Title: You Always Return Home
Series: We Are All Works In Progress 3
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Genre: Drama, Established Relationship, Paranormal/Supernatural, Shifters, Slash
Relationship(s): Stiles Stilinski/Jackson Whittemore
Content Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Violence – Graphic, Canon Hunter Racism, Canon Hunter Hate Crimes, Discussion-Murder, Discussion-Other Trigger Topics, Discussion-Rape, Discussion-Torture, Violence-Canon-Level, Violence-Graphic, Explicit Sex
Author Notes: A wonderful thank you to my alpha readers VMures and Starkindler and to my beta ScarlsLikeVelvet, you all made my story better than it was! And a HUGE shoutout to my artist Twigen! Twigen made me such wonderful art. I love it so very much.
Beta: Alpha: VMures & Starkindler Beta: ScarsLikeVelvet
Word Count: 62,870
Summary: Beacon Hills. The home that Stiles hadn’t been to in a very long time. Now Beacon Hills is calling to him and he’s got to try and blend his new family and his old.
Title: You Always Return Home
Series: We Are All Works In Progress 3
Warnings: Graphic Depictions Of Violence
Fandom(s): Teen Wolf
Relationships: Stiles Stilinski/Jackson Whittemore, Kira Yukimura/Maia Deering (OFC), Janice Stone (OFC)/Samuel Snyder (OMC), Joseph Stone (OMC)/Samuel Snyder (OMC)
Characters: Stiles Stilinski, Noah Stilinski, Celeste Gajos (OC), Kaïs Gajos (OC),
Tags: Alternate Universe, Stiles Leaves Beacon Hills, Canon Hunter Racism, Canon Hunter Hate Crimes, Drama, Paranormal/Supernatural, Shifters, Established Relationship
Summary: Beacon Hills. The home that Stiles hadn’t been to in a very long time. Now Beacon Hills is calling to him and he’s got to try and blend his new family and his old.
Word Count: 62,871
Alpha: VMures & Starkindler
Stiles grabbed the dagger from where it had fallen when he had been bum-rushed by the man who could have made a career in football as a linebacker. He wiped at the blood that was dripping from his nose from where he had been punched. He hadn’t let that punch dissuade him. He had given as good as he got. He looked around to see if he could figure out where his team was. He couldn’t see any of them, but then again, he didn’t expect to.
The graveyard they were in was massive, and it was magically protected from mundanes finding it. It was a massive bit of land just on the far edge of the city that was magically hidden to make sure no one walked on it. The graveyard was full of Supernaturals who had died in the city. Every way of interring the dead was shown, and Stiles hated that the Darach had come here to finish out the stupid ritual he was trying. Stiles knew that part of this went all the way back to Beacon Hills, and it stunk of people talking out of turn. Julia Baccari’s five-fold sacrifices that she had tried were echoing around the world. No one except those who were there for the deaths knew anything about it, and Stiles knew that Adam and his team weren’t talking about it. So that meant someone else was.
Adam had been out of Beacon Hills for two years now. The Hale Pack held its territory and called in help when needed. Even the last year before Adam had finally stopped calling Beacon Hills home, his team moved around and was gone more than he was there. A few other teams had been moving around the area and called to check on Derek and the rest of the pack, and everything was good.
Stiles’ father was working less, which was the best thing in the world. There weren’t nearly as many issues with the Nemeton being mostly quiet. It was a good place to live again. Even with the increase in people living in the area, the town of thirty thousand had jumped up nearly five thousand people in the past five years. The Hale properties opening up and being rented to businesses and just the overall new money to the area made it a place to live again. Beacon City was still faring well, and the noise about having the county seat moved there had all but stopped in the near-decade since Stiles had left.
“Who let the babies out to play?” Jackson yelled from somewhere.
That meant that twins had arrived on the scene finally. They were dealing with other issues and spells put off by the Darach to distract them from going after him. The twins were deadly as hell. They were the youngest, but that wasn’t why Jackson was calling them babies. They were born on leap day, and as Jackson put it, it meant they were only six and a half instead of the twenty-six they actually were.
“Jackson, they will stab you again if you don’t shut up!” Maia yelled.
Stiles listened to where they were yelling from and moved in the middle of that path. He was the one that would have to confront the Darach and take him out. The rest of the team was working on the zombies that were coming after them. Thankfully, enough watching movies and shows with them had all of them knowing to go for the brains. It wasn’t like it killed the zombie, but that was where the spell was located that reanimated the corpses and bones, and the blade in the head dispelled it. It wasn’t their first brush with zombies. Thankfully a coven of witches was on hand to take care of the bodies when they were done. The coven would put them where they belonged and bless them to never be animated that way again. The spell only worked on ones who had already been animated that way, or the whole of New Orleans would have the graveyards taken care of that way. Stiles wasn’t above doing it himself, but it was a lot of work, and the coven were the ones who had tipped the team off that something was up. They hadn’t found the Darach, but they had found the traces of him all over in their ritual areas.
“Eyes on main!” Kira yelled from the far east side of the graveyard.
Stiles drew the blade from his arm that he would have to use to kill the smug bastard trying to become lord of New Orleans. Stiles wasn’t for lords much at all. He had met a few in France and the rest of Europe in his time. Most of them were pompous assholes who had too much money.
The Darach was kneeling at a grave with two fresh bodies over it. The last two healers. Stiles wondered who they were and what they did. The word had already spread to the doctors, nurses, general hospital staff, vets, and anyone that Stiles would categorize as a healer and warned them. No one should have been caught with their pants down as it were. Unless these two weren’t from in town. It was fucking Mardi Gras, which meant that it was a hive of people from all over. For all, he knew they were people who thought of themselves as healers.
Stiles wiggled his fingers before brushing over his knuckles, and the invisible dagger tattoos there appeared in his hand, and he gripped them just right to throw at the back of the Darach. One went right for the head and the other his heart. Neither of them connected and were, in fact, thrown away from the Darach. A few seconds later, they were back on his hand, tattoos warming up to tell him that. It had done what Stiles wanted, though, which was to distract the Darach enough that he stood up.
“Ah, the hunter,” the Darach said.
“Yeah, the hunter. Really, that’s all you got?” Stiles asked. He loosened his grip on his sword and waited to see what the Darach was going to do.
The Darach grinned at him before raising his hands, and three skeletons burst out from mausoleums to the sides of him.
Stiles glared at the Darach before dropping his sword. As soon as it connected to the ground, it was gone. The Darach’s eyes widened in shock at that. He looked a little worried as Stiles touched his knuckles again. Three daggers appeared this time, and Stiles threw all three, aiming for the heads. Each of them sunk inside the skulls with ease, and then as the bones dropped into massless piles, the blades disappeared.
“Gajos,” the Darach said.
“Ah, so my name is known by you.” Stiles saw Jackson and Sam getting into place behind the Darach to grab him and hold him so that Stiles could do what he needed to do. This guy was already so high on death magic there was no way to save him, which sucked. Stiles didn’t like killing. It was the last resort, but sometimes it was needed. If he didn’t kill this guy today, there were two ways that it could go. The first was that the guy would escape and kill more and more people to keep on seeking that high that killing gave him and the magic that it filled him with. Or the second was that he would slowly die even if his body’s needs were met. He would die a little more every day he didn’t get to kill. Death magic wasn’t to be undertaken lightly, and this guy had been doing it so long his eyes were black. Without a death, his magic would slowly kill him, and it would be torture.
“You are not supposed to be here. You are supposed to be dead,” the Darach said.
“Ah, so that was you? Poison really? That’s a weak game,” Stiles said. He nodded at Jackson and then Sam.
“No one sees poison coming in this day and age,” the Darach said.
“You aren’t even the first to try and kill me that way. I was poisoned three times during college by assholes when I was on a hunt. You aren’t even the first to try and poison me with that poison. Your biggest issue was that you didn’t wait around to make sure that it worked. I’m immune to that one, actually. I’m immune to many of them with the spells I have on my body. It makes life a lot easier. So I knew I had been poisoned as soon as my body started to burn it off. You were hell and gone.” Stiles grinned. “Only cowards run away before seeing their kill dead. Are you a coward?”
The Darach raised his hands and was about to do something when he was grabbed. Jackson had a good hold before Sam stepped up and did the same. Stiles stepped up and brushed over the mark that would allow him to grab his sword. He shoved it fully into the Darach’s head. It went in with a crunch, and then it was sliding in until it hit the back of the skull. Magic released from the body, knocking all three of them back from the body. It fell with no one holding it up. A scream echoed around the area; the Banshee in the local coven knew of the death. The locals knew it was safe now.
“Sound off,” Stiles yelled as he stood up and brushed off his clothes. His sword disappeared from the body, and it was going to be hard to cover up the manner of death, but hopefully, no one stepped forward to claim the body. He hoped that the deeds done would keep people away.
“2,” Jackson said.
“3,” Maia said.
“4,” Janice said.
“5,” Joe called out from far away.
“6,” Sam said.
A bark from the far side told Stiles that Princess was still guarding the main entrance to make sure no one drunk and in the parade wandered in. Stiles whistled, and Princess barked again. The bond between them told Stiles that she was headed toward him.
“The locals will be happy to have this fucker dead,” Jackson said.
Stiles nodded his head. Jackson crouched down, closed the man’s eyes, and then laid his hands over his chest. Despite the damage done and the deaths, Jackson was respectful of the body and gave it a proper rest. Sam laid his hand on the crossed wrists before he stood up.
“We sure he was working alone?” Sam asked.
“Yes, this kind of spell only lends to one person, not more than one,” Stiles answered. He looked at Jackson, who was not bleeding anymore despite the bloody clothes.
“So this was fourteen and fifteen, right?” Maia asked as she stepped up to where the two new bodies were.
“Yes. Which means that there was a body out there somewhere that was never found along the paths. This was the end game. He was nearly there to the end of the spell by the magic that was thrown off of him.”
“I felt it,” Janice said.
Stiles nearly fell over when Princess ran into the back of his legs. He was used to her barreling into him like that, though, so he didn’t go down. He reached behind as he crouched down, pulled Princess around to the front, and hugged her. She licked at his face and scented him. She was far smarter than many dogs in the world, and it had happened more than once that someone thought she was a Shifter of some kind since she understood his words and did what he told her to. He snagged her collar when she tried to move over to sniff at the freshest dead body. She sneezed at the whiff she could get.
“Yeah, death magic makes me wanna sneeze as well.”
“Well, we are all ready to go,” Jackson said.
“Good. Then let’s go get that drink that we were trying to get yesterday. I mean, it’s still technically the twins’ birthday, right?” Stiles asked.
“Asshole,” Janice said.
“Hey, we celebrate from the start of the day before to the end of the day after since you don’t actually have a day dedicated to your birth. I’ll even keep Jackson from calling you any derogatory term in response to the six birthdays you have actually had,” Stiles said.
“How?” Sam asked.
The team laughed at that.
“By withholding my mouth for a week, you all know he’s a sucker for me on my knees in front of him.” Stiles winked at Jackson as the rest of the team groaned. Sam walked over to where the twins were and checked in with each of them. That relationship was still new as hell. Stiles was more than happy with it, though, as the twins were lucky to find someone like Sam who didn’t mind that they were stronger friends than he and them would ever be. Sam was their lover first and their friend second. Other people would resent that. Not Sam, though most of what was because of Brad and Brandy. They were nowhere near as close as Janice and Joe, but they were close enough, and Sam had never had issues with their friendship being more important than their friendship with him.
“Let’s go and get that drink,” Sam said.
“Wait, real zombies?” Celeste asked. “Again?”
“I swear that I have fought more of them here than I have ever heard of anywhere else. Did you find the last body?”
“Yes, I used the data that Kira gave me, and we were able to find it at the third spot she picked. Do you know how hard it is to stumble on a body like that? It’s all solved, and the FBI has been made aware.”
“How is Rafe?” Stiles asked. Rafe hadn’t been through New Orleans in over two years, so Stiles hadn’t got to see him. He didn’t have a reason to call him, so he didn’t.
“He’s keeping close to San Francisco. Scott joined the Hale Pack again six months ago,” Celeste said. She leaned forward on the screen like she was waiting for him to blow up at that.
“Why do you look like that?” Stiles asked.
“You didn’t…get upset.”
“He’s obviously changed, or Derek and Peter would never have let him back,” Stiles said. He didn’t hate Scott, not anymore. He didn’t hate anyone in Beacon Hills.
Jackson had gone back there a few times to visit Danny, who had moved back after he had gotten out of college. No one knew what Jackson did for a living, and he had gotten the approval needed to come back home like that. As Derek had put it, Beacon Hills was his home, and as long as he didn’t do something stupid, Derek didn’t care that he came to visit. Danny was glad of it as he missed Jackson. Danny didn’t like New Orleans, or he would have ended up here. He worked from home with his own bit of business that Celeste had actually gotten him set up with. He did online security but also a little hacking on the side.
Gajos Security Specialists had lost their best hacker two years before on a mission. It had made jobs a little harder when dealing with normal humans who needed protection. Danny made bank working for Celeste’s clients who didn’t want to go with her for their online security and the business that Celeste had him doing for her. Danny was thankfully okay with getting his money like that. It made it better since that meant that Danny and Jackson could talk about everything. Danny getting drunk and calling about his lack of love life was something that Stiles was well used to. Danny commented that with Jackson and Stiles leaving Beacon Hills, they took all the smart and hot with them.
Settling into Beacon Hills didn’t fill Stiles with the feeling of anger like it used to. His father did want him home, and Jackson would like to go home. There might not have been many people that Jackson cared about in Beacon Hills, but he grew up there. Stiles would like to settle there as well, at least as much as a team could settle. They could easily take the northern half of the state as their area to cover, slipping into other closer states as needed to help other teams.
“Yet, you also don’t seem shocked that Scott is back at all.”
“Ah, well. Dad thought he closed Skype the other month, but he had just minimized it. I was on a call with someone else on my phone, and when I came back, he was talking to Peter about it. Dad still hates his guts. So I listened to him bitch about it. He’s working for Deaton, who is supposed to be fixed. I don’t know if I trust that.”
“He and Marin were both cleared of the dark magic that had taken root in them, and they are fine. They are regularly checked, but there is nothing that they have done that is bad. I promise you this, Stiles.”
“I know. I know. I just…I don’t trust Deaton, and unless I am around him a long while, I don’t think that will change.”
“Are you thinking about my offer?” Celeste asked.
“I kind of am. The team is restless here. New Orleans is more than enough for needing a full-time team, but I think my guys want to move around more. We’ve been around the state, but not enough, I think.”
“Then Beacon Hills? The team who wanders around there isn’t happy with the cold. I bet they would be willing to swap with you when you want.” Celeste smiled at him. She looked like a kid in the candy aisle and was told to pick up what she wanted.
“Let me talk to the team. We can see about it. Everyone is sleeping off the last day of Mardi Gras right now, so no one will be doing a thing unless someone attacks. The coven is working on interring the dead again. I really wish that I could figure out a spell to cast that would protect the dead from being used like that.”
“Armin is moving through the south from last I heard, so don’t be shocked if he has already made his way to New Orleans. He’ll be randy as hell, so don’t let Jackson kill him.”
“Jackson won’t kill him, but he might threaten to take his balls off.”
“And how is that different?” Celeste asked.
“Armin is a Vampire; removing his balls won’t kill him. He’ll be fine, don’t worry about him. If he does come, well, he can have some fun. I know a few guys who are looking for a good time, and the high from drinking from makes for good sex.”
Stiles heard the growl behind him, and he looked back to see Jackson coming into the kitchen in nothing but his boxers. Stiles grinned at the way that Jackson flipped him off as he moved close. Jackson pressed a kiss to Stiles’ head and then went to the coffee pot. He got it going and then started the water kettle after filling it. He grabbed a few canisters of tea down and then began to make his cup of coffee. The coffee was coming out in a nice stream, and Stiles was pretty sure Jackson would drink almost the entire pot before anyone else got down to the kitchen. It was okay since Maia was the only other one who drank coffee in the morning like this.
There was only a short time until the rest of the team came down. Kira and Maia would be down last, with Sam, Janice, and Joe coming down within the next twenty minutes. Stiles looked at Celeste and saw that she looked at him with a smile on her face. It was close to the smile that Stiles was used to seeing on his mother’s face. Seeing Celeste meant that he kept some memories of his mother more alive inside of him. He laughed as she stuck her tongue out at him.
“I’ll let you go; you can talk to them and then talk to me.”
“Of course, we will be flying out to meet with you in a week and a half. We will go through our standard upkeep tests. I’ll tell you the answer then,” Stiles said.
“I look forward to that,” Celeste said. She reached out, and then she disappeared.
“Answer to what?”
“The upper California team wants out of California, at least the upper part. She thinks they would do well here. She’s offering Beacon Hills.”
“Really? You want that?” Jackson asked. He leaned against the counter and sipped at his cup of coffee. He raised an eyebrow when Stiles stood up.
Stiles grabbed a cup, poured water into it, and grabbed his normal tea. He dropped the bag in and turned over the sand timer on the counter. He backed up to rest against the fridge to look at Jackson while Jackson thought about it.
“I don’t hate the sound of it as much as I used to. Therapy and a lot of time here, making a home here has made me kind of miss my real home. I’ve been gone over a decade, and I still call it home in my head. Sammy would love to go home. The twins don’t care where we settle. Kira just wants to stay with the pack. She doesn’t care at all.”
“No, she doesn’t. You know my thoughts on it, but if you aren’t ready to go to stay, we don’t have to. We can see about relieving the California team for a small stretch and don’t have to commit. We’ve been here a long time. Most teams swap out after two years. I know that the twins have been having a lot of fun learning about themselves, and Kira has grown a lot, but I think it might be time.”
“That’s what I was thinking as well. So, we can talk to the team later about it. But first, we are going out for breakfast, so wake the troops,” Stiles said. He grabbed his tea just after the sand timer ran out and then grabbed the bag to throw it away. He walked out of the kitchen and out into the rest of the house. He grabbed the remote for the radio and turned it on. A pulsing beat of music started up, and Stiles laughed as he heard at least one thump upstairs. He laughed as he heard cursing.
Sometimes it paid to be an asshole.
Stiles tipped his head up to look at the stars. It was cold and crisp outside, but he enjoyed himself as he walked along the edge of a swamp. There was not much to do now since they were so close to heading to New York for their yearly test. He was looking forward to it as he always did. His team never failed.
The wind picked up, and Stiles smelled it on the air, Vampire who had just taken in blood. The scent of lust and blood was distinct. It was something that Stiles knew well enough that even his nose could smell it.
“Hello, Armin, what are you doing here?” Stiles asked. He tipped his head down to look at Armin, who was smirking at him.
“I came with a warning for you, Miec,” Armin said.
“A warning for me?” Stiles asked.
Armin was a giant kitten who would rather run away than fight, so him giving anyone a warning of any kind made Stiles laugh.
“I just came from San Francisco, and there is talk of darkness creeping from Beacon Hills. The portents talk of unspeakable evil that is going to come to there.”
“I see, and you think that I’ll care about a place called Beacon Hills because?” Stiles asked.
Armin slipped forward. He got close enough that the hairs on the back of Stiles’ neck stood up, and then Armin got even closer. Despite him being a kitten, Armin could be deadly. Armin’s lips were near Stiles’ ear when he spoke.
“I know the blood, Mieczysław Gajos, and I know that there is someone in Beacon Hills who is related to you. I have tasted his blood on the air. Your father, I assume. Claudia Gajos’ child came from someone else; you were raised somewhere else before appearing on the scene. I did not look to find out who it was and when I tasted the blood, I got the hell out of there. I knew that Beacon Hills held more secrets than just how the Hales have risen so high again. The alpha is something to look at, and I would have liked a ride on his cock, but he’s a little stingy with it. After there, I went to San Francisco, and that’s where I heard it from a drunk Druid. I made my way here as slow as I could get away with, just in case someone was following me.”
“I see. And what do you want for this information?” Stiles asked.
“Nothing. You have saved my bacon more than once over the last five years when I piss off a priest or priestess of some kind. I’ll stay out of New Orleans until I have a new person trained to deal with me. Give my aunt your love, and remember that it’s those outside of Beacon Hills who are foretelling this.”
Armin backed up and jumped up to take off as he turned into a bat. Stiles was still shocked about that. The science in his head believed it impossible, while the part of him steeped in magic saw it as beautiful. He wasn’t sure which side of him was winning at the moment.
Stiles pulled his cell phone out and looked at the time. He dialed the first number he thought of.
“Mischief, it’s after midnight your time.”
“Yeah, I know. Armin was just here. He said that there is a darkness coming from Beacon Hills, and it will worsen. What have you heard?”
“Argent called and told me the same thing two days ago. I’m heading there to get information from him before heading out. He doesn’t trust the other team Celeste has in the area; one of the hunters hates him. Anyway, Allison wants this kept quiet until we figure out if things are as dire as they seem. I have not got a chance to even warn Celeste yet. What do you think?”
“Armin seemed scared.” Stiles heard a noise, so he turned around and found that it was just his team. Their simple time between the Darach and the fitness trial had not been as easy as he hoped. “Ah, my team is done with their swamp wanderings.”
“A Priestess lost something and couldn’t find it, only my magic was fucking up them being able to find it, so I was relegated to looking at the stars.”
“Armin was here,” Jackson growled as he stalked up to Stiles, looking him over for blood.
“Yes, he gave me a warning, and then he left. He flew away. Did you find it?” Stiles asked.
“Yes, and it looks like the clasp broke. So I’ll take it to her and collect our fee,” Kira said. She held up the amulet. It looked exactly like the image that they had been shown.
There was something wrong, though. Stiles shoved his phone at Jackson and walked over to Kira. He held out his hand, and she dropped it into it. As soon as it landed, it turned to mush in his hand and dropped away. “Well, that’s not good.”
“What the hell does that mean?” Jackson asked.
“It means that someone stole it from her when she was out here with whoever she was with. Let’s go. We are going to be up all night.” Stiles looked at his phone, and Jackson turned it to speakerphone. “Adam, tell Auntie that we are leaving early. We will close this case and catch the fastest flight to New York City and get our tests out of the way. If darkness is headed for Beacon Hills, it will be me that will take it on.”
“So we are heading home?” Sam asked.
“Yes, at some point soon, we will head home, and depending on how that goes, we can make the decision as a team to stay or come back here.”
Stiles looked at his team, and they all nodded their heads. He took his phone from Jackson and turned it off speakerphone. “If the darkness is anything like what I fear it could be, it’s not going to be good. If you have files, send me anything you feel safe transmitting that way. I’ll look at it and make a decision.”
“Will do. Make sure that your team is prepared to head there. It’s not gonna be a walk in the park to deal with you at home and not call you Stiles.”
“No one has slipped up in public in a long time. We are ready.”
Darkness in Beacon Hills meant his father was at risk. Stiles couldn’t allow that. He wouldn’t. Beacon Hills was his home, and he would protect it.
The ground was cold and hard as Stiles was thrown onto it again. He looked up at Jackson and glared before he moved, sweeping his legs around to help push himself up. He rushed at Jackson after he was on his feet again, knowing that all he was doing was wearing himself out. The trials were over. His team was approved for another year traveling to fight with supernatural beings. This wasn’t a fight to train; this was a fight to just get Stiles as tired as possible. He hadn’t slept well the night before, even after the trials had been over. He hoped that beating the shit out of Jackson would wear him out enough to where he was able to sleep. Jackson would be all for cuddling him while he slept, if anything, just to make sure that Stiles didn’t get up and go wandering.
Jackson spun Stiles around, pressing him face-first into the wall. Jackson then pressed in close, letting Stiles feel his erection. That was the other reason that Stiles had wanted to do this. It was rare when they spared to release tension that they didn’t end up fucking. This room was locked, and no one would unlock it, even in jest. Too many on their team had thought it funny only to catch them mid-sex. Which never worked out well for them.
“Put your hands on the wall and don’t move,” Jackson said as he grabbed Stiles’ hand and pushed them up the wall to press them into the padding.
Stiles nodded his head, words beyond him at the moment. Jackson stepped back, but Stiles closed his eyes. He didn’t need to see him to figure out what he was doing. There was the rustle of clothes because Jackson didn’t like to shred his own clothes, but he would shred Stiles’. Hands on his hips had Stiles shuddering as he could feel the claws. Jackson’s control was perfect, especially when it came to choosing between Kanima or Werewolf or some kind of hybrid of the two. It made it a hell of a lot of fun when they played like Stiles had full control of Kanima Jackson when they were in the field. While the myth of the Kanima talked of revenge and justice, no one would use a Kanima to get either were actually good people. That allowed Stiles to get closer to enemies than they would allow if they knew what Stiles was really like. If they knew who he was. Many people in the world didn’t care about the Gajos family and who the heir was. No one cared when Robbie was the heir, even though he didn’t want that burden, and no one cared when Stiles stepped up to fill that.
The claws moved, slicing through Stiles’ workout shorts just enough to make them give and fall down. Jackson used his foot to get the shorts off of Stiles, taking care not to trip Stiles as he lifted his feet to do it. As soon as Jackson was done getting his lower half-naked, there were human fingers back at his cheeks, spreading them and then pressing inside of him. He groaned as Jackson slicked him up without finesse before the fingers were gone, and then Jackson’s cock was pressing into him.
“Fuck,” Stiles said when Jackson was fully inside of him. He clawed at the padding on the wall and tried to find purchase, but he couldn’t. Jackson grabbed his hands and stretched them up even higher before moving enough to hold both Stiles’ hands with one of his fingers a tight band across his wrists. He groaned as Jackson started to fuck him hard and fast. He didn’t even try and hold back his cries as Jackson fucked him just right. Later they could make love, Stiles on top and taking Jackson apart with his cock, but this was just what Stiles needed. There was only one way to make it better, and Stiles knew that he would be feeling that later.
There was only the slap of skin on skin that filled the room. The scent of sweat and sex was filling Stiles’ nose, and he enjoyed that scent. It wasn’t nasty yet, and it wouldn’t get that way. There were showers and a locker room in the middle of the four training rooms that made up this basement area. There was a hallway out of the locker room toward the elevator.
Jackson pulled out, and Stiles didn’t even try and hold back the whine that he let out. “Ride me.”
“Fuck yes,” Stiles said. He turned around, twisting Jackson’s hands a little before Jackson finally let go. He shoved at Jackson’s chest and waited for him to step back. There was padding on the floor where they were at the moment, a contrast to the place they had been fighting at on the far side of the room. Jackson grinned, and when Stiles got close again and shoved, Jackson went over onto his back. He was flat on his back when Stiles started to straddle him. Stiles looked around for the lube that Jackson had been using; he saw it and called it to his hand with the rune on it. It made sex so much easier. Stiles slicked up his hand and then Jackson’s cock, taking his time to tease.
Jackson’s hands curled, and claws popped out before Stiles let go of his cock and then moved up to where he could sink down. Stiles closed his eyes as he did it. It felt so good. The new angle had Stiles stretching a little more, and he loved it. He loved the feel of Jackson inside of him just as much as he loved being inside of Jackson. There was no keeping track of who topped at this point and who topped at another. It was just going with the flow on what felt better at the moment.
“Move,” Jackson growled once Stiles had fully settled himself on Jackson’s hips.
Stiles opened his eyes and looked down at Jackson. He knew that he would be put on his knees like he wanted if he teased Jackson. They were both brats, and sex like this was a battle of domination, Stiles teasing until Jackson hit a point where he took what they both wanted. Stiles raised up just a little and started to roll his hips, giving Jackson movement without a lot of friction on his cock. It felt good inside of Stiles, though. Jackson started to rock his hips a little, but Stiles never let him get too deep in him.
“You little shit,” Jackson said. He reared up, his hands closing over Stiles’ hips, claws out, and then he was moving them. He put Stiles on his knees then pressed his neck down. It wasn’t but a few seconds later that Jackson was pressing inside of him, hand dropping to where it was pushing into the space between Stiles’ shoulder blades and holding him down. Jackson began to fuck him, hard and fast. Stiles was pinned where he was, and he didn’t want to escape from it. His body jerked with each thrust from his very horny mate, and Stiles just took it.
Jackson came first, his cock pressing inside of Stiles as far as he could get it before he wrapped his arm under Stiles’ chest. He rolled them to their sides, still inside Stiles, before reaching down and jerking Stiles’ cock. It only took a few pulls for Stiles to come all over the mat. The cleaning staff was going to hate this as this was the second mat they had ruined with claws since they had been there. Jackson nuzzled at Stiles’ neck, his fangs ghosting over his skin next.
They were mates in all ways except for the actual having Jackson claim him. Stiles was ready for it, but Jackson wasn’t. Stiles knew that Jackson would do it when he was ready. He just wasn’t, and Stiles knew it wasn’t on him, but as much as Jackson had grown and changed, there were parts of him that expected Stiles to leave him. Jackson knew that his birth parents hadn’t left him of their own accord; they wanted him, they loved him, but they had died, but then the Whittemore’s abandoning him when they had moved to London, and he had gone to college, it just made him hesitant.
“We should move,” Stiles said a few minutes later.
“In a few,” Jackson said.
“Whenever you are ready, love,” Stiles said. He closed his eyes and let himself doze. His body wasn’t thrumming anymore. He was calm, and he was glad of it. Jackson did know the best way to take Stiles down. It was what made them perfect for each other.
Stiles slipped his ring onto his finger; Celeste had a few new recruits in the house that she didn’t want to see his face just yet. Stiles looked at his face in the mirror, he had become used to seeing either of his faces over the years but the first time seeing either this face or the other was a little bit of a shock. He looked at his hair and ruffled it a little to give it a messy look before he left the bathroom. Jackson was already gone; he was out playing with Princess and the other dogs on the grounds. It was Jackson’s favorite part of being here. Jackson was happy with just one dog that they had to take care of, but he loved being around animals that were not scared of him.
The team and he stayed in Stiles’ area of the family wing. It was that way when Robbie, Helena, and Adam were home now that Stiles wasn’t living there. When Stiles lived there and not in the know, the teams stayed far away from that area.
Stiles entered the kitchen, hungry and smelling Kyle’s food made him want to stuff his face. He had already worked up an appetite sparring with Kira with swords that morning before the sun was up on the outside grounds. He walked to the coffee pot to grab a cup from the rack beside it, and then he slipped to the sink where the water carafe was. He poured in water before looking at the boxes of tea. It wasn’t nearly as well-stocked as the house in New Orleans was.
“We have someone coming that has Celeste a little upset,” Kyle said as he slipped something up beside Stiles.
Stiles looked at the plate with biscuits and gravy and hash browns on it. His stomach growled. “Thanks. I’ll keep my nose clean today.”
Kyle laughed and walked back to the stove. Stiles saw that he had just taken the biscuits out of the oven as they weren’t in the basket that would be dropped on the table. That explained why Kyle was being nice and feeding Stiles that way. Stiles didn’t care about being nice to Kyle, though, as the man hated being fawned over for his food, despite his ego.
“How was the Big Easy?” Kyle asked as he dropped down into a seat across from Stiles at the island. He reached out for the salt and put some on his potatoes.
“Fun. I mean, how can it not be but damn, it attracts the weird ones. Did you hear about the Chupacabra who only drank Faerie’s blood? That fucker was hard to catch.”
“Faerie blood is magic; what the hell happened with that? I mean, Vampires don’t even drink the Fae’s blood even if they are dying and there is no other blood around. And those swamp Fae in NOLA are like fucking crazy.”
“Which is why it was hard as hell to catch. They were trying to catch it on their own and failing. It was horrible as fucking hell. One of the Fae gave up enough blood to me that I could track it that way. Then I had to give the amulet it was in back. It was okay; no one needs that kind of power.”
“I bet. The first round of food is done; I’m waiting for the late risers or the training assholes to get done. Lunch is make your own. I’ve got veggies, fruits, and bread cut up and ready. Meats and cheeses are in the fridge.”
“Sounds great. Your smoked meats are fucking awesome. I keep telling Auntie that I’m going to steal you when I finally settle down into my area,” Stiles said.
“And I told her last time one of her recruits went off on me that I would go with you the next time you asked.”
Stiles laughed. Kyle would never leave New York City for a long period, and he would never move away permanently. There was the joke that he would die if he left the state for longer than a month. He wasn’t made to fight, but he protected those he was loyal to. He was a failsafe if the house was ever taken over.
“Well, I would welcome you with us for our next job, but you might end up killing a lot of people,” Stiles said.
The back door opened, and Stiles turned to look to see that it was Jackson and Adam. Both were a little rough around the edges but not nearly dirty enough that Kyle was going to throw them out, which had happened more than once. Princess rushed between their legs and made her way right to Stiles, leaning against him. He reached down and ruffled her fur before digging into his food again. Adam and Jackson got their food and then settled down at the island, Adam right beside Kyle and Jackson beside Stiles on the other side from where Princess was.
“So what’s got everyone’s panties in a bunch?” Jackson asked.
“Someone is coming for a visit, and she doesn’t like it.”
“Ah,” Jackson said. Rolling his eyes at Kyle, who laughed.
The intercom crackled, and all four of them looked at it.
“Mieczysław, as soon as you are done eating, you need to come up to my office. Jax, stay the hell away from any official areas.”
Stiles raised an eyebrow at his aunt’s words. It was rare that she had someone she didn’t want to see Jackson when they were there. That meant it was someone who would know him, and they didn’t want them knowing about his affiliation to Gajos. Stiles touched his ring, making sure it was there. Stiles started to eat faster.
“Here,” Adam said. He stood up and went to the fridge, and grabbed one of the glasses of juice in there. He handed it over. Stiles popped the lid and used it to wash down his bites. His tea was still too hot. He pulled the teabag when he was done eating. Jackson stood up and grabbed one of the travel mugs on a rack for quick grabbing. He dumped tea over while Stiles took care of his plate.
“I’ll go see what’s up. Adam, make sure Jackson knows the paths that will keep him safe.” Stiles pressed a kiss to Jackson’s cheek, but Jackson pulled him back in for a proper kiss.
Stiles laughed and darted away when Jackson took a breath. Jackson smiled at him, and then Stiles was leaving the room. The mansion’s main entryway had a small group of people in there. Stiles turned to look at them instead of going up the stairs. He stopped when he saw who was there. It was Cora Hale, and Stiles didn’t like that. Cora Hale was firmly entrenched in the Hale Pack in Beacon Hills. For her to be here, that wasn’t good.
“May I help you?” Stiles asked.
“Thank you, no,” Cora said. She looked Stiles up and down and then dismissed him.
Stiles wasn’t shocked at that. The Hale Pack were insular, not nearly as bad as the pack had been under Derek’s mother, but they didn’t engage outside of the packs closest to them and the people of Beacon Hills. The people in Beacon Hills were happy to have the Hales back and showing that they cared about the town. Peter made sure that no hunter would ever go after the Hales like the Argents had.
“Well, then I guess I will head up and talk to my aunt,” Stiles said.
“Your aunt?” one of the others asked.
“Who are you?” Stiles asked.
“Who am I?” the man asked.
“I would watch your mouth,” Helena said as she entered the room. Behind her was Robbie.
It wasn’t good. Other than family events, the whole of the family hadn’t been together like that in a while. For them to be here along with Cora Hale, that wasn’t good.
“And who are you?”
“Liam, shut your mouth,” Cora whispered out of the corner of her mouth.
“My name, Liam, is Mieczysław Gajos, Heir of Gajos; who are you?”
Liam swallowed, and he looked scared.
“You are in a city that is not under your control, in a house that is not yours, and you disrespect someone who asks you a question? Why was he brought with you, Hale?” Stiles looked at Cora.
“He’s a good fighter, one of the best. He works with Allison and is part of her hunting team. Where she goes, he goes.”
“I am my brother’s second, his Right Hand. Where tells me to go, I go. So I came to escort Allison here with the information that we have on the threat that Beacon Hills is facing.”
“I see,” Stiles said. He looked at Robbie and Helena. Helena was dressed for a fight, and Robbie looked ready to bash heads. “Well, let’s go up and see what we have going on in Beacon Hills.”
Stiles took to the stairs first, not shocked when Helena looped her arm through his, and they went up together. Robbie was behind them. As soon as they were out of sight, Stiles didn’t think about the Hale Pack again.
Allison was sitting in a chair in front of Celeste’s desk, so Stiles walked around to stand behind her, directly behind her. Robbie took up a position on his left and Helena his right. Kaïs was leaning against the wall behind Allison with Adam beside him. With Allison were two other people. Stiles knew both of them. Boyd had grown up well, it seemed, and it looked like Lydia had just got more beautiful.
“Meet my family,” Celeste said. She raised a hand and pointed to Robbie. “My son Robbie, my adopted daughter Helena and then my nephew Mieczysław. Miec, Robbie, Helena, this is Lydia Martin, Emissary of the Hale Pack, and Boyd, former Right Hand before Cora Hale took over. He stepped down willingly.”
“It’s important?” Lydia asked.
“Yes, it’s shameful to be forced down unless it’s for health reasons, which can happen even to a Werewolf. Boyd, you are Bitten, correct?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” Boyd said.
“And Lydia, you are a Banshee?”
“Yes,” Lydia said.
“Good. Robbie is a Born Werewolf. Helena and Miec are human.”
“Mieczysław is a magic user, yes?” Lydia asked, looking at Stiles. She said his name wrong, but it was closer than most got.
“Yes, but human.”
“Knowledge is power,” Lydia said.
“Hmm,” was all that Celeste said in response.
Lydia bristled, but a hand on her hand by Allison had her relaxing. So it seemed that Allison was the calmer head.
“Okay, so why are you here?” Celeste asked.
“We need help,” Allison said.
“Yes, and you denied the first team that I sent.”
“There is something rotten in Beacon Hills. My father and I haven’t been able to figure it out. We need someone who is well versed in everything to do with magic and the world’s supernatural. We can’t figure it out.”
“I see, and you want our help?” Celeste asked.
Stiles raised his eyebrows at that. The last he knew, the Argents worked under them. The Argents were Gajos. He wasn’t sure what had happened there.
“My father gives his apologies for how he acted when we came home. He assumed that it would be ours in full when our training was done.”
“Well, it was, but I trust Adam more than I do you. He was to stay to get an idea of how well you are doing as hunters. Despite how your father acted, Adam said you were all good at what you were doing. So you have my support in asking for help. So why this?” Celeste asked, waving her hand at the three of them.
“I thought you might still be angry about everything, so I thought that coming in person would be better.”
“It really did nothing. I would have sent my best team anyway. These are the files that your father compiled?” Celeste asked.
“Yes,” Lydia answered.
Celeste picked up the file and looked at it. Stiles leaned over to read what was going on in Beacon Hills.
“William Barrow, why is that name familiar?” Celeste asked.
“Convicted mass murder from Beacon Hills. He walked onto a school bus and planted a bomb. He injured himself, maimed a teenager, and killed four others. He was remanded to Eichen for the rest of his life since he was raving about the kids’ eyes were all glowing. I assume that he caught a Werewolf’s or other supernatural’s eyes in the wrong light and freaked out and decided to kill them all.”
“How do you know that?” Lydia asked.
“Adam lived there. He told me a lot about Beacon Hills. I love to research as well. It’s what my college degree got me, a full-on history of myth degree. It was fun.”
“Learning about mass murderers is fun to you?” Boyd asked.
“Well, it was fun to learn a lot of things. So yeah.” Stiles shrugged. He plucked the file from his aunt’s fingers and leaned back so that Helena could read it as well. He barely listened as Allison gave more information, none of it was new, and all of it was in the file. “So Barrow escaped and tried to blow up more kids?”
“Yes,” Allison answered.
“Okay, my team will head to Beacon Hills.”
“No,” Allison said.
“No?” Celeste asked.
“Dad said that the Gajos Heir was not to be the one who came. He said something about him being an asshole and too volatile to take this on.” Allison didn’t even look that upset at saying it.
“He has the best closure rate with limited outside casualties. He’s the best for this. He’s the only team I will send,” Celeste said.
“My father won’t like it,” Allison said.
“Your father can shove it,” Celeste said.
Allison looked shocked.
“Don’t even look at me like that. I’ve told clients to shove it. My people go where I tell them, and the only person in this family, this pack, this organization that can tell me no is Miec. You are not in that position. I’ll talk with Miec and figure out what he will do. Leave. Take your pack with you and head home. Someone will be there before the end of the week.” Celeste sat back and eyed the trio as they stood up and left.
“Argent has one point; Stiles is not the best to send,” Kaïs said when they were sure that no one was around. “He’s the only one. The reports that Adam gave us, along with all of that, means that he’s the only one who has a chance of dealing with this. Him and his team. Anyone else would fuck it up. Argent and his child have no say in this. They asked for help; they are going to get it.”
“And you are going to go?” Celeste asked.
“Yes, we are going to go, and then we will figure out if we want to stay. If we do stay, I won’t be hiding anymore. Stiles Stilinski and Mieczysław Gajos will become the same person. I will probably do it so that the Hale Pack will have to listen to me. I think I am done hiding,” Stiles said.
“Good. Good. With everything I see here, the equipment you might need will be something you can’t take on a commercial plane. So you are driving. You guys have been working hard. Take your time getting there. Three SUVs. We will pack them tonight, and you can take your time across the country. Relax before you move into what looks like is becoming a hellhole.”
“In such a short time?” Robbie asked.
“It’s the nature of things like this. Whatever Barrow started when he escaped and blew up a school bus has started to degrade. I think that mother is right,” Helena said. She walked around the desk and grabbed a pen and paper. She started to write out something.
Stiles didn’t get close enough to see what it was. He just waited.
“So look at the timelines. They are getting faster, but it’s like the movie Dante’s Peak. The town didn’t see it coming because they were there. The other scientists arrived too early, but it would have been different if they arrived even a few days later. We don’t need you arriving too early and cook yourself like the frog.”
“You want me and my team to jump into boiling wear, so we know it’s boiling instead of getting turned into frog soup,” Stiles said.
“Dear Gods,” Kaïs said.
Stiles looked up at him, and he heard Helena laughing.
“I didn’t realize that they spoke the same when it came to movies,” Kaïs said.
“Eh, that’s what happens when I live with her for four years, right, Hellcat?”
“I don’t know who infected each other the worst,” Adam said with a laugh.
“Okay, so Stiles, you and your team head to Beacon Hills by SUV. Do not rush. You, Princess, and Jackson in one SUV. Maia and Kira in the second, then Joe, Janice, and Sam in the last. Eight hours a day of driving, four hours per driver. I don’t want anyone tired when you get there—eight hours of sleep and the rest of the time sightseeing or researching. I’ll send you what I can. Helena and Robbie will stay here with me in New York City and look into things. Adam and his team will fly to San Francisco, and there they will settle, so you have a team close by that can help. I’ll alert all teams close enough to get there in a day that you can get help if needed.”
“So that’s…five to six days depending on traffic out of New York and any other place we stop along with meals. Seven at the outside. If we are close enough to keep on going to get to Beacon Hills that last day, under two hours, I will push us through, but I promise that none of us will be tired when we arrive.”
“You handle it all how you want, Stiles. This is your show. This is your final test as my heir. No, I won’t be stepping down, but this will be the moment that decides if you are my heir or not.”
“Of course,” Stiles said. He nodded his head at the back of his aunt’s head. She would know.
Stiles looked at Helena, and she smiled at him. She knew that he could do this; that’s what her face said. Stiles looked at Adam next, and his face said the same. Finally, Stiles looked at Robbie, who just smiled at him. They all thought he could do this.
Stiles dropped onto his bed and looked at Jackson, who was asleep there. It wasn’t even nine at night yet, but he had worn himself out playing after the Hale Pack and Allison Argent had left.
Grabbing his laptop, Stiles laid on his side on the bed and found a book to settle it on. He brought up Skype. He checked his hand, and the ring wasn’t there. Stiles connected to his father and waited to see if he would answer. He had texted an hour before as his father said yes, but sometimes they still missed each other.
“Hey,” Stiles said when he saw his father’s face.
“What did you need?” Noah asked.
“I’m coming home. Well, me and my team. And when I get there, I will be letting everyone know that I am Mieczysław, so be prepared for that. You can tell anyone you want that I’m coming home but don’t mention the team. Don’t mention Jackson. No one needs to know that part until I get there. The Argents know that someone was coming from the Gajos to help with the issues that are happening after Barrow escaped.”
“We found his body. He blew himself up.”
“That doesn’t mean anything. Whatever caused him to escape like he did, whatever made him go even crazier in Eichen is still there. He was a symptom, and the disease needs to be cut out.”
“So you want me to spread the word that you are coming home?” Noah asked.
Noah nodded his head, and he frowned. Before Stiles could ask what was wrong, there was an arm around his waist. Jackson’s body tucked into his. Noah smiled.
“He’s asleep?” Noah asked.
“Yes. He’s fine.”
“Is he okay with you coming home? Scott still hates your guts. The last time I stopped him for reckless driving, he tried to talk me out of it based on you two being old friends. I told him that no one would give him a pass based on that unless something was going on and he was heading to it and not going and getting ice cream because he wanted it.”
Stiles nodded his head at that.
“So Scott’s settled into working for Deaton. Derek and Parrish are deputies. Lydia is married to Parrish.”
“Yes. They are happily married, but I feel that things will not be the best. Lydia hangs out with Danny sometimes, and Danny has let it slip how Jackson is with his boyfriend but funnily never mentions the boyfriend’s name. Danny finds it all so funny. Other than the shit that happened after Barrow escaped, Beacon Hills has been calm. Nothing that can’t be handled by the pack and by the Argents. Though Chris Argent doesn’t think that I am smart enough for this job. He talked about running against me once,” Noah said.
“That’s this fall, right?” Stiles asked.
“Yes, but he talked about it two years ago, so I am not sure if he even remembers. The closing of this will help me win, but that’s not why I want this. So you and the team mean that I’ll get some quality time with Princess.” Noah rubbed his hands together.
A flash of light on the screen had Noah turning his head to look to the side, and Stiles saw him smiling. It was the Peter smile. Nearly a decade had passed since Peter had started to court his father, and Stiles was pretty sure that Peter was still deeply in love with his father. Stiles knew from Peter that Scott didn’t think that Peter loved him but was just using him to commit murder without getting caught.
Stiles was looking forward to making sure that Scott knew he was wrong about many things still.
There were few things that Stiles hated more than being stuck in an SUV a long time with a bored Jackson. Princess was asleep across the third set of seats, and she didn’t seem too inclined to get up and at least try and entertain Jackson.
“We are just an hour away from the next stopping point,” Stiles said.
Jackson growled at Stiles but said nothing. Stiles shook his head. He had even let Jackson drive in hopes that it made the guy more likable, but no.
Stiles reached forward and grabbed his cellphone. Jackson’s eyes tracked him as he did it, probably afraid that he would start playing stupid music again. Right now, they had the collected Star Wars soundtracks off of his MP3 player. He closed out of a few apps before opening up his texts and sent out one to Maia and one to Sammy. He told them to go ahead, and he would entertain Jackson before they settled into their hotel for the night. There was a small park, and it wasn’t dark, yet they had more than enough time.
This was their last hotel stay before heading to Beacon Hills. Jackson had found them a damned good hotel to stay in before they went to Beacon Hills. The house that Adam and his team had stayed in was ready for them; a contracted cleaning service had come through and taken care of everything. Food was stocked, and it was all dusted and cleaned. They would come through once a week to do that so that Stiles and his team didn’t have to worry about it. Stiles really didn’t want to get caught shopping in the store by anyone and have to talk to them.
“Turn off at the park,” Stiles said.
“You’ll see. The rest of the team is going on.”
“We are in Beacon County,” Jackson said.
“Yes, I know. Don’t worry. If they run the plates, this is a company vehicle. It’s not gonna track right to my name. So don’t worry about that.”
Jackson growled, but it was a softer growl. He didn’t seem to be too upset. The two lead vehicles kept on going when Jackson slowed down to pull in the park. It was at the edge of the city it was attached to, a place to get out and walk in the trails. There was a small park that allowed access to the trails. It was nice. Stiles had come out here a few times when he was very young with his mother, and they went on nature walks. It was all to teach Stiles about the difference in geographically close areas.
“I am not going hiking,” Jackson said.
“No, I didn’t figure that we would.” Stiles waited for Jackson to get the SUV parked at a spot snug against the furthest point back of the parking lot before he unbuckled. There were no lights directly on it, and it was the only dark spot in the place. Stiles slipped out of the SUV, testing the air, and grinned. It was cool but not too cold for him. The single digits days of March were not the time to be doing this, but Jackson needed to calm the hell down.
Stiles knew that it was them getting closer to Beacon Hills. Jackson had no issue going home, but it was bringing Stiles home, the place that had hurt Stiles so much that had Jackson at wit’s end. So Stiles had been thinking of anything to help Jackson calm down, and he had maybe hit on it after chatting with Maia early that day. Stiles figured that they could make it to when they left in the morning, but Jackson needed it now.
“So what are we doing in this shitty place?” Jackson asked.
“Well, we are going to go out there,” Stiles said. He would have waved his hand, but he was activating runes on the SUV that kept people away with gentle nudges. It was kind of like a notice-me-not charm from Harry Potter mixed with the muggle repelling. They usually used it when they were hunting. It was the best way to keep normal people away. It helped make sure that no one was injured when they were going after something. It was just a perk that could be used for sexy things.
Jackson was grumbling, but he got out of the SUV, slamming the door behind him. He walked toward the far edge of the park, and Stiles just smiled as he started to strip naked. He even took off his boots as he didn’t figure he would make it far at all. He waited until Jackson had slipped into the trees before he grabbed the tube of lube that was in the glove box. It was there from where it had fallen out of the kit on the middle seat when Princess had decided she wanted to be in the back. It had slid under the driver’s seat, and Stiles had snagged it. It had been tossed into the glove box, and then when the kit was cleaned up at lunchtime, Stiles had forgotten to put it up. He tried to be as quiet as he could. He slicked himself up and smiled as Jackson disappeared deeper into the trees. For all of his bluster, Jackson liked being out in nature.
Stiles slammed the SUV door and took off. It wouldn’t take but a moment for Jackson to run back to the SUV, and then he would be after Stiles after seeing his pile of clothes on the seat and the lube on top. So Stiles put on his speed and ran as fast as he could. There were small bursts of pain as his feet ran on stuff that they shouldn’t, but none of them broke the skin. There was not enough sharpness to them for that to happen. So Stiles just kept on going. He heard the moment that Jackson entered the woods on the side that Stiles was on. He was like a wrecking ball, crashing through. This wasn’t a game of hide and seek. Stiles wanted to be caught, and he wanted to be fucked. He hoped the claim that Jackson would lay on him during that would help calm his ass down.
Jackson nearly caught him after about three minutes, but he moved the wrong way, and Stiles dodged him. He grabbed a branch to turn to the side, but Jackson was on him before he let go, wrapping an arm around his chest and pulling him in tightly. He growled in Stiles’ ear. “I’m going to fuck you raw.”
“I know.” Stiles rubbed his ass into Jackson’s crotch. Jackson would be able to smell the lube even if his brain hadn’t fully caught on that. It was why it was on top of the clothes.
Jackson manhandled Stiles away from the tree, which had Stiles confused until his eyes saw the downed tree close by. He would have to clean up a few scrapes, but it would be worth it. Despite the harsh way he was being moved, Jackson carefully pushed Stiles down and over the log, his ass up in the air. He then pulled Stiles’ cheeks apart and was pushing inside of Stiles. There was a stretch from not being properly fingered beforehand, but there was no pain. He braced his hands on the ground below and pushed up and back into Jackson as the man rutted into him. It was hard and fast, there was no sweet seduction, no slow roll of hips, but it was exactly what Jackson needed.
Stiles felt himself nearly orgasm long before thinking that he should be ready for it. He must have needed it more than he thought. He came with a cry, and Jackson started to fuck him even harder, making Stiles feel like he was being used a little. Jackson came a few thrusts later, his teeth sinking into Stiles’ shoulder, but he didn’t break the skin. Stiles waited for Jackson to slump over him, his cock still firmly lodged in him before he pushed up with his hands.
Jackson wrapped an arm around Stiles’ shoulders and moved them, staying inside of Stiles as long as he could before he dropped them to the ground, which was cold but softer than the fucking tree. Jackson curled him into his body to give him warmth, and they laid there in the dying sun. The trees were blocking the sun, trying to shine down on them. They did well at keeping the light from Stiles’ eyes, which was good, despite the temperature dropping with the sun.
“How did you know?” Jackson asked.
“You don’t snap like that unless you are worried about me, especially not to Kira. So I thought this would be nice. I mean, I’m going to have to shower and then remove your scent from me with a blocker before we go into Beacon Hills, but it won’t be fully gone.”
“You finally figured out exactly what you are going to do?” Jackson asked.
“Yes. Give me your overshirt,” Stiles said.
“When we get up.”
Stiles laughed and relaxed his head onto Jackson’s arm under his head. He rolled it down to where he could smell at Jackson’s clothes. They were dirty as fucking hell now, but Stiles didn’t care. He was covered in nature as well. Stiles was glad that Maia was going to be checking them into the hotel, and he would be able to just slip up through a side door after getting most of his clothes back on. All of them were used to things like this. The twins and Sammy did weirder things when they needed to remind themselves that Sammy was theirs.
“Ready?” Jackson asked a few minutes later.
“Good. Let’s go.”
Stiles sipped his coffee and laughed as Kira wandered out of the bedroom she shared with Maia. Stiles had booked them a three-bedroom suite. Stiles and Jackson had one bedroom, the one that Janice, Joe, and Sammy were in had been single queen beds, while the last was a set of two queens. Stiles was sure that if he looked in there, one of the beds would be covered in bags and the other was the only one being slept on. Stiles wasn’t going to touch that thought because they weren’t ready to do anything about it.
“Good morning, tea is in the pot, and the coffee is still so hot that it’s too hot to drink. Creamer is in the fridge, though.”
Kira nodded her head and grabbed the fridge door, jerking it open to get to the creamer that was inside. It was a small bottle picked up the night before. They had powdered in their kits, but there were mornings where drinking a too-hot cup of coffee was impossible, so a cold liquid creamer was best. Which was how Kira was chugging a cup of coffee like her life depended on it. They had all stayed up too late for the morning wake-up that they wanted. Even Stiles, who was normally the first awake, was over an hour later than he wanted to be, but he wasn’t going to push anyone to wake up early if they didn’t want to. Stiles instead was going to let them wake up all on their own. Stiles sipped at his coffee again as Kira sat down with a fresh cup for herself.
“I can feel the darkness,” Kira said.
“I know. It’s a fast addition of the darkness to the area, and I don’t like it. There is something horrible going on in Beacon Hills. I can feel it from here.”
“Yes, I don’t like it. It seems…too much.”
“I have my guesses who it might be, but until I get to mess around in the area, they aren’t even educated guesses. They are just conjecture. So I need to make sure not to say a thing where anyone else can hear me.”
“Maia said this would be a case of we don’t discuss the wind speed without being inside of the house unless it’s by text.”
“I don’t know who are allies and who are not in Beacon Hills. Everyone but dad and his deputies could be enemies of me.”
“They hate you that much?”
“Mostly, I would say yes. A few resent me for getting out of Beacon Hills while they had to deal with it at all. Others hate me for not coming home to visit my father. And I’m sure even a few hate me on things I did over a decade ago. Some don’t always grow up.”
“I know a few of them from high school in New York City. So what are we going to do about all of this?”
“Well, I’m going to take the vehicle into Beacon Hills alone. I’ll have an open comm, and the first place I’m going is the station. Dad will be working, and from there, the gossip will spread. So it shouldn’t take long for someone from the Hale Pack to search me out. I want you guys on the edge of the city so you can get to me quickly but without someone close. Jackson, if he wanders away, just let him. It’s better than him putting you all in a body bind and then leaving you.”
“Yeah, that part sucks,” Kira said.
A movement behind told Stiles that someone else was awake. Then there was the sound of two sets of feet dragging. It was probably the twins. Stiles turned his head to find that it was indeed the twins. Behind them, Sammy was still in bed.
“Maia woke up in the middle of the night and was awake for a little, so I’m letting her sleep until everyone else is awake,” Kira said.
“Sounds good. I’m just going over the files that dad sent me about the newest crime.”
“Crime? Not death?”
“No. Dad thinks it’s a prank, but there is an edge to it that he doesn’t like.”
“Pranks? Well, I guess a few of these other things could be called a prank.” Kira tugged over a file and looked over it.
Janice sat down in Stiles’ lap after moving his coffee cup out of his hand and handing it off to Joe. A minute later, Joe was back and handing it to Stiles. Stiles was used to the team and how close they were. It was rare that someone wasn’t sitting on someone, no matter if they were involved in sex or not. Jackson was okay as long as soon as Jackson either wanted to sit in Stiles’ lap or Stiles wanted up, they were allowed.
Stiles finished looking over the files he had printed out and moved to the couch to spend some time on his tablet. Janice went with him and fell asleep on top of him. Obviously, she didn’t like Stiles’ plan to go into Beacon Hills alone. Though, Stiles wasn’t going to be alone. He had more than enough weapons on him that no one would be able to get the drop him without him fucking up their world.
“Are we going to be in a holding pattern for long?”
“No,” Stiles said as he looked at Joe, who was frowning at something.
“I got a weird text from one of the guys who was going to New Orleans. He texted me that there was a package dropped downstairs, and the keys were under the mat, but it’s locked.”
“Ah, that would be Roscoe. One of them flew out early to get it here by now. I’m not going into town without Roscoe, even if no one would recognize it. I don’t want to be seen in a Gajos security SUV. That would give up the ghost early. So Roscoe is on its way to me. It’s got Louisiana plates, but that doesn’t matter. It’s a big assed state, and if anyone does search me at the station, dad will know. So I’m safe. We are all safe.”
“Hmm, that still doesn’t make me happy; you going in alone,” Maia said.
“Well, that doesn’t really matter. Me coming in is gonna cause enough issues as it is. I want to see what they do with me there and then the Gajos heir coming as well. It’s going to be chaotic, but I need to know how they are going to treat me before I drop who I really am on them.”
“And you think that’s best?”
“Given the fucking idiots the Hale Pack was a decade ago?” Jackson asked. He was standing behind the couch that Stiles was still stretched out on.
Stiles looked at him. He was dressed in an outfit that looked simple, but the money exuded just by existing was massive. It was the kind of clothes that said that he was better than others. Stiles usually didn’t let him wear them on cases, but this time, he thought it was something that they all could use. It would keep a few of the pack on edge.
“I was looking here. In the file, it says that Parrish knows who you are.”
“Not really. He kind of forgot a lot about me. He was asked to be made to forget. Celeste knew that he was needed to help dad, but the knowledge that I am Mieczysław is buried deep for now. He’ll remember when the time is right, though magic decides that. No one else. It’s weird, and I am not sure that I like it, but it is what it is. Adam placed the spell so he would have to be the one to break it if we needed it broken. It’s all very strange when it comes to memory magic that is not an alpha taking the memories.”
“So what are the orders as we listen in?” Sammy asked.
“Well, you guys aren’t going to step in unless I am in direct danger. I mean that. I can take them. No person in the Hale Pack is a threat to me, outside of Deaton and his sister, but according to the file that Celeste gave me, neither of them is actually part of the Hale Pack willingly. Deaton is serving a sentence for how he failed Laura and Peter, and Derek after the fire. He’s to be bound to the Hale Pack until such a time that he dies or a much better emissary is found. He agreed to it. On the other hand, Marin Morrell is bound to the Hale Pack differently. The Alpha Pack would destroy the Hale Pack and kill anyone that was in the way. No matter who made the actual killing, Derek would never have killed any of his pack without a push of some kind. Killing himself wouldn’t fix anything. Then the Alpha Spark would have gone to a barely trained teenager, and then it would have started again with Deucalion going after them. There was no winning for Derek, and I stupidly kept my father out of it all. I mean, I wasn’t around for most of the Alpha Pack stuff.”
“Is that really what would have happened?” Maia asked
“They were there for the Hales but also Scott and something about him becoming a True Alpha. Celeste laughed her ass off at that,” Stiles said.
“Why?” Sammy asked.
Stiles poked at Janice, who huffed but got up off of him so that three could sit on the couch. Jackson dropped down next to Stiles, sliding in as close as possible. Stiles knew that everyone was going to be clinging to him. He normally didn’t go anywhere without them like this. Even if he stepped in somewhere, he was doing it with someone at his back. He wasn’t going to have anyone around for that. Though he did suspect that Jackson would follow him. Jackson was good at following orders but not when it came to Stiles doing something he thought was stupid. Stiles wasn’t going to force him to stay back, but he wasn’t coming anywhere near the city with him. There was too much of a chance that a deputy who didn’t know him would see him letting Jackson out. He could do it outside of the city, and Jackson could run in.
“There are many reasons why Celeste thinks, but the main reason is that Talia Hale told Deucalion that trusting Gerard Argent wasn’t a good idea. She reminded him that he had bitten Argent’s brother and Gerard would be going for revenge. Argents who are bitten are supposed to kill themselves.”
“Why?” Kira asked.
“They are racist assholes,” Jackson said.
A brush of fur and Stiles looked down at Princess, who was dropping down to settle across his and Jackson’s feet. He still hadn’t decided what he was going to do with her. He had a secondary collar for her that didn’t have the Gajos symbol on it, but he didn’t know if he wanted to take her or not.
“Alexander Argent got bitten when he was going after Deucalion’s betas, even though none of them had done a thing that time. So he killed himself, and then the feud just got worse. The Argents were already going after all Werewolves, waiting for them to put a single toe out of line, but that sparked Gerard’s going after anyone. The Argent line was supposed to be matriarchal, but Gerard didn’t care about that after his wife died. His daughter was too young, and then by the time she was old enough, it was said that Christopher Argents wife was in control, but it seemed that Gerard had already gotten to her. She didn’t care about them being alive beings who felt anything. It’s just exactly like race and seeing them as less than human. So fast forward, and Deuc is meeting with Gerard. Gerard sets it up to where he kills his own fucking hunters with a weapon meant to act like Werewolf claws. He then blinds Deucalion. Deuc’s beta tries to kill him since he felt like Deuc couldn’t lead the pack anymore. There could be a stance made that given what he had just done, it had nothing to do with his eyesight. Deuc got a massive power surge from killing his beta, so he did it to his entire pack, then he talked Ennis and Kali into doing it to theirs.”
“That’s fucking crazy,” Joe said.
“No kidding. Next up, it’s them coming to Beacon Hills because the Hale’s have a very interesting trait and it’s well known that Laura Hale was able to do the full shift into a wolf form. Derek should be able to do that and think about how big he would be if he was a powered-up alpha. Only Deuc also wanted Scott because he was supposed to be a True Alpha; the only issue with that is that no one knew that, except for Deaton, so how did anyone else know?”
“So Deaton had been talking,” Jackson said.
“It’s the only thing that makes sense. There was no other reason for anyone to even suspect it. It’s rare, but it’s not that rare. Usually, it’s someone who protects their pack when the alpha isn’t able, but they don’t last long without finding their own pack or even two packs living in close quarters. Much like Satomi Ito on the edges of Beacon Hills. She’s stayed under the radar, but some know she is there.”
“So McCall became a True Alpha,” Kira said.
“No, actually, he did not. No one understands how he became an alpha, but during the whole fucking thing with dismantling the Alpha Pack and dealing with that, all of a sudden, Scott was an alpha. Adam was never able to figure it out, but then again, a few Witches were in the area to help remove the Alpha Spark from the pack, and then he was an alpha. So there is a lot of shit to unpack while we are in Beacon Hills. Scott’s a secondary alpha for the area, but he is still part of the Hale Pack. He’s not allowed to be on his own, really. He still chafes at Werewolf culture. He was bitten against his will, so he still pushes against it. He’s not above using his new abilities for his own gain, but he hates Werewolves at the core.”
“Who bit him?” Kira asked.
“Peter Hale,” Stiles answered.
“Wait, isn’t that your father’s boyfriend?”
“He went a little crazy after the fire. He was stuck in a coma for six years with no pack bonds. He slowly came out of it, and the first alpha he found he killed; it just happened to be his own niece who was enticed back to Beacon Hills by a revenge spiral on a deer. It was all a bit of a weird time. We still have no clue who sent the report about the deer to her. Someone was working behind the scenes. Peter did the spiral, but it wasn’t like he could walk to a place and mail shit out. He can’t remember if he had his nurse do it or if Deaton had done it. His motives were very much unknown at that time. So yeah. That’s the bulk of it. Other than Peter is no longer insane. We killed him, and when he came back alive through a ritual, he was sane. It took a long time for him to get his full power as a Werewolf back but having a pack with my dad helped. They are the only reason the other didn’t go crazy. Dad missed me but having someone else there to help him not work so much helped my father a lot.”
“It sounds like Beacon Hills is a crazy train,” Janice said.
“Very much so, but it’s got a fully active Nemeton, and it’s still healing. Damaged Nemetons are just like Hellmouths,” Stiles said. He laughed when the other snorted at his words.
“So we are going to see how everyone treats you. Parrish and Hale are deputies; are they going to be working?” Sammy asked.
“Yes. There are more than enough others there that I am pretty sure Hale won’t start something.”
“Are you covering up anything?” Jackson asked.
“Hell, no. I’m not covering up a fucking thing on my body. I mean, I have no Gajos symbol where it can be seen while I’m dressed.”
“And this?” Janice reached out and rubbed a finger over the bruise on his neck; it was evident that it was a bite mark. Stiles had looked at it that morning in the bathroom. He really liked the idea of Derek seeing it and knowing that someone wanted him that way when Derek didn’t. It was a stupid little game, but it was enough of a game that Stiles just wanted to keep on playing it.
“Oh, that’s staying as well. I don’t cover up that shit. That’s Jackson’s claim on me.”
Jackson was beside him and smug as hell. Stiles wasn’t sure that there was a thing that Jackson did where he wasn’t smug, but he didn’t have the same kind of armor that he wore in high school anymore. He wasn’t an asshole just to be an asshole to people who didn’t deserve it.
“So we all gear up and wait for your signal that you need us or want us?” Sammy asked.
“Yes, I will do either of those things when needed. I’m sure I will be subjected to a pack meeting of some kind. I will be setting up strong as hell wards on the house once we get there. I don’t trust this town with the way that it feels right now. I think that I would have long ago taken care of this if I had set foot here. This has been growing like cancer. I just hope that I am not too late to take care of it.”
“And Princess?” Jackson asked.
“I’ll take her with me. I am kind of looking forward to Hale trying to prove he’s the alpha and her doing nothing.”
“She doesn’t even bow to Kaïs; she’s not going to do a damned thing for Hale,” Jackson said. He leaned down to rub at Princess’s belly. “Yeah, you know who your alphas are, and you are too good to bow to anyone else.”
Princess rolled to her side so Jackson could give her more love. She had thankfully attached herself fully to Jackson, and things were good there. Jackson even let her up in the bed with them sometimes, not worried about Stiles’ ability to love them both. Jackson had many issues when it came to love, and Stiles blamed the Whittemore’s for that, and how they kept that he was adopted from him and then why he was adopted for so long. There was a big difference between knowing one was adopted and knowing one was adopted because both parents died. It wasn’t quite fun to work through a lot of that with Jackson, but it was worth it. It had made them both stronger for it, and their love was unshakeable.
“Good, I hoped you wouldn’t be stupid enough to not take her with you,” Jackson said.
Stiles flipped off Jackson.
The Beacon Hills Sheriff’s Department looked no different than it had the last time that Stiles had been there in person. The new building wasn’t looking as new anymore, but it was still intimidating to those scared of the law. Stiles unhooked Princess’s leash from her harness and tucked it into his coat before he pushed the doors open. The front desk had a man standing at it talking to the person who was behind the desk to help people.
“Beacon Hills Sheriff’s Department, Deputy Reese speaking. How can I help you?” the guy behind the desk asked after he picked up the phone.
The other guy turned to look at Stiles, his eyes going up and down Sties’ body before he grinned.
“And how can I help you?” Derek Hale asked as he stepped up, a leer on his face.
“I don’t think I need your help, Deputy Hale,” Stiles said.
Derek’s face made a few funny faces before settling on shock at the same time that Princess started to growl at him. Princess reacted to smells just like Werewolves, and Jackson had taught her to react to lust. Stiles kind of hated it, but right now, it was good. Derek had liked how Stiles looked, but now he really wanted to know what Derek was going to do when he figured out that it was Stiles. Derek tipped his face down to look at Princess, and there was a short flash of red eyes, but Princess just kept on growling and showed her teeth this time.
“Control that dog,” Derek said.
“Make me,” Stiles answered.
A sharp whistle echoed through the station’s bullpen, and Princess took off like a rocket toward where Stiles’ father was in his office. Stiles wasn’t shocked that Noah had figured out who was growling.
“Though, if you hadn’t tried to show her who her alpha is, she might have let you pet her, Deputy Hale.”
Derek’s eyes shot up from where he had watched Princess take off. He looked at Stiles, and then his eyes widened.
“Hello, Derek,” Stiles said.
“Stiles?” Derek asked, his eyes falling on the bruise that was on Stiles’ neck and shoulder.
Stiles had worn a shirt that showed it off well.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Derek asked.
“I’m here to visit my father.”
“I didn’t think you would actually show up. He said you would, but you’ve been gone so long. Scared like a fucking child. Finally grow up?” Derek asked.
“Hello, Stiles,” Wilcox said as he stepped up, pushing Derek out of the way to hug Stiles. Roberts was right behind him along with a few others. Tara rushed Stiles as soon as Roberts let go.
“Son, come in here,” Noah yelled from his office door as soon as the hugs were all over.
“You came to my area without asking. You are coming to a pack meeting when I get off shift.”
“I’ll take him,” Parrish said as he laid a hand on Stiles’ neck to escort to his father’s office.
Just as Stiles was going in, he heard Derek on the phone and heard Scott’s yell of surprise.
Stiles was looking forward to this.
The loft had not changed much at all, really. The building as a whole had, but Derek’s loft was still spartan. At least there weren’t holes in the walls anymore, and it looked like Derek’s bed wasn’t on the main floor anymore. Stiles stayed by the door since it looked like he was one of the first to arrive. Parrish hadn’t gotten off of shift much after Derek had, and it seemed the rest of the pack was late. Derek’s pack was still unlike more packs that Stiles was around on a normal basis. Yet, it was working for Beacon Hills even if it wouldn’t work for anyone else.
Stiles had Princess on a leash now, and he knew that Jackson was close enough he could get there in a few minutes while the rest of the team was right at the edge of town closest to where they were.
“Derek, we didn’t have a meeting planned, and I’m trying to get myself set up for when the Gajos asshole gets here,” Chris said as he came through the open loft door. He stopped and looked at Stiles, glancing over him, assessing him as a threat before he went into the room more. He seemed really stressed.
“Well, it seems the Sheriff wasn’t wrong.” Derek waved his hand at Stiles.
“What do you mean?” Chris turned to look at Stiles, his eyes going over him again before settling on Princess. Then it was like he clued in, and his eyes darted up to Stiles’ face again. “Stiles.”
“Hello, Chris. How are you doing?” Stiles asked.
“What the hell?” Chris asked as he looked at Derek.
“That’s what I said. This is the worst time. He’s going to stick his head where it doesn’t belong.”
“The team that is being sent here is going to look for any reason to stay, and Stiles poking his head where it doesn’t belong is just going to piss them off. You need to get rid of him.”
“Derek’s not my alpha, and I am not part of his pack; he can’t throw me out of here,” Stiles said.
Derek growled at Stiles, and Princess growled right back at him. Derek’s eyes flashed, but again all that did was piss off Princess.
“Derek?” Chris asked.
“She’s pushing back against me trying to control her. I’ve never seen a dog do it.”
“It happens when they know who their alpha is, and it’s not you.”
“And that’s you?” Derek asked.
“Yup,” Stiles said. He popped the P and waited for the vein in Derek’s forehead to start throbbing. It did about three seconds later.
“Impossible,” Derek said.
“Stiles, what have you been doing since you ran away from Beacon Hills?”
“Ran away? Yeah, I’ll take it as that. I mean, it’s not like anyone in this town other than my father and Peter gave a shit about me.”
“You got your heart broken, and you ran,” Derek said.
“Heart broken? You told me that you would be happy if you never had to see me again. After I had fucking held you up in a pool for hours to save your life. After I went against this asshole here and shoved it in his face that his sister had been a piece of shit that wasn’t worth protecting when she killed innocents. I fucking protected you when you were on the run from my father. I could have yelled, and while yeah, you could have killed me, my father would have come up, and if I was dead, it would have just looked worse on you. You went for the exact thing you knew would hurt me the worst because all I wanted was to help. You wanted to hurt me, and you did, going after the one way that you knew would do it worst. Don’t act like you were noble. You needed so much therapy back then.”
“You pined after Lydia Martin for like a decade even though she didn’t even know you existed.”
“Dude, you don’t even know a single thing about Lydia Martin and me. I might have pined after her, yes, but that was more a cover to make sure that I never had to come out of the closet. Do you know what happens when a boy my age pines after the most attractive woman in the school? They never once think you like cock. Danny was able, but he was friends with Jackson Whittemore, who would have beat the shit out of anyone who made a single comment about Danny and him being gay. Me? The ADHD freak who is friends with McCall? I would have been shoved in lockers more than I was.” Stiles pushed off the wall, and Princess came with him as he walked closer to where the pair of men were. “You had three options that you could have gone, Derek. One, you could have said you were straight. I’m like a dog with a bone, but I respect boundaries. I never once pushed my affection on Lydia, and I looked at her from afar. I didn’t stalk her, and I didn’t follow her around. I looked at her when we were in the same spaces, and that is it. Two, you could have said you were uncomfortable even dating me when I was still underage, according to California law. Three, you could have been an actual person and said you didn’t even like me that way. You didn’t let me actually say what I wanted to say and kept stopping me. So yeah, I didn’t let that go, but do you know what it’s like to have ADHD and have people stop you before you can explain yourself?”
There was a look in Derek’s eyes right then. Stiles knew what it was; he was being reminded of Spencer. The youngest Hale child, human and had ADHD.
“Yeah, I can see you do. Think about that, Derek. Of course, I wanted to get the hell away from here. You hated my guts, I thought, and Scott didn’t care about anything except for Allison and making her happy. My father was smack in the middle of something I tried to keep him out of, and I knew that he needed to know. I was afraid of losing the last family I had. Or thought I had. I hadn’t realized how much my aunt and Uncle loved me.”
“You left your father behind,” Derek said.
Stiles felt his anger welling, and Princess was more than in tune with his moods. She started to growl and took a menacing step toward Derek.
“Zatrzymać,” Stiles said.
Princess stopped and sat down on her ass on the ground, but she stayed between Stiles and Derek.
“Oh, fuck,” Chris said.
Stiles looked at him before he grinned. “Do you understand how fucked you are now, Christopher?” Stiles asked.
“Her collar, Derek. Look at the fucking dog’s collar.”
“Her name is Princess. Princess Shepkita.”
“That’s the Gajos symbol. Stiles, where the hell did you get that dog?”
“She was gotten as a pup for the business, and she attached herself to me. I have been with her since then.”
“You are part of the team that’s arriving here,” Chris said.
“He’s with the Gajos?” Derek asked. He growled again, but this time Princess didn’t move at all. “What did you do, go running to the first hunting family?”
“No, actually, I ran to my family, and then from there, I found out they were hunters. You never did look into me at all, did you?”
The sound of feet stopped Stiles, and he turned around to look at the group coming in the door. Parrish had stayed down to wait on Lydia after they had arrived.
The Werewolves all looked shocked to see him standing there. There were a few faces that he didn’t know, but more than a few he did. Even Lydia looked like she saw a ghost.
“Hello,” Stiles said.
“I’m not done talking to you,” Derek said. He grabbed Stiles’ shoulder.
Stiles spun around, grabbing Derek’s hand and keeping it there. He jabbed his arm directly into Derek’s solar plexus.
“Rozpierzchnąć się,” Stiles said.
Princess took off to the side of the room to be told to come into the fray when he wanted her to. He wasn’t sure if she would stay out if more jumped into it, but he hoped that Chris kept everyone else out.
“I didn’t give you permission to touch me, Alpha Hale.” Stiles moved out of Derek’s range, his fingers slipping over his skin, and his staff appeared in his hands, ready and wanting to fight.
“Derek, stop,” Chris said as he stepped between Stiles and Derek. He had his back to Derek, telling Derek that he saw Stiles as the threat. It wasn’t the worst thing in the world to be seen as a threat from Christopher Argent.
“Chris, out of the way.”
“No, you touched him first; he’s allowed to defend himself. You are pissed off at him for something, but right now is not the time for this.”
“No, it’s not,” Jackson said.
Everyone who was at the doors turned around to look at the newcomer.
“Jackson?” Lydia asked.
Jackson looked at Lydia but didn’t say anything as he walked around the small crowd over to where Stiles was still in a fighting stance. He stepped behind Stiles, staying closer to Derek’s side. “Tutaj, Princess.”
Princess rushed over, settling in at Jackson’s side.
“Fucking hell,” Chris said. He stepped back and turned to look at Derek. “Derek, calm your pack down, or these two will knock them all down.”
“I did not give you permission to come to visit, Jackson.”
“Nope, but you gave Mieczysław Gajos’ team the permission to come onto your land. Three wolves, a Kitsune, and three humans.”
“And you are telling me you are one of the wolves, and Stiles here is one of the humans?” Derek asked.
“Of course he is, nephew. Get with the program. Princess’s collar declares her as a Gajos. I would have thought you could put that together. Stiles put your staff away. No one here will actually attack you.”
“You knew,” Chris said.
“Of course, I did. I’ve known since he ended up in the arms of the Gajos. I wondered what it would take for Stiles to figure out who they were. I never told Noah or Stiles that I knew. I knew Celeste on sight, but she didn’t know me. I know the threats to my pack and the Gajos coming to the United States to start a business as a cover for hunting? That’s a possible threat to my pack. Though, Stiles is much like the Gajos’ side and almost too much like his father. Now, are we going to discuss this like adults, or do you want to posture some more?”
Stiles looked at Peter to see he was looking at Derek.
“He’s the Gajos heir?” Derek asked.
“Yes.” Stiles let his staff drop, and as soon as it hit the floor, it disappeared. It was a little bit of a show-off, but Stiles was more than okay with that. He grabbed the ring from his pocket and slipped it on. Chris’ eyes narrowed at the new face that took over. Then his eyes dropped down in deference.
“How do we know you are telling the truth? Anyone could wear that face since you show us it’s magic,” Allison said.
“You think that I came here to what? Pass myself off as the heir of the Gajos family business for what? Fun? Do you know what kind of work I will have to put into figuring out what is going on in this town? I’m not doing this for fun. I had the magical ring made to have a face that wouldn’t draw people back to Beacon Hills and after my father. I’ve had three people try and kill me. Robbie had eighteen in his lifetime. It’s no joke about the world’s evil wanting the Gajos dead. Gerard Argent was at the top of that list once Celeste started to poke into everything he was doing. Me landing in her lap with enough knowledge to put him to death was good for her. It was easy to kill him with a clear conscience after he kidnapped and beat me. I do wonder what would have happened if not. I mean, Celeste was able to come into Beacon Hills with the blessing of my father and work on getting the Alpha Pack out of here.”
“You are taking credit for that?” Derek asked.
“No, but if I hadn’t come clean to her about what I knew, she was going to be working without the help of my father as she didn’t want to pull him into this world. My mother hated this world, I would assume, because of everything the darker bits did and got away with. So I came into her life, and she would keep it all from me to respect my mother’s decision. She didn’t know I was in all of it. Then I found evidence that they were hunters, and I went to leave, but I wanted to see what kind of hunters they were. I had money, and I was going to run. I was going to run home. Then I listened to Celeste talking to Adam here in Beacon Hills. They were here to correct everything. To fix what happened.”
“She killed my father.”
“He was going to die anyway, and all she did was make sure that no one else came in and did his bidding on things like wiping out the Hales. You might have loved your father, but he wasn’t a good man, Christopher. He pushed your wife to kill herself and was going to take the bite and not kill himself. There is nothing to do to fix a man like that. He would have killed his entire family to save his own life.”
“I’m shocked McCall is silent,” Peter said, breaking a little of the tension.
Stiles looked over at Scott, who was looking at Stiles. Looking at the face he was wearing. Stiles slipped off the ring and went back to his normal face. He would keep the ring for when he wanted to move about Beacon Hills without people coming and talking to him.
“My team is listening in on this. They were set to come in if I needed. Jackson, well, he’s my second. Maia is my third. You’ll meet her.”
“Why did you come in like you did?” Chris asked.
“I wanted to see what kind of welcome I would get as just plain Stiles Stilinski. I figured I would get yelled at more, but also, I figured that more of the pack would be around. I’m not upset. I’m sure a few will come and yell at me still.” Stiles looked at Scott before looking at Derek. “Alpha Hale, my team will be staying in Beacon Hills until this issue has been dealt with.”
“And if I refuse to let you stay?” Derek asked.
“You really don’t have a choice. There is no one else who can deal with this. I mean, you might find someone, but can you trust them?”
“How can I trust you?”
“I mean, you really can’t, but you know that I would never hurt anyone in your pack unless they hurt me first. You know enough about me to understand who I am and that I love this town. I would never let anything happen to Beacon Hills if I could help it. I would never let anyone die that I could save. Can you say that of anyone else who might come in to help with the issues going on? Can you say they wouldn’t sacrifice half of your pack to get whatever is going on taken care of?”
Derek glared at Stiles.
“Then talk it over with the rest of your pack. If you don’t want us here, we will leave. We will send the next best person we have who might be able to do it, but lives will be lost.” Stiles looked at Jackson and nodded his head. He pulled the leash out for Princess and latched it onto her collar before he headed for the door. The pack didn’t move, so Stiles walked around, not looking any of them in the eye.
Jackson was right behind him, and Stiles knew that he wouldn’t let a single one of them touch him. The Hale Pack seemed to be on the outside of what was going to be happening. Stiles wasn’t even sure he would need any of them at all other than maybe their accounts of what had been happening over the last while. It wasn’t like things were that horrible yet. He just needed to keep them all hanging on a little while longer.
The Nemeton called out to Stiles, but it wasn’t calling out to just him. It was calling out to anyone close enough to answer. Stiles wondered what it had drawn in that was hurting the land so. He ignored it, though. He had been around every other Nemeton in the world, never got too close, but he got close enough to feel them. There was something wrong in the heart of Beacon Hills.
“McCall thinks he’s smart, huh?” Sammy asked as he joined Stiles on the balcony of the house they were in. There were a lot of Adam’s spells all over the house.
“He thinks he’s better than everyone else. He always has. I used to look at it as a good thing, but then after he was bitten, it wasn’t good anymore. He felt like he had the right to dictate what happened just because he was bitten. He chose Allison’s life over Derek’s body autonomy. He decided that by having Derek bite him, Gerard was going to turn into a monster. He had a plan in place that was supposed to kill Gerard, but I don’t think that Deaton thought it would kill him. I think he knew it wasn’t going to. I have no clue what Deaton’s plan for him was. Yet, the people who had Deaton and reformed him don’t seem to have cared too much about that plan.”
“And you think you can find out?” Sammy asked.
Stiles shrugged. He needed to get his head wrapped around things. It was strange being home, yet not being home. It had been strange to drive past his father’s house to the new house to the house that was in the Gajos name. Yet, this place felt normal. Adam’s magic was known to Stiles, and he knew it would protect him. He had layered his own spells on top of it all as well. No one was crossing the house property’s edges without Stiles and the team knowing. No one was getting in the house unless someone let them in, and no one in the house would do that without trusting who they were.
“I aim to find out,” Stiles said.
“Good. Now, you need to get sleep,” Sammy said.
“I know. I spent too much energy getting this place set up. I’m gonna crash as soon as I get into bed. Now out of the room.” Stiles turned around and looked inside, seeing Jackson at the table on the far side of the room, working on something. Stiles wasn’t sure what it was. He wasn’t going to drag Jackson away from it, though. Stiles headed toward the bed, ready to drop down into it. He wasn’t sure if he had enough energy to actually take his clothes off. He just dropped down and grabbed a blanket to wrap himself. He was in a pair of sweats and a T-shirt, so it wasn’t like he was wearing regular clothes. He just normally slept in just boxers. Jackson was a furnace, and he ended up sweating too much.
“Dawn?” Sammy asked.
“Yes. We will all go on a run. Princess will love the Preserve.”
“I’ll make sure everyone knows.”
“Good.” Stiles stretched and got himself buried in the covers. This was the way to sleep.
The Preserve was much the same. Stiles led his team through it, keeping away from the areas where the Hale Pack might be and away from Hale lands. The paths were all marked well, kept up more than they had been when Stiles had been in Beacon Hill full time. He loved the sound of nature around them. It was full of life, despite the darkness. The Nemeton was doing its best to ensure that flora and fauna around were not harmed by the darkness. Stiles was happy about that. He was happy that things were better for the area. It helped to settle him down a lot.
Princess pulled ahead of Stiles but not by much, so he started to run a little faster to keep up with her. Even though most of the team could go faster than Stiles, they kept to the back of the train to make sure that they didn’t get too far ahead. Sometimes one or two would pull ahead and spend a few minutes that way before they slowed down to match pace with the rest of the team.
Someone was following them, and they all knew it. It was the only reason the faster runners weren’t too far from the rest of them. They played leapfrog to see if they could get whoever it was from the Hale Pack to do what they were going to do. It wasn’t impossible that they were just there to watch them and not engage.
“Are we ready?” Stiles called out as they headed back toward the house.
“Yes,” Jackson said. His tone left no space for argument.
Stiles grinned and put on a little more speed, pushing at Princess for her to go faster as well.
They were about three miles from the house, and it took them no time at all to cover that distance. There was a lot of space in the backyard, and Stiles made sure that they all knew what they were going to do.
“Trio,” Stiles said. He dropped to the ground and pulled Princess to sit between his legs. He worked on rubbing her down after the run to make sure that she hadn’t hurt herself and check over her coat for ticks. He watched the trio as they sparred until they couldn’t stand anymore.
Maia laughed and stood up and pulled Kira up with her. Unlike the trio, they were both more evenly matched. They fought for longer, and when it was said and done, they both looked like they needed a good rest.
Stiles looked at Jackson and grinned at him before he held out his hand. Jackson took it and stood up before jerking Stiles to his feet. Stiles stripped off his shirt. It was already soaked, so it wasn’t doing much except for covering up his tattoos. He didn’t care about hiding them, but he did like to keep them hidden from those who would know what they were. No one in Beacon Hills would know what they were. He called his staff to him and prepared to show the Hale Pack just what kind of threat he was.
Jackson was not an even match for Stiles. No one was, not with Stiles willing to use magic. He was trained more than the others, and he trained them well. They were going to get a shock of their lifetime.
After today, no one was going to spar like this. There was a room in the basement for that. Stiles wanted to make sure that the Hale Pack, especially Derek and Scott, knew that they were all more than capable of protecting themselves.
Stiles cracked Jackson across the face, sending him spinning down, and he didn’t get up. He was still conscious, but he knew he was beaten. So Maia and Kira stepped up next to fight him. Stiles worked through his team, knowing every single fault that they had. By the time he was a panting mess, Jackson was standing up and ready to go for his final round. Stiles laughed when Jackson picked up Kira’s sword from the ground and rushed at him. The last of the fight was a battle of wills that had them both just giving up at the same time. Jackson had a little more in him, though, and he grabbed Stiles and tipped him over his shoulder before heading into the house.
Jackson dropped Stiles into a kitchen chair and then moved to start making food. Once they had a place to order from, they would order after sparring so that no one had to cook. Maia and Sammy dropped down into chairs on either side of him. Kira, Janice, and Joe walked over to work on getting a massive breakfast ready. The potatoes were already cut up and in water, which would save a lot of time.
It felt like someone walked over Stiles’ grave. Everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at the front door two seconds before a knock happened. Whoever was there had ill intentions towards someone in the group. Stiles stood up, and Jackson growled but didn’t move from the stove.
Stiles opened the front door to find not only Scott but Lydia. Lydia looked like she hadn’t slept, which was strange considering that no deaths had happened.
“Let us in,” Scott demanded.
“Um, no.” Stiles stepped outside and shut the door behind him.
“I demand that you let us in,” Scott said.
“One, this house is owned by someone who is not you, so you can’t demand to be let in anywhere.”
“I’m Derek’s Second in command,” Scott said.
“Good, that’s good. Guess what? Fuck no. This is our house, and one of you two crossed the wards I have set up with the intent to harm, so no, neither of you are crossing the threshold until I know which of you it is.”
“You left,” Scott said.
“Yes, I did. I was sleeping for shit. I was scared. I had PTSD, Scott, from being beaten up at Gerard’s hands, and then you just do what he wants. I didn’t give you guys up. He kept beating me, but I never told him where you all were, where Derek was. I had more loyalty to everyone than you did. You fucking let Derek feel that bond with Gerard.”
“He was an asshole back then,” Scott said.
“Yeah, we were all assholes, Scott. We treated him like shit, he treated us like shit, you panted after the Argents trying to prove that you weren’t an animal that needed to be put down. It was all fun times. You hated being bitten, and you forced someone else to bite someone. Dude, that’s akin to rape, and you know it, and someone being an asshole is never cause for rape. Ever.”
“It should have killed him. Deaton doesn’t know why it didn’t.”
“Mountain Ash and its properties are about protection. It protects the human from turning. Wolfsbane would have been a better additive, that would have killed him.”
“Chris says you are a killer,” Scott said.
“Oh, Scotty, Scotty, you still think the world in black and white, huh? I’ve only ever killed in defense of others and my team. Most prisons can’t hold Werewolves, and I have only ever killed those who are too far gone to be saved. I’ve saved more. There are packs around the world that take in feral omegas and rehabilitate them. If they can’t be, then they put them down.”
Scott scowled at Stiles, so Stiles looked at Lydia.
“What are you here for?”
“To talk to Jackson. When he’s been in town, he hasn’t come to see me.”
“And you didn’t think that it was on purpose?” Stiles asked.
“Why would he come to visit Danny and not me?”
“I can’t answer that but have you tried texting him?”
“He ignored it. It says that it’s read, but he ignored it. I need to talk to him.”
“You are married, Lydia and you two buried the hatchet years ago. Why are you sniffing around now?” Stiles asked.
“He’s never been so close.”
“Jackson is her mate,” Scott said.
“Ah, I see. And who said that?” Stiles asked. He looked at Lydia, who looked like she would rather be anywhere but where she was. Stiles figured that Lydia might think that she and Jackson were mates, but that didn’t mean that they had to be together.
“I did,” Scott said.
“Ah, the great True Alpha who still hasn’t learned anything about Werewolf culture knows that Jackson and Lydia are mates. How does that work?”
“You don’t understand anything to do with alphas.”
“Really? You are going to go with that? My Uncle is one, did you know that? Kaïs Gajos is a great alpha who leads one of the largest packs in the United States. He’s training Robbie and me to take over as a kind of ruling pair that is not together. Robbie’s kids will probably inherit the Alpha Spark from him while I will pass down the lead of the Gajos Hunters down my line.”
“I don’t understand how you can trust them,” Scott said.
“Trust who? The Gajos? My family?” Stiles asked.
“Where have they been all your childhood?”
“Staying away like my mother wanted. After mom died, dad and I kept in contact, but we rebuffed them coming to visit. They respected our boundaries.” Stiles looked at Scott with that.
Stiles didn’t do boundaries when things were shitty, but respect had to be earned, and Scott hadn’t earned his when it came to allowing people to do what they wanted with their own life.
“You can both leave now,” Stiles said. He turned to go inside, and as soon as he turned his back, Scott grabbed his shoulder, claws dug into his flesh a little bit. Blood had to be seeping out, given the pain. He would have to heal those up, but Jackson was going to be pissed either way. “I would let go before my Werewolf comes out here and rips your arm off and beats you with it.”
“Your wolf?” Scott scoffed after he spoke. “You don’t have that female wolf in there in your bed. She’s too hot for you.”
“Never said it was a she, did I?” Stiles asked. He looked up at Jackson in the doorway, whose eyes were glowing blue. “I doubt Derek would do a thing; I mean, it’s in poor taste to touch another Wolf’s person. Scott, you got about two seconds.”
“Scott,” Lydia hissed.
Scott’s hand left Stiles’ shoulder. Stiles turned around and backed toward the door until Jackson pulled him across the threshold.
“So this was a shitty talk. Next time send the actual alpha. Any underlings and you will be thrown on your asses outside of my property line.”
“You can’t tell me what to do!” Scott said.
“Scotty, I can. This is my land, and you are trespassing. You are still in the human world here. You have to abide by human laws. The Sheriff’s Deputy who comes to escort you away would tell you the same thing.”
“Leave,” Jackson said.
“This isn’t over,” Scott said, but he turned and stormed off the porch.
Lydia was slower to leave, her eyes on Jackson and then on Stiles’ neck, where his mark was still very visible since he was shirtless. Her eyes were hurt.
Stiles found that he didn’t care at all.
Stiles wasn’t shocked that Chris Argent found him in the middle of the store. He was shopping for snacks for himself since he didn’t have any at the house. The place had been stocked, but a few of his go-to snacks were not there, which was a given since Stiles didn’t have them on the list. He was picky about them. He wouldn’t take substitutes for any of them. He would rather just get something else. Stiles had felt Chris getting close to him. His magic thrumming under his skin but not telling him that Argent was a threat.
“I don’t know what to call you,” Chris said.
“Stiles is fine. It’s been a long time since anyone, but the family has called me that.”
“Your team doesn’t call you that in private?” Chris asked.
“I said, family. My team is my family.” Stiles grabbed a box of a new cookie. Debating if he wanted to get them to try. If he didn’t like them, someone else usually would. Food never went to waste.
“My mother used to tell stories about her team before she married into the family. It’s a lot closer to what your team is. I wish I had a team like that instead of moving around with men that were more loyal to my father. I would like to think that I would have got my head out of my ass before the Hale fire.”
“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. There is no reason to waste time thinking like that. Life is life.”
“I’m sorry for that day. I…Everything I have heard from you is that you are a hard man. You are an asshole who doesn’t care about the destruction that he leaves in his wake when he comes to help with things. I know that there are a few smaller issues with a few of Derek’s pack members like Scott.”
“I am a hard man. I learned I needed to be hard to get things done while I was in college. I’m not so hard that I don’t actually listen to people who are here instead of pushing what I know into everything. This world is not for the weak-minded. My reputation is mostly from idiots who try to force me to do what they want me to do. If that was what people wanted, they would never call the Gajos to step in. There is something in this town that is dangerous. I don’t know who or what it is, but I will find it. I need to meet all of the Hale Pack. Every single member and even the on the side family of the members. If they refuse to meet with me, they need to make sure that they stay away from me and mine. I will still need their names. I don’t want to hurt them. I know that Beacon Hills still has a fear of hunters. Adam spoke of a lot of issues.”
“Will you be meeting with Satomi and her pack?” Chris asked.
“No, not in person. I emailed her, and she already sent dossiers on the ones that work in town and those that come into town for other things. She’s already been pulling more and more back from coming into town, not trusting Beacon Hills. She didn’t realize it was as bad as it was until she contacted Celeste.”
“I’ll pass on the message to Derek,” Chris said.
“If he wants a big dinner or something like that with the meeting, that would be fine. It’s less formal and helps. However, there is one caveat that I will have to push for.”
“And that is?”
“Children. I have to meet all the children, no matter their race. I would sacrifice an adult on my team for any child in this town, but I have to know that it’s something I can step into. I wouldn’t do more than I can prove to the cops for a human child but a supernatural, that’s different rules.”
“I’ll tell him. There are not a lot of children, but he does protect them.”
“I know. It’s what all alphas should do.”
Chris nodded his head, frowning. Stiles wasn’t sure that Chris really understood what he agreed to. Despite being pulled into the Gajos family, the Argents were very much on their own. They kept more than a few of their own ways of doing things, which was fine with Celeste. Instead, they just did their own thing. They were bound to Beacon Hills, and for at least the next few decades, they were. Chris looked tired, though, and Allison didn’t seem willing to step up and lead the area. Stiles wondered just what part that was playing in everything. The reports they had on Allison had her nowhere near like she was when Stiles had been around her. She was a good person, just worried about becoming her aunt or her grandfather, both of which were things that no one good wanted to be.
“Stiles?” a voice asked.
Stiles turned to look at the woman who was standing there. He smiled and dropped his basket down, grabbing her into a hug. “How are you doing, Tara?”
“I’m good, Mischief,” Tara Graeme said.
“Good. Good. You knew I was coming to town,” Stiles said.
“Yes, but that doesn’t mean that I am not shocked to see you shopping for junk food.”
“I’ve got to keep this boyish figure a little on the pudgy side, or no one in the town will get a date,” Stiles said with a wink.
Tara laughed and hugged him again. Stiles held on tight to her and let her hug him for as long as she wanted. He had nothing to do at the moment other than shopping and just getting a feel for the town.
“So, are you on duty?” Stiles asked.
“Yeah, patrol, but I started a week early, and I don’t have my kit with me. So I needed to get my stuff. I got it taken care of and was leaving the store again.”
“Oh, hey, let me check out. I wanna ride around with you. You can give me all the stuff that Peter and dad have kept from me without trying to shield me.”
“You know, Mischief, your father talks about your job taking you around the world, but you are too fit for the job he said you had.”
“Well, at the base, yes, I am a troubleshooter, but the rest is not something I want to talk about here in the open. Now, let me check out, and you can head out and radio in that you are taking me on a ride-along.”
Tara laughed and nodded her head.
Stiles turned to grab the last few snacks before he headed to the drink aisle to grab a few drinks for him. This was going to be the best thing. Tara would be on the county roads through town and a little outside of town. It was the easy route for patrol, but it was also just a way of making sure that people saw them. The BHPD took care of the rest of the roads. It was nothing big, but it would give Stiles time to get a feel for the town.
While waiting in line to check out, Stiles texted Jackson what his new plan was. Jackson was working the others through a little training with the setup in the basement. The whole team was restless with being in a new place and not jumping into fighting right away. Every time they left New Orleans over the last few years, they were in the thick of a fight as soon as they got into the new place. Stiles wasn’t sure that they wouldn’t be in the thick of a fight soon, though. It was just a feeling, and Stiles never ignored the feelings.
Tara was still on the radio when Stiles got out to the car. He dropped into the passenger seat and laughed when the radio was passed to him.
“This is Mischief,” Stiles said.
“Stiles,” Noah said.
“Hey, Daddio! I’m gonna ride along with Tara for most of the day. Jackson’s gonna come and pick up Roscoe later from the store and take her home.”
“You stay in the car if she stops to take care of anything, do you understand?” Noah asked.
“Yes, Sir. I promise. Just like if I was a kid.”
Noah snorted, and there was the sound of what Stiles remembered the deputies in the bullpen laughing sounding over the radio.
“So, we are going to head out, 10-4,” Stiles said. He dropped the radio back down into its cradle and looked at Tara. “Well…are we going?”
“You brought snacks,” Tara said. She pulled out of the parking spot she was in and headed out into the streets.
“Yes, Ma’am, I did. I always bring snacks, and you know it. I’m still a growing boy.” Stiles looked at the area as it wasn’t one he had been in yet. It would be good for his knowing the points where patrol happened.
“You are not. Now, tell me why you look like you’ve gone to war.”
“What do you know about what is going on in Beacon Hills?” Stiles asked.
“I know more than your father thinks I know. I stay on the edges of it all. Defer to Wilcox and Roberts when things go crazy, and I ignore Hale’s red eyes when he’s pissed. Especially at one of his pack.”
“That’s what I’ve heard them being called. It’s kind of stuck.”
“How much have you figured out?” Stiles asked.
“More than your father would probably like, but I didn’t want to be drawn into the world fully. I know that bad shit nearly went down just after you left. Then some guy who said he was your cousin came to town, and things got better, and they kept on getting better from there.”
“Adam was adopted by my aunt and uncle, so while he wasn’t raised as my cousin like Robbie was, he was close enough. We got kind of close as he was in New York when I went to live with them.”
“I knew something big was up when your father allowed you to move to New York. He had been upset about you leaving for college since you started high school, and then you were finishing out high school on the other side of the country. I watched everything a lot closer after that. Then I met Hale and his pack. It was strange, but things were weird for a while.”
“Well, the world is a lot more strange than you know it to be. Let’s head out and get this show on the road. It will be a hell of a lot of fun to troll my father. So you can stay on the edges like about half of the station. The rest know. But a good few of them are not human.”
“I knew that from when Wilcox and Roberts were around the first time, Mischief. I think that if they had stayed, you would have outed them to their face.”
“I was close. The first time I came across them after finding out about this new world, I crowed in their face. My aunt was not happy that they were nearly outed, but then I had been there and figured out what they were with less time than I had spent around those two. It was a lot of fun, though I had nearly run away thinking that they were like Gerard Argent.”
“Yeah, that man was…I’m glad he was found to be dead. His crimes were massive. I know why Chris and his daughter stick around. The whole Argent family owes a debt to Beacon Hills.”
“They owe a lot, and Chris and Allison have been doing their best to fix what they can, but the thing is that Chris still sees them as second-class humans. He will save the human and leave the Werewolf to die even if the human would survive what is coming.”
“So why are you here?”
“Something is up, and Chris asked for more help, and I’m the best at that kind of help.”
“Do you remember when I was seven, and I told everyone at that cookout that I was magic, and I was going to rule the world?” Stiles asked.
“Yes,” Tara said.
“Well, I could rule the world right now, and I might not even need my magic to do it.”
“You actually have magic?” Tara asked. Her eyes didn’t stray from the road, but Stiles could tell that she was tense.
“Yeah, it’s familial. Mom didn’t have it, though. She might have lived if she had. I don’t go down that path, though, I promise. Even if we had known I had it, I wouldn’t have been able to save her. I might have been able to help lessen the worst of the paranoia.”
“You could have stopped her from hating you at the end,” Tara said.
“Yes. Maybe. We have no clue. It’s a crapshoot. My magic is different than most, but it’s still something of a head game, and while I’m good at those with other people, I don’t always have the faith I need in myself.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Tara asked.
“I trust you. I’ve trusted you since you joined the force here with dad. I need someone who is on the edge of all of this. I need someone who sees all sides of it, and that has always been you.”
“I’m glad you still trust me this much,” Tara said. She stopped at a stop sign, looked around, and then looked at Stiles. “This is going to get worse before it gets better, isn’t it?”
“Okay then. You’ll protect everyone that you can, won’t you?”
“Then that’s enough for me. Now I want you to fill me in on what you want to. Your father talks about your boyfriend but never mentions his name. A few of us figure that it’s because we know who it is and doesn’t want someone in town to know. We are all gossips, and when it comes to you, everyone asks all the time.”
“Well, a few of you will not be all that shocked. I’ve been told that the way we acted toward each other was very much like pulling pigtails for two idiots.”
“I heard that Jackson Whittemore came back into town with you. Are you really telling me that it’s him?”
“Hot damn. You got a good one there. He’s stopped by the station a few times when he’s in town, talking to a few people. Now I see why. You might not have set foot here, but everyone you loved was as safe as you could make it, weren’t they?”
Stiles looked at Tara and watched her body language relax even more. She took her foot off the brake, and they rolled forward before she started to build speed. This was a good way for a well-balanced spread on what was going on that his father might have missed.
“You are a hard man to find alone,” Boyd said as he matched pace with Stiles in the Preserve. He was dressed for running and looked like he had been going at it for a while.
“And why do you want to find me alone?”
“Scott’s gunning for you. He’s pissed you are here, and he doesn’t like it.”
“How has Derek not seen this?”
“We don’t talk about you, ever. We haven’t for a long time, so no one had ever thought that Scott would still be this pissed at you for leaving when you did.”
“I had to, for myself. No one but dad had my back here. Well, Peter, but he was walking a fine line with that since Derek could have thrown him out, and he would be omega. He needed to make sure that he was safe, and I get that. After the insanity of him trying to kill everyone involved in the Hale fire, he needed to make sure he didn’t go crazy again.”
“Yes, Derek’s made sure that we all learned about how to properly be Werewolves and with the help of the team that was here before.”
“I’ve been kept abreast of everything here in Beacon Hills, Boyd. You don’t need to tell me about anything unless it’s only known to the pack, and then I would get your alpha’s permission for that.”
“Scott doesn’t understand how you are what you are, but you were always strong. I remember that night in the basement, Stiles. Sometimes I have nightmares about it. Usually, when someone here in town gets hurt, that is human.” Boyd slowed down as they neared a small lake that was deep in the Preserve.
Stiles hadn’t even realized that they had gone that far. The lake was putting off something that Stiles didn’t like.
“Every time I run, and I have no set destination, this is where I end up.”
“Huh,” Stiles said. He walked over to the edge of the water and dipped his fingers into it. It felt fine, the water and everything inside of the lake. He tried to push his magic into the lake but found a block. “Well, fuck me. How are you with magic?” Stiles looked at Boyd.
“Like being around someone doing it? I’m fine. Having it done to me? Iffy. Helping someone with casting it? I’m good.”
“Well, look at you.” Stiles stood up and clasped Boyd on the shoulder. “I need a few things I will need to look for. Stay here. Scream if anyone comes looking around. Even if they look like someone, we know.”
Boyd nodded his head.
Stiles went into the woods around the lake, and he found a few herbs that he needed. He still used most things that other magical practitioners needed. He didn’t want to be seen as something other than any of them. Most packs across the country didn’t know enough about magic to know when he was doing something impossible, as long as he acted like he was doing a ritual of some kind. Then there were assholes like Peter who knew more than some magic users.
Finding what he needed, Stiles headed back to where Boyd was standing at the head of the lake and was looking around like a sentry. Stiles was glad that Boyd had grown into a role that he was settled into. Stiles crushed a few leaves and whispered a few words as he let them drift. The leaves started to glow red and then landed on a spot in the lake. It was like there was a cover over the lake. That wasn’t good.
“So, I’m going to do something that you will find strange, but I need to be down there to do what I need to do. If I don’t come up after thirty minutes, you need to call my pack here and the Hales, not the Hale Pack, the Hales only.”
“Then jump in and rescue me. Make the call first. You have Jackson’s number, yes?”
“Yes, Derek gave it to me.”
“Good. Call him and then Peter or Derek.”
“Jackson, Peter, and then dive in and save the pitiful human.”
“Oh, you asshole.” Stiles flipped off Boyd before he started to strip naked.
Boyd didn’t even look away at first. He only did when he did a complete scan of the area. By the time Boyd looked back at him, Stiles was getting his shoes off. It was cool out but not nearly as cold as it could be. The water was going to be downright frigid, though.
Once naked, Stiles walked to the edge of the water and tested it with his toes. He felt how cold it was and worked on a spell to make sure that his body could regulate its temperature. It wasn’t, but a few seconds before, Stiles started to feel overly warm, so he walked down into the lake. He stopped just before his head went under and added a spell that he had made to allow him to breathe underwater without adding in gills. It only worked on him since it was all pretty much wish magic. His body wanted to float, so Stiles made sure that it sank down. He walked like he was just walking on land. The lake was deeper than Stiles thought it would be, but then it made sense that it would need depth to protect a family of Merfolk.
There at the bottom of the lake, was what he was looking for. Seven people were huddled together. Two of them had spears out and waited to see what Stiles did. The ones behind the front two were hard to tell the age of, but Stiles was sure they were a family.
“I’m not here to hurt you,” Stiles said in Polish.
“You are Gajos?” One of them asked in English.
“Yes, through Claudia.”
“You are Mischief?” a female at the back asked.
“Your mother promised us safety here, and then she died. We came back a few years ago, and things were fine, and then it went wrong.”
“How long have you been trapped here?” Stiles asked.
“Okay, well, how about I free you? I didn’t want to do anything to make sure someone hadn’t trapped a Kraken under here.”
“No, it’s just us.”
Stiles nodded his head, and he created the spell that he needed to get them free but also made it to where if there was any ill intent to humans in any of the Merfolk, they would not escape. The whole barrier shattered. He sighed and shook his head. “There is a Werewolf above, don’t worry, he will not hurt you.”
The two with spears looked at Stiles like he was crazy. Which Stiles was used to, really. He got it a lot, even from people who knew he was sane. He turned to head up; the weight of the water wasn’t letting him up as fast as he would like, so he removed the spell and started to swim upward. He broke the surface of the water and frowned when he saw Derek there in his uniform.
“You were under a while, and it wasn’t thirty minutes, but Derek called to check on me since I wasn’t home when I normally am from my run.”
“Well, that’s okay. I forgive you since I was going to be calling in someone anyway. Deputy Hale, do you have a family of seven that’s missing?”
Stiles turned to look at where he could see the Merfolk looking out from under the water. He turned back to Boyd and Derek. “Flash your eyes.”
The Merfolk slipped out, with the kids on the backside and the three adults there at the front. The two with spears were waiting for someone to attack them.
“Deputy Hale,” the oldest female said.
“Maria, I’m glad you have been found. Let’s go back to town and figure out what the hell to do about this.”
“Well, we are rather underfed; the lake doesn’t have a lot of fish in it on a normal basis. We can easily make it so that it was like we were kidnapped.”
“I can set up that in that weird place at the edge of the Preserve. Let me get a little DNA from each of you,” Stiles said.
“Of course,” Maria said.
Stiles knew that Merfolk were all very insular, so he was glad that they were at least known to Derek. It was nice that they were that integrated into town even after a short time back.
“Can I borrow Boyd?”
“That’s fine with me.” Derek looked at Boyd, who nodded his agreement. “How did you stumble upon this?”
“Boyd said that when he runs with no idea of what he wants, he ends up here. I bet that more of your pack has been here as well, just never understood what it was.”
“I’ve ended up here three times in the last week,” Derek admitted.
“Yeah, things like that, you need to tell hunters about. The Nemeton was drawing you here. Even if Chris and Allison hadn’t known what to do, they would have reached out. Once you get these guys talked to, you can get what I need. Someone trapped them here.”
“We were out here already,” Maria said.
“We didn’t see who it was.”
“I’ll go over all of that with you. I’ll get the normal report set up and then the faked one,” Derek said.
“Thank you, Mischief,” the kids all said.
Now that they were on land, it was noticeable that it was three adults and four children. Stiles nodded his head and walked back to the edge of the lake. The magic was still there, fading slowly with him. He grabbed a simple rock and harvested the signature. It was a hard spell, even for him, as he didn’t want to taint it with the signature with his own magic. He looked around as Derek led the Merfolk away. He just couldn’t figure out why the hell someone was trying to kill Merfolk. Unless someone was a fish, there was no fear from them. Stiles shook his head and laughed as he saw one of the youngest kids walking backward and looking at him. Stiles waved, and the kid turned around and rushed to catch up with the rest of her family.
“What do you need me for?”
“Protection,” Stiles said.
“You trust me to do that?”
“You do realize that Peter is dating my father, yes?” Stiles asked. He looked around for his clothes to find his boxers and put them on. He needed to be naked for what he was about to do, but he didn’t need to be fully naked until he was doing it, and covering up his junk was always a good idea when one was sitting on the ground.
“Peter trusts few people in his life. I think that he distrusted his own parents until they hadn’t fucked him up. I know more about you guys than you probably know about each other. I know who Peter trusts to have his back. He trusts you not to kill him.”
“I see. And he shares all of that with you?”
“Derek allows it. Though I am not sure that Derek knew it was going to me but just to Peter’s contact inside the Gajos family, to make sure that the Gajos was happy with the area and didn’t send other people here. So yeah, Derek knew that it was going to a contact. Peter might even have given my name. The other one.”
“Yeah, the one that sounds like you sneezed while saying mischief.”
“Heh, wolf’s got jokes. I love it.” Stiles waved his hand up and down in front of Boyd. “I love all of this. I love that your sass just got better. So watch my back. Make sure a mountain lion doesn’t eat me.”
“I might let it maul you a little bit.”
“Nice, that’s nice. Watch out for Jackson if you do.”
Boyd just crossed his arms and gave Stiles a big old grin.
Stiles dropped to the ground, letting as much flesh touch as he could without laying down. He wasn’t that stupid.
“How are you not freezing?”
“Ah, spell to stop me from freezing in the water, works outside as well, it’ll get too hot at some point since it’s warming me up faster than I am cooling at the moment. Will work until I am done, though, as I do have to go back into the water in a few minutes.”
“What are you doing now?”
“Taking the lay of the land as it were. So yeah, I’ll be like this for a few minutes, then I’ll get up and go right into the water without speaking to you. This time, if I’m under there for more than ten minutes, come and get me. Don’t pass go, do not call Jackson.”
“Nothing else under there is dangerous?”
“Nope, unless there is a shark.”
“Shark?” Boyd asked.
“Well, it was the first thing that came to mind.”
Stiles focused on what he was doing. He felt the darkness in the area more here than anywhere else. He wrapped himself in his magic before he started for the water. He shucked his boxers before he got close to the water. He laughed as the water enveloped him and tried to burn at his magic this time. Whoever was doing this was fighting back, but they were weak. Stiles didn’t figure that they knew exactly what they were doing. They didn’t know who they were dealing with. What kind of magic user they were dealing with. It was going to be the thing that stopped this from becoming too much. Stiles walked to the bottom of the lake again, putting a spell on to stop himself from floating again. He stayed there at the heart of the lake and cast his spell. He pushed all of his love for the people who lived here into it as he cast. It was going to heal the land. The spell would work from here out. He wanted Maria and her family to feel safe coming back here. No one was going to trap them again.
The land started to soak up the spell as soon as he was done with it. He let go of the spell that kept him down there, and he floated to the surface, kicking his legs to get up there quicker.
Boyd was standing at the edge of the water, looking ready to jump in.
“You had thirty seconds,” Boyd said.
“Well, then it’s good I finished early. Now, let’s see about getting out of here. When I get out, get ready for a windstorm to dry myself off.”
“I’ll look away. I’ve seen your skinny ass too much today.”
Stiles laughed as he swam to the edge and got out. He was glad that Boyd was not too angry with him.
“Stiles, you have a visitor,” Noah said.
Stiles looked up at his father to the man behind him. Alan Deaton was standing there. He had that weird, patient smile that Deaton had always worn when dealing with Stiles.
“Mister Stilinski,” Deaton said.
“Doctor Deaton, please come in.” Stiles nodded at his father. “Jackson is on a coffee run. Would you like some?”
“No, thank you. I won’t be here long.”
Stiles nodded his head as he closed up all of the files he had been looking at. Maria Alvera and her family’s file was in there as well. He left it on top, with a picture of the lake just sitting there. Deaton’s face didn’t change, but there was a look in his eyes with how he looked at the file. Deaton knew that the Merfolk were free.
“It’s been a long time since you’ve been home.”
“Yes, it has been. What do I owe this visit to?” Stiles asked.
“I’ve been told something a little weird, and I am not sure that I trust it.”
“Oh, okay. What is that?” Stiles reached out and picked up the files, letting his deactivated ring now show the Gajos symbol on it. Deaton’s eyes widened there. Stiles had spent the morning tweaking the spells on the ring to make it to where Stiles just needed to turn it on and off. He had never done that before because shit like that could fail at the wrong times. He really didn’t need it failing at the wrong time for him before this. Stiles was going to break the ring apart and reconstruct everything needed on it when he had a chance, but he hadn’t yet, and he wasn’t going to. It would be magically exhaustive, even for Stiles, so he needed to make sure he wouldn’t need to be part of a showdown.
“I see that I don’t need to ask. How did you come to be part of the Gajos Clan?” Deaton asked.
“Celeste Gajos is my aunt,” Stiles said.
“I see. And how is your father related to her?”
“My father is not, at least not through anything but marriage. My mother was the youngest Gajos child of the previous Matriarch.”
Deaton’s face made a weird expression, but his eyes were nothing but terrified. Stiles could feel that down to his bones. Deaton had done something or not done something that he thought Stiles would be pissed about when it came to his mother. Stiles would go through everything in Beacon Hills to figure out what the hell that was. He snagged a sheet of paper and wrote down his newest cell phone number. He had bought a burner with a Beacon Hills area code to give to people he didn’t trust. It was fancy as hell, and it would be easy to make people think it was his personal phone. He did his persona and work stuff through his other phone, but he was the kind of person who could have two.
“I also heard that you were dating Jackson Whittemore,” Deaton said.
“Yeah, we’ve been going strong since college. It’s been really great. He’s a good boyfriend,” Stiles said. He slipped the paper over to Deaton. “If you need anything from my team or me, just call.”
“I don’t think I’ll need help from your team, Mister Stilinski. Beacon Hills can handle itself, and I’m sure that you will not be needed.”
“Of course,” Stiles said.
Deaton stood up and left the room, moving through the Sheriff’s Station like he was a creepy and unhelpful asshole. He wondered just what was going on with Deaton. He added a few notes to his notebook of things that didn’t make sense. There was a lot about many of the things going on in Beacon Hills that didn’t make sense. Including Barrow escaping. He could very well have been the one to trap the Merfolk in the water. Stiles would have to check the man’s magical signature to make sure of that.
“That was strange,” Noah said as he came in and sat down across from Stiles, not taking the seat that Deaton had.
Stiles touched the chair, and he felt a little magic there. Nothing big, just a small compulsion charm that would make Stiles want to call him. It seemed that Scott had not told Deaton about who Stiles was in the Gajos family. Or Deaton didn’t think that Stiles was the powerhouse that he was in magic. Either way, it worked for him. He cleansed the chair and looked at his father.
“It wasn’t really. He did what he wanted, which was to charm this to have me come to him for help. I might even just do that. It’s probably why you went to him time after time when Peter was on his rampage. He wanted to know what was going on with everything and keep tabs.”
“What?” Noah asked.
“Well, you kept on going to Deaton to ask about the animal attacks even though really he has no training for that kind of thing. You would have been better off going to Beacon University and talking to the professors or even students. Yet, you went to Deaton. That means that there were spells in place to have things that could be Supernatural in origin being brought to his attention. It’s pretty smart, really. I would have been able to do a lot better with the spells, but I think that Deaton is used to being the only magical person in town.”
“And I know he’s on probation, so what could that little spell get him in trouble for?”
“A lot, really, and I made a note of it, and I have his magical signature on this pen as well as the needed information to make the arrest on behalf of the Druid Council. I think that things will be very, very different for a while here. You need to treat him like an enemy, Dad.”
“I have been. He doesn’t go into my office ever anymore, and he’s always taken to a room like this, but he’s not been around unless we call him. He’s not inserted himself into anything that he hasn’t been asked to be a part of. The last was help on a case trying to figure out what kind of dog we had running around attacking people. And yes, it was a dog, and they had rabies.”
“Oh, no, Peter told me about that one. I’m glad the dog was found, and things were quickly taken care of. We aren’t dealing with that kind of thing here.”
“No, not anymore. So what do you have for me?”
“Well, it seems that whoever took the Merfolk was very good at what they were doing, and that tells me it wasn’t Barrow. He’s not stable enough for that given what we know of him from the reports from Eichen.”
“Calavera never told me what went on that had the state stepping in and taking over Eichen,” Noah said.
“Well, they had a Supernatural unit, and somehow the paperwork that it was there was hidden, so the checks and balances that were supposed to happen didn’t. Like normal hospitals, have people who come in and look them over to make sure they are working like they are supposed to. That wasn’t happening for the hidden ward. The FBI is still looking into the paper trail on that, and it’s been eight years. There was bad shit going on there.”
“Damn, and that was happening there without no one knowing?”
“No, the local Supernaturals knew that Eichen was bad, but they had no proof and didn’t know who to go to with what they knew. It’s getting better. I have a feeling that it’s going to come back to Gerard Argent in the end. There is a lot in the area that goes back to that, but I haven’t figured out why.”
“The man was evil, is more reason needed?” Noah asked.
“Yes. It doesn’t give us a motive. There is the whole wanting to kill all the Werewolves, but he didn’t go after magic users or many other human-looking Supernatural unless they were in his path. That’s not someone who wants everyone who isn’t fully human dead. He had a reason, even if that reason didn’t make sense to anyone else.”
“Well, I can see that.”
“Deaton was here,” Jackson said as he came into the room with a tray of drink and a bag on top.
“Yes, he was offering up his help and trying to figure out where I was in the Gajos hierarchy. And when I say offering up his help, I mean that he tried to get me to call him for help by charming that chair. It’s all taken care of, and I’m adding it to the list of shit for him.”
“You know it’s people like Deaton that make me want to hate magic users.” Jackson walked over to Stiles and set down the drinks before handing one over to Noah. He dug a sandwich out of the bag and handed it over as well. Then Jackson tipped Stiles’ head up and pressed a soft kiss to his lips. “I’m heading back to the house. All three drinks are yours. Drink the hot one first.”
“There is no ice in the others,” Noah said.
“Nah, I’ll put them in the fridge for later. Then I can drink them cold but not watered down. Take Kira and Maia around town. The trio is visiting some of Sammy’s friends today, getting a measure of the town. I think you three out and about would be a good thing,” Stiles said.
“Yes, they are already getting themselves ready for it. Kira said she will look good enough to eat to see who she can get to flirt with her for more information. If she wasn’t so good at it, I would never believe it. Let me know when you want to be picked up. I’m taking Roscoe.”
“You got it.” Stiles pulled a sandwich out of the bag to start eating it. He smiled as it was one of his favorites from the deli down the street from the coffee shop. Jackson was gonna get a damned good blow job when they were both home. He liked it when Jackson indulged him.
“Son, please,” Noah said.
“Huh?” Stiles asked.
“You have no filter. I don’t need to know how Jackson indulges you.”
“Sorry,” Stiles said. He started to blush. He really hadn’t meant to say that out loud.
“It’s fine. It’s been a long time since things like that have happened. We are both kind of getting used to each other again. Dinner at home tonight?” Noah asked.
“That sounds like Peter,” Stiles said.
“Well, it doesn’t mean I don’t want it. I think that Peter is making a good meal. He wanted a close family meal. I wasn’t sure what he meant by that.”
“Close family is blood relations and in this case me and you and our significant others. The family would be everyone in my little circle and then everyone in your circle, like Derek, Cora, and the rest. The pack would be all of the Hale Pack and all of mine. My team is my family; they are my pack; they are everything to me.”
“Huh, I like that. I like knowing that you are all that close.”
“Yeah, we’ve stuck together like this, so that means that when the time comes for me to retire from the field like Celeste has done, they will as well, and we will all manage the business and the family. Well, manage as in bash heads. Most of them don’t have degrees to get into the business’s nitty-gritty, but they could train and consult with other teams. We will all have jobs for as long as we want.”
“Yes, Celeste was telling me about a lot of that when I worried about you after college. There is also a good job for people who are retired from the field with injuries.”
“Yes, which…is rare.”
“I’m well aware, but I knew that I would never be able to stop you, Stiles,” Noah said.
“Just like you wouldn’t leave this job even if you knew it was going to kill you instead of the chance that it could.”
“I am just glad you are home,” Noah said. He picked up his coffee and drank the dregs of it before balling up his sandwich wrapper. “I need to actually work, and you need to work on these files. Why isn’t the team here with you again?”
“I need to get this done without them influencing me on it. They will come in tomorrow and look at it all with me, and we will bounce ideas. It works for us, and that’s all that matters.”
“Well, be safe, and don’t stay too late. Dinner. Your clothes are fine.”
“Have Peter get with Jackson about the time and shit. He’ll be better at managing me than anything else.”
Noah laughed as he left the room.
Stiles looked down at the paperwork again and smiled as he dived into it again. He didn’t like the team making good-natured fun at him for loving paper trails. It was all good-natured, but sometimes, things were brought up a little too much for his liking. Stiles picked up his coffee and took another sip before putting the others up in the mini-fridge in the room. It was full of his stuff and a few snacks for some deputies who had their things stolen by other deputies. They all knew to stay the hell away from his fridge. He had told them he cursed it to make them all impotent for three weeks if they took anything out that they hadn’t put in.
Stiles didn’t even knock on the door, just slipped inside his father’s house. They were expecting them, and they were actually a few minutes late with the traffic jam they had hit after a light had gone out on their way here. The BHPD had just arrived to start to direct traffic when they had made it through the choke point.
“Stiles?” Jackson asked.
Stiles stopped at the tone that Jackson used. He knew that tone. Jackson didn’t like something, but he couldn’t put his finger on it.
“Tail,” Stiles said. He got ready to draw a weapon when a man stepped into the hallway from the dining room.
Stiles nearly relaxed when he saw it was his father, but there was something about how he was standing that wasn’t normal for him. Noise to the left had Stiles looking to see Peter on the top of the stairs leading down. He looked like he wasn’t himself either. Stiles reached back around Jackson and tried the door, but it wasn’t turning. So whoever was controlling his father and Peter was there. Stiles wondered what was going on that had Deaton already trying to take him out. He hadn’t done much unless one counted freeing the Merfolk.
“Dad?” Stiles asked, playing along with that he didn’t know that something was wrong.
“Stiles, come into the kitchen. I have a surprise for you.”
“Sure, Daddio,” Stiles said.
“Jackson, I have a few things up here for you, history books,” Peter said.
Stiles stopped walking forward and looked back at Jackson. He raised an eyebrow, but before Jackson could answer, a fly started to buzz around Jackson’s face and then landed on his lip before crawling up to his nose. Stiles knew that there were a few ways that this could go, but he wasn’t going to hurt these three at the moment. He needed to use Jackson to get the other two out. Unfortunately, Jackson’s venom actually worked on him now since he had merged his halves as it were.
Backing away from Jackson, Stiles started for the living room. He ducked inside as he heard Peter jumping down the stairs instead of walking. Which was a Hale trait. Stiles had thought Derek was allergic to walking down them. Now it seemed Peter was as well.
“So this is how the world ends?” Stiles asked as his father came in from the dining room while Peter and Jackson walked in from the hallway.
“Your words won’t save you,” Peter said.
“My words won’t?” Stiles asked. He touched a few tattoos, one of which was going to send out what he called Patronus to the rest of the team and lead them here. He loved Harry Potter and the ideas that he got from it. The only downside was that it took a lot of magic, and he was already feeling the drain on him. The second was a bat. It was better than a sword. Stiles went toward Jackson first, getting a good swipe in with it. Jackson grabbed the bat and left a smear of his venom behind. He hoped that he could do what he wanted to do with it. They had never trained, with Jackson being the one attacking like this. He spun around and missed being caught with Peter’s claws as he focused for just a second to think about his hand being covered with a glove. He swiped a finger over the venom on his bat and then went for his father.
Noah Stilinski was well trained in fighting techniques. The only reason that Stiles got the drop on him at the moment was that his father was being controlled. Whatever that fly was, it wasn’t good, but it at least seemed to be something that didn’t have full control, or his father would have beaten him already.
Stiles got the glove tip over his father’s lips; on reaction, his father licked at it. Stiles turned around to face the two coming for him as his father was now out of the picture. It was going to be harder to get Peter down. Peter already had his claws out, and his eyes were glowing. He was ready for a fight. He snagged a pillow and threw it at Peter. The man ripped it to shreds, but since it was filled with feathers, that just created a cloud of them, and Stiles dodged away but nearly right into Jackson’s arms.
It was just costly enough that Peter could get a good swipe in on him, and Stiles felt the blood trickling down his side. It hurt like a fucking bitch.
“Let’s just talk about this,” Stiles said as he stared down a Werewolf and a Kanima as they advanced on him. He was paying for trying not to hurt them, and he knew it.
“How about you die?” Peter asked.
“Why do I need to die?”
“He’s never going to love me more than he loves you,” Peter said.
Stiles laughed at that and decided to say fuck it. He swung with all of his might at Peter, the bat cracking off his face, making him spin around, and Peter hit the floor, blood everywhere. Stiles just hoped that some of the venom on the bat made it into Peter’s bloodstream. Stiles paid too close attention to Peter because he was being slammed into the wall the next thing he knew. He looked at Jackson’s face, his eyes reptilian and nothing of his love in them. Jackson’s hand was wrapped around his neck.
Jackson inhaled like he would start a rant of some kind but stopped breathing in like something caught his attention. He shook his head, and slowly Jackson reverted to himself, the fly crawling out from the corner of Jackson’s eye and then falling down like it was dead. Jackson didn’t let go of Stiles, but his grip softened some.
“Stiles?” Jackson asked.
“Hey, Jax, welcome back.”
Jackson let go of Stiles, backing away from him. He shook his head and looked like he was freaked out.
“I smell your blood,” Jackson said.
“Yeah, Peter got me. It’s fine. Check on them; I got them both with the venom. Well, I think I got Peter with the venom. I at least knocked his ass out if I didn’t.”
Jackson stepped away from Stiles, his eyes darting down his body before looking at Stiles’ face. He looked haunted.
“Go. I need to check over the rest of the house.”
Stiles pushed off the wall and headed up to the second floor. He found no one there, so he kept on looking. He knew the places in the house the best for someone hiding there. The only evidence he found was a still slightly burning cigarette on the front porch. Someone had been right there. He looked around for more evidence, but they left none behind. He had no clue what was going on. The flies were something that he needed to look into more. He remembered something more about things like this now that he had seen it. Reading he had done in college during a binge. The only issue was that Helena was here and not there. He might need to have her get him someone from the staff to help.
“They are fine. Peter’s healed and not able to move. Your father is fine as well. Where did you get him?”
“Lips, he licked it. It doesn’t last as long as when it goes straight into the bloodstream. Call Derek and get him and Parrish here; I’m going to check on the food.”
“Nothing. It hadn’t even started. They have been under the thrall a while.”
“Damn, okay. Well, I guess I’m going to have something delivered.” Stiles sat down on the living room floor, right at the head of the couch where his father was stretched out. Peter was on the other couch. He could see him, and that was good enough for him. He didn’t like the blood all over Peter’s face, but it had been Peter or him, and Stiles wasn’t going to allow his father to bury him if he could do anything to stop it. He snagged a pillow from the ones that Jackson had knocked to the floor to lay Noah down and lifted up to put his ass on it. He looked at the apps on his phone, picked one that had the best offerings for the area, and looked through until he found something that he knew everyone would like.
Food ordered, Stiles leaned his head back until it was touching his father’s a little bit. He knew that he was awake and could talk, but he hadn’t said anything.
A gasp told Stiles that Peter was awake. Stiles got up and walked over to him, laying a hand on his chest.
“You are fine. You are safe.”
“I’m fine. Though I should get the wounds taken care of.”
“Thank you for taking out your father first, even though Jackson and I were the bigger threats.”
“I couldn’t have him hurt me and remember it. I wouldn’t do that to him.”
“Noah?” Peter asked.
“I’m fine,” Noah said.
“Sure, Daddio.” Stiles left Peter with a smile and walked over to where his father was. He sat down at his father’s hip and looked at him. “I know what it’s like, being trapped like this. I’m fine. When someone else gets here, I’ll have Jackson focus on taking care of me. Right now, he’s on guard duty, and focusing on my wound would make it worse. So yeah, I’m dealing with that right now.”
“You were like this and had to listen to the station being attacked,” Noah said.
“Yes. It was honestly the worst night of my life. It’s why in the end, when I was kidnapped, I told you everything. I couldn’t take it all. So yeah, this sucks.”
There was a knock on the door, and Jackson was there before Stiles could think of getting up to answer it. His side was aching a lot, making him not want to move his middle at all.
Derek was the first person to come into the living room, and on his heels was Parrish. Derek went right for Stiles. Stiles thought that he was trying to get to Stiles’ father to check on him, tried to move, but Derek just laid a hand on his shoulder to push him down.
“Jackson said he had a few claw issues,” Derek said.
“Yeah, he tends to when freaked out.” Stiles looked at Derek, not understanding until Parrish handed over a first aid kit. “Oh, yeah, that works.”
“Do you want to stay here or go to the bathroom?”
“Here,” Noah answered before Stiles could.
“Okay then. Um, shirt?” Derek asked.
“Yeah.” Stiles lifted up the shirt and then thought better of that and dropped it. “Just cut it off. It hurts too much to get it off right now, and the blood isn’t going too fast. I don’t want to rip the clots that have formed so far until I have to.”
“Sure.” Derek raised a hand that had a single claw out. He slit the shirt open down the middle, making sure to pull it out so that Stiles’ skin wasn’t even touched with the claw. “I’m shocked you are letting me touch you.”
“You have a pretty stable pack, Derek. That means you are doing good. Why wouldn’t I trust you? Also, I’m sitting here on a couch with my father behind me. You would be stupid as fuck to do anything to me with him right there.”
“Sorry, you were attacked, Sir. Parrish is talking to Jackson, and once I am done here, I’m going to talk to the both of you.”
“You mean three?”
“I thought you could join Jackson outside. Have Parrish talk to you both after he gets you guys to talk about things along first.”
“Can you lean back on your father?” Derek asked.
“Yeah, I can do that.” Stiles moved as Derek asked, feeling the skin pull, and he felt fresh blood start to escape. Derek was there with a rag of some kind, wiping at the blood. Stiles hissed when he felt that the rag had something on it cleaning the wound. It burned like a son of a bitch. He gripped the edges of the couch on either side of his thighs and tried not to scream. He wasn’t sure what the hell Derek was using, but he was a fucking sadist for using it. He groaned and tried to settle down when Derek lifted the rag away.
“He got you good. Feel free to scream if you have to,” Derek said.
“Fuck you,” Stiles answered.
“No, thank you.”
Stiles laughed, which made his gut hurt even worse. He shook his head when Derek looked at him, asking silently if he needed him to stop.
The back door was slamming shut about the time Derek was finishing dressing the wounds.
“Your boyfriend is an asshole,” Parrish said.
“Boyfriend?” Derek asked. He looked Stiles in the eye as he asked.
“Jackson,” Stiles answered.
“You are dating Jackson?”
“Practically married to him,” Noah answered.
Derek gave Stiles a strange look, but Stiles pushed that away to look at Parrish.
“As soon as he’s done here, I’ll go outside with you. Help calm his ass down and get a good statement.”
“Oh, I have a good statement. He’s just pissed off that he nearly hurt you. He doesn’t like that.”
“Jackson doesn’t like being controlled. Has anyone talked about the Kanima?” Stiles asked.
“Yes. They never shared who the Kanima was for privacy since they were not in control of what they were doing at the time.”
“Yeah, like I said, Jackson doesn’t like being taken control of,” Stiles said.
“You are good, Stiles,” Derek said. He stood up and stepped back so that Stiles could get up.
Stiles looked down to see a little blood already seeping through the gauze, but that was the way it was going to be until he could relax.
“I’m gonna head out. Derek, I have food on the way. I paid and tipped on the app. I got enough for everyone. Just…make sure he doesn’t blame himself.” Stiles looked down at his father as he said it.
Stiles got outside and listened to Parrish following him. Jackson was lying on the ground, looking up at the darkened sky above. It was now nearly fully dark, and Stiles usually loved this. Stiles looked at Parrish and waved at him to pause. Jackson didn’t even move as Stiles laid down with him on the ground. Not until Stiles was curling into him. Jackson’s arm came up behind him and held him tightly.
“I’ll call in the morning. I don’t want to tonight.”
“That’s fine. I’m sure that she’ll understand. I doubt either of us will sleep without nightmares tonight. So I’m gonna tell Parrish what happened, and then we can all three talk, okay?”
Jackson nodded his head.
Stiles waved Parrish over, who sat down on the ground beside them.
They were just finishing up giving their statements when Derek yelled that food was there.
Stiles’ father was moving around when Stiles got into the living room. Getting it just on his lips had lessened the effects, just like when Stiles had touched the door with it at the mechanics when he had been younger. Peter was moving around a little less, the healing of his head pushing out more than anything else. He was on the other side of Stiles’ father, who was in the middle of the couch.
“Smells good,” Derek said as he handed over the bag that was labeled with Stiles’ name. He shook it a little. “I didn’t know they did that kind of thing.”
“Yeah, I used to have things like this delivered to the station when they were working a big case,” Stiles said.
“It’s nice,” Parrish said.
“Yeah, it really is.”
Stiles didn’t fight it when his father pulled him close and tucked him into his side. Jackson was perched on the arm of the couch. Parrish was sitting on the other couch, and Derek settled in beside him. Derek looked at Jackson with a strange look on his face, but Stiles wasn’t sure what it was about, and right now, he didn’t care. He had more important things to worry about. Like getting the fucker who had done this.