?
Lil Red: Because I went home covered in blood after he left me halfway through the patrol run to finish alone… in danger… again… It was the final straw for Dad.
Big Bad: Yours?
Lil Red: Some. Not all.
Sourwolf: Do you need anything?
Lil Red: I’m ok. Seriously, I will be fine. Just keep yourselves safe and stay in touch.
Sourwolf: Same goes for you. If we don’t hear from you at least once a week, we will come and find you.

Stiles put the phone back on his bedside table after glancing at the time. He figured 5 a.m. was as good a time as any to get up and explore the house.

Stiles spent a few hours exploring the house until found his uncle in the kitchen eating cereal at the breakfast bar.

Clive looked up. “Morning. Did you sleep well?”

Stiles nodded, “Yep. So what’s the plan for today. It looks like you’re going into work?”

Clive smiled, “Yes, I am going to get the ball rolling on figuring out what the hell is going on in Beacon Hills. See if we can get one or two agents into the Sheriff’s Station as deputies to monitor the area.”

Stiles grinned, “Dad would accept the help, I think. He is majorly understaffed after the kanima tore through the station, and then Grandpa Argent shot the place up. He lost six deputies that night.”

Clive asked, “Is there anyone else we can interview to find out what is going on?”

Stiles nodded, “The Hales. Interview them together, Peter is a lawyer, and he is manipulative, all part of being the left hand, I guess, but Derek will balance it out. If you interview them separately, Derek won’t say a word and Peter will run rings around your investigators.”

Clive smirked, “Noted. Will they talk?”

Stiles wiggled his hand in a so-so motion. “They might if I set up the meeting for you. We talked this morning in our group chat. I asked them to leave if things get any worse than they are now. I mean, they have two missing betas that have been missing since the end of the school year and the alpha pack won’t stop trying to attack.”

Clive made a note on his phone, “I will send you the details so you can organize it with them. As for you, last night I was able to arrange for placement testing with King’s College. They have another student booked in for testing on Monday and they have added you to the testing schedule. Dalton will take you shopping today for an appropriate outfit.”

Stiles shrewdly asked, “Can you ask King’s to also give me the appropriate exit exams? I would rather just go to university early if I can manage it.”

Clive asked, “Didn’t you just start your Junior year a week ago?”

Stiles smirked, “I’ve been writing college-level papers for a few years now. I’ll be fine.”

Clive held his hands up and he snarked, “I don’t want to know. I will talk to the Headmaster to organize the exit exams. Make sure Dalton gets you measured for a suit while you’re out shopping today.”

Stiles asked, “Got any contacts at Oxford?”

Clive chuckled. “Of course. Do you want to do your degree there? What degree do you plan to do?”

“Two actually, a master’s in criminal justice and a master’s in psychology,” Stiles explained. “I will need help with convincing them to let me test out of my first year and some of my second year papers.”

Clive nodded. “It’s not impossible, do you have some example papers?”

Stiles nodded. “I have a few that I wrote but never used on my laptop, I’ll email them through to you before I go shopping.”

“Sounds good.” Clive stood and put his bowl in the sink, “Right, I have to go into the office. If you head up to the library, Dalton is waiting to take you through some control exercises. The bite should have settled and we want to make sure you don’t accidentally shift while out shopping.”

Stiles nodded and put his dishes in the sink before joining the guard up in the library.

-x-

The lessons were fairly easy. He admitted to his guards that he had already learned a lot of the exercises from his wolf.

Dalton asked, “What do you mean?”

Stiles shrugged. “I mean I sat down when I got home and centered myself, got in touch with my inner wolf and he taught me things when he realized I wanted to keep my wolf a secret from my pack.”

Dalton frowned. “So what? Your pack bond feels human?”

Stiles nodded with a cheeky grin. “You must have noticed I still smell human. So yep, exactly that. Look, if Derek or Peter finds out what happened, they will drop everything to check on me. And as much as I would love that, they need to protect their territory more than one dumb kid. The alphas are going to be out for Hale Pack blood when they figure out that I took out Ennis.”

Dalton asked, “Wait, do you know the name of the alpha who attacked you?”

Stiles nodded, and he took the alpha’s ID out of his wallet. “This was the ID he had on him. Ennis Browne from LA. I took the ID so I could do a background check.”

Dalton passed Adam the license, and he requested, “Can you look into this, his name sounds familiar. Like, watch list level, familiar.”

Adam left the room and Dalton tilted his head at Stiles and he asked, “What else are you getting from your wolf.”

Stiles shrugged, “Mostly how to hide the change from my pack via the pack bonds, and how to hide the scent of my wolf, as I said earlier. He also taught me how to control my shift, and I get the sense that I am an alpha, not ‘The Alpha’. I know in my bones my alpha is still Derek, and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.”

Adam reentered the room, “I’ve called Lord Paddington and let him know that one of the FBI’s most wanted is dead. You’re sure it was the man on the ID, that the photo matched?”

Stiles nodded, “Yep, trust me, I won’t forget him. He was built like a freaking tank, and he had at least half a foot on me in height.”

Adam nodded. “That confirms it. He was well known for his brute force fighting. Do I want to know what you did with the body? Will it be found?”

Stiles shook his head, “I buried it in the Hale house ruins, I reused the grave we used for Peter after we killed him in February. The house stinks of death and decay after the fire, so I figured it would keep the body hidden. I didn’t want to risk him being found by the rest of his pack.”

The guards both nodded, and Adam confirmed, “We’ll send in a covert team to retrieve the body. You’ll have to give the FBI a statement about the attack, but as the death was self-defense, you won’t be charged.”

Stiles nodded. “I can give you instructions for how to retrieve the body, but you’ll need to get permission from the Hale’s to enter the ruins.”

Dalton asked, “Do they know he’s buried there?”

Stiles shook his head. “No. I literally left town a few hours after the attack. Dad is the only one who saw me covered in blood. The Hales and my Dad are the only ones who know I’ve left town. They have all promised to keep my location to themselves.”

“We can talk to them,” Dalton agreed. “Let them know he’s there and that we need access to retrieve the body as proof of death. We’ll need to get a team in place soon. His pack will retaliate against the local pack when they realize he’s missing, especially if the rumors of his mate are true.”

“Fuck!” Stiles growled. “I’ll let Derek know to stay vigilant. Is there any way you can send him some help to deal with the alpha pack? We are pretty sure they’ve already captured two of his betas. We spent all summer trying to find them.”

Adam asked, “Is that Vernon Boyd and Erica Reyes? We have them listed as runaways.”

Stiles disagreed, “They ran, yes. They told Derek they wanted to find the other pack they could hear howling, but it was Allison and Gerard Argent playing recordings of a pack. They captured them and tortured them for several days in the basement of the Argent house. Then, Gerard had me kidnapped from the school lacrosse field after the final game of the season. The bastard left us alone while he was calling Scott to get him in place, and the pair of them told me they would find Derek as soon as they escaped. Chris promised us he had let them go after he got back from the disaster of a meeting at the warehouse.”

Adam hesitantly asked, “Do I want to ask about the warehouse?”

Stiles laughed darkly. “Probably not. Gerard was dying of cancer, so he wanted the bite. He apparently used the kanima to threaten Scott’s mom. He forced Scott to help him get Derek to the warehouse so he could bite Gerard. When Derek refused to bite him, the kanima was used to paralyze him and Scott forced him into position so Gerard could get the bite, anyway. We managed to get the kanima to complete the turn to a werewolf. What we didn’t know, was apparently, Scott and Deaton had worked together to switch Gerard’s cancer drugs with mountain ash. When Derek bit him he started spewing black goo.”

“So he’s dead?” Adam asked, he was hopeful that the evil Argent was finally dealt with.

Stiles shook his head. “I can’t see how he could have survived, but his body hasn’t turned up. So as far as I’m concerned, he’s still alive until an autopsy confirms his death.”

Adam nodded, “A good policy, especially where the supernatural is involved. Right, so I need to talk to Lord Paddington to get a team into Beacon Hills to find the missing betas and deal with the invading pack.”

Stiles nodded, “Yes, please. If they knew he was targeting me, they might switch their target to Dad when they figure out Ennis is missing and I’m nowhere to be found. I’ll give Derek a call while I’m getting ready to go out. He should still be awake.”

He ran up the stairs to his room in the hope of some privacy before he made the call.

“Derek?” He asked, as a groggy Derek eventually picked up.

He could hear it as Derek sat up as he asked, “Stiles? What’s going on?”

The teen realized too late that he’d forgotten about the time zone change. “Sorry, Sourwolf, I didn’t mean to wake you.”

Derek yawned. “S’ok. What’s going on? You wouldn’t call if it wasn’t important, not from London.”

“Is Peter awake? Is he there?” Stiles asked. He figured it would be easier to get the conversation done once rather than having to repeat it later.

Derek switched the phone to the speaker function, and he said, “We’re both here, Stiles. Now, what happened?”

Stiles hedged. “I might have forgotten to mention who my uncle is.”

Peter asked silkily, “Well, Stiles, don’t keep us in suspense. It’s nearly 3 a.m. and we’re both shattered.”

“Lord Clive Paddington,” Stiles said slowly. When he heard the wolves react with a sharp intake of breath he explained, “My mother, Claudia Stilinski nee Paddington, was his older sister. She was born as a human into one of the most influential packs in Europe. I was due to be introduced to the pack when I turned eighteen.”

Derek asked, “So why did that necessitate a call to us at 3 a.m., Stiles.”

Before Stiles could answer, Peter interrupted. He could almost sense the smug grin on Peter’s face as he said, “Well, well, my sources tell me the Lord Paddington always serves at the discretion of the crown, and the only actual pack they have are blood family.”

Derek asked, “So, how is he influential?”

Peter grinned. “Because those who serve in his regiment, or unit, accept him as their proxy alpha while they serve the crown. His orders come directly from the reigning monarch. Depending on what’s going on in the world, his ‘pack’ can be huge. You used to read a lot of Sherlock Holmes books, think of him as a kind of Mycroft Holmes, hidden away in the British Government and seems inconsequential, but actually has a lot of sway and power. Power to do what needs to be done to keep the secrets of the crown and the supernatural. I believe this is why he currently works as a director for MI5?”

Stiles agreed. “He is. He leads the supernatural investigation unit, and works closely with the FBI and a few of the teams in Europe. They are sending a team to help out in Beacon Hills. Especially since… Fuck.”

Derek asked softly, “What happened, Stiles? Is this about why your house stunk of blood?”

Stiles took a deep breath, and he admitted, “Yeah, so, one of the alphas came for me while I was on patrol on Friday night. Scott ditched me ten minutes in so I was alone when he attacked.” He could feel Peter poking at their pack bond and he growled, “Peter. Stop.”

Peter kept poking as he asked, “Did he bite you, sweetheart?”

Stiles muttered under his breath about perceptive pack mates and he let go of the control he had over his pack bond, so the alpha and his second would feel the change.

Derek said tremulously, “Stiles?”

“He bit me, intending to kill me,” Stiles snarled. “I returned the favor, he thought I was a squishy human, and he made the mistake of underestimating me.”

Peter said, “Right, I’ll be off then. Your father will need a guard until the FBI teams arrive. I’ll keep you updated via the group chat, Lil Red.”

Stiles sighed in relief. “Thanks, Peter. Stay safe, ok?”

Derek waited until his uncle was out of earshot before he asked, “Are you ok? Are they helping you? The alpha spark would be a lot to take on top of changing into a wolf.”

Stiles smiled. “I’m ok, it’s been a rough few days. My uncle is organizing a local alpha to help me with the full moon next month, and I have two guard wolves at all times being Uncle Clive’s heir. God, I am now known as Baron Paddington, heir to the Earl of Faolán.”

Derek chuckled. “It sounds important. What I don’t understand though is, if your uncle is Alpha Paddington, why do we still have a pack bond?”

Stiles said vehemently, “My uncle may be an alpha, hell I’m an alpha in my own right, but you’re still MY alpha, Derek. That won’t change unless you kick me out of your pack. I don’t want it to change.”

“Are you sure you’ll be ok?” Derek asked. “London is a long way to maintain a pack bond.”

Stiles nodded, even though Derek couldn’t see it. “I’ll be fine. I feel fine, honestly. My wolf agrees that you’re my alpha and we feel fine. I don’t even have the urge to create betas. If I do start to lose control, I have the two guard wolves I mentioned.”

He could still feel Derek’s worry down the pack bond, so he suggested, “How about this, when I pick up my new phone I’ll create a group chat for us with them so they can contact you if I have any issues.”

Derek replied, “That sounds good. What do you want me to do about Scott abandoning you mid patrol?”

Stiles said quickly, “Nothing, I don’t want him to know about the attack at all. The FBI wants to talk to you and Peter about what’s been happening in Beacon Hills over the last year. I’ve told them to talk to you both together.” He sighed deeply. “I got to see the reports for the last year in Beacon Hills. The FBI send them periodically to Uncle Clive as part of the reciprocal agreement they have. He was using it as a way to keep an eye on me and my dad. The reports are being altered, so the situation looks like nothing supernatural is happening. That’s why they want to talk to you both, try to get a picture of what’s really going on.”

Derek agreed. “Ok, I’ll let Uncle Peter know. Is there anything else I need to know?”

Stiles explained, “Yeah. I buried Ennis in the grave you used for Peter in the ruins. I didn’t want the other alphas finding his body, and I thought reusing the grave would hide the smell. My guards are aware that you will have to escort the team they send to the gravesite. I didn’t want them just trampling through your house.”

“Thank you,” Derek said quietly. “Not just about the escort thing, but, you have no idea how grateful I am that he’s dead. Fuck.” He took a few deep breaths to steady himself. He eventually said, “That bastard bit my first girlfriend. I killed her while she was dying in my arms of bite rejection; she begged me to put her out of her misery. He’s why I have blue eyes.”

Stiles said honestly, “Then I am glad I killed the bastard, he targeted me because he said I was your pet. Fucker paid for underestimating me.”

Derek was struggling to process everything, and he wanted time to think, so he said, “I’m going to get some sleep, send us a message in the group chat when you have more details.”

“Will do,” Stiles agreed. “Sleep well, Sourwolf.”

The teen hung up, and he put his head in his hands as he heard one of his guards enter the room.

Dalton asked, “You ok, kiddo?”

Stiles nodded. “Yeah, just not an easy phone call. Peter is going to guard my dad until the FBI team arrives.” He wanted a subject change, so he asked, “What do I need to wear for the suit fitting?”

Dalton suggested, “Boxer briefs and a tight tee-shirt if you have one. Today’s fitting will be quick, as it’s just for an off-the-shelf suit. Once you’re fully settled into your wolf, we’ll do a full bespoke fitting and get a few suits made.”

Stiles shooed the guard out of the room as he got changed.

The shopping went fairly smoothly. The suit was a nice cut, dark blue with a bright red tie. He wanted to get a few more outfits but Dalton cautioned him to wait until after the next full moon as the shift would likely change him a bit.

They picked up a new phone for him and he created a couple of group chats. One with just himself and the two Hales and one with his two guards, his uncle and the two Hales. When his dad was brought in on the secret, he too would be added.

Chapter Four

August 22nd, 2011

Monday found Stiles walking into a spare classroom at King’s College to start his placement testing. He’d sent a message to the group chat asking the Hales to wish him luck with his testing so he wasn’t paying attention when he entered the room. His head snapped up when he heard, “Stilinski?”

He looked around the room in shock and when he found the beta, he whispered, “Jackson?”

They had warned Stiles before the meeting that the school would be using his new title, Baron Paddington, so it did not surprise him to hear the administrator ask, “Baron Paddington, do you know Mr. Whittemore?”

Stiles nodded. “We both attended the same high school in Beacon Hills until the end of the last semester.” Stiles glanced at Jackson, who was looking dumbfounded, and he asked Mrs. Devon, “Is Jackson also doing the exit exams or just the placement testing?”

She looked down at her clipboard and went through the papers. “He is just booked in for the placement testing.”

Stiles requested, “Can you please give us a few minutes to talk?”

She nodded and commented, “I’ll wait with your guards just outside the door.”

Jackson demanded, “Why are you here, Stiles? Were you sent to check on me?”

Stiles shrugged. “I had no idea you were here in London. I’m just here for testing, same as you. It’s a family tradition to attend King’s College. Why are you here? Last we heard you were sent to live in Boston.”

Jackson explained, “Dad got a job offer here that he couldn’t pass up.”

Stiles could still feel a pack bond with Jackson, so he knew he was still part of the Hale Pack. So he asked, “Do you want to try for the exit exams? I know you’re smart enough to ace them. I can ask Uncle Clive if he can help you get into Oxford with me.”

Jackson nodded, he looked uncharacteristically unsure as he said, “Sure, I’ll try.”

Stiles walked to the door, but before he got there he asked, “What are your plans after the testing? Can you come with me back to my place so we can talk properly?”

Jackson nodded. “David dropped me off at the gates this morning. After the testing, I was going to catch the tube back to the townhouse they rented.”

Stiles opened the door, and he gestured for the administrator to re-enter the room. He said, “We would both like to take the exit exam before any placement testing please.”

She glanced at Jackson to confirm he was on board with the change of plans, and he nodded once to assure her that’s what he wanted.

They spent a grueling day in the classroom doing various tests to try and avoid having to attend another year of high school. They agreed that they would rather just start university if they had to start again at a new school. When the day was finally over, they both climbed tiredly into the Bentley and talked quietly as Dalton drove them back to the Paddington townhouse in the center of London.

Stiles commented, “You should let your parents know you will be late home. I think this will be a long discussion.”

Jackson shook his head. “They left this morning for a two-week trip to Europe.”

Stiles snorted. “So different country, same old bullshit?”

Jackson grinned. “Basically. It does make it easier to hide my wolf from them.”

When they arrived at the townhouse they got settled in the library, Stiles’ favorite room in the house. He was in love with the deep chesterfield sofas that his uncle preferred for reading.

Once Adam and Dalton left the room, Jackson asked, “You have guards now?”

Stiles shrugged. “Yeah, partly due to being Uncle Clive’s heir and partly due to his job.” He saw Jackson wanted to ask about his uncle’s job so he interrupted, “Uncle Clive will be able to tell you once he has your background check done. I think the boys stole your ID this morning so they could get that started.”

“Why?” Jackson asked, baffled. “Why me?”

Dalton said as he came back into the room with drinks and snacks. “Because wolves need a pack, and you appear to be a very new wolf. Mostly though, it’s because Baron Paddington seems to like you.”

Jackson glared at Stiles, and he hissed, “You told?”

Stiles grinned. “Use your senses, Jackson. They are both wolves, they could scent it on you.”

Dalton commented, “It does smell different though. You don’t smell entirely like a wolf.”

Stiles looked to Jackson for permission, and when he saw the beta nod slightly, he said, “That’s probably the leftover from the kanima. Jackson’s turn didn’t entirely go to plan.”

Dalton raised his eyebrows, “You were the kanima? Do you still have the traits?”

Jackson blushed as he said, “I still have the tail, and if I concentrate I can produce the venom from my claws.”

Dalton smiled, “That’s great. Depending on how your background check goes, we will get you into training with Stiles.”

Jackson frowned, and he asked Stiles, “Why do you need training?”

Stiles nervously rubbed the back of his neck as he explained, “After you left town, a pack made up entirely of alphas moved in. One of them attacked me last week and bit me. Dad sent me to live with Uncle Clive before anyone realized what happened.”

Jackson asked almost knowingly with a side dish of smug, “What happened to the alpha that bit you, Stiles?”

Stiles flashed his red eyes, and said simply, “He’s dead.”

Jackson snarked, “Bet McTraitor loved that. So you’ll be building your own pack?”

Stiles shrugged. “Scott doesn’t know. I only told Derek and Peter after I left, and they promised to keep it a secret. Dad saw me covered in blood when I got home after the fight, and for him it was the last straw. He decided to send me to live with my Uncle Clive. He put me on a plane about two hours after I was bitten. To answer your other question, Derek is still my alpha, just like he’s still yours… If you want him to be.”

Clive entered the room, and he handed an envelope to Stiles as he explained, “As per the agreement we had with your dad, here is your updated ID.”

Stiles pulled the updated passport and driver’s license out of the envelope, and he looked up when Jackson asked, “New name?”

Stiles nodded absently, and he said, “Mieczysław ‘Stiles’ Stilinski Paddington.” He looked up at his uncle and he asked, “Did Jackson’s background check go ok?”

Clive nodded. “It did. We actually found a copy of his biological parents’ will. You had the option for emancipation with your inheritance when you turned 16, we can organize for that to happen now if you wish.”

Jackson asked confused, “What inheritance?”

Clive raised an eyebrow as he said, “Your biological parents were very well off, and they had substantial life insurance policies that were managed by their lawyer. Their will stated you were to be given his details when you turned 16.”

Stiles snorted, and he grumbled, “The Whittemores wouldn’t give up their trophy son that easily.”

Jackson laughed. “They aren’t that bad.”

Stiles said gently, “Jax, today was your first day in a new school where you have no other support system, and they left you to deal with it alone because they wanted a vacation. That’s not parenting, not really. Dad was pretty absent after Mom died, but he always made time to come to my games, even when I was benchwarming, and he was there to help with my homework as often as possible around his shifts at the station.”

Dalton commented, “He’s not wrong. My parents did the same thing, I was theirs biologically, but I was just a means to an end. They rolled me out for parties and business dinners, just so they could give the impression of a perfect family, but it was all fake. I haven’t spoken to them since I joined MI5.”

Jackson looked down at the file Clive had handed him, and he realized his adoptive parents had withheld a lot of information from him.

Clive offered, “Have a think about your options. If you would like to take the option of emancipation, you are welcome to stay here. The lawyer’s details are in the file.”

Stiles wanted to give Jackson time to read through the will, so he asked his uncle, “Have you heard from King’s about our testing?”

Clive nodded. “You both have interviews at Oxford in a few days. It’s up to you if you do them together or separately. They are aware of the requirements for MI5 recruitment if that’s something you want to consider for the future.”

Jackson asked, “Don’t you have to be British to join MI5?”

Clive hedged, “For the mundane division of MI5 and MI6, definitely. However, the division I run has different requirements, I run the supernatural investigation unit of MI5. We investigate rogue supernatural creatures as well as hunters going outside of their code. 70% of our unit are werewolves, 10% are magic users, and the rest are either humans who are members of various packs around the country or other types of creatures. We have a few werecats, a kitsune, and an alpha kanima.”

Jackson asked Stiles, “I thought you wanted to work for the FBI?”

Stiles grinned. “Eventually. The FBI won’t accept me until I am 23, the minimum joining age for MI5 is 18.” He glanced at his uncle before he said, “Also, I’ve heard rumors that a joint task force is being formed under the International Criminal Court in The Hague. If that’s true, I want to be part of it.”

Jackson grinned. “I like that idea. It would work well with the law degree I was planning on.”

Clive narrowed his eyes at his nephew, and he asked, “Just how did you hear about that task force? It’s still in the planning stages.”

“Peter,” Stiles said with a smirk. “He lost a lot of his contacts after the fire, but he still has enough to keep informed.”

Clive nodded. “He had an excellent reputation for being a tough but fair left hand. I know Sam was interested in recruiting him at some point. Maybe something he can discuss with him while he’s in Beacon Hills.”

“Sam?” Stiles queried. “He’s with the FBI?”

Clive nodded. “He’s my counterpart in the FBI, Deputy Director Sam Conway. He’s going to oversee the Beacon Hills situation personally. He’s pissed that someone in his unit is hiding supernatural activity.”

Stiles muttered, “It’s more than just one someone.”

Jackson agreed, “If it was just one person, others would pick up on the errors in the reports. It has to be a team of people working together to cover each other.”

Stiles nodded. “The reports didn’t even mention a kanima loose in Beacon Hills. Let alone all the other stuff that’s happened over the last year.”

Jackson looked at Stiles and he asked, “Seriously? I was used to kill several deputies in the attack on the sheriff’s station, as well as all of Matt’s kills when he was the kanima’s master. That was just covered up? How?”

Stiles shrugged. “Animal attacks, mostly. Honestly, they could at least space it out with barbecue forks.”

Jackson sniggered at the reference, as Clive agreed, “Yes, well, he’s only taking those he absolutely trusts to Beacon Hills, while his second investigates the rest of the team. He’s going to try and narrow down who is being paid off. He’ll make contact with Noah tomorrow, and he’ll be wanting to interview the Hales himself.”

Stiles nodded, “I’ll let them know so they are ready for it. They know the interview is coming, but I doubt either of them expect it to be with an FBI Deputy Director, and honestly, neither of them are good with surprises, not after the shit they have dealt with for the last seven years. Will the FBI read Dad in on the supernatural?”

Clive nodded. “Yep. Sorry, kiddo. He needs to know, especially with the alpha pack causing trouble.”

Stiles sighed. “I know. It’s just he’s going to be so angry. I’ve been lying to him all year, and he’s going to know just how involved I was as soon as they tell him about the supernatural.”

“Come on, Stili… Paddington,” Jackson said as he stood. “Let’s go chill in your room and call Derek. He’ll want to know I’m here with you.”

Stiles stood and led Jackson to his room. “Dalton or Adam will know where you’ll be staying while you’re here. Probably on this floor though, it seemed pretty empty when I was exploring this morning. Think you’ll stay?”

Jackson nodded, “I don’t think my parents will take my wolf well. I definitely wouldn’t trust them with the secret.”

Stiles snorted, “Hell no, your dad would be looking for how he could leverage it. Right, let’s get this call done.”

He used his old phone to make the call, making sure it was on speaker.

Derek answered, “We’re a bit busy, Stiles.”

Stiles asked, “What’s going on?”

Peter said, “We found the betas. They were being held in the First National Bank, the one that was closed down after it was robbed last year. They were being contained in the vault. It looks like the alphas killed Erica a week ago, and Kali killed Boyd when we arrived.”

Stiles swore. “Fuck. I’m so sorry, Sourwolf.”

Derek said, “There is some good news. We managed to rescue one of their hostages, my little sister, Cora. They captured her when she was on her way back to Beacon Hills. She had heard rumors of Beacon Hills having a Hale alpha again.”

Stiles grinned. “That’s great, Sourwolf. How did she escape the fire?”

Derek explained, “She was hiding in the preserve when the hunters arrived. She wasn’t in the house.” The teens heard Derek snap his fingers through the phone as Derek said, “Actually, while I have you, I wanted to ask a favor. Uncle Peter and I want her safe. And since the twin alphas died in the rescue attempt, Deucalion is likely to retaliate. Can I send her to stay with you? I would rather she stay with pack members, rather than with strangers.”

Stiles glanced at Jackson, who nodded and shrugged to indicate he didn’t mind. Stiles agreed, “Sure, just let me know when to pick her up. I have some news of my own for you. FBI Deputy Director Sam Conway will arrive in town tomorrow; he’s going to be the one interviewing you and Zombiewolf. He’s my uncle’s counterpart in the FBI. He and a few of his teams are going to be looking into what’s going on with the alpha pack.”

Peter asked, “He leads the supernatural division? Will he be bringing your father in on the secret?”

Stiles confirmed, “He will be. Can you be there with him when he’s told? He’s going to put two and two together pretty damn quick, and he’ll know something happened to me.”

“Ok, sure.” Peter agreed readily. “How did your placement testing go?”

Stiles said, “We both took the option to do our exit exams, so later on this week myself and Jackson will be doing our entry interviews for Oxford University.”

Derek asked, “Jackson? Wait, Jackson, who moved to Boston a few months ago?”

Jackson chuckled. “Yep, my father got a job offer in London, so he dragged us over the pond. Stiles found me when we both turned up for testing at King’s College.”

“Thank god,” Derek sighed. “I was worried about you being alone in Boston, Jackson. You left before I could arrange introductions with local packs. Stiles, are you sure your uncle won’t mind having both Cora and Jackson there?”

Stiles laughed. “The townhouse is huge. It’ll be fine. Do we need to sort out school for her?”

Derek glanced at Cora, who scowled. “I’ll let the two of you work that out. I’ll text you her flight details as soon as I have them.”

“Thanks!” Stiles reminded him, “Don’t forget to keep me updated in the group chat, please. Let me know how the interview with the FBI goes.”

Derek promised he would before he hung up.

Stiles stood, “Come on, let’s go tell Uncle Clive his townhouse is about to be invaded again.”

Jackson agreed, “You also need to tell him what happened tonight, it will probably affect the FBI investigation.”

As they walked downstairs, Stiles asked, “Are you going to let Lydia know you’re here?”

Jackson shook his head. “No, we made a clean break when I moved to Boston.”

Stiles frowned. “Isn’t she your anchor?”

Jackson snorted. “No. Look, it’s hard to explain. We were together more out of convenience than love. We were best friends for a long time, and being together kept her safe from unwanted advances from those not using her to hide their sexuality. It also kept me from having to admit my own sexuality. I’ll always value that she was there for me, but I always knew that for her, I was more of a means to an end than any great love. Does that make sense?”

Stiles nodded. “It does.”

They walked into the living room where Clive was talking quietly with the two guards on Stiles’ protection detail. Stiles wasn’t sure why Clive didn’t have guards at the house, so he cheekily asked, “Why is it just me that has guards at the house?”

Dalton grinned. “We were Lord Paddington’s guards. He’s currently interviewing for replacement guards. For now, when we can, we protect you both.”

Clive asked, “How did the phone call go?”

Stiles shrugged. “They found where the betas were being held. The old First National Bank in the industrial district. It was closed permanently after it was robbed a year ago. It looks like the alphas killed Erica a week ago, and Kali killed Boyd when the pack tried to rescue them. There was a third hostage that they rescued successfully, Cora Hale. It turns out she wasn’t in the house during the fire and she thought her entire pack had died.”

Clive nodded, and he sent off a text on his phone, presumably to let Sam know about the death of the betas. He asked, “Did they say anything else?”

Stiles nodded. “They did give me a couple of names, they mentioned they were worried about retaliation from Deucalion after the twins died in the rescue. Also, Derek is sending Cora to us for her safety. I didn’t think you’d mind.”

Clive nodded. “That’s fine, we have plenty of room. Do you know the names of the twins?”

Stiles shook his head. “No, sorry. The only names he mentioned were Kali and Deucalion.”

Jackson added, “Honestly, he sounded a bit freaked out about the guy.”

Dalton pulled up the file the FBI had on Deucalion on his tablet, and he passed it over to the teens. “He’s not a good guy; he used to be until Gerard Argent blinded him.”

Stiles was reading fast through the file and he said, “This says he killed his entire pack. Didn’t Ennis’ file say the same?”

Clive nodded. “It does. We suspect the other alpha you mentioned will be Kali Steele, her file shows the same information. She is extra vicious and there are rumors she was Ennis’ mate. But from the information we’ve received, it appears that Ennis had a grudge against the Hales, but we aren’t sure why.”

Stiles interrupted, “I’m not sure what started the grudge, but I do know he bit Derek’s first girlfriend, Paige. That’s why Derek had blue eyes before he became an alpha. She was dying of bite rejection, so he put her out of her misery at her request.”

Clive sent another text to Sam before he asked, “Do you know when that happened?”

Stiles shrugged. “No, and honestly, getting that much info was like getting blood from a stone.”

“I’ve sent all this through to Sam,” Clive confirmed. “He’ll meet with them tomorrow, and he said he’s sending a team to the bank to check it out. They’ve been trying to deal with Deucalion and his pack for the last few years, but he’s a slippery bastard. Now, you two should head to bed. Jackson, I’ve asked the staff to set up the room next to Stiles for you.”

Jackson smiled. “Thank you, Sir. I’d like to take you up on your offer. I’m going to call the lawyer tomorrow.”

The older alpha smiled. “We’ll organize for you to pick up your things from your parents’ townhouse over the next few days.”

With a look at his watch, Dalton said, “You’re probably better to call before you go to sleep, what with the time difference and all that.”

Jackson nodded before he looked uncertainly at Stiles. “Do you mind helping me?”

Stiles nodded. “Sure, let’s go grab my laptop and we can get comfortable before you call.”

Chapter Five

August 22nd, 2011

The call to Jackson’s biological parents’ lawyer went better than expected. Their original lawyer died, and the firm handed his clients over to his junior partner, Ralph Vilkas. Stiles was sure he recognized the name, so while Jackson was going over details to confirm who he was and who his biological parents were, Stiles sent off a text to the group chat he had with Derek and Peter.

Lil Red: Is your lawyer’s name Ralph Vilkas?
Sourwolf: Yes, why?
Lil Red: Does he know about wolves?
Sourwolf: Yes, he is a beta wolf himself. Why?
Lil Red: His name came up in conversation, nothing important. Oh, how did your meeting with him go? Something about the land in the preserve?
Big Bad: It was fine, he’s been dealing with the Hale estate, claiming it back from the county. Someone in the clerk’s office had been trying to sell our land off to a developer when it didn’t meet the requirements for being claimed by the county. Ralph is ensuring they get fired.
Lil Red: Rude. So he’s the Hale Pack lawyer? Are all his clients supernatural?
Big Bad: No. He has about a 50/50 split.
Lil Red: Cool. I talked to Uncle Clive. He said it’s fine for Cora and Jackson to stay. We are picking up Jackson’s stuff tomorrow.
Sourwolf: Great, thanks Lil Red.
Lil Red: Ok, I gotta go. I’ll update you when I can. Thanks guys.

Jackson had the phone on speaker, and Ralph was asking, “So why are you looking into emancipation? It’s a big step and once it’s done, it can’t be reversed.”

Stiles held up his hand to stop Jackson from coming up with an excuse that would work for mundane ears, and he said, “Derek Hale is his Alpha, and the Whittemores are mundanes who would want to leverage Jackson’s wolfyness for everything they could get out of it.”

Jackson snapped, “Stiles! What the hell?”

Stiles grinned apologetically, “It’s ok Jackson, Ralph is Derek and Peter’s lawyer and a beta werewolf. His name sounded familiar, so I messaged the Hales and asked.”

Ralph agreed, “It’s fine Jackson, this is actually good to know. There are judges we can approach who are in the know; they will understand wanting to keep your status secret if you move back to the States before you’re 18. In England though, once you turn 16, you can move out of home and they have to get a court order to force you to move back in with them. Have you got somewhere to stay that is safe?”

Jackson said, “Yeah, Stiles’ Uncle Clive has offered to let me stay with Stiles in the Paddington townhouse in London.”

Ralph asked, “What about your schooling?”

With a chuckle, Jackson explained, “Stiles found me when I went to sit my placement testing at King’s College. He arranged with the administrator for me to sit my exit exams instead of just the placement testing, which I passed. We have interviews this week with Oxford University.”

Ralph offered, “Ok, there are a few things we can do. First up, I want to look into what visa you have; we need to make sure it’s one that will allow you to study at university and doesn’t rely on you living with your parents. At the same time, I can make a start on getting your inheritance released to you. Our firm can keep managing the funds, same way we do for the Hales, while you’re busy with your schooling.”

“Sounds good,” Jackson agreed, “My parents are on vacation in Europe and aren’t due back for a few weeks.”

Ralph asked, “Wait, they just moved to London and left you there alone?”

Stiles coughed, and it sounded suspiciously like ‘I told you so.’

“Stiles,” Ralph demanded, “Something you want to add?”

Stiles nodded, “Yeah, they dropped him off at school for placement testing, and left for their two-week vacation without him. They are quite happy to leave him alone in an unfamiliar city with no support system. What’s worse, is everyone back home thinks he moved to Boston.”

Ralph growled, “Right, leave it with me, I’ll work on making sure you’re granted emancipation here, just in case they return home and try to cause issues when they figure out you’ve moved out.”

With a huge breath of relief, Jackson said, “Thanks, Ralph, I appreciate it.” His jaw cracked with a huge yawn. “Right, time for sleep. Did I remember to give you my email address?”

Ralph confirmed, “I have both of your emails, phone numbers and if I have any issues, I can contact Derek. Leave everything with me, just concentrate on getting through your Oxford interview. I hear they can be tough.”

The boys chorused, “We will.”

Tuesday was a busy day for the boys; they spent the morning at the Whittemore’s townhouse packing everything of Jackson’s, then ferried it across town to the Paddington townhouse so he could settle in properly. Dalton and Adam took them shopping for furniture for both of their rooms and the study area they wanted to create in the library. They’d decided to wait for Cora to arrive to shop for her room, so she could choose her own furniture.

Derek had worked fast to get Cora on a flight and she arrived late Tuesday night. They waited outside of Customs with a large sign that read ‘Cora Hale’ since the two teens only had vague recollections of what she looked like. She had been a few years above them in elementary school, and the Hales were pretty insular even back then.

She was easily recognizable by the Hale Murder Brows™ that all the Hales seemed to have; wich she used like a deadly weapon. After the teens introduced themselves, she muttered, “I’m only here so my brother doesn’t do something stupid.”

Stiles grinned, “Like put himself between you and Deucalion to save you at his own expense?”

Cora agreed with a scowl, “Exactly like that. He said you were pack, and that he trusted you.”

With a blush, Stiles muttered, “Oh.”

Jackson asked, “Do you have everything? No missing bags to track down?”

She shook her head, “Nope, Deucalion’s enforcer couple, Ennis and Kali destroyed what belongings I did have on my way to Beacon Hills, when they captured me. Derek bought me a few things on the way to the airport, oh and Uncle Peter gave me a credit card so I could get what I needed when I arrived.”

Stiles suggested, “We can go shopping tomorrow after you’ve had some sleep. If you’re like us, you probably didn’t sleep on the plane.”

Cora grumbled, “There was a baby. It was supremely unhappy and had decent lungs.”

Stiles introduced her to Dalton as they left the terminal. He had been shadowing the teens as they waited for Cora’s flight to clear Customs. Adam was waiting by the Mercedes V-Class that Stiles had borrowed from his uncle’s garage.

As they headed back to the townhouse, Stiles murmured, “If Cora decides to stay, we may need to look at getting our own V-Class for school.”

Jackson shrugged, “It would work. Have you decided if we are going to get a dorm or commute? With the table option in the van, we could do our homework on the commute.”

Stiles shrugged, “I don’t want to jinx the interview, so I am not deciding until we know for sure. Cambridge is always an option, it would be the same commute.”

Jackson shook his head, “It would take us both longer to get our degrees, although it would depend on what Cora wants to do, and if she wants to join us.”

They both looked at Cora owlishly. She blinked at them and demanded, “What?”

Stiles explained, “We are planning to go to Oxford in October, we wondered if you wanted to join us? You’ve graduated high school, right?”

Cora nodded. “I have, but neither of you should have. You were at least two years behind me.”

Stiles shrugged. “We did our exit exams rather than deal with another two years of high school, and we both passed with high enough scores to be considered for Oxford. Although that could have been Uncle Clive putting in a good word.”

Cora asked, “Who is your Uncle Clive? Derek clammed up and Uncle Peter just gave me his smug ‘I know more than you’ smile.”

Stiles laughed. “That smile is infuriating. So Uncle Clive is Lord Clive Paddington, Earl of Faolán, and the current Alpha Paddington.”

“Hence your guard dogs,” Cora snarked. “So Derek trusts him with my safety?”

Jackson shook his head. “No. Derek trusts Stiles with your safety, mine too. If Stiles was still in Beacon Hills, he would have been right beside your brother and uncle on their rescue mission.”

Cora frowned. “The blond kid in Derek’s pack called you a squishy human. He sounded derisive when you were mentioned.”

“Isaac,” Jackson confirmed. “He is not a fan of Stiles. I think I know why and it’s stupid.”

Stiles frowned. “Why? The only thing I can figure is my former friendship with Scott.”

Jackson pointed at him and he said, “That’s exactly it. Isaac has the hots for Scott and he thinks you’re in the way.”

Stiles screwed his face up and he said, “Ewwww. I like my men a bit taller and a bit less scrawny. Scott was like my brother, just ewww.”

Jackson laughed and went to continue, but Stiles held his hand up and he said, “No, just no. Shut up.”

Cora raised an eyebrow and Stiles pointed at her and he said, “Put the Hale eyebrows away. We got away from the subject; my squishiness.”

“Former,” Jackson interrupted. “You’re hardly squishy anymore.”

Stiles sighed. “They don’t know that though. The only people in Beacon Hills who know about my change in circumstances are Derek and Peter. They are the only ones I trust enough to know.”

Cora asked quietly, “You don’t trust your pack?”

Stiles shrugged, “I trust my alpha and his second with my life, but I don’t trust all of his betas. I also don’t trust Scott, who isn’t pack. Hell, all of the betas have done me harm at some point. Even Peter, although he was batshit crazy, and we killed him not long after.”

Cora glared at him and she asked, “You killed him? What?”

Jackson and Stiles both said in unison, “He got better.” Before they started to laugh.

Stiles said, “He was in a coma for six years after the fire and he went a bit crazy. When he woke up, he started a revenge killing spree, taking out those he considered responsible for the fire. The only way to stop him was to kill him. He was only mostly dead though… He’d bitten a banshee, and he was able to use her to resurrect himself.”

Cora considered the pack members she’d met before she left the country, and she asked, “The short redhead with an inflated ego?”

Jackson scowled as Stiles nodded. “That sounds like Lydia. She’s Jackson’s ex-girlfriend.”

Cora gave Stiles a hard look, and she demanded, “So if you’re no longer squishy, what are you?”

Stiles flashed his red alpha eyes, and he said, “I’m an alpha now.” Once he was done snickering at the private joke, he explained, “I was attacked while out on patrol on my own. Scott left me about ten minutes into our patrol run, to go and help Allison. The alpha intended for me to be a message to Derek that humans don’t deserve to be pack. He came to regret all his life choices. I ended up burying him in Peter’s grave in the house ruins. I don’t feel at all sad about it since he was the alpha that bit Derek’s first girlfriend, Paige.”

Cora snorted. “Wait, you took out Ennis? He got owned by a twink? That’s awesome. No wonder Deucalion was pissed off.”

Stiles nodded, “Yeah, the downside is Dad didn’t know about the supernatural, so when I got home covered in blood, he got pissed off and I was on a plane to London a few hours later. Admittedly, it wasn’t the first time, and I refused to tell him what was going on. He was sick of the constant lying and injuries.”

Cora turned to Jackson, and she asked, “You’re not entirely a wolf are you?”

Jackson shook his head, and he flashed his kanima eyes at the beta. “I’m part wolf, part kanima. Adam and Dalton are helping me with my shifting so I can use both shifts.”

Cora grinned. “I’ll help. We had a kanima in the pack I stayed with in South America. She was working on her alpha transformation. I have to ask though, why are you going to Oxford? Why not one of the Universities in London?”

Stiles shrugged. “They don’t offer the courses we want to take at the speed we want to do them.”

They pulled up to the townhouse, and Dalton moved to let them out of the van. “Come on kids, dinner is ready and Lord Paddington is waiting.”

-x-

Dinner was lively. They talked about Cora sticking around and joining the boys at university, and Clive explained his role at MI5 to the stunned beta. Clive talked to Cora about his plans for the boys to train for MI5 during the weekends and the university breaks, and he made her the same offer to her as a member of the Hale Pack. He’d done a very thorough background check that had included her school transcripts from South America. She’d graduated high school with very high grades, thus making her eligible for the same track the boys were planning to do at Oxford.

Clive explained the purpose of his unit and the FBI counterpart run by Deputy Director Sam Conway. He went through the tentative plans to create a unit that would combine the two units; how they would be combined into a series of teams that would come under the umbrella of the International Criminal Court. He also detailed how they wanted to base teams at the various Nemeta around the world to help protect them.

Cora promised to think about her options after she figured out what she wanted to study at Oxford. She hadn’t put any thought into it because the pack she’d been staying with wasn’t willing to fund her university studies. She asked, “So what about Derek and Uncle Peter, are they going to join the Talos Task Force too? What about the rest of Derek’s pack?”

Stiles muttered, “What rest? Lydia will never join a pack that Peter is in no matter how much he apologizes, Isaac is a douche and he is determined to follow Scott around like a puppy, and Scott will never be pack. Even if he was willing, he’s betrayed the pack too many times to ever be forgiven. My attack was the last straw. Danny doesn’t know about the supernatural, and he’s only pack adjacent by virtue of friendships.”

Jackson wanted to disagree, but then he shrugged and murmured, “You’re not wrong.”

Clive explained, “I believe Deputy Director Conway is going to talk to your brother and uncle about joining the FBI. They are both over the joining age and Peter was already on his radar before the fire. Whether or not they join is up to them.”

Cora scrutinized the Earl, and she said, “You’re playing a long game. You want to get us all trained up, then put a reconnected Hale Pack into Beacon Hills as a team for the task force. You want us to take care of the Nemeton and the surrounding area like we were born to do.”

Clive nodded. “Essentially, yes. If the ICC Task Force doesn’t come to pass, we will probably transfer the three of you to the FBI to come under Sam’s umbrella. There is still a lot of political wrangling to do, given it will be an international task force of sorts.”

Stiles asked, “Does it need to be, though? An international task force, I mean. I can see why you’d want it to be, but most of the issues with rogues, both hunters, and supernaturals, are in Europe and the Americas. Other countries take the secrecy a lot more seriously, and the packs and hunters actually work together. They are much more willing to do what’s needed to keep the secret than their western counterparts. Even Europe has its shit together. It’s mostly the USA that has issues with rogues, on both sides of the fence.”

Clive agreed, “Right now it’s all still in the discussion phase. I know the directors of both the FBI and MI5 are worried that with the increase of CCTV and phones everywhere, it will just take the wrong rogue in the wrong place to out the secret.”

Jackson suggested, “That’s where you start training people like my best friend Danny to be hackers for the agency. They can go in and remove CCTV footage, and ferret out where else they have shared the videos before they go viral.”

Cora nodded. “Hackers can also write algorithms to search for the footage before a rogue is reported, so you’ll be alerted when something needs to be investigated, and you can get the videos removed before they go viral. You’ll need people who can be trusted to write good algorithms, though. It’s easy to screw them up so they find too much or the wrong thing.”

Clive gave her a calculating look as he said, “It sounds like you know what you’re talking about.”

Cora smirked. “Perhaps. Even South America has passable internet,” she glanced at Jackson with a knowing look and she snarked, “And I know better than to have a record for hacking. I would like to look into Oxford’s computer science degree programs, maybe mix it up with criminal justice or psychology. We’ll see if my high school marks are enough to get me into Oxford first.”

Stiles asked, “How did Danny even get caught, anyway?”

Jackson blushed all the way to the tips of his ears, and he muttered, “I dared him to prove he could hack… by hacking the FBI.”

Everyone at the table laughed and Dalton asked, “Was this Danny Mah… Mae…”

“Mahealani,” Jackson corrected. “Yes, it was. He was only ten, and I was being a smart assed little shit.”

Stiles laughed, and he said, “You’ve always been a smart assed little shit, Jackson. Admit it, you were goading him because you were bored.”

Jackson grinned broadly. “Pretty much. Beacon Hills gets boring, but that’s beside the point. You’ll need people like Danny and Cora, who can deal with the footage before it’s seen. And if it goes viral, they can find ways to debunk it, or even alter it slightly to play it off as fake. I know Danny is going to MIT, and he’s somehow earned a full ride.”

Stiles suggested, “It’s a shame he can’t join the FBI until he’s 23, maybe Deputy Director Conway will have contacts that will know where to bury a technical team of young hackers.”

Clive frowned as he considered the options. “I agree it would be good to bury it in an agency that’s not the FBI, one like Homeland, or the NSA who have a lower joining age. I’ll talk to Sam when he calls to give me an update on Beacon Hills. For now, how about you lot go to bed? Cora we have a bedroom setup on Stiles’ floor of the townhouse. You can all go shopping tomorrow for furniture and clothing. I’ll arrange for Cora to join you both at your Oxford interview later in the week.”

“Thanks, Uncle Clive.” Stiles led the teens upstairs, and they got settled in for sleep.

-x-

Stiles was getting used to his new daily routine. Jackson and Cora both liked to sleep in, so he would get up early, usually around five a.m., and he would enjoy breakfast with his Uncle Clive. They would talk quietly over the meal and update each other on what was going on for each of them before Clive went to work.

He would then call his dad on the phone and talk to him before the older man went to bed. He was reluctant to Skype with his dad while he was still struggling to get his shift under control, at least until they had informed his dad of his change of circumstances. When he was emotional, and as much as he hated to admit it, talking to his dad usually left him emotional, so he struggled to keep the fangs in and his eyes to their usual honey brown. If he was still a beta, it wouldn’t have been so bad, as he could have passed off his werewolf eyes as a trick of the light, but vibrant red eyes were a whole other matter.

The day before their interviews, his dad mentioned he was proud of him for getting an interview with Oxford. Stiles had tried to pass it off as nepotism, but Noah was quick to dispute it. He stated firmly that Oxford had no reason to accept him just on his uncle’s word; that his test results and example papers would have spoken for themselves.

The teen was still angry with his dad for sending him to London, but he understood the reasoning, and he was glad his uncle was sending someone to Beacon Hills to guard his dad so he couldn’t be used against them.

Once he was done talking with his dad, he would then Skype with his alpha. He enjoyed just talking with Derek about what they had been getting up to in London. Especially since the Jackson news was now out in the open. Derek would spend time updating him on news from Beacon Hills, including news about the FBI investigation, the bodies dropping left, right, and center, and sightings of the alpha pack. After Derek found out he was an alpha, and a new wolf all at the same time, he started to teach him some of the calming techniques his dad had taught him when he was younger. They went through various methods they had taught him to control the shift. He made sure to tell Stiles often that he was proud of how well he had taken to his wolf and how in control he already seemed to be.

Occasionally Peter would join the calls, but it was usually just Derek and himself until the other teens in the house woke up and joined them. Eventually, Derek would sign off to get some sleep before the teens left for the library for research or training with the guards.

Chapter Six

August 25th, 2011

Thursday saw them all in the Mercedes for the drive to Oxford. The days before their interview had been hectic, full of updates from Beacon Hills as the FBI settled in and started investigating what was going on, shopping for a new wardrobe for Cora and furniture for her room, now that she’d decided to stick around, and a lot of research into course options for Oxford in preparation for their interview.

Clive hadn’t been overly forthcoming with details about the interview. Stiles suspected something was up though, due to the smug look he kept giving the teens.

They all understood when they walked in and found that the dean interviewing them was an alpha wolf, and an ally of the Paddington Pack. Stiles snarked, “Well, this explains the looks Uncle Clive has been giving us as we were stressing out over the last few days.”

Alpha Shehan was a statuesque woman, her dark hair was pinned back into an elegant chignon and it was a stark contrast to her bright green eyes. She unquestionably gave off the vibe of being raised in the British aristocracy with her bearing. She snarked in return, “Quite, Baron Paddington. Now, I understand you all wish to be interviewed as a group.”

The three teens nodded and as soon as they had taken their seats, she commenced with the interview. It went for several hours as she peppered them with questions about their previous schooling, their course options, and their future aspirations. She could see they were smart, and with Stiles tutoring the betas, she felt they would be able to get through the next three years without too many issues. She gave all three of them the option of placement testing so if they did well, they would be able to complete dual master’s degrees that would complement their career paths in the three-year time frame they were working towards.

She was aware of the task force that both Clive and Sam ran, and she thought that a young pack would be the way forward with keeping the secrecy of the supernatural in a technological world. The group had good ideas for keeping things under wraps, and she agreed that hackers that worked to keep the supernatural a secret would be a good move going forward.

When the interview was done, she sent Jackson and Cora out to wait with Stiles’ guards as she wanted a private word with the new alpha.

“Now that we’ve completed the formalities, please do call me Eve,” she said. “I would like to offer you the option of lessons in being an alpha. I can tell you’re a new alpha, and I know that Alpha Paddington will likely be too busy to take you through the extensive training you’ll probably need over the next few years.”

Stiles frowned, and he said, “Did Uncle Clive not explain? While I’m an alpha, I’m not our pack alpha. That’s Derek Hale. Honestly, he could use the lessons more than me, especially since his mother only trained her eldest daughter in how to be an alpha.”

Eve’s jaw dropped, “She did that? Seriously? Did she not realize that the alpha spark doesn’t always go to the eldest?”

Stiles shrugged, “It’s all a bit of a mess, to be honest. There are only three Hales left, Derek, Peter, and Cora. Cora was presumed dead for years, and she recently had to be rescued from an alpha pack. They had been holding her hostage in the hope that Derek would kill her to join them.”

Eve looked horrified, and she was quick to reassure the new alpha. “I would be happy for you to include Derek in your lessons, either by you passing on what I teach you, or even with him joining us by video chat. Especially if you end up leading the pack together. Clive has told me of his long-term plans for your pack and I find I want to help you all succeed.”

Stiles grinned. “Awesome. If we time the lessons right, we should be able to video call with Derek, especially if he ends up back on the East Coast.”

Eve opened the folder on her desk and she pulled out an information pack, “This is the information on Lowell College, which is where the three of you will be based during your time at Oxford. Everyone in Lowell College is either supernatural or human members of a pack, coven, etc. So you can breathe a bit easier while you’re there. I understand you’ll have two guards with you at all times, so we have worked with Alpha Paddington and organized for you to rent a townhouse for your mini pack. We’ll also be arranging combat and martial arts training around your coursework, that is, when you’re not in training specifically for MI5.”

Stiles smiled. “Thank you, that sounds amazing. I take it this is something you’ve done for a while with Uncle Clive?”

Eve nodded. “It is. Several of our graduates have joined supernatural investigation teams in various law enforcement agencies around the world.” She closed the folder in front of her and she said, “Right. Now that we know the courses you all need, we’ll get you three back here in a few weeks to do your placement exams. Will that be enough time for you all to study?”

Stiles nodded. “Absolutely. If someone can give me the list of exams to prepare for, I can plan a study schedule for us all.”

Eve smiled. “I’ll send one through in the next day or so. For now, head back to London and update your alpha. I look forward to meeting him.”

-x-

In Beacon Hills, Derek and Peter were back at the sheriff’s station for another round of interviews. Sam had already questioned them extensively on the fire, as well as Kate Argent’s role in causing it. Today he was trying to gain information about the alpha pack and their observations on the members they had seen.

Peter snarked, “You can squarely lay the Alpha Pack creation at Gerard Argent’s feet! It was his actions that started this whole mess.”

Sam frowned as this was new information to him. “How so? I wasn’t aware Gerard had met Deucalion, as Deucalion’s pack was outside of his usual area.”

Peter explained, “Gerard lured Deucalion to Beacon Hills for a supposed peace meeting. Three packs were involved, and they met at the old distillery on the edge of the preserve. Talia was invited, but she didn’t trust Gerard and she refused point blank to attend. Deucalion blamed her for Gerard’s attack at the peace meeting.”

Sam narrowed his eyes, and he asked, “He’s he reason why Deucalion is blind?”

Peter nodded. “From what I overheard outside Deaton’s clinic, Gerard drove flash-bang arrows into Deucalion’s eyes. They were wolfsbane infused, so when they went off, he was permanently blinded. His second tried to kill him when he found out the blindness was permanent, making an ill-timed comment about not wanting a weak, blind alpha.”

Derek raised an eyebrow, and he said, “That sounds, umm, stupid. Even back then, I knew Deucalion was dangerous. It’s why I asked Ennis to talk to Paige about the bite, and not Deucalion.”

Peter shrugged. “Yeah, well, Deucalion’s going to be worse now. If the rumors are true, between the various members of our pack we’ve taken out everyone but Kali, and she will be out for blood too. Ennis was her mate.”

Derek muttered, “Then it’s a good thing the sheriff sent Stiles away.”

Sam nodded in agreement. “Very much so. I do not want to face a rage fueled alpha if he finds out Stiles killed Ennis. So Derek, why did you approach Ennis about biting, Paige, was it?”

Derek nodded. “Paige Krasikeva. I talked to mom about giving her the bite, and she refused point-blank to even discuss it. Peter suggested I talk to one of the visiting alphas and being so young, I didn’t really think it through.”

Peter interrupted, “To be fair, Talia just turned you down flat. She wouldn’t even give you a reason why she didn’t want to bite the girl.”

Derek nodded. “Agreed. So I thought Ennis was like Mom and he would approach her and explain it all. I wasn’t expecting him to attack her and bite her against her will at the school. I was able to rescue her, but it was too late and she started to reject the bite. We ended up hiding in a root cellar and when the pain got too bad, she asked me to kill her.”

Peter sorrowfully said, “I didn’t expect Ennis to do that either. I suggested him because before that attack he had a good reputation for being honest and blunt to those looking for the bite. He would sit down with them. If it was on behalf of another wolf, he would explain werewolves first before explaining all the pros and cons to the potential new beta. Even Talia used to send potential betas his way, even though he was further away than other allied alphas.”

Sam spent some time on his laptop, pulling up the local case on the death of Paige, and he looked for other incidents around the same time frame. “Ah, it would appear we can lay the attack on Paige at Gerard’s feet as well. Well, sort of. Ennis claimed the body of a young man the weekend before they found Paige deceased in the preserve. The official cause of death was an infected gunshot wound, but looking at the autopsy photos, it was a wolfsbane bullet that killed him.”

Peter sighed. “Do you have a name for the body he claimed?”

Sam pulled up the case, and he said, “Oh, it was his nephew. Logan Browne.”

Peter nodded. “Yeah, I thought that might be the case. Ennis practically raised Logan. He was training the kid to replace him. If the kid died in Hale territory, then Ennis likely bit Paige as a message to Talia. It would explain the reaction. What a mess.”

Derek snarked, “Gerard’s mess. Has the old man’s body turned up yet?”

With a shake of the head, Sam confirmed, “No, not yet. I’m starting to think we might need to talk to his son, to see if he knows his father’s whereabouts.”

Peter snorted derisively. “Good luck with that. Gerard doesn’t trust Christopher. He never has. Not since he found out we were good friends in high school. Gerard will be hiding somewhere, looking for a cure to bite rejection or mountain ash poisoning. I’m not entirely sure what the results of ingesting mountain ash before a bite are.”

Sam asked, “What actually happened in that warehouse? I’ve read the reports, but they are from Mr. Paddington, and they don’t start until after he crashed through the wall.”

The Hales explained what happened after the Lacrosse game, including their knowledge about Gerard capturing Stiles and torturing him for several hours as a message to Scott. A message Scott never received, as he didn’t even notice Stiles was injured. They described how Scott had been lacing the hunter’s cancer drugs with mountain ash, so when Scott forced Derek to bite Gerard, the bite wouldn’t take.

Sam asked, “What have you done about Scott’s blatant disregard for the territory alpha’s body autonomy? And what’s being done about the local druid assisting in this plan?”

Derek rubbed the back of his neck, and he shrugged. “Nothing at this point. Uncle Peter promised Stiles he wouldn’t kill Scott, and honestly, the kid won’t actually listen to anything he’s told. I’ve tried until I’m blue in the face, and I don’t see the point in wasting any more of my time.”

Sam asked, “Is there anyone the kid will listen to? I understand he was bitten against his will, but from everything I’ve heard, he seems to be exceptionally stubborn about it all.”

Peter said, “He used to listen to Stiles, until Lil Red agreed with Derek that dating Allison Argent was a bad idea. He might listen to the Sheriff, but even that’s a long shot. We could try his mother, but if she finds out the FBI is involved, she will shut down. She has a bad history with Special Agent Rafe McCall, her ex-husband.”

Derek snapped his head around to stare at his uncle. “How, how do you know all that?”

Peter shrugged. “It’s my job as your second to know all that, Derek. How effective would I be if I couldn’t advise you of threats accurately? Knowing everything about those threats is essential.”

Derek asked incredulously, “You think Scott is a threat?”

Peter snorted. “Of course he is. He has the ear of the local druid, the druid who was supposed to be the Hale Pack emissary, who I believe still has Hale Pack property in his possession. My fail of a beta refuses to listen to anyone but his girlfriend, and he still hasn’t noticed Stiles has left town. How is that not a threat to both our safety, as well as the secrecy of the supernatural?”

“Right.” Derek slumped back in his chair and he put his head in his hands. “Fuck. I am starting to wish I’d followed Cora, territory be damned.”

Sam saw his opportunity, and he struck. “Would you leave? If the right opportunity came up?”

Derek raised an eyebrow, and he asked, “Like perhaps your task force?”

“Exactly so,” Sam agreed. “I wanted to recruit Peter after he got his law degree, but I was blocked from approaching him. Peter, your alpha had very clear plans for you that didn’t involve the FBI or any sort of law enforcement.”

Peter agreed, “She wanted me as her Left Hand, never mind what I might have wanted. She refused to listen to reason, which is why I had to leave college before I could complete my master’s or my second degree.”

The alpha had been sitting and thinking, and he finally asked, “I’m curious. How was it that the fire that took out our pack wasn’t investigated? I know from my research that the team was still fairly new back then, but surely a pack of our standing would have been at least looked at?”

Sam shook his head. “The reports in our system state that the agents reviewed the case file and found no discrepancies. The agents in question are currently back in Quantico, being questioned extensively by Internal Affairs. We have a werewolf on the Internal Affairs team who can sniff out the liars, even the most experienced storytellers. But yes, I want to recruit you both to the team. I plan to get you both trained up and we’ll get some experience under your belts before you come back here to lead a west coast based unit.”

Peter grinned. “Will Derek have time to finish his master’s degree?”

Sam nodded. “Absolutely. I believe they can transfer your credits to GWU so you can continue your degree programs around your FBI training. We have a good arrangement with the university and they will work around your training.”

Derek asked, “Are you able to get my credits from NYU transferred into my legal name? I did most of my schooling under an identity Laura purchased for me as we fled Beacon Hills.”

“That should be fairly simple,” Sam said in agreement. He looked at the beta and he asked, “Peter, did you want to do more courses? I know from your transcripts you were close to both a master’s and a second degree.”

Peter frowned. “You do remember our interview earlier in the week, the one where I detailed my little revenge murder spree? Wouldn’t that eliminate me from the application process for the FBI?”

Sam laughed. “I don’t hold the actions of a feral wolf against him, especially when I know you were feral due to the actions of rogue hunters. They listed all of those deaths as animal attacks, and that’s how they will remain. Look, it’s up to you both. Take some time to think about it. We’re going to be here for a while, trying to capture the remaining two alphas and investigating the deaths in the preserve. We are pretty sure they aren’t the alpha’s kills.”

Peter agreed, “No, neither of the bodies had claw or teeth marks. At least on the two that we’ve reported. What’s the body count now?”

Sam looked up the cases on his laptop, and he said, “Four now, all with the same MO.”

Derek said, “Stiles said it sounded familiar when we told him about his friend Heather, but he never said if he figured out what it was.”

Peter held up his hand, and he said, “To be fair, we haven’t told him that the body count is climbing. Do the others relate to the pack in any way?”

Sam replied, “Maybe. The one reported by the young banshee worked with Mr. Mahealani at the pool as a lifeguard, the young lady you found first, Emily, she one of your younger sister’s classmates, and Kyle, the kid found by the cross-country team, was in ROTC with Mr. Boyd. It could be a coincidence, but I’m not inclined to believe so.”

Derek shook his head. “A bit of a stretch for a few of them, but as Stiles is fond of saying, one is an incident, two’s a coincidence, three’s a pattern. We just need to figure out the pattern.”

The two wolves left, promising to think over the offer. They both thought the investigation team was a good idea, they just weren’t sure about leaving Beacon Hills unprotected. Their pack might be small and spread out, but they were reluctant to leave the younger members behind without an alpha. They both trusted Stiles to take care of the two members he had with him in the UK.

They chilled out on the sofa when they got back to the loft and called Stiles. They were keen to hear how the interview went at Oxford.

“Sourwolf!” Stiles cried when he answered. “I’ve got you on speaker with Jackson and Cora. We’re just studying for our exams.”

Derek frowned. “You haven’t even started yet.”

Cora laughed. “Right! Thanks to Stiles and his uncle, they offered us the chance to do placement testing and maybe skip the first year of courses. So we’re studying for the different classes we want to skip. Stiles is helping us since he’s apparently been writing college-level papers for a few years.”

Stiles blushed, and he asked, “How was today’s round of interviews?”

Peter replied, “Well, we got asked to join the FBI. Deputy Director Conway is giving us time to think about it. He’s offered for both of us to take classes part time at GWU to complete our degrees.”

Cora asked, “I thought you graduated before the fire, Uncle Peter?”

Peter agreed. “I did, but I had enough credits in other courses I had taken to nearly finish a second degree, but Talia made me come home before I could finish it. She didn’t think a psychology degree would be useful for the pack lawyer.”

Cora muttered, “Bitch.”

Peter agreed, “Quite. A psychology degree should be useful for the FBI, though. I was originally doing it to get an insight into how people think. I thought it might be useful when dealing with a jury, I wanted to learn how to read and manipulate them for my clients.”

“Creeperwolf,” Stiles said softly. “At least I know who to go to for homework help. We are all aiming for a master’s degree in criminology and criminal justice, minoring in international justice studies. Jackson wants to do a master’s degree in law, Cora plans to do a master’s degree in computer science and security, and I’ll be doing a master’s degree in psychology. If I can test out of enough courses, I’ll pick up another degree. Uncle Clive is working out the details.”

Derek asked, “That sounds like a lot for the three of you. Stiles, weren’t you saying you were planning to get your schooling completed in just three years?”

Jackson scoffed. “With Stiles and his guards helping, we’ll be fine. Even Lydia knew that he was going to be our valedictorian.” He was curious since Stiles had been in London for a week now, so he asked, “Has Scott noticed Stiles is missing yet? Have any of them?”

Derek chuckled. “Isaac asked if we had seen him at all. He mentioned Stiles hasn’t been at school for a few days. He said Lydia asked Scott where he was, but Scott blew her off and said Stiles was at home sick.”

Stiles pondered. “I wonder if he’s even tried texting or calling. I’ve left my phone on but in silent mode, so it will just ring out. It’s on my bedside table, plugged into the charger. I haven’t heard it vibrate at all, so I would assume he hasn’t bothered.” He wanted to change the subject, so he asked, “So are you two going to join the FBI?”

They both hesitated, and Derek explained, “We would like to, but we don’t want to leave Beacon Hills unprotected. I know Deputy Director Conway said they were planning to put some of their team into the sheriff’s station undercover, but I don’t want to leave the pack we have here. At least, what’s left of it. I mean, even you guys being away sucks, but I can feel Stiles boosting your pack bonds so they are still strong.”

Peter added, “I don’t trust that the fail beta won’t completely destroy the territory with his holier than thou schtick. He still believes that the Argent’s know best. He has no idea that Sam is planning to visit Christopher personally to tell him that he is on his last warning, and that if he breaks the code again, he will be jailed.”

They talked for another hour, catching each other up on the happenings on both sides of the pond before the teens started yawning. They’d been up early for their trip to Oxford, and it was nearing midnight already. Stiles and Jackson also wanted to be off the phone before the curly-haired beta returned to the loft after school.

Chapter Seven

August 26th, 2011

After Stiles had his normal breakfast with his uncle, and his daily call to his dad, he took Dalton to his office. He was the guard Stiles had gotten closer to since he’d arrived in London. He activated the soundproofing, and he said, “I’m worried about the Hales. There are still two alphas running around creating havoc, and they are mostly unprotected. I don’t think they even have wards on the loft to warn of intruders.”

Dalton sighed. “You want them watched? Or guarded?”

Stiles shrugged, “They’ll be cranky no matter what I choose, but I have a bad feeling, and I refuse to ignore it just because they might get a bit mad. I didn’t say anything to Uncle Clive because I didn’t want Cora to overhear and do something stupid like fly back home.”

Dalton agreed, “Ok, so we have a few of our own men in Beacon Hills assisting where they can unobtrusively. How about we send a couple to watch the Hales? If they are discovered, which is likely given Peter’s reputation, they can tell them they are there at your request.”

Stiles nodded, “Also, is it possible to get a magic-user to ward the loft and my dad’s house? I would feel better if I knew they had a bit of protection.”

Dalton nodded. “I can ask Lord Paddington to send one of our magic users over to do some wards. I suspect he already has something in the works to protect your father, knowing how much he means to you and his late sister.”

“That makes sense,” Stiles agreed. “We’ve had a few conversations about dad over breakfast, you know, before he heads into work. How quick can we get guards in place for Derek and Peter?”

Dalton narrowed his eyes, and he asked gently, “You’re that worried?”

Stiles rubbed his breastbone like it was hurting, and he said, “I don’t know why, but my gut is screaming that something is coming.”

With a decisive nod, Dalton picked up his phone, and he made a call. “Parrish?”

He put the call on speaker as Parrish answered, “Coop? What’s going on?”

“Can you and Agent Stone go and watch the loft?” Dalton asked. “Stiles has a bad feeling, and he wants the Hales protected.”

Jordan agreed readily. “Sure thing. I can contact Rob. We were heading to the station in the morning to meet Deputy Director Conway, but I can text them both and let them know our orders have changed. What if the Hales spot us?”

Stiles snorted. “Tell them I sent you, and to contact me if they want to complain.”

The Hales as werewolves had good senses, but not good enough to spot a hellhound with mastery of his shadows. “I’ll let them spot Rob, he can say you sent him, and I’ll stick to the shadows. I should be able to hide in the loft while they are home.”

Stiles laughed. “Easily, if what Adam was saying about your shadow ability is true. The loft is barely lit at the best of times, it’s great, but definitely gothic chic at its best.”

Jordan asked, “Is there anyone else there that I need to know about?”

“Scarf Douche beta,” Stiles said. He amended his statement when he saw the confused look on his guard’s face. “Derek’s beta, Isaac Lahey, is staying with him at the loft. Isaac seems to spend a lot of time with the McCalls though, so you might not see him. He has a mega crush on Scott, which is going to end badly, especially since Scott is painfully straight and homophobic as fuck.”

Dalton frowned. “Your language is deplorable.”

Stiles shrugged. “Yep. Uncle Clive has commented on it a few times.”

Jordan said, “Right, I’m going to get hold of Rob and we’ll head straight to the loft. I’ll let you both know if anything happens.”

With a sigh of relief, Stiles said, “Thanks, Agent Parrish. I’m sure I’ll feel anything major down the pack bond, so an update as soon as possible after would be good.”

Jordan sounded confused when he asked, “You feel the pack bond? I didn’t think humans felt the bond.”

Stiles looked to Dalton for advice, and Dalton said, “He is bound to secrecy as a member of MI5 when it comes to any details about agents and their families. So if you tell him, he can’t tell others without the express permission of you or Lord Paddington.”

“I’m not human,” Stiles confirmed. “I was bitten by Ennis when he attacked me last week, and I killed him as he tried to kill me. I am no longer human, and I have a very strong pack bond to my alpha and his left hand.”

Jordan grinned, although the two on the phone couldn’t see it. He suddenly realized what his boss had planned. “Good to know. I’m guessing only a few people in Beacon Hills know?”

Stiles agreed, “Derek, Peter, Deputy Director Conway, and I think maybe my dad; but I’m not sure if that was included in the supernatural reveal. He didn’t say anything when we spoke before he went to bed.”

Dalton shrugged. “Lord Paddington hasn’t mentioned it, and I’m guessing your dad hasn’t contacted you about it?”

Stiles shook his head, “No, but he knew I had a stressful few days with the Oxford interview, so he may have decided to wait before confronting me with the information. It doesn’t help that the body count in Beacon Hills is climbing, which will be stressing him out. I haven’t told him that Jackson is here either. I’m not sure how he would take it after the whole restraining order thing.”

Dalton sighed, “Drama, so much drama. Jordan, please keep the info under your hat. You never know who is listening. And keep us both updated please, no matter what time of day.”

Jordan agreed and signed off. He wanted to get to the loft and get in position before the two Hales woke for the day. He’d learned early on in his career with MI5 to trust the ‘Paddington Gut™,’ it was rare that Lord Paddington was wrong when he had a gut feeling about something.

He sent a text off to his partner, Robert Stone, and another to the FBI Deputy Director to explain their new orders.

Jordan headed to the loft by way of the equipment shed they had brought with them. He met Rob outside the loft with the remote cameras he wanted to mount on the outside of the building. He wanted his partner to watch the building from the outside, and the cameras would mean they could both monitor the exterior via a tablet.

Once he got inside, he wanted to find a dark spot where he could sit comfortably and guard the interior without being seen. He had a feeling if the alphas attacked, it would be in the loft where the Hales would least expect it. If it looked like the assignment would be longer than a few days, he would ask his boss to send over the other hellhound in their unit to take shifts with him.

He was hopeful it wouldn’t take long to capture the remaining two alpha wolves, but he wasn’t going to hold his breath.

Stiles checked his emails once he got back to the library, and he found a message from Alpha Shehan with their exam schedule. She’d managed to schedule them for just after the next full moon, which would give him time to recover after his first transformation.

After he woke the two betas, he let them get ready for the day as he waited for them in their library study nook. They had created the nook after the last few shopping trips, and it was fast becoming Stiles’ favorite place in the whole townhouse.

When they arrived after eating a quick breakfast, he said, “We have our exam schedule. We start two days after the full moon and the exams should take us about a week. I think mine will take a bit longer since I am thinking of adding another degree program. The townhouse in Oxford will be ready for us to use for the duration.”

Jackson grinned. “So we can decorate while you’re doing your extra exams.”

Stiles nodded. “Sounds like a good idea. We’ll be spending a lot of time there during each semester. It’ll be a good chance to start building a library in preparation for our move back to the states.”

Cora grinned, “We will need to get a list of books from Uncle Peter, so we don’t end up with duplicates. Because you know he will add his collection to our library when we move home.”

Stiles nodded. “Good idea. He had most of his good books hidden away, so the fire only took copies and cheap books.”

Cora asked, “Are you going to tell us why Alpha Shehan kept you back?”

Stiles rubbed the back of his neck nervously, and he explained, “She offered me lessons on how to be a good alpha. I tried to explain that I am an alpha, but not the pack alpha, but she just said I could pass what I learned on to Derek. She offered to let him join in on the lessons by Skype call.”

Jackson pondered. “I wonder if he will get a similar deal if he takes up the FBI’s offer.”

Stiles shrugged. “I don’t know if the FBI has an alpha that would be willing to train him, maybe GWU does? There has to be a reason the FBI mentioned GWU. Either way, Sourwolf will get the lessons so he can be a great alpha for our pack.”

The teens spent several hours studying, with Dalton and Adam both pitching in with help from time to time, as they needed it.

Stiles was a little worried about some of the exams, as some of it was new material for him, so he was putting most of his study efforts into those courses. Thankfully, his uncle had most of the textbooks they would need in his library. Stiles wasn’t going to question why.

-x-

Stiles was having his usual breakfast chat with his uncle the next morning, just after 5 a.m. when he was hit with a wave of sudden panic, then overwhelming pain. He fell to the floor and gasped, “Derek.”

The two betas sprinted down the stairs, followed closely by Stiles’ two guards, who were woken by the sounds of pain from the three teens.

Clive was already on the phone with Deputy Director Conway, trying to get answers about what was happening to the Hales. He knew from Stiles reaction that Derek at least was being attacked, especially since all three of the teens could feel his pain down the pack bond. Unfortunately, Stiles was affected more than the betas. He would look into it later, but he had a feeling it was due to his nephew being an alpha in the pack; if not a closer bond with his alpha. He demanded, “Stiles, tell me what can you feel?”

Stiles took a deep breath and tried to center himself through the pain. He could feel what was happening to both of the wolves. The teen explained, “Peter is feeling frustrated, and I think restrained somehow; he felt the same pain we did, and he went to investigate what was going on. Derek though, he’s in a lot of pain and he’s pissed off.”

Clive crouched down in front of Stiles, who was curled up on the kitchen floor. “Tell me where you can feel the pain.”

Stiles pointed to his chest. “It’s like there’s a hole in his chest, but I can’t imagine why he would feel like that.”

Clive pat his knee in comfort as he said, “Agent Parrish said he is waiting for an opening before he tries to rescue them. He did confirm both Kali and Deucalion are the attackers. They seem to want Derek in their pack.”

Stiles scoffed. “Yeah, right.”

-x-

Derek was thinking the same thing as he listened to Deucalion’s monologue about Talia, and how great she was, and how dare she ignore Deucalion’s plans for peace. He dropped his head while the Demon Wolf was talking, and he glared at the pipe that was stabbed through his chest and had him impaled to the floor.

Kali had stabbed it in so far and hard that she had embedded it several inches into the floor. Something Derek was grateful for, as he was sure his weight would have him falling over otherwise. He glanced at his uncle and he could see Kali holding him with her claws at his throat. Derek knew if either of them moved, or tried to escape, she would end him. The alpha didn’t want to be the cause of another death in his pack; of one of his last remaining family members.

He knew the rest of the pack would be feeling the pain through the pack bond, but he was in too much pain to block it. Derek trusted Stiles to take care of Cora and Jackson, and he knew his uncle would be supporting them through the pain. He was glad Isaac was staying with Scott, even if it meant the pack bond between himself and the curly-haired beta was fraying day by day.

Derek happened to be looking across the room at his uncle, trying to distract himself from Deucalion’s speech, when he saw the shadows swallow Kali and Peter. Thankfully, Deucalion interpreted the change in his chemo signals to mean he was shocked by what the demented alpha was saying, and not what was going on in the room.

He could feel Peter’s elation down the bond, so he relaxed a bit. He figured whatever was in the shadows was there to protect them. Derek was surprised that the wolf in front of him was still talking. He wondered to himself, as Deucalion was still monologuing like a cartoon villain, if the alpha pack even had pack bonds to each other.

He saw the shadows that had been behind Peter slowly approach from behind Deucalion. He glanced to the side and saw a grinning Peter standing where he’d been earlier, but with Kali out cold and bound upright behind him.

Derek looked up at Deucalion and when the shadow was directly behind him he interrupted, “Do you ever get tired of the sound of your own voice? I mean, you’ve been talking non-stop for nearly twenty minutes, and it’s all the same bullshit regurgitated at least twenty different ways by the time I’d stopped counting to save my sanity. We get it, you’re the big bad alpha of alphas, and you want me to kill my entire pack and join you.”

Deucalion snarled, “You should be careful, Derek. I’m not the one impaled to the floor now, am I?”

Derek grinned even though the alpha couldn’t see it. “I might be the one impaled to the floor, but I’ll never be like you. I will never kill a member of my own pack.”

Deucalion stated, “You will. We’ll just have to start with your dear uncle. I’m sure Peter won’t mind dying again.”

Derek rolled his eyes. He slurred, “Nice try. Do you wanna help me up, Uncle Peter?”

Peter waited until he saw the clawed hand emerge from the shadows behind Deucalion before he moved. He crouched down beside Derek, assessing him and the pole they impaled him on. He took some of his pain as he murmured, “How do you want to do this? It looks like it’s embedded quite far into the floor, so if we try to pull it out, it’s going to hurt, and it could do more damage.”

Jordan had intercepted Deucalion, just as he’d been about to leap to take out Peter. He was holding him up by his throat with one hand, as the Demon Wolf was snarling and spitting vitriol that the three men were ignoring. He offered, “If you can wait a few minutes, I have an idea that might work. If it doesn’t, my team is on the way, they can help you get the pipe out. In the meantime, Peter, can you call Stiles and reassure your pack that you’re both ok?”

Peter pulled out his phone, and sent a text to the larger group chat to say they were safe. He knew they would be feeling the pain, and was disappointed that Isaac and the Fail Beta hadn’t turned up to see why there was pain radiating down the pack bond.

He said as much to his alpha. “I’m surprised Isaac isn’t here.”

Derek shook his head. “His pack bond is almost non existent. I think between Scott and Deaton whispering in his ear, and the loss of Erica and Boyd, he’s chosen to reject me as his alpha.”

Peter grimaced. “I believe he will come to regret that decision.”

“I am past caring,” Derek said quietly. “I tried my best with all three of them. Two of them ran; and it got them attacked by a hunter and then killed. The other stuck around purely because he was too scared to run. It wasn’t out of any sense of loyalty. He’s latched on to Scott, and he’s done his best to usurp Stiles’ place in that friendship. Did you know Scott still hasn’t asked where Stiles is? He hasn’t even realized his so-called best friend left the country.”

Peter shook his head in disbelief. He watched with eagle eyes as Agent Parrish knocked out Deucalion and bound him in another pair of the same rune engraved cuffs he had used on Kali.

Jordan approached, and he said, “So, I have an idea for how to get the pole out without too much pain. If it works, the pole will shadow travel with me. If it doesn’t, the pole will still be inside Derek as he travels with the pole. It’s up to you if you want to try it.”

Derek nodded. “Please try it. If it doesn’t work, the two of you can lift me off the pole.”

Jordan called the shadows and teleported to the other side of the loft while holding tight to the pole. He was careful to make sure Derek wasn’t touched at all by the shadows before he traveled.

Peter had crouched in front of Derek, so when he started to fall, Peter caught him and was quick to carry him to the sofa.

Derek grumbled. “I’m going to get blood all over it.”

“I’ll replace it,” Peter offered. “You need to heal somewhere comfortable, and I figured you’d prefer to replace the sofa than the bed.”

Derek nodded, and he asked, “Has Stiles replied?”

Peter sat down beside his nephew, and he checked his phone. “Yep, he’s pissed.”

The hellhound agreed. “He really is. But thanks to Stiles, my boss was able to get the teams mobilized pretty quickly. They are just coming up the stairs now with Deputy Director Conway. As soon as Stiles felt pain down the pack bond, Lord Paddington was on the phone to the deputy director and myself to find out what was going on.”

Peter asked, “You’ll be taking those two in for interrogation? What then? Also, how did you get into the loft?”

Jordan smiled. “Stiles requested that we put the two of you under guard earlier today. Unfortunately, we underestimated the alphas, and they were able to get past the guard we have outside. For that, I apologize.”

Peter shook his head. “No. If you weren’t guarding us, I do not doubt that they would have killed one or both of us tonight. It’s pretty clear from his ranting, that Deucalion wants to end the Hale line. He seemed determined to find Cora.”

The alpha agreed, “I tuned out a lot of his ranting, but the fact that he found Cora before coming to town, tells me he plans to end the three of us. I guess he still holds a grudge against my mother, even though she’s long dead.”

Peter hissed, “He’s a fool. He agreed to meet with Gerard Argent even after Talia refused, then he was outraged when the bastard used the peace meeting to attack the packs that did show up. He blames your mother’s refusal to attend for the attack.”

“Seriously?” Jordan asked incredulously. He looked down at the alpha lying prone on the floor. “From what I saw in the reports, he and his pack are responsible for almost as much carnage as Kate and Gerard Argent.” He looked down at his phone when it beeped. “Beta Hale, can I trouble you to answer the door? I don’t want to leave Deucalion unattended.”

Peter nodded, and he answered the door just as there was a knock. He found Deputy Director Conway and a small group of agents on the other side. “Please do come in. I understand you’re here to take out the trash.”

Sam nodded, and with a grin, he agreed, “Indeed, I believe you have two alphas ready for clean up.”

The blue-eyed beta pointed the pair out to the FBI agents, before he joined his nephew back on the sofa. He murmured, “Is the pain drain helping at all?”

Derek nodded, the relief was clear on his face as his uncle grasped his wrist, “It’s a big help, but it’s going to take a few hours to heal the giant hole that bitch put in my chest.”

Sam took a seat on the coffee table in front of the pair as the agents got busy removing the two alphas from the loft. He said, “We’ll take those two in for questioning and see what we can get out of them. In the meantime, we’ll search for the darach doing the sacrifices.”

Peter narrowed his eyes, and he asked, “Sacrifices? Fuck, I should have recognized it. They were three-fold deaths. Strangulation, a knock to the head, and a slit throat; it’s an old druidic custom.”

“Former druidic custom,” Sam confirmed. “It’s now considered to be the work of a dark druid, otherwise known as a darach. We believe they are working toward a five-fold knot.”

The beta saw his nephew look confused, so he explained, “It’s a ritual to gain power, of sorts. They do the sacrifices in groups of three, virgins for beauty, warriors for strength, healers for health and endurance, philosophers for strategy, and guardians for protection.”

Sam nodded. “We have found out that the first three victims were virgins, two we figured out based on their police interviews with those who saw them last, and the other based on the purity ring he was wearing. That will give the darach the ability to glamor themselves. The next group is likely to be warriors, based on the two bodies found so far. Yesterday the cross-country runners from the high school found a young ROTC member tied to a tree, and Adrian Harris, a former Army Corporal, who was found dead earlier this evening. The darach will be looking for one more to complete the warriors.”

Peter grinned. “Well, Stiles got his wish. Someone finally ended Harris.”

Chapter Eight

August 27th, 2011

After lunch, Stiles sighed in relief. He finally had a private message from Derek confirming he was fine and healing.

Lil Red: What the hell happened? You were supposed to be under guard.
Sourwolf: They came in through the window, still not sure how. I was asleep, and they were quick to grab me and impale me to the floor.
Lil Red: Impale how?
Sourwolf: Not important. Did your uncle tell you about the latest death and their theory?
Lil Red: No? Did someone finally kill Harris?
Sourwolf: Yes.
Lil Red: What? Seriously?
Sourwolf: They think we are dealing with a darach, a dark druid. The first three that died were all virgins.
Lil Red: Five-fold knot?
Sourwolf: That’s what they are thinking. The darach will have access to glamors with the virgins, they are working on warriors which is the kid from ROTC and Harris.
Lil Red: Fuck, I was kidding. You know that, right?
Sourwolf: I know, Peter does too. The FBI is looking into the darach and they are calling in magical help to assist. Peter is going to stick to your dad until they are caught. We have called a pack meeting to warn them about the darach but we aren’t holding our breath. Isaac didn’t even realize I’d been attacked.
Lil Red: Fucker, so he’s jumped ship? Fucking scarf douche.
Sourwolf: He was all that was holding us here, in all honesty. I’ve already told Sam I’ll take him up on his offer. He’s going to leave one of his alphas in town to hold the territory for us as we train. Normally they would stay with the pack for a few years to train us but Sam explained the situation with the pack and Connor was happy to help.
Lil Red: Are you going to rebuild like you talked about?
Sourwolf: Already in progress. Noah said he would keep an eye on the build and make sure it goes off without a hitch for us. Connor will stay with him and Jordan until the house is ready.
Lil Red: What?
Sourwolf: Agent Parrish is moving in with your dad, part of the protection detail your uncle assigned. He will be Noah’s patrol partner at work.
Lil Red: Cool. Does Dad know he’s a hellhound?
Sourwolf: Yep, he’s taken to the supernatural really well. Peter is loaning him our bestiary so he can learn about the supernatural world. Don’t be surprised if you get bombarded with questions.
Lil Red: Noted, he still hasn’t contacted me since Sam spoke to him, he knew I had the interview at Oxford yesterday though. Does he know what happened to me?
Sourwolf: Not sure. Jordan didn’t say.
Lil Red: So are you both enrolling in the next semester?
Sourwolf: Yes, we are spending a week with Connor to let him know the ins and outs of the territory before we leave. Peter already owns a place in Alexandria with plenty of spare rooms for you all.
Lil Red: I’ll give you contact details for my cousin who lives in DC, he works for NCIS at the Navy Yard. He’s just started working there last year.
Sourwolf: Sounds good. I need to get some sleep, between the attack and the healing I am shattered.
Lil Red: Rest well my alpha.

Stiles sent a text off to his dad for him to call when he had time to talk. He knew this would be longer than the other calls they have had while he’s been in London. The teen wasn’t expecting for his phone to ring almost instantly though; he thought his father would be asleep by now.

“Daddio?” He asked, curious at the quick call.

Noah sighed, “Stiles. When were you going to tell me? About your attack, the supernatural. There is just so much.”

Stiles laughed, “My preference was for never.” He took a deep breath, and he explained, “This world is not safe for humans. I am the perfect example of just how bad it can go wrong.”

“You’re still alive though,” Noah said. “Surely being a beta is better than being dead.”

Stiles asked suspiciously, “What did they tell you?”

Noah repeated, “They said you’d been attacked and bitten, that’s why you came home covered in blood.”

The teen alpha huffed before he asked, “So they said nothing about me killing the alpha?”

“No, not at all.” Noah agreed. “So you’re the alpha now?”

Getting a flashback to Derek’s cheesy announcement after he’d killed his uncle, Stiles laughed. “No, I’m an alpha, not the alpha. There is a difference, an important difference. Derek is still my alpha.”

Noah frowned. “I thought your uncle was your alpha. When they explained it to me, they said he was one of the more important European alphas.”

“Nope.” Stiles clarified, “He’s also an alpha; and a powerful, important alpha at that. But he’s not my alpha. Although I am his heir until I can convince Tony to take the bite. Crispin was disowned by his father, and the kids are too young to take the bite.”

Noah snickered. “Ah yes, it took me a few moments to figure out who Deputy Director Conway was talking about when he mentioned Baron Paddington. So, how did your interview at Oxford go?”

The teen grinned. “Great, we are doing placement exams in a few weeks. So we can hopefully skip our first year courses.”

“We?” Noah asked. “Who do you have with you?”

Stiles nervously said, “Well, Derek sent Cora to us the night after they rescued her. And I found Jackson when I went to sit my exit exams at King’s College. They are both joining me at Oxford, and then MI5.”

Noah asked, “Jackson? Jackson Whittemore? I thought you hated him?”

Stiles shrugged. “He’s pack, and he’s not being an asshole. He moved into the townhouse after he found out his adoptive parents had been hiding his inheritance from him.”

“Wow, I know we talked about David being a dick to Jackson, but I didn’t realize he was that bad,” Noah commented. He thought through what had been going on and he asked, “Does Scott know you were bitten?”

Stiles denied, “No, and I don’t want him to know. Being bitten changed him, and not for the better. He actively worked with the hunters to force Derek to bite Gerard. He took away Derek’s body autonomy and paralysed him with kanima venom, then he held Derek’s mouth open so he had no choice but to bite the old bastard. He also threw Derek under the bus after that incident at the school. I don’t trust him to know my secret, nor do I trust him with any of my pack.”

Noah agreed with a yawn. “I can understand that. Does Melissa know?”

“She knows he’s a wolf,” Stiles explained. “She found out that night in the station after they knocked you out. I’m not sure how much she knows of the shit he’s been pulling. Look, as far as I know, Scott hasn’t even realized I haven’t been at school, let alone that I’ve moved to a different country. I am happy to keep it that way.” He heard his dad yawn for the fourth time and he commented, “You sound shattered.”

Noah yawned. “I’m sorry, kiddo, it’s been a long night, and I should probably get some sleep before my next shift. I have Jordan moving into the spare room tomorrow, he will be part deputy, part personal security for me. I will be housing Alpha James until the house in the preserve is rebuilt. He’s the proxy alpha that Sam is loaning to Derek. Peter is going to drop him off this weekend with a copy of his bestiary for me to study.”

Stiles smiled. “I’m glad you’ll have someone there with you. I don’t think the alphas were the reason for the bodies, and you are a prime target for the guardian sacrifice.”

Noah agreed. “I know. Sam detailed out the sacrifices and how Jordan has been assigned to guard me, he’s a hellhound with shadow mastery, and he’s a trained investigator so it’s a win-win for me. Night kiddo, don’t stress about what’s going on here. We have enough FBI to sink a ship until the darach is found.”

“Night, Daddio,” Stiles said as he hung up.

Jackson and Cora settled on either side of him, and Jackson reassured, “He’ll be fine. Jordan is protecting him, and he was able to take down the last two alphas on his own.”

Stiles nodded. “It doesn’t stop me worrying, though. I’m going to add Dad to the big group chat so he knows what’s going on. But also so he and Connor can update us all on anything important going on in Beacon Hills while we are all so spread out.”

Jackson said, “What I want to know though, is why didn’t we feel your attack like that?”

Stiles explained, “I was human. Human pack bonds don’t transmit as much info as a wolf, it’s like static. So you don’t get the emotions or the pain that you would get from a wolf in the pack. You can tell if you feel my dad’s bond, it’s either there, or it’s not. There are no changes.”

Jackson nodded. “Right. And you were able to hide it once you started turning?”

Stiles nodded. “I didn’t want to worry Derek or Peter. I knew Scott wouldn’t notice.”

Cora asked, “Derek and Uncle Peter are going to GWU?”

Stiles nodded. “Yeah. The attack was the last straw. Well, the fact that Isaac didn’t feel it through the pack bond. He was the only reason they were sticking around. Deputy Director Conway has loaned them one of his alphas to take care of the territory while they are in training. I think he’s going to work for Dad while they are away.”

Jackson asked, “So what’s a darach, and why are you so worried about it?”

Cora said, “I only know them as dark druids, but I didn’t think druids were all that powerful.”

“They aren’t,” Stiles admitted. “Until they go to the dark side. When a darach performs sacrifices, they gain from it. So the one at home has sacrificed virgins which gives them the ability to glamor themselves, so they can hide under a beautiful mask, so to speak. The warriors she’s currently sacrificing will give them power.” He turned to Jackson. “One of them was Harris, our chemistry teacher, he was ex-military.”

Jackson looked worried, “What about Danny, has anyone filled him in yet? He was in ROTC with Kyle and Boyd.”

Stiles shrugged, “I’m not sure. Is it something you feel comfortable doing over Skype? Maybe text him and see if you can get a feel for if he knows? I trust that he would keep our secret.”

Jackson smiled. “Thanks. I know he’s not really pack, but he’s been there for me through everything. I haven’t even told him I’m in London. I’m sure he’s expecting to meet up with me when he attends MIT in a few years.”

Cora asked, “Wait, who are you guys talking about?”

Jackson pulled up a photo on his phone of the two of them and he showed it to Cora as he explained, “Danny Mahealani, he’s been my best friend since forever.”

“He was part of the rescue team,” Cora said bluntly. “The curly-haired beta had called him in when they couldn’t find Stiles. Apparently they needed a lookout. Derek scowled when he called him Miguel.”

Stiles snorted. “That’s how I introduced them when Derek was hiding out in my room from the police.”

Cora glared at him and she demanded, “You hid him in your house, with the sheriff? The sheriff who was hunting my brother?”

Stiles nodded. “Of course, it’s the last place Dad would have looked. Anyway, it sounds like he might already know, why don’t you text him and see if he’s awake, and we can see if he’s up for a Skype call.”

Jackson spent the next half an hour furiously texting with Danny, as Stiles and Cora went over some of the course work.

“He won’t Skype or even let me call.” Jackson admitted despondently. “He’s pissed that I kept the supernatural a secret from him. He’s promised to keep in touch, and he said he’ll catch up with me when he hits Boston next year.”

Stiles sighed. “Look, Scott, and maybe even Isaac have probably given him some bullshit line, although Isaac is probably just following Scott’s lead. What if me or Cora give it a go?”

Cora shrugged. “I wanted to thank him anyway for helping with my rescue.”

Jackson agreed, “That little asshole would have told Danny I ran away after killing people. Danny wouldn’t normally be this standoffish.”

Stiles started texting Danny, asking if they could Skype, that he had someone who wanted to talk to him after he helped with the rescue mission. Danny was hesitant, but he eventually agreed. Stiles thought he must have been suspicious, but he said nothing about the timing of the two lots of texts. Stiles pulled his laptop over and he started a Skype video chat with Danny.

Stiles grinned when he saw the goalie on the screen. “Danny! It’s been a while.”

Danny nodded, and then narrowed his eyes when he noticed it was dark outside the windows behind Stiles. He asked, “Where are you, Stilinski?”

“Paddington,” Stiles clarified. “I am now Mieczysław ‘Stiles’ Stilinski Paddington. Baron Paddington, and heir to the Earl of Faolán. As for where I am, I… well… we are in London.”

Danny’s eyes widened. “England? What the hell, Stiles. Wait, we?”

Jackson and Cora pulled their chairs closer so Danny could see them. Stiles gestured to them and he said, “We. I arrived a week ago after I was attacked in Beacon Hills, and Dad sent me away for my own safety. Derek sent Cora the day after you guys rescued her, and I found Jackson after his parents had left him to his own devices in London.”

Danny asked, “Jackson? You didn’t run away?”

Jackson laughed. “I should have placed money on that being the story you were told. No. After everything happened at the end of the last semester, my parents forced me to move to Boston before they moved us again when David was offered a job in London. Stiles found me when I was doing placement testing at King’s College.”

Danny whistled, he had heard of the school’s reputation for being tough to get into. “So you both start in a few weeks?”

Stiles and Jackson shook their heads as Cora started to giggle. She explained, “No, the three of us start at Oxford University in a few weeks. We have placement exams first to hopefully bypass our first year courses.”

Danny’s jaw dropped, and he squeaked, “What? Lydia’s going to be pissed when she finds out.”

Stiles sternly said, “She won’t be finding out. That lot haven’t even noticed, fuck…” He stood and stormed out of the room.

Cora silently followed him as he stormed out, and directed him to the training room they had set up in the townhouse.

Jackson shook his head. “Sorry, he’s still furious with Scott. He was supposed to be on patrol with Scott when he was attacked by an alpha. Scott had abandoned the patrol for a booty call about ten minutes in, which left Stiles on his own when Ennis attacked him. He was lucky he survived, Ennis was 6’5 and built like a tank.”

Danny nodded in understanding. “I get not letting the betas know, but what about Lydia? She would want to know.”

Jackson agreed. “She would, and the first thing she would do is tell Allison the good news. The same Allison who hunted down Erica and Boyd and handed them over to her grandfather for him to torture. Fuck, she stood there watching as Gerard tortured Stiles. They were in her basement and the old man wanted information on Derek. He didn’t count on Stiles’ loyalty. However, Allison knew the sheriff was looking for his son, and she said nothing.”

Danny looked horrified and Jackson drove the final nail in as he said quietly, “The same Allison who never apologized to Stiles for what she did. She, like Scott, just expects him to forgive her without her accepting she was at fault.”

“Right,” Danny said. “I agree and I won’t say a word. I will admit to disappointment, I was looking forward to staying with you in Boston when I started at MIT. Do you know what your major is yet?”

Jackson nodded. “We are all doing double master’s degrees. All three of us are doing criminal justice degrees, and I will be doing a law degree with a minor in international law. Cora is doing a computer science master’s, and Stiles is doing a psychology master’s degree.”

The teen could read between the lines and he asked, “Do I want to pick up criminal justice on top of what I was planning? Maybe look further than just concentrating on MIT.”

Jackson looked to Dalton who was sitting off-screen, and he asked, “What do you think?”

Dalton shrugged. “It wouldn’t hurt. If he looked into GWU, he would have Derek and Peter there with him for most of it.”

Danny asked, “Who’s that?”

Dalton moved into the shot and he said, “I am Agent Cooper of MI5, and I am one of Baron Paddington’s guards. Have you received a request to visit the sheriff’s station?”

Danny nodded. “Yeah, I can’t work out why though? I’ve stayed out of trouble, even with the rescue I made sure to stay out of sight of the cameras.”

Dalton chuckled. “You’re not in trouble. I think it’s so FBI Deputy Director Conway can talk to you about your schooling options. He’s looking to create a small team of people to work at keeping the supernatural a secret in the world of CCTV and the like. I would definitely recommend talking to him, and maybe Alpha Hale as well. Derek will make sure you get a more accurate view of the happenings in Beacon Hill for the last year.”

Danny nodded. “I should have known better than to listen to McCall. He’s always been a selfish jerk. Jackson, can you tell Stiles I’ll keep your secrets, please?”

Jackson grinned as he heard Stiles’ reply. “He heard and said thank you. We have a group chat going on with us, Lord Paddington, Stiles’ guards, the Hales, and the Sheriff. Do you want me to add you?”

Danny nodded, “Yes, please. It would be good to know what’s going on, rather than relying on eavesdropping on the pack at school.”

Dalton asked, “What?”

Danny shrugged, “Scott and Isaac aren’t subtle, and they got worse after Stiles left. They don’t even try to stay quiet. I know I am not the only one who has heard them talking about pack business in public.”

Dalton turned toward the door and he said, “Thank you, Stiles.” He turned back to Danny, and he asked, “If they do it again, can you drop a note in the group chat. Stiles is talking to his uncle now to make sure they warn the group of them about keeping the supernatural a secret.”

Danny nodded. “Will do, I’ll also be able to remind them that it’s supposed to be a secret.”

Jackson snorted. “As if Scott will listen.” He checked his watch. “Shouldn’t you be heading to school already?”

Danny nodded. “Yeah, study hall first period, since Harris was killed. So I am not too bothered about missing homeroom. I’ll text you guys, ok?”

Jackson grinned. “That would be good. Talk to you later.”

He ended the Skype call with a happy smile on his face. He hated that the supernatural had sucked his friend in, but he thought Danny would be like Stiles, a survivor who would take to the supernatural like a duck takes to water.

Chapter Nine

August 27th, 2011

Dalton and Adam took great joy in waking the teens early on Saturday morning. Well, Cora and Jackson, at least. Stiles had been up for a while, first chatting with his Uncle Clive as he ate before heading into the office, then a Skype call with his dad before he went to bed. As the group was eating breakfast, Adam explained, “We are getting a head start on your training. Starting with time at the range. We have a time blocked out for just the five of us, so you have privacy to get your senses used to the noise of the various guns you’ll be training with.”

Stiles asked, “What are you going to train us with?”

Dalton said, “A range of firearms, today we’ll work on handguns, starting with the Glock and SIG-Sauer.”

Stiles nodded. “I have used a SIG-Sauer 229 at the range in Beacon Hills. It’s my dad’s preferred handgun and what he has stored in his safe at home. He wanted me trained to use it, just in case.”

Adam looked at the other two teens as they nursed their coffees. “Have either of you used a gun before?”

They both shook their heads.

Dalton stood. “Go get changed; you’ll want semi-loose clothes, so you’re comfortable. I think we’ll be there for a few hours getting you sorted before a shopping trip to get portable gun safes for you all on the way home.”

The kids all stood to get ready; Stiles was a bit slower than the rest. He knew he would have more issues than the betas, as alphas had more sensitive hearing than most betas.

Dalton reassured him, “You’ll be fine, kid. You already know what to expect at the range; you just need to learn how to tune it out without blocking your hearing entirely. Wait until we start acclimatizing you to the sonic weapons that rogue hunters tend to use; now that’s a trip.”

Stiles gave Dalton a filthy look. “Dude, what? I saw Derek after one of those had been set off, and it had him on the floor.”

“Exactly!” Dalton exclaimed, “That’s why the bastards use them. Don’t worry, we start small. It’ll give you a chance to learn how to tune it out before we move on up to heavy-duty hunter grade sonics.”

Stiles rolled his eyes and pointed at Dalton. “It sounds like fucking torture to me.” He huffed. “Fine, give me a few to get changed.”

They were glad to have the range to themselves. It took all three of the teens nearly an hour to get accustomed to the sound of the guns going off. The two guards and the range master started them off slowly, or so they said, but they both promised they would be adding weapons to their training rapidly. They wanted them to get used to the sounds of the guns they would come across in their work.

Cora asked, “Do you think we’ll need to worry about it?”

Dalton gave her a feral grin, and he said, “We spend about half our time hunting rogue hunters and shutting them down. They expect wolves to flinch at the sounds of the guns going off, so learning to tune it out can give us an advantage. It’s a small advantage, but any advantage helps.”

“So we’ll be training at the range frequently?” Jackson asked. He was thinking that learning how to shoot would be a good advantage over the hunters back home. They never expected the wolves to fight back with their own weapons.

Dalton nodded. “Weekly, for now, we are also going to get you into combat training; hand to hand, martial arts, fencing, and some weapons training there as well.”

Cora said, “I have some martial arts training. The pack I stayed with in Brazil has a beta that is a Taekwondo instructor. He gave lessons a few times a week while I was there. He adapted a lot of his lessons for people with teeth and claws.”

Adam offered, “I can talk to the trainers at MI5, see if any of them know of supernatural friendly Taekwondo studios either here or in Oxford.”

Stiles said, “I have to ask, why fencing?”

Dalton shrugged. “Tradition mostly. All Paddingtons learn to fence, but it actually helps with other forms of combat. It helps with agility, balance, flexibility, strength, and endurance. It also helps with fight tactics and muscle memory training that can be utilized across other disciplines.”

Jackson nodded. “I tried it out a few times because someone said it was good for Lacrosse training. But there was no one important attending with me that my parents could suck up to, so they canceled the lessons.”

-x-

While they were busy making training plans in London, back in Beacon Hills, Danny was meeting with Deputy Director Conway and Sheriff Stilinski at the sheriff’s station. They took him through to Noah’s office, since they thought it would be a bit less stressful for the teen than one of the interview rooms.

Sam asked, “So Mr. Mahealani, how about you tell us how much you know? That way, we can fill in the blanks for you.”

Danny asked them both to call him by his first name, before he went over the phone call he had with the London based members of the pack the night before. He also congratulated the Sheriff for Stiles getting into Oxford. “One of the agents with the pack in London, Dalton, I think, suggested I look into attending college at GWU rather than MIT.”

Sam nodded. “That wouldn’t be a bad idea; I know both of the Hales are seriously looking at attending to finish their degrees next semester. Myself and Lord Paddington are looking into agencies where we can hide a technical team until you all reach the joining age for the FBI. We are strict on the need to be 23 before you can join, but other agencies like Homeland Security and the NSA have a lower joining age.”

Danny asked, “So the guys in London will be, what? MI5, until they are old enough to switch agencies?”

“That’s the plan at this stage,” Sam agreed. “We were looking into an international agency under the International Criminal Court. But we were reminded that most countries police themselves rather well, and that it’s mostly the USA and Europe that has rogues that need to be investigated and in some cases, covered up.”

Danny nodded, “Ok. Well, I already sent an email to the recruiter from GWU; he’s been trying to entice me across. Hopefully, I can get the same full-ride deal I got offered from MIT.”

Sam offered, “I can talk to the recruiter. We have good relationships with a few of the recruiters that let us know of potential agents, mostly so we can keep an eye on their academic career.”

Danny was prepared for this. He handed over a piece of paper containing the details for the recruiter he had written down earlier, as well as his own contact details. He said, “I can also be contacted on my mobile. I think Jackson added me to a few group chats last night.”

Sam was about to ask when Danny planned to start attending college, but a rapid knock at the door interrupted them, followed by Tara Graeme barging in. “Sorry Sheriff, but we have another one. The band teacher at the high school was just found in the preserve. Same MO as the others.”

Noah slumped and said resignedly, “Fuck, thanks Tara. Can you take someone with you to do the evidence collection? I want it done by the books.”

Danny said quietly, “He was one of my teachers. Harris was another one, and his body was found a few days ago.”

Sam asked, “Do any of the pack attend any classes with him?”

Danny shook his head. “No, as far as I know, it’s just me. He only worked part-time at the school teaching band. The rest of the time, he was at the VA Hospital in Beacon Valley working as a counselor.”

Sam demanded, “He was a veteran?”

Danny nodded, “Pararescue, I think. He gave a few talks about his time on deployment at ROTC.”

“Ok, thanks,” Sam said as Noah started to pull up the teacher’s details in his system. “Please don’t tell anyone what you’ve heard or discussed in here. If you need help with the recruiter at GWU, feel free to send me a private message in the messaging app.”

Danny stood and shook hands with both of the men. “Thanks, I’m going to go talk to the Hales about GWU. Another suggestion from Jackson.”

Sam stood and showed him out. “Thanks, Danny. I’ll be in touch once we have sorted out the serial killer we are currently dealing with.”

When Sam got back to the office, he scrubbed his hand down his face in frustration, before he said, “So that’s another death with a loose connection to the pack. Obviously, whoever the darach is, they consider Danny to be pack. Maybe because they saw him help with the rescue at the bank?”

Noah shrugged. “Does it have to be logical? I mean, they are killing people for power, so logic hardly enters into it. What we should be doing is planning for the other groups.”

Sam agreed, “Definitely, I think we need to have a few agents placed at the hospital to guard the healers. We can have them work as orderlies in the ED until we catch the darach.”

Noah asked, “So that leaves Philosophers and Guardians? So the school and what? Guardians could mean anyone?”

Sam shook his head. “I doubt it. I think it will be the parents of pack members. So, that’s you, Chris Argent, Melissa McCall, and maybe the Mahealanis.”

Noah suggested, “Likely Chris and Mel,” He hedged, “I am not sure if I’d be on the list since Stiles hasn’t been around. I am also too well guarded.”

Sam said, “You have Jordan guarding you, so you’re safe if they do try to grab you. I think though that they are going in the order suggested by the old ritual books. So the next grouping will probably be the healers. We should talk to the hospital administrator about getting some undercover agents in the emergency department. We can let them know there is a serial killer following what we suspect is a satanic ritual.”

Noah rolled his eyes. “It’s Beacon Hills; we are well known for weird killers and an abnormally high rate of animal attacks. Come on, the administrator is best caught before lunchtime.”

-x-

The administrator was quick to agree to have agents in place around the ED as orderlies. She didn’t want to lose any staff to the satanic killer that was stalking Beacon Hills. They had four different agents on each shift in the ED. The charge nurses were warned to make sure that only two of the undercover agents were being used for duties at any one time. They wanted the main entrances to the ED guarded subtly, so the killer didn’t spot them if they were watching the hospital.

It wasn’t until Friday when they realized their plan had left out other types of healers.

Noah and Sam had called a meeting on Friday afternoon. They wanted to introduce Chris Argent, the local area hunter, to both Jordan Parrish, Noah’s personal guard, and Connor James, the alpha looking after the Hales’ territory while they were away at school.

They also wanted to warn him that he was likely to be a target for the darach, to give him a chance to increase his own security.

Chris had already met the FBI Deputy Director earlier in the week when Sam visited him to deliver his warning, while Allison was out with Scott. He had accepted the warning with good grace, and promised to stay in touch with Noah if there were other threats he would need to deal with.

The meeting between the five men was going well. Connor explained his role in the FBI and how he would be working undercover, sort of, as a deputy while he took care of the territory for the three Hales, at least until they were ready to come home.

Chris asked, “Sort of undercover? How does that work?”

Connor grinned. “Well, Noah and Jordan will know I am both an FBI agent and the territory alpha, but that’s it. To the other deputies, I am just another new body on the team, hired to replace the deputies that were killed in the attack on the station earlier in the year.”

Chris asked, “What about the other wolves in the territory? Will you be taking them on as betas?”

Connor shook his head. “No, I am here purely as a proxy for Alpha Derek Hale. The only beta’s I will introduce myself to are his. As far as I know, right now, he has one beta that is still in Beacon Hills, and I believe that pack bond is almost gone, as the beta is not at all loyal to him.”

Chris sighed. “Isaac. He’s definitely listening to McCall over Alpha Hale these days. I thought Stiles might calm things down a bit, he’s usually the voice of reason, but I haven’t seen him around lately.”

Noah shook his head, “No, you wouldn’t have. I sent him to England to live with his uncle two weeks ago. Scott still hasn’t noticed he’s missing. My kid came home late and covered in blood, repeatedly. I reached the end of my rope. I found out later Scott had threatened my kid into keeping me in the dark about all the supernatural shit going on in my town.”

Chris paled. “Shit, is he ok? What do you mean repeatedly?”

Noah admitted, “It was the fourth or fifth time he’d come home covered in blood, and that’s the times I knew about. The first time I saw him come home covered in blood, was at the hands of your father. He took him from the lacrosse field after he scored the goals in the big game on his birthday; I gather it was the night they dealt with the kanima.”

“Fuck,” Chris shouted. “He had Stiles in the basement as well? I found the betas and let them go. I told them to go to their alpha, but I am not sure if they actually listened.”

Sam shook his head. “From what we have found in our investigation, they were captured by the alpha pack not long after you released them from the basement. Stiles said he was there for about six hours before Gerard released him. He mentioned something about being a message for Beta McCall, a message that was not received, since McCall didn’t even notice he was injured.”

Noah’s jaw dropped. He hadn’t been aware of this; he thought Scott had been watching out for the young man he called a best friend. The sheriff asked incredulously, “Seriously? It took Stiles a few months to heal all the injuries he received that night. Several of the wounds required dressing changes, which Melissa offered to do at home rather than have Stiles travel into the hospital. Surely he at least smelled Stiles on his mom after she stopped in on her way home most days?”

Sam shook his head. “I talked to Derek and Peter, and they both confirmed that Scott barely saw Stiles over the summer break. They spent more time with the kid teaching him how to fight, so he wouldn’t feel so defenseless next time.”

Chris croaked, “Hell. I had no idea he had Stiles down there. I felt bad enough about the two betas. Especially since, as I explained to Deputy Director Conway earlier, Allison forced me to take them to the basement in the first place. But I wanted them out of the house before she got back from wherever she had gone with her grandfather. I didn’t trust… I didn’t trust her with them.” He paused for a moment before he muttered, “I still don’t trust her with me.”

Before they could question him further, the door to the office was flung open, and Scott was standing there with Allison. There was a deputy behind them protesting their intrusion.

“Sheriff Stilinski,” Scott said in a rush. “We can’t find Stiles, and I need his help.”

Noah narrowed his eyes. Everyone in the room could feel just how pissed he was. About both the interruption and Scott’s complete obliviousness to the fact he was in a meeting. He asked in a steely tone, “What do you need his help with?”

Scott said frantically, “Doc Deaton’s been taken, and I need Stiles’ help to track him down.”

Sam started texting his subordinates to let them know of the vet’s kidnapping as Noah demanded, “So why aren’t you reporting it to the deputy at the front desk? Why are you demanding that my teenage son, who is not a deputy, investigate a missing persons case?”

Allison stood silently beside Scott. She could see the trap the sheriff was baiting, but she didn’t know how to pull Scott back.

Scott explained, “He is good at investigations, and he usually helps me with this stuff.”

Noah was done. “By usually helps, you mean he usually does it all for you when you abandon him to get laid?”

Scott frowned, and he asked, “What?”

Noah stood and leaned forward on his desk as he said coldly, “Well, that’s what I assume since I haven’t seen you at the house in months, Scott. Stiles has come home more than once, covered in blood, often injured. Your own girlfriend witnessed one of those beatings. Remember; when her grandfather beat him so bad he needed to be treated at the hospital? Oh, but that’s right, you didn’t even check on him. Now you’re telling me that it’s taken you two fucking weeks to figure out your so-called best friend isn’t even in town.”

Scott looked confused as he asked, “What? Where is he?”

Noah roared, “He was attacked, Scott. After you left him, a fucking human, on his own in the preserve while an alpha pack was terrorizing the territory. He came home, covered from head to toe in blood and scratches. I decided enough was enough, and I’ve sent him out of the country for his own safety. He’s been gone for two fucking weeks, Scott, and you haven’t even noticed.”

Chris scowled, “You left a human alone in the preserve while there is a known threat in the town? Let me guess, my daughter called?”

Noah nodded in agreement. “Stiles said she called Scott ten minutes into what should have been an hour-long patrol run, and Scott left him alone in the preserve. I’m pretty sure there is more to the story, but if my son doesn’t want to share, he won’t, and there will be no budging him.”

Allison opened her mouth to ask if Stiles was ok, but Noah held up a finger and said harshly, “No, you don’t speak. You knew Stiles was in your basement. You watched him being tortured by your grandfather and said nothing. Nothing to me, when you knew I was frantically searching for him, nothing to Scott, who still has no idea he was down there in the first place, and nothing to the pack he belongs to. You open your mouth, and I’ll arrest you myself for accessory to the kidnapping of a minor and assault; Stiles’ wishes be damned.”

Allison nodded and said quietly to Scott, “We should go.”

Scott nodded and left the room without a single word of protest.

Chapter Ten

September 2nd, 2011

Scott and Allison left the station, and the beta asked, “Should we maybe ask the Hales?”

Allison shook her head, “I think maybe we should leave it to the FBI to investigate. They know what they are doing.”

Scott vehemently shook his head, “No, I don’t trust those guys to do the right thing. My dad is an FBI agent, and he’s an asshole. They won’t think twice about using Dr. Deaton as bait.”

Allison sighed, “Fine, but I think maybe we could ask Lydia for help. I know she’s smarter than Stiles.”

Scott agreed, “Ok, can you get her to meet us at the clinic. I want to get there to see if I can catch a scent before the FBI can get a search warrant for the clinic.”

Allison sent off the text as they waited at a red light before she asked, “Do you still have your work keys on you?”

Scott nodded. He asked quietly, “Was that true, what they said about Stiles? That your grandfather had him in the basement, and you were watching?”

Allison nodded. “Yeah, I knew he was meant to be a message; I thought it might be better if you didn’t know.”

The younger teen was confused. “How was he meant to be a message? That’s the bit I don’t understand.”

Allison shrugged, “I don’t know all of it. My grandfather disappeared before he could explain beyond the rambling, but I think he was supposed to be a warning to you so you would follow the plan. A threat of sorts, and I thought if you didn’t see it, then… I don’t know.”

Scott mused, “Why didn’t he say anything?”

The human stayed quiet and just shrugged. She had her own theories for why the hyperactive teen kept the news to himself. She knew he spent a lot of time with the Hales over the summer break, and she wondered if Scott had even understood how close they all were.

As they pulled up at the vet clinic, Allison’s phone rang. It was her father ordering her home. She tried arguing with him, but he wouldn’t budge. He didn’t want her discovered at an active crime scene.

She leaned out the driver’s window and said, “I have to go. Dad doesn’t want me caught here if the FBI shows up.”

Lydia walked around the corner and demanded, “What do you mean ‘if the FBI shows up?’ Are you trying to get me involved in something illegal?”

Scott shook his head as Allison explained, “Scott needs your help to search for Doc Deaton. The FBI will be here soon since they are investigating the serial killer.”

Lydia held up her hand and said, “Nope, I don’t want any more trouble. I have enough on my record with going on a naked stroll through the preserve. I would suggest calling Stiles, but he’s already left Beacon Hills.”

Scott rounded on her. “You knew?”

With her best ‘bitch please’ face, Lydia glared at him and said, “You didn’t?” She only knew because when he had transferred out, she had gone up in the school rankings to the number one spot. “He transferred out two weeks ago. It was big news all over the school, and everyone was gossiping about why he left. Isn’t he your best friend? How could you miss that?”

Scott scowled; he was getting pissed off that everyone seemed to know his best friend had left town without telling him. He said, “I’m going in to see if I can find a trail to follow. Stay or go; it’s up to you.”

Allison said, “Sorry, I have to go. Dad will kill me if I’m caught at a crime scene.”

Lydia just turned and left. She was not getting involved in any more of Scott’s antics, especially if Stiles wasn’t around to limit the blast radius. She sent a text to Danny to warn him that Scott was looking for the missing vet after being ordered not to by the sheriff and the FBI.

-x-

At the loft, Danny was in a planning session with the two Hales. The three pack members in Beacon Hills had been talking with Sam and the London-based members of the pack. They wanted to arrange their degree programs, to make sure they had a broad range of skills within the two teams. Danny was also coordinating his degree choices with Cora, who was planning her career as a technical analyst within MI5.

Danny had decided he would be heading to GWU once he had completed his junior year, when he would have enough credits to graduate early. His parents were disappointed that he was going to GWU instead of MIT. Still, they understood the FBI Deputy Director’s opportunity. They were proud of their son for choosing to become a white hat to protect people. He hadn’t been shy at explaining what his role would eventually be with the task force. He would be working for a still undecided federal agency, preferably one with a lower joining age and more flexibility for its tech analysts.

As they were all going through the course catalog, Danny pulled his phone out as the message from Lydia came through. He read it with a scowl and said, “Scott is trying to find the vet, Dr. Deaton, who’s apparently missing. He’s been warned to stay out of the investigation by the FBI, but he’s chosen to ignore the order.”

He sent a text to ask if Allison was helping him, and Lydia replied to say that Allison was not involved, because her father had ordered her to go home. Which he passed on to the two Hales. He asked, “Do you want me to see if I can find anything?”

Derek shook his head, “No. If Sam needs our help, he’ll call us. I’ve lost enough of my pack to this town. I would like to keep those I have left out of the path of the darach.” He thought of Isaac, and how the curly-haired beta hadn’t even noticed the damage in the loft from the alpha pack attack. He asked, “Did Lydia say what Isaac was doing?”

Danny shook his head, “No. Do you want me to try texting him? Does he even answer you when you text him?”

Derek shook his head, “He doesn’t, and I can barely feel the pack bond. He didn’t even know I was being attacked the other night, when the others felt it all the way over in London. I was going to talk to Alpha Satomi about taking him on as a beta. He needs an alpha, and it’s clear he doesn’t want me.”

Danny shook his head as he saw Peter stayed silent on the matter. “It’s clear to me he is being led by his dick. He has a crush on Scott, which is obvious to everyone but the beta.”

Peter agreed, “He does tend to be full of ‘Scott said this’ and ‘Scott did that’ on the rare occasion that he does stop into the loft. I take it, Danny, that Scott is oblivious to the boy’s affections? I recall Stiles said he was extremely homophobic.”

Danny nodded, “Yep. God, he was such an asshole when I came out during my sophomore year. It’s why Jackson bullied both McCall and Stiles so badly; he hates McCall so much for how he treated me. Stiles was just caught in the crossfire, mostly because he stuck up for Scott, even though it was obvious that he hated Scott’s homophobia.”

“Seriously?” Derek asked, “And Isaac doesn’t know?”

Danny shook his head, “He wasn’t around when Scott was at his worst, at least not that I remember. His dad was a coach at Devenford Prep, so he went there until the Coach was fired not long after Camden died. Anyway, do you want me to text Isaac? Or do you just want to let him dig his own hole?”

Peter spoke up before Derek could, “I think it’s time the beta learned about consequences. Warn him to stay away from the search for the druid. If he decides to assist McCall, then he can face both the FBI and the consequences for ignoring his alpha.”

Derek nodded and sent off the text warning Isaac to stay out of the FBI investigation. He made it clear in the text that it was not a request.

“Right,” Derek stood. “Who wants a coffee?”

-x-

Later that night, Derek received a visit from Sam, Connor, and Noah. He showed them into his living room, where Peter and Danny were still going through the course details from GWU while texting the pack in London. He got the three men coffees, as they all looked absolutely drained.

With no preamble, Sam said, “Scott McCall is now an alpha. Apparently, he is a True Alpha. He took his first beta, Isaac Lahey, not long after.”

Derek nodded, “I felt the pack bond break a few hours ago. I thought it was just Isaac going solo. I didn’t realize he’d found a new alpha.”

Peter looked up with narrowed eyes and said, “You sound dubious about the True Alpha claim.”

Sam nodded, and Connor admitted, “The whole thing stinks. The druid was supposedly one of the healer sacrifices, except he had time to call his assistant to report being taken. He was found hanging while circled in mountain ash.”

Derek said, “That doesn’t match the MO. On the bodies we found, based on the bruising, it was obvious, even to humans, that the strangulation was done by hands, not rope. Also, there was no mountain ash near any of the bodies found so far.”

Connor nodded. “Exactly.”

Noah asked, “Sorry, I am new to the whole supernatural thing. Why is the ash important?”

Sam grinned. He handed a small Ziplock baggie full of black powder to Noah and said, “Take a bit out and put a ring of the ash around one of the coffee cups. It doesn’t matter how much as long as the ash completes a circle.”

Noah carefully laid out a circle of ash around his own coffee cup before he asked, “Now what?”

Sam raised an eyebrow at Connor, so the alpha leaned forward and tried to pick up Noah’s cup. Noah and Danny were both surprised to see the alpha’s hand deflected by a blue shield. Sam explained, “The ash repels most supernatural creatures. It can be used to protect or to trap.”

Peter snarled, “It’s what the Argent bitch used to trap us in the house the night of the fire.”

Derek barked, “Uncle Peter! She’s dead now, and that was just as much my fault as hers. I should have known what she was.”

Danny smacked the back of his alpha’s head and said quietly, “You were just fifteen. Kate was in her late twenties and working as your teacher. She groomed you because you were young and vulnerable. She chose you because you were grieving, and frankly, that made you an easy target. She fucking raped you, Derek. In my opinion, she deserved the pack justice she received.”

Noah put two and two together, and he said, “Jesus kid. That’s why the French teacher disappeared? She’s in the system as a missing person.”

“Not missing,” Derek said, “As she never actually existed. Stiles found a pattern of her using fake IDs to get into jobs that gave her access to younger males of the pack she was targeting. She’s dead now, so he never did anything with it.”

Sam asked, “Do you know what he did with his research?”

Derek shook his head, “I don’t know. He mentioned the investigation in passing; he was trying to convince me that the fire wasn’t my fault.”

Peter agreed, “It wasn’t. Even Danny knows that, and he’s only been around the pack a week. I am curious how, though? I didn’t think Stiles would give you that sort of information.”

Danny laughed. “God no, that would piss Stiles off, and I am not stupid. I did my own research. I recognized Allison’s aunt as the missing substitute teacher and put two and two together. Anyway, so Scott’s now an alpha? How?”

Peter explained, “There are myths of wolves who rise to the rank of alpha without killing. They supposedly rise on the strength of character and whatnot. Which, honestly, does not fit the Fail Beta at all.”

Noah laughed. “No, not in any way, shape, or form. But, I think perhaps leave him and the druid to their plans. Between the lot of you, you know the supernatural better than most, and your pack has some of the smartest minds and researchers. You should be able to see their plans and counter them before they can be put into effect. In the meantime, we accept this as a decoy, and we concentrate on finding the darach.”

Derek looked at his uncle, and he asked, “Do you think Deaton’s after the Nemeton?”

The left hand thought about the lack of wards on the house, the fact that the hunters obviously had access to an ample supply of mountain ash, and his sister’s absolute belief that the territory was protected. He knew Deaton had been their emissary for a few years before the fire, and it was on his suggestion that the great tree was cut down. He had advised their alpha that the Nemeton was showing signs of corruption.

Peter sighed and said, “I think his actions before the fire are most definitely suspect. It was his recommendation that the Nemeton was cut down when he said it was showing signs of corruption.”

Sam offered, “I think it would be worth getting our magic users in to assess and perhaps cleanse the Nemeton before you leave. I have to ask, though, do you know where the Nemeton is?”

Derek shook his head, “My mother took the memory of its location from both myself and Uncle Peter. Again at the advice of Dr. Deaton. We both were trapped there for a few days when rogue hunters tried to kill Uncle Peter; I was only eight or nine at the time, I think. It’s also where Paige died.”

Sam frowned. “Shit. The Hale Alpha should always know the Nemeton’s location. It’s part of the binding. We definitely need to call in the team, if you agree, Derek.”

Derek nodded. “Definitely. I know our pack was created to protect the Nemeton, but it’s hard to protect something when you can’t find it. It would also be good to get some wards set up if possible too. They can be tied to both myself and Connor until we return.”

Peter said, “What about Fail Beta McCall? Is he going to assume that this is his territory when we leave?”

Connor nodded, “If what I saw when we got there is correct, he will, mostly due to the druid’s whispers. He doesn’t even know you’re leaving town, and the druid is already suggesting that he take over the territory. That’s why I’ll be here. I’ll be protecting your claim as your proxy.”

Peter agreed, “The sooner we can get the Nemeton cleansed, the better. I don’t trust the druid, and I wouldn’t put it past him to try and claim it for McCall while everyone is busy with the darach.”

“Lord Paddington has a team I can call in,” Sam explained, “A few druids, a witch, and an apprentice druid. They have a spark, but she’s busy with a case right now.”

Derek frowned. “That’s what Deaton called Stiles. Well, sort of, when we were dealing with the kanima at Jungle. We had a plan to trap it, well my pack did. Scott had a different plan, I think. It’s all a bit confusing, to be honest. But while they were in the vet clinic, I overheard Deaton calling Stiles a spark in his usual cryptic druid speak.”

Peter asked, “Do you remember the exact wording he used?”

The alpha thought back to that night and what he’d heard, “I think so. I remember he compared the ash to gunpowder. Yes, he told Stiles it was just a powder until a spark ignites it. He said Stiles needed to be that spark.”

Sam scrubbed his face with his hands, “Let me guess, he was able to ring the nightclub?”

Derek nodded. “He was surprised since he ran out of ash more than 50 feet before the circle was closed. He mentioned later that the fact that the line was completed was pure luck.”

Peter shook his head. “No, not luck. But it does make you wonder if he was being set up to fail.”

Sam agreed, “For the druid to give him a cryptic speech like that, then undersupply him with the ash he needed. It definitely feels like a setup.

Noah asked, “I thought you couldn’t be a magic user and a wolf? That’s what it said in the book Peter loaned me.”

Peter nodded. “Magic users usually reject the bite. Usually. Although, those that take the bite don’t usually kill the alpha that bit them while they are being bitten.”

Connor asked, “You think that would make a difference? The alpha spark overpowering his magic rather than the two warring and killing him?”

Peter shrugged, “Or merging. He didn’t seem to know about sparks before he left, and he probably wrote off Deaton’s cryptic speech as nonsense, or something to look at later without help from the druid.”

Noah agreed, “He seriously doesn’t trust Deaton. He’s warned me a few times in our Skype conversations not to trust him. Our morning conversations have actually helped explain a lot about this world. He said something about research spirals, and he warned me to stay off Google when looking into the supernatural.”

Peter laughed. “He mentioned a few of the rabbit holes he fell down while he was researching after Scott was bitten. He found a lot of fan fiction that scarred him for life, I think.”

Derek chuckled. “He did use it for some epic pranking, though. Like the time he convinced Scott that if he slept with Allison, he would knot her. That was hilarious; the look on his face was priceless. Apparently, he wouldn’t touch Allison for a few days until she yelled at him that knotting wasn’t a thing while they were standing in the middle of the ice rink. Stiles had been quite graceful on his skates up to that point. He laughed so hard he fell over and could barely breathe. Allison was so pissed at him.”

Noah smiled. “It sounds like he’s still living up to his childhood nickname then.” At the confused look from everyone but Danny, he clarified, “He used to go by Mischief when he couldn’t say his own name.”

Derek nodded, “Then he really is living up to his nickname. Ok, so what’s on our list before we leave? We plan to leave a few days before the full moon.” He hadn’t told anyone, but he wanted to spend the full moon in London with the rest of his pack.

Peter listed, “Get the permits for the house sorted so the rebuilding can start. Cleanse and claim the Nemeton. I guess we don’t need to talk to Alpha Satomi about Isaac. Still, it would be worth warning her and Alpha Richardson that we are leaving Alpha James as our proxy as territory alpha. Was Christopher willing to work with you as the area hunter liaison?”

Connor nodded, “He was. Was firm that I would be working with him, and only him, as the liaison. Allison still hasn’t admitted to her culpability in assisting her grandfather in the capture and torture of Hale Pack members. Even if Allison is officially appointed to the position of Argent Matriarch, the local pack would not willing to work with her until she apologizes.”

Sam stood. “Right, I need to go make some calls. I want the magic users here before Deaton can enact whatever plan he has. I believe Lord Paddington is sending his magic users over, so it may just be a matter of waiting for them to arrive. Can someone keep Scott busy and distracted?”

Danny smirked. “That will be easy. I was promoted to captain of the lacrosse team after Jackson left. I think maybe we need a few practices.”

Noah offered, “I like that idea, Danny, but I have something that might work better. Something he can’t make an excuse to get out of. Sam, why don’t you pull Scott in for questioning over his presence at the crime scene? You did order him to stay away. You could also pull Deaton in for questioning in what he saw as a victim.”

Sam nodded, and with a smirk, said, “I think he needs a guard. What do you think, Alpha James, do you feel like guarding a deceptive druid?”

Connor asked, “Are we sure he’s not the darach? His actions are certainly borderline.”

Sam nodded, “Yeah, I already checked him out. He has an alibi in his clinic for three of the deaths. There are a couple of teachers at the school we are still investigating. There are also a few new residents that have moved to Beacon County in the last year that we are also looking into.” He checked his watch and saw it was pretty late, so he asked, “Do you need a ride home, Danny?”

Danny shook his head, “It’s ok. We are Skyping London in a few hours, so my parents said I could stay here in the spare room. Thanks for the offer, though.”


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HarleyJQuin

She/Her, geek. Lego Photographer exploring a different creative medium.

2 Comments:

  1. A great chapter.
    It is so good to have support for Stiles, his father and the pack and to have people working together to catch the serial killer.

  2. Exciting story.

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