Scott had curled into himself, whimpering, while Derek paced furiously in a circle in the kitchen. From the living room, Derek could hear Stiles and John calming Melissa from her panic.
Derek could not believe…no, actually he could.
Scott had attacked his own mother, probably because she had forbidden him from leaving the house and finding his Hunter girlfriend. So Scott had wolfed-out and attacked and he made Melissa bleed.
Derek could feel his claws pop and he reined-in his own Wolf. It would not do to lash out at the boy, not now. Not when Melissa was crying in the other room.
“Hey, Derek,” said Stiles cautiously as he entered the kitchen, “Me and Dad are going to take Melissa back to our place. I have some herbs that can make her scars disappear…and she really doesn’t need to be here.”
Derek nodded tersely and Scott whimpered again. “You go. I have some work to do here.”
Once the others were out of the house, Derek rounded on Scott, still trapped in the Mountain Ash circle.
“How could you?” Derek yelled. “How could you attack your own mother? Melissa has stood by you through everything and you attacked once she acted like a real Alpha and parent and did something you didn’t like?”
Derek returned to his pacing, back and forth in a tight circle in front of Scott. “I have a new Beta, Scott. A beautiful girl that was hurting and fighting for her life, who was brought to me so I could try and save her, and she has more control over her Wolf in just two weeks than you have in two months.” Derek crouched in front of the miserable boy. “She has control, Scott, because it’s important to her. I thought it was important to you, too.”
Scott wiped clawed hands over his teary eyes. “It is important to me,” he rasped.
Derek snorted and stood. “Really? Because I offered to train you, and you quit on me. I gave you good advice, and you ignored me. What part of that is important to you, Scott?”
Scott moaned as if in physical pain. “I just wanted to be normal.”
“But you’re not normal, Scott,” Derek said gently. “I know it wasn’t your fault that you were Bitten, but it did happen, and you’re not going to be normal anymore.”
Scott huffed and sat down hard in his little circle. “I can’t do this, man. I thought I could handle it, but….”
Derek sat cross-legged in front of him and folded his hands over his knees. “I think I can still help you. You’ll have to follow every instruction I give you, but I might be able to help.”
Scott pounded his fists on his head. “I’m going to have to quit Lacrosse, aren’t I? And stop seeing Allison?”
Derek snorted. “You almost killed your mother, and that’s what you’re worried about?” He shook his head at the boy. “I might be able to work with Lacrosse—if you train hard. But do you really think Allison Argent is a good choice, knowing it was her father that shot you?”
Scott’s eyes grew wide with horror. “But he doesn’t know it was me, right? I mean, he didn’t say anything after the whole Tribunal thing….”
Derek’s eyes narrowed as he considered the boy in front of him. “He doesn’t know what you are now, but that’s going to change. I have to tell him, Scott. If I don’t, and they find out, it will be worse for you in the long run. And it will be worse for me and my Pack if Argent finds out without me. You’re not worth that risk to me.”
“But…but you said you’d help me!”
“Yes,” agreed Derek, “but I’ll not help you at the risk to my own Pack. And you made it very clear that you won’t submit or become Pack, so you are a secondary concern to me. I have others to protect now.”
Scott almost looked betrayed. “You already have a Pack? But you just became Alpha!”
Derek rolled to his feet with a deep sigh. “Unless or until you submit to me as your Alpha, Scott, my Pack is of no concern to you. Do you have enough room in there to sleep?” he asked, nodding to the circle of Mountain Ash.
Scott looked around the tight space. “I guess so, why?”
“Because,” Derek said as he walked to the front door, “Melissa is most likely to be staying at the Sheriff’s house overnight, and I really don’t feel like asking Stiles to come back and break the circle.”
The Saturday after the Full Moon had unofficially become Cooking Day. If all had gone well during the Run, then Derek would be in a great mood and ready to try something ‘new and exotic’—or new, at least. If things went sideways—or pear-shaped like this month—then Derek would want comfort-food stand-bys.
Stiles and Boyd had compiled two folders of recipes since Boyd had been joining them for their Cooking Days, which had become a twice-a-month deal, and while one folder contained recipes for dishes they found interesting (not that Stiles would ever have tried Haggis, even if the ban had been lifted), the other was full of hearty-but-healthy fare that was familiar. Boyd was happy to comply with Stiles’ edict that ground turkey was just as good as beef and herbs in the place of salt was a good choice, so the meatloaf with riced cauliflower was top on the list for this day.
Since the March Full Moon was on a Saturday, Cooking Day was moved to Sunday, and Boyd had to prove that his homework was finished before his family released him to his ‘duties’. Actually, the Boyds loved the fact that ‘Vernie’ was learning to cook so well, as the food was delicious and it took some of the burden from his parents.
The kitchen staff were back in Derek’s kitchen again, and it was proving to be a bit crowded.
Isaac Lahey had moved into the Boyd household without any fanfare, and he pretty much kept to himself—just like at school. So when Cooking Day rolled around, Boyd thought nothing of inviting the other teen along ‘just to get out of the house for a while’, and Isaac agreed almost sullenly. If either Derek or Stiles were surprised to see him, they said nothing. Derek made room in the backseat for Isaac by moving the plastic storage containers to his trunk, and Boyd took the front passenger seat quietly. Once at the grocer’s, Stiles handed Isaac part of a list and a shopping cart and shooed Derek and Boyd off to the butcher.
Isaac said nothing.
He pushed his cart and filled it with the requisite items, pausing only when Stiles corrected a choice for a healthier option, and he never spoke.
Once at Derek’s house, Isaac was handed a paring knife and instructions on how to deal with various vegetables, and he peeled and chopped and minced (a tinier chop, Isaac), and he never spoke.
Derek and Stiles and Boyd carried on conversation about school and casseroles and how big Derek’s ‘real kitchen’ should be (“I’m meeting with an architect next week, so I’ll see what my options are.”), and Isaac listened but never spoke.
Many hours later, when canvas totes were filled with plastic containers—five meals total for each ‘family’—and Derek was helping Boyd carry his portions into the house, Isaac stopped him on the sidewalk.
“Thanks for letting me come,” the boy said softly, and Derek graced him with a gentle smile.
“We do this twice a month, Isaac. It’s Stiles’ way of mothering us and making sure we eat right. You can come anytime.”
“How is Melissa doing?” Derek asked as he climbed out of his Camero to join John. They were standing in front of the old burnt husk of the Hale Manor, where Derek would be exploring the hidden basement with John’s help.
“She’s still a little shaken up,” said John with a sigh. “She’s ready to forgive Scott, because he’s her son, but she needs assurances that that incident won’t happen again.”
Derek shoved his hands into his jacket pockets and squared his shoulders. “I can’t make those assurances, John. It’s all on Scott now. As it is, I have to speak to Argent about him, and I doubt that is going to go well.”
John nodded and ducked down to reach in through the window of his cruiser to grab a flashlight. “Yeah, I know. Melissa knows, too. She’s just….”
“She’s just come to realized that her happy human son is now capable of doing great harm.” Derek sighed deeply. “Scott’s not a monster. I’m not a monster. But Scott needs to learn control, and I think he has a lot of issues with authority.”
John snorted. “You could say that. Melissa is strict, of course, but she gives in a lot. And he doesn’t really have anyone else to answer to.”
“His father?” Derek asked.
John shook his head. “His father, Rafael, is an FBI agent, but he’s out of the picture. Has been for a long time, actually.”
“Why is that?”
John frowned. “He was a hard worker, and a hard agent. But he internalized a lot of things from work, and then he’d go home and get drunk. He got too drunk one too many times, and he accidentally hit Scott and knocked him down the stairs. Melissa called me for help, and I got Rafe out of the house that night. She told him he needed to get his act together, and Rafe took that to mean she wanted him out for good—so he left. I haven’t seen him for years, and Melissa’s never mentioned him again after she received divorce papers in the mail.”
Derek turned to the house and began to climb the porch stairs. “I don’t want to be his father, John. I just don’t want him to bring more Hunters down onto my Pack.”
Derek paused when he reached the front door, waiting for John to catch up with him. His shoulders were tense and his back was stiff when John reached him.
“What’s wrong, Derek?”
Derek reached out and ran one hand down the closed front door, over a deeply etched sigil of a squared triskele. “I know this, but I can’t remember from where. I know it’s not a good thing, though.”
John clapped a gentle hand onto Derek’s shoulder. “Well, let’s worry about it when we’re done here. I’d rather the house didn’t fall in on us while we’re digging around underneath it.”
Derek nodded and took his phone out of his pocket and snapped a photograph of the sigil. “I’ll send this to the Gallagher Pack. Maybe Regina or Liam will know what it means.”
Derek led the way across the ruined floor and deep into the wreck of a house. They skirted ash and rubble, stepping carefully around burned spots on the floor. Derek easily found the house entrance to the basement, and he pulled the door from the hinges deftly so that it wouldn’t close and seal them in. Derek took the lead again as they descended the stairs.
The fire had ravaged the main floor of the house, and completely destroyed the top floors and roof, but here in the sub-floor area, the devastation was horrific.
Ash coated the walls of the stairwell and some steps were completely burned through. The stone floor of the basement was scarred from flames and worse. John wrinkled his nose at the sight of greasy stains that could only be human—or werewolf—remains. Along one wall in the basement was a line of strong metal cages. Not steel, John knew, unless they were magically reinforced, but they were obviously there to hold Wolves that had no control of their own. There were ash-coated chains inside the cages, and they were also coated with a thin layer of black grease.
John fought to keep the bile from rising in his throat as he thought of all the innocent people that lost their lives in this house—in this basement. His eyes pricked with tears as he followed Derek past the cages and toward a bricked vault.
“Thanks for coming with me, John,” said Derek as he shoved fallen bricks aside. “I’m not sure I could have done this alone.”
“I’m not sure I would have wanted you to do this alone, Derek. Is that the vault you were talking about?”
Derek nodded and shoved his claws into a hidden recess in the wall. “It’s not the main vault, though. The Hale Pack has been here in this part of California longer than Beacon Hills has been here. Our main family vault is hidden underground in another part of the city. This is just where Mom kept some family treasures.”
John’s brow wrinkled with the information. “You have another vault?”
Derek pulled several boxes from the opened vault and laid them on the floor at his feet. “The Hale Pack Vault holds financial information for the Pack, dating back generations. There is also a collection of rare herbs that Stiles might want, as well as several books on our Pack history. There’s a lot of other stuff in there, too. I really need to go through it sometime soon, but I need to do it after dark.”
“Why after dark?” asked John as he knelt to help Derek go through the boxes. They held several photo albums and birth records and a few journals.
Derek started piling the boxes for transport. “The entrance to the vault is under the entrance to the high school.” When John gaped at him, Derek shrugged. “The vault was there first, remember? The Hales owned a lot of land in this region, and my great-grandfather leased some of it to the county for the education department. If I can find the right files—probably in the main vault—I can probably prove ownership of a large part of Beacon Hills.”
John chuckled softly. “That could ruffle a lot of feathers around here.”
Derek nodded in agreement. “I don’t really need the land or most of the money. Once I find the titles and deeds, I’ll look into donating a lot of it. I might have to keep the high school, though, because of the vault.”
The two men carried their burden up the scarred stairs and out of the damaged and haunted house. John helped Derek stow the boxes in the trunk of the Camero and looked back at the house. “Do you have an appointment with the demolition company yet?”
“Yeah,” said Derek as he closed the trunk. “I’m meeting with the owner of the company on Tuesday so I can give him details about the basement and hidden tunnels. I’m hoping they’ll take it down by the end of the month.”
“And when is your appointment with the architect?”
“I’m meeting with Veronica Dempsey on Thursday morning. Her particular style is akin to the classic Victorian-style homes you see in San Francisco. I’ve always liked those houses, and I think a house like that will look good in this setting.”
John turned to look at the shell of a house behind them. It was a large Georgian manor-type house with a large porch, and it was rather boxy. If it had had columns in the front, it would have looked like a plantation house. John could see a Victorian house sitting there in its place, with a covered porch and large windows and turreted rooms. John doubted Derek would paint his home in the wild Grand Lady style of San Francisco, but he wouldn’t have it looking like the Addams Family house, either.
“I see your point, Derek. That would look nice out here in the woods. Well, I’ve got to get to work soon, so I’ll see you later, okay?”
Derek lifted his hand in a good-bye wave as John climbed into the cruiser and drove away. Derek opened the driver’s door of his Camero, but stood still with his elbow resting on the roof of the car as he considered the symbol carved into his door.
Bad news. He only knew it meant Bad News.
“This symbol is indeed bad news, Derek,” said Liam Gallagher over the phone later that evening. “It is the symbol of the Alpha Pack.”
“What’s an ‘Alpha Pack’?” Derek asked as he opened a blank notebook. He had adopted that habit from Stiles: always having a notebook and pen ready in case he needed to write anything important down. This seemed like it would be important.
“They claim to be Werewolf Enforcers that make sure Packs are following laws and rules and are not drawing attention from humans. I’m not too sure about that claim, though.”
“Why is that, Liam?”
“The leader is an old Wolf named Deucalion, and he has a deep hatred for humans. The rumor is that he killed his entire Pack in order to make himself stronger. And he has encouraged other Alphas to do the same.”
Derek felt the bile rise in his throat. “That’s…that’s hideous! Why would they do that? A Pack is an Alpha’s true strength.”
“I know that Derek. I also know that this Deucalion seems to enjoy corrupting new Alphas and recruiting them. He came to visit an ally of mine in Colorado and was turned away very quickly. That Pack had a strong structure and an extremely strong Emissary, and Deucalion could not stand up to them.”
Derek ran his hand over his face and sighed. “Great. I remember that name now. He came when I was a kid, and asked Mom to help him make treaty with some Hunters. She refused him. He had some other Alphas with him back then, too.” And one of those Alphas had bitten Paige Krasikova at Peter’s behest; Derek remembered that, too.
“Be careful, Derek. It seems this Alpha Pack may have targeted you. You are certainly a young Alpha, but I believe you are strong enough to stand them off.”
“Yes, well, I’m glad you’re confident in me. I’m having all sorts of issues, though, right now and I really don’t need this Alpha Pack in my territory while I deal with everything.” Derek sighed again, causing Alpha Gallagher to chuckle.
“Is all not well, Derek? Regina led me to believe that you and your strong Emissary had your Pack in order.”
“It’s not my Pack that is the issue. The Hansons have settled in just fine, and Erica is doing well with her training. But that other boy, Scott McCall, has decided not to be in my Pack and he’s causing me some trouble, so now I not only have to train him as well—I have to go and talk to Argent about him. That is not going to go well I think.”
“Is the Hunter giving you trouble after the Tribunal? I had thought he might have recognized the folly in that.”
Derek huffed a small laugh. “Stiles went over there and basically demanded a treaty—before telling me, no less. So Argent is keeping his distance. The problem is that McCall is dating Argent’s daughter.”
“I do not envy you that conversation.”
“So, Mom said it would be okay if I babysat for Stacy this weekend so she and Dennis could have a date-night.” Erica was practically bouncing down the hall between Boyd and Stiles as they headed to the library during lunch period. “I’m gonna make a little money for my Dad’s birthday present!”
Stiles smiled at his new friend and held out a chair for her at their usual table. “That’s great, but do you think you can handle two little kids on your own?”
Erica grinned up at him. “You’ve met Melanie and Sam, right? They’re sweet kids, and they really like coloring and blocks. Besides, it’s only for a couple of hours. Since it’s the first time, and Stacy said I might get overwhelmed, they’re only going to dinner at that Italian place on Winmont Street.”
Boyd pulled out his History book and notebook. “I bet we can make better Italian food than that place.”
Stiles regarded his friend for a moment before saying, “I’m not trying to put every restaurant in town out of business, Boyd. But I kind of have wanted to try making my own pasta. I’ll have to look up recipes for that. Oh, and I need a pasta machine or attachment for the stand mixer.”
Erica looked swiftly back and forth between the two of them. “What are you talking about? Like Home Ec stuff? I wasn’t allowed to take that class, in case I had a seizure around a hot stove.”
“Nah,” said Stiles as he pulled out his Calculus homework. “After my mom died, I sorta took over cooking to keep Dad from surviving on take-out and delivery. And we did this thing called Cooking Day, where we’d spend a whole day in the kitchen making a week’s worth of dinners to freeze. I mean, I did most of the work, cuz Dad is great in front of a grill but not much else.” Boyd chuckled softly and Erica grinned in response. Stiles looked up and smiled at them both. “Anyway, we’d do it every other month or so. And after winter break, when Scott blew me off for Allison, I invited Derek to join me—and it turns out he can’t cook either. Or couldn’t,” he said after Boyd’s reproachful look. “And then I asked Boyd to join us and now we do it twice a month.”
Erica’s eyes lit up. “I wanna come! I’ve always wanted to bake a cake!”
Stiles rolled his eyes. “I’ll make a note to have a dessert day or something, then. And I don’t have a problem with you coming sometime, but I think we should wait until Derek’s new house is built. My kitchen is not large, and the kitchen in Derek’s rental is kinda…cozy. With three of us, space is tight, and Boyd brought Isaac along this week and we were really packed in.”
Erica slumped in her chair for a moment before perking back up. “Okay, I’ll wait. But you have to promise to show me how to bake a cake. And not from a box, either!”
Stiles smirked. “I can do that, but believe me—from a box is so much easier, and once it’s done, you can tweak it with special additions. It’s so much more fun!”
“I’ll risk it,” said Erica proudly as she held out her math homework, “now explain this to me.”
“So the basement is here,” said the man in the white hardhat as he walked the perimeter of the old, burned house, “and tunnels run along this way?”
Derek walked silently beside the man, hands clenched into fists inside his jacket pockets. “Yes; the escape tunnels run away from the house for half a mile.”
The man raised one eyebrow in query. “How old are those tunnels?”
Derek lifted a shoulder in response. “I’m not sure. The house is generations old, but I think it was a re-built, so the tunnels are older. My family has held this land for well over two hundred years. Those tunnels were originally in case of attack before this area was finally settled and ‘civilized’. One of the old journals I found mentioned that the tunnels were reinforced with concrete in the 1920s, and I’ve been in the basement recently to check for damage; it’s all pretty solid.”
The man nodded as he took notes on his clipboard. “Okay, then the question really is: do you want to collapse the tunnels or preserve them? The ground is solid, so that’s in our favour. Collapsing the tunnels will weaken the land, and if they stretch as far as you say then rebuilding will be difficult.”
Derek frowned. “I’m actually planning on rebuilding, just not on this exact site. I want a new family home, but I thought a memorial garden would be better on the site of this old house. I don’t want to put a new family in the exact same place my own family died.”
The man grimaced but nodded in understanding. “What we can do, if you really want to maintain the integrity of the land, is tear down the house and fill in the basement and the very end of the tunnels with strong rock and concrete. You’ll have to dig a new basement, and you’ll not be able to use the tunnels—although I hear stuff like that make good wine cellars and root storage.” The man smiled when Derek gave him a blank look. “Houses with passages for the Underground Railroad or Prohibition trade tunnels have great re-sale value because of the history and interesting storage options.”
Derek shook his head. “I’ll dig a new cellar if I decide I need one, but I doubt I’ll ever need those tunnels again. I’d hate to think of anyone getting lost down there, anyway.”
The man made a few more notations. “Okay, so we’re tearing down the house and filling in the basement. Is there anything we need to salvage?”
“No. I’ve retrieved everything of value. There is nothing here but memories, and I hope the bad ones fade more quickly once the house is gone.”
The man gave him a compassionate look. “Okay, then, I’ll put you on schedule for next week. The concrete will need a week to cure, so any new construction will have to wait until the beginning of the month.”
“Do I have to go with you?” Scott whined as his shoulders slumped in defeat.
Derek crossed his arms and frowned at the boy. “Do you really want me to tell Christopher Argent about you without you there to defend yourself?”
Scott sighed. “I don’t want you to tell him at all!”
“You brought this on yourself, Scott,” Derek said sternly. “You thought you could be in control by now, and you failed that. If you had been, then everything I already told Argent would not be untruth, and I wouldn’t have to go back to him to tell him about the uncontrolled Omega in my territory.”
Scott sulked. “But Allison will hate me!”
Derek turned away from Scott and headed to his Camero confident that the boy would follow. “That’s not my problem, Scott. It’s really not.”
The drive to the Argent house was silent but heavy. Scott slouched in the front seat, frowning. Derek ignored him. Neither was happy with the other; Derek was pissed about Scott’s lack of control and Scott was pissed that Derek threatened his teenage romance. There was nothing to be done for it—Derek was in the right and Scott would just have to deal.
At Stiles’ insistence, Derek had called ahead to warn of urgent business, so Christopher Argent was waiting for them when they arrived. He seemed resigned to deal the Derek but was surprised to see Scott.
“Allison is studying at Lydia’s house today,” he said when he opened the door.
Scott opened his mouth to respond, but Derek beat him to it. “Our business is with you, sir, if you don’t mind. It has to do with the treaty my Emissary has instigated”
Argent nodded and opened the door wider to admit them. They followed Agent through the house to his private study and Derek nodded to the older man to show that he understood he was in a submissive position here. The acknowledgment of such made Argent reconsider his opinion of Alpha Derek Hale; this was an honourable man.
Argent seated himself behind a glass-and-steel desk that allowed no weapons to be hidden and gestured for Derek and Scott to sit in the stiff leather chairs in front of him. When they were seated Derek spoke first to indicate the urgency of the visit.
“I have two issues to bring to you,” Derek said confidently. “The first is a warning and a plea for assistance as per the treaty: I have been sent a warning of the impending visit of an Alpha Pack.”
Argent’s eyes widened. “I’ve heard rumors, but I thought that was all they were.”
Derek shrugged slightly. “I don’t know much more than that, I’m afraid. What little information I could get said they were all Alphas that tested new Packs in some way, but that information also said that these Alphas have all killed their own Packs for power—and that they might try to force me to do the same.” Derek raised his head higher and looked Argent in the eye. “I’m not willing to do that. I may not have wanted to be Alpha, but I am now, and I will keep my Pack safe.”
Argent nodded his head. “I’ll find what information I can. Despite the ruling of the Tribunal, I have very good contacts with reputable Hunter clans. They don’t blame me for the failings of my family and they will help if I ask.”
Derek’s eyes softened as he looked at the older man. “For what it’s worth, I am sorry for all you have suffered. Nobody should have to lose their entire family.”
Argent snorted. “As it turns out, my family was full of monsters and murderers, so losing them was a weight from my shoulders. The best of my family was born when Allison came to me, and I’ll do everything to protect her.”
Scott, of course, couldn’t keep his mouth shut, and blurted out, “But your wife! Allison misses her mother so much—don’t you miss her, too?”
Argent turned his attention to the younger boy. “My marriage to Victoria was arranged to join two Hunter Clans. I did feel kinship with her, yes, but she was far more interested in the hunting and killing than I was. I never realized how bad it was with her because she lied and hid her activities. I know she married me because of the arrangement. I know she was relieved when she became pregnant, because she ceased all relations with me soon after. I also know she was a stern and distant mother who would have treated Allison differently if I hadn’t been there to love my daughter. Allison misses the mother she thought she knew, and I regret that, but she didn’t know Victoria like I did, and she never knew the cruelty Victoria was capable of.”
The fight seemed to leave Scott with that declaration, and he slouched further into his chair.
Derek cleared his throat and brought the older man’s attention back to himself. “There is another reason I’m here. The rogue Omega that killed my sister and became Alpha—the Alpha that killed the ones who helped your sister—was my uncle. He also bit Scott one night two months ago. He is the Omega that refused my help, but that has changed.”
So too had Argent’s expression changed, from blank confusion to stony anger, and Scott sank even further into his chair as if hoping it would swallow him whole.
“Scott’s stubborn,” continued Derek before Argent could explode, “and he fought the Bite and the Change. That hasn’t worked out so well for him so far. I tried to train him two months ago, and he refused my help. Now he has had no choice but to accept my help. He’s not Pack, not yet, and I would never reveal my Pack to you in any case, but you needed to know about Omegas in the territory.”
Argent looked like he was about to launch himself over the desk. “You’re a Werewolf,” he asked Scott, “and you’re dating my only daughter?”
Scott turned miserable eyes to the older man. “I didn’t know about you or Allison, I swear! And I never wanted to be a Werewolf! I kept hoping it would go away. I thought I would be normal once the Alpha was dead, but I wasn’t.” Fat tears began to roll from Scott’s eyes. “I sat in that dark room and I watched Hunters kill other Hunters for no reason, and I was scared.” Scott ignored Derek’s snort of disgust and Argent’s look of confusion. “I was hoping that I could just be a normal kid, but I’m not.”
“Scott,” said Argent gently, “those people weren’t killed for no reason. My father and sister have annihilated entire Packs—innocent people, including humans—just because Werewolves are real. My wife’s family took her home to their own territory so they could deal with her there, because she did the same thing. My father—hell, Allison’s mother—would have killed you on sight if they knew what you were, and it would not have mattered at all to them.”
“I need help, sir,” said Scott sadly, more tears falling across his cheeks. “I wanted to be near Allison this weekend, but my mom said no—and I attacked her. If she hadn’t…if Derek didn’t come,” Scott hiccupped and shuddered, looking at Derek, “I need help, and I know it.”
Derek turned to Argent and steeled his resolve. “I think, sir, that Allison might be Scott’s anchor. She might reject him once she knows his nature, but I’d ask that you not prevent him from seeing her. He’ll need a strong connection to his Anchor in order to be in control of his Wolf.”
Argent sat back in his chair and templed his hands under his chin. “Alright,” he said after a moment, “I won’t forbid Allison from seeing Scott. But,” he said before Scott could say anything, “if Allison pulls away after learning what you are, you have to abide by her wishes. I won’t stand for a Werewolf to force a relationship onto my daughter.”
Scott wiped his eyes and nodded eagerly. “When will she be home, do you know? I need to tell her as soon as possible.”
“I think,” said Argent as he stood from his chair, “that it can wait for another day. You should go home and think about what you need to say to her. Alpha Hale, I’ll contact you when I get more information about the Alpha Pack.”
Derek also stood and offered his hand to the older man, who took it with some discomfort. “Thank you, sir. We’ll be in touch.”
Argent showed Derek and Scott to the door and watched from the doorway as they climbed into the Camero. As Scott fastened his seatbelt he sighed. “Allison is going to hate me!”
Derek scowled at the teen as he pulled away from the Argent house. “Not really my problem, Scott.”
Veronica Dempsey was a ball of fire, and her passion was all for her designs.
And once she heard the words ‘money isn’t really a problem’, her eyes brightened with even more fervor.
She rolled out her sketches onto the Stilinski kitchen table and Derek, John, and Stiles all bent over them eagerly.
“As you can see,” she said as she used a pencil as a pointer, “I’ve given you a commercial-sized kitchen with a breakfast nook. This window will bring a lot of light into the room as well as provide a great view. Of course,” she said looking up, “I’ll need to see the actual site for the home to get a better sense of my design.”
Derek grinned as he looked up. “The old place is still there, but I can take you out tomorrow if you want. I don’t want to build directly on top of the old site, but I’d like the new house to be close to the old one. This is really great!”
“Yeah,” agreed Stiles as he flipped a page. “How many bedrooms do you have here?”
Veronica leaned over and pointed out several rooms on the second page. “There is one master suite as part of the turret. The rounded room is actually the bathroom, which I think adds a bit of style, don’t you?”
Stiles looked more closely at the sketch. “Oh! The tub and shower are separate. That’s pretty cool.”
Veronica nodded. “There are three other bedrooms and one bath on the second floor, and there is room for another bath and two more bedrooms on the third level.” She flipped back to the first page and said, “The entryway leads directly into the great room, with the staircase beside the entry. Did you want standard stairs or a circular staircase?”
Derek looked over the sketch to see where the stairs would be located. “I think I like the standard staircase better, if you can have exposed banisters. My family would drape evergreen branches on the banisters at Christmastime.”
Veronica smiled. “I left room in the design for a fireplace and hearth in the great room, and there’s a formal dining room just off the kitchen, with a butler’s pantry/wet bar between them. I know you wanted a family home, but I threw in a few details from Victorian manor houses to make it more elegant.”
John and Stiles were transfixed by the design, which was not quite a blueprint. That would have to wait until Veronica could see the possible building site so she could get a feel for the land. Right now, the sketches showed a large, roomy house with a huge kitchen/prep area, a formal dining room, a great room, which took up most of the first floor, and a mudroom/wash room at the rear of the house. There was a wrap-around porch big enough for rocking chairs or hammocks. The laundry room was on the second floor, where most of the bedrooms were located—which made a kind of sense.
“For a rough design,” said John with admiration, “this is really good! I can’t wait to see the final blueprints.”
Veronica blushed with pleasure. “All I really need right now is to see where we’re going to plant my lovely flower, and I can have blueprints ready for a builder. I also know a very good interior decorator, unless you’d like my input on that as well.”
Derek looked up in surprise. “You know—I’ve been so worried about the shell that I almost forgot that I have to fill it.”
Stiles laughed. “Well, big guy, I can definitely see room for that sectional I wanted. And your bedroom furniture is good. I think you have time to figure out what you want for décor.” He reached over and pointed to the kitchen area. “What’s this?”
“Ah,” said Veronica smugly, “that’s the double-size range. There is room for a large gas unit with two cook ovens and a warming oven. And over here I have room for an industrial fridge and freezer combo and pantry.”
Stiles swooned. “This is the kitchen of my dreams!’ he sighed.
“Yeah,” said John sardonically. “Too bad it’s Derek’s house and not yours.”
Scott seemed surprised to see Erica standing next to Derek in front of his house before school on Friday morning.
This was to be his first ‘real’ training session with Derek, as the older Wolf had given him a week to get his head on straight. First, he had some major groveling to do with his mother. Then he had to come clean with Allison.
Both prospects frightened the life out of him.
Melissa was eventually forgiving, because she was his mother. But he had to promise to follow Derek’s instructions at all times when it came to training, and he was grounded for a month. He could play Lacrosse (if Derek said he could) and he could stay after school to study in the library, but there would be no hanging out with friends. He wasn’t even allowed to spend time with Stiles, and that proclamation cut deep because Scott really couldn’t remember the last time he spent time with Stiles.
Of course Scott agreed. He was terrified that he would really hurt someone if he didn’t get control, so he would abide by Derek’s instructions.
Allison was another story altogether.
First she was horrified, thinking that Scott had been Bitten by the new Alpha in town—the one that caused the deaths of her family. When Scott admitted that he was bitten before she had ever met him, Allison was very angry.
“I can’t believe you lied to me!” she screamed at him.
“I had to,” Scott tried to explain. “I didn’t understand it at first, really. And I didn’t know about Hunters or any of it. I just wanted to be a normal kid!”
Their discussion was long and almost tedious. He wanted to not be a Werewolf. She only learned about Werewolves after the Tribunal—and learned what happened to her mother. It wasn’t Scott’s fault what happened to her mother. It wasn’t Scott or Derek’s fault what happened to her favorite aunt.
At one point, Christopher Argent had to step in and give some unvarnished home-truths so that Allison understood how horrific some Hunters could be.
When the whole thing was over, Allison was in tears and telling Scott that she needed some space for a while, and Scott was in tears and telling Allison that he understood and would give her time, but he hoped they could get over this.
Scott spent two very miserable days at school mooning over Allison in the halls, in the classroom, in the cafeteria. She would return his sad gazes with soft, mournful smiles, but she would not sit next to him if she could avoid it.
Jackson almost gloated, until he realized that not only didn’t he know what was going on, he actually didn’t have anything to do with it. Lydia was trying to prove that she was a good friend, but it was all too clear that she was really trying to find out what was going on. Allison caught on quickly and told her that she and Scott had had a bad argument, but they were working it out.
So Scott stayed on the outskirts of their clique until Allison was ready to bring him back in.
Stiles watched all of this silently. Scott never asked for help or advice. Not that Stiles could have given him any advice, since Scott had ignored everything that Stiles had tried to tell him since he received the Bite. The only time Stiles had anything to say about the whole thing was on Wednesday morning, when Allison cornered him in the hall before classes.
“Did you know about Scott?” she asked without preamble.
Stiles snorted. “Yeah, I knew. I knew when it happened, and I tried to help him back then, but he ignored me.”
Allison frowned. “Are you one, too? A Werewolf, I mean.”
Stiles shook his head in denial. “Nope. Pure human here. But I am part of a Pack.”
“How?” she asked confused. “How can a human be part of a Pack?”
Stiles turned to her and frowned. “I thought your father was supposed to explain things to you, Allison. Didn’t he tell you anything? Humans are Pack as well as Werewolves. Sometimes a Werewolf will give birth to a human baby. Do you expect that they kill the baby outright, or Bite them at birth? Humans are very important to Packs, Allison.”
She bit her lip in consternation. “I’m so confused. Daddy tried to explain, but he was too upset to make it make sense.”
Stiles looked around the hallway to make sure they weren’t overheard. Once he was sure, he leaned closer to Allison. “Look,” he said quietly, “I don’t have all the answers. In fact, I might just have more questions. But if you ask nicely—and you get your father’s permission—I might be able to help you understand Pack structure and Werewolves a little better. One thing I do know: Scott is totally besotted with you, and you just might be able to keep him a little more human if you try.”
“How do you know so much if you’re just a human?” she asked softly.
Stiles smirked. “I’m not ‘just a human’, and I know where to ask the right questions.”
Stiles ambled off to class, leaving Allison to Lydia’s tender mercies, and he spent the rest of the week watching Scott try not to trip over himself in his quest to impress Allison with his earnestness.
And Scott knew he was being ridiculous. He knew he really needed to improve his own control, and he knew he needed to give her space. But he really missed being close to her.
So on Thursday evening, Derek called his house and informed him that his brooding time was over. He was to be ready at five o’clock in the morning for an early run and training session with Derek and his Betas, and Derek would personally pick him up.
Scott groaned when he set his alarm and informed his mother of his plans. He whimpered when the alarm went off and he struggled to leave his bed. He clumsily dressed in sweats and sneakers and opened the front door to weak daylight—and the sight of Derek Hale standing next to his Camero with Erica Reyes by his side.
“What’s she doing here?” Scott asked drowsily.
Erica smirked at him and climbed back into the Camero. Derek turned away from Scott and opened the driver’s door. “She’s one of my Betas, Scott. Now get in, we have to meet the others and we’re burning daylight.”