She’s sure Allison’s never cried at school. She’s sure Cora and Erica never have, either.
They’re all strong, and they can get through eight hours without hiding in the boiler room and hating themselves as sobs wrack through them.
The sound of a throat being cleared makes her jump, and everything inside her gets even more twisty when she sees Cora.
“Oh, um, hi. I’m fine. Not that you asked. Sorry- I’m not having a good day.”
Cora’s customary perma-exasperated expression doesn’t change, and she wishes to God the tears would stop falling. She desperately wishes she had a tissue to hide her snooty nose with.
Sure, Cora’s been living off-grid for almost a decade and has spent a large majority of that time in the form of a wolf, but Kira knows there were probably prey animals Cora hunted that came across as more dignified than she currently is.
Cora sits down. “What exactly did McCall do?”
Part of her is so relieved, and part of her finds this question unfair towards Scott. Cora is more okay with Allison than she is with Scott, and Allison-
Now, she’s not being fair, and maybe she can’t help being the girl who cries in the school’s boiler room over a boy, but she absolutely will not, hard limit no, let her opinions and feelings towards other girls be influenced by her feelings for a boy. Allison did bad things, Erica hates her for it, Boyd will never trust her, and what she did is a large reason why Erica went to live with her grandmother with Boyd in tow, but Allison has also done some great things.
She’s saved Cora’s life. She’s saved Kira herself. She helped reunite Cora and Derek, she helped save Stiles from being possessed, and even though Erica hates her even more for it, she might have saved Aiden’s life by stopping Erica and Boyd’s plan of vengeance when they visited a few months ago.
Still, Allison did legitimately bad things to Cora’s brother, and for all Scott and Derek used to butt heads, he never crossed any major lines.
“We broke up. I’d rather not talk about it.”
Cora shrugs. “Was it his fault?”
She almost answers, ‘No,’ but she stops herself.
It feels like it is. She’s the one who ended things, and if she’s painfully honest, she knew when she first went in that- but-
“He’s still in love with Allison.”
Even if Cora finds her pathetic and doesn’t care, at least, she won’t gossip. Allison doesn’t deserve to have people talking about the drama her ex-boyfriend’s caused in part because of his feeling towards her, and Scott- the part that doesn’t want him hurt knows he doesn’t, either. He loves a nice, beautiful, strong girl, a girl who’s not her, and it hurts, but when it comes to character flaws, this isn’t even close to anything major.
“That wasn’t obvious to you?”
She sighs. “No. Yes. I- You wouldn’t happen to have any Kleenexes, would you?”
Surprisingly, Cora pulls a travel pack out of a pocket.
“Oh. Thank you.”
Blowing her nose and wiping her face, she finds she’s finally managed to stop the tears. Or maybe they’ve all ran out.
Either way, she’ll take it.
“Did he cheat on you?”
A frown crosses Cora’s face. “When it comes to relationships, what other way is there?”
She gets the feeling Cora would probably be one of those people who scoffs at the idea of emotional cheating, and she definitely isn’t up to having such a discussion.
“Yesterday, Scott got hurt during his training with the twins. Deaton gave him something, and I took him home. And he, um, he talked about loving Allison. I know he wouldn’t have if it weren’t for the herbs, but- he wasn’t saying anything he didn’t mean.”
He thought she was Allison.
Obviously, with him still physically healing and under the mental influence of the herbs, anything sexual was off-the-table, but she had kissed him and changed into one of his shirts. She’d curled up against him in bed, and it soon became clear it wasn’t her he thought was with him.
Isaac’s visiting Erica and Boyd, and knowing Scott wouldn’t want her to call the Hales- she’d called his mother. Melissa must think she’s a monster. Scott was hurt, and Melissa had to leave work to look after him, all because his ex-girlfriend, who was still his girlfriend at breakfast, wasn’t going to stay with him.
Now, she wonders why she didn’t call Lydia or Stiles and wishes to God she had.
Once Melissa got there, she was out the door with Scott begging ‘Allison’ to stay, promising so much, going on about how much he loved her and needed her and knew they could make things work this time.
Yes, she knew going in he wasn’t completely over Allison. Even if he did completely get over Allison, she knew some part of him would still always love Allison.
She still wants a future with him. She’s been dreaming about going to college with him, one day having their own place, of children. He’s always made her feel so lucky and special, and every time her insecurities started to come, he’d make her laugh, make her feel warm, make her feel pretty and funny.
Now, she’s not even sure if he truly loves her even as a friend. He definitely doesn’t love her the same way she loves him, and whether she knew this or not, let herself recognise it, she was so sure he did love and want a future with her.
Slavery is a major example on the bad end that shouldn’t have ever existed, but people do belong to other people. She can never verbalise this properly (it might help if she didn’t always end up bringing up Game of Thrones and her strong appreciation of Ygritte), but it’s not about ownership. Friends, family, they have responsibilities and obligations towards one another, people give parts of their heart to other people, and it’s up to those people to not be a jerk and hurt the person who did.
She was his, she’s afraid some part of her will always be, but he was never hers.
“You’re part of the reason Derek insisted I enrol here. Deal with your heartbreak when you’re not at school. I covered for you in Spanish, but no one deserves that crazy coach running around babbling because his best player is crying over a worthless wolf.”
Even knowing Cora didn’t intend it, she still feels warm and prideful at being called the best player.
“I’m not anywhere near as good as-”
She’s cut off by Cora’s unimpressed look. This expression is slightly different from the perma-exasperated one, but she’s gotten to where she can always tell them apart.
“Yes, you are.”
“Um. Thank you. For covering for me, and for talking to me. And for- it’s not completely either of our faults. We both have a share of the blame. But thank you for not blaming it all on me.”
“I wouldn’t blame you for someone else hurting you.”
For all her rough edges, times like this make it clear how great a person Cora is.
Lacrosse practise sucks, but she manages to make it through without getting cornered by Scott.
Afterwards, she sits with Cora on the bench. Non-players are supposed to stay in the bleachers, but the coach is too scared of Cora to enforce this particular rule on her.
“I’m practising my driving tonight. Want to help?”
“Yeah, that’d be great. Do you want help studying for your test?”
One of the classes Cora’s required to take is on communication and socialisation. And the thing is, Cora knows what most of the expected answers are, but she disagrees with them, and instead, she writes out her blunt opinion.
Her blunt opinion sometimes includes what exactly she thinks of her teachers and classmates.
As much as Kira likes Derek, she’ll admit, he could benefit from the class himself. As it is, though, he’s simply ordered Cora to write what the teachers want to hear.
She’s hoping, maybe, she can convince Cora why some of the answers are actually right and should be utilised.
“Sure,” Cora says.
Seeing everyone, including Scott, is gone, she asks, “Is Derek picking you up?”
“Yeah. I’ll wait for you outside the locker room, and we can walk together.”
Cora is uncomfortable with most emotional displays, but Kira’s still heavily tempted to hug her and thank her for being such an awesome friend.
Derek shows up in Cora’s van instead of his car.
Cora doesn’t mind his, but she absolutely refuses to try to drive it. It’s too small, too compact, it’s not visible enough, it has too many windows, and she can’t concentrate fully when other people are in such close physical proximity to her.
Her van is big, bright, and Cora will only practise if Derek is in it. When anyone else rides with them, they have to sit in either the right front passenger seat or the one seat Cora can clearly see in the rearview mirror. Obviously, only four people can be in it at a time when she’s driving, despite the fact it seats ten.
When they get in, Derek smiles. “Kira.”
“Hey. Um, Scott and I broke up. So, I have him blocked from my phone. If there’s an emergency, he’ll probably call you, sorry. And if there’s not an emergency and he calls asking for me, again, I’m sorry, and could you just- maybe tell him no, you’re not giving your phone to me?”
The car hasn’t even started yet, and already, she feels as if tucking and rolling might be the best option.
His look is calm and gentle. “I’m sorry. Unless it’s an emergency, I won’t let him bother you.” He looks at Cora. “How was your day?”
Batting Kira’s hands away when Kira buckles her seatbelt (Cora will wear her seatbelt, because, Derek tells her to, but it’s easier for everyone if someone just buckles her in before he has to), she answers, “I still hate it.”
Sighing, Derek starts the car.
“I heard about Boyd winning that essay contest in his English class,” she blurts out.
He nods. “Erica’s really excited, too. Hopefully, this will help him get a good scholarship. What about you? Any plans for college?”
“I’m probably going to do some online classes, find a job.”
Scott’s been looking at several schools with veterinary programs, and she thought she could take some physical education courses. Her dad thinks she might be a good teacher like him, and she was thinking, maybe, she could be a coach. She knows she’d probably have her students whispering about her klutziness and babbling, but at least, she wouldn’t be considered completely insane the way Finstock is.
“You should leave this town and never come back,” Cora says.
Sometimes, she manages to forget her friendship with Cora isn’t a real friendship. Cora usually tolerates her more than any of the others (though, she still isn’t sure why), but Cora isn’t shy about her opinion that Derek being on good terms with ‘a fox’ is part of why potentially sympathetic alphas won’t align with him.
She’s said a million times, “I’m a kitsune,” and, “I don’t actually shift into a fox, and I don’t really have any fox characteristics even when I do use my abilities,” and Cora’s either found her irritation amusing or simply been indifferent to it.
Then again, the fact, on the visible side, she only has changing eyes is a point of contention, too. Cora’s said only those with claws and fangs are true shapeshifters, and she’s just a girl with glowing eyes, a sword, and much better health and strength than humans.
Since Scott and Cora can’t get along, she hasn’t spent near as much time with Cora as she did before she and Scott got together, and now, she’s starting to realise that was probably a good idea for reasons having nothing to do with him.
Derek pulls into an empty parking lot. “Kira, you sit up front.”
They all switch seats.
“Why don’t we start with U-turns,” he suggests.
“U-turns are illegal most of the time.”
“It’s still important to know how to do it,” he says.
Cora starts driving. “Something feels wrong.”
“It’ll stop feeling like that eventually.” Derek leans up. “We’re having pizza tonight, if you want to stay for dinner, Kira.”
“Oh, is the Chinese restaurant closed?”
Part of the reason Cora may tolerate her more than the others is, because, Cora really likes Asian food. Sometime after the fire, Satomi came across her, got her to shift back into a human form, and tried to convince her to go to the police. Cora refused, and Satomi didn’t know where Derek and Laura went or how to contact them.
Kira knows Derek hasn’t exactly forgiven Satomi for this, and she’s not sure how she herself feels about it.
Whenever Cora did come around, Satomi would always try her best to take care of her for as long as she’d stay, and some part of Kira understands the situation Satomi found herself in: Even if she’d managed to subdue and drag Cora to the police, there was a chance hunters would find out and come before Laura and Derek could. If Cora decided to reveal she was supernatural to the police, that’d cause so many problems for everyone, including Cora herself.
On the other hand, though, a big brother and sister thought their baby sister was dead, and a nine-year-old girl was running around as a wolf with no family, no friends, and no home, having to kill animals herself if she wasn’t going to starve, and always in danger of someone else discovering what and who she really was. If even regular animal hunters came across her, they might have tried to kill her, never mind hunters like Mr Argent who knew there aren’t any wolves in California, and oh, yeah, Talia Hale could turn into a wolf, what if she or a different Hale besides Derek and Laura weren’t killed by the fire?
“The pizza place is doing a special on deer sausage,” Cora says. “I want that with chicken and green peppers.”
“And I’m doing a meat lover’s supreme. You can order whatever you want.”
“Nothing with peanuts. Just the smell makes my mouth go dry,” Cora says. “And yes, I know pizza usually doesn’t come with peanuts, but pizza can come with a lot of weird things nowadays.”
“Is that why- I remember, on those forms you filled out-” When Cora first enrolled in school, she’d been given a form to fill out on her own. One of the things she’d put in was an allergy to peanuts, and Kira hadn’t said anything. She knew the school was going to call Derek to double-check before filing, and back then, Cora had a tendency to literally growl at her if she said something Cora didn’t like.
“Try not to take such sharp turns,” Derek says. “When Cora was little, she had a genuine peanut intolerance, and we had to be careful to try to avoid it turning into a full-blown allergy. Now that her wolf’s emerged, she’s not in danger of allergies, but peanuts still have the ability to cause significant discomfort. It’s easier to just list it as an allergy.”
“Okay. Uh, we don’t need to order anything for me. I’m good with both choices.”
“You’re doing much better,” Derek says. “I know you’re not ready to drive to school and back yet, but do you want to try driving home, now?”
Cora nods. “What kind of pizza do you usually like?”
“Hawaiian. It probably falls under the category of weird pizza. It has pineapple, and I get mine with peppers, mushrooms, and ham. I don’t like pepperoni on it.”
“We can order that. It doesn’t sound good, but I’m trying to try new things. Derek, did I like pineapple when I was little?”
“I don’t know. I don’t know if you’ve ever had it. I’ve never had a strong opinion about it one way or another.”
“I don’t like it by itself,” she says. “But I do like it with cheese. I used to dip it in cheese sauce in New York.”
“I wonder if you or your family ever ran into Derek or Laura.”
“Huh. I never considered that. I could ask my-”
Sirens make her jump.
Putting a hand on Cora’s shoulder, Derek says, “Stay calm, Cora. That stop sign up there, pull up to it. Everything will be fine. Claws up.”
Looking over, she sees Cora has claws and yellow eyes both.
“Derek’s right, it’ll be okay. Just- could you also try to do something about your eyes? They’re glowing. Sheriff Stilinski knows about us. If anything happened, not that it will-” Glancing back, she sees it’s Deputy Parrish.
“Why is he doing this? Is he a hunter? Derek-”
“Cora. Calm down. We’ll get through this. Take a deep breath.”
Cora does, and her claws and eyes disappear.
“Now, park, roll the window down to about nose level, and then, put your hands back on the steering wheel.”
By the time Cora has, Deputy Parrish is at the window. “Miss Hale, Miss Yukimura. Good afternoon.”
She waves, and leaning up a little more, Derek greets, “Deputy Parrish. Is there a problem?”
“I told you something was wrong,” Cora mutters, and she desperately hopes Parrish didn’t hear that.
“Mister Hale. Are you aware the left tail-light is out?”
Cora looks at them, but thankfully, she doesn’t ask, ‘What’s a tail-light?’
Derek answers, and hoping she’s not about to make things worse, she smiles and touches Cora’s arm.
Some of the tenseness leaves Cora’s body, and she doesn’t go so far as to smile, but there’s a little bit of fondness in her expression.
“I don’t think a warning ticket is necessary. Just make sure it’s fixed soon.”
“I will. Thank you, deputy,” Derek says.
“Have a good day,” Parrish responds.
He goes back to his car, and Cora says, “One of you is driving.”
They all switch, and once he starts driving, Derek says, “Getting stopped is part of driving. Most cops will give you a warning ticket, but otherwise, they’re like Parrish was just now.”
“I know that cops go after people like Satomi and Boyd a lot,” is Cora’s unimpressed response. “And I’m not sure he’s not a hunter. Every time I see him, I worry about her.”
She realises Cora is talking about her, and having no idea how to respond, she tries, “Deputy Parrish has always been nice to me and my parents. And he and Lydia are pretty close.”
Of course, she and Lydia aren’t really friends, and she’s not sure if hunters consider banshees to be human or not. She’s not even sure if the Hales do or not. Cora probably doesn’t consider Lydia a shifter, but whether a non-shifter can be not human, Kira’s not sure.
“Plus, uh, I think Sheriff Stilinski would be good at spotting racism and keeping it off the police force.”
“It’s not you being Asian I worry about. When I was little I watched a movie about a fox and a hound. They were friends when they were little, but they became enemies later on. It was the hound that turned on the fox.”
“Maybe you should rewatch it,” Derek suggests. “In the end, the hound protects the fox. I could get you the DVD.”
After they finish pizza and homework, Cora asks, “Do you want to stay the night?”
Kira glances over at Derek, and he nods. “You’re welcome to.”
The answer is yes, but she’s not sure if- She’s gotten used to sleeping in bed with Scott, and the idea of getting used to sleeping in her own bed alone again makes her heart hurt.
Whenever she and/or Erica have slept over, they’ve slept in Cora’s bed with her, and Cora co-sleeps with Derek a lot. Part of it might be due to trauma, but she knows Cora slept with Peter most of the time up until the fire. From what she’s gathered from Brett and Lori, a lot of werewolves platonically sleep with pack members and close friends.
She just doesn’t want to somehow be using Cora.
“I still have that nightgown that fits you,” Cora says.
“That sounds great, thanks.”
The bed is warm and comfortable, and it’s nice feeling Cora so close to her, but she can’t sleep.
“Hey, Cora,” she whispers.
“Just ask whatever you’re thinking,” is the semi-grumpy response. “I’m not going to make you sleep on the couch.”
“It’s not- I wouldn’t mind sleeping on the couch. I just don’t want to say something insensitive.”
“Because, I care so much about sensitivity,” Cora dryly says. “Look, I doubt you could upset me or make me angry.”
“Why did- Satomi would have found a way to contact Laura and Derek. Why didn’t you ever let her? Why did you choose to spend years as a literal wolf? Did you ever visit Peter? Did you ever think they might miss you? Be so happy that someone else survived?” Taking a breath, she quietly asks, “Did you ever miss them?”
There’s a painful silence.
“Do you know what Kate Argent did to my brother?”
“Yeah, uh, she burned his family, your family, alive in your house.”
“She did more than that. He was sixteen. She was- with him.”
“With- Oh. You mean, she- she took advantage of him?” New pity for Derek and fresh anger at Kate Argent fills her.
“He didn’t see it that way back then. I guess I didn’t, either. I knew about them. I knew I should have said something. But I never did.”
Rolling onto her side, she tentatively puts an arm over Cora. “I know it may not feel like it, but the only people who did anything wrong were Kate and whoever else helped her with the fire.”
“You believe that, but I never will. When bad things happen, the person they happen to shares the blame. If they were stronger, if they made different choices, it wouldn’t have happened.”
She’s almost drifted off when Cora startles her with, “I don’t blame you for what Scott did to you.”
Sighing, she rolls onto her back. “Well, I kind of do. I don’t agree that people are to blame for when other people hurt them, but- yeah, it was kind of my own fault. I loved him. I still do. I wanted so badly to believe he loved me back. But I knew when we started dating he wasn’t over Allison.”
“He’ll regret it. She’s a hunter, and eventually, she’ll be just like her aunt. Even a fox is a better choice for a wolf than a hunter.”
Unable to help it, she laughs. It hurts, but there’s also something weirdly comforting about knowing, just by virtue of being what she is, Cora will always be on her side in this one instance of her life. Sure, beautiful, sophisticated Allison is smart, funny, and not socially awkward, but she’s a kitsune with a sword and a grouchy werewolf who thinks her werewolf ex-boyfriend has made the wrong choice in who he’s in love with.
Of course, for all Cora dislikes Scott, if a werewolf girl came around and caught his eye, Kira knows she’d be out the metaphorical window. Whether it stems from what Kate did or something else, werewolves should stick to their own kind, in Cora’s mind, and if they can’t, it’s acceptable to make do with other shifters, but that doesn’t mean those other shifters will ever be truly important.
I should probably stop being the person people make do with, goes through her head.
At least, she tells herself, I’m not fooling myself this time. Unlike Scott, Cora’s always been nothing but honest.
The first time Cora tried eating in the lunch room didn’t go well.
Since then, even though Kira usually ate with Scott and the others, Cora’s been eating in the history classroom.
Today, Kira goes to have leftover pizza with her.
“Kira,” her dad greets. “It’s just going to be you two today. Miss Finch has a family emergency, and I’m taking over her detention duties for the moment.”
She nods. “Come back safely.”
Laughing, he kisses her head.
After he’s gone, Cora looks at her. “Are there male kitsunes?”
“Why didn’t your mother mate with one of them, then?”
“Ugh-” She’s tempted to snap about how inappropriate such a question is. “Um, when a kitsune wants to have a child, they have to break two tails, and then, when they get pregnant or get someone pregnant, the baby is always a kitsune. Or will be when they get older. It doesn’t matter what the other parent is.”
Cora rolls her eyes. “There’s no such thing as half-humans. I know you’re a full fox. I mean, why would she choose a human instead of someone she might be able to actually be with forever?”
She hates thinking about kitsunes and ageing. “I’m not sure. They just fell in love. Kitsunes can love, you know.”
“Really, the last few days hasn’t made that clear,” Cora sarcastically says.
“Besides being a good cook, what good is he? It’s not like he can protect you or her if another shapeshifter targets you.”
“We need to change the subject,” she firmly declares.
She knows Derek could send Cora to Devenford, and sometimes, she thinks this might be a good idea. Cora isn’t exactly friends with Lori and Brett, but at least, she respects them. They’re born werewolves, and as far as she knows, neither of them is dating anyone. It was faulty wiring that killed their parents, but their family dying in a fire is something the three have in common.
“I’m sorry,” Cora says.
Surprised, she looks up.
“I don’t understand most people, but I shouldn’t insult families. He’s your dad, and even if he can’t protect you or your mom, you love him, and it seems like he’s always been a good dad to you.”
Warmth floods her. “Thank you.”
Cora gives her a weird look.
There’s a knock on the door, and by the way Cora’s eyes flash, it’s not good.
“Who is it?”
“Hunter. She’s not eating any of the pizza. It’s mine. You only get some, because, I choose to share it with you.”
“Okay.” She wonders why Allison hasn’t come in, but going over, she opens the door.
“Hi.” Allison gives her a tentative smile. “I was hoping you’d- Do you think you and I could get together sometime soon to talk?”
“You can talk, now.” Coming over with her share of pizza in her hands, Cora says, “I’ll be in the bathroom. Text me if you need anything.”
Allison moves aside, and glaring, Cora slips past before Kira can say anything.
“Uh, sorry. On the positive side, she’s getting better?”
Cora didn’t try to attack Allison or bring up how glad she was Mrs Argent committed suicide or make it clear she thinks Allison and Mr Argent should, too.
“I probably should have said something about her going to eat in the bathroom.” Allison takes a breath. “Listen, Kira, I’ve heard you and Scott broke up, and I’d rather be doing almost anything but this, but if there’s anything you and I need to talk about, or that he and I need to talk about-”
“Do you want some pizza? We should probably sit down for this.”
“I already had my lunch, but thank you.”
They sit down, and she tells Allison about Scott’s injury and the fallout. “I don’t blame you. If you’re wondering. And I hope you don’t blame yourself, either. It’s not your fault. It’s not completely his fault, either. It’s just-”
Giving her a sympathetic smile, Allison stays quiet.
“I knew he wasn’t completely over you. But I thought he wanted to be. I thought he wanted to move on with me, not that he was just trying to move on, because- I don’t even know. It’s- I think the biggest thing is, even if he realised that he still wanted you, that he wasn’t ready to move on, didn’t really want to, I wish he’d told me when he was sober and I wasn’t lying next to him in bed wearing his t-shirt. That’s what really hurts. The way I found out.”
“I’m sorry,” Allison quietly says. “When we broke up, I tried my best to make it clear to him I wasn’t going to get back together with him and that I didn’t want him waiting for me. If I didn’t make it as clear as I thought, I’m sorry. I’ll be honest and say, when he started dating you, it hurt some, but- I’ve never intentionally tried to give him hope or make him want to get back together with me. I really thought he was moving on, and hurt or not, I was happy. For both of you.”
She nods. “I really don’t blame you, Allison. I may not know you that well, but I do know you’re a good person. You’re honest, and ever since I’ve met you, you’ve always been nice to other girls. Scott- he’s just- Well, we all have issues. Sometimes, those issues just come out in the worst way possible.”
“Yeah. Trust me, I know that better than most. Still, I’m sorry you’re hurting. If there’s anything I can do-”
She shakes her head. “No, but thank you. Oh, uh, but, if Cora says anything, could you just try your best to ignore her? I don’t know if she will, she probably would by now if she was going to, but um, it’s no secret she’s never liked you or Scott. She hates Scott more, but- it’s not right, and I’m not really defending her, but even if you weren’t a hunter, she’d have issues with you, because, you’re human.”
Sighing, she rubs her eyes. “God, that sounds horrible. I’m really not trying to defend her- I don’t think racism is the right word, but-”
“Speciesism,” Allison suggests.
“Yes!” She bounces. “That’s probably the right word.” Stilling, she continues, “But uh, yeah, I don’t mean to defend it.”
Chuckling, Allison smiles. “It’s okay. I try my best not to let words provoke a reaction. I understand Cora’s been through a lot, and-” Her smile vanishes. “Most of it is because of my aunt and grandfather. But,” the smile returns, “she’s lucky to have a friend like you. I better go.” She stands. “Thanks for clearing the air with me.”
“No problem. Thanks for coming to talk to me.”
When Cora meets her after school, Kira says, “I was thinking I could miss practise today.”
“You said things were better with you and Allison.”
“It’s not her or Scott, it’s- I kind of joined the team to be closer to Scott.”
Cora gives her an unimpressed look. “I’m aware I can’t force you to play, but unless you can give me a better reason for quitting, I’m going to make your life hell if you do.”
“Okay. Got it.” After a moment, she asks, “Why?”
“My brother and Stiles are idiots. Stiles wants Derek at the games, and Derek wants to be at them, but for reasons I don’t get, he refuses to go unless I do. You’re the only thing worth watching. If I have to sit through watching games without you, I will make you, them, and everyone else pay.”
Even knowing- her heart is incredibly warm inside her chest. She knows Cora doesn’t understand how the words might come across. No doubt, Cora’s reasons for finding her the only thing worth watching would not be heartwarming. They’re probably something along the lines of, ‘yay, the fox got knocked upside the head with a crosse,’ or, ‘yay, the fox just accidentally knocked my least favourite werewolf clear across the field,’ or even, ‘if I pay attention to the fox, I can get through the game without having to pay attention to either the humans or my least favourite werewolf.’
“Better get to practise, then,” she says.
When they get to the field, Cora pulls her aside. “You see that white boy talking to the black one?”
She looks over. “Yeah. That’s one of our new players.”
“See if taking him under your wing is possible. I’m not sure why, but my instincts tell me he could be an asset. I know you don’t want to be team captain, but if he is good, do you think he might be?”
She manages to stifle both a laugh and a groan. “There isn’t going to be a new captain until Scott graduates. And we’ll graduate at the same time. I’m not sure what grade this new boy is, but yeah, I suppose there’s a possibility he could be captain.”
Cora’s face makes clear her feelings before she verbalises them: “Well, if he’s not going to replace McCall, now, it doesn’t matter.” Then, she adds, “Still, it’s better promising players look up to you instead of him.”
“I’ll try talking to him, later, okay?”
She cautiously squeezes Cora’s arm, and Cora doesn’t glare, growl, and/or claw at Scott while saying, “Just because you let a kitsune touch you doesn’t mean I won’t tear your throat out if yours touches me again.”
If it were just her, she’d definitely take it personally, but Cora had also ripped up Lydia’s homework, and Allison had had to protect Mr Argent. Scott had also suffered when Stiles had done something. Derek, Isaac, and Lori were the only ones who could safely touch Cora or even just exist within a five-mile radius of her, at first, and even though she’d never say it, she kind of got the feeling Cora looked down on Isaac for being a bitten werewolf instead of born.
Nodding, Cora sits down in the bleachers.
Going out onto the field, she catches the new boy’s eye. Putting on what she hopes is a welcoming smile, she waves.
This might have been a bad idea.
Stumbling backwards, he ends up on the other side of the bench with his legs in the air.
Based on the fact he quickly stands back up and the way his friend is laughing, it seems he’s okay, but maybe, she should not make eye contact and wave at people she doesn’t know. It might be creepy or scary, and that’s the last thing she wants.
The coach’s whistle blows, practise starts, and thankfully, Scott stays on the other end of the field.
Trying her best not to steal glances at him, she concentrates on the ball.
Then, she hears, “Kira!”
She freezes, and Cora’s voice continues, “I think something is flying towards the black boy.”
Turning, she sees in horror that Cora’s right: A flying crosse is heading straight for the reading boy.
Sprinting, she readies her own crosse, and watching the other one fly away is such a relief-
Oh, God, she just inadvertently hit her ex-boyfriend’s best friend, his human best friend, with a flying crosse.
“Whoa, that was awesome! And, uh, obviously, thank you,” the boy behind her says.
“Mason!” The new boy rushes over.
“It’s okay, I’m okay.”
Stiles, she sees, is being led off-the-field by Scott.
“Don’t worry,” Cora says, and jumping, she hopes Cora didn’t reveal herself as a werewolf in getting here so fast. “Stiles is stronger and heals faster than most humans. He’ll be fine. This one wouldn’t have been.”
“Um,” the new player rubs the back of his neck. “Thank you. For what you did. That was- something.”
“It was amazing.” The other boy stands up. “Hi, I’m Mason. This is Liam.”
Liam seems uncomfortable, and she wonders if there’s anyway she can apologise for creeping him out/scaring him earlier without making things even more awkward.
“I’m Kira Yukimura, and this is Cora Hale.”
Cora peers closely at Liam. “Have you and I met?”
“No. Um- you know Brett and Lori Talbot, right? I used to go to Devenford with them.”
“Their aunt used to be friends with my mom. You’re the one who destroyed that car, aren’t you?”
She has no idea what or whose car Cora is talking about, but one look at both Liam and Mason’s face tells her the answer is yes. Admittedly, she doesn’t know either of them, but whereas, she hasn’t seen enough to form an opinion on Liam, from what she’s seen so far, she can’t imagine Mason doing such a thing.
“Kira has a sword, and she knows how to use it. If you ever try to hurt her, she’ll bisect you.”
She didn’t realise it was possible to choke when no one is choking her and she doesn’t have any food or liquid in her mouth or down her throat. “Cora! Bad. Um, yes, I have a sword, it’s a family heirloom, my mom’s originally from Japan, and I’ve been learning some fencing and stuff, but I would never use it against a classmate, especially not to cut them in half.”
Cora glares. “You had better if any of them try to hurt you.”
“Well, I mean, obviously, if someone attacked me, and I had it, I’d use it to protect myself, but even then, no bisection!”
“Fine,” Cora basically huffs. “Just kill them, and I’ll get-”
“Self-defence isn’t about killing! Sometimes, it happens, but-”
“Whatever.” Cora turns back towards the boys, and feeling helpless, she watches Liam squirm when Cora meets his eyes. “I have anger issues, too. I’ve done worse things than destroy a car, but so far, it’s not the kind of things that’s gotten me kicked out of school. Brett should have known better.”
The look in his eyes makes her feel a sense of pity.
“Do you maybe have any advice for him,” Mason asks.
“Three things cannot long be hidden: The sun,” Cora and Liam do what she could swear is a synchronised turn towards it, “the moon, and the truth. Sometimes, the moon or just human’s bodies make them feel things that they wouldn’t feel on their own. Sometimes, medicine can help control the feelings, and sometimes, people can control their actions even when the feelings are strong.”
Cora nods towards Mason. “You ran towards him, not the person who sent the stick flying. Try to think of him and everyone else important in your life. That’s the truth: You don’t want to hurt people. You want to protect your- the people important to you. As strong as the feelings are, they aren’t you. They’ll probably take control again, but you destroyed a car instead of attacking a person. That means you’re already winning. The next time you can stop those feelings from making you do something you don’t really want to do, it’ll bring you closer, make it a little bit easier to do it again the next time.”
She doesn’t need chemo signals to know-
“That sounded Buddhist,” Mason says. “Was it?”
“Yes. Brett and Lori’s aunt is Buddhist.” Cocking her head, Cora says, “My brother’s here. I need to go.”
Cringing at how awkward she sounds, she says, “Take care of yourselves,” before following.
Once the boys are out of sight, she asks, “Was he supernatural?”
“I don’t know. He’s not a wolf. But I think he could be one day. I’m going to tell Derek. We need to keep an eye on him.”
It doesn’t say anything good that her feelings aren’t simple.
She knows there’s more straight people than there are other people of other sexualities. Growing up, her parents let her know from a young age that sometimes, people only wanted to date and marry people of the opposite sex, sometimes, boys liked boys, girls liked girls, sometimes, people liked both, and sometimes, people might want to date or marry but didn’t want to do other adult, relationship type things that most people do.
When she was about seven or eight, she knew she liked boys and girls both, and they told her, as long as anyone she dated was nice to her and never hurt her, they’d try their best to like the person and would always treat them with respect.
She gets the feeling Cora might be a lesbian, but it’s never been her business, and she knows there’s a possibility Cora herself doesn’t know what she might be once she gets pasts the ‘I hate everyone besides my brother equally’ stage.
Whatever Cora is, she knows it’s highly unlikely Cora has any sort of romantic interest in Liam. It’s just- Cora is a good person, but she’s not kind. It can feel like an attack to think this, but she understands good and kind aren’t always mutually inclusive. Yet, Cora was genuinely kind to this boy she just met.
More than this, they had a genuine connection, and she knows she shouldn’t be anything but happy that Cora’s managed to form one with someone else, especially a human.
She is happy, but there are also other complicated feelings pressing inside her.
Scott sends her a tentative text about Isaac being back, and she doesn’t know how or if she’s supposed to respond.
In the end, she sends a simple thanks for letting her know.
At lunch, there’s a knock on her dad’s door, and Isaac comes in with a bag of sweet-smelling food. “Mr Yukimura. Uh, Erica sent desserts for everyone to try.”
“That’s very nice of her.”
Realising Isaac’s waiting for permission to give it to them and probably wondering if he should offer some to her dad, she smiles and beckons him over. “Dad doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, but I’ll save some to take home for him and my mom. What did Erica send?”
“She told me to make sure the black and white cookies all went to you. Sorry, I, uh, don’t know what they’re called.”
Thankfully, she manages not to laugh. “Actually, they don’t have any fancy names. They’re literally called black and white cookies.” Trying not to bounce, she continues, “I’ll definitely send her a thank you email. She and my dad make the best I’ve ever had!”
Over at his desk, her dad smiles.
“And she sent these rice cookies for you.” He sets them in front of Cora. “I know they do have some Japanese name, but I can’t remember it.”
“If I try to give it to her dad or slip it into McCall’s food, would your heart change?”
“Cora.” She rubs her forehead.
“No. Erica wouldn’t try to hurt you. I mean, Scott doesn’t like rice, but it definitely wouldn’t hurt him. Do you want me to-”
Grabbing one of the cookies and breaking off a piece, she ignores Cora’s glare as she eats it. “I’m not big on rice either, but I can tell she did just as great with it as she did everything else.”
Cora carefully breaks off a small piece, and a beautiful smile crosses her face when she swallows. “It’s really good.”
Isaac visibly relaxes.
“What’d she send for you,” she asks.
“Macadamia nut cookies.”
Based on the subtle look on Cora’s face, she’s going to guess, sensitivities to peanuts aside, Cora isn’t a nut person in general.
“She sent plain brownies for Derek.”
Uncovering the pan, Cora breaks off the smallest one.
After a minute, she asks, “Good?”
Cora shrugs. “Should be safe. I’ve never gotten excited over chocolate.” Pushing the pan over, she adds, “You can have some, if you want. Derek won’t mind.”
They decided to keep the cookies and brownies in her dad’s room until after school, and then, she’d help Cora take some of it to the loft.
Outside, she pauses when she sees Cora and Allison talking at a table.
Hoping ants won’t get them, she sets the pans and plates on the ground before heading over. Cora looks calm, but aside from shifting and occasionally growling, Cora never gives much indication she’s about to attack.
“They’re like Reese’s,” she hears Allison say. “Do you want to try some?”
Allison jumps, but thankfully, she herself doesn’t end up tased, stabbed, or full of arrows.
“Sorry.” Letting go of the wrist, she pulls the bag closer towards them. “When you say Reese’s, does that mean it has peanut butter or just peanuts in it? Cora really doesn’t like peanuts.”
Rolling her eyes, suddenly, Cora’s up in a tree. “It figures Peter would like something that could have killed me. I’m not coming down until they’re gone, and I agreed to take them before I knew. They’re not riding in my car.”
“They wouldn’t kill you, now,” she points out.
Quickly dumping the bar off the napkin into the bag and stuffing the bag into her backpack, Allison looks between them. “I’m sorry. I didn’t know. I just knew Peter liked to steal Stiles’s Reese’s cups, and since Erica made too much-”
“I don’t care if you send them to my uncle, but I’m not going to be the one taking them.”
She doesn’t think Allison had any bad intentions, but- she’s sort of wondering why Allison- did Erica send Allison desserts, too? Did Allison offer to bring the leftovers from whoever Erica did send them to, to Cora?
Before she can decide if she wants to even try asking any of this, Allison is walking away, and once she’s out of sight, Cora slides down. “Thank you.”
“Of course. Let me just go get the other stuff, and then, we can go, okay?”
There’s probably a story, but most likely, it’s better if she doesn’t ask. When Isaac asks if he can start having lunch in her dad’s room with all of them, they all say yes.
Scott comes to school every day, he shows up at practise, he played in their last game, and he doesn’t act like he might be physically hurt.
Or, if she’s bitterly honest, like the breakup is emotionally affecting him, either.
She knows Isaac still lives at the McCall house, and from what she sees of Allison, Stiles, and Lydia around school, they all seem fine. Even knowing Isaac would be way happier as opposed to sort of withdrawn if something happened to the twins, she still makes sure to confirm both are coming to school and seem to be fine.
A few days after he starts eating with them, Cora announces, “I’ve decided I want to know what it’s like to be drunk. So, Derek’s ordered this alcohol that werewolves can get drunk on for me to try either Friday night or on Saturday. If it’s okay with your parents and Nurse McCall, you’re both invited, but Scott McCall and no humans are.”
Half-wishing she could turn invisible, she takes a breath. “Uh- maybe- Cora, sometimes, teachers have to report things students say, and I don’t know-”
“Kira,” her dad says with a gentle, amused look. “It’s okay. California allows the consumption of alcohol by minors provided it happens in a private location or in the presence of a responsible adult relative. But even if it didn’t, unless I suspected something more might be in play or the student’s behaviour or grades suffered, I don’t particularly care if a parent or guardian lets their child drink.”
He smiles at Cora. “Kira’s mother and I would need to talk to your brother, first, but if Kira wants to, I think her coming over can be arranged. Just keep in mind, this would be a very rare thing.”
Feeling the tension draining out, she says, “Thanks, Dad. And um, yeah, if it’s okay with my parents, totally. I’d love to come.”
“I’ll talk to Melissa. Uh, you know, technically, Lydia’s a banshee.”
“Banshee’s are just a specific form of druids, and druids are just humans who’ve found a way to invade the supernatural and use it for their own selfish gain,” Cora authoritatively declares. “The first werewolves were abominations, humans cursed by other humans, but when they had children, those children were something different. It wasn’t just the supernatural clinging to them, they were supernatural in their own right.”
Utterly disturbed, she tells herself not to say anything, and she tells herself she really needs to say something, even though, she’s not sure what.
Her dad beats her to the punch. “That’s a very interesting take on the origin of werewolves, Cora. Do you have any on kitsunes?”
Cora shakes her head. “No one knows how they came about. Or if someone does, they aren’t sharing the information with many, if any other, people. But they’re much older than werewolves are. Until your daughter, I always thought they were all- bad news.”
Warmth floods her.
Giving her an unimpressed look, Cora says, “Don’t get any ideas. You could still end up being bad news. I just don’t think you’re going to trick me and burn my house down. That’s what some fox spirits would do. They’d find it funny or think what Kate Argent started should be finished. I do know, hunters have usually been smart enough not to trust them, but the two’ve worked together before to bring down other shapeshifters.”
It’s not the same thing, not at all, but she suddenly wonders if Cora knows about the time she and Allison had to fight Isaac and the twins. Allison had been the one to say something about not trying to kill them, and she absolutely hadn’t wanted to, but she’d been more concerned with just staying alive than anything else.
She looks over at Isaac, but he’s busy eating his sandwich.
Friday afternoon, her dad takes her home, and her parents insist she eat supper early and leave her sword at home before they take her to pick up Isaac and go to Derek’s.
Handing Derek the thermos of soup, her mom says, “Please, make sure Kira has some of this before she goes to bed and when she wakes up in the morning.”
Her mom says it’ll help with the hangover, but it looks and smells so bad that she’s pretty sure her parents are just insisting on it as a fun way (for them) to torture her.
Clasping Isaac’s shoulder, her dad says, “Remember, even if Kira’s okay, you’re free to call us at any time.”
There’s more discussion between the adults, and finally, her parents leave.
“Sorry about that,” she tells Cora.
“My mom and Uncle Peter could be the same way. I think I felt the same way back then. That soup smells terrible, though. Derek, put it away.”
“Yeah, I think it’s their way of making sure, if the hangover isn’t that bad, it will be.”
She realises they’re excluding Isaac. “How’d Melissa take it when you talked to her?”
He smiles. “She thought it was funny. Also, there’s a good chance she did hard drugs at some point in her life.”
“I don’t know about my mom, but my dad definitely tried more than just pot when he was in college.”
Isaac gives Cora a tentative look. “What, uh, what about you? Do you know if your mom ever did anything before her wolf manifested? Or- did you, um, ever have a dad?”
“My mom manifested when she was twelve, and I don’t know. Derek has a dad, but I don’t know if he’s mine or Laura’s.”
She jumps when Derek says, “My biological father isn’t important, and if he’s yours or Laura’s, too, that just means he was capable of helping do one or two good things.”
He sets a bottle of green-coloured liquid and three glasses on the table. “Anyone need a straw or some ice?”
The green liquid tastes terrible, and she thinks she might be seeing colours that don’t actually exist.
“That’s one of the best memories I have of my dad,” Isaac says.
Somehow, they’ve moved from the table to down onto the floor.
“If your dad wasn’t already dead, I would kill him,” Cora says.
“No killing,” she says. “Okay? We could find a way to get him sent to prison. We might need Lydia’s help, and I know you don’t really like her, or any of us, but still.”
“Like he’d let us. His dad dying was the only way he was going to be free.”
“Yeah, uh, sitting right here. Just in case you two forgot. Again.”
“I like you,” Cora says.
“Really?” Incredible happiness fills her.
“You’re the only one of us she likes. She feels sorry for me, she loves Derek but hates how overprotective he is, and she wants to kill Scott and Allison and Lydia.”
“I only want to kill Scott. I just don’t trust Allison, and no, I don’t like Lydia, but that’s not the same as hating.”
“No killing my ex-boyfriend.” Taking another drink, she shudders. “I think that’s the first time I’ve said that out loud. God, you should have killed me or him or both of us when you attacked me in school.”
“I wouldn’t have hurt you. I just knew you were the best way to make him appear.”
“And he did. He was so brave and handsome and funny and nice, and- I’m sorry for shooting at you, Isaac, but in fairness, you were possessed and literally trying to kill me. If- I didn’t do anything like Allison did. She stabbed you and tried to kill Derek and tortured Erica and Boyd with electricity in her basement. I’ve never tortured anyone with my electricity.”
“It’s okay. Even if I didn’t have a horrible dad and a dead brother and my mother hadn’t probably committed suicide, nice of Allison to stab someone who might have actually been able to talk to her, wasn’t it, but then, I did try to kill her best friend, so-”
“Your ex-boyfriend did worse,” Cora says.
“Yeah, he did,” she agrees. “Or, well, I mean, compared to all that, no, he didn’t. But I like Allison. I don’t know how I’d react if my mom or dad died and I thought someone else played a part in it. She’s honest, though, and she doesn’t use people’s feelings. It just- I was all alone when we moved here, and I just wanted some friends. But then, there was this amazing boy, and he liked me, and I lost my virginity to him, except, I hate that saying.”
“You don’t lose your virginity. I lost my Marvel leggings once, and it sucked. Losing means you don’t know where something is, what happened to it. I decided not to be a virgin, anymore, because, I wanted my first experience to be with him.”
“Was it good,” Isaac asks.
“It was amazing,” she sighs. Then, part of her feels like crying. “The thing is- first, I know for sure that colour over there definitely doesn’t exist. But second, also, that was before we said, ‘I love you,’ and it was fine, but then, he made it not. I didn’t do it because I loved him, I did it because he was hot and really nice and I felt ready.”
“But then, he made me fell, fall- I fell in love with him. And I just wish I’d stopped being a virgin with someone I liked and respected but didn’t- who didn’t end up making me feel like this.”
Allison was Scott’s first, and what if she’s stuck pining over him for the rest of her life like he is Allison?
Isaac makes a soothing gesture with his hands.
“It’s okay. I’m not going to do what he did. Even if it takes time, I’ll find another boyfriend or girlfriend, and we’ll be happy. I’ll be a good girlfriend, again, and they won’t be in love with their ex.”
Cora gives her a confused look. “It sounds like you might date a girl.”
“If I find the right one-”
“No. You can have girlfriends, but you can’t date girls.”
Confused herself, she simply says, “Yes, I can.”
“But that’s not fair. Not right.” Cora’s eyes are switching between yellow and brown. “You like boys.”
“I like both. I’m bisexual.”
“Just because you’re a fox, you aren’t- more of a spirit. Not an actual- Is it plants or animals that do that? Something about reproduction. The point is, you’re a person, and people only like one.”
Cora looks so adorably confused, she can’t even be mad that, on top of the speciesism, Cora has old-fashion, insulting beliefs about bisexuality not being a real, valid thing. Or at least, not in humans or human-like shapeshifters. Apparently, plants or animals can reproduce bisexually in Cora’s mind, and she’s not sure this would make sense even sober.
“No, they don’t,” Isaac says. “Some people only like one, but other people can like both. I’ve had crushes on both girls and boys. Not that this a good thing, I keep falling for people who don’t like me back or who just aren’t good people, but it’s always been real.”
Someone might have said something else, but she doesn’t know, all she knows is, somehow, she and Cora are kissing, and oh. It’s so good.
Then, suddenly, Cora is flying away, except, no, Derek is picking his sister up and moving away. “That’s enough for right now.”
Setting her down, he sits on the couch, and even with all the non-existent colours and her inability to remember the capital of Alaska (and she once won an awesome toy unicorn for getting it right in third grade), she knows Derek isn’t going to leave them back alone.
And she’s right.
Everything gets fuzzier, and it seems like, in a blink, Derek’s poured her some of the awful soup.
Managing to drink it, she says, “I think I’m gonna go to bed, now.”
Cora starts to move towards her, but putting a hand on his sister’s shoulder, Derek says, “Cora, sleep with me tonight.”
“Okay. I want to watch the one with the painting heaven.”
Smiling softly, he says, “We can do that.”
She doesn’t know if it’s the kitsune thing, the girl thing, or if he thinks she can’t be trusted to just sleep in the same bed with his sister anymore, but she’s hurt and offended. She loves watching What Dreams May Come with Cora.
Deciding to say something, she’s stopped by the feel of Isaac’s hand, and when she looks over, he shakes his head.
Her parents think she’s grumpy and sensitive from a hangover, but her hangover’s gone.
She thinks she should call Cora, but she has no idea what she should say, and besides, Derek often answers Cora’s phone for her.
If she kissed Cora when Cora didn’t want it- but from what she remembers, Cora was into it.
Even if Cora did want it and find it as amazing as she did, does this mean Cora might want-
“Kira,” her dad calls, “Cora’s wondering if she can talk to you!”
Hopefully, falling off her bed isn’t a sign of even worse things to come.
They sit out in the garden, and she doesn’t know what to say.
Cora looks nervous, and she’s seen Cora uneasy and uncomfortable, but she doesn’t think she’s ever seen nervous until now.
“Derek said I should probably call or text, but my spelling is still not great, and-” Shrugging, Cora plays with the edge of her shirt.
Part of her wants so badly to reach over and hold Cora’s hand, and the other part is telling her to run inside and ask if her dad has any mountain ash.
“If you didn’t want me to kiss you, I’m sorry. I’m not making any excuses, but I am telling you I’m not exactly sure how that happened. It wasn’t something I’d have done, kissing someone without making sure they wanted it first, if I were sober.”
Relief hits her. “I did. I wanted you to. I, um, wasn’t sure if you wanted me to, and I was trying to figure out-”
“I did,” Cora says.
Happiness mixes in with the relief.
“I’m just not sure what it means. What’s supposed to happen next.”
“I’m not sure, either. Do you want to try dating? I mean, I understand if you don’t, but if you wanted to, I’d love to. Or do you- I just really hope we can stay friends.”
“Like you and Scott are friends?”
The words hurt a little, but she takes a deep breath. “Scott and I were sort of friends before we started dating, but not like this. Like me and you are. Scott really hurt me, Cora. And I want to forgive him. I’d like it if he and I could be real friends someday. And if he ever needs my help with something supernatural threatening the town or innocent people or something like that, I don’t think I could say no. Right now, though, the hurt’s still too fresh.”
“I don’t know if I ever had a crush before,” Cora says. “I liked people when I was little, I remember that. I wasn’t very- outgoing, but I had some friends besides Peter and Derek. I don’t remember hating anyone. But I don’t remember ever feeling like this towards anyone.You- I want to do more than kiss you. We probably shouldn’t, because, I’m not sure if I’m ready, but I want to.”
“I want to, too. I mean, I’m totally fine with waiting, I’m probably not ready, either, but definitely, I’d love to see if it happening in the future is a possibility.”
A small smile crosses Cora’s face. “What does that mean, then?”
“We could go to the movies next Saturday. If that works out, we could go on another date. And after we go on a few, maybe, we could agree to just see each other. No dating other people. And, um, if the dates don’t work out, I’m still going to be your friend for as long as you’ll let me, Cora. It wasn’t the relationship ending that’s making me avoid Scott. It’s that he lied, and he manipulated my feelings.”
“The movies sound good,” Cora says.
She smiles. “Great. I know they’re showing-”
“What about kissing?”
“We, uh, we can start doing that again whenever you want. If you don’t want-”
Cora touches her hand. “What about now?”
“I’d love to kiss you right now.”
“I want to.”
Moving over, she kisses Cora, and it’s so much more amazing than it was last night.
When they break apart, however, a thought hits her, and she sighs. “Uh, aware this might be the worst time- about your brother...”
She knocks, and Derek opens the door. “Kira.”
Handing him the mix of rice and chocolate chip cookies she sort of helped her dad make, but really, it was her occasionally popping into the kitchen and him telling her to go back to Cora, she takes a breath. “Cora’s outside. I wanted to talk to you in private.”
“Okay.” Getting out a plate, he transfers them from the paper one and puts it in the recycling one.
“I’d really like to date Cora. I asked her to go to the movies next Saturday, and she said yes, but if you say no- I’m just really hoping you don’t say no. I wouldn’t have tried anything last night. The kiss, it just sort of happened, but I would never try to take advantage of her or make her do anything she didn’t want- When it comes to stuff like that. Obviously, whether she likes it or not, I’m going to keep making her wear her seatbelt when you aren’t around to.”
He looks at her, and Scott once told her he had this way of looking at people that made them feel horribly exposed.
She hadn’t disbelieved him, but she couldn’t fully imagine Derek having such a look.
Now, she tries her best not to fidget and squirm under it.
Then, he sighs. “I didn’t think you were going to hurt or take advantage of her, Kira. Teenagers can make regretful decisions about things like that when they’re completely sober. But add alcohol-” He shakes his head.
“If my sister ever decides to do certain things, I want it to be when she’s sober and with someone she cares for. Who cares for her. I don’t want her making such a big decision, because, she’s drunk, and a classmate or friend is there and willing.”
A look of sadness comes into his eyes. “I didn’t want her first kiss to be like that, either, but that was my fault for not paying better attention.”
“Sorry,” she offers. “I understand. I promise, I’m never going to pressure her. If you let me date her and I stay over, I’m happy to stay on the couch or, if he’s not here, in the room Isaac usually stays in.”
“As long as you’re both sober, I don’t care if you sleep in Cora’s room with her. Sit down.”
She does, and he follows suit. “If Cora wants to date you, I’m not going to stop her. I just hope you don’t do to her what Scott did to you.”
“I won’t,” she quietly says. “I’m not completely over Scott, but I don’t want to get back together with him. I want to get over him. If something real and long-term can happen with Cora, I want that. I think, if it weren’t for me dating Scott, I would have had a big crush on her a long time ago.”
He smiles. “Okay, then. How are you getting to the movies?”
“My mom offered to let me borrow her car, but if you’d rather they drive us or you do, that’s fine.”
“Just make sure she wears her seatbelt,” he dryly says.
She and Cora walk into school holding hands, and the day is wonderful until it’s time for practise.
Cora has detention with Harris, and she knows for a fact Cora doesn’t deserve it. She hopes, when Derek comes to pick Cora up, he lays into Harris hard.
It’s not exactly surprising when Scott sits down next to her on the bench. “Can we talk?”
She sighs. “Yeah.”
“I just wanted to say: I’m sorry.”
“I’d say it’s okay, but- I hope you can be happy someday, Scott. I want that for you. Right now, though, I don’t want to talk to you or be around you more than necessary.”
Maybe, someday, she’ll be ready to ask why he did this. If he’s really sorry, or if he’s just upset at how it all went down.
“Okay,” he says. Then, instead of leaving, he gives her a hesitant look. “I heard you’re dating Cora. Are you sure-”
She glares, and thankfully, he shuts up.
“If you’re really worried this might be a bad idea, you can send Stiles or Lydia to talk to me. But you, you are the last person who should be saying anything.”
He walks away, and it hurts more than she thought it would.
Taking a breath, she clears her mind of all thoughts but Cora.
After they go on a few dates, she’s waiting in the loft for Cora to come back from a day out when Derek suddenly says, “Kira, come away from the door.”
She does. “Is something wrong? Should- I know Cora doesn’t have her phone, but-”
“Just stay over here.” Going over, he opens the door, and Cora and another wolf come in.
Confusion fills her. She can tell it’s male, but is he a werewolf, too, or an actual wolf? He doesn’t act dangerous, and Cora is acting more annoyed at Derek than anything, but why is-
Cora shifts back, and Derek says, “Kira, please go get a large towel for Cora’s guest.”
Taking in the way the two are glaring at one another, she decides to get the towel before trying to get answers.
“You brought a coyote home?”
“He has wolf in him,” Cora answers. “And...”
When she gets back with the towel, Cora has on Derek’s shirt. Taking the towel, Derek motions for them to go over to the couch.
Sitting in Cora’s lap, when Derek moves aside, she takes in a cute boy around their age waving at them. “Hi, I’m Theo. Theo Raeken.”
“Cora Hale. This is my brother, Derek, and my girlfriend, Kira Yukimura.”
Everything inside her feels like when she uses her powers to turn on lights, only more intense.
“That’s enough information about us for right now. Tell us about you, Theo. Everything,” Derek says, and he’s so menacing, she really hopes she never gets on his bad side.
Cora isn’t happy about it, but Derek insists Peter, Isaac, and Stiles meet Theo at the loft before any decisions about whether Theo being part of Derek’s pack is made.
When the day comes, her parents drop her off, and kissing her, Cora takes her hand. “Hopefully, this won’t take long. When it’s over, do you want to watch one of the DVDs Stiles is bringing over? They’re not all Disney.”
“I’d love to. And you know I like watching Disney, too.”
They go inside, and she feels a shiver go through her when Peter looks over with sharp, amused eyes. “Well, well. Our Cora has caught a fox. Or at least, I hope that’s the case rather than the reverse.”
“Shut up, Peter,” Cora orders. Tugging, she leads Kira to the couch.
They sit down, and as Cora is getting comfortable on her lap, she hears Peter asking, “When exactly did this happen?”
“Don’t start,” Derek quietly says. “Kira is a nice, normal girl around Cora’s own age who makes Cora happy. I don’t care if she’s a werewolf, a kitsune, human, or something else.”
“I don’t object. I’m merely curious...”
Turning her attention back to Cora, she takes the remote Cora’s fiddling with and kisses her.
Cora smiles. “What was that for?”
“Just happy I’m here with you,” she answers honestly.