Boyd sat quietly in the front seat of the Camero while balancing the tote of casserole pans between his feet.
He hadn’t said much after the Big Reveal other than being suitably impressed when Derek half-transformed to his Beta form and Stiles made two baking pans disappear from the counter and reappear in the hot oven. All he said at that point was, “Man, you don’t even need extra hands in the kitchen” before changing the topic to the next recipe.
So now Derek was driving Boyd home and Stiles was uncharacteristically quiet in the back seat, leaning his head against the window.
“You’re being unusually calm about all of this,” said Derek after a few minutes.
“I’m mulling,” Boyd replied. “It’s a lot to take in, you know.” Boyd half turned in his seat to better see Stiles. “I’m glad you felt that you could trust me with all of this—and you really can. I’m just wondering if this has anything to do with the fight you’re having with McCall.”
Stiles sighed. “It does and it doesn’t.”
Stiles and Derek proceed to tell Boyd how Scott got bitten and how he tried to blame Derek for his misfortune, and how Derek became Alpha.
“So he thinks you’re jealous of him instead of scared for him?” Boyd asked.
“Well, yeah,” said Stiles. “But he hasn’t taken any of this seriously yet. On his first Full Moon he attacked me in the locker room after he practically disabled an opposing player during the scrimmage game, And that was after Derek told him to hold off on the sports until he got control of himself.”
“During his second Full Moon,” said Derek, “I basically had to sit on top of him in the McCall’s basement instead of running with my Pack. Scott’s not my Beta, but he’s taking my time from my Pack.”
“That’s just stupid,” huffed Boyd.
“Yeah,” agreed Stiles. “He’s gotten more stubborn since the Tribunal. He basically witnessed two executions—the Hunters that killed Derek’s family paid for their crimes—and Scott acted like they should have been rehabilitated and set free.
“He’s been lying to his mother, too. And when Jackson figured everything out, Scott basically told him to find Derek and get the Bite.”
Boyd’s eyes grew comically large. “You didn’t, did you?”
“No!” Derek exclaimed. “I took care of Jackson and I told Scott to get his act together. If he hurts my Pack in any way with his foolishness, I’ll make him pay!”
After a few more minutes of silence, Boyd asked, “If I’m Pack-adjacent, do I get to know about the other Pack members?”
Stiles started laughing in the back seat.
“Pack-adjacent?” asked Derek. “Okay, I like that. We’ll keep it. Stiles and the Sheriff are Pack, because they brought me into their family and protected me. About a week ago, a small family moved here from Oregon—two Werewolf parents, one Werewolf child, one human child—and they submitted to me and are now Pack. And I’m giving the Bite to someone tomorrow.”
“Oh, yeah?” asked Boyd as he again swiveled in his seat. “Anyone I know?”
Stiles nodded. “Yeah, maybe. You know Erica Reyes? She’s in out Econ class. Has seizures?”
“Yeah,” said Boyd, “she’s the blonde in the back row.”
“Yuppers! Scott’s mom asked if Derek could give Erica the Bite to cure the epilepsy. Her parents agreed, so….”
Again Boyd nodded as he processed. “So, Erica and her parents are going to be Pack, too.”
“No,” said Derek. “Erica will be Pack. Her parents will be Pack-adjacent. They can come to Pack meetings if they want to, but I’m not going to force the issue. We’ll all be there to support them as their lives change.”
Boyd sighed. “If I’m not Pack, I guess I don’t get the cool jacket.”
After they dropped off Boyd, Stiles asked Derek to take dinner to his father at the station house.
“What are you going to do,” Derek asks after he agrees.
Stiles held up a disposable foil pan of chicken enchiladas. “I’m taking a peace offering to the Argents—and I’m performing my first official duty as Emissary to the Hale Pack by explaining about Erica.”
Derek helped Stiles carry all of the food containers into the house and divided up two portions of enchiladas for him and the Sheriff. “You should be fine, but call me if you get into trouble.”
Stiles nodded and turned away from Derek. Once his back was turned, Stiles concentrated and CONCENTRATED—and he thought, ‘I hope I don’t need to rely on cellphones in an emergency.’
Derek gasped and grabbed Stiles’ shoulder, spinning him around. “Do that again!”
Stiles closed his eyes and pushed, thinking ‘Do this again?’
When he opened his eyes, Derek was smiling widely.
“So,” Stiles said with a grin, “I guess that worked, huh?”
“Yes!” Derek exclaimed. “That was great! Now, if your car breaks down and you have shitty reception or your phone is dead, you can contact me!”
Stiles laughed. “I only hope that’s the worst emergency we’ll have.”
Stiles balanced his foil pan on one hand as he rang the doorbell beside the thick oak door of the—well, it was a mansion. There was no other word. While he waited for the bell to be answered, Stiles glanced around what he could see of the neighborhood. He and Scott used to trick-or-treat here when they were younger. The wealthy inhabitants had the best candy. Stiles knew the Whittemores lived close to this house—and beyond that was the large cemetery that divided Beacon Hills.
The door behind him opened and Stiles turned around to see… “Allison! Hey! How are you?”
Allison’s forehead wrinkled in confusion. “Stiles? What are you doing here? Did you need to speak with Scott?”
“Scott’s here? No, I don’t need to speak with Scott.” Stiles scratched the back of his head. “I’m, um, actually here to see your father. Oh! And I brought dinner,” he said brandishing the pan of enchiladas. “So-ooo…can I come in?”
“Allison?” A rich baritone voice broke into the awkward exchange. “You left your guest alone in the living room. Who’s at the door?” The owner of the voice came around the corner, and boy was he something. Ice-blue eyes, salt-and-pepper stubble on a firm jaw, strong shoulders; if Stiles wasn’t positive that he might be attracted to Derek, he could really go for a guy like this…aaaaaaand this was probably who he was here to see.
Allison blushed in embarrassment. “Sorry, Daddy. This is a…this is someone I know from school.”
Stiles held out his right hand in greeting. “Hello, sir. I’m Stiles Stilinski, the Sheriff’s son.” Stiles gave the man a significant look and his eyes widened slightly in recognition. “I brought chicken enchiladas,” Stiles continued. “We were experimenting with Tex-Mex recipes, and I made extra.”
Stiles handed the foil pan to the older man, who then passed it on to Allison. “Sweetie, why don’t you take this into the kitchen and feed your boyfriend. I apparently need to speak with Mr. Stilinski.”
Stiles offered a small smile to Allison as she left the entryway, then he followed Argent into an office near the front of the house. Argent ushered Stiles into the room and then closed the door after him.
“I take it you’re from the Hale Pack?” asked Argent.
Stiles shrugged and shoved his hands into his jeans pockets. “Yup.”
“And you’re the boy that was Bitten by the rogue?”
Stiles laughed. “Oh, no. That was not me. I’m the Emissary for the Hale Pack.”
Argent gave him an incredulous look and crossed the room to sit behind a large chrome-and-glass desk. “Really? Aren’t you a little young to be Emissary?”
Again, Stiles shrugged. “Well, I’m a little young, yeah. But I can totally do the job. An Emissary is supposed to protect the Pack, and I can do that.” Stiles crossed to the front of the desk and sat in a stiff leather chair and crossed his arms over his chest. “An Emissary is supposed to speak for the Pack, and I can totally do that.”
Argent smirked. “But I was taught that Emissaries were Druidic or Shamanistic, and quite magical.”
Stiles held out his right hand and pushed, forming a four-inch round ball of flickering purple flames in his palm. “Oh, I’d say I have that covered as well.”
Argent leaned forward over the desk in interest. “That’s not Druidic Magic.”
Stiles shook his hand and banished the flame-ball. “No, it’s not. I’m not a Druid, nor do I want to be, although I’m sure they’re not all like Dr. Deaton.” Stiles leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “I’m what’s called a Spark—and I can do anything to protect my Pack.”
Argent leaned back in his chair and pressed his hands together under his chin. “I understand. Now, what brings you here?”
Stiles hitched a shoulder and leaned back as well. “I know Derek was here to announce his presence in Beacon Hills. I’m here to offer condolences on the passing of—well, of your family, I guess. I can’t imagine what that would be like, and I don’t want to try.” Argent nodded his head in acknowledgment of the sentiment and Stiles continued. “Alpha Hale’s Pack is growing. This should not be news to you. Alpha Hale hasn’t gone nuts and started biting innocent people, but he needs to build a Pack to survive. Two adult Wolves have joined us, and my father and I make up the human contingent so far. But Derek is going to give the Bite to one of my classmates, and I don’t need you to freak out and try to kill her. Or Derek.”
Argent shook his head. “I began pulling away from the Hunting life a long time ago. By the time I married, I was only attending business meetings between other leaders in our community. I have no need kill an innocent to prove a point.”
“Okay,” said Stiles. “I just needed to be sure. This girl tomorrow is really sick—like life-threatening sick, and her parents are willing to risk having the Bite fail in order to heal her. Look, I know De—Alpha Hale would never ask you for a treaty, not after what your sister did to his family, but I’d like to know that if anything hugely bad went down around here, that you’d at least be willing to defend the innocents.”
“Yes,” sighed Argent. “I will be willing to protect the innocents in this place, should any supernatural danger come calling.” Argent stood from his chair and walked to a large mahogany bookcase. “After my father’s estate was settled, I received custody of his immense library. He had it from my mother, as she was Matriarch of our family faction.” Argent chose a thick tome from a higher shelf and opened it, extracting a small, shiny object. He turned and offered it to Stiles. “That’s a flash-drive copy of the Mid-western American Argent Beastiary. Most of it’s in archaic Latin, with some medieval French thrown in for good measure, but there is a lot that has been translated. Consider it a peace offering.”
Stiles turned the flash-drive over in his hands, running his fingers lightly over the surface and trying to send his magic into it to search for hidden traps. “What’s a ‘Beastiary’?” he asked after finding no baneful spells on the drive.
Argent cocked his head to the side as he considered the boy in front of him. “It’s a long list of every supernatural encounter my branch of the family has had since the beginning of…the beginning. Werewolves, Wendigoes, Berserkers…any- and every-thing; it’s in there, along with their strengths, weaknesses, and mythology.”
Stiles quirked his mouth in a half-grin. “It’s John Winchester’s Diary.”
Argent looked surprised. “I…okay, I have no idea what that means, but it’s for you. All you have to do is translate it.”
Stiles slumped slightly. “Yeah—languages are not my thing. I guess I’ll learn—or I’ll find allies. Thanks for this. I’ll make sure you get the credit for it.”
With no coordination at all, everyone in the Hale Pack managed to arrive at the Reyes house at the same time. The Hansons greeted the Stilinskis with hugs and handshakes as Derek knocked on the front door.
Erica answered the door, but her mother was hovering nervously over the girl’s shoulder. Derek looked at her questioningly. “You haven’t changed your mind have you?”
Erica laughed as she opened the door wider. “Oh, no!” she exclaimed. “For a minute I was afraid it was all just a dream. And now, here you are—and it’s not!”
Derek led the others as they filed through the front door and into the living room, with John bringing up the rear.
“Sheriff,” Mrs. Reyes asked, surprised, “are you a…?”
“Werewolf?” John sighed and shook his head. “No, I’m one of the humans in the Pack. So is my son there, but he’s something special as well. We’re here so you don’t feel so out of place with what’s going to happen.”
“Oh,” she replied deflated, “that’s so…nice of you.” She led the Sheriff in to the living room wringing her hands. “We prayed about this today—that it will work and Erica will survive. I suppose I just have questions.”
John patted her shoulder gently. “That’s what we’re here for.”
Once they were all situated in the living room, with Stacy on the floor with her children and Derek standing by the front window, Derek introduced the Hansons and explained why they were all in the house.
“I brought the Pack for three reasons,” he said. “First—so they can welcome Erica to the Pack after the Bite has taken, second—so you can meet the people Erica will spend at least one night a month with, and third—so we can answer any questions you have about Werewolves and Packs.”
Both Mr. and Mrs. Reyes looked relieved at that statement. “I have so many questions!” said Mrs. Reyes. “I know we agreed to let you do this for Erica because it would save her life, but there is still so much we don’t know.”
Stacy smiled up at the woman and said, “I’m a born Wolf from an old, established Pack, and my husband is a Bitten Wolf. We can answer anything you need to know.”
“But first,” said Derek, “I’d like to get the Bite out of the way. If it doesn’t take, the results will be instantaneous, but it she Turns successfully she’ll need an hour to heal. I want her to be comfortable in any case.”
Mr. Reyes nodded and headed for the hallway. “Erica’s bedroom is on the first floor, because of her seizures. We thought it best to do this in there.”
“Okay,” said Derek as he moved to follow. “The Bite will bleed a lot, even if it takes, so it might be best if you have a lot of old towels to put under her. I’d also like to have you in the room instead of her mother. I know the sight of your daughter in pain will affect you, but I think you might be better at hiding it.”
Mrs. Reyes waved her husband along. “You go. I’ll sit here and ask as many questions as I can.”
Erica gave her mother a hard hug and bounded out of the room ahead of her father and Derek. Mr. Reyes followed at a much more sedate pace, and Derek gave one last reassuring look at Mrs. Reyes before he, too, stalked into the back hall.
Mrs. Reyes gave a shaky sigh and turned to Stacy. “So, what exactly can I expect from Erica after the Bite?”
Stacy laughed at the unexpected question. “Well! There are so many things!” Stacy pulled coloring books and crayons from her bag and handed them to the children before rising and sitting next Mrs. Reyes on the sofa. “The first thing you’re going to notice is that Werewolves are comfortable in their skin. Since Erica has spent so much of her life betrayed by her own body, this is going to be a significant change. She’ll start to feel more confident and self-assured. And Werewolves put off a lot of body heat—so she’s going to start wearing less around the house.”
At the alarmed look she received, Stacy laid a reassuring hand on Mrs. Reyes’ arm. “Look, she’s not going to become a sudden exhibitionist, okay? But for your peace of mind—and for hers—you might want to invest in some comfortable full-coverage sports bras and yoga pants. That way, Erica will be comfortable and you won’t be scandalized by your own daughter.”
Mrs. Reyes laughed uneasily. “Okay—I can do that. Sports bras don’t sound so bad. Anything else?”
“Oh, yes,” said Stacy. “We’re constantly scenting Pack—it keeps us sane. So, she’ll sniff you a lot, because the scents of you and your husband will form her first anchor. And Werewolves are very tactile, so she’ll hug you more.”
“That would be nice,” said Mrs. Reyes. “Because of the epilepsy, Erica doesn’t much like us to touch her. Hugs are very rare in this family.”
Stiles laughed. “Well, that’s going to change. I mean, Derek doesn’t hug us, per se, but he does touch a lot—you know, rubbing shoulders or bumping arms.”
Mrs. Reyes nodded. “So Erica will be physical with all of you?”
“Yes,” said Stacy. “We’re Pack, so she’ll seek comfort from all of us. So if you see her hugging me or my husband, or even the Sheriff even though he’s not a Wolf, don’t be alarmed. It’s not inappropriate at all for us. There will be no hanky-panky going on, I promise you.
“But that does lead into more uncomfortable information that you should have. Werewolves are very sensual, and sometimes they seem highly sexed. That doesn’t mean that Erica will suddenly become boy-crazy or sexually active, but she will become more interested in a possibly physical relationship. But before you panic, Werewolves don’t become sexually active unless a relationship is serious. It doesn’t mean that she’ll wait until marriage, but she won’t sleep with everything that moves, either. Getting that close to someone is risky, and it can muddle the scents, so once Erica finds someone special she’ll likely stay with that person for a very long time.”
Neither Stacy nor Dennis nor Mrs. Reyes noticed the bitter and sad expressions on John’s and Stiles’ faces. They both knew how hard it was for a Werewolf to trust in a physical attraction—and how badly one could be betrayed.
“Erica will also need more privacy,” said Stacy, “so her room will become her ‘den’ so to speak. Werewolves need a safe place to be alone, so don’t just allow anyone to wander in there while she’s living with you. She’ll be able to tell. She’ll also be able, with training, to tell when you’re nervous or scared or lying to her—so just be easy around her. Erica will still be your daughter. She might be part of Derek’s Pack, but she’s yours first and always.”
Mrs. Reyes gave a watery smile as she wiped a tear from her eye. “I think I was most afraid that Derek would take her from us, you know?”
“That might happen if you were abusive and cruel,” said John, “but then again, I would take her away in that instance. Derek has always cared about family, and he would never try to break yours apart. Just think of the Pack as an annex of sorts—a larger family for Erica to turn to in case something happens to you or your husband.”
“That’s right,” agreed Stacy, “we’re not trying to replace you. But Erica is going to need things now that only Pack can give her. We’ll train her and teach her, and while you can’t be part of all of it, you will always be there. She’s going to need your support most of all in this, because being Bitten is a huge change.”
“Is it going to hurt?”
Erica busied herself arranging old towels on her bed, but she was still a bit worried about receiving the Bite.
“Yes,” Derek answered honestly. “It’s going to hurt, and while all of your other scars will fade or disappear, this mark will leave a permanent scar.”
Erica’s face brightened. “All of my scars will fade? Really?”
Derek nodded seriously. “Werewolves heal very quickly. Unless there is a specific poison involved or the wound is made by an Alpha, you won’t have scars, and any scars that you do have will fade away. The older scars will take longer, of course, but the Turning Bite will never heal fully.”
Erica ran one hand over her face and shoulder. “I’ve got a lot of scars. When I fall with a seizure, I’m not always in a good place to land. And my medication is hell on my complexion, as you can see.”
Mr. Reyes wrapped his arms around his daughter to comfort her. “You’re beautiful, Erica. You always have been.”
Erica sniffed and rubbed her face on her father’s shoulder. “But I’m not strong. And I don’t want to be weak anymore.”
Derek rested his hand on Erica’s shoulder. “You won’t be. Your body will be stronger, of course, but you’ll have the strength of the Pack with you at all times. Once you form the Pack Bonds, you’ll always be able to sense us and you’ll know when we’re near. You’ll also know when one of us is in trouble—and we’ll sense you, too—so you’ll be able to help if needed.”
Erica lifted her head and smiled at Derek. “I’ve never been part of a team like that. I think I’ll like it.”
“Good,” said Derek. “Now, because this may be the only scar you have, where do you want the Bite?”
Erica twisted and turned her body as she looked into her mirror. “Um, I’m not sure. What do you think, Daddy?”
Mr. Reyes lifted her hair and pulled her shirt collar aside. “How about on the shoulder? Nobody would really notice it there, and when you take swimming lessons this summer, it won’t show too badly.”
Derek nodded in agreement. “Dennis’ Bite was on his forearm, but his thick watchband covers it for the most part. Bitten Werewolves aren’t usually self-conscious of their scars, but Dennis was Bitten during a hostile situation and it wasn’t his choice. The Bitten Wolves in my family wore their scars on the back of the neck so they would show when they bowed their heads in submission to the Alpha.”
“So the shoulder is okay, then?” she asked.
“Yeah,” said Derek, “the shoulder is fine. But you might not want to wear a shirt that you actually like, because this is going to bleed a lot.”
Derek left the room long enough for Erica to change her shirt, offering her the privacy and modesty that she would soon shed the need for. Once she called for him to return, he looked at her father and said, “This is going to look incredibly horrific. I’m going to need you to not panic, okay?”
Mr. Reyes nodded. “Yes, okay. I know it’s for the best, so I’ll leave the panicking for later.”
Derek opened the door to walk inside. “You might not have the luxury later, either. Erica’s senses will be stronger soon, so she’ll hear your heartbeat if you panic later.”
Mr. Reyes sighed. “Right,” he said as he followed Derek in to his daughter’s bedroom, “it’s for her own good…it’s for her own good…it’s for her own good….”
Alberto Reyes left his daughter’s bedroom shaken but relieved. Erica had survived the Bite, so she was recovering with her new Alpha—and now he was returning to his living room so that he could console his wife.
Cheryl Reyes looked up when her husband entered the room. “Is she…?”
“She’s okay,” he said. “There was a lot of blood, so she and Derek are cleaning it up while they ‘Bond’, but she’s okay.”
Mrs. Reyes sobbed in relief, and Stacy wrapped an arm around her shoulder.
Stiles stood up and clapped his hands together. “Well,” he said, “I’d better go get that ‘welcome to the Pack’ present from Derek’s car, then. Oh, and maybe we should clear out one of the upstairs rooms?”
“Why would we do that?” asked Mr. Reyes.
“Because,” said Dennis from where he was coloring with his children, “Erica deserves a new bedroom away from the main floor of the house. Having her on the main floor was fine when she was sick, but she’s all better now.”
“Oh,” said Mrs. Reyes, “yes, of course. There’s a nice bedroom at the opposite end of the hall from us that we’re only using for storage.”
Stiles left the house while they were all making arrangements to clean out the new room, and when he returned with a wrapped garment box, Erica had emerged from her room with Derek.
“Hey, beautiful, look at you!” Stiles smiled at the girl because the transformation was extraordinary. Gone were the bruises and shadows from under her eyes and her hair was bright and wavy instead of dull and limp. Her skin was clear, too, and she had a rosy glow about her face.
Erica greeted him with a bright smile that shadowed her bloody shirt. “Hey, yourself! What’s in the box?”
Derek took the box from Stiles and presented it to Erica. “It’s protection and camouflage.”
Erica opened the box to reveal a black leather motorcycle jacket. “It’s cool, but I don’t understand.”
Derek gestured for her to try it on. “We’re going to train hard, and this will act as a sort of armor for you. Leather like this can take a beating. But, if you have an incident while in public—like if you scrape your arm on a brick wall at school, for instance—people are going to see you get injured. A scrape like that will heal immediately, but humans shouldn’t see that. People will expect you to have a scar or scrape, so the leather will hide the fact that you don’t.”
Erica ran her hands lovingly down her chest and arms, caressing the leather. “This is so cool! Oh!” she said, looking at her parents, “I’m going to need clothes! I mean, I’m going to need clothes that aren’t baggy beyond repair.”
Mrs. Reyes looked panicked, but Stacy stepped in. “Don’t worry; I’ll go with you when you shop.” Stacy looked at Erica seriously. “You can get new stuff, but you can’t draw too much attention to yourself. Change small things at first: a new haircut and better-fitting jeans and t-shirts. I know having what amounts to a new body is pretty heady, but attracting attention now would ultimately be bad for the Pack.”
“Yes,” said Mrs. Reyes, “That would be good. We can wait until after school tomorrow, okay?”
Erica nodded, her smile still bright. “Yeah, I can do that.” She spun around in a circle laughing. “I feel so…alive!”
Mr. Reyes hugged his daughter. “You look so alive!” He turned to Derek and asked, “So what do we do now?”
“Now,” said Derek, “Erica has to know the scents of the Pack members, and our heartbeats, and we form Pack Bonds. And the Pack has to fully accept your scents and the sounds of your heartbeats, so we’ll all know that you are Pack-adjacent and important. Then Dennis and Stacy and I can carry Erica’s furniture to her new room, and we’ll let you Bond as a family. I’ll start training Erica this week, starting before school on Tuesday. Since you’re shopping for her, as Alpha I want to provide work-out clothing for her, as we’ll be running a lot in the mornings and evenings.”
Mr. Reyes was about to object, but John held up a hand. “Don’t argue with the Alpha, sir. I tried that, but it’s Alpha instinct to provide for the Pack. Derek buys groceries for us when he and Stiles spend all day cooking.”
Stacy laughed. “Derek gave us the down payment on our house when we moved here, just to make sure his Pack members had a safe and decent place to life.”
Derek blushed but agreed. “I’m not going to take over or anything, but good quality work-out clothes are an expense you don’t need right now. Once your bank account recovers from hospital payments and buying Erica’s medication, you can better afford clothes for her. Right now, her appetite is going to grow, because Werewolves have a higher metabolism and she’ll eat more, so your money will be better spent on food.”
Mrs. Reyes’ hand was shaking as she stroked Erica’s hair. “I think we can do that. Erica never had much of an appetite.”
Derek was careful to outline a training schedule for Erica that did not disrupt her schoolwork. He made sure her parents understood the need for fight training, stating that Erica might only need to help protect the Pack and territory but she would need to know how to stay alive.
The hardest part of his talk was explaining Hunters. Mr. and Mrs. Reyes looked horrified that someone might try to kill Erica just because of how and what she was, but Derek assured them that the Hunter family currently in town was not a danger. Still, he made sure Erica understood the dangers of dramatically changing her appearance or revealing her physical condition.
“You’ll be sixteen next year, and I know you want to get your driver’s license,” he said, “but the law says you have to be seizure-free for five years before that can happen. It’s annoying, but we have to stick to the laws.”
Erica shrugged. “But I can get a bike, right? I mean, I never learned to ride, but I can now, right?”
Derek laughed. “Yeah, you can learn to ride a bike. Maybe I’ll help you get one for your birthday—with your father’s permission, of course.”
After the furniture was moved, with the Wolves doing all of the heavy lifting (“How awesome is this, Dad?”), the rest of the day was spent making sure Erica had plans for her first Full Moon, which would be in two weeks. “If I can get her under control,” said Derek carefully, “then she should be good to run with us that night. If not, then we might have to chain her so she doesn’t hurt herself or someone else.”
Mr. Reyes frowned. “The chaining thing sounds bad, but I understand the need. We don’t have a basement, so you couldn’t do it here.”
“No,” agreed Derek. “But I would want her to be with Pack in any case, so if that is necessary then I’ll do it where we can all be with her.”
Erica beamed at Stiles when she passed him in the hall on her way to her first class. She was still wearing her baggy mom-jeans and an over-sized sweatshirt under her new leather jacket, and her hair was pulled back in a messy pony-tail, but she was glowing.
Stiles was chuckling softly when Boyd found him at his locker. “I see things went well,” said Boyd, nodding in Erica’s direction. “And she got the cool jacket, too.”
Stiles turned to his friend. “Yeah, she survived okay. Her parents seem to be taking it well, too.”
“I bet it’s just a relief knowing she’ll never be rushed to the hospital again.”
Stiles shrugged. “Yeah, but she’s missed a lot of school. I told her that she could join us in the library at lunch and we’d help her catch up on her work.”
“Yeah,” Boyd nodded, “I can help with that.”
As they took their seats, Stiles saw that Scott looked confused; tilting his head toward the door like a puppy that hears a can full of coins being shaken somewhere. Stiles knew that Scott would soon figure out that there was another Wolf in the school. He might be untrained, but his senses would not lie to him. Stiles only hoped that Scott would keep it to himself this time. Jackson was not beyond hurting an innocent girl in his assholery, and Erica was just new enough not to strike out.
Still, Scott seemed not to be able to scent-out Erica in the halls, and she only shared two classes with him, so her first day back at school passed quietly. She studied with Stiles and Boyd at lunch time, happily eating the neat sandwiches that Stiles provided while catching up on her homework. She quietly scented Scott in the hallway, sniffing the air around him when she passed by on the way to class, but she said nothing to the other Wolf.
She did corner Stiles about it after school, though. “I didn’t know McCall was in the Pack.”
Stiles turned a stony face to her. “He’s not, but that’s a very long story. We’ll tell you during training some time, though, because I’d rather not talk about it where he can hear.”
“Sure,” said Erica, “anything you say. I’ve got a shopping trip to get home to anyway.”
Stiles gave her a hug, allowing her to scent him. “Have fun, but don’t come to school looking like a tramp, okay?”
Erica laughed. “Not a chance! Mom and I spent, like, two hours looking through catalogues last night after dinner. While I like the Rockabilly look, we decided that it would only be for special occasions, and I’d stick with classy and understated for everyday stuff. It’ll all look good with the jacket, and I’m aiming on getting a killer pair of boots to go with. Dad said he’d think about it.”
Erica’s training had been going well, and he had established her mother as an Anchor, but by the nineteenth she still didn’t have full control of her Wolf, so she spent her first Full Moon in chains, surrounded by Pack.
They were in the woods near the old Hale house, staying well away from the ruins that were marked for demolition. Stacy stayed near Erica, to keep a strong hand nearby in case she needed it, but her children, Melanie and Sam, were playing nearby.
Erica was wrapped securely in chains that Stiles had to handle because they were laced with Mountain Ash—something Regina Kincaide taught him to make—but she was docile and in good spirits, joking with Stiles the whole time. Only occasionally would she pop-claw and try to draw blood on herself, but her motions were hindered by the chains.
Derek and Dennis had run several miles through the woods, and they were returning to the small campfire Stiles had built to roast marshmallows over when Derek’s cell phone rang with a general ringtone. He reached into his jacket pocket to answer checking the display for the caller.
“Melissa? Why are you calling?” he asked confused.
“Derek! You have to come now! I…I need help!” Melissa McCall’s voice was frantic and hysterical. Stacy could clearly hear her and motioned for Stiles and Derek to leave at once.
“I’ve got Erica! Go! It could be important!”
Derek nodded and told Melissa he was on his way. He disconnected the call and dragged Stiles to his car.
“What’s going on?” asked Stiles as Derek peeled out of his parking spot.
“I don’t know,” said Derek. “Melissa sounded like it was an emergency.”
“Oh, shit!” exclaimed Stiles. “She was supposed to be home with Scott tonight.”
Derek drove quickly to the McCall house while Stiles called his father at the station. “Look, Dad, just act like this is a regular disturbance call and meet us there, okay? We don’t know what happened. It could be anything.”
“Alright,” said John, “I’m on my way now.”
John beat them to the McCall house only by a minute, but he was waiting at the front door for them when they pulled up outside the house. Once they reached the door, John knocked once and turned the knob, opening the unlocked door.
“Melissa?” he called when he entered, “It’s John. I have Derek and Stiles with me. Where are you?”
Melissa came from the kitchen in tears. “Oh, thank goodness you’re here! He just…and I just…”
“Melissa,” interrupted John as he gently took hold of her shoulders, “calm down, okay, and tell us what happened? Was it Hunters?”
Melissa started to cry, surprising both Stiles and Derek because she had always seemed like nothing got to her. “I was trying to make Scott stay in the basement so he wouldn’t break anything, but he kept fighting.” She took a deep breath and got herself under control, running a shaking hand through her hair.
And that’s when they all saw it: her shirt sleeve was torn and a set of four long, shallow gashes were bleeding along her left arm.
“He said that he was going to Allison’s, and that I had no right to keep him here,” Melissa took another deep breath, “and he started to shift…and he reached for me…and I was wearing one of those pendants that Regina gave me, so I threw it at him….”
Stiles and Derek ran for the kitchen, where they found a partially-shifted Scott trapped in a circle of Mountain Ash. When they entered the room, he turned terrified eyes to them.
“I just…I just attacked my mother,” Scott stammered. “Please…you have to help me!”