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Red's Rebirth *Currently on Hold*

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    The sound of her alarm going off is jarring and startles the young woman so much that Stiles falls out of her bed with a thud. She lays there for a moment, just staring at her ceiling, contemplating on if she could possibly snooze right where she is for a few more minutes when she actually sees her clock and freaks out. She’s overslept and has to perform a mad dash to get ready.

    She takes the quickest shower on the face of the planet which includes brushing her teeth, followed by throwing on whatever smells clean from the pile of clothes on the floor next to her bed. She’s managed to get her hair to a point that it’s not dripping but doesn’t have the time to blow it dry, instead leaving it to dry in it’s normal unruly and wavy pattern. There is a brief debate in her head on if she wants to even attempt the disaster that is her and makeup but another quick look at the clock tells her that is a hopeless cause and she’s racing out her bedroom door. She trips on the last step of the stairs just as her father comes from the kitchen and he manages to keep her from face planting on the floor.

    “Whoa, slow down kiddo.” John looks his daughter over as he helps her set herself to rights and his brow creases when he notices the slight bruising in her jaw and he can see the ugly scrape on her chin in full morning light.

    “Sorry, dad, running late.” She continues her whirlwind path into the kitchen where she chugs some juice straight from the carton and then grabs a pop tart from the box in the cabinet.

    “Stiles, you’re early.” He’s watching her from the doorway. He knows she is worried about Scott, but even he won’t be there yet.

    “No, I’m late. Early for school, I know, but I late for me.” She pushes past her dad and drops down on the bottom step to slip on her Converse.  She nods to her bookbag which is sitting next to the front door. She’d packed it up earlier in the day yesterday and now she was even happier to have done so. “I’ve got some deliveries to make.” This catches her father’s attention.

    “Deliveries? Your mom’s old home remedies?” Not long after Claudia had passed he had come across an old journal of hers filled to the brim with home medicines and tonics. She had something for everything in there: burns, cuts, scrapes, bruises, sore throat, the sniffles, you name it she had it. He’d given it to Stiles because he knew there was no way he would make heads or tails of it, but she would love it. She’d dived head first into it once she realized they were almost out of the cream that Claudia always kept for the bruises their accident prone child could get and had just continued from there.  Stiles just nods to him as she continues fighting with her shoe. “For the person whose name you refuse to give me?” She pauses and looks up.

    “Dad, I told you, I can’t tell you who it is. I barely get them to let me do this for them.” She turns back to her shoes, jumping up once she has them on and laced tightly. “I can’t break their trust in me just to get the results I want.” She stands there facing him and  John sighs.

    “I know, kiddo. I get it, I do, I just know they are in trouble and I want to help.”

    “I know, but until they give me the go ahead to bring you in, I can’t. I gave my word.” John nodded and caved at that point. One thing he understood was once Stiles gave her word, that was it. Nothing could make her go against it unless it was life or death and even then it was tough to figure out what she would do. Her mother had been the same. Stiles smiles when she realizes that her dad really does get it and gently picks up her bag.

    “Oh, before you go…” He reaches into his back pocket and pulls out her phone handing it over to a very happy Stiles.

    “I wasn't sure I would get it back today. Did you get what you needed off it? Was it useful?”

    “Yeah, we got the video transferred off late last night. We are working on seeing if there is anything useable on it today. Expect a visit at the school at some point.” Her eyebrow raises as she looks at her father.

    “Ruling out suspects?”

    “That and questioning about the prank.”

    “Are you allowed to question me about that? Or will someone else?”

    “I’ll be asking some questions about what all you saw or may have touched involving the crime scene. Tara will be questioning you about the actual prank. I’ve got a feeling that most of the parents will want to rule their kids out as possible murder suspects that they may encourage them to talk.” Stiles just nods in agreement.

    “Understandable. So… does me getting this back so quickly mean I can call you if something furry happens?” She shakes the phone in the air as she speaks. Her plan had been to possibly avoid thinking about Scott until she had no other choice but she knew that was not her best idea to have,

    “Actually that is exactly why I wanted you to have it. I’m going to swing by Deaton’s with some evidence I need him to look over and also going to pick up some tranquilizers, just in case. You call me if anything goes wrong and I’ll come help out, got it?”

    “Yeah, got it. Well I better go.” She gives her dad and quick hug and a peck on the cheek and then she races out the door. John watches her leave, shaking his head when she trips right before getting into the Jeep. He’d promised his wife before her illness got too bad that he would take care of their little girl. Now he feels like that’s being taken out of his hands as a world he had hoped she would never be pulled into seems to be racing headlong towards them,

 

    Stiles pulls into the parking lot of the school to find it still mostly empty. She is relieved in a way because she needed to get there early but it also means there isn’t much to distract her from her own thoughts. She stares out at the school, bracing herself for the day. She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath to calm her nerves and a quiet prayer for her mother’s guidance leaves her lips before she finally pushes open the door. She is careful with her book bag, making sure it is secure on her shoulder before heading inside. She sends Scott a quick text, letting him know she has her phone back and making sure he is going to be there, before she starts her plan for the day. She wasn’t lying when she said she had a delivery to make.

    She’s humming to herself as she walks the halls of Beacon Hills high school. Her amber gaze scans the locker numbers quickly, absent mindedly nodding to the occasional teen she passes, and she smiles at finding the one she is looking for. Her thin fingers are quick with the combination, having memorized the code as soon as it was provided for her. Once it’s open, she frowns slightly at the plainness of it. No pictures, no personalization, but she didn’t really expect anything different. It hadn’t ever changed. She shakes her head because it’s not up to her and then digs through her bag. She pulls out a simple black box wrapped in grey ribbon. There is a note attached that simply says to use as usual. She debates on adding that her usual offer stands but decides against it. She doesn’t want to push. She closes the door, making sure it's locked, and heads down another hall. She locates her own locker this time and makes sure she has the books she needs for the first couple classes. The halls are still fairly empty as she heads to the library.

    Her phone goes off just as she is about to walk through the library doors. She’s distracted by the text she has just received from Scott and ends up being knocked to the floor as the door swings open. She hits the floor, her phone sliding across the tiles, and she curses her ever present clumsiness. She’s looking for her phone when it gets held in front of her face. She stares at it blankly for a moment and then lets her gaze shift up, following the arm attached, until she is looking at the face of the person standing there. Her eyebrows raise when she sees who it is.

    “This yours?” The voice is soft, soothing even in those two words, though not quite as deep as she thought is was. The guy is hunched in on himself slightly, almost as if he is trying to make himself seem smaller than his broad shouldered frame really is.

    “Uh, yeah, thanks.” Stiles takes the phone and then manages to bring herself to standing. “Boyd, right?” She glances at him through the corner of her eye as she checks to make sure that she hasn’t dropped anything else. She can’t help but notice the slight surprise at her recognition of him, but acknowledges his now. “Sorry about my attempt of turning into a pancake using your body to do so… I really need to watch where I am going more often.” She gives a sheepish laugh and scratches at the back of her head. It’s always easy to make fun of herself to other.

    “No problem.” Boyd shoves his hands into his pockets and just looks at the smaller teen. He knows who she is, everyone does. She’s hard to miss or ignore with her loud outbursts, unending rambling, and continuous flailing and she is definitely not one of the popular kids because of it. He’s never really talked with her before. He feels awkward just standing there but feels like he shouldn’t just walk away.

    “Still…” She’s seen him sitting by himself, mostly at lunch but around campus as well, and briefly wonders if he has any friends. She feels sad at the thought of him being lonely. Maybe he’d want to sit with her and Scott, or maybe she should introduce him to some of her other friends. “Sorry to cut this short, but I need to get in there and meet up with a friend. You want to join us?”

    “Scott’s not in there.” He doesn’t think before he speaks and is already pointing over his shoulder towards the door he was walking out of. He’s slightly startled by her laugh.

    “Yeah, no. Scott’s not at school yet. I actually do have other friends besides him.” Her smile is bright as she thinks about her small circle of friends. “I haven’t really been able to catch up with anyone, so I made plans to meet up before classes start since we don’t share any this semester.”

    “I’ll pass.” Stiles shrugs at his response.

    “Alright then. Maybe you could join me and Scott for lunch some time. Catch ya later, Boyd.” She steps past him without giving him a chance to say no and hustles into the library.  She scans the room, her smile growing ever brighter as she spots who she was looking for. “Long time no see, Goldilocks!” Boyd stands there dumbstruck as he watches the door swing shut behind her and hears the librarian scold her for her noise. He feels like he was just caught in the center of a whirlwind and is left trying to get his bearings.

    Stiles takes time catching up with her friend, finding out how they did over the break and if she missed anything exciting. She’s happy by their reaction when she pulls out another simple box wrapped in grey ribbon. It’s a text from Scott saying that he’s there that has her finally standing and bidding farewell, along with a promise of more time together later in the week. She finds Scott in front of his locker and nearly knocks him into it as she barrels into him and hugs him.

    “Jesus, Stiles!” Scott does his best to sound upset but he’s smiling at his friend's antics. “I know you normally run into lockers all the time, but you don’t have to make me do it. I’m injured enough already.” He shoves at her until she lets him go.

    “Sorry, sorry. I was just worried about you after last night. I wasn’t even really sure you were going to be here.” She leans against the lockers as Scott finishes gathering his books.

    “Yeah, mom tried to get me to stay home but I didn’t want to miss ou-”

    “On tryouts, I know. You mentioned that last night too. Dud, how are you even going to make it through tryouts with a massive bite mark on your side?”  She does her best to keep her voice down, but Scott’s single mindedness  can sometimes drive her insane.

    “It’s not massive, Stiles, it must have just looked worse last night.”

    “Hey, I was there when Deaton was looking over it. I know how big that thing is.”

    “I’m telling you it’s not that bad. It’s sore, yeaah, but I’ll live.” He’s shouldering his pack and closing his locker so they can head to class.

    “Let’s see it then.” She tries to stay her normally curious self but inside she just desperately wants to see if she sees any difference from last night.

    “Like right now?” Scott is looking at her like she’s crazy, but that isn’t so unusual. It’s the same look he gave her when he found out she wrote an essay on male circumcision for Econ.

    “Why not? We have time, and I can prove I’m not remembering it wrong.” She crosses her arms over her chest and just stares at him, daring him to tell her no. Scott shook his head knowing that if he doesn’t do it willingly then she will just try lifting his shirt herself. He looks around to make sure no one is paying attention, like anyone ever does to them, and lifts the fabric. She could be so stubborn at times. He then gently peels back the bandage so he’d be able to replace it.  It had been a pain getting it clean this morning. The bite is about half the size from the night before, two very small scabbed over indentions and some bruising on either side of his midsection.

    “See, I told you it wasn’t that bad.” Scott looks slightly smug but is confused by Stiles look of concern.

    “Whatever, dude. It looked a lot bigger last night.” The bite is healing rapidly, just like Deaton said. He seems fine, as healthy as he normally is. So it’s confirmed, no rejection.

    “Did Deaton say what he thinks bit me? I never got a look at it, just felt it pounce and then pain.” Stiles swallows nervously and scratched her head.

    “Uh, he said it might be a mountain lion, caught us when chasing those deer we saw. Won’t know until he has the chance to analyse the blood samples that he took and check for saliva.”

    “A mountain lion? Oh wow.” Stiles is just nodding along as her friend processes her lie, but Scott’s next words stop her cold. “I was beginning to think it might have been a wolf.”

    “A wolf?”

    “Yeah. I could have sworn I heard one as we were leaving the Preserve last night.” Stiles is racking her brain to try and remember, but no, she hadn’t heard a howl as they left. Had she been too focused on everything else? Or had Scott heard it from farther away than was possible for her to hear?

    “Not a chance, Scott.” She shoves at him lightly and then starts walking towards their first class.

    “Did you not hear it?” Scott falls in line next to his best friend, questioning her reaction.

    “Nope and I’m pretty sure if you did hear a wolf, then you were hallucinating.”

    “Why do you say that?”

    “Because California doesn’t have wolves.” At least not normal ones . “There haven’t been any wolves out here in like 60 years.”

    “Seriously?”

    “Seriously, dude. One of the many random facts I’ve learned thanks to insomnia, adhd, and too much adderall.” She pats him on the back, glad that he is so used to the random facts that float around in her head.

    “Dude, how do you keep up with all that stuff?” He watches her as she just shrugs but then both of their attention is caught by Jackson Whittemore. “Is your dad going to do anything about him and the others?”

    “Yep. Got some evidence off my phone to use against him. Don’t be surprised if you get called out of class to go talk to him.”

    “Wait, he’s coming up here to handle it?” Scott’s gaze shifts quickly to focus on the girl at his side. “Today?”

    “Yeah, dude. Dad’s got no choice.”

    “But tryouts!”

    “Dude, Jackson dumped you in the middle of a crime scene! He has to talk to us today to rule us out as suspects. It’s just a bonus that Jackass might finally get what he deserves.”

    “That’s really cool and all, but… wait… what?”

    “What, what?” Stiles stands there staring at him wide eyed, unsure of why he is confused.

    “Crime scene? What crime scene?”

    “Oh… that what… so, uh, yeah… Dad was investigating a body that was found on the Preserve. They brought in State Police and everything.”

    “A dead body?”

    “No, Scott, a body of water. Of course it was a dead body. That’s the only time they call it a body. If they were looking for a person it would have been a missing person/lost hiker search.” She resists the urge to smack him upside his head. She loves him dearly, but she questions if there is an actual brain up there sometimes.

    “You mean like murdered? Were they looking for the killer? Are you saying we could have died?”

    “I don’t know. All I know is dad got called out because two joggers reported find half a bod-”

    “Half?!”

    “-y and they were out searching for the other half.” Stiles continues on despite Scott’s outburst. “We just happened to find the other half while you were having an asthma attack.”

    “Wait… we found the body?”

    “Well, I did. You were kinda focused on breathing.” She can tell that Scott is trying to figure out when they found the body and she watches as the light bulb clicks.

    “You said it was a dead squirrel!” Scott’s outburst brings a few disgusted looks their way, but Stiles is so used to it, that she doesn’t even flinch.

    “Would you rather I have said ‘Oh it’s nothing, Scott, just a woman’s lifeless eyes staring back at me, it’s ok’ would that have been better?”

    “No… I’m gonna have nightmares for a month.” He shudders at the thought of being so close to a dead person.

    “At least you didn’t see her.” And Stiles is telling the truth. She hadn’t really been able to make out the young woman’s face but she remembers her eyes and the fact that they were so void. They’d haunted her in her dreams last night. “Anyway, so dad has to rule all of us out as suspects. It’s just a bonus that Jackson is going to get what’s coming in the process.”

    “This is not awesome Stiles. This is the opposite of awesome.” Scott is obviously worried about what this is going to mean for him and lacrosse tryouts and Stiles can’t help but roll her eyes at him.

    “Oh, come on, Scott. This is freakin’ awesome. I mean, this is seriously gonna be the best thing that’s ever happened to us, since forever.” Stiles’s attention gets caught by the figure that is walking towards them. “Oh, hey Lydia. You look- like you’re gonna ignore me… again.”

    “Why do you even keep trying, dude?” Scott throws his arm around her shoulders and starts herding her towards class. Stiles just shrugs as she falls in step once more.

    “One day she will speak to me.” She knows her friend and everyone in the school thinks she is in love with the Queen Bee that is Lydia Martin. The truth is, she isn’t, but it’s just easier to let everyone believe she is.

    Stiles and her used to be some of the closest of friends, almost as close as her and Scott. There had been many times that you could find the two of them huddled together over some book just for the sake of learning. Then Lydia had decided popularity was more important and Stiles came to no longer existed in the red head’s circle. This was about the same time that Jackson turned into the number one douche bag on the planet. She really misses her friend. The bell for class startles her out of her thoughts and she does her best to smile.     

    “Come on before we are late to class.” She motions for Scott to go ahead of her and focuses on her phone. Luckily they have the same first period so she can just keep him in her line of sight while she walks. Hopefully he will keep her from running into anyone or anything. She shoots off a few rapid fire texts to her dad explaining that she’s seen the bite and that it is healing. They make it to their English class and Stiles takes the seat right next to Scott. She’s watching him now as the rest of their classmates file in. She sees him flinching but can’t tell what causes it.

    “As you all know, there indeed was a body found in the woods last night.” Scott and Stiles turn towards each other and she swears Scott turns green. “And I am sure your eager little minds are coming up with various macabre scenarios as to what happened. But I am here to tell you that the police have a suspect in custody,” Stiles’s curiosity is peaked and her brow creases in thought. Why didn’t her dad tell her they had a suspect this morning? “Which means you can give your undivided attention to the syllabus which is on your desk outlining this semester.” She turns back to Scott but he is zoning out while staring out the window. She tries to see what has his attention but again nothing.

    The classroom door opens and Scott hones into it like a hunting dog. The vice principle is bringing in a new student. She looks to be about the same height as Stiles, with long dark hair and the cutest dimples when she smiles. One look at Scott tells her that he is smitten and Stiles can’t stop the eye roll because this girl is so out of his league. She’s probably going to be hanging with the popular kids by lunch.

    She’s not really paying attention to the new girl’s name until she hears the last name Argent. She knows that name very well; her mother had drilled it and others into her at a very young age. She watches as the new girl, she thinks her name is Alice, takes the seat behind Scott and he turns and offers her a pencil without any prompting. He gets a goofy smile on his face when she thanks him and Stiles almost literally smacks her head against her desk. She must have the shittiest luck in the world for an Argent to start school the day after Scott gets bitten by the first Alpha to be in the area in six years. Stiles just wants to crawl into a whole and hide away for the rest of her life. Unfortunately she’s not allowed to wallow in her self pity because the door opens again. It’s the vice principle again, but this time she can see her father, a couple deputies, and two boys from the lacrosse team, Travis and Boone.

    “Miss Stilinski, Mr. McCall… come with me please.” Scott looks at her nervously, but Stiles just gathers her books and follows the man out. The deputies greet her and Scott warmly and the two teens glare. They make another stop to pick up Jones from the team and then a second to pick up Jackson and Thomas. The look Jackson gives them is enough to kill. The seven teens are silent as they follow the vice-principal back to the office and into a conference room.

    Inside they are greeted by five sets of angry looking parents. Melissa McCall is in her scrubs, either going to or coming from work. The only other parent that she recognizes is Mr. Whittemore from the many times he has been in her dad’s office while she visited him. Each teen goes to their respective parent, with the exception of Stiles who goes to sit with Scott and his mom. Once everyone is seated, her dad steps forward and addresses the teens.

    “I apologize for the need to pull everyone out of class and am hoping to get you all back as quickly as possible. I’ve already spoken to each of your parents why you are here and have been given permission to speak with each one of you.” He’s interrupted by Whittemore senior.

    “And what about your own kid, Stilinski?” Every other parent nods, except Melissa who glares at the attorney.

    “I will be in there as her father. My deputies are actually going to be the ones conducting the interviews with all the teens. Now, may I please finish explaining why they are all here?” Whittemore says nothing and so her father continues. “As each of you has probably heard, there was a body located on the Preserve last night. We have reason to believe that each one of you was on the Preserve and may have inadvertently been at the crime scene.” It’s Travis’s turn to interrupt.

    “I wasn’t at the Preserve and I sure as hell didn’t see no body.” His parents scold him on his language and shush him, motioning for the Sheriff to continue.

    “No one is saying you have anything to do with the body that was found. In fact I wholeheartedly believe that you had absolutely nothing to do with our victim. Unfortunately, we have a very valid reason to believe you were there, within the vicinity of the crime scene, and we have to rule each one of you out as suspects. Afterword I would like all of us to have a nice chat together right back in here.” He watches the nervous fidgeting of each teen and the looks of disapproval from the parents. Melissa looks murderously at the other teens and young Whittemore is giving the same look to Stiles and Scott. He lets everything sink in for a moment and goes back to addressing the parents. “Are you all still in agreeance with this?”

    “Let’s get this over with, Sheriff.” Of course it’s Whittemore to speak up. He knows the man is trying to plot how to get around the video that was shown to them, but they have proof and each parent identified their child on the video. Boone’s parents even went as far as to identify their car, which they had lent to their son for him to go to the movies.

    “Alright. Mr. Whittemore, how about you and your son go first?” Jackson stands alongside his mother and father, a haughty smirk on his face thanks to his assurance that he will be let go without a mark against him. The trio follows the Sheriff out of the room and towards another conference room where another deputy is waiting. As soon as the others are out of the room, each teen starts questioning their parents, including Scott though his are a little different.

    “So, how mad are you?” He ducks his head trying not to see the look on his mother’s face.

    “Mad? No, I’m furious.” Both Stiles and Scott flinch at soft spoken but forceful tone. “I know it wasn’t your fault you were there, but you know you should have gone to the hospital. And John should have made sure you did.” Stiles wishes she could explain, but now is not the time. It doesn’t help that she would have no proof.

    “I honestly felt fine, mom.”

    “And you know feeling fine doesn’t always mean that you are fine.” Scott goes silent, staring at the hands in his lap, and Stiles is busy biting her lip to keep from just saying the first thing that comes to mind. “Do you realize what I would have done if something had gone seriously wrong after you were at home? Huh?”

    “I’m sorry, mom.” Melissa takes a deep breath and brushes a stray curl from her face.

    “I know, Scott and I’m more mad at the other kids… just don’t do this again ok? I can’t have anything happening to you.” She pulls Scott into a hug from the side and Scott hugs his mother tightly back. Stiles watches the two, understanding Melissa’s stance completely. Her dad would have been the same way with her.

    After a while, the Whittemore's come back and if Jackson hadn’t been ready to murder them then, it was plain on his face that he was now. Her father calls Travis’s family next. The cycle continues with Jones, followed by Thomas, then Boone, and Travis. Scott gets called back with Melissa and Stiles gulps as she is left alone in the room and suddenly she feels like a bleeding diver in a room full of sharks. Each teen keeps glaring at her. She’s the only one who technically wasn’t there so they all know she has something to do with them being caught. Throw in the fact that her father is the Sheriff and that’s just icing on the cake. She’s relieved when the McCalls come back in and she gets called out of the conference room to go with her father. She knows Scott didn’t say anything about the bite because his mother isn’t freaking out.

    She follows her father in silence as they step into another conference room. This one is a little smaller and has a television set up at the end of the table. Her father takes a seat opposite Tara Grimes and Stiles takes the open one to his right. Tara has a fingerprint kit, a note pad, and folder all on the table in front of her.

    “Hey, Stiles.” Tara is a welcome presence during this even though her father is right next to her.

    “Hey, Tara.” She taps at the table and her knee goes to bouncing. She’s nervous on if she can convincingly lie but not come across as lying about Jackson.

    “I’m going to treat this as I did with all the other kids, ok?” Stiles just nods and Tara continues. “Good. Now, can you tell me what happened last night, Stiles?”

    “Sure. Uh, should I start all the way from being at home?” She’s looking to her father and he just nods just as Tara says that is fine. “Ok. Well dad and I were having  dinner when the phone rang. He went into the living room to answer it.” Nope, not mentioning that she listened in. “He told me there was a situation that he needed to go take care of and asked me to stay away from the Preserve.”

    “Around what time?”

    “Maybe eight. I got a late start on dinner and then we were talking for a while.”

    “Then what happened, Stiles?” Tara is busy making notes as Stiles speaks.

    “I told my dad that I was going to go over to Scott’s. I wanted to hang out with him for a little bit before school started today.”

    “Did you actually go over to the McCall house?”

    “Yeah. I think I got there around nine or nine-thirty. I parked down from the house with my lights off because I planned to sneak up and scare Scott.” She shrugs when Tara gives her a questioning look. “He’s easy to scare and it’s funny.” Tara and her father share a look that says that it such a Stiles statement.

    “So did you actually do that?”

    “No. I was getting ready to get out of my Jeep when I noticed another car parking in front of Scott’s house. It was black, not sure what model or year.”

    “What happened then?”

    “I sat and watched it. I watched as a group of five guys got out of the car.”

    “Did you recognize any of them?”

    “Yes. They were all members of the lacrosse team.” Stiles starts picking at the hem of her shirt and her father reaches over and takes her hand tightly in his. She takes a deep breath and tries to calm her nerves.

    “And what did they do after they got out of the car?” Stiles starts describing everything for Tara in as much detail as she can. She even throws in the she fell trying to hurry and get out of the car. She tells about following the other car, calling her dad, and insisting that she look for Scott.

    “Why did you want to go after them so much, Stiles? Why not wait for your father and the ambulance?” Stiles chews on her lip as she thinks about question.

    “I grew up spending a lot of time on the Preserve. Mom, dad, and I would take walks out there all the time and then friends and I would play hide and seek, both during the day and night. They made sure I knew the entire layout and every landmark so that if somehow I ever got lost then I could find my way home. I also keep a rescue inhaler for Scott with me all the time.”

    “Why do you have an inhaler for him?”

    “He forgot his at home one time and he was at mine playing video games. We got into a pillow fight and it triggered an attack…” She thinks on the panic that had taken over when all of a sudden her friend couldn’t breathe and she couldn’t find his inhaler. “I called 911 and they were able to help him, but I swore I wouldn’t be around him without one again.”

    “That’s very smart thinking.”

    “Thanks.”

    “So what happened after you started after them? How did you follow them?” Tara brings them back on the discussion of the events of last night.

    “I could hear them laughing and could actually see a faint light that I thought might be a flashlight. I took a chance and ran after it. I knew I was going the right way when they light got brighter and the laughter got louder.” She feels her father squeeze her hand gently, letting her know that what she said was good. He knows she has other ways of finding people than that.

    “Then what happened?” Stiles goes into detail about catching up with them, using the firecrackers to scare them, and getting Scott his medicine. She even mentions lying to Scott about seeing a dead squirrel and the stampede. She manages to make it all the way through her dad finding them, getting checked out by the paramedics, and getting Scott home without breaking a sweat.

    “Thank  you, Stiles. Now I want to show you a video and I want you to tell me if you recognize it.” Stiles nods and Tara hits play on the remote next to her. The image pops up on the screen and it takes all of Stiles’s restraint not to crow in triumph. There it is in beautiful clarity, her recording of the events at Scott’s house.

    “Uh, yeah. That looks like the video I took on my phone. I mean, I never watched it, I just recorded and kinda hoped it was clear.”

    “What made you record the incident, Stiles?” Stiles looked at her father before answering.

    “I wanted proof of how much of a bully Jackson is if he did something to mess with Scott. I stopped recording as soon as I realized what exactly they were doing.” Tara nods as she finishes with her notes.

    “Just a few more things, Stiles.”

    “Sure.”

    “Since you were at the crime scene, then I need to get your fingerprints.” She’s pulling the fingerprinting kit forward and Stiles sits up straight, letting go of her father’s hand.

    “Yeah, sure.” She let’s Tara get a print from each finger on both hands. “We are also going to be getting tire impressions from your Jeep, which the Sheriff already authorized, and I need to know if you are wearing the shoes that you were last night.”

    “Yeah, they’re my favorite.” Tara directs Stiles to stand and lift up each foot so she can get a picture of the tread on the bottom of her shoes.

    “Ok, that’s everything. Thank you, Stiles.”

    “No prob. I definitely don’t want to be a suspect in this thing.” The Sheriff thanks Tara and they head back to the room with the other teens and their parents. Stiles immediately has a seat with Scott while her father seems to be gathering his thoughts.

    “Now that we have everything to clear each of your children from the actual crime, I think it’s important we discuss another matter entirely. I’ve shown each of you the video, you’ve identified your children, and we have two eye witness statements saying they saw Scott McCall being tackled, wrapped up, and put into the trunk of the car. We also have the paramedics report once Scott was located. Melissa has already informed me of a wish to press charges.” Jackson goes to open his mouth but his father shuts him up before he can speak a word. Another parent speaks up instead.

    “Sheriff, don’t you think pressing charges is taking it a little too far? I said this earlier to you when we spoke privately and I’ll say it again, this was obviously a harmless prank amongst lacrosse team members.” The Sheriff opens his mouth but Scott’s mom beats him to it.

    “Harmless?! What part of taking an asthmatic, wrapping his in a blanket, and sticking him in a trunk is harmless? And what were they going to do once they got him out on the Preserve, huh? Leave him there? No one would have known where he was, he wouldn’t have had his inhaler, and I most likely would be planning his funeral right now! So yes, pressing charges is perfectly acceptable!” Melissa’s chest is heaving by the time she is done with her rant and she looks ready to throttle someone. Scott puts his hand on her shoulder, trying to calm her down, whispering that he is okay.

    “Melissa, breathe…” Her father’s voice is calm but Stiles can hear that sharp edge that tells her he is close to beating someone himself.

    “What charges are we looking at, Sheriff?” Mr. Whittemore speaks up before anyone else can. His voice is even, but you can see that he is upset. Stiles isn’t sure if he’s pissed at her father or his own son.

    “Kidnapping and reckless endangerment. The reckless endangerment charge comes in because I know for a fact that it’s common knowledge that Scott has asthma because I’ve overheard the kids talking about other students making fun of him for it. It’s also common knowledge that asthma attacks can be deadly.” He sees another parent about to speak and keeps on talking, raising his voice to drown them out. “Now, I do understand they are minors and they most likely intended this as a prank but there could have been some serious consequences and they need to be held responsible for that. If we decide here to take it to court, they would be put through juvenile court unless the judge decided to try them as adults.” He stops there and lets his words sink in. He’s expecting questions, of course, be he knows at least Whittemore should understand the legal consequences.

    “Melissa,” Stiles watches as Jackson’s dad turns to Scott’s mom. He doesn’t have his normal self assured smirk on his face which is a bit of a shocker for the teen. “Is there anyway you would be willing to settle this out of court?”

    “Why should I?” She still looks ready to kill and her gaze narrows at the lawyer for daring to even ask.

    “I agree that what these boys did was very stupid.” He directs his gaze briefly to his son before turning back to the nurse, “but I still want to try and keep my son out of court.”

    “What do you have in mind, David?” The Sheriff steps forward to try and act as mediator between the two parents.

    “If it goes to Juvenile court, which is up to you and the Sheriff, then it’s either going to be a fine, community service, probation, or maybe a small amount of time in a detention center. However, I know due to them being sixteen there is a risk of the judge deciding to try them as adults. I’d like to avoid that if I can.” He looks around the room before he continues. “I’m sure the other parents would like to do the same. So I have a proposition for you, if you find it fitting.”

    “Go on.”

    “I say let each boy pay a fine that has to come out of their own pockets, but make them work it off with community service instead of just paying it. Keep track of their hour as you would an employee and their ‘wages’ go towards the fine.” He looks at his son, knowing that the next part that he is about to recommend is going to be a hard pill to swallow. “I also propose that each teen spends at least some time in jail.” As soon as the words leave his mouth, several voices speak up, teen and parent alike.

    “Hold on, hold on, let him finish.” Once everyone is quiet, the Sheriff gestures for him to continue.

    “However many days that everyone can agree is fair. They can be transported straight from the school to the Sheriff’s station and vice versa. Would you find that agreeable?” Melissa seems to be thinking it over.

    “What about lacrosse practice? And the scrimmage of Friday?” Of course Jackson couldn’t stay quiet the whole time. Melissa is the one to answer.

    “If we include today and go through Thursday, that would be four days, right?” Mr. Whittemore nodded. “I think that would be enough time to learn their lesson.” The Sheriff spoke up next.

    “We could pick them up after practice, giving them time to get showered and changed here in the locker room. Each parent can deliver a bag of clothes for the next few days to the station and me and my deputies will make sure we get them here before school starts. Community service can be done on the weekends. That work for each of you?” Several parents look like they want to argue but with the advice coming from David Whittemore they don't seem like they really will. “Alright then. You seven head on back to your next classes. The principal said he would have passes ready for you. We will be back this afternoon, after practice, to pick you boys up. I’ll be discussing the details of community service with your parents this evening.”

    One by one the parents and their kids file out of the room, each teen getting an earful from their parents. It takes all of Stiles’s limited self control not to smile and wave as Jackson goes storming past. There is a brief exchange between Melissa and Mr. Whittemore, each thanking the other for being understanding, and then it’s just Scott, Stiles, Melissa, and John.

    “Thanks again, John.” Melissa hugs the Sheriff tightly and then hugs her son. “Unfortunately I am late for work and have to hurry.”

    “Don’t worry, Melissa. I’m glad we could get this settled civilly.” They wave to Melissa as she leaves. “You two need to get back to you classes.” Stiles nods and hugs her dad and then it’s just the two of them.

    “Dude…” Scott is standing there looking as if Stiles could knock him over just by breathing. She finally allows herself to be excited.

    “This is awesome! Jackson is finally getting what’s due for being such an asshole! I don’t think I can be any happier!” Her excitement draws a laugh out of Scott and she does a little jig.

    “He’s going to kill us today at practice.”

    “Yeah, but it’ll be worth it. Come on, let’s go.” They both snatch up the passes and head off to their next class, which even seeing it is Harris doesn’t wipe the smile from their faces.

    Harris of course targets Stiles all through class but she isn’t fazed today and spends the majority of it ignoring the glare from Jackson. The Argent girl, whose name is Allison she finds out thanks to Scott correcting her, gets absorbed into the popular group by the end of the day just like Stiles predicted. She’s a mixture of happy the first day is over and nervous about practice when she finally makes it to the girl’s locker room at the end of the day.

    She had tried out for the sport only because Scott had begged her. He wanted someone he could practice with. They didn't have a girls’ team so she went out for the boys’ and had been fairly surprised that she had made it. She never really got much field time, unless it was as someone’s target, but at least she wasn't as bad as Greenburg. It didn't help her much that she didn't try very hard because she wasn't a fan of some of her teammates and Scott was always on the bench with her thanks to his asthma.  She meets back up with Scott outside the locker rooms and they head out to the field.

“You know… if you make first line, I’m going to be forced to talk to Greenburg. Would you really do that to me? Your best friend?” She does her best to pout and give sad puppy eyes but she knows she just looks ridiculous.

“Sorry, Stiles, but I’m making first line. I’m tired of sitting on the sidelines.”

“Whatever, dude. Hold onto those dreams.” Stiles jumps when Coach Finstock calls Scott onto the field and she takes her place on the bench. She’s actually very nervous about how this is about to go down. Her amber gaze is set on Scott and she laughs when he jumps at the whistle and then cringes when it nails him in the head. When he stands back up, she feels like something has changed. She leans forward in her seat as the next ball is launched and everyone seems to freeze when Scott actually catches it.

“Lucky catch! Keep going!” Coach’s voice rings out and the next player launches another ball and Scott catches that one as well. One after another Scott catches each ball and Stiles can’t help but cheer on her friend, her worries momentarily forgotten. She catches the few other students in the stand doing the same, including Lydia and Allison. Stiles gets nervous again when she sees a furious Jackson pushing his way in front of the other players and grabbing a ball in his cross. He takes a running start and seems to put everything he has into the throw. When Scott catches it with ease she jumps up from where she is sitting, cheering like mad for Scott. Jackson stands there furious. Practice continues on along much the same lines, with Scott playing much better than he ever has and not once needing to stop due to an asthma attack.

    “Oh my god, that was amazing!” Scott is literally bouncing as they head towards Stiles’s Jeep, the excitement of having done so well at practice oozing off of him.

    “Dude, I think everyone gets it, you did awesome.” Stiles is happy for her friend, she really is, but she also knows why he did so well. She pulls her phone out of her bag along with her keys and checks for any messages. There is one from her father saying they are having a guest for dinner but doesn’t say who.

    “I can’t help it, Stiles! I caught Jackson’s throw!”

    “That was killer, dude.” She does smile at that, because nothing makes her happier than pissing him off. “Hey, wanna come over and play some Call of Duty?” Maybe her dad can help her break things to him.

    “Can’t. I’ve got to hurry up and get to work. How about this weekend?” Scott gives her puppy eyes and she laughs.

    “Yeah, sounds good. Catch ya tomorrow!”

 

    Stiles has chicken simmering in a pan on the stove, cauliflower in the steamer, and a variety of vegetables waiting to be chopped on the counter when her dad manages to make it home. Her text books are spread out on the table in the dining room, highlighters, and pens scattered amongst them. Her iPod is playing once again and she’s bobbing her head to the music. John takes off his belt and hangs it on the coat rack by the door, removing his firearm and carrying it with him up the stairs. He secures it in the safe in his closet, changed into jeans and a t-shirt, and heads back down. He watches as Stiles removes the chicken from the pan, setting it aside to let it rest, and starts chopping away. He doesn’t even realize she knows he is there until she speaks.

    “Got your message about company, so I’m making extra. Want to tell me who it is?” She doesn’t turn away from what she’s doing which makes him happy since he knows his kid’s clumsiness and knives don’t mix.

    “It’s Deaton.” He watches as she freezes and he understands. John hasn’t spoken with Deaton outside of a simple hello or needing information for the department since his wife passed.  Stiles goes back to work on their dinner before speaking again.

    “What brought this on?”

    “We found some hair samples on the victim and I wanted to confirm my suspicions, so I took them to him. While I was there he made it known that he wanted to have a sit down with us, so I invited him.” He moves further into the kitchen and looks at the jumbled mess that is her school work. “Need me to move your books?”

    “Nah, I’ll get them in a sec.” She finishes her chopping and adds the vegetables to the still hot pan. She adds a small amount of oil so that they will brown up nicely and not stick to the bottom of the pan, then proceeds to add herbs and spices. “Did he say what he wanted to talk about?”

    “No, just that he wanted to talk to both of us.” Stiles nods as she listens and John pulls out plates and silverware.

    “Mind stirring while I clear the table?”

    “I think I can stir without burning.” He smiles at the laugh that gets out of her. He hates that she has grown up so quickly since Claudia’s death and is terrified she is about to be forced to grow up even more. He knows there are things Claudia wanted her to learn, but she would have been able to spread it out over time. He shakes those thoughts from his head as he hands the wooden spoon back to her when she comes back to the stove and he returns to setting the table. They talk about the day, John scolding Stiles halfheartedly when she starts laughing about Jackson having to spend some time in jail. She is putting the final touches on their meal when the doorbell rings. He pats her shoulder when she goes stiff.

    “You finish up that and I’ll let him in. Relax, it’s going to be fine.” John heads to the door and has to take a moment and just take a deep breath before opening it. The man on the other side is about the same height as John, dark skinned, bald and has a neatly trimmed mustache and goatee. The soft smile he wears is a welcome one for the Sheriff.

    “Hello, Alan. Come on in.” He extends his hand and is glad when the man returns his handshake.

    “Good evening, John. Thank you for having me. I know it’s been quite some time since we’ve associated socially.” Alan hands John his coat when he offers to take it, careful to swap the package he is carrying from hand to hand as he needs to.

    “I’m sorry about that. It’s just after Claudia… it had always felt like you were more here to talk to her and not some stuff shirt cop.”

    “I understand, I just appreciate you inviting me over so we could talk.” Alan gives the man a soft smile. He knows it’s still hard for him to actually talk about his wife’s passing. He takes a seat on the couch when it is offered and waits as John seems to gather his words.

    “Well, to be honest, I was rather curious about what you wanted to talk with us about.” John’s bright blue gaze examines the man sitting across from him like a puzzle.

    “I wanted to speak with you both about Mr. McCall and I also wanted to bring over this.” He pats the package in his lap. It’s about the size of a t-shirt box but thicker and wrapped plainly in brown paper and tied with twine. There is an envelope taped to the outside of the box and he can see it has Stiles’s real name on it. He recognizes the handwriting instantly.

    “Where did you find that?” John is slightly upset that the veterinarian has it, believing it should have been left with himself.

    “I’ve had it since Claudia first started showing symptoms of her illness. She asked me to hold onto it until her training had reached a certain point, or she started asking certain questions, whichever came first. Since she came to me last night, I've been wondering if that time is now.”

    “And what if she didn’t start asking those questions?” He didn’t bother asking about the training because they both understood that option had been taken away.

    “Then it would go to you when she turned eighteen and it was to be up to you to decide if she would have it. It was the one thing she made me promise.” The while she could went left unsaid. John just nods, fighting back the tears. It was an old argument that had been the one thing they couldn’t agree on. Claudia always wanted to make sure their little girl knew her heritage. John always wanted to keep her safe. He already knows what his decision would have been. Both men turn when Stiles clears her throat and then stand. John watches her fidget with the hem of her shirt, her bottom lip vanishing between her teeth. She’s nervous and he doesn’t blame her. Tonight is about to be one hell of an interesting night.

    “Hello, Dr. Deaton.” Her voice is soft and shakes ever so slightly. It’s a combination of weird and comforting to see the man in their home after so many years.

    “Hello, Stiles. I hear that I am about to be in for a treat of some of your home cooking.”

    “It’s nothing special… but uhm, dinner’s ready if you guys are hungry.”

    “Sounds wonderful.” John watches as Stiles turns and walks back to the dining room and then let’s Deaton ahead of him. He notices that the vet has left the package sitting on the couch and guesses he must be planning on giving it to her after the meal. He makes a mental not to thank the man for that.

The three sit and Stiles helps dish each plate. They talk about unimportant things, school, the station, and the clinic. It's stilted at first, but soon flows into an easy rhythm. It almost feels like old times. Soon enough they are each finished with their meal and Deaton is complimenting Stiles' cooking while John cleans dishes off the table. He tells them to go ahead and go to the living room and that he will join them in a moment. Once they change rooms, the awkwardness returns slightly. Deaton takes a seat on the couch next to the package he brought and Stiles sits in her father's recliner.

    “How has Scott been today, Stiles?” Deaton’s voice is calm and collected as he speaks and Stiles slightly feels like he’s still trying to calm a wild animal.

    “He’s seemed good. The bite was smaller this morning. He kept flinching, he did awesome at lacrosse today.” Deaton nods as she speaks.

    “The transformation has begun. Has he had any questions about any of it yet?” Stiles flops back where she has taken a seat on the couch.

    “No, just become love struck by the new girl.” She cringes at the thought of the new girl and sits up again once her dad comes back into the room. “Which is actually something I need to talk to both of you about.” John and Deaton both look at her with concern. John is the first to speak.

    “You think this new girl has something to do with Scott being bitten?”

    “Maybe. It’s either she has something to do with, knows something about it, or one big coincidence. And I know what you say ‘One is an incident…”

    “Two is a coincidence and three's a pattern. What does that have to do with the new girl?” John is watching his daughter closely and he’s getting more concerned by the minute. Is the girl another wolf? Is it a pack coming into town.

    “Her last name is Argent.” Deaton’s eyes go wide and John’s heart stopped. Claudia had warned him about the last name Argent when she first introduced him to the world of werewolves.

    “So we have a rogue Alpha and the oldest Hunter family all in our town in two days… God help me.” He rubs his hands over his face, because he already knows what the pattern is and his daughter is a part of it. He’d been hoping that maybe he could keep her out of it, but now he knows for certain that that ship sailed the moment Scott got taken out to the Preserve and she followed.

    “I’m sorry, John, but I think it’s time I gave her the package.”  At John’s nod he reaches for it where it has been at his side and holds it out for the teen.

    “What does this have to do with a werewolf and a hunter?”

    “Well, Miss Stilinski, it looks like werewolves and hunters are returning to Beacon Hills and you might need this.” Stiles looks to her dad, and this time he nods to her, his blue eyes sad, and she takes the package. The name on the letter attached makes a tear slide down her cheek. “I don’t know what is in the box or in the letter, but I believe that it will give you better answers than I could. My door is open if you would like to talk.” He stands and goes for his coat. Stiles doesn’t look up.

    “Thank you for the wonderful dinner. I think it’s time I let the two of you talk though.” He extends his hand to the Sheriff and is glad when the man takes it. “The same goes for you, John. Any questions at all and I’ll answer them the best that I can.”

    “Thanks, Alan. I’m sure I’ll be in touch.” He lets the man out and then just leans against the door.

    Every cell of his being wanted to take that box and hide it away but he knows he has no right, especially not now. When Claudia had told him that werewolves were real, he had laughed in her face and told her to stop watching horror movies. She’d dropped it at the time but when she pushed the subject again he had been very close to questioning her sanity. It had taken a visit back to her hometown on the East Coast with her and one of her old friends showing him the truth for him to finally understand. It had taken a while to adjust and in that time he had listened to everything that Claudia said about her family and their ‘job’. She said that she could see them being together forever but he had to know the truth first. When they had Stiles, he had argued that she should be kept in the dark until she was 18, if she was ever told. He just wanted his little girl to have a normal life and be safe. He’d seen how many times Claudia had been hurt.

    When Claudia died, he debated on what he would eventually do. Some of the decisions had been taken from him. The chest and wardrobe she had kept in the attic had been locked up and he had never been able to find the key. The personal journals he’d given to Stiles years ago, but that was it, that was all he found. Now to know that Claudia had planned out what to do, it hurt but John was also grateful. John took a deep breath and headed back to Stiles.

    He’s slightly surprised to see she hasn’t moved, hasn’t tried opening the package or the letter. He moves so that he is standing in front of her and then squats down. He can see tear tracks running down her cheeks and a few water spots on the brown paper and his heart breaks a little more at the fact that his daughter has had to go without her mother. He reaches up and brushes a thumb across her cheek which seems to startle her out of wherever her mind has taken her.

    “You okay?” He barely makes out the nod she gives him, her mouth working to form words but no sound comes out. He wonders if she has gone into shock and if he should call Melissa. “You want me to help you with this?” She just shakes her head no. She takes a couple deep breaths, finally looking him in the face and then speaks.

    “Can I…” She wipes her face as another tear falls, “can I open this in my room?” Her voice cracks and shakes a little but he just offers her a small smile.

    “Of course. You just yell if you need me.” When they both stand, Stiles wraps an arm around her father’s shoulders and hold him close for a moment. She whispers that she loves him and then goes up the stairs. John takes a seat in his recliner and debates about opening up a bottle of whiskey, but he knows that is the last thing he needs to do.

    Up in her room Stiles sinks down onto her bed, crossing her legs underneath her, and stares at the box in her hands. It’s from her mother. Her mother left this purposefully for her. She takes a deep breath and with shaky fingers pulls the letter loose from the twine, opens it, and begins to read…