Stiles and Derek sat stiffly in the Argent living room, sharing an uncomfortable sofa with a gaudy flower pattern on a burgundy background. In Stiles’ opinion, it clashed horribly with the gold wallpaper and blue curtains, but it wasn’t his house—and he was making sure Derek’s new place would be tasteful and comfortable, even if it killed him.
Allison was sitting literally on the edge of her over-stuffed chair, chewing on her left thumb and bouncing her right knee in time to a tune nobody could hear.
Christopher was the only one absent from the room, and he was just down the hall in his office, gathering files and a notepad.
Stiles had decided that, in favour of the Treaty between the Argent Clan and the Hale Pack, he should tell Allison (as Matriarch) what he had learned about the Alpha Pack. At the very least, the Twins would possibly target her at or after school because she was an Argent and Deucalion had a history with her grandfather. Christopher was present because it was his house, and as a Hunter, he was most in position to offer decent protection. Allison wanted to include Scott, but Derek said he would give the younger werewolf the information he would need to stay safe.
“I have received a few more reports about the Alpha Pack,” said Christopher as he entered the room, “but the information is not new. I still don’t have any names.”
Stiles straightened in his seat. “Actually, I think I’ve managed to identify all of the members.”
Christopher’s eyes widened. “And how did you manage to do that?”
Stiles shrugged and he turned his attention to Allison. “First, I had an easy identification. Two of the new werewolves in town are in our school. Aiden and Ethan McGuire are actually Aiden and Ethan Bancroft from the Wexter Pack in Utah. There is also a Kali Steele from Oregon, and Ennis Porter from Arizona.”
Christopher quickly glanced at his notes and nodded. “With Deucalion, that makes five total, and no other numbers have been mentioned. How did you find this out?”
Stiles simply held out his right hand and allowed a few sparks to dance along his fingertips. “I just let my fingers do the walking, so to speak. Actually, Dad came up with Kali Steele while researching a separate, but not unrelated, issue.” Stiles leveled a stern gaze at Christopher. “I also need to tell you both about that, as well, but you have to agree to let me handle it. It might come down to Magic, and neither of you are equipped for that.”
Allison gave him a wide-eyed look, but Christopher nodded gravely. “I’m naturally reluctant to leave anything dangerous to a high school student, but I agree that I am not Magically inclined.”
Stiles smirked a little before settling closer to Derek, who had remained silent during their entire visit. “We all know that the Alpha Pack has gained power by killing their entire Packs, right? And that includes the Emissaries. So,” Stiles paused to get his bearings, “so—I believe that one Emissary, a Julia Baccari, did not die at the hands of her Alpha. And I also believe that this Julia Baccari has a serious jones for the Alpha Pack because of the attack on her. I know who Julia Baccari is, and when Dad did some digging on her, the name Kali Steele came up.”
“Is this woman dangerous?” Christopher asked, tension pulsing in the veins of his neck.
“She could be,” Stiles answered honestly. “She is, or rather was, a Druid. As an Emissary and Druid, she should have had a lot of power; power enough to protect her and her Pack. But some Druids have gone a little wayside, and the power isn’t strong enough in them for real protection. And I took away any natural source of possible power she would have had locally, so she’s weak now.”
“And how did you manage that?” Allison asked quietly.
Purple and green sparks popped over Stiles’ fingertips like tiny fireworks.
Miss Blake was looking extremely tired.
She had dark circles under her eyes and her complexion was pale to the point of almost-green, and her hair had lost the glossy shine it had when she first began teaching.
Lydia was giving her judgy looks, as if the woman’s appearance was personally offending her.
Stiles found himself wondering what her next move was going to be. He had done a few SparkSearches, but there were no powerful Nemeton-like areas around Beacon County other than the one he had claimed. If Miss Blake/Baccari was going to need a Nemeton, she would have to travel a long while before finding one.
The WonderTwins were also beginning to act agitated, as well. Stiles would usually be hard-pressed to use the term ‘skittish’ in regards to people, but in this case, it fit.
Shortly after speaking with the Argents, Derek was approached by someone who could only be Kali Steele; a terrifyingly beautiful woman with wild eyes and always present claws. It was not a good look, seeing as they were in public (she came to talk to Derek in front of the grocery store), but people just ignored them. She had a simple message: Deucalion would not wait much longer.
Stiles was left to wonder what, exactly, Deucalion was waiting for and why there was a time limit. At first, he thought it might be a Lunar Eclipse, because Werewolves were supposed to be affected by them, but the next one wasn’t until June. This Deucalion person did not seem to want to wait that long before any confrontation. The construction site was not touched again, which was a relief to everyone, but Derek had reported seeing other werewolves in and around town more frequently.
The Alpha Pack did not seem to know where Derek worked, because he could go to and from the sports clinic in Beacon Heights without being followed or hunted. The Twins were keeping a closer eye on Scott in the halls, but they had not made a move on him. For once, Scott seemed to take advice seriously and he was avoiding trouble. He even managed to not give indication that Erica was also a werewolf, but that might be because he never noticed that the Twins were ignorant of her existence.
Unfortunately, Scott did socialize a bit with Isaac Lahey and Jackson Whittemore because of the Lacrosse team, and the Twins did notice that. So they began stalking Isaac through the halls between classes, and they took an interest in Jackson as well. Of course, that could also be because one twin was interested in Danny Mahaleani and the other had his eye on Lydia Martin. Whatever the real reason, Jackson remained his usual douche-y self, and he was really antagonizing the Wolves.
Not a good idea.
Some internet searching (legal through the Sheriff’s Department computers) gave Stiles an idea of where the Alpha Pack was holing up near Beacon Hills, and he was making plans on that front. He simply wanted to leave a message, to let them know that they would not be beating the Hale Pack. Stiles knew he would eventually have to bring Julia Baccari into things, but he wanted her to feel how lost she was, first. No other abductions or disappearances had been reported, and the Nemeton was unscathed and healthy, so Stiles thought perhaps she would not be gaining strength for some time.
Stiles didn’t really understand Druidic magic and how it worked. He knew it supposed to be plant- and nature-based, but beyond that he was lost. Druids were also supposed to be about protecting the community, and this semi-recent trend among certain factions to Keep the Balance went way against that. Regina was of no help in this department, as she did not personally know any Druids that Stiles could talk to. The only Druid Stiles knew of personally was Dr. Alan Deaton, and Stiles was reluctant to talk to him.
For one reason, Stiles did not want to drag Derek into the man’s presence. For another, Stiles really didn’t want to out himself as Magical to the man who practically betrayed the Hale Pack by not revealing the presence of Hunters in Beacon Hills.
There was nothing for it; Stiles would have to visit the veterinarian, and sooner rather than later.
But first, he had to send a message to the Alpha Pack.
When Ennis Porter opened the door of the ratty motel room on Friday, April twenty-second, there was a fully grown oak tree blocking the path in front of the door. The tree was easily four feet in diameter and twenty feet tall. After claws and teeth were applied, it took four hours for the tree to fall.
The Twins were very late to school that day.
“Do you want me to go with you?”
John Stilinski watched as Stiles and Derek prepared to leave the house, heading to see Deaton, the town vet. The kitchen table was littered with diagrams and notes about the Alpha Pack and their past victims—the Packs decimated by the Alpha Pack. Since Deucalion had been blinded, seven years before, he had convinced other Alphas or Betas to destroy their Packs to absorb the power, and four Packs were destroyed that way. Then they began to travel from state to state and Pack to Pack, and they systematically destroyed six other Packs—one for each year since Gerard Argent ruined Deucalion and took his eyes.
Some of the new Alphas, however, did not pass muster for some reason or another, and Deucalion killed them or had them killed, so that only the core five remained. This cemented Deucalion’s claim of being a Demon Wolf—a name he used when ‘testing’ the strength of Packs he deemed unworthy. He had been bested exactly twice, by Packs with strong Emissaries.
If they only did minimal research into the newly formed Hale Pack, they would know that Alan Deaton never closed up shop in Beacon Hills, and they would possibly assume that he was still Emissary to the Pack. That would explain why Scott told the Pack about that visit from a ‘large, bald’ man who was trying to intimidate the vet.
So, Derek and Stiles were off to the vet’s office, partially to warn him about the Alpha Pack and partially to drill him about Druid magic. Stiles might have to reveal his own magic, but he would never allow the man to touch him. Derek would be there to make sure that didn’t happen, because Alan Deaton did not deserve to know how powerful that Stiles was. But he did deserve to have Derek glower at him while he answered a few questions.
“I think we can handle it without law enforcement, Dad,” said Stiles as he opened the front door, “but thanks for the offer.”
“I’ll keep an eye on him, John,” said Derek as he followed his boyfriend out the door. “Although, I think he’ll be protecting me instead of the other way around.”
John laughed softly. “I have no doubt of that.”
The drive across town was silent, because Stiles and Derek had managed to find a certain peace in their relationship. They didn’t need to chatter at each other at all times. In fact, since Stiles had begun to manifest and train his magic, Stiles didn’t feel the need to chatter at anybody anymore. He was calmer and more centered, and his mind was at rest for the first time ever.
Scott was not working that afternoon because of Saturday afternoon Lacrosse practice. Derek had allowed that Scott had enough control to play the game, but only if Scott agreed to bow out if he was feeling Wolfish. Since Melissa was giving Scott the stink-eye, he agreed to the conditions.
So—this was the perfect day to try and get some answers.
An hour later, and they were still ‘trying’ to get answers from Alan Deaton.
To say the man was enigmatic would be an understatement. Beyond “Mr. Hale, it’s good to see you back in town” and “Druidic magic is very complex”, Alan Deaton had very little of use to say. He began to wax poetic about the former Alpha Hale—which was Derek’s mother—and that was very weird, and it made Derek shift uncomfortably, so Stiles sent an invisible push in the man’s direction. He was unprepared for what he found.
“You were in love with Talia Hale!” Stiles exclaimed before he could stop himself.
Derek stiffened beside him and Deaton set down his book and calmly turned to his visitors. “I beg your pardon?” he said coldly. “Talia Hale was a very dear friend to me. Her family was important to me.”
Stiles gave him a mean smile. “Yeah, but not important enough. What happened, Dr. Deaton? Did you declare your feelings, only to get shot down? Is that why you let slide the information that there was a Hunter in town with designs on the Hale Pack?”
As he spoke, Stiles allowed his magic to fill the entire building that contained the vet office. He was able to check off several items of protection in just the lobby: a Mountain-Ash-lined counter top, which Deaton kept between himself and his visitors the entire time, a few runes etched into the glass of the large front window—which was for fire prevention, ironically enough, mountain ash in several places in the back examination and kennel area. Stiles could also sense the faint presence of werewolf in the back room, but Stiles figured that was probably Scott.
“You loved Talia Hale, and you wanted her for yourself, but she was happily married with children. So, what? You let your duties as Emissary slide so that you could maintain some kind of ‘balance’? Things were good for Talia and the Hale Pack, so you let some bad take over, and everyone died?”
A brief expression of pain flashed over the dark-skinned man’s face, but he schooled it quickly. “Not everyone died, Mr. Stilinski.”
Stiles chuckled darkly. “No, not everyone. Derek is still alive. But he’s the only one. Peter went insane from the injuries and coma and he killed Laura. So, how’s that for Balance, my dear doctor/Druid?”
Again, pain filled the vet’s face and he visibly crumbled against the counter. “Tell me what I can do for you,” he croaked. “Tell me what I can do to help the new Hale Alpha.”
Stiles smirked and shoved his hands into his trouser pockets. Beside him, Derek moved so that his shoulder was touching Stiles’. “We need to know how a Druid would go about taking revenge on a werewolf that wronged him or her. I know about the Nemeton in the Beacon County Preserve, and we’ve taken measures to make sure it can’t be used, but we need to make sure nothing else can possibly be used against my Pack.”
Deaton frowned deeply. “Druids don’t go for revenge, Mr. Hale. Revenge can taint the magic.”
Derek nodded absently. “Okay, consider the magic already tainted. How can this happen?”
“Well,” said Deaton, “a Druid that has turned dark is called a Darach, which means ‘black oak’. Someone like this will twist nature to fulfill their desires. Animals might start behaving strangely or plants will grow wildly where they shouldn’t. A Darach will only seek to harm, so they have no place in nature.”
Stiles frowned. “What if this supposed Darach was almost killed, but survived against all odds?”
“Then,” said Deaton slowly, “the Darach will expend a lot of energy to hurt the person or persons who attempted to kill them. The fury will burn bright and hot, but will not last long once the revenge has been taken. Do you know who the potential target is?”
“Yeah, I have an idea. This Darach tried to kidnap a young man last week, and maybe tried but failed to kill him. Any ideas on that?”
“No!” Deaton answered quickly.
Stiles glanced at Derek, who had blanked his expression. It was a lie. Alan Deaton knew of some reason this Darach would kill—or try to kill.
Stiles leaned on the counter in front of Deaton and focused his attention on the older man. “I think you do know why a Darach would try to kill someone. I think you should tell us, because she might try something again, and the people in this town deserve to not be pawns in some kind of revenge game.”
“What are you,” Deaton gaped at Stiles.
“I’m the Emissary to the Hale Pack, and Beacon Hills is my territory!” Stiles allowed his anger at the older man shine through his eyes, and sparks of energy lit the tips of his hair and fingers like flecks of fire in a dark night. “Now, tell us how this Darach could kill her way to vengeance so I can keep it from happening!”
“She has to do it by threes,” Stiles exclaimed as he and Derek entered the house. “Is there a way to search for missing persons by profession or lifestyle?”
John dropped the newspaper he was reading and rushed to meet them in the kitchen. “Who has to do what by threes, and what the hell are you talking about?”
John was long used to his son’s ability to jump from topic to topic, but Stiles seemed too centered this time. He sat on a stool at the kitchen counter and took the coffee mug that Derek offered with a grateful smile.
Stiles sipped from his own steaming mug to calm down. “Okay, so that guy that was taken and then returned? You said he was in JROTC, right?”
John nodded affirmative. “Yes, he is a senior at Beacon Heights Academy, and was slated to go into the Air Force Academy when he graduates. Is that important?”
“Yes,” Stiles nodded, “it’s very important. When Cryptic Deaton finally started giving some real answers, he said that a Dark Druid would take lives to create energy and strength. But she would have to do it in threes, because three is a magic number. So, let’s say this guy was a Warrior, because of the JROTC thing. That means that two other Warriors would have to have been taken and killed, and they would have to have been killed in a very specific way.
“And she’d take Healers, Guardians, Virgins, and Philosophers to go with the Warriors. But there would be no specific time for any of this, so I don’t know what to look for.”
John frowned into his coffee cup. “I’ll have to look along the official lines to make sure, but I don’t recognize that pattern. Would she have had to take her victims close to here, or could they have been taken elsewhere?”
“Deaton said that the sacrifices would have to be made in close relation to each other,” said Derek, “so she would not have traveled far to take her victims.”
“Right,” John said as he set down his empty mug. “That means the young man in the hospital is probably the first taken. If other victims were out there, I would have heard about it through secure channels. You’ve probably stopped the sacrifices already, before they began.”
“Hmm,” Stiles hummed. “Maybe that’s why Miss Blake has looked like a wreck lately. She can’t make her sacrifices to get power, so she’s using reserves to keep going. I’m going to have to confront her, but I’d rather do that once we have the Alpha Pack in hand.”
“Derek Hale,” said a smooth-as-velvet voice from behind him. “You are a hard person to find.”
Derek turned around slowly, and saw a thin, middle-aged man in a blue blazer and dark trousers, wearing dark glasses and carrying a white cane. “I’m not hard to find if you actually take time to look. You must be Deucalion. A friend of mine wanted to know what kind of name that was.” Derek was standing in one of the many parks in Beacon Hills, enjoying a rather unhealthy lunch of dirty-water hotdogs on a clear and sunny day. It was Monday, and he had off from his job as a physical therapist. He was in the park so that he didn’t creep out the construction crew at his house site.
The man, Deucalion, laughed bright and merry. “My name is an old one, but my family was always rather old-fashioned.”
Derek gave him an unimpressed look. “And I suppose that old-fashioned family is all dead, now. I’m not interested in being judged by you, and I’m not remotely interested in joining the Alpha Pack. You might consider that and pack up to leave town.”
“But Derek,” oozed Deucalion, “there is so much to offer you! Strength that you could never imagine, and power. You could have so much power, if you gave in to us.”
Derek frowned. “And if I don’t? Give in, I mean.”
“Then you will be judged harshly and punished.” The oily smile on the blind man’s face made Derek’s hackles rise, but he gave nothing away. He could, in fact, feel a warm touch on his back, over the tattoo, that felt like Stiles’ comforting hand, and he stood proud in front of this dangerous Werewolf.
“I don’t think that’s going to happen,” said Derek calmly. “I think, actually, that you and your Pack of mutts are going to want to leave Beacon Hills very soon. I think you’ll want to leave my Pack alone.”
Deucalion’s laughter faded into a cruel grin. “But do you have a Pack, Derek Hale? I know of one Wolf in the high school, but one Wolf does not a Pack make. Could it be that you have allowed humans into your hold?” Deucalion sneered at the word ‘human’ and Derek could almost feel his skin crawl.
“And if I have? I had siblings and cousins that were human, and my Pack was strong when I was growing up. Humans are a very important part of a Pack; my mother always said so.”
“Your mother,” Deucalion sneered again, “was hopeless and weak. I’m giving you the opportunity to grow past her shortcomings. Take it, boy. Take the choice given to you and become stronger than you’d ever imagine!”
The painted sigils on Derek’s back began to pulse in time with his heartbeat, and it strengthened his resolve. “I think,” said Derek as he tossed the remains of his lunch in a waste can, “that I’ll take a pass. You can’t touch me, Deucalion. You would have already, if you could. The fact is: I’m stronger than you thought, and my Pack is stronger than you were prepared for. You should walk away, because that’s what I’m going to do.”
Derek turned his senses out into the park and discovered that he was alone with Deucalion, so he turned is back on the older man and walked away across the grounds to his car. Once he was sitting behind the wheel of the Camero, Derek pulled out his phone and sent a group text, warning his Pack that the Alphas might be making a move soon. Dennis and Stacy reported back an all-clear, so they could not see or sense any of the Alphas near their home or workplace.
Erica was presumably safe at the school, still wearing the shadowbox locket that Stiles gave to her. Derek was patiently waiting for the day that she could stop wearing it, because it hid her scent and her Wolf, and he and the rest of the Pack hated it. Erica wanted to remove it during training, but Derek refused to allow it because it kept her safe. Once the Alpha Pack was dealt with, they would have a celebration and take it off of her together.
Stiles sent a simple ‘K’, and then there was silence. Derek knew Stiles would keep an eye on the Alphas in the school, so he wasn’t too worried about that.
What worried him was the silence from the Sheriff. Surely John knew how to text. He did have Stiles for a son, after all.
Derek had been planning to drive to the Sheriff’s station, but he turned abruptly and headed for another part of town. Twenty minutes later, Derek was standing on the stoop of the Argent house, knocking lightly. If Christopher was surprised to see him, it didn’t show.
“Alpha Hale,” he said slowly, “to what do I owe the pleasure?”
Derek squared his shoulders. “I’ve been contacted by Deucalion. The Alpha Pack will be making their move soon, possibly today. I contacted my Pack, but I haven’t heard from the Sheriff. Are you up for some Werewolf Shenanigans, as Stiles would say?”
Argent smirked darkly and turned to go back into the house. “Let me get my party gear. I’ll follow you in.”
Derek had texted John several more times before he arrived at the station. He received no response. Derek also texted Stiles, because he would be damned if he let anything happen to his father without letting him know. Stiles shot back a quick ‘Dad knows what he’s doing’, and Derek relaxed minutely. Not for one moment did Derek doubt that John could take care of himself.
The parking lot was practically deserted when Derek pulled his Camero into a public spot. Christopher pulled into the spot next to his in a large, overstated SUV. While he was arming himself, Derek allowed his senses to drift over the building in front of them.
“Can you hear anything?” Christopher asked. He spoke softly, just in case a werewolf nearby might overhear.
Derek nodded slowly. “I hear four heartbeats in the far rear of the building. Two are very erratic, but two are calm and rested.”
Christopher cocked his head to the side in thought. “The rear of the building is where the cells are. There are also two interrogation rooms in that direction.”
Derek frowned. “The cells are pretty open, but if the bars are reinforced steel, they could contain a werewolf for a short time. I’m thinking one of the calm heartbeats belongs to John. He’s not the type to startle easily.”
Christopher glanced at the werewolf beside him. “How do you want to do this? Both in the front door together?”
Derek shook his head. “Give me a minute. If an Alpha is already in there, he knows we’re here. A minute more won’t make much of a difference.” With a nod from Argent, Derek trotted around the far corner of the building, returning a moment later. “There is a window open on the other side of the building. It opens to a bathroom, and the room is empty. You can slip in that way, and I’ll take the front door. The Alpha will be expecting me; he’ll know someone else is with me, but not where. You should have the element of surprise.”
Argent nodded and checked his ammunition once again before jogging around the corner to climb in the window. Derek waited three heartbeats before approaching the front door. The lobby was blessedly empty, with no signs of disturbance. Derek peered through the windowed double-doors to the bullpen and saw a very large man pacing back and forth between desks. Derek vaguely remembered the figure from many years before: Ennis Porter.
This was the huge man that introduced the Sheriff to the world of werewolves.
He was pacing alone, like a caged tiger in a zoo. Derek strained to hear anything beyond the room, and he picked up John’s calm whisper as he tried to soothe a frightened deputy. Derek smiled to himself as he eased into the bullpen. Across the room, behind the large Alpha, Derek saw the men’s room door slide open, so Derek made a lot of unnecessary noise to mask Christopher’s entrance.
“You must be waiting for me,” Derek announced, and enjoyed the look of astonishment on Ennis Porter’s face when he spun around. “I didn’t think you had to go as far as filing a missing person report.”
“You!” Porter growled as he advanced toward Derek. “You have been found wanting! Your little Pack is finished here!”
Derek smirked at the large werewolf. “Yes, so I’ve heard. I’ll tell you what I told your leader: if you’re smart, you’ll leave us alone. We’re stronger than you think.”
“You’ll never be as strong an Alpha Pack! You could have been one of us; now I’m going to enjoy killing you!”
Porter launched himself over a desk and flew at Derek’s head, but Derek ducked to the side and Porter landed badly on the floor behind him.
By this time, Christopher had left the bathroom fully and headed back to the cell area. John Stilinski looked up from the injured deputy he was tending in time to see Argent enter the prisoner area.
“I have the keys, but I thought it would be safer in here,” John said quietly. “I have my special ammunition, if you think you’ll need my help?”
Christopher lifted his chin at the deputy. “How bad is she?”
John lifted his hand and drew back the deputy’s shirt to reveal several deep claw marks. “She’ll live, provided we get her to a hospital soon. I worry about infection over anything else.”
The sounds of battle traveled from the bullpen to the cells, and John cringed when he heard several loud crashes and bemoaned the loss of several computers. Of course, he was worried about Derek most of all, but from where he was he could be of no help.
“Do you think he needs any help out there?” John asked as another crash sounded.
Christopher shook his head and opened his pack to pull out a first aid kit. “I think we’ll hear him if he needs help. Ultimately, this fight is his, not ours. Now, let’s get this cage opened so we can treat those wounds.”
The second deputy was quiet and huddled in the corner of the cell. Christopher looked at him before asking John, “What’s with him?”
John looked over his shoulder and shrugged. “I think he’s going to ask for a transfer once this is all over. I’ll grant it, because I don’t need someone on my team that can’t handle a crisis.”
Christopher chuckled softly as he cleaned the claw wounds in the deputy’s side and abdomen. The deputy lifted grateful eyes and began to grow calmer. John helped the other man dress the wounds and listened to the battle in the bullpen as it became quieter and less frantic.
Suddenly, there was one loud crash, and then silence.
John and Christopher both turned to look at the doorway, dreading what was coming their way. John heaved a huge sigh of relief when a bloody and bedraggled Derek dragged himself through the doorway. He looked like ten kinds of hell, and he would need a new leather jacket because his was torn to pieces. In fact, Derek looked like he was torn to pieces.
But he was breathing. And he was healing.
“Are you all okay?” he rasped, leaning against the wall, clearly unable to pass the threshold.
John nodded briskly. “I tossed a MagicBomb at him when he came at us. It didn’t surround him, so it didn’t knock him out, but it stopped him from coming into the back room. Unfortunately, he snagged Lemmon, here, before I got it from around my neck.”
Christopher’s eyebrows raised and he mouthed the words ‘magic bomb’, but he looked down at the threshold and saw a thin, solid line of Mountain Ash that lined the doorway and edges of wall in the cell room. He leaned forward and wiped away a patch of ash, and Derek stumbled into the room.
“I’m okay,” he muttered when John lurched toward him. “I’ll heal, anyway. But now we have a problem in the other room.”
Christopher nodded and rose to his feet. “That is something I can take care of.” Derek frowned and moved to follow, so Christopher said, “I’m not a weakling, Hale, and I won’t need to call in outside help. But perhaps…some people (indicating John and the deputies) should not know about the next step.”
“Still,” said Derek, “he was awfully big and heavy. I can help move him, at least.”
John waved them out of the room. “Just go. Get…rid of it, okay? I’ll get Lemmon to a hospital and arrange for someone to clean up the mess I heard you making.”
Once again, John was alone with two deputies; one injured, the other mentally scarred. When Ennis Porter came into the Sheriff’s Station, he was all wolfed out in Beta form, and he was a horrific sight. Deputy Michaels would never really be the same.
Stiles was on alert ever since Derek had texted the ‘all call’ emergency. In fact, Stiles had pretty much been waiting for the Alpha Pack to make a move for days now. But the Twins were now dragging their feet, and Miss Blake looked like she had a killer flu, and Stiles was almost frantic with the waiting.
That did not mean that he wanted anyone to get hurt.
But he was puzzling over what the Twins were going to do. And he puzzled over it all damned day. He kept a jaundiced eye on the Twins in all of their shared classes, but they acted as normally as they usually did. Until the last class of the day.
Stiles was watching them. They were watching Isaac, Jackson, and Scott.
And they were flicking claws in and out like little switch-blades.
After the last class of the day was Lacrosse practice, and Stiles didn’t really have a reason to head to the locker room because he’d quit the team. He tried to give Scott a heads-up, but the boy was as stubborn and clueless as ever. Stiles even texted Allison during lunch period, but Scott either didn’t listen to her or didn’t believe he had anything to worry about.
Whatever the reason for Scott’s lack of diligence, Stiles was not going to let the Twins out of his sight.
Until they were out of his sight.
Stiles was walking through the hallways, on his way to the locker room, and the Twins were right in front of him. And then they weren’t.
Isaac was dressing quickly in the locker room, well away from the rest of the team. He was no longer being beaten, but he still hid his body as much as possible. Because of this, Isaac was one of two people left in the locker room, other than Coach, when the door burst open. Isaac jumped in surprise and tried to hide behind his open locker door when those creepy twins that were always following around Lydia and Danny stumbled in looking…not right.
Not right at all.
There were…teeth, and…and…claws.
Jackson Whittemore, the other boy in the locker room with him, yelped when the twins ripped their shirts off, displaying the kind of musculature that Isaac had nightmares about. The yelp caught Coach’s attention, and the man ran from his office to see what fresh hell was being tossed about in his domain.
“What the hell are you delinquents doing in here?” Coach yelled as he ran in from his command center. “I need you all on the field yesterday!”
Coach was brought up short when he saw the half-naked twins and their saliva-dripping fangs.
“Lahey, Whittemore! Get your asses over here!” Coach was full on in charge, and he beckoned the two players to his side of the locker room just as one twin pushed the other in front of him. The Beacon Hills trio watched in horrified fascination as the twin to the rear seemed to push his hands into his brother’s back, separating the ribcage with a moist crack. Then the twins seemed to…merge, somehow. Into a large, misshapen hulk of a nightmare.
Coach began to utter inventive curses and he shoved both of his players behind him, opening his arms wide to provide a human shield as best as he could. When the snarling mass began to stalk closer to him and his charges, Coach reached down into his neckline and pulled out a shimmery green/gold pendent hanging on a leather thong. He quickly pulled the pendent off of his neck and threw it hard at the approaching mass of a man, and it broke against its chest, spreading a glowing ash in a full circle around the giant and knocking it unconscious.
“In case of Werewolf Shenanigans,” Coach muttered in disgust as he walked over to the sleeping form to watch it separate into two distinct teenagers.