- Character Bashing
- Alternate Universe
Stiles Stilinski lay still on the loosely packed patch of dirt in what had, at one time been part of a wildly growing group of flowers and herbs. His mother’s garden hadn’t been tended to regularly in many years, so most of the plants had died off. As he felt his energy reaching out through the Earth, Stiles felt his power searching for the tendrils of life and pushed out. He felt the life growing and twisting, gaining strength and thicker roots.
He took a deep breath and opened his eyes. The garden looked alive again. The flowers and herbs were still chaotic in that way that wildly blooming plants were, but Stiles knew, some deep intrinsic knowledge, that was how it was meant to be.
He wondered if his mom used to do this. Did she sit in this very spot and reach out with these same powers and touch the very soul of the Earth? Was her own soul released back into the cosmos even now, reaching back at him in some way?
He would never really be one of her people. He was too much his father’s son for that, but he could learn to create a bridge between the two, maybe.
Lucas Stilinski was watched his son, his Gaufrid and sighed. His son really was growing into his name after all these years. When Emeline had said she wanted to name him using some of the old Stilinski traditions, traditions that had long since passed out of use, Lucas had just given her a book of traditional Germanic-derived names and their meanings and told her to choose.
It had taken her three weeks to decide. Gaufrid, from the Germanic elements gawia which meant“territory” and frid which meant “peace”. She had seemed too serene, so sure that that was the right name for their child that he couldn’t argue with her. When he had started telling everyone to call him Stiles when he was seven because no one could pronounce it or understood what it meant, Emeline just smiled and said he will grow into it, just watch. Now he had, but Emeline was not here to witness it.
He had grown into that prophetic name, bringing peace to this territory in a way Emeline had tried to do, but ultimately failed at. Had she known even then? She had a mild gift a sight. Had she Seen what Stiles future held?
He hoped his son had the strength for whatever came next, and that this pack could pull together. They would need each other, and he had a feeling this respite was only temporary.
Stiles could feel the hum of the Earth beneath his fingers and wanted to reach and touch it at its source if that was even possible. Could he do that? He probably could. Probably not yet. He hadn’t learned nearly enough about who he was, about who his mother had been to be able to harness those kinds of abilities. He wasn’t even sure which element he was more attuned with though he had a feeling Air would be his strongest affinity.
According to the journals, he should be able to connect to the five elements, both one at a time, and using two or more at once. One of the older journals explained that once he had a basic understanding of the Fey and how their power interacted with the elemental forces around them, he’d be able to elevate that understanding to outside forces, such as talismans, and protection spells.
Several of the journals spoke of how they had left home once they received their magical inheritance. Apparently, it was some sort of rite of passage. A fey would come into their magic, and then they would leave home, sometimes going far away, other times it might be just in the next village. Once they had their magic, according to Fey law, they were an adult.
“How long has he been like that?” Derek asked as he watched Stiles lying in the dirt.
Lucas took a swallow of lukewarm coffee and stared at his son, and tried to imagine what the werewolf saw, what everyone else might see as they looked at Stiles, lying there in the dirt, so different from the Stiles of just a few weeks ago, and yet in some ways, just the same. He was always, in the center of his being, his mother’s son, more so than he was his father’s whatever others might think, it was just now it was much more apparent.
“He’ll be a while yet.” Lucas finally answered motioning back towards the kitchen where another pot of coffee was brewing.
Derek pulled his eyes away from the sight and followed the sheriff. It was strange, coming back to this house and being welcomed. It had only been a week since Stiles’ barbeque, and things were only just starting to settle.
“How are things going?” The sheriff asked pouring a cup of coffee for Derek.
“We’ve received approval to build,” Derek stated, not sure if the sheriff was referring to the pack or was just inquiring to be polite.
“That’s good.” He took a sip of his coffee. “Stiles mentioned you were looking at land to the north of the preserve, several miles west of the old house.”
Derek looked down at his coffee and nodded. “It was Peter’s idea.”
“Was it?” Lucas asked, raising an eyebrow, lips twisting in a slight smile. “I’m glad. It’s time for you to make new memories. Both of you.”
“Yes, sir,” Derek whispered before taking a sip of the dark liquid.
“What did I say I about calling me Lucas?”
Derek felt like he was being reprimanded, but gently. It was strange and foreign, and if he was honest, nice. “I’ll try to remember…Lucas.”
“You do that.” The sheriff nodded once more before he got up and started rummaging around the cupboards. “Pancakes or waffles?”
Derek stared at him blankly for a moment. He hadn’t had pancakes since New York. Laura used to make them on Sundays after her morning run. Waffles, well he hadn’t had those since…
“Waffles.” He found himself answering, even though he wasn’t sure why.
Lucas nodded once. “Waffles it is.” He took out the waffle iron and began making the batter while Derek stared numbly.
“I haven’t had them since before the fire.” He said quietly. Clearly, his mouth was going to speak without any input from his brain this morning.
Lucas paused in his mixing and started to turn around before he started stirring again. He took a breath before speaking. “Derek.” He paused once more. “What happened to your family was horrible. I can’t even imagine how devastating it was for you and your sister, nor what kind of damage it did to Peter.” He did pause then, set the mixing bowl aside and came back to the table.
“I knew your parents, and I knew Peter…before.” He paused again. “He’s different. Don’t get me wrong he was always snarky and a bit manipulative, but there’s a darkness in him now that wasn’t there before.”
“Are you saying I shouldn’t trust him?” Derek asked, preferring to focus on his uncle rather than anything he may have revealed about himself.
“No. Peter’s darkness is…pain and guilt and anger, not so different from your own.”
Derek nodded, he knew Peter wasn’t the same man he had known before the fire, but neither was he the vengeance-crazed wolf who had caused so much mayhem in Beacon Hills starting with the forced Bite of Scott McCall. “We’re trying to build again,” Derek said, referring to both their house and their pack.
Lucas nodded. “That’s good, for you, for Peter, and for your pack.” He paused a moment. “Stiles will help you…if you let him.”
Derek stared at him a second and then turned back to the sliding glass door where Stiles was still lying against the dirt outside, his fingers clutching the Earth as if it was a part of him, or he was a part of it. Derek turned back to Lucas. “Stiles is my Second. The pack needs him. That’s actually why I’m here.”
“Well then. I better finish these waffles.” Lucas smiled and turned back to breakfast preparations.
“So, what brings you by today? You don’t look like a man who had a sudden but inexplicable craving for my dad’s waffles.” Stiles observed.
Derek’s lips twitched slightly. “No, but that was before I’d had them…now, who knows?” He shrugged his shoulders slightly.
“They are pretty awe-inspiring.” Stiles agreed. He took another bite and watched the werewolf closely for another minute. “Seriously though, you have your serious brows on.”
“My what?” Derek asked in confusion.
Stiles waved his fork around in the general direction of Derek’s face and scowled slightly, trying to imitate the Alpha. “You know, you’re serious…brows.”
Derek stared at him for a second not sure how exactly to respond to that before shaking his head, deciding it was best to ignore it for the moment. “I want to talk to you about Jackson.”
Stiles nodded. “I figured that would be coming up.”
“We need to make a decision,” Derek stated the obvious.
Stiles blinked. “I thought that was up to you? You are the Alpha.” He narrowed his eyes at the werewolf. “Are you saying you can’t just decide all by yourself…you need my what? Approval? I’m not even a werewolf!”
Derek sighed in frustration. “I can make decisions by myself. I am the Alpha!” He snarled, his temper getting the better of him. “Technically, I don’t need your approval, or input, or advice in any way. However, what is the point of having a Second if you will not heed their counsel?”
Stiles stopped for a second, running that through his head and finally nodded thoughtfully. “Fair point. Okay, so…Jackson. My own personal issues with him aside, he is your first Beta, and as much as I hate to admit it, what happened to him wasn’t his fault.”
Derek nodded in agreement. “I never meant to kill him, you know. I mean, I’m not really sure I wanted him as a Beta exactly, but I didn’t want him to die either.”
“What do you mean?” Stiles asked curiously. He’d never given much thought to Jackson and how he’d gotten Bitten and Derek’s reasons. By the time they’d realized that Jackson was the Kanima there had been too much going on to worry about how they’d gotten there, at least as far as Stiles was concerned.
Derek sighed, remembering the night he became an Alpha. “Jackson showed up at the house after everyone had left, later, demanding that I Bite him. He said I owed him since he’d helped with Peter. I gave him what he wanted, but I don’t think I was thinking clearly, not really. I was still dealing with the shift in power, the change from being a Beta to being an Alpha, killing Peter, the relief that Kate was finally dead.” He paused a second, realizing belatedly that maybe he shouldn’t have mentioned that last part.
Stiles reached across the table and place a hand on Derek’s arm. “Kate set the fire. I know. I figured it out when my dad brought his case files home.”
Derek shook his head and swallowed thickly. “It wasn’t just that she set the…the fire. She…I helped her…I let her…I” He couldn’t finish and looked down at where Stiles was still gripping his arm.
“You didn’t let her do anything, Derek Hale!” Stiles hissed, his voice barely above a whisper. “She manipulated you. Everything that happened then, everything, is on her, and her entire fucked up family.”
Derek looked up then and stared up at Stiles. The Fey’s eyes were flashing green, the color of the forest after a hard rain, he could see the swirls of power reflected in their depths and felt the power of truth being willed into him. He nodded once. Stiles blinked, and his eyes returned to their normal color.
They both returned to their breakfast and ate in silence for a few minutes, both trying to calm down, curb their swirling thoughts.
“If Jackson joins the pack, so do Danny and Lydia,” Stiles stated after several minutes companionable silence.
“Is that a problem?” Derek asked curiously. He didn’t really know that much about either of them, aside from the fact that Danny was good with computers and until recently had been kept in the dark about the supernatural. Lydia, he knew slightly more about because she had at one time been suspected of being the Kanima, and that she was responsible for bringing his uncle back from the dead. She was a possibly dangerous unknown variable.
Stiles shrugged. “Not exactly. I think they would be assets. All three of them are intelligent but in different ways. Lydia’s immunity is still a mystery though, that might be something we should consider. We don’t know what it might mean.” Stiles said thoughtfully.
“You don’t think we should include Lydia?” Derek asked, surprised. He didn’t think Stiles felt precisely the same blind devotion for her he once had. No doubt seeing her feelings for Jackson manifest the way they had, in a way no one who was paying attention could possibly deny, had separated them further. Stiles was nothing if not observant. Still, there was a world of difference between not feeling the same way towards Lydia and leaving her out in the cold, Supernaturally speaking.
“I didn’t say that.” Stiles countered. “I just said it’s something we should consider when discussing Jackson.” He looked up across the table at Derek. “The fact is that smarts or not they are a packaged set, Jackson and Lydia, and now Jackson and Danny as well. The second fact is we don’t know anything about Lydia’s immunity…unless Peter is holding out on us?” He arched a brow.
“He probably is,” Derek admitted. “Though what he knows, exactly?” He shrugged.
“Well, I suggest we find out before we make a decision,” Stiles suggested.
Derek nodded, realizing that was probably a good idea. He paused, not sure how to bring up the next thing. “I also want to talk to you about something else.”
Stiles stared at Derek questioningly.
“Scott.” He hesitated for a second. “Have you talked to him recently? He’s been spending some time with Isaac, but…I can’t really get a good read on the situation.”
Stiles looked away for a second, his eyes unfocused. “Scott’s…struggling. He wants…Hell, I’m not sure what he wants exactly. I’m not even sure if he knows. He wants everything to go back to how it used to be, I think. But, I think, even he knows, on some level, that that’s impossible. Aside from the fact that time travel isn’t feasible, if he could go back, he’d be losing something.”
Derek mulled that over for a second before asking a question he wasn’t sure he wanted the answer to. “He still would rather he wasn’t a wolf?”
Stiles sighed. “I think…he’d like to think all his problems began and ended with Peter’s bite. However, in his most honest moments, he knows that’s not exactly true. Yes, his life changed that night, and it wasn’t necessarily for the better, but good things happened too. Regardless of the state of things now, his relationship with Allison is owed to his being a werewolf. Yes, it ultimately caused a major problem for her family, but the truth is, without the added confidence he never would have approached her. Being a werewolf cleared up his asthma as well, and allowed him to make co-captain in Lacrosse.” He sighed again. “It was just easier to blame Peter, blame you as a convenient target for his anger, especially since his being what he is causes such a rift between him and the Argents. He’d rather see that as the fault of the Wolf, and not because the flaw of Hunters and the way they see things.”
“And now?” Derek asked cautiously. “You haven’t mentioned him…you don’t want to bring him into the pack?”
“He and I…are of a different mind,” Stiles said carefully. “I’m not saying he won’t ever be a part of this pack, I’m just saying that he is not yet ready to be a part of any pack. He needs time, and I’m giving it to him.” Stiles shrugged.
Stiles sat at one of the Nexus points, his palms resting in the Earth, as he felt the thrum of the energy of this place, felt the life force of every being within its borders. If he focused enough, he could tell where every living thing was. In time he might even be able to differentiate between specific species and their state of health. Now he could only get a vague distinction between human, and animal, and what resonated as other. Paranormal entities, like pixies, werewolves, even a few brownies.
He felt a human presence drawing near. This one had an aura of magic surrounding it, but it was different than his own aura. He kept his eyes closed until she drew close enough for conversation then he opened his eyes and flashed them at her, a silent warning to tread carefully.
“You need a teacher,” Marin spoke quietly, her dark eyes looking at Stiles solemnly.
Stiles nodded once, because he agreed with her, in theory. His family journals would only take him so far, and he wasn’t entirely comfortable in continuing his studies beyond what he considered safe, not alone, without guidance. What would happen if he went too far into the Earth? What of the other elements? He just wasn’t comfortable experimenting with certain things on his own.
Still, agreeing, in theory, did not necessarily equate with allowing a virtual stranger to teach him. It was true he knew Morrell, in her capacity as Guidance Counselor, and though her advice had been helpful, that didn’t mean he wanted to trust her to guide him in magical studies.
“You need a teacher.” She repeated.
“Yes.” He agreed finally. “But it doesn’t have to be you.”
“We are the same, Stiles,” Marin stated. “Your people, and mine. We keep the balance. We may do it differently, but the results are the same.”
“Are they?” Stiles asked, his voice changing slightly with his mood. “Where were you and your…people when the Nexus destroyed my mother?”
“That was her choice,” Marin stated calmly. She stepped closer. “This anger you’re channeling now…it’s not yours alone. You feel the energy of this place more strongly than others, and you, anchored to a pack as you are, also feel their emotions more closely.” She took a deep breath and reach out towards him, risking the anger she could even now feel beneath the surface, but she was trying to make a point. “You need training, or what you feel will consume you.” Her fingers lightly touched the pulse point at his wrist, where it was thrumming wildly with the tempo of his emotions. “Let me help you regain your balance.”
Stiles looked down and where she touched him and then breathed in and felt the anger settle. “Okay. I’ll give it some thought.
Stiles looked around the outside of the house in astonishment. They really had done a great job getting the structure put together. It wasn’t anywhere near finished, but they were making steady progress.
“You should let me put some protection wards up,” Stiles said. He knew the Nexus was a protection of sorts but that wouldn’t keep trouble out of Beacon Hills forever, and there was always the possibility that something innocuous was already inside his borders that could cause a problem they couldn’t foresee.
He had felt the lifeforce of everything inside his borders when he connected with the Nexus and became the Keeper but he was still learning to filter the information he received.
Derek was standing on what would be the porch when completed. Now it wasn’t much more than boards and a temporary walkway to get into the house. He looked back at Stiles and watched him quietly before nodding.
“We should do it before the construction is finished.” Stiles closed his eyes and let his other senses feel the energy of the place. “You picked a good spot. This place has cleansing energy.”
Derek stared at him for a second and shrugged. He didn’t really have a lot to do with choosing the specific location. Once it had been decided to build away from the site of the original Hale house, Derek had let Peter arrange the meetings with the contractors and get everything started.
Speaking of which, they were here for a reason. “Come on, let’s go inside. Peter is waiting.”
Peter was waiting. He was standing in the open area between what would be the central living area and the kitchen. “It’ll be finished by next week, so they tell me. If you want to lay down some wards, you should do it before they start back to work on Monday.”
Stiles wandered carefully through the house before focusing back on Peter. “I’ll come back tomorrow, but we’re not here about the house. We want to talk to you about something else.”
Peter raised an eyebrow and looked from his nephew to Stiles and back. He turned away from them and waited for them to start speaking. This could be about anything from Scott to Laura to Lucas. He really hoped it wasn’t about Lucas because that was a conversation he wasn’t ready to have.
“We want to talk about Lydia.”
Peter froze. He placed his palms against the area where the kitchen’s insides were partially built and looked out the frame for the kitchen window overlooking the far end of the driveway. He took a deep breath, let it out and waited. He knew that if he waited long enough, Stiles would speak first. This new Stiles was different in many ways, but some things hadn’t changed.
“How did you know?” Derek growled before Stiles could say anything.
Peter turned around, slightly surprised. “Know what?”
Stiles spoke before Derek could respond. “Lydia and Jackson have petitioned to become a part of this pack.” He placed a hand on Derek’s shoulder as if stilling him from saying something but Peter wasn’t sure what, his connection to his nephew was still tenuous at best. The pack was still growing, and their strength together was young. However, Stiles and Derek working closely together was a good sign.
Stiles returned his attention back to Peter. “Lydia’s immunity concerns us. So, I want to know how you knew…that she was immune…that her immunity could be used to resurrect you.”
Peter sighed. He knew eventually that he was going to have to tell the truth about Lydia and what his resurrection meant, but he had been hoping he had a little more time. “It was part legend and part luck.”
“Explain,” Derek growled again.
“I remembered reading about an entity that had lived in Beacon Hills a few generations back that had…certain abilities. When I first came into contact with Lydia, outside the video store, she did something that lead me to believe she might have untapped potential, and may, in fact, be a descendant of this other…entity.”
Stiles frowned. “What did she do?”
Peter smiled in that sly way he sometimes had. “She screamed.”
Stiles did some online research for an hour or so until he could narrow down Peter’s clues. He figured Lydia’s ancestors were one of three things: Harpies, Banshees, or Sirens. The journals had extensive information on all three, and without speaking to Lydia and finding out about her own experiences he couldn’t be sure, but he was leaning towards Banshees, especially considering their affinity towards death.
If he was right, he knew just where he could find more research. His people had documented all kinds of supernatural forces, some that were thought extinct now, others that lived in faraway lands or were specific to certain types of climates or elemental forces. Others were nomadic or weren’t very particular about where they made their home. Consequently, the journals he had inherited had a lot of information about a wide variety of topics. He had come to realize, even in this short time, that it was the sort of thing that put the Argent’s bestiary to shame and that an experienced Hunter would kill to possess. It was also why he would be cautious about who had access to the books and what they were using them for.
Once he had combed through his own resources, he would have to see if Deaton knew anything. He always seemed to know more about what was going on in town that he let on.
Stiles waited outside the clinic for Scott to leave. He felt weird about it like he was hiding, but he wasn’t sure what to say or if he should say anything. The last time they had spoken was when Scott had shown up at the Stilinski house during the Pack barbecue. Stiles wasn’t sure at this point if he was avoiding Scott or Scott was avoiding him.
It was clear, from that brief conversation, that Scott didn’t quite understand what had happened to Stiles. Stiles couldn’t blame him for that because it wasn’t easy to understand, and Stiles didn’t much feel like talking about it, then or now. The fact that that Scott’s girlfriend was partially to blame didn’t help matters. Stiles didn’t really blame her for the supernatural enhancements he had ended up with, that was all down to his own freaky genetics, but if the Argents hadn’t had their part in it, he never would have known.
He still wasn’t sure whether he was pissed off about that, or relieved. On the one hand, he had a supernatural upgrade, which living in Beacon Hills, he sort of needed. Plus now he knew the truth about his mom, and they had this heritage that they shared, which was great if a little weird. On the other hand, Boyd and Erica were still dead. He wasn’t close with them, not as much as he probably could have been, not if Derek’s pack had gotten their act together sooner, but still. He didn’t hate them, and he didn’t wish them dead, and he certainly wouldn’t wish the Argents on them.
He and Scott were at an impasse because Scott wouldn’t see the Argent’s as anything other than Allison’s family, and Stiles could no longer see them as anything other than Hunters. To make matters more…complicated, was the fact that Scott still hadn’t accepted his wolf.
This was less of an issue before Stiles became part of Derek’s pack. But he was a part of Derek’s pack now, and however that had happened, he wanted to be a part of it, wanted to belong to the pack, and wanted to help Derek and Isaac, and even Peter to rebuild some of what they’d lost. He didn’t want to admit that maybe that meant he’d have to give up his friendship with Scott, but perhaps he couldn’t have both.
Stiles heard the back door open and watched as Scott came out. He didn’t even look around or use his senses the way he’d seen Isaac and Peter do sometimes. Scott really was ignoring his nature. Stiles sighed and waited another few minutes before he got out and went into the building.
The entrance was empty, which wasn’t surprising. Deaton usually spent most of his time either in the back or in his office. He followed the sense of human life that lead towards the office. Deaton was sitting at his desk going through paperwork of some sort. He looked up at Stiles at stared implacably for a moment.
“Avoiding Scott, Mr. Stilinski?” Deaton asked in that knowing way he had.
“Trust me when I say it’s better for all concerned if we don’t interact until Scott is ready,” Stiles said honestly. He didn’t blame his oldest friend for how he felt but at the same time, Stiles was part of something bigger now, and he had other people counting on him. It wasn’t just about his dad and Scott anymore.
“Perhaps Scott would understand things more clearly if you tried to speak to him.” Deaton offered, his words held a slight bit of censure.
“Perhaps.” Stiles agreed non-committedly. His issues with Scott were his business. “That’s not why I came here.”
“Why are you here, Mr. Stilinski?” Dead sat up a little straighter.
“Banshees. What can you tell me about them?”
Deaton blinked and then looked back at his desk. “Nothing.”
“Nothing? Because you don’t know anything or because you won’t share what you know?” Stiles pressed.
Deaton looked back up at Stiles. “I thought Marin spoke to you about training.”
“She did,” Stiles admitted, though he still wasn’t one-hundred percent on board with that idea.
“Then you should speak to her,” Deaton said firmly.
“I haven’t agreed yet.” Stiles protested.
“You need training, Mr. Stilinski. There is only so much you can learn from books.” Deaton stared at Stiles in that weird penetrating way he had.
“I know that!” He snapped, a rumble in the Earth following in his wake.
Deaton raised an eyebrow.
Stiles took a deep breath. “Fine. I will call her, but I need to know about Banshees now.”
“Very well, but you must contact Marin. Today.” He got up and went to a shelf hidden behind some medical texts and came back with a thin, worn book.
“I promise.” Stiles agreed as he took the book gingerly.
Sheriff Lucas Stilinski looked up from his paperwork to the figure standing in his office doorway.
“I brought lunch.” Peter brought over the carryout bags and set them down. “Though I have it on good authority that Stiles should probably not hear about this.”
“Because of the contents of the meal or because of the reason you’re here?” Lucas asked in that direct way he had.
Peter smirked. “A little from column A; a little from column B.”
“Uh, huh. Why are you here, exactly?”
“I have a minor situation,” Peter admitted.
Lucas sighed. “Peter, with you, a minor situation often involves the covering up of crimes or creative ways of dealing with Hunters.”
“Nothing that drastic, I assure you.” He started taking the food out of the bags, as he continued. “Do you remember the situation with Martine Rayburne?”
Lucas frowned as he thought. “The human daughter of the Alpha from Oregon? She came to treaty with Emeline and Talia and you and she…well you entertained each other if I remember correctly.”
“You remember correctly,” Peter admitted.
“Emeline never said precisely what happened, but she did tell me that the treaty broke up abruptly due to some sort of…oathbreaking. Or something.”
Peter sighed. “Martine and I were caught…post activity by her brother. It broke things up pretty quickly.”
Lucas chuckled. That did sound like the Peter of old. “So, why bring it up now? Is Derek trying to broker a new treaty?”
Peter shook his head. “No. There was a child. The Rayburne’s were mortified by the situation and wanted nothing to do with it, and Talia was…she knew I couldn’t take care of it, not then, so she put it up for adoption.”
“Human?” Lucas asked, in shock, trying to wrap his head around some Hale child out there, werewolf or not.
Peter nodded. “It doesn’t matter. I want to find them. Will you help?”
Lucas looked up at him and stared for a long moment before nodding. “Of course.”
“You’ve made a decision,” Lydia stated as she opened her door to find Stiles standing on her porch.
“Can I come in?’’ Stiles asked.
Lydia stared at him for a second before stepping back and letting him inside.
Stiles felt his energy expand throughout the house just briefly before turning to face her again. “You’re alone.”
“Yes. Jackson is over at Danny’s.” She watched Stiles for a moment before sittng back on the couch. “So, are we in or out?”
“You’re in, but there are a few things we should talk about.”
Lydia narrowed her eyes and stared for a long moment before motioning to the other couch. “What kind of things, Stiles?”
“Derek and I, we want you in the pack.” Stiles began, “All of you, but I wanted to make sure everyone understands that things are different now.” He hesitated for a second. “I’m not sure how much Jackson told you, or if you spoke to Allison about any of this before she left.” Stiles still had a little trouble thinking about the Argents and didn’t want to think too much about Allison, but he couldn’t ignore the place she had in their lives before things had gone horribly wrong.
“Allison called me before she left, but we didn’t really talk…not about any of this. She just said she was leaving town for a while.” She paused observing Stiles before continuing. “Jackson mentioned that Scott and Derek didn’t get along and he wasn’t part of Derek’s pack.”
“That’s true.” Stiles agreed. “Scott isn’t a part of the pack, but Peter is.” Stiles watched as Lydia swallowed but didn’t flinch. “This pack isn’t like what it was before. It’s more–we want it to be like what they had before–a family.” He paused again. “Lydia, I’m not exactly sure what Peter did you, but I’m sure it was…awful. But if this is going to work, you and he are going to have to find a way to move beyond it. Avoiding each other won’t be enough. Do you understand?”
She stared at him for a long moment, thinking. “I won’t avoid him.” She finally said, quietly, “But I’m not sure how closely we could work together either.”
Stiles nodded. He understood her reluctance. “Fair enough and Lyd? Just so you know, each member of this pack, aside from what we want as a whole…we want everyone to feel safe and valued and like they belong, so if you ever want to talk about…whatever, I’m here.”
Lydia stared at him for long minutes, rude comment on the tip of her tongue, but in the end, she just bit it back. She nodded once.
“How do you think you can help me?” Lydia asked shrewdly. She had been observing Stiles, curiously. She had already made her decision regarding Derek’s pack, but it never hurt to gather more information.
She and Jackson and Danny had talked about this before they had approached Stiles. She knew, for herself, and her friends both the pros and the cons. Still, she was curious about what Stiles thought he could do for her.
Stiles tilted his head in a way that seemed almost…otherworldly, then he stilled completely. It was disturbing. She had known Stiles for most of her life, and while they hadn’t run in the same social circles, she had known him, if for no other reason than that he was academic competition, even if she’d never acknowledged it.
In all those years, she’d never seen him still.
After a moment, Stiles moved again, and the strangeness was gone. He reached into the book bag he was carrying and handed over a carefully wrapped package. She took it from him and unwrapped it silently. It was a book, an old one, from the looks of things. She turned it over so she could read the title. Wail ar an mBean. She looked up at Stiles, one sculpted brow arched in inquiry.
“You’re not human,” Stiles stated.
Lydia nodded, once she had learned everything about Beacon Hills little peculiarities and what had been happening, she had come to the same conclusion. However just from what little she’d been able to research on her own, and she had nowhere near Stiles resources, that left a whole lot of unanswered questions about what type of something she could be. Judging from this book, it looked like maybe Stiles had an idea.
“The title of this book isn’t in Latin.” She pointed out. Last she knew, Stiles wasn’t adept at reading Latin. There was always the chance that Stiles may have brushed up on his Latin since it seemed it might be needed. That was the kind of thing he might do.
“No, it’s Gaelic. Loosely translated it means the Scream of the Banshee.”
“Banshee,” Lydia whispered. “Banshee.” She repeated the word, but this time almost as if she were trying it on.
Jackson Whittemore pushed down on his urge to snarl as he felt the presence of another wolf entering his territory. He was still getting used to these odd rushes of rage and temper. They were different than before. When he was the other thing…the Kanima, he wasn’t always in control, wasn’t always himself. The times when he was, he didn’t remember feeling any different. For the most part, he couldn’t remember times when his senses were any sharper, just odd blocks of time that were just…gone and this vague feeling that something horrible had happened during the time he couldn’t remember.
Now he was a wolf, and everything had changed. His senses were sharper, his anger, so quick to temper before, was on a knife’s edge. The worst part though was the memories. Now that he was him again, he remembered everything he had done. He couldn’t get it out of his head. All the death and carnage, he could still smell the blood, feel the skin and tissue under his claws. He woke up screaming most nights.
Now, they were going to join a pack. Something Jackson had never wanted, before. He wasn’t sure he wanted it now. He wasn’t exactly against it, but he was damaged goods now. He couldn’t imagine what he could bring to a pack of werewolves. Most days he wouldn’t imagine why Lydia still cared, but he wasn’t going to ask because she had saved him and that was a gift he wasn’t giving back.
But what would it be like to be around other werewolves all the time? Would his metaphorical hackles be continuously raised? Would he finally relax around them, the way he could with Lydia and Danny?
The wolf outside finally reached the door and knocked once, sharply. Jackson opened the door because there was no use pretending they both didn’t know they were aware of each other. It was Isaac. Jackson couldn’t detect which of the wolves it was. He knew it wasn’t Derek himself because the Alpha had a different feel to him, but for some reason, he had kind of expected Peter.
“Can I come in?” Isaac asked.
Jackson stepped back and allowed the other wolf inside.
“Your parents are gone?” Isaac asked, noticing how quiet the place was.
Jackson nodded. “They don’t deal well with…well let’s just say they like things a certain way, and lately, I don’t fit their expectations.” He shrugged awkwardly. He didn’t blame his adoptive parents, exactly. They were both very busy people who liked everything to match their expectations. He wasn’t sure, but he thought that when he was initially adopted, it was because he was available, and it was the proper thing to do. You got married, had a family. Since his mom couldn’t, and this baby became available, it was the natural thing they would do, not necessarily what they should do.
“That’s good. I’m not sure what you’ve told them…” Isaac trailed off.
“Nothing.” Jackson shook his head. “They wouldn’t understand. They wouldn’t believe…even if I showed them…they would rather not know. They just think that the medic at the game was incompetent and I was dehydrated or something.” He snorted. “They didn’t ask where I went afterward. I think they just want to forget the whole thing happened. They…my dad had a business trip overseas. My mom decided to go with him.” Jackson shrugged again, not really sure why he was sharing so much about his family, except that for the first time he felt that maybe he could.
He wasn’t proud of what he had done to Isaac when his father had died. He knew he was an ass, and Isaac had every reason to threaten him, so he didn’t blame him. This visit didn’t feel like another threat though.
“Fair enough,” Isaac said. “Look, I came by because Derek told us you were going to be joining the pack.”
Jackson stiffened a little, unsure if Isaac was going to have a problem with that. “Lydia and Danny too.” He pointed out.
Isaac nodded. “Yeah, them too. Thing is, I’m not sure how it’s going to be for Danny.” He paused, his face doing a weird thing that Jackson couldn’t interpret before moving on. “We’ve never had a human in the pack, except Lucas, and he’s sort of extended Pack, I guess. Though I’m not sure if it makes much difference.”
“What about Stiles?” Jackson frowned.
Isaac tilted his head “He’s not human. He’s Fey.”
Jackson wasn’t sure if he had gotten that memo, or what precisely a Fey was, but it somehow made so much sense. “Okay, and before he was Fey? Was he part of the Pack then?”
This made Isaac frown even harder. “Well, he’s always been Fey, but his powers weren’t active, but I see what you mean.”
“And? Was he pack before his powers did…whatever?”
Isaac sighed. “The pack was different then…we relied on him, but I don’t think he considered himself part of us.”
“That makes a difference?” Jackson asked, thinking about what Isaac was implying. “Even for humans?”
“I’m not sure what things will be like for Danny, or even Lydia, because she’s an unknown, but…yes.”
“Wolves? What’s it like for them?” Jackson asked quietly.
Isaac stared at him for a long minute. “You’ll be connected to us.”
Stiles looked at the address written out on the piece of paper Deaton had given him before he’d left his clinic and stared at the numbers and then at the house across the way. After he’d left Lydia, Stiles felt that it might be time. He wasn’t sure what exactly was driving the feeling exactly. Maybe it was some new awareness he wasn’t quite attuned to yet. He also knew, in that way he was now becoming accustomed to understanding, that Ms. Morrell was inside and that she was alone.
He knew that both Morrell and Deaton were right that he did need training. His research was not enough. He could feel the energy of this place calling out him, and he could feel his own desire to merge with the elements growing stronger by the day. He had started meditating in the morning and before he went to bed and sometimes he could feel the Earth call him home, wanting to merge with him again like he had briefly when the Nexus was first raised, and he had connected with everything.
The truth was he just didn’t trust that easily. He didn’t know Marin Morrell that well. He wanted to believe that she meant what she said and her interest lie in maintaining balance, whatever that might ultimately mean, but only time would tell.
For now, he would see what she could teach him.
He approached the door and knocked.
The door opened almost immediately, letting Stiles know that he had been expected.
“You came. Good.” Marin Morrell moved further into the house to allow Stiles entrance.
Stiles looked around the room carefully. It didn’t look like much. Very clean, and simple. Not very much like what he expected a magic user’s living room to look like. Then again what did Stiles know about what magic users would or wouldn’t prefer? He only had Deaton to go by. And his mother, which…was a weird thought he hadn’t quite gotten used to.
“I want to start with three days a week until you return to school,” Marin stated getting right down to it. She stared at him for a long moment before continuing. “How often are you meditating?”
Nothing like jumping right in there. Stiles could appreciate that. “Twice a day.”
“Hmm. It’ll do, for now.”
She walked around him for a moment but didn’t say anything further, making him feel like a bug under a microscope. Finally, she stopped and moved towards a tall bookshelf set far enough into the room that Stiles had missed it. She reached up and grabbed three books off the top shelf without even making any effort to search, so either she knew exactly what she was looking for and where to find it, or she was just picking books at random. “I want you to read these carefully before our next meeting.”
“Okay…” He took the books, looking at the spines, but they didn’t give him much information as they were all blank, lending more credence to the idea that she was testing him in some fashion.
“We will meet at your house.” She stated once he had agreed.
“My house? Why there?” He wasn’t arguing, exactly. He was just curious.
“You need to learn control and balance, Mr. Stilinski. Your lessons will come easier if you are somewhere familiar.”
“Stiles,” Stiles said as he thought about her response. “If we are going to work together, call me Stiles.”
“As you wish. You may call me Marin.” She nodded once. “Our first lesson will be tomorrow, so, I believe you have some reading to do.”
Stiles blinked and stared down at the books in his hands. They weren’t large books but still. If he was going to read all three of them carefully before tomorrow, he probably should go and do that.
Marin let him out of the house, and he could feel her watching him long after the house was no longer in view.
Isaac felt like he was Good-Will-Wolf, out making his rounds to all his fractured brothers. He approached his second stop of the day and hoped this visit went as well as the first but didn’t honestly have high hopes.
“Hey.” Scott opened the door wider and let Isaac in.
Isaac looked around the house, noticing all the little changes that had occurred since the last time he had visited. He could tell that Scott was alone in the house and it looked like he had just settled down to play some video games when Isaac had shown up.
“So, I haven’t seen you around much,” Scott said awkwardly as he sat back down on the couch.
“We’ve been busy with the house. Peter’s kind of terrifying.” He paused. “Which you probably already know.” Way to start out awkward.
Scott blinked at him. He had no idea what Isaac was talking about but if it had anything to do with Peter he really didn’t want to know.
“I’ve been pretty busy myself…with work and summer school.” Scott admitted. He didn’t want to leave room for too much awkward conversation. There was enough of that when his mom was home. She was still so confused about everything. Half the time she wanted to pretend everything was normal, which Scott was fine with. It was the other half that freaked him out when she tried to talk to him about his condition and wanted to learn more, and it just made him so angry they just got into an argument.
“That’s good. That you’re keeping busy.” Isaac said. Then he looked at Scott again, his senses taking in everything. “Are you okay for next week?” Isaac didn’t want to bring up the fact that Scott’s anchor was gone, but he couldn’t ignore that he might need a little help come the full moon.
Scott frowned as if he had no idea what Isaac was talking about.
“The full moon is in six days, Scott. You should be tracking it.” He stared hard at his friend. He supposed this was another thing that maybe Stiles had kept track of, or maybe Allison or perhaps he was just putting more energy into ignoring his baser nature than he had before.
“I didn’t forget,” Scot said through gritted teeth. “I’ll be fine.”
“Okay.” Isaac raised his hands in supplication. “If you need help, we’ll probably be at Sheriff Lucas’ house.” He trailed off, realizing as he said it that no matter how dire the situation, Scott probably wouldn’t come over to Stiles house, not the way things currently stood.
“Why are you going to be at Stiles house?” Scott asked, more than a little curiosity in his tone. No one had ever spent a full moon at Stiles house, not even Scott.
Isaac shrugged uncomfortably now that he had let it slip, though he was sure that Stiles wouldn’t mind helping Scott if he needed it. “The new Hale house is still under construction. It won’t be ready until after the full moon, and there wasn’t really anywhere else. The Stilinski’s seemed like the best option.” He didn’t say that Stiles had voted down any option to go to one of their old locations saying they were unsanitary, unhealthy, and no pack of his was going to spend the full moon like that again if he had anything to say about it, which apparently he did. Besides they were doing the ritual earlier in the evening, so they’d already be together as a pack. Scott didn’t need to know about that though.
Scott shook his head in confusion. Since when was spending a full moon at Stiles house even an option? He’d never tried to do that, what with his fits of temper during the full moon and the sheriff’s unpredictable schedule, it had never been advisable. “Stiles house? Is that…safe?” He asked in confusion.
Isaac frowned. “Derek is in control, you know that.” Isaac reminded him, “And I’m learning.”
“What about Peter?” Scott asked pointedly. “Will he be there? Will he be…welcome?”
“Yes,” Isaac said slowly. “Danny, and Lydia and Jackson, too, though I don’t know if Danny will come since it’s his first full moon and all. Jackson will be there though, and Lydia, since she’s his…anchor.” He trailed off.
Scott’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. Since when were Jackson and Lydia part of Derek’s pack? Since when did Danny even know about werewolves?
Isaac watched Scott for a minute and then decided to take pity on his friend. “Jackson told Lydia and Danny everything after what happened with Matt and Gerard.”
Scott nodded. That sort of made sense, at least the part where Danny and Lydia now knew things. What didn’t make sense was how that equated to joining Derek’s pack. “And the…pack?” He asked quietly, not sure he wanted to know but felt he probably should.
“They didn’t like being in the dark all the time, so they asked to join.” Isaac shrugged. He wasn’t going to discuss Jackson’s issues with Scott. Scott was his friend, and he hoped one day he would get over himself and his own issues enough to become part of the pack, but until that happened, there was a definite separation between Scott and the Pack. Jackson was Pack, Scott wasn’t.
“Jackson asked Derek if he could join his pack?” Scott couldn’t quite get his head around that idea. He knew how Jackson felt about joining anything and he wasn’t too fond of submitting to anyone. He just couldn’t picture it.
“Actually, Lydia asked Stiles.”
Scott blinked. “Why would she…Stiles?” Scott asked in confusion. This whole thing seemed like something out of someone’s twisted dream.
Isaac shrugged again. “She’s been doing some research and learned that it’s proper to petition to join a pack by speaking to the Alpha’s Second.”
“And that’s Stiles?” Isaac nodded. “But he’s not even a wolf!”
“Doesn’t matter. He’s pack.” Isaac didn’t want to go over this again.
“So, they requested to join. I bet Derek wasn’t too happy about that.” He couldn’t imagine Derek letting Jackson and Lydia join his pack. After everything with the Kanima and what Lydia’s part in bringing Peter back. However that had been accomplished.
Isaac scowled. “Derek and Stiles both decided to allow them to join.” That was all he was going to say about that. He looked away and tried to reign in his rising temper. “You should tell your mom if she has questions, she should call Sheriff Lucas.”
“You think that would help? I thought he just found out?” Scott remembered Derek implying that Stiles was going to tell his dad. At the time he’d been more concerned with other things, but now…Scott wasn’t sure if that was good news or not. Not to mention he wasn’t sure how he felt about his mom getting more comfortable with the werewolf thing.
Isaac rolled his eyes this time. “Stiles is Fey.” He said the words slowly. As if repeating them that way would somehow impart their meaning.
“I know,” Scott said, though the idea of it made him very uncomfortable.
“How, exactly, do you think he got that way?” Isaac asked pointedly. “It’s not like being a bitten Were or a vampire.”
Scott swallowed. He honestly hadn’t thought about Stiles and the whole Magic-Fey thing at all, if he could help it. It creeped him out.
“So, you’re saying his dad…” Scott was having trouble thinking of Sheriff Stilinski as anything but the human sheriff and father of his best friend.
“No, his mother.”
“Oh.” Scott wasn’t sure what to say to that. Stiles never talked about his mother, but the idea that she was some sort of magical being was kind of weird and made this thing with Stiles even more real, and way more disturbing. It meant that it was real, and it was permanent, and there wasn’t any way things were going to go back to normal.
He wasn’t sure how he was going to deal with that.
Stiles opened his eyes and found his father crouched in front of him. After he had finished the first two of Marin’s books, he had decided he needed to meditate to absorb some of the information. The morning meditation had lasted longer than usual, but that didn’t usually worry his father. The sheriff had told him recently that his mom had once spent five hours in meditation in this very spot, so while he typically only meditated for less than two hours, it wasn’t a cause for concern if it went a little longer.
“You have a visitor,” Lucas stated quietly, motioning towards the house.
Stiles blinked. The last time his father had told him he had a visitor it hadn’t ended so well. He looked towards the house once and focused. His eyes widened when he recognized the energy of the person inside the house. He could tell they were alone, which was more surprising than the fact that they were here at all.
“Well then, I guess I should go and see what he wants.” He rose from his position in the dirt and entered through the back door.
Jackson Whittemore was standing uncomfortably in the living room. He turned when Stiles came inside.
“Hey,” Stiles said easily, trying to tread lightly. He hadn’t had any one-on-one time with Jackson since that whole kidnapping thing, and he knew Jackson understood why now, had even had the restraining order dropped, though it was unclear what his adopted family understood about the whole situation. Jackson had supposedly died on that field during the lacrosse game, and then suddenly he wasn’t dead, and now he wasn’t a Kanima anymore, which was as it should be, but he wasn’t sure how all those events could possibly be explained.
“Stilinski.” Jackson nodded at him.
Stiles sighed. “Jackson, at least call me Stiles.”
Jackson blinked at him, frowning. He had always called him Stilinski. Ever since he was old enough to say the name properly. But, that was why he was here, wasn’t it? To change the way they had always done things.
“Okay…Stiles.” Jackson tried the name out.
Stiles grinned. “Great. So, what can I do for you?”
“Um…” he looked around the room again looking even more uncomfortable. “It’s about this pack thing.”
Stiles looked confused. He thought that had all been settled. “I thought we had worked all that out? The ritual is in two days. Are you having second thoughts?”
Jackson scowled but shook his head once. “Lydia told me what you said…about this pack being different than what Derek’s pack was before…more of a family.” He spoke the words awkwardly, like he wasn’t sure what they meant even as he said them.
Stiles nodded. “Yes.
“I don’t know much about family, but it doesn’t seem like it should start with baggage like we have,” Jackson stated, finally looking Stiles in the eye.
Stiles looked surprised. “No, I suppose not. Especially when you add in the pack bond.”
“What can you tell me about that?” Jackson asked. He knew what Isaac had told him, but that was coming from a wolf’s perspective. He wondered if things would be different from a Fey, whatever that was exactly.
He’d been curious, but there wasn’t anyone for him to ask about werewolf things. He’d gotten on well enough with Isaac this last time, but he wasn’t sure how well that would hold up. He’d been fighting his demons alone for so long he wasn’t sure how to let another person share in it. He wasn’t sure how to ask the questions that needed asking or who he could ask. Derek was the wolf that started all this, but things had been different in the beginning, he understood that now. Derek had been nowhere near ready to be an Alpha, the way he understood things, and Jackson had wanted no part of belonging to a pack.
But things had changed, and now he was going to be part of a pack, and he didn’t want to go into that with so much animosity between him and Stiles. He wasn’t sure exactly what the pecking order was in this new pack, but he wanted to make an honest start, for once. Lydia had explained what she learned from her research about the role of a Second. The fact that her theories hadn’t been discounted either by Isaac the one time they’d spoken, or by Derek when he’d come to see them about accepting them told Jackson all he needed to know about Stiles’ place in the pack.
If they were really going to join the pack in two days, and from what Isaac had said, the pack bond wasn’t anything like he’d be expecting. There’d be a real connection between Jackson and every other member of the pack, even the human members. Not that there were many of those. Just Danny…and the Sheriff, if he counted as Pack. Did he? He wasn’t sure. Isaac hadn’t even seemed confident. He wasn’t really sure what that would feel like, being connected to other people like that. He was connected to Lydia already in a way that he couldn’t really quantify, and he wasn’t really sure how much of that was tied up with his own paranormal abilities and how much could be blamed on Lydia’s immunity/Banshee thing, whatever that really meant.
He didn’t really know much of anything, to be perfectly honest, except that he had known Gaufrid Stilinski since kindergarten and had wanted what the talkative little boy had. His parents may not have had the money or affluence of the Whittemore’s, but it was clear, even to a five-year-old Jackson, that they loved their son very much. Jackson’s adoptive parents were…distant at the best of times. It wasn’t that they were neglectful or abusive; they just…never let him forget what was expected. He never felt real. That wasn’t his parents’ fault. It wasn’t Stiles’ either, but seeing the Stilinski’s always made him angry…and envious. He was grown up enough, now, to admit it.
But maybe it was time to put petty jealousies behind him. When he looked up at Stiles again, he noticed that the other boy was just watching him with this calm expression on his face, as if he knew Jackson had gotten lost in his own head and was waiting for him to find his way again.
“You back?” Stiles asked with a wry twist to his lips.
“Uh, yeah.” Jackson blinked and looked away again awkwardly.
Stiles moved toward the kitchen. “Water?”
“Sure.” Jackson followed.
Stiles watched Jackson for a minute before he handed him his bottle of water. “The pack bond is different for everyone, but it’s strongest for you wolves. I understand that when Erica and Boyd died, they felt it. They still feel the absence. It’s like the echo of sensation. Not crowding your attention, so you don’t get it confused with your own emotions, but enough that if one of the others is in trouble, you’ll know about it.”
“Is that what it’s like for you?” Jackson asked.
Stiles looked away, his eyes staring at something he couldn’t quite focus on. “For me, the pack is buzzing just under my skin, colored lights of string I can reach out for if I need to. The rest of Beacon Hills…they are the distant echoes thrumming that I have to tune out.”
Jackson wasn’t sure what that meant. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to understand either. There was a weird look in Stiles amber eyes, and for just a moment, he thought he saw a flash of green before they were amber once again. Perhaps it was a trick of the light.
“You’ll be fine.” Stiles grinned at him, his normal goofy expression.
“I just wanted to clear things between us…Gaufrid,” Jackson said, a smirk curling his lips for the first time in a long time.
Stiles’ eyes widened. “You will not share that with anyone.”
“We’ll see.” Jackson laughed. Feeling free for the first time in a long time.
Peter Hale stared at his visitor in surprise. Of all the people in Beacon Hills, this is the one he thought would be least likely to approach him voluntarily. Though, knowing what he did about her personality, he wasn’t sure why he was surprised.
He opened the door wider and stepped aside, allowing her entrance without crowding her, the way he might others, just to rattle them.
“How did you find me?” He asked, more for conversation sake than anything else. He wasn’t exactly hiding. It’s true none of the others had been to his apartment, but he hadn’t gone to the trouble to hide his tracks when renting the place. It was only temporary until the house was finished.
“I have my resources,” Lydia stated primly as she looked around the sparse room. It wasn’t very lived in, but she didn’t expect otherwise. “As do you, apparently.” She pulled out the book Stiles had given her and handed it to the wolf.
He took it gingerly, recognizing that it was old and looked it over with a raised eyebrow. “Perhaps, but this didn’t come from me.”
“Stiles gave it to me.” She admitted. “I thought perhaps you had given him access to your collection.”
Peter stared at her shrewdly. Clearly, she remembered more about him than just the vague thoughts he had purposely shared with her. He wasn’t sure whether or not that was something that was useful or worrying, especially as she would soon be a member of his pack.
He handed the book back to her. “My collection, as you call it, is available to Stiles. However, this did not come from it.” He stared at her a moment longer. “Surely, you realize our little Stiles has resources far beyond my meager collection?”
Lydia narrowed her eyes further. Peter was baiting her, she knew, but she also knew there was truth in his words. She remembered the books Stiles had brought her when he had asked for her help researching the Keeper and the offhand comment he had made about how he hadn’t brought her all his books, just the ones he thought were relevant.
How many more did he have? What kind of research library was Stiles drawing from these days? Did the book on Banshees come from there, or did he have another resource?
She shook her head. It didn’t matter where the book came from. That wasn’t really why she had come; it had just been her opening. “Did you know I was a banshee when you attacked me?” She asked bluntly.
Peter sighed. He hadn’t been ready to talk about this with Derek and Stiles, but he supposed if anyone deserved the answers it was Ms. Martin. “I suspected.”
Lydia nodded once. “This book…it says I can learn to…control my powers.”
“Anyone with power can learn to control it,” Peter stated.
Lydia pursed her lips. And looked around the room once more before saying, as if she were changing the subject, “Stiles tells me that he and Derek are trying to rebuild the pack…trying to make a family.”
“That is their goal.” Peter agreed.
“And that for it to work, we have to work together.” Lydia continued as if Peter hadn’t spoken. She turned to face him once more, her eyes shining and daring him to contradict her. “We would have to find a way to get past what happened before and work together.”
“I won’t apologize,” Peter told her honestly if a little regretfully. “I am sorry you suffered, but I can’t apologize for doing what was necessary to have a second chance.”
Lydia stared at him for a long moment, weighing him and his words carefully. “Do you regret anything you did before?”
Peter tilted his head slightly as he thought about how honest he could truly be with his girl, before deciding that Stiles was right. They would need to put aside the past and learn to be a family, regardless of prior actions or motivations. The future would have to be about the pack.
“I regret the death of my niece. I can never make up for that.” He spoke the words quietly, more solemnly than any but Derek had probably heard before. “And I regret Scott, though I wonder how things with Stiles would have been different without that catalyst.”
Lydia frowned. “How do you mean?”
“Stiles and Scott got involved with Derek and the supernatural aspect of this town because I bit Scott in a fit of desperation, but as we now know Stiles is anything but human. How long would his supernatural heritage lay dormant before the nature of this town and living here brought it out? How would that have changed the dynamics of things?”
Lydia blinked because Peter had a point. She hadn’t given much thought to Stiles or what he might have been dealing with because quite frankly she had her own issues, and Jackson was still adjusting to the whole Kanima thing and fighting off nightmares, and now she could put a name to the nameless thing inside of her.
Stiles though, he had been dealing with this supernatural crazy from the very beginning, and yes it had been Scott’s problem, and he could have walked away at any time, aside from the fact that he was Stiles and that’s not the kind of friend he was. Except, if Peter was right, and she knew he was that that had never really been an option for Stiles. Even if he had never known that he was some otherworldly magical entity just waiting for the right time to awaken or for Beacon Hills to draw it to the surface, it was true nonetheless.
Now, Stiles was different. She had sensed it while he sat in her house. The stillness in him, the awareness of something…altered. His words came back to her again. And she again focused on Peter.
“You could teach me.” She said, getting back to her point.
“I’m sorry?” Peter asked in surprise.
“About my powers. Control. You can teach me.” She stated.
Peter stared at her in shock. “I’m not the most controlled of werewolves.” He pointed out.
She smiled. “Well then, maybe we have something to learn from each other.”
Stiles felt the earth opened up to him as he drifted closer to the surface. He felt his senses widening the deeper he went. He could sense the other elements hammering at him to connect to them as well. He wasn’t sure if he should try. He was getting close to overload as it was. Maybe just one more. He reached towards water and felt a rush of intense hatred for just a split second before it disappeared under an undercurrent of elemental power. He felt like he was drowning. He couldn’t breathe, and then suddenly it was like there were light and oxygen again.
He opened his eyes.
Derek was standing over him, his face a mask of concern, one of his hands lightly rested on Stiles’ forehead while the other pressed against his chest. “You okay?”
Stiles couldn’t speak, so he nodded.
“You weren’t breathing, Stiles,” Derek stated.
Stiles didn’t doubt it. It felt like he was drowning. Stiles nodded because he still couldn’t form words. He tried to sit up, but his limbs wouldn’t quite cooperate. Derek helped him. “You sure you’re okay?”
He nodded again.
Derek’s lips twitched. “When I’m the talkative one in this relationship, we’ve got a problem.”
Stiles tried to laugh but started coughing instead. His dad came out and handed him a glass of water. “Too many elements?”
“Is that what happened?” Derek asked sharply.
Lucas looked from Derek, who still had a firm grip on Stiles skin to his son. “Let me guess, he wasn’t breathing and you touched him, and he just sort of jerked out of it, started breathing again?”
Derek scowled. “Yeah.”
Lucas sighed. “Son. You don’t have enough control over your powers, and with this Keeper thing, they require more focus than you probably realize. Are they demanding more from you?”
Stiles nodded again, still unable to form words. He drank more water and tried to catch his breath. He wasn’t sure exactly what had happened, only knowing that it had been so compelling reaching for those elements, those feelings.
“You need an anchor, something to keep you from drifting too far into the elemental. It happened once or twice with your mom.” He looked at Derek. “I think you’ve found it.”
They both looked to where Derek was still tightly gripping Stiles and then back at each other.
Well, wasn’t that a complication.
Peter watched the tableau taking place in the backyard and debated whether he should join them. He decided he would wait. Stiles and Derek seemed to be having enough of an issue all on their own. He’d wait until Lucas returned to add his support. He wasn’t surprised something like this happened.
Stiles was strong. He had recognized that even when he had been slightly mad, so it was no surprise that the awakening of the Fey heritage would bring with it new challenges. His standing as the Keeper would only cause things to escalate at a more rapid pace.
The fact that Stiles and Derek were taking their roles to the pack so seriously said a lot about them as individuals, and as pack leaders. He did not doubt that they would deal with this new ruffle as well. And as their self-appointed protector he would do what was needed, should it ever become necessary.
“I should have seen that coming,” Lucas said as he sat back down at the kitchen table.
Peter liked Lucas. He liked the fact that he never pretended Peter hadn’t been observing or eavesdropping on everything around him. He was never irritated by this fact or expected anything less.
Peter shrugged at Lucas’ statement. He had overheard what Lucas had said to Stiles and Derek, so perhaps he should have expected it, but since he wasn’t that well acquainted with Emeline’s experience as a Fey and how her powers affected her, he couldn’t say.
“They’ll deal with it as they have with everything else lately,” Peter told him. “Together.”
“Hmm,” Lucas said thoughtfully as he looked back outside.
Peter didn’t want to interrupt Lucas’ inner musings, but he had come here to discuss something other than Stiles and Derek. “So, what have you found out?”
Lucas looked away from the backyard where Derek and Stiles were now murmuring, no longer touching. “Three babies went through the county in the three-month window we’re looking at.”
“Only three?” Peter asked in surprise.
Lucas shrugged. “There were more, but I’ve narrowed it to those three.”
“And?” Peter pressed.
“Two girls and a boy. I’m looking into all of the adoptions, trying to find out what became of them, where they are, etcetera…”
“You’re not going to give me their names,” Peter said flatly.
“When I have something concrete, I will, but not now, no.” Lucas would not budge on this. Especially considering who one of those babies turned out to be. Because if Peter approached them and it turned out not to be the right child? No, that wasn’t going to happen.
“Fine, but soon, Lucas.”
Stiles eyed Marin warily as the two sat inside her perfectly constructed circle of Mountain Ash. She said it was only a precaution, but he wasn’t sure. Marin stared at him solemnly for a very long moment while he stared back. They continued like this for several moments before she spoke.
“Why must balance be maintained, Stiles?”
“There is no dark without light; No good without evil. Every weight has a counterweight, so must the universe.”
She stared at him. “You say the words but do you understand them?”
Stiles sighed. He was so over this woman and her attitude. “Yes. The universe is a set of scales, constantly moving. It is up to people like us to maintain its balance.”
“And to protect the people and places that need protecting, because that too requires an effort of balance.” She looked at him, but it was almost as if she was seeing through him. “You must learn to balance the power within and the power you harness without.”
He looked away, remembering what happened that morning.
“You need to learn control.” Marin placed her hand’s palm up. “Let us begin.”
Scott wasn’t sure what to do. He kept thinking about everything Isaac had told him and he felt like there should be something he should be doing. Should he be trying to talk some sense into Stiles? How can Stiles be trying to get more people to join Derek’s pack? It didn’t seem to make any sense.
He realized that avoiding Stiles wasn’t working.
Part of him hadn’t thought the avoid-Stiles plan would work anyway because that had never worked in the past. In the past, if Scott avoided him, which to be honest had never consciously happened; Stiles would just come looking for him. Typically if he was avoiding Stiles, it was by accident, because he was too focused on something else, usually either Allison or trying to get on first line in Lacrosse.
This time though, Stiles was avoiding him right back. He knew because he hadn’t seen him around town either. He’d known that Stiles had come by the Animal clinic a couple of times to talk with Doctor Deaton, but either he was psychic and knew when Scott wouldn’t be there, he was extremely lucky, or Stiles was avoiding Scott just as hard.
Now that he knew what was going on, that Stiles was really a part of Derek’s pack, and he couldn’t even imagine how that had happened, and that he was honestly helping Derek build his pack, Scott had to try and make him see reason.
Maybe they could avoid the whole…magic thing.
Scott approached the front door and walked inside, forgetting for a moment that things had changed. He heard voices in the kitchen and moved that way, assuming he’d find Stiles and his dad in there.
He stopped when he saw who was having coffee with the sheriff instead. Peter was leaning one hip against the kitchen counter; his eyes narrowed on Scott. “Hello, Puppy.”
Lucas turned around and smiled at Scott. “Scott, come on in.” He stood from his seat at the table. “You want some coffee?”
Scott looked from Lucas to Peter and back again, totally confused. What was Peter doing there? He looked relaxed, though still creepy as hell. “No thanks, Sheriff. I was hoping to talk to Stiles.”
Lucas expected as much and nodded. “He’s in a lesson right now, but you can wait.” Lucas motioned towards the backyard.
Scott turned towards the sliding glass door, the same one he had watched the barbecue through the last time he was here. He could see Stiles sitting on the ground outside with–was that their guidance counselor? He had his palms flat down on top of hers, eyes closed. Her eyes were closed too, but there was a small cyclone of wind swirling around them. That was weird. He hadn’t noticed any wind outside earlier.
“What are you really doing here?” Peter asked pleasantly.
“Peter.” Lucas chastised.
Peter smirked. “It’s a valid question.”
“What are you doing here?” Scott countered. “You’re not welcome.” He bit out, getting angry, despite his promise to himself to keep his temper.
“That’s enough, both of you,” Lucas said firmly. “You,” he pointed to Peter, “go be a guard dog in the living room.” He waited until Peter had left the kitchen before turning his focus to Scott. “And you, I realize you don’t like or trust Peter, but he is a guest in my home, as are you, and you do not get to decide who is or is not welcome. Are we clear?”
Scott nodded awkwardly. He frowned slightly as Lucas’ words to Peter came back to him. “Guard dog?”
Lucas’ lips twitched. “Today is Stiles first lesson, and Peter doesn’t trust druids, so he’s keeping watch.”
Scott supposed that made a kind of sense that didn’t. Maybe it would have if he had been at all informed of what was going on in Stiles’ life or with his magic thing, but since he didn’t and wasn’t sure he wanted to, he thought it best just to leave that alone.
Lucas nodded once and then said. “Okay, I have to go into the station. You boys play nice.”
Peter smirked in the living room, and Scott swallowed uncomfortably.
Lucas shook his head and left them to their own devices.
Stiles felt calm as he opened his eyes. Marin was staring at him. Her face was stoic, but her eyes looked a little wide.
“You have much power, Stiles.” She said after a moment.
He wasn’t sure what he was supposed to say to that. Thanks? Yes. So what? What can I do with it? All things he had thought. All useless things. Instead, he just stared back.
“You need an anchor. I fear if you go too far into one element, or try to join two or more elements together you will become lost.”
“Been there done that,” Stiles said flippantly, trying to keep calm. Just the memory of what had happened freaked him out. “I have one.” He said before she could start to lecture him.
She raised a brow but then nodded when it was clear he wasn’t going to give her any more information. “Very well. Make sure your anchor is with you before you attempt any deep meditation.
“I also want you practicing the relaxation exercises I taught you. I want you to read the text on the many uses of Mountain Ash and Mistletoe.”
She seemed oddly firm about this. Stiles wondered if there was a particular reason, but decided not to ask. She frequently didn’t give him a straightforward answer anyway. “Okay.”
“Tomorrow is the Full Moon, so I will see you the day after.”
Stiles stood and walked her around the side of the house. She didn’t like to go inside for some strange reason. Stiles didn’t know if it was the Creeper Wolf glaring at her through the glass, or some weird Druid superstition. He’d have to talk to Peter about the former. If it was the latter, there wasn’t anything he could do about it.
He was only a little surprised to see Peter smirking at him from the couch. He was trying to pull off innocent without trying at all. “You have company in the kitchen.”
Stiles turned, wondering if Jackson had come back. But no, Scott was standing there in the archway, looking awkward as hell.
“I’m fine. Go check on the house.” Stiles told Peter. He knew the only reason Peter was there was because he didn’t trust Marin, but since she was gone, he was free to leave.
Scott no matter why he had come would never feel comfortable with Peter in the house. While a part of him wasn’t interested in catering to Scott’s feelings, he didn’t need protecting from Scott, so he could grant his old friend this one convenience.
“As you wish, Second.” He said pointedly before disappearing out a side door.
Stiles wanted to roll his eyes. He knew Peter was trying to make a point, both to Stiles and to Scott, but it was annoying. Still, he couldn’t show his irritation. Like it or not, the way things stood right now, Scott was not an ally. He may never be one again. He hated to get into an Us vs. Them mentality, but in some things it was necessary. Peter was Pack. Scott wasn’t.
“You hungry?” Stiles asked as he moved further into the kitchen.
“Not really.” He was so confused and nervous he had no appetite.
“I’m starved. Connecting to the elements expends a lot of energy.” He moved towards the refrigerator and started digging around to make an omelet. He looked back at Scott and noticed his pained expression. “What, you have something against eggs and turkey bacon?”
Scott shook his head. “No, just the whole…thing. It’s weird.”
Stiles stopped what he was doing and turned around. “Weird? And sprouting sideburn hair and howling at the moon isn’t?” He asked pointedly.
“Well no, but…” Scott floundered.
“But what? I didn’t give you grief when you became a werewolf.”
“No, you thought it was interesting.” Scott accused like it was a personal insult.
“It was interesting…until you tried to kill me…you know for trying to keep you from attacking someone else.” Stiles turned back around and turned on the stove and began mixing the ingredients together.
“How are you alright with this?” Scott burst out.
“What are we talking about here? My being Fey? I don’t have a choice in the matter. Unlike some people, I accept what is and move on.” Stiles knew that was petty, but it pissed him off how much Scott still would not let go of this impossible desire to be human. He got that he didn’t choose to be bitten, not like Isaac or even Jackson, but enough was enough.
Scott ignored the dig. “If you could choose? Would you choose to be Fey?” Scott asked, wanting to know if Stiles wanted to be normal or this new weird version of who he used to be.
Stiles turned to face Scott once more. “Scott, I was born Fey. My powers might not have been active, but they’ve always been with me, buried just beneath my skin.” He sighed. “Do I want to go back to how I was before? No.” He saw Scott’s disappointed face and got angry. “And just for the record, I died that day in the Argent’s basement. If my powers hadn’t activated, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, because I’d be just as dead as Erica and Boyd. Would that make you happier?”
Scott drew in a gasp. “What? No, how can you even say that? Stiles!”
Stiles turned back to his omelet and finished cooking it before he said something he regretted.
Scott watched him silently, not sure what to say or think. When Stiles was sitting at the table with his food, he watched him quietly for a moment before continuing with what he came here to say. “What about Derek’s pack?”
“What about my pack?” Stiles corrected.
Scott ground his teeth together. “Isaac said you’re trying to get Jackson and Lydia in the Pack? Why? And Danny? Why is he even involved in all of this? He’s human. He shouldn’t even be involved.”
Stiles raised an eyebrow, daring him to say one more word about how humans are weak or inferior or whatever twisted logic was rolling around in his head.
“I just mean…it’s dangerous. He shouldn’t be involved.” Scott said quietly.
“He’s Jackson’s best friend. He’s already involved. Just like I was.” Stiles pointed out.
“And you think it’s a good idea for them to join Derek’s pack?” Scott asked.
“Jackson needs a pack.” Stiles wasn’t going to get into a debate with Scott about the pack versus going it alone mentality. “Jackson was Derek’s first Beta. He belongs with us.”
Scott was uncomfortable with how at ease Stiles was with the whole Pack thing, but he wasn’t ready to give up yet. “And Lydia? You think it’s healthy for her to be in a pack with that…monster?”
Stiles’ eyes flashed that eerie green again, and silverware rattled in the dish drainer on the counter.
“I just meant that he did something to her.” Scott rushed out before Stiles could say something. “I don’t know what, but something.”
Stiles took a deep breath and let it out. He felt Derek’s calming presence in his mind but pushed it out. He was fine. He didn’t need an anchor for a conversation with Scott. “What did or did not happen between Lydia and Peter is between Lydia and Peter. You will not bring it up to either of them. You will not mention it to Jackson. Do I make myself clear?”
Scott stared at Stiles in bewilderment for a long moment, just trying to figure out where his spastic friend had gone.
“Do I make myself clear?” Stiles repeated, a rumble of thunder following in the wake of the question.
Scott shook himself out of his stupor. “Yes.” He bit out, not liking these changes at all.
Stiles released his tension. “Scotty, I get that you don’t think that they should join the pack, but how much of that is because it’s Derek’s pack, and how much of that is because you don’t think Packs are necessary, or because you think if a person pretends they are normal, they can be normal?”
Scott opened his mouth, but he wasn’t sure what he was going to say, exactly.
Stiles held up a hand. “No, think about it; really think about it, for a while. Come to see me again when you’ve got an honest answer.”
Scott closed his mouth and looked out the window. “Okay.” He swallowed hard. “My, uh, my mom is having a hard time with all this, too. We,” he hesitated “we avoid each other most of the time.”
Stiles stared at him for a long moment, almost as if he was weighing his words carefully before he spoke. “She loves you very much, Scott. She’ll understand.”
Scott winced. “That’s just it, she tries to be…supportive, but I just…I can’t deal with it. Stiles, I can’t.”
Stiles nodded. “Send her to my dad. If she has questions, he can answer them, without making things complicated, or giving her too much information.”
“What if I don’t want her knowing anymore?” Scott asked softly.
“You can’t wrap her in cotton wool, Scott. She lives in Beacon Hills. She’s going to see things sometimes, and now that she knows these things do exist, she’s going to wonder. It’s better to know.”
Scott stood. “I’ll think about it.” He moved towards the door and left, wondering if their friendship would ever be what it once was.
Stiles finished his omelet and wondered the same thing, but knew that he was where he needed to be and that he had people depending on him.
Sheriff Lucas Stilinski looked up from his paperwork at the knock on his office door. “Enter.”
He was only mildly surprised to see Peter standing in the doorway. It had only been a couple of hours since he’d left him at the house with Scott.
“You’re not here to confess are you?”
Peter smirked as he came inside and shut the door behind him. “I left the brat in one piece. I didn’t even snarl at him.”
Lucas laughed. “Then you were on your best behavior. Did you come here for a reward?”
Peter’s eye twinkled. “Are you offering?”
Lucas looked at the clock. “Uh, no. I have all this paperwork to finish and a meeting in ten minutes.”
Peter shrugged. “I was hoping maybe you had some more information for me?”
Lucas shook his head. “Not yet. I’m waiting to hear back from two people. Soon though.”
“Very well. I also wanted to make sure you were going to be at the ritual tomorrow night.” Peter observed Lucas.
Lucas looked surprised to be asked. “Really? I didn’t think…” He trailed off.
Peter smiled. “Really. You should be there.”
Lucas nodded. “Okay.” Before he could say anything else, another knock on his door sounded.
Peter opened it to reveal Melissa McCall. He raised a brow. “Your appointment?”
Lucas nodded once. Peter shrugged, but he was curious. Melissa stared at Peter as if she had never seen him before. She watched Peter disappear through the station and then turned back to Lucas. “Uh…”
“Come on in, Melissa.”
She stepped inside and took a seat, suddenly very awkward.
“You know, you don’t have to make an appointment to see me,” Lucas stated.
“I know, Lucas, but…I was afraid I might chicken out, to be honest.” Melissa admitted.
“Ah, then this is about the boys and their extra-curricular activities.” Lucas nodded.
Melissa’s eyes widened. “You, know about that?” She hadn’t been sure, to be honest, what the sheriff knew if anything. Scott had been so closed-mouthed about everything. She knew Stiles hadn’t been around in a while, and she thought it had something to do with whatever was going on, but since Scott wouldn’t talk about it, she couldn’t be sure.
Then seeing Peter Hale, that was a shock, since he was supposed to be dead.
“Meditate with me,” Stiles said softly.
Derek looked up from the book he was reading on Stiles floor. “Here?”
“No, let’s go out to where we’re going to hold the ritual tomorrow.”
It was quiet as they walked. Stiles wanted to take the long way around as he checked the perimeter of the Nexus and touched each one of the five elemental points and grounded himself. They eventually reached the area they had chosen to set the ritual, at moonrise, so they would have it shining on them like a blessing.
They sat in what tomorrow would be their circle and Derek placed his hands on Stiles’ wrists as Stiles closed his eyes and sank into a trance. Derek scrutinized his breathing and heart rate. They had done this a few times since that incident a few days before, and Derek was always worried something similar would happen, but so far it hadn’t.
Suddenly, Stiles pulled, and Derek was there with him, seeing through his eyes as he moved through the Earth. He felt like he was incorporeal and he was drifting through matter. Stiles looked around and saw all these little lights of color just floating around. He wanted to tug on them but thought that would probably be rude, particularly since he was hitchhiking in someone else’s consciousness.
Still, it was weird. Did Stiles see like this all the time?
Then it was over.
He blinked, and he was back in his own body.
“I think this spot will be perfect,” Stiles said as if he hadn’t just taken Derek for a spin. He wondered if he should mention it. Maybe later, after the ritual.
Derek nodded. “Tomorrow, then.”
After speaking with Melissa, Lucas decided to drive around town and think about things for a while. He had a bad feeling that things were on the horizon. He was exceedingly proud of what Stiles was doing, how he had made a stand, both for Beacon Hills and for the Pack. While he was concerned about what Melissa had told him about Scott, he wasn’t sure what to say to her, since he wasn’t exactly sure of the whole situation. He needed to talk to Stiles about it to have a better idea of exactly how he could help if he could help.
Making that decision, Lucas headed towards home, hoping to find Stiles.
The Jeep was in the driveway, and the Camaro was nowhere in sight, so Lucas hoped that meant his son was alone.
Stiles was sitting at the kitchen table, books surrounding him while he read them, occasionally writing notes on a pad of paper.
Lucas stood in the doorway and watched for a moment. If he didn’t know any better, he could have fooled himself into thinking that his son was studying something mundane like chemistry or math, maybe even economics or English. However, he did know better. Stiles had traded in the mundane for the arcane, and that was fine. That was part of his heritage. The heritage Emeline had given him, even if she was no longer here to share it with him.
“Oh hey.” Stiles looked up and smiled when he noted his dad was watching him. “What’s up?”
“You want something to eat?” Lucas asked moving into the kitchen. He’d found it was always easier to interrogate Stiles when food was involved.
“I could eat,” Stiles said, staring suspiciously at his father.
“Sandwiches good?” Lucas as he began pulling out bread and meat.
Stiles watched his father quietly for a moment before he returned his attention to his book. Marin’s books were not light reading, but they were interesting.
“I saw Scott in town yesterday,” Lucas said casually as he set the sandwich in front of his son. He watched as Stiles stilled in his chair, his fingers tensing briefly over the pages of the book he was reading.
“Did you?” Stiles asked quietly. “Did you…speak to him?”
Lucas sighed. “No. He stared at me for a moment and then turned around and walked away.”
Stiles nodded once as if he expected as much. “He’s having a rough time.”
“Do you think he’ll come around?” Lucas asked, worried about all the time Scott must be spending alone.
“I…I honestly don’t know. I used to think he would…eventually, but this Fey thing has thrown him. I think if it was just a matter of me joining Derek’s pack he might be okay, possibly. However, I’ve changed so much, and now he’s freaking out about that too. I’m not who he knew anymore. He feels like I chose this freaky supernatural world over being normal.”
“Son, you’ve always been Fey. Odds are, even if Gerard hadn’t attacked you, you still would have come into your heritage in a few years.” Lucas swallowed hard over the thought of his son’s experience just a short while ago and the choices he’d made because of it. He was so like Emeline. He’d always known that, but lately it had become more and more apparent.
“Yeah, I know. I talked to Scott about that.” Stiles stared at his sandwich for a moment, thinking before continuing. “It’s weird, you know. For a while, I blamed myself for what happened to Scott. For getting him involved in the mess with Peter, for him getting bit.”
“Because you wanted to go looking for Laura Hale’s body?” Lucas asked.
“Because I insisted we go looking for Laura’s body, and when you caught me out there that night I didn’t come clean about Scott being with me.” He looked up at his father, a hint of sadness in his eyes. “I left him out there alone that night, asthmatic Scott, who waffled about everything before that night.”
“It wasn’t your finest moment,” Lucas admitted, “But you didn’t know about Peter, Hell, son, you didn’t even know werewolves existed, so you couldn’t have known what was going to happen.” Lucas stared at his son for a moment longer before getting at the real issue. “Do you think Scott will accept things?”
“Scott’s problem,” Stiles began, getting up from the table and beginning to clean the slight mess his father had made away. “His issue has always been that he doesn’t want to be a werewolf. He wants to go back to how things used to be.”
“Have you asked him why?” Lucas pressed.
Stiles snorted. “I don’t need to ask him why. Allison Argent is why.”
Lucas noted the bitterness in his son’s voice and he knew he was still struggling with his feelings. He knew Stiles still remembered the Argents with fear and anger. He didn’t think a few weeks with them out of his territory would change that.
Lucas frowned, both at the tone in his son’s voice and at the idea of Scott throwing away a long-held friendship over a girl. An Argent, no less. Lucas wasn’t sure he was the best judge either. He was pretty laid back, he thought, but between his memories of the Argents from when Emeline was alive, and what he now knew about what had happened to Stiles, he didn’t think he had a lot of goodwill for them.
“And does he know that now that they have left Beacon Hills, they are unlikely to return?” Lucas asked cautiously.
“He knows.” Stiles nodded.
“Right.” Lucas accepted the short answer. “Is…that all? Will he get over it? Do you think he’ll be able to accept things?” He paused and blew out a breath. “I just don’t like this isolation he’s setting himself up for, son.”
“He’s not completely alone,” Stiles admitted. “Isaac visits with him; talks to him.”
“Melissa mentioned that.” Lucas agreed, “And he still works with Deaton, but is that enough?”
Stiles turned off the water and turned around. “I don’t know, dad, but I have other responsibilities now. Scott can’t be the one I worry about first. Other people need me.”
“About that…” Lucas began.
“Yeah?” Stiles raised an eyebrow.
“I know when you…did what you did, you weren’t expecting to become part of Derek’s pack. That wasn’t why you did it, or even in the plan, but…how’s that working out? Peter seems to think you and Derek are…well suited.” Lucas wasn’t sure if that was the right way to say it, really but Peter had a colorful turn of phrase and half of what he said wasn’t fit for public consumption.
Stiles flushed. Things were…good. Better than he expected. His dad was right. He hadn’t expected to become part of Derek’s pack; maybe he’d wanted it, in the secret parts of his thoughts that he never took out to examine. He always wanted more than Scott could give him, he could admit that…now. More attention, more challenge, just more. That had been part of the reason behind his ridiculous one-side quest for Lydia. He could see that for what it was now too. Still, he wasn’t sure how much of that was Derek, and how much of that was the balance of the pack, or if some of it was due to the heavy weight of the Nexus he now carried. Maybe they all played their part.
“Peter’s not wrong,” Stiles admitted, slightly uncomfortable. “Derek is trying to be…better. It’s difficult for him, I think, to have a pack again. And this pack isn’t like what he had before, or at least it wasn’t to start with, but he’s trying.”
Lucas thought about that, about the young boy Derek had been and about the stiff, sullen teenager, and about the cloak of sorrow that had surrounded him upon his return. Sorrow that even someone as mundane as Lucas was could sense about him. Lucas thought about Peter too, about the changes in the man over the years he had known him and what it all meant.
“I don’t think he was ever prepared to be Alpha,” Lucas said finally, quietly. “I don’t think either of them was.” He amended, knowing that if they were going to talk about this, maybe they should talk about all of it. “Talia was always to be the Alpha, and under normal circumstances, it would have passed to Laura.”
“It did pass to Laura.” Stiles pointed out, not cruelly, but to be clear about events.
Lucas continued without comment. “And then to Laura’s children, if she had any. Neither Derek nor Peter would ever have been in line.”
“And then Kate Argent happened,” Stiles said with more than a little bit of bitterness. He hadn’t had a lot of dealings with her those first few months, but he remembers putting the pieces together from his dad’s case files, and he remembered that night that Derek had become the Alpha. He also remembered everything that came before. All the stuff that occurred that terrible night in the school, all the fear, and confusion, because of what Peter had done. That was ultimately Kate’s fault too.
Lucas observed his son. “Derek and Peter were never meant to be Alphas, son, neither one of them. Talia spent a lot of time with Laura, preparing her to be the next Alpha. Lessons, I’m sure Derek never had. Lessons I know Peter never received either from his parents because Talia was always to be Alpha.” He paused, watching Stiles absorb his words.
“Both of them ended up with power they weren’t prepared for,” Stiles said quietly.
Lucas nodded. “Peter tells me Derek is trying to be a better Alpha now, and that you’re helping him. He thinks you’re good for the pack.”
Stiles started to say something but then stopped and narrowed his eyes, his power flashing involuntarily for a second before he regained control. “Peter tells you a lot. Is there something you want to tell me…dad?”
Lucas blinked at him. “I’ve known Peter a long time.” He said slowly. “I think he’s…comfortable with me.”
Stiles raised an eyebrow because he was sure there was more to it than that, but he wasn’t sure it was any of his business. His father was an adult, and so was Peter, and now that Peter was moderately sane, they could make their own decisions about things. Stiles wasn’t getting in the middle of that.
“Fair enough.” Stiles looked out the window and to the tree outside, watching as the branches moved slightly closer to the house, almost in response to his scrutiny. “I worry about Scott,” Stiles admitted. “But I don’t know what else I can do for him. He’s not ready to join a pack.”
“Can he be an Omega in Hale territory?” Lucas asked.
“For a while.” Stiles nodded, “but eventually, he’s going to have to make a decision. And if there is a serious threat, he might have to make a stand, or make a choice or…”
“Or leave?” Lucas asked.
“Yes.” Stiles nodded, firm, though not happy about it.
Melissa McCall found her son slumped over on the couch staring at the TV, where a video game was paused, two crashed cars frozen in time like some ominous warning of things to come.
She set her purse down on the kitchen table harder than necessary. Scott jolted as if startled. She frowned at this sign that he hadn’t known she was home. Another sign that her son wasn’t utilizing the new senses his supernatural ability gave him.
She had talked to Lucas about her concerns about their sons; both at what seems to be a growing distance between the boys, and what she feared might be the cause: her own son’s inability to accept his new life, while Stiles, who always seemed able to go with the flow, was jumping in with both feet.
Lucas had told her that while her concerns might be valid, there might also be more to her worries, but since neither of them had spoken to their sons about the rift, they could only guess at its cause.
Now, she had to do what she could to figure out what was causing Scott’s separation.
“I haven’t seen Stiles around much.” Melissa started as she moved more fully into the living room.
“He’s different now,” Scott mumbled.
“I don’t think that’s true.” She said. “You’ve been friends for a long time.” She paused. “Whatever’s happened between you, you guys can get through it.”
“I don’t understand how he can just side with them,” Scott admitted, slumping further into the couch, looking equal parts dejected and confused.
Melissa sighed. “Sweetie, I think maybe you’re looking at this the wrong way.”
Scott blink at his mother, confused.
“You’re looking at it like Us versus Them. You see them taking your best friend away, but you are the one who is pushing him away.”
“I want it to go back to how it used to be with just the two of us.”
“Honey, that is never going to happen,” Melissa said softly.
“Why?” Scott whined plaintively.
“You. Are. A. Werewolf.” She spoke slowly and stared at him, willing him to hear her and understand her, as he evidently was having a little trouble with the paradigm shift of his life. She wished she could make things easier for him, but he wasn’t a toddler anymore, and this wasn’t a skinned knee.
“I know.” He said quietly. “But, I don’t want to be.”
“Is it so bad?” She asked, equally quietly. “Really?”
Scott opened his mouth to say something, and she was afraid it was going to be more diatribes about the Hale boy or worse, more whining about his lost girlfriend but instead he just shook his head closed his mouth. Melissa counted that as a win.
“Things have changed, for you and for Stiles. You both need to adjust.” She spoke softly again. “He’s not choosing the pack over you, but he does have a responsibility to them. You have to decide if you can deal with that and still be friends with him. If you can’t, then, your friendship is over and that’s something you’re going to have to face.”
Scott swallowed heavily, not liking the thought of that at all. Things couldn’t be so dire that those were the only options. Accept Stiles place in Derek’s pack, or lose Stiles? How was this the only way things could work out?
Stiles looked around at the Circle he’d drawn then at the people standing both inside and just outside of it. His gaze went from those inside the Circle: Peter, and Isaac, standing to his left and right, then drifting to the unusual sight of his father, who he hadn’t expected to be at this gathering, but it seemed oddly fitting. He couldn’t see Derek, as the Alpha was standing just behind him, but he could feel his Alpha energy, pushing at the surface of his skin.
Lydia was standing just outside the Circle with Jackson and Danny on either side of her. They looked serious but determined. Stiles looked at each one of them in turn before he began speaking.
“The Hales ruled over this land for generations, and it was safe. Safe for humans, and Weres alike. Safe for the many other creatures that called this place home. We will make this place safe once again.
We’re starting a new tradition here tonight. A new Pack tradition and a new Hale tradition. This pack is different than the pack that came before because we are different. We are stronger, not because of something as mundane as brute strength, or numbers, should we ever reach some random number that may quantify us to have enough strength. No that is not what makes us strong. Our strength comes from within. We have survived things that most people couldn’t fathom. From death to resurrection, to nightmares no one would dare put a name to. We have survived it all, and come out the other side stronger, better, together.
We’re also different because we are made up of not only Wolves and Humans, but Other. We each bring something unique to the whole.
If you can lay what came before behind you and enter into this pack anew, pledge your fealty to this Pack and each of its members, enter the circle of your own choosing.”
Derek laid one hand on Stiles’ shoulder grounding him, lest he get drawn too far into the Earth again. This would not be the time or the place for such a thing.
They both watched as Danny didn’t hesitate and just entered the circle. He knelt on the ground as had been discussed earlier when they talked about what would happen.
Jackson looked around briefly, his eyes finally coming to rest on Stiles. He nodded once and then entered the circle. He too knelt, though his back was slightly stiffer.
Lydia’s gaze went around the circle, casually dismissing both Isaac and Stiles as not a threat. She lingered briefly on Derek before focusing on Peter. Peter raised a brow in challenge. She smiled and entered the circle. She knelt as well but with far more grace.
Derek stepped around Stiles as he went to each person, his hand, claws extended, gripping their shoulder, drawing blood as he accepted their pledge.
As each scratch was made the Pack bond came alive and caused a moment of disorientation; Danny sagged because had never experienced anything quite like this. The surge of emotions of so many people and then the withdrawal to a faint echo was weird, but comforting at the same time.
For Lydia, her head was abuzz with noise, so much noise she wanted to scream; Then Jackson gripped her wrist, and suddenly it all faded to a background hum, and she could think again. Hmm. That was something she’d have to think about later.
Everything was blindingly bright in Jackson’s head, and he was having weird flashes of things that didn’t make any sense. Strange memories. Memories that weren’t his. Before he could figure out what was going on, there was a roar off to his right, and Jackson looked up to find…an actual wolf in the circle, snarling and clawing…was that Peter? It had to be because Isaac and Derek were there, but Peter was nowhere…except he was an actual wolf.
Stiles had then replaced Isaac in trying to calm the wolf down. He had a hand on the top of his head and was whispering…something to the animal. Suddenly it just went limp. Derek picked him up and looked at the new members of the pack.
Stiles turned back around. “Okay, so that just happened. Welcome.”
Jackson stared at the wolf in Derek’s arms. He felt–weird, connected, but off, too. “Is he…that’s Peter, right? Is he going to be okay?”
Derek stared at him for a second almost if he’d never seen him before and then his eyes softened, and Jackson couldn’t imagine what he was thinking. “Yeah, he’ll be fine. He just needed to calm down.”
Jackson nodded. “What did you do?” He asked Stiles. He could feel some echo of power in his head that told him that Stiles had done something but not what.”I just put him to sleep. Don’t worry. He’ll be fine.”
“Come on; let’s get him back to the house,” Lucas said at last. Looking from the still wolf in Derek’s arms to Jackson and back again. He sighed heavily and shook his head.
Stiles watched his father and felt for the guy. After what he’d just witnessed he would not want to be the one dealing with Peter when he woke up. “Go on with them.” He worked hard at maintaining his reassurance. Nothing to see here, move along.
“What the hell was that?” Danny asked Jackson as they followed behind Derek and Isaac.
Lydia stopped in front of Stiles, her shrewd eyes studying his.
He smiled at her, looking innocent.
“No. That won’t work anymore. We’re Pack now, right?” She arched a brow.
He sighed. “Look, I wasn’t expecting Peter to go all…like that.”
“But you knew it could happen? That they could turn into actual wolves?” She asked.
He looked awkward for a second but then decided to be honest. It wasn’t exactly a secret, but it wasn’t common knowledge either. “Not everyone can, but certain lines have the ability.”
“Lines? You mean it’s genetic? So it’s something the Hale wolves can do?” She asked.
“Just the born wolves? Or can the ones that are bitten do it as well?” She pushed.
This was a tricky question. Lydia meant did it affect wolves bitten by Hales, like Scott or Isaac, or Jackson. He knew what her real question was though. Would Jackson be able to do that? And that was a complicated question with a complicated answer. The bottom line was Stiles didn’t know.
“I’m not sure. I think it just affects the born wolves.” There that was honest, and once everything was clear, it might answer the question. It might not.
“Okay. And what exactly set Peter off?” Lydia asked.
Wasn’t that the question of the hour? “I can’t say,” Stiles said honestly.
“Can’t or won’t?” She snipped.
Stiles narrowed his eyes, the forest around him growing quiet. “Can’t. Not everything is available for discussion. Peter’s past is his own. Let’s just say he learned something shocking and had to process it rapidly.”
Lydia took a deep breath and let it out. “Sorry. Jackson was upset. He’s still keyed up. I can feel him.”
Stiles nodded. “It’s the full moon.“ He looked around. “I need to close the circle and release the energies. You go on ahead. He’ll need you the higher it gets.”
She nodded once more and left.
Stiles sat on the ground and centered himself calling to the Earth, the Moon, and the Stars. He felt his energies align with those still woven tightly within the circle. He released each one, element by element, thanking them for their assistance and guidance.
When everything was as it should be, he still felt rattled and decided to walk the borders and see if he could sense anything out of place. He needed to center himself before he returned.
Several miles away, Marin Morel looked out at the darkened trees, the full moon was rising, and with it, something was just on the edge of her Sight. “Something is coming, brother. I can feel it on the wind.”
“Have you had another vision?” Alan Deaton asked. He tried to stay out of the Supernatural aspects of Beacon Hills as much as was feasible, but he knew it was a futile hope at best. The Hale Pack was back on Hale territory once more, and they would continue to maintain the boundary, as they always had done.
The Keeper was more than even he knew, but he still had much to learn, both about his heritage and what being a Keeper truly meant.
“I See Death and Darkness,” Marin said bleakly.
“The pack will need to be whole to face what is coming.” Deaton sighed. Lines were being drawn in the sand. He just wasn’t sure where he stood anymore.
Peter blinked his eyes awake and looked around, trying to figure out where he was. The room was unfamiliar but smelled strongly of Lucas and not much else. He sat up, trying to get his limbs to cooperate but they were a little resistant.
“Whoa, there, easy, cowboy.” Lucas grabbed his shoulder, trying to hold him down. “You have been under magical sedation.”
“How long?” Peter asked.
“18 hours,” Lucas answered.
Peter closed his eyes, trying to remember what happened, and then it all came rushing back. The ritual, the flashes of memories. Talia. The baby. His baby…now a member of this pack.” He tried to sit up again. Lucas helped him this time. “Did you know?”
Lucas didn’t misunderstand. “I knew he was a possibility. He was one of the three babies I mentioned. The boy. I wanted to be sure before I said anything because I didn’t want you to approach him if we weren’t positive. He’s been through so much already. The Whittemore’s are–they’re not bad people, Peter, so don’t go getting all crazy, but, I think, they wanted a child because it was what was expected.” When Peter just stared at him, he continued. “You know, go to college, get married, and have kids.”
“They didn’t love him, is what you’re saying.” Peter wasn’t sure what to do with that.
“I’m saying I didn’t want to tell him he maybe had another family out there, and then find out we were wrong later.”
“We weren’t wrong.” Peter bit out. He stood up and then sat back down again. “What the hell did Stiles do to me?”
Lucas shrugged. “Kid’s always been an overachiever.”
“Where is he?” Peter demanded.
“At the new house. I’ll take you over there.” Lucas helped Peter down the stairs and tried to hold in his amusement at the wolf’s weakened state because his son packed quite a wallop.
When they arrived everyone was watching as Stiles touched the walls and said something and breathed into the wood and foundation. Every time he let go, it seemed like the whole structure rippled, but only for a second. It was kind of disturbing.
“What the hell did you do to me, you hedge witch?” Peter snarled.
Stiles grinned. “You’re finally awake. I thought you were going to sleep the winter away, Rip van Winkle.”
Peter’s eyes flashed blue at Stiles. Stiles flashed his green right back.
The whole pack burst out laughing at the two of them. Peter smiled. Stiles smiled back. Peter turned to Jackson who was watching him just as intently. They had a lot to talk about, but he guessed that now they had found each other again, and knew about each other they had time for that.