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Drums of War

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Chapter 1: Sound the Bugle Now

Mary Katherine MacGill frowned as the sound of a slamming door reached her ears. It was past 10, and she was certain that the Sheriff had already left for work. Lips turned down, she twitched aside the curtains to look next door.

Stiles was curled in on herself on the front step, hands buried in her short hair. Mary reached for her cane, intent on checking on the girl when she spotted the cell phone in the teen's hand. She was speaking to someone, hopefully her father, and they were coaching the girl down from what looked like a panic attack.

Mary put on the kettle, figuring that she could 'wander over' and offer the distressed girl a warm drink and friendly ear. She nearly dropped the tea tin when a black camaro roared to a stop in the driveway. She fumbled for her own phone as two men exited from the car and hurried to the girl. A twist of her fingers had her own window open so she could listen to the conversation taking place.

"Stiles? Stiles we're here now. You can hang up the phone. There we go, Derek, yes good keep his coat over your legs. No no, you're chilled to the bone."

"P-peter? Derek?"

"We got here as fast as we could."

"I, I think, the house, I thought I heard him!"

"Shh sweetheart. Derek will stay with you out here and I will check the house. We won't let him hurt you again."

Mary watched as Peter Hale draped his own jacket over the trembling girl, while the younger man tucked his leather jacket around her pale legs. Peter passed a gentle hand over the top of Stiles head before squaring his shoulder and entering the house.

"I h-hate this!"

"I know Stiles, I know."

"Does it ever get better?"

"The memories will fade, in time."

"That f-family is a b-bunch of f-fucking m-monsters!"

Derek carefully, oh so carefully, drew the shaking girl into the shelter of his side, "I know."

Mary scowled, not liking where her thoughts took her with this conversation. Stiles was shell-shocked, and the younger Hale appeared to know the exact cause. She'd served in the military, and dear Emma had been an Army nurse for almost half her life. Neither one was blind to just how awful humanity could be.

"S-scott didn't even notice... Doesn't notice anything but Princess Nutcase. Dad, I couldn't tell him! I m-made such a mess of everything!"

"No Stiles, you were being a good friend to someone you trusted. You were protecting a lot of people that didn't appreciate it. You aren't alone anymore. Peter and I are here. Erica and Boyd told us what you did for them, getting them out. They know how loyal and brave you are."

"N-not too b-brave right n-now."

"Erica and Boyd would disagree, and so would I. You kept me from drowning in that pool for over two hours Stiles. You protected Scott and kept his secret, you even tried to protect Jackson."

"An-and look how that t-turned out. G-got my dad fired."

"Jackson should have told the truth after you saved his ass."

"I'm t-tired Derek."

"Just rest, I'm right here. Uncle Peter should be done checking the house soon. We'll get you bundled up on the couch and stay until your dad gets home."

Mary's scowl deepened. Oh if she was right, well she might be old but as Emma could attest, she was still hell on wheels. Speaking of which, she offered up an faint smile as the other woman made her way to the kitchen.

"Mary? What's going on? Who is that sitting with Stiles?"

"Derek Hale. Keep an eye on the kettle love, I need to check something."

Emma nodded, already listening to the hushed conversation drifting through the open window. Her eyes widened, then narrowed into a ferocious scowl of her own.

Mary slipped out the back door just before Peter Hale exited the Stilinski home. His voice was measured as he spoke into the cell phone, "I'm fairly certain she meant to call you, but ended up calling Derek instead. Well she has him listed as Sourwolf in her contacts, yes right under Sheriff Daddio on her list. We can bring her to your office if you like, or stay with her until you get home. Did the hospital give any care instructions?"

Mary watched as the man patrolled around the back yard before he spoke again, "We'll leave it to her to decide then. No unfortunately my nephew is intimately aware of what she is going through right now. With your permission, Erica Reyes and Vernon Boyd would like to visit her as well, they were very worried about her."

Mary slipped back into the house, an incandescent rage building inside her. She couldn't do anything to change what she suspected had happened to the girl she once babysat, but she could damn well start damage control.

She and Emma weren't blind to the fact that in the last nine months Stiles had been getting into a great deal of trouble, and her 'best friend' was no where to be found. From the sound of things, Stiles had been covering for the McCall boy. If that was the case, well a few words in the right ear should help Stiles reputation.

Emma was waiting for her with a cup of chamomile tea. They watched as Peter Hale returned to the pair on the porch. Stiles decided to stay, not wanting to be subjected to more gossip by having the Hales deliver her to her father.

"I can't stand up."

"Stiles?"

"It hurts."

The two men moved quickly, Peter lifting the girl while Derek opened to door. Silence returned as the trio entered the house.

"Remind me that jail is not someplace I need to go."

"There is no Netflix in Jail Emma, and Stiles in going to need us."

"The Hale boy too, poor lamb."

"I think we should have the ladies over, perhaps take Stiles a nice breakfast casserole."

"Excellent plan love."