- The Journey Begins – Parts 1&2
- Rough Draft
- Work in Progress
- Dark Themes
- Discussion - Murder
- Suicide - Attempted
- Violence - Canon-Level
- Violence - Graphic
- Action Adventure
- Alternate Universe
PART 1 – Portal Safety Don’ts
Her fathers’ enemy continued to mutter to himself. He’d not bothered with the villainous monologue that she had been expecting. But then, he seemed to think that she should know why he was targeting her parents, and that she was smart enough to see for herself just how he was preparing to do it. She was that smart and more. She hadn’t received her twin Doctorates in “Nano Engineering: Architecture and Programming, and Technomancy” at the multiple galactic record-shattering age of just 17 by being unobservant.
What he was doing was creating a combination ward breaker and one-way mass teleportation ritual. It would allow him to break through her parents wards and steal her younger siblings so he could kill them too. Too, because there was no doubt in her mind that the ritual would be fueled by her own death at his hands. A ritual that size needed a massive fuel source and given that his oft stated desire for all the children of her parents to die screaming… the logical conclusion was that the fuel source would be be the death of an unwilling sacrifice. Particularly since that that exact rune sequence had been carved into the outer edge of the ritual circle.
But… that meant there was a giant loophole that she could exploit. She would still die, but if the price was her single life for all of her siblings and possibly her parents? Sighing to herself, she took one last look around at her surroundings. Generic empty cargo hold of a ship advanced enough to lurk in the space between galaxies. Probably hired pirates or a long haul freighter who’d taken a passenger and been paid enough not to pay attention to the sheer amount of crazy wafting off of him. Who ever had said technology and magic couldn’t mix clearly hadn’t gotten out enough.
Magic circle on the floor, check. Lit by candles, check. Prepared ingredients already placed in their spots inside the circle, check. Finally, one madman, fueled by self righteous vengeance in a hooded robe approaching her ritual dagger in hand. She had to time this just right, or her intervention would likely fail and her family could be doomed in one fell swoop.
She’d already managed to get both hands loose from the restraints but kept them both in place as she resisted being dragged into the circle on her knees. No need to make him suspicious. Still, even though she was gagged, she didn’t give him the satisfaction of making pleading noises. He wasn’t going to hear her beg. She may have to die to save her family from the ritual, but half the point of the loophole was that it would kill him in the backlash too.
She tuned back in from her musings as his chanting reached a fever pitch. Silently, she removed her hands from the shackles , and shifted her weight on her knees ever so slightly. When he reached down to cut her throat she grabbed the dagger out of his hand, and removed her gag, made all the easier by the fact that she’d kicked him out of the circle and into the bulkhead. In the space of seconds she rolled further into the center of the circle, shouted out a very ancient prayer to the Gods, and in one swift motion, lying face up on the floor, slit her own throat open to the spine.
Her blood fountained high into the air for very brief minute, until the first drop of blood to hit the circle set off the backlash, and with that the interior of the room imploded. The ship’s crew and sensors didn’t even feel a tremor. The crew would be quite surprised upon to docking on the first world of the edge of the galaxy that they were heading into to realize that their passenger had disappeared.
Stiles and Derek were on patrol together. Peter was taking the other half of the Preserve by himself. Mr. “I’m a True Alpha” had sent out those that he considered “pack adjacent.” That’s not what Scott called them but Stiles, Derek, and Peter all knew it was true. It burned Stiles deep inside to know that Scott was distancing himself further and further from him. Derek let out a light growl next to him and Stiles snapped his attention back to the Preserve. Over the years, Stiles had learned to interpret the non-human verbalizations of his werewolf friends. That one in particular meant, “Get your head back in the game.”
It was good that Derek had let out that growl because if he hadn’t Stiles probably would have broken his neck tripping over a tree root. Derek huffed out what Stiles knew to be his version of a laugh, human or not. Stiles was briefly distracted by the sparkle of amusement in Derek’s eyes, it was so rare these days. Then both of their heads whipped around as a a flash of light and the metallic scent of fresh blood, so strong even Stiles could smell it, filled the air of the Preserve.
They headed towards where the light had come from quickly. Derek’s phone rang, and he showed it to Stiles. The name Peter was on the screen. He answered the phone.”Yes, we saw the light. Are you closer? The Nemeton, of course. We’ll meet you there.”
Stiles picked up the pace, nearly running to keep pace with Derek’s faster walk, “The Nemeton again. I keep saying the damn thing is a Hellmouth.”
They made good time and arrived to find Peter standing stock still staring at the stump of the Nemeton. “Shhhh…” Came the sharp, but whispered, rebuke from Peter. “Don’t wake her.”
“Don’t wake wh– Ohh…”
There on top of the stump of the Nemeton was a girl about Stiles’ age, though there was something slightly strange about her profile that he couldn’t pin down at first glance. But more concerning and downright shocking was the blood. She was covered in it. The neckline of her shirt was soaked through, the ends of her hair dripped with it and it poured off the edges of the Nemeton to the base, where the roots had come to the surface and were sucking the blood up. There was a very sharp looking dagger driven half way into the center of stump just in front of where the girl was laying. Sprouting from the split caused by the dagger was a tiny tiny sapling.
The whole thing looked one hell of a lot like the girl had been killed as a sacrifice to the tree except for two things. One, Peter had warned them not to wake her. And… more worryingly, 2, now that he was closer,Stiles could see the thin red and pink scar of a freshly healed cut from a very sharp object running across the front of her throat. Oh, and 3, she was breathing, shallowly and slowly, but breathing.
Stiles said the first thing that came to mind. “Scott can’t know.”
Derek and Peter just nodded. They returned to looking a the girl, when she suddenly sighed and then breathed in deeply through her nose. They were not expecting what happened next, her eyes flew open, showing to them unnaturally bright green irises, and she jumped, or tried to at least, into a crouch before stumbling to her knees and clutching at her head.
“Fuck, I’m not dead. How am I not dead? Where the fuck am I?”
Stiles waved, “I can at least answer one of those questions. You are in Beacon Hills, California, USA.”
She went so perfectly still for a few moments she resembled a rather morbid art installation at an “edgy” art gallery.
“California … in the USA … on Earth. Motherfucker!”
“Of course on Earth, what planet have you been living on?” Peter’s sarcastic snap-back just seemed to make her more lively and brought the tiniest bit of color to her cheeks.
“Recently? Xandar, Capital planet of the Nova Empire, of the Andromeda Galaxy. No one has lived on the Earth since World War III.”
PART 2 – The Lost Girl
The three men stared down at the impossible girl. But it was Stiles who broke through the stupor that her words had brought first.
The girl quirked up one eyebrow as she shifted off her knees and settled into seated position on the ground. She looked like a horror movie victim relaxing between takes. Meanwhile, the tips of the roots of the Nemeton were climbing up her shirt and seemingly sucking the blood out of the fabric so thoroughly that the shirt was looking cleaner by the second. Creepy.
“Look, I am most definitely supposed to be dead. Unfortunately, I feel like too much like I’ve been keelhauled for me to be dead. So, A) I am not dead and something went sideways and I ended up on Earth pre WWIII or B) this is the afterlife, I have a death hangover, and you three still think you are alive.”
She shrugged and leaned back into the stump seemingly utterly unconcerned as the Nemeton roots moved on from drinking from her shirt to her hair.
Stiles was confused and looking over at Derek and Peter, he could see that they seemed just as baffled as he was.
“First, you seem very relaxed for someone who says that they are supposed to be dead and you currently look like a murder victim. Second, You aren’t creeped out at all by the tree that’s getting up close and personal with you to drink the blood off of you? Because you are supposed to be dead? Help me out here, because I’d be having a case of the screaming meemies right now.”
By now the roots had finished sucking up all the blood in the area around the stump and off of the surreally calm girl. She stroked over them with one hand absently, like one might a pet, and just sort of shooed that bit off and then all the roots on the surface reburied themselves. She was stupefyingly pretty now that she was clean and dry, but there was just something off. Like she was just slightly out of focus, or just barely off key. Sort of like Derek and Peter had been at first, but somehow she was maybe even less human behind those bright green eyes for all that she looked the part.
“I probably will have a mental breakdown at some point. Right now, I am trying to assess the situation I find myself in. But, understand, the situation I was in before I ended up here. I was going to die. There was nothing I could do about that, and I made my peace with that before I died. But I was lucky enough to be able to use my death to save the lives of my younger siblings. So if this is the afterlife, then I know that my family is safe. It’s if I am still alive that things get tricky. Because if I am, and I am on Earth pre-WWIII, somehow I was slung through space and time, and possibly dimensions. Then maybe he survived too and is here too. And that, would give me the “screaming meemies.”
Stiles looked at Derek and Peter. They gave him the sign that told him that she wasn’t lying. And so they looked at each other with dawning realization. She might be crazy, she might be telling the truth, but either way she was like them. Other, Stiles counted himself as Other post-Nogitsune, tired, frightened and very recently damaged. And also possibly, very lost. An invisible vow passed through the three men. They were going to help her, because right now she was at rock bottom, and dammit they weren’t going to let her drown down there.
TO BE CONTINUED
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