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i looked at you and saw forever

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The moment she glances up and happens to catch one of her new classmates’ eye, Allison forgets all about her lack of writing utensils, and she doesn’t even remember whether or not she manages a distracted goodbye before hanging up on her mother.  Instead, all her attention is on the boy sitting near the back of the classroom, a boy with pale skin, a cute buzzcut, and a wide-eyed, frozen look of shocked recognition that she’s probably wearing on her own face.

They tell you that – if you’re lucky enough to find your soulmate, because not everyone does, and some go their whole lives without meeting that one special person – you just know when you meet them, that the pull – the bond – is instantaneous, and depending on how strong your bond becomes, things like emotions and even thoughts can one day be shared.

They don’t say it feels like all the puzzle pieces in the world clicking into place, like finding something essential to their survival that neither party ever realized was missing to begin with, like coming up for air and finally being able to breathe unrestricted.

Like coming home.

She’s moving before she’s really conscious of doing so, making a beeline down the aisle towards the boy, a nervous sort of excitement building inside her.  Another boy tries to get her attention, and she catches a glimpse of a pen in his hand.

She doesn’t care, doesn’t even really think about how the guy knew she forgot her pencil case today.  She’s found her soulmate, for god’s sakes.  And to think, when her parents announced that they were moving to this little backwater town in the middle of nowhere, she very nearly threw a temper tantrum because it would be the third time she would have to switch schools again this year, and it just had to be to a place where the most interesting thing would be the gay bar downtown.

Not anymore.

She reaches the boy’s desk.  Neither of them have looked away from the other.  Allison feels almost breathless as she blurts out an eager, stupid-sounding, “Hi.”

She could slap herself.  What was that?

But the boy just grins back, looking amazed and a bit goofy, and he says, “Hey,” in the same wondering tone Allison inadvertently adopted.

They fall silent for another few seconds.  Up close, Allison sees the delicate smattering of moles scattered dotting the boy’s skin, and his eyes are a beautiful shade of brown that she’s never seen before, somewhere between amber and honey.

It makes her feel a bit self-conscious, especially when she realizes her soulmate is scrutinizing her just as intently, but then the boy clears his throat, and his grin softens into a lopsided smile as he sticks out a hand, “I’m Stiles.  Stilinski.”

Allison takes his hand.  “I’m Allison.  Argent.  It’s nice to meet you.”

A beat, and then they both laugh a bit because they sound so formal and dorky at the same time.  There’s no handbook out there to tell you what you’re supposed to say or do when you meet your soulmate for the very first time.

There’s an empty seat right in front of Stiles, and Allison quickly takes it before anyone else can.  The bell has yet to ring so Allison is free to strike up a conversation.

“Is Stiles a nickname?” is her first question.  It’s not a name you hear every day.

Stiles looks faintly exasperated.  “Yeah.  Nobody can pronounce my actual name.”

Allison is immediately determined to learn it.  “Let’s hear it.  It can’t be that bad.”

The next minute or two is spent trying to wrap her tongue around the foreign syllables that apparently make up Stiles’ given name.  Stiles snickers at her, and Allison can’t help joining in after several failed attempts.

“I’ll get it eventually,” Allison promises.  Maybe she’ll even start learning Polish.

“What about you?”  Stiles asks in return.  “Argent is French, right?”

Allison nods.  “My parents were born here in the States but I have relatives in France, and I’ve been there for vacation almost every summer.”

And that’s how they work out an exchange – Stiles will teach Allison Polish, and Allison will teach Stiles French.

They have five minutes left before class starts, and Allison ends up adding Stiles’ phone number to her (depressingly) short list of contacts, friending him on Facebook, and following him on Twitter.  Stiles does the same for her.

She hesitates over her ‘Single’ relationship status.  Most people who’ve found their soulmate usually switches it to ‘Matched’, but she’s just found her soulmate, and she’d really like it if she could keep it as something just hers for now, but Stiles might want to-

“Hey, do you want to keep this between us?”  Stiles interrupts her thoughts.  He hastily tacks on, “Just for now, I mean.  Like, I’m not ashamed of you or anything, I mean look at you, you’re beautiful and funny and I totally lucked out but people are gonna be all over us if it gets around, especially since this is high school, and they’ll be asking how it feels and trying to see why the universe thought we’d be a good match and generally judging us and shit so-”

Allison bites her lip around a smile and a blush as she listens to Stiles ramble on.  They’ve known each other for less than ten minutes, and she thinks she’s already a little smitten.  Soulmates don’t always mean romance – there are platonic bonds too – but Stiles called her beautiful and funny like they’re facts of life and not just flirty compliments the way she sometimes hears from guys who want to get into her pants, and she’s never met anyone she could connect with so quickly before.

“I’d like that,” Allison agrees after Stiles trails off, looking a little anxious.  “I’m not a huge fan of flaunting my personal life anyway.”

And she’d really like to explore this thing with Stiles before – as Stiles implied – the vultures descended.  She’s seen other soulmates get bombarded by people who think they have the right to butt in and know all about their bond, which seemed ridiculous to her at the time and makes her dislike it even more now that she’s found her own soulmate.

“Awesome; me neither,” Stiles bobs his head in a nod.  “Although I should warn you – I’m not the most popular guy at BHHS so when it eventually does get out, you’ll probably get shit for it.  You’ll get shit for it now even if people just think you decided to hang out with me-”

“I don’t care,” Allison cuts him off firmly, and she doesn’t.  For whatever reason (probably for her looks and athleticism, if she’s being honest), even though she’s the new girl at any school she goes to, the popular cliques are always inviting her in with them, but she’s never actually cared much about her high school reputation.  Mostly, she just wanted friends she could keep, which has never been a possibility given how shallow most popular kids are, not to mention how frequently her family moves from state to state.

Which reminds her – her parents better not up and move three months down the road again.  Allison will boycott, run away from home, whatever.  She’s not moving anywhere now that she has a vested interest in staying here.

Stiles cocks his head, and there’s something a bit like relief in his expression.  “Cool.  If they ask, we can tell people you fell hopelessly for the unique and irresistibly alluring Stilinski charm.”

Allison snorts.

“Well, it is unique,” Allison allows.  “I don’t know about alluring though.”

Stiles clutches dramatically at his chest like he’s been mortally wounded.  Allison has to stifle laughter, especially when the bell finally rings, much to her disappointment.

“Hey,” Stiles’ voice drops to a near whisper even as he leans forward.  “I could show you around the school at lunch if you want?”

“I’ll check my schedule,” Allison volleys back with a teasing grin as she turns to face the front.

“I’m sure it’s overflowing,” Stiles deadpans, and Allison huffs a sound of amusement as she digs out her binder.

“Oh,” She twists around again, feeling slightly embarrassed.  “Could I borrow a pen?”

 


 

Stiles guides her to her next class before doubling back to get to his own.  Allison spends the entire period glancing repeatedly at the clock and willing it to move faster.  She’s heard that soulmates don’t much like being apart, even more so when the bond is new, but she didn’t think it would be like an irritating itch under skin.

She’s up and heading for the door as soon as class is over.  They agreed to meet in the cafeteria, and that’s where she heads now.

Stiles beats her there, probably because she made a wrong turn two hallways back, but she speeds up when spots him standing just inside the doors, very obviously searching the throng of students for her.  He visibly brightens when he sees her.

“Hey again,” Stiles greets as he shoulders his way through the crowd to meet her.  “How was Math?”

“Boring,” Allison wrinkles her nose.  She’s never liked math anyway.  She blinks when she notices another boy hovering somewhat awkwardly behind Stiles.  It’s the guy from earlier, in English, the one she passed on her way to Stiles.  She didn’t know they were friends.

“Oh this is Scott,” Stiles shifts and claps a hand on Scott’s shoulder.  “My best friend since we were kids.  Scott, Allison.

“He knows, by the way,” Stiles adds for her benefit.  “Kinda hard not to I guess since he was pretty much sitting right next to us in English.  But he won’t tell anyone.”

“Hi,” Scott gives her a dopey smile, one that distinctly reminds her of a puppy.  She smiles back politely.  She recognizes a crush on her when she sees one by now.  It’s happened with other boys in other schools with varying degrees of one-sided attraction since she was thirteen, and even without really knowing him, she’s pretty sure he’s the sweet and straightforward sort.  He looks it at least, and she’s sure he’s a nice guy.

Still, it’s a little rude to show it so blatantly if he knows Stiles and Allison are soulmates.  But he’s Stiles’ best friend, and she doubts he actually means any harm in it, so Allison makes an effort to be friendly.

“Hi,” She returns.  “It’s nice to meet you.”

She watches his cheeks flush a mild red even as he grins back.  He’s cute, she supposes.  She already likes him more than the arrogant assholes who used to hit on her.

Still.  She turns back to Stiles, who’s standing a little off to the side with an easygoing smile and a contrasting, calculatingly sharp look in his eyes as he studies his best friend like he’s just recognized the aforementioned crush on Allison.

Allison sidesteps so that their shoulders brush, and Stiles’ gaze is instantly on her again, the sharpness tucked away again.  He looks harmless like this, and for the first time, Allison gets the impression that she’s looking at a mask.  Or maybe just one side of Stiles.

Either way, she thinks she wants to see that sharpness again but she gets the sense that it’s not something Stiles pulls out in public much so she shunts that to the side for another day.  They’re still only just getting to know each other so there’s plenty of time.

“You were going to show me around the school?”  Allison reminds him, and Stiles’ shoulders seem to loosen.

“Yeah, uh,” He glances at Scott.  “You wanna come, buddy?”

“Sure!”  Scott nods with guileless enthusiasm, and Allison has to stomp down a twinge of annoyance.

Stiles doesn’t seem to mind, and he just says, “Great!  Let’s get lunch first.  We can eat while we walk.  You gotta try the curly fries here, Allison.  They’re not as good as the ones at Mabel’s Diner but they’re the best thing this cafeteria sells.”

Allison studies him for a moment as they make their way over to the lineup.  “Are you sure you don’t just like them a lot and you’re biased?”

Stiles plasters on a mock-offended look.  “Blasphemy!  Curly fries are the food of the gods, you’ll see.”

As it turns out, the curly fries are pretty damn good, and Stiles looks adorably delighted when she gives her verdict on them.

They circle around the school as they eat, and Stiles points out things she should know but aren’t in the school handbook, things like lacrosse is the school’s most popular sport, and the center table of the cafeteria is reserved for the cool kids, and Coach Finstock is crazy but awesome and yells a lot, and Harris is a dick who hates Stiles and favours fellow dick students like Jackson Whittemore, and the dumpsters behind the school is where you go if you want to get your hands on some drugs, and Matt Daehler should be avoided like the plague because he’s a genuine stalker with a camera who likes to creep on girls and belongs in juvie, and Danny Mahealani is your unofficial go-to guy if you want something hacked, although if you’re not his friend, you’d have to bribe or blackmail him into doing it.

“I thought you said he was a nice guy though,” Allison points out.

“He is,” Stiles agrees, and he glances at her out of the corner of his eye.  “Thing is, I’m not.”

He grins like he’s making a joke but Allison somehow knows he’s not.  She smiles anyway and doesn’t mention it.

They continue their tour of the school.  Stiles takes her to all the classrooms she has on the rest of her schedule so she won’t get lost.  She’s pleased to note that she and Stiles share four classes out of the seven they each take, and they also have the same free block.

Scott trails after them, and Allison is kind of getting tired of the cow eyes he’s making at her.  At least he’s not looking at her boobs; that’s something.

When the warning bell rings, Scott takes off for his next class, one that’s at the other end of the school and not shared with Stiles so he has to book it.  Allison tries very hard not to look relieved.

She probably fails because Stiles says, “Hey, Scott’s a good guy, you know.  It’s just that I think you’re his first crush.”

Oh goodie.  If he ever has the gall to ask her out, she’ll probably feel a little bad turning him down.

“Well I’m not interested,” Allison says, and she gives Stiles a meaningful enough look that makes his cheeks go pink.  Allison grins just a touch smugly.

“Right,” Stiles mumbles, shuffling his feet, and she never realized until now that her soulmate actually has a shy side.  She wouldn’t have pegged him for the type, even though they’ve only known each other for a few hours.

Stiles doesn’t seem to care what other people think of him.  She’s seen fellow students shoot him annoyed looks the few times he flailed or gestured too wildly when talking about something, like it’s socially unacceptable to act that way.  And more than one person laughed when Stiles tripped while they were descending a flight of stairs.  Allison steadied him before he could pitch himself onto the floor, and she glared at everyone in their general vicinity until they shut up.  Stiles looked sheepish as he thanked her but he was never embarrassed.  He couldn’t have missed the reactions he got but their opinions just didn’t seem to bother him at all.

Allison wishes she could be like that too.  If she fell down and got laughed at, she’d feel so humiliated.  But she’s also a girl, and she hasn’t made any enemies yet, so that affords her a safety net, and she’d more likely get someone scrambling over to help her up.

“Oh, that’s Lydia Martin,” Stiles is looking over her head so Allison quickly turns.  Stiles has mentioned Lydia Martin.  She’s a goddess and a secret genius and Allison tells herself she’s not jealous when Stiles says her name like a sacred utterance.

Lydia sweeps past them and into History, handbag swinging from one arm, red hair flowing behind her, and Allison can definitely see how she’s the most popular girl in school.

But Stiles also chirps, “Hi Lydia!”, hopeful and resigned in the same breath, and Lydia doesn’t so much as blink, disdain for the masses dripping with every step she takes, and she doesn’t even seem to register the fact that someone called out to her even though Stiles is a mere two feet away, and Allison instinctively scowls.

“Uh, she’s always like that,” Stiles scratches his head, and now he looks embarrassed.  “I’m kinda out of her league.  And of course, she has a boyfriend.”

“You deserve better anyway,” Allison declares staunchly, and Stiles looks surprised like nobody’s ever bothered telling him that, and then he quirks a half-smile at her, the same one he gave her when they first met that morning.  It’s a rare look on him, she thinks, because he’s more prone to being… louder, bigger, in front of other people, like it’s a defence mechanism for him.

“Thanks,” Stiles hesitates like he thinks he should hug her now, or kiss her on the cheek, but then he only brushes their fingers together before stepping back.  “I’ll see you in Econ, okay?”

“Save me a seat,” Allison watches him jog away before ducking into the classroom.  She makes sure to sit as far away from Lydia as possible.

 


 

As it turns out, it doesn’t matter whether or not Allison stays away from Lydia because Lydia approaches her.  Allison’s parents expect her to head straight home after school since it’s her first day so she and Stiles separate once school is over.  Allison is at her locker and already smiling at the picture Stiles sent her.  It’s Stiles’ jeep, an older model that you don’t usually see teens drive around in these days, and it’s captioned ‘my baby’.

And then Lydia’s there and commenting on her good fashion sense.  Somehow, they’re suddenly supposed to be best friends, and then Lydia’s boyfriend is there, and Allison can feel him undressing her with his eyes even with his girlfriend right there, and Allison just wants to leave.

She can see why Stiles is mostly convinced they’re not soulmates.

She turns their party invitation down and excuses herself from the conversation as soon as she can.

:I met Jackson Whittemore.:  She texts Stiles once she’s behind the wheel of her car.

:Was he a dick: came the prompt reply.

:YES:  Allison answers in all caps because it deserves all caps.

:Told u so. Im convinced its a genetic defect: was Stiles’ response, and Allison is smiling again by the time she pulls out of the parking lot.

Her mother is out when she gets home, and she doesn’t even care that her dad is looking shady again with a bag full of guns slung over one shoulder, clearly having just got back as well.  She hasn’t ruled out the whole my-family-is-mafia idea but she really hopes they aren’t.

“How was school?”  Her dad asks, nudging the bag of guns into a closet.

“Great!”  Allison beams, shrugging out of her coat.  “I’m so glad we moved to Beacon Hills.”

Her dad frowns and peers suspiciously at her like he’s trying to figure out if she’s being sarcastic because she definitely wasn’t this enthusiastic about the move even just this morning.  “…Okay.  Well, that’s good.  Did you make any friends?”

Allison automatically smiles, and it probably makes her look like an idiot.  “Yeah.  His name is Stiles.”

Her dad instantly goes still and alert.  “‘His’?”

Allison rolls her eyes.  For god’s sakes, Dad.

“It’s not like that.”  Yet, her mind offers unbidden.  “We had English together first thing, and he loaned me a pen ’cause I didn’t have one.”

She considers telling him about the whole soulmate thing.  Her dad will be happy for her, even if it is a boy.  But it’s supposed to be her and Stiles’ secret for now, and the very thought of it makes her giddy because it’s new and still comes with a dose of disbelief that she’s found her soulmate, so she decides to keep quiet in the end.  She’ll tell him eventually.

“He’s the Sheriff’s son,” Allison adds, hoping that might soothe her dad’s overprotective tendencies a bit.  “Stiles Stilinski.  His actual name is Polish and too hard to pronounce.”

She stops herself before she starts listing everything she’s learned about her soulmate today.  She doesn’t want her dad hunting Stiles down and threatening him or something equally drastic.  As it is, he still doesn’t look all that pleased but at least he isn’t eyeing the closet.

She decides not to push her luck by asking him if she could stay out late tomorrow so that she can go grab something to eat with Stiles.  It’s smarter to simply ask her mom later, who’s at least more reasonable.

 


 

The next two weeks are more awesome than Allison could’ve imagined before coming to Beacon Hills.  Scott’s still nursing a crush the size of Mexico but so long as he doesn’t actively make a move on her, Allison can tolerate it.

Lydia and Jackson have both – together and apart – tried to pull her into their clique again and again.  But Allison hates the way Lydia would come up to talk to Allison even when Stiles is right there, and she would barely ever even look at him, even when he greets her.  The few times she has, she looks at Stiles like he isn’t fit to polish her shoes.  Allison tries to be polite when Lydia talks to her because she’s been raised with manners, but one of these days, her temper just might get the better of her.

As for Jackson, he tries to intimidate Stiles and scare him off, something about how Allison shouldn’t hang around with losers.  Allison guesses this is par for the course between the two of them because Stiles just rolls his eyes and snarks something sarcastic and biting back at the lacrosse captain until Jackson storms away, steaming.

“Jackson’s a pussycat,” Stiles tells her when she asks worriedly if maybe it’s a bad idea to piss off the bulkier and infinitely more popular jock that much.  “Me and him, we’ve known each other since kindergarten.  We all have – me, Jackson, Lydia, Danny, a few others.  Not Scott; he came a few years later.  But I know how to handle Jackson.  He’s mostly all bark and no bite.  Also, things came to a head several years ago, back in middle school.  He tried to get violent with me, and he regretted it.  He won’t try it again.  Now he just postures, and I don’t call him out on it.  And he’s not a complete douche.  He’d go to bat for Lydia and Danny if they need him to, even if he’d complain the entire time.”

Stiles sounds so certain that Allison can’t disbelieve him.  And by now, she knows there’s something about Stiles that puts most people off, maybe even scares them a bit.  They dismiss him like they all think he’s beneath them, but Allison is observant, and she’s noticed the way crowds in the hallway part for him without any of the students really being consciously aware of doing so.  And aside from Jackson, nobody actively bullies Stiles, and by extension Scott.  People don’t normally do that when it comes to kids who are on the bottom rung of the high school social ladder but there’s no doubt that the other students don’t mess with Stiles.

It’s something she’s puzzled and fascinated by in turn because Stiles treats her like a lady and a friend.  He’s kind of old school like that, much to her fond amusement.  He holds open doors for her if he reaches them before she does, he makes sure she goes first when they’re waiting to buy lunch, and the few times the halls are too crowded for anyone to step aside for Stiles, Stiles walks in front of her to take the brunt of the crushing wave of students heading in their direction. Allison doesn’t know if his family raised him that way or if it’s just a Stiles thing, but she doesn’t mind.  He isn’t overbearing about it, doesn’t insist on taking her bag like she can’t carry her own stuff, or try to tell her who she should and shouldn’t hang out with whenever more popular kids approach her even though he sometimes stares daggers at the handful of jocks who loom over her and flirt and don’t seem to understand the meaning of ‘no’.

But he lets Allison handle those, especially after that one time Allison tried to walk away, only for the basketball captain to grab her arm roughly enough to almost bruise.  Allison had him twitching on the ground via tazer in three seconds flat (thank you, paranoid Dad), and Stiles just looked at her with open awe.  And then he whisked her away and somehow forced seven people and the librarian to swear she was in the library when the whole incident went down because – according to school rules – you are not actually supposed to bring weapons to school, even if it’s just a tazer, and the reason was for warding off too-handsy boys.

He’s odd, Allison admits, and there’s definitely more to him than he’s shown her, but she finds that she likes odd.  Stiles makes her laugh, he has a sarcastic sense of humour, and he tends to babble sometimes when he’s nervous or talking about something he loves.  He found out she loved Star Wars too, and he looked at her like she hung the moon.  The next half-hour was spent discussing the movies in-depth, and only half an hour because Scott apparently never watched them and was beginning to pout.

She goes and watches a few of their lacrosse practices.  Stiles isn’t bad but he’s a benchwarmer, and she cringes several times whenever Jackson slams into him like he’s trying to kill him, but Stiles always gets back up.  Scott on the other hand is good.  Really good.  His reflexes are astonishingly fast, he can keep up with Jackson, and he scores his fair share of goals.  Judging by Coach’s hollering on the sidelines, as well as the vague confusion on the field, this is a new development.  The only one who doesn’t seem perplexed (or angry) is Stiles.

They go bowling on a Saturday, Stiles, Allison, and Scott, and it’s fun, despite the way Scott brushes up against her a few times when he walks past or sits too close to her when they go for lunch.  Allison tries to avoid the uncomfortable contact, and she catches Stiles staring at Scott in a way that says they’ll be having words later.

Scott, for some reason, seems… moodier than usual.  A few times, when Allison deliberately moves away because Scott is standing with his chest a bare half-inch away from pressing into her arm, and he even seems to be sniffing her, his eyes look like they flash yellow.  Allison dismisses it as just the angle of the lights but – friend to Stiles or not – she’s really getting fed up with it all.  She hopes Stiles can talk some sense into him or she’s going to have to be a lot more direct, hurt feelings or no.

Other than that, Allison is the happiest she’s been since entering elementary school, which is admittedly sad, but this is the first time she’s had real friends, and she thinks she just might file for emancipation if her parents ever suggest moving again.

 


 

Her rainbows-and-sunshine school life does not last.  Two and a half weeks in, she goes to school and heads for Stiles’ locker because that’s where they usually meet since it’s closer to the front doors than hers or Scott’s is.  There’s not many people here yet, and most are outside, so when she turns a corner, she isn’t surprised to see only Stiles and Scott there.

She is surprised when Scott slams Stiles into the row of lockers with enough force to make Stiles’ head bounce against the metal; it's certainly more force than Allison thought Scott capable of.  The impact echoes loudly up and down the hallway, and she thinks she hears Scott snarl.

“I like her!  She’s mine!  Back o-”

She’s rushing them in the blink of an eye, hand already fishing out her tazer as she screams, “Let him go!  Are you crazy?!”

She almost tazes him, but then Stiles does something – pulls his knee up and, crazy strength or not, Scott folds at the blow to his privates.

“It’s fine, it’s okay, I’m okay,” Stiles hauls her back by the waist before she can go through with tazing the crap out of Scott anyway because there are fingerprint bruises already appearing on Stiles’ collarbone and the join of his neck and shoulder where Scott was obviously using a hand to pin him against the lockers, and upon closer inspection, there are even a few scratches oozing blood on the side of Stiles’ neck.

Just how sharp are Scott’s nails?

“This is not okay!”  She practically shouts, keeping her tazer trained on Scott, who already looks to be recovering.  “This is- What’s your problem?!  I’ve made it plenty clear I’m not interested in you!  And Stiles is my soulmate!  I’m not looking anywhere else!  What are you doing threatening him to stay away from me?!”

Scott leaps to his feet, and that unsettling aggression is still there.  Again, for just a moment, Allison could swear his eyes flare yellow-gold, but she’s more occupied with the way his hands are clenched, like he’s seconds away from taking a swing.

She’s taken gymnastics for over eight years.  She can notch an arrow to her bow in the time it takes someone to breathe.  And her Aunt Kate taught her a few self-defence moves just in case some dirtbag tries anything on her.  She can take one measly high school lacrosse player.

But then Stiles speaks up.  He still has an arm around her waist, keeping her from launching herself at Scott.

“Scott,” Stiles snaps, voice like steel in a way Allison has never heard before.  “Get a grip.  This is not you.  Allison isn’t yours, and you are gonna calm the fuck down before she goes ahead and tazes you to kingdom come, got me?”

Scott’s shoulders hunch like he wants to pounce or something, a strange noise – like a growl – erupt from his mouth, and his eyes- his eyes are definitely yellow.

“She’s mine! ”  Scott snarls again, and Stiles heaves a sigh and lets Allison go.

“Yeah okay, go for it,” Stiles mutters just as Scott lunges like some lunatic.  Allison doesn’t waste a second.  She whirls out of the way and jabs her tazer into Scott’s ribs right before his hands can reach Stiles’ throat.

Scott howls and drops, convulsing, and then Stiles is there, a syringe in hand, and he stabs Scott with it before Allison can ask what it is.

Scott goes limp.

“It’s a tranq; enough to put down an elephant, but it still won’t last long,” Stiles explains, and then he sighs again.  He looks tired.

Cautiously, Allison crouches down as well.  It’s lucky the hall is empty.  She examines Scott’s unconscious form.

“What the hell is going on?”  She mutters in a hushed voice.  “That was insane.  I didn’t realize he was this obsessed.”

“He’s-” Stiles scrubs a hand over his head, a frustrated expression crossing his features.  He glances at her, studying her long and hard like he can see right down to her soul, and then he nods once to himself.  “Look, we need to get him outta here first.  Could you skip school today?”

Well she certainly wasn’t leaving Stiles alone to deal with Scott.  She nods, and they haul Scott to his feet, half-dragging, half-carrying him out of the school.  Outside, people stare, so Stiles starts lamenting loudly about that last lacrosse ball Scott just had to step in the way of.

Everyone believes it.  Human stupidity is astounding, and Stiles takes shameless advantage of it.

 


 

They get Scott to Stiles’ house and dump him into Stiles’ bed, and then Allison rounds on Stiles for an explanation because there’s clearly something going on that she isn’t aware of.

She is not expecting Stiles to pull up a ridiculously detailed PowerPoint and ask her, “Do you believe in werewolves?”

 


 

If she didn’t before, she certainly does now.  It’s crazy – apparently the things that go bump in the night aren’t just childish imagination after all – but it explains Scott’s eyes, and the scratches on Stiles’ throat that are too much like claw marks, and even the increasingly possessive fixation Scott has on her.  And Stiles says he can get Scott to show her the transformation once he wakes up so she has no reason to not believe him.

“Is it safe though?”  Allison asks, glancing uneasily at Scott as she hands Stiles a bandage for his neck.  “He attacked you.  He literally could’ve killed you!”

“Anyone can kill anyone, given enough incentive,” Stiles shrugs, far too nonchalant about the whole issue, in Allison’s opinion.  “Look, it’s still Scott.  He just has a wolf side to him now, a… baser animal side that’s more about instinct than logic.  It’s like… two sides of the same coin, and for your average normal human being, the instinct side is a lot more suppressed, say… seventy percent reason, thirty percent instinct.  Not so much for a werewolf; ideally, you’d want fifty percent of each but Scott was just Bitten a couple weeks back, he’s still new to all this, so he’s more… thirty percent reason, seventy percent instinct.  He has a huge crush on you so things like soulmates and disinterest wouldn’t really matter to him.  He just needs to get that part of him under control.  I’m working on it.  It was just particularly bad today because the full moon’s coming up.”

Allison frowns, looking at Scott again.  Not counting the past week or so, Scott has been pretty decent.  She even began seeing him as a friend.  And she doesn’t think Stiles would be friends with someone who got violent just because he didn’t get the girl.

She’s still unsure about the whole idea of werewolves but she’s not letting Stiles go at this alone.  He trusted her with this, and she isn’t going to let him down.

“Alright,” Allison straightens.  “What can I do to help?”

Stiles smiles at her, soft and affectionate.  Something settles warm and content in her chest.  It might be the bond.  It might be her heart.

 


 

She doesn’t tell her parents.  For one thing, what is she supposed to say?  By the way, werewolves are real, I met one and oh boy did J.K. Rowling get it wrong.  Yeah right.

And for another, her dad has a basement and garage full of weapons.  She thinks werewolves are dangerous, especially with such bad control like Scott has on his wolf, but she doesn’t want anyone dead.

So she and Stiles work it out with Scott.  She’s firm about the whole I’m not yours, Scott issue no matter how aggressive he gets about it, but she tries to be more understanding about the matter now that she knows where the obsession is stemming from.  She helps Stiles come up with more methods for learning control, and Scott isn’t always as crazy – feral, Stiles calls it, and Allison supposes it fits – as he was that morning in the hallway.  He was guilty and apologetic when he woke up that day so Allison is willing to do what she can for him.

It’s slow-going but it seems to work.  He’s still a bit… touchy-feely with them, sniffing at them and regularly giving them one-armed hugs or sitting shoulder to shoulder with them on the couch when they watch a movie at Stiles’ place, but they’re pretty sure that’s a werewolf thing.  Stiles researches like mad and finds stuff on the internet that seems like actual fact instead of fiction, and he comes up with words like pack and scenting and Alphas, Betas, and Omegas.

“Pretty sure Scotty’s an Omega,” Stiles squints at his laptop.  “Or maybe not?  I mean we could be his pack, right?”

“We’re human,” Allison reminds him.

“Doesn’t mean we can’t be pack.”

Allison hums thoughtfully.  Scott is in the shower after an entire afternoon spent in the backyard being coached on how to dodge Allison’s arrows because apparently hunters are quite possibly a thing that exists.  “Does that make him a Beta then?  Pretty sure he’s not an Alpha.  That’s like the leader, right?”

“Right,” Stiles shrugs.  “Beta then.”

His gaze falls on the open window across the room.  “Although that begs the question – who’s the Alpha?  Because Scott sure didn’t spontaneously start sprouting claws and fur.”

Allison is silent.  She doesn’t know.  But that’s probably why she’s picked up archery again like she’s preparing for another competition.

 


 

Derek comes into the picture, front and center, Aunt Kate comes to visit, the body count keeps on rising, and it all just goes downhill from there.

Now that she knows about werewolves, it’s really not that hard to figure out what her family does for a living.  A few accidentally – or on purpose – eavesdropped conversations because her dad and Kate are whispering suspiciously behind closed doors in their own home, words like full moon and tracking and once – memorably – kill the Alpha, and Allison pretty much knows what’s what.

Also, there’s wolfsbane in the garage.  Like, boxes of it, and according to Stiles, who’s shown her pictures of what it looks like, it’s deadly to werewolves.

She runs to Stiles with the information as soon as she can.  On hindsight, it’s pretty clear they’re hunters of something.  Her dad – and sometimes even her mom – was forever running out in the middle of the night with various weapons on them, and then coming home dusty and smelling faintly of gun oil with mud caked in their boots and occasionally dried blood on their clothes.  Say what you will but Allison’s damn sure the weapons trade business does not require any of that.

“What are we gonna do?”  She demands as she paces Stiles’ bedroom.  “What if they get wind of Scott?  What if they think Scott is the Alpha?”

“Nobody would think that,” Stiles scoffs but there’s a grim crease knitting his brow.  “Would they kill any werewolf?  Scott hasn’t done anything wrong.  They’d be killing an innocent person.”

“I- I don’t know,” Allison admits raking agitated fingers through her hair.  “Before all this, I’d have said no way, but before all this, I also had no idea what my family was.  They’ve lied to me about it all my life.  I don’t know what they would or wouldn’t do.  I- When I overheard my parents and Aunt Kate talking about killing the Alpha, Kate laughed.  She said- She talked about it like she was hunting deer or- or bear.  Like it’s a sport to her.  Like she isn’t- Like she isn’t killing an actual person.  And my parents- I think my dad scolded her a bit but-”

She shrugs helplessly, shoulders sagging as all the fight leaves her.  Stiles’ frown deepens, and then he’s leaning forward and snagging her hand, tugging her down beside him on the bed.  He wraps an arm around her, and Allison drops her head onto his shoulder.

They’ve never done this before.  They hug, and sometimes, they hold hands, at school and walking down a street, but it’s never for very long, and that’s as far as they've gotten in terms of intimacy.  Allison’s been fine with the pace they’ve set.  She’s never felt the need to push for more.

But Stiles is comfortable to cuddle with, and she doesn’t know if it’s a side-effect of their soulmate bond or what but she can feel the stress falling away, at least for now.

They don’t talk for the next little while.  Stiles manoeuvres them until they’re curled together in his bed.  Allison’s dad would flip and strangle Stiles if he saw but what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him.  Allison listens to Stiles’ heartbeat under her ear.  It lulls her to sleep, and she doesn’t stir until Stiles wakes her up and tells her she has to head home.

 


 

Derek Hale pops out of the shadows one day when Allison is heading for her car.  She had to stay late at school because Harris gave her detention for tapping her foot one too many times in class.  The guy really is a dick, and he has it in for her because everyone’s noticed how close she’s gotten to Stiles.  Most of the school’s convinced they’re a couple.

She spins around the moment she glimpses of a shadow that shouldn’t be there in her peripheral vision, one hand already reaching for her trusty tazer.

Derek catches her wrist before she can and backs her up against her own car, expression dark and vaguely homicidal.  The scruffy look and eyebrows only serve to emphasize the serial killer vibe.  Even with Scott, she was never scared, but she can’t break the hold Derek has on her, his other hand is pressed against her car and about two inches away from her neck, and her heart stutters right up into her throat.  Derek smirks like he enjoys frightening her, here with no one to save her, and she knows he can hear her pounding heartbeat.

Well fuck that.  She’s no one’s damsel in distress.

She pulls the same move Stiles did with Scott.  She lets him think he has her trapped, and he’s even opening his mouth to issue whatever threat or demand he has in mind, and then she jerks her right knee up and slams it directly into his balls.

Derek collapses with a roar of pain, letting her go in the process as he curls up in a fetal position on the concrete.  It’s a beautiful sight.

She circles around him and whips out her tazer before SOS-ing Stiles with her free hand.  Stiles texts back almost right away.  He’ll be there in eight.

“Stay on the ground unless you want to turn into a drooling mess,” Allison orders once Derek seems to have recovered enough to hear her.

Derek snarls at her.  “You Argents are all the same-”

“Excuse you,” Allison interjects icily, trying to ignore what the man is implying about her family.  “We’re alone in a parking lot, and you manhandled me and assaulted me against my car.  What, am I supposed to just let you?”

She flicks a look at her wrist.  It’s purpling already, goddamn it.  She’s going to have to hide it from her parents.

Derek sits up, claws scraping against the ground.  Allison levels her tazer.  “Don’t even think about it, Hale.”

Derek looks furious.  “Does Scott know you’re a hunter?  Did he fall for your pretty words?”

Allison stares incredulously at him.  It’s official; this man has a few screws loose.

Before she can decide whether to laugh at him or explain things to him in tiny words, a blue jeep screeches into the parking lot at breakneck speed, and Stiles doesn’t even bother parking properly before he’s vaulting out of the car and sprinting towards Allison.

“Are you alright?”  Stiles demands, already looking her over.  There’s a gun in his hand, the one Allison smuggled for him out of her own house.  Stiles is apparently a crack shot, and he’s been teaching her how to shoot.  Likewise, she’s been trying to teach him how to use a bow.  His last attempt ended with very nearly shooting the neighbour’s fleeing cat, which – being a moving target and all – would be pretty impressive if, you know, it wasn’t the neighbour’s cat.

“I’m fine,” Allison assures, but she welcomes the hug Stiles pulls her into anyway.  Touch is becoming the norm between them and – to a lesser degree – Scott.  “This idiot thought he could ambush me when I was alone.  I haven’t gotten around to asking what he wants though.”

Stiles pulls away, searching her face, and then he glances down and gently snags her bruised wrist.  His expression goes stone-cold, and Allison doesn’t need the bond to know he’s angry because his eyes burn with it.

He turns to Derek, who’s still – wisely – on the ground.  He’s staring at them like he’s finally gotten a clue.

“You son of a bitch,” Stiles takes a step forward, and Allison can suddenly see just why most of the school’s population is wary of him.  He’s in plaid and jeans and sneakers, and he looks ready to put a bullet in Derek’s head and walk away without any remorse.  “I don’t care if you think she’s a hunter.  You put a finger on her again and you can forget about her threat level because I will set you on fire.”

Something passes between them.  There must be a deeper meaning behind that threat because Derek flinches like Stiles is already holding the matches, and Stiles smirks, something nasty and triumphant glittering in his eyes like he’s had something confirmed.

“I’ll tell you later,” Stiles murmurs to her, and Allison nods.

“What do you want then?”  She asks, not lowering her tazer.  “You didn’t just corner me to intimidate me or something, did you?  I mean how did that work out for you?”

Derek’s features pull tight into a glower again.  “She’s an Argent.  You and Scott should stay away from her.”

Stiles rolls his eyes.  “Is that what this is about?  She isn’t a hunter.  She wasn’t raised as one.  She didn’t even know werewolves exist until I told her.”

Derek sneers right back.  “Did she tell you that?  She’s obviously lying.”

A muscle in Stiles’ jaw jumps, and he takes a step forward but Allison stops him with a hand on his arm.

“I don’t care if you think I’m a hunter,” Allison says coolly.  “We’ll be here all night if I try to convince you I’m not.  So your… advice has been received and rejected.  Now if that’s all, you should probably go.”

They let Derek stand up.  He looks like he wants to argue, but Allison has no patience to hear anything more, and one look at Stiles’ face is enough to convey how many shits he does not give, so with a last growl and glare, the werewolf lopes off into the darkness from whence he came.

Stiles is rubbing off on her.

Not that way.

Oh god, her mind.

Stiles has one eyebrow raised.  Allison starts praying their bond isn’t so far along that Stiles could pick that last bit up.

Thankfully, if Stiles notices anything, he doesn’t mention it.  “Let’s go home?  I’ll wrap that wrist for you.  And then I’ve got stuff to tell you.”

“Werewolves-are-real level of stuff?”

“Arguably worse.”

“Fantastic.”

 


 

It is worse.  Because apparently her aunt is an honest-to-god serial killer.  Forget Derek Hale; Allison is currently living with one.

Stiles shows her the evidence he’s compiled, the case files he’s stolen from his dad and tricked out of various other law enforcement agencies across the States by impersonating a police officer, and the damning proof that Kate has been responsible for at least three families – packs – being wiped out, not including the Hales.  She had help each time, sometimes seducing or blackmailing civilians, other times bringing along other hunters that were either Argents or working for the Argents.

She doesn’t know how Stiles does it but he’s going to be an incredible detective one day if he decides on that career path.  He tells her about the Hale fire and how it was ruled an accident but – picking it apart – it really wasn’t.

The people who have died?  All tied to the incident.  And the only one left is Kate.

Derek’s reaction confirmed it all.

“I can’t believe this,” Allison chokes out, head in her hands, meticulous reports spread out beside her on Stiles’ bed.  “I can’t- My own aunt is a serial killer!  I- How am I supposed to react to this?”

“Probably just like this,” Stiles mutters, but he rubs circles over her back so she doesn’t bite his head off.  He’s verbally flippant about almost everything; it’s Stiles’ way of dealing.

“Is- Is my dad involved?”  Allison asks, dreading the answer but needing to know.  How is she even going to face any of them after this?  “I mean if my dad’s dad and my dad’s sister are both- And my mom?  Even if they weren’t, do they know?”

“As far as I’m aware, they weren’t involved with any of these-” He gestures at every arson case in front of them.  “I don’t know if they know though.  I don’t know them.”

“Apparently, I don’t know them either,” Allison laughs, strained and mirthless.  “I can’t believe Kate- She used to read me bedtime stories!  She always has a present for me whenever she comes to visit.  She took me bra shopping.  She introduced me to my favourite sport.  She even taught me how to drive!  How does someone like that turn around and set innocent families on fire?!”

Stiles stays silent.  Allison is fairly certain her soulmate can give her a comprehensive psychological analysis on the minds of serial killers or something but he doesn’t say a word.  He just gathers her into his arms, and when she finally – finally – starts crying, he simply holds her and lets her get it all out.

She doesn’t know her granddad enough to care about him but she loves her mom and dad so much, and Kate has always been like an older sister to her.  Her mom is tough and fierce and stricter with her than her dad, her dad spoils her and is generally more easygoing than her mom, and Kate is an extrovert with a mischievous and vivacious personality.  None of them strike Allison as killers on the side.  They’ve never given her any reason to doubt them, even if they did run out at odd times during the night and move around a lot.

But this, this changes things.  She can’t trust her own family.  Seventeen people – some of them children, some of them human – died in this town because of her family.  There is a man in the hospital who was stuck in a coma and left to rot for six years, and now he’s insane and running around killing the people responsible for killing his family.

The worst thing is, Allison can’t even blame him.  How can she?  What do werewolves care for human laws?  An eye for eye, and Peter Hale lost everything in that fire.  If it was Allison… If it was Allison… she doesn’t know what she’d do.  But she’d want revenge too if someone came along and killed the people she loved just because they existed.

“What do we do?”  Allison whispers into Stiles’ shirt.

Stiles looks at her, and protective compassion thrums across their bond.  “It’s your family.  What do you want to do?”

 


 

Just once, she asks if Stiles has told Scott any of this.

Stiles frowns.  “Normally, I would.  But I feel like you also have a say about all this?  About who knows and who doesn’t?  And I mean I did try talking to Scott about Laura’s body and Derek and the other bodies being connected to the fire, and the whole conspiracy theory surrounding it, but Scott’s not really into that sort of thing.  He doesn’t want to be a werewolf so he doesn’t like talking about anything to do with it, and the last time I got all curious about a mystery, I got him Bitten.  Also, he’s flunking two classes and close to flunking a third.  He doesn’t need more on his plate.  So no, I haven’t told him.”

Allison would like to contest the whole ‘I got him Bitten’ part because Scott agreed to go out into the woods looking for a body too, but she knows Stiles well enough to realize it wouldn’t really do much good, so she just nods in acceptance.  Scott doesn’t need to know anyway.

 


 

“Is anything the matter, Allison?”  Her mom asks over dinner a few nights later.  Allison’s sitting between her and Kate, with her dad across from her, and she’s trying her best to shovel down her dinner as quickly as humanly possible.

Allison swallows and shakes her head.  “No.”

“Because you’ve been quieter lately,” Her mom continues, and everyone’s watching her now.  “I’ve noticed you’ve been spending a lot of time with your friends.”

Allison swallows another bite.  “Stiles and Scott are good guys.”

“Spending too much time around boys can be bad for you,” Kate pitches in with a teasing grin.  “And I’ve barely had any time to have you to myself.  We should take a day off and go to the spa one of these days.  Just like old times.”

Allison shrugs.  Her gaze lingers on her aunt.  Kate is beautiful and strong and smart.  Allison’s always adored her, always wanted to be just like her when she grew up.  How could she-

“Allison, are you sure you’re okay?”  It’s her dad this time.  He looks honestly concerned about her.

Allison swallows hard around her last mouthful before grabbing her napkin and pushing away from the table.  “I’m fine.  I just have a huge project due.  May I be excused?”

She’s off as soon as she gets some semblance of a nod from her dad, and she locks herself in her room for the rest of the night.

She texts Stiles.  It makes her feel better.

 


 

“So are you going to the winter formal?”  Lydia asks.  She insists they’re friends.  Allison’s not sure why.

“I don’t know,” Allison shrugs.  They’re heading to her locker.

Jackson’s asked her.  Jackson asked her.  Allison turned him down so fast she hopes his head is still spinning.  He annoys her in a way Scott could never manage, and Lydia can be vain and arrogant but she’s still too good for that jackass.

Lydia wrinkles her nose delicately.  “Hasn’t Stiles asked you?”

The redhead’s finally committed Stiles’ name to memory.  Allison doesn’t know if she really didn’t remember before or if she just pretended not to know to be mean.  It’s only because Stiles says so that she believes Lydia is a genius at all.

“We’re not like that,” Allison repeats for the umpteenth time.  Maybe she should stop because they sort of are like that now.  More than that in some ways.  “Look, I-”

She opens her locker and promptly forgets the rest of the sentence.

There on the shelf level with her face is a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  It’s a tasteful combination of white chrysanthemums and another type of flower that Allison doesn’t recognize but she’s one hundred percent sure that Stiles has researched the hell out of the meaning of each one.  Every flower is in full bloom, and when she takes it out with careful hands, the scent is pleasant to her nose.

“Well.”  Lydia’s eyebrows are raised, and she looks reluctantly impressed.  She glances at Allison before pointing at the flowers Allison doesn’t recognize.  “Amaryllises.  They mean worth beyond beauty.”  She points at the chrysanthemums.  “And white chrysanthemums for loyalty and devoted love.”

Allison flushes all the way to the tips of her ears.  She presses her face – gently – into the flowers for a moment.  She’s been tense and upset about her family, and now she can’t be happier, and it’s all because of some flowers.

“There’s a card,” Lydia points out, and Allison lifts her head again to follow the redhead’s line of sight.  It’s just a simple white card, with Stiles’ handwriting on it.

Will you do me the honour of accompanying me to the winter formal?

Old school.  So old school.  Allison can’t stop smiling.

“So how ’bout it?”  A familiar voice asks, and Allison turns to find Stiles standing a few lockers down, fidgeting with the zipper of his sweater but looking hopefully at her.

He doesn’t even glance at Lydia.  It’s been like that for a few weeks now.

Allison’s smile widens, and she moves to stand in front of him.

Obviously,” She tells him, and then she leans forward and kisses him on the cheek.  She pauses, and then she kisses him on the mouth too, chaste but lingering, before pulling back and grinning impishly at the deer-in-the-headlights look on his face.

She has no doubt he loves her.  Maybe it’s not all the way in love yet, and she isn’t quite at that point yet either, but she thinks she could kill for him, and she knows he would kill for her, and that’s a terrifying thought all on its own.

“I- Cool,” Stiles grins at her, silly and endearing, and there are so many people watching them like they’re a circus sideshow but Allison doesn’t care.  She takes Stiles’ hand and breezes back to her locker.  She can’t take the flowers to class with her so she’ll have to leave them here until school ends and she can get them into some water.

“I’ll take you dress shopping?”  Stiles offers.  Almost at the same time, Lydia pipes up, “We could go dress shopping together.”

They blink at each other, and then Lydia shrugs gracefully and amends, “We can all go.”

Allison exchanges a look with Stiles before turning to Lydia.  “So you’re going too?  Do you have a date?”

Lydia tosses her hair back before sashaying down the hall towards her next class.  “Scott asked me.  I agreed.”

Stiles and Allison stare after her, completely dumbfounded.

 


 

“Are you okay?”  Allison asks a little later.  She doesn’t need to clarify.

Stiles shrugs, swinging their joined hands absently.  “I have you.  And my crush on Lydia was never gonna work out.  I knew that ages ago.  I’m not her type.  It was just a- a fantasy of mine, something I daydreamed about.  And I don’t anymore.  But like I didn’t know Scott liked her too?  I don’t usually miss things like that.  And Lydia didn’t even know Scott existed until he became a lacrosse star overnight so…”

Allison says nothing.  She knows Lydia probably agreed to go with Scott so she could make Jackson jealous, and she has a sneaking suspicion that asking Lydia to the formal is Scott’s way of getting back at Stiles for Allison.

Even nice guys get jealous.  Scott’s a lot better now, he respects Stiles and Allison’s relationship, and his wolf doesn’t hang all over Allison anymore, but apparently, he still isn’t completely over her.

She doesn’t say any of this out loud.  If it's occurred to her, then Stiles – who’s known Scott since they were both ten and Lydia since they were both five – will have thought of it too.  Right now, Stiles just needs her to listen so that’s what she’ll do for him.

She squeezes his hand.  He squeezes back.

 


 

When Allison bounces in through the front door with her bouquet of flowers, her parents are in the kitchen, and she pretends she doesn’t notice how they immediately stop talking before she even appears.

“Flowers?”  Her dad arches an eyebrow.

Nothing can dampen her good mood.  “Stiles asked me to the winter formal.”

Her parents exchange a glance.  Her dad looks like a darkening thundercloud.  Her mom at least seems calmer.

“Well, how exciting,” Her mom retrieves an empty vase for her, filling it with water.  “Is this Stiles your boyfriend then?”

“Something like that,” Allison hums, arranging the flowers into the vase.

“He didn’t even ask properl-” Her dad cuts off with a grunt behind her.  Her mom probably elbowed him.

“Why don’t you invite him over for dinner, sweetheart,” Her mom suggests when Allison turns around.  “You’ve eaten plenty of times at his house, haven’t you?  We could even have the Sheriff over.”

It’s a small town.  The Sheriff’s wife is dead is one of those things that everyone just knows.  Just like everyone knows the Hales died six years ago in a house fire.

Allison’s smile finally dims.  “Well, I guess I could invite Stiles but the Sheriff will probably be too busy.  I mean I’ve only seen him twice, and once was when he was heading out the door.”

She clarifies when both her parents look taken aback.  “Stiles’ dad is really busy.  Stiles is… When I stay for dinner, Stiles is the one who cooks.  He says the Sheriff could burn water.  But Stiles makes delicious food.  He cooked me an Italian spread once and it tasted better than some of the restaurants we went to when we vacationed in Messina.”

There’s that loaded glance between her parents again, an entire conversation passing between them.  That’s what she gets with soulmate parents.

“Well then, you can just invite Stiles if the Sheriff can’t make it,” Her mother smiles.  “It’s only fair.  If he’s a budding chef, I’ll even pull out my best French recipes.”

Allison nods.  “Sure.”

Her dad smiles too.  Allison makes a note to warn Stiles about the impending interrogation.

 


 

Bouquets of flowers start popping up all over the school as guys get their butts in gear and at least take a stab at romance.

“Is this a tradition then?”  Allison enquires as they watch – for the sixth time that day – a girl open her locker and find three garish-looking bouquets stuffed inside.

“No, definitely not,” Stiles scoffs, and he seems torn between feeling amused and feeling offended as the rest of the school rips off his romancing techniques.  “This is ridiculous.”

Allison watches a jock go down on one knee like he’s proposing instead of asking the aforementioned girl to a school dance.  The aforementioned girl who's valiantly trying to look as if the bouquets she's received aren't as ugly as they really are.

It really is ridiculous.  But also hilarious.

 


 

“It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Argent, Mr. Argent,” Stiles greets them, shaking hands with both of them.  He’s dressed casually but not as much as he usually is.  His shirt is still plaid but it’s a dark blue and black so you can barely see the checkered stripes, and he’s ditched the sweaters in favour of a simple coat.

Allison’s mom ushers him in.  Allison’s dad smiles like a shark, and Allison tries not to panic.  At least Kate isn’t here tonight so that’s one less thing for her to worry about.

It isn’t… too bad.

Stiles is really good at talking.  He can ramble in circles all day and still reveal nothing.  He can say six words and make a werewolf cower.  He uses words like a sword and shield, and he’s on top of his game tonight.

He compliments the food, and as far as Allison can tell, he honestly likes it.  He enquires after one of the recipes and laughs when Allison’s mom refuses to tell him, claiming that he’ll just have to recreate it himself, and he’ll bring it over sometime for her to pass judgement.

Allison’s mom thaws, just a little, and they haven’t even gotten to the main course.

After that, Stiles answers all questions posted to him, mostly by Allison’s dad, who asks about everything from his academics to his extracurricular activities to what he wants to be in the future to his intentions towards Allison.

Sometimes, Stiles lies.  Sometimes he doesn’t.  Sometimes he pretends to be embarrassed about something when he isn’t because it’s the appropriate, family-acceptable response.  And sometimes he’s embarrassed but hides it so well that Allison only knows because of their bond.

Allison wonders if her parents can tell.

Her cheeks burn when her dad starts grilling Stiles about the winter formal, and for the first time that night, even Stiles begins slipping up, more nervous, spluttering here and there, occasionally glancing at Allison when he fumbles for an answer.

“Dad!”  Allison finally snaps when her dad broaches the topic of Have You Had Sex With My Daughter.  Even her mom is looking faintly exasperated by now.  “Would you quit it?  I told you, we’re not like that!  You’re just trying to humiliate Stiles now!”

Her dad levels a flat look on her.  “You’ve been spending more time with Stiles than you’ve spent in this house since you started school.  I just want to make sure-”

“There’s nothing to make sure of!”  Allison throws her hands in the air.  “We haven’t had- ugh!

Why won’t they just believe her?  It isn’t as if she’s been sneaking around with Stiles.  She always tells one of them if she’s going to hang out with her soulmate.

There’s a nudge along the bond, followed by a ripple of soothing calm.  Allison huffs but her frustration eases.  She glances at Stiles.  He tilts his head, just a little, and she can almost hear a dry echo of it’s okay, at least this way I’m getting in practice for any future police interrogations if I ever get myself arrested in her head.

Allison’s mouth twitches into a reluctant smile.  Amusement volleys back and forth between them.

Don’t worry, that same sassy echo says, and now she isn’t sure if their bond really has grown that strong or if she just knows Stiles well enough to imagine what he’d say.  You said your dad made the dessert.  I’ll proclaim my undying love for it.  At the very least, he won’t shoot me before I finish it.

Perhaps it’s a little bit of both.

Allison bites back a laugh, and they both turn back to Allison’s parents.  She blinks.  Both adults are staring at them, and there’s something new – something strange – on both their faces.

And then her mom goes, “Ah,” and continues with dinner like nothing happened, and her dad heaves a bereaved sigh and dissects Stiles with his eyes for a moment longer before dropping the previous line of questioning entirely.  Just like that.

Allison looks at Stiles again.  Stiles is frowning too, but then he shrugs and resumes eating.  Allison follows suit.

The rest of the evening is less hostile.  Stiles does exclaim over the dessert, and then he does one better and starts rambling about a dessert he made a while back that was something like this, and it took half a dozen attempts before it stopped falling flat or exploding in the oven, and even then, it didn’t turn out so good.  Allison’s dad relents and even offers a few tips Stiles could try the next time he makes that dessert.

By the end of the night, everyone is full and relatively content, and there are no guns making an appearance.  Allison walks Stiles to the door, and after triple-checking for her parents, Stiles kisses her goodnight, clumsy and sweet, and Allison waves him off with a grin and a see-you-tomorrow.

And then she braces herself for the aftermath.

“So?”  She asks as she makes her way back to the living room where her parents have retired to.  “Does he pass inspection?  Can he pick me up for the winter formal without being shot on sight?”

Her mom sips calmly at her tea, a book in her other hand.  “Darling, when you bring a boy home, you should really start with the fact that he’s your soulmate.  It’s better for your father’s blood pressure.”

Allison’s mouth drops open.  Her father grumbles from behind his newspaper but he lowers it enough to peer at her.  “Soulmate or not, I expect you to be home by midnight on the night of the dance.”

She gapes for a few seconds longer before squeaking, “How did you find out?”

“It was obvious when you looked at him,” Her mother looks a little curious now.  “Has your bond grown strong enough for telepathy?  You only met him less than two months ago.”

Allison shakes her head.  “No, I don’t think so.  But I can guess what he’d say, and I can feel his emotions sometimes.”

“That’s still a faster development than most bonds have,” Her mother looks thoughtful for a moment before smiling at her.  “I’m glad you found him, Allison.”

And then she shoots her husband mental daggers.  He winces before sighing, “Yes.  I’m glad too.  But he better treat you like a queen.”

Allison beams.

 


 

“Does Kate know?”

“I don’t think so?  I haven’t heard Mom or Dad mention it to her.  They’re probably letting me tell her in my own time.  I think they can tell I’m not really… comfortable with her these days.  I mean I’ve been avoiding her a lot, and I used to stick to her like glue.  And if they can tell, Kate can probably tell too.  It’s just a matter of time before they start asking me why.”

“Okay.  Well.  We’re going dress shopping tomorrow with Scott and Lydia so day after, we can go visit Peter.”

“Right.”

“Here’s to hoping we don’t die.”

“…Your sense of humour sucks, and I’m gonna go steal more bullets, just in case.”

 


 

They go dress shopping. Lydia picks out about eight outfits she likes and goes to try them on.  Scott carries them for her.  Allison and Stiles continue perusing.

And then Peter Hale is suddenly there, no longer scarred, and giving her fashion tips.  It’s surreal and creepy.

He hates her.  It’s hatred by association, if only because she’s never met him before.  But she can see it in his eyes – blue and dead like chips of ice – no matter how nice his smile, and she wants to run and scream and shake Kate until her aunt tells her why all at the same time.

She can’t speak to Stiles telepathically yet but she can shove a load of urgency across the bond, and within seconds, she knows Stiles is heading back from the bathroom to where she is.

“You should really try it on,” Peter is saying, holding up a silver strapless dress, her wrist in his hand as he compares her skin tone against it.  His grip is definitely gentler than Derek’s, but he also isn’t trying to threaten her like Derek was.  Peter doesn’t know she knows.

She sneaks glances at the werewolf.  Odds are, he won’t be in the hospital tomorrow anyway, probably hasn’t been in a while, not with his scars completely gone.  Stiles will be berating himself for forgetting to check.

So she does something stupid.  They’re in Macy’s; there’s not much of a chance Peter would kill her here.

“Um, excuse me?”  Allison’s heart speeds up when Peter turns to look at her, still smiling with only his mouth.

They were going to do this anyway, she reminds herself.  Except it would be with a whole heck of a lot more weapons.  The only things Allison has on her right now is her tazer and a knife, and they’re both in her bag.  And she should probably wait for Stiles.

But she already started so she may as well continue.

She takes a deep breath.  “You’re Peter Hale, right?”

And just like that, the dress is tossed aside and the grip on her wrist tightens.

Yeah, definitely should’ve waited for Stiles.

Peter’s smile is about twenty degrees colder.  He doesn’t really try to lie.  “Am I?”

His voice is like a dagger wrapped in silk.

Allison digs the fingers of her free hand into her thigh to stop any potential trembling.  “Look, I just want to talk.  About- About what my aunt did-”

She cuts off with a gasp when Peter yanks her forward, almost tumbling her into his chest, and the bones in her wrist creak, on the verge of breaking.

“So you know,” Peter snarls into her ear, feral and crazed, eyes the colour of blood.  “You know what that bitch-”

He stops and goes predator still.  And then, after what seems like an eternity, he lets Allison go.

Allison immediately backs away, nursing her wrist.  She doesn’t even need to look behind Peter to realize Stiles has arrived because their bond is spiking with the same fury that Derek incited, although it’s also underscored by a healthy dose of a jittery sort of fear that was absent when it was the younger Hale confronting them.

Peter turns, faux smile already hitched back onto his face, something honestly curious breaking the ice in his eyes for the first time as he surveys Stiles.  “You must be Stiles.  Would you really shoot me in the middle of Macy’s?”

Stiles shrugs.  The gun in his hand is trained on Peter but still hidden from the only surveillance camera in the area, and there’s no one else around.

Peter chuckles, sounding genuinely delighted of all things.  “You would.”

Stiles just holds out his free hand.  “Allison.”

Allison scoots around Peter to stand beside Stiles, knocking their hands together before she retrieves her tazer from her bag.

“I’ll tell you the same thing I told your nephew,” Stiles says, and he looks at Peter with what Allison secretly calls her soulmate’s murder eyes.  “You lay a finger on Allison again and I will set you on fire.  I cannot begin to tell you how many fucks I do not give that you’ve already been a victim of fire once.”

Peter’s not smiling anymore.  But Allison doesn’t like the way he looks at Stiles either.

“I think,” Peter finally says, soft and dangerous.  “I should’ve Bitten you instead.”

And that’s why she doesn’t like it.  That’s hunger, right there, in his eyes, in his voice, and he stares at Stiles with something disturbingly like admiration.

That is not normal.  Then again, calling anything that’s happened since she moved to this town normal is hysterically laughable.

Stiles doesn’t seem to notice.  He just purses his lips for a moment before ignoring that last statement completely.  “We want to talk.  Me and Allison and you.  About Kate.  And also about a man named Gerard Argent.”

Peter’s eyes narrow.  He looks from Stiles to Allison to Stiles.  “I’m going to kill Kate.  You can’t convince me to spare her.”

“Not- Not spare her,” Allison jumps in.  “I- What she did was wrong.  We just want you to consider your options before you go and murder her.  And if.  If by the end of our discussion, you still want to kill her, then-”

She forces her voice to remain steady and shunts aside all thoughts of the woman she used to love, still loves, will love even if she turns out to be nothing more than a murdering psycho, and the beloved aunt was all just an act.

“-then Stiles and I will help you.”

Peter studies her like he’s seeing her for the first time.  He glances at Stiles, and then back at her.

At last, he spreads his hands and smiles.  “Let’s go somewhere more private, shall we?”

 


 

‘More private’ apparently means Stiles’ jeep in the mall parking lot.  They text Scott and Lydia that they’ve stepped out for a bite to eat and will meet up with them later.  Allison expertly wraps her bruised wrist.  Stiles hacks into the Macy’s security network with one hand and deletes the tape just in case.  His other hand remains holding a gun on Peter.  Peter sits in the back, watching them almost unblinkingly.

“Well?”  Peter prompts once they’ve finished.

Stiles doesn’t lower his gun.  Allison reaches into the glovebox and pulls out a stack of files.  It’s one of four copies.  There’s two more in Stiles’ bedroom while the last is in a safe-deposit box downtown.

She hands the files to Peter.  “Here.”

Peter’s gaze doesn’t leave her face until he has the first file open on his lap.  And then he starts reading.

 


 

It takes about an hour to get through everything, and even then, Allison’s pretty sure Peter skimmed some parts.  But he understands the gist of it, understands that – in his hands – is everything that will put Kate and Gerard away for life about ten times over, and it’s just been handed to him on a silver platter, pun fully intended.

Peter doesn’t say anything for a long time after.  Stiles still has his gun out but it’s no longer pointed at the werewolf.

“Did you do this?”  The man finally raises his head to look at Allison.  His expression is inscrutable.

Allison shakes her head and motions at Stiles.  “Stiles figured it out.  I only know because he told me.”

Peter’s gaze slides over to Stiles.  Stiles shifts in his seat but doesn’t say anything.

“So,” The werewolf’s tone is almost idle now.  “You want me to put them away for good instead of just killing them.”

Stiles shrugs.  “We don’t care about Gerard.  And I don’t care about Kate either-” His fingers brush over the back of Allison’s hand in a wordless apology.  “-but Ally does, and if you think about it, rotting away in prison for the rest of her life for crimes she feels were justified, no visits from family or friends, in maximum security, is a lot worse than death any way you look at it.  Allison doesn’t want to see Kate violently murdered, you want Kate to pay; this way, everybody wins.”

Peter’s lip curls.  “And what do you get out of it?”

Stiles gives him a look like that should be obvious.  “Ally doesn’t get another reason to cry just because her family is full of nutjobs.”

Allison rolls her eyes and punches him in the shoulder.

Peter scoffs.  He sits back a bit and looks between them.  He breathes in.  His nose flares.  “…I see.  Soulmates.”

He looks down at the files, and when he speaks again, his voice is flat and lifeless.  “My soulmate died in the fire.  She was pregnant with our first child, our son.”

Allison cringes.  Even Stiles swallows and glances away for a moment.

“I’m sorry,” Allison blurts out, and when Peter looks at her again, she does her best to hold his gaze.  “I’m sorry for what my aunt did.  I know that doesn’t- Sorry doesn’t bring your family back, but I’m sorry anyway because someone should be!”

She clutches at the back of her seat with a white-knuckled grip, and she hates, hates, hates that it’s her own aunt – who played with her and encouraged her and always seemed a decent person – who caused this much grief.  And if she isn’t stopped, she’s going to cause a hell of a lot more.

Peter stares and stares, and then he heaves a sigh, slow and deep, and it sounds as soul-weary as he suddenly looks.  One of his hands runs over the top page on his lap like he’s smoothing wrinkles out of fabric.

“Killing her doesn’t bring them back either,” He murmurs almost to himself, and then he’s gathering up the files, stacking them into a neat pile once more.  “I’m taking these.  I need to think.”

He pauses with a hand on the door, and he looks at Allison again, blue eyes flashing red as he growls, “I’m not promising anything, girl.”

Allison manages a nod, and then he’s gone, files tucked under one arm as he strides away, turning a corner and disappearing from sight within seconds.

A long silence ensues in the jeep.  Stiles reaches over and tangles his fingers with hers.

“You care too,” Allison remarks after a while.  “What Kate did to the Hales.  You didn’t tell him.”

Stiles just shrugs.  “He didn’t need to know.”

“Or maybe you knew he already knew,” Allison counters.  “I think you two… are a lot alike in some ways.”

“Ugh, really Ally?”

Allison huffs a laugh.  They don’t move again until Scott and Lydia call them to ask where they are.

 


 

Allison ends up buying the dress Peter recommended, partly because Peter really does have absurdly good taste in fashion, partly because she isn’t as picky as Lydia, and partly because Stiles can’t stop staring when she tries the dress on.

It’s even in her price range.  Her family comes from old money so she’s never wanted for anything material but her mom also put a limit on her monthly allowance to teach her how to manage her own money so Allison can’t go splurging it on everything like Lydia has a habit of doing.

Stiles drops her off at home.  She has a dress.  Lydia’s shanghaied her into a mani-pedi date on the day of the formal.

Kate is waiting for her in the kitchen when she gets through the door.  She grins when she sees the dress Allison is holding, and Allison tries to smile back.

“Well let’s see it,” Kate stands, and Allison unzips the jacket to reveal the silver dress.  “Oh good choice.  It matches your skin tone.  Really brings out your eyes too.  We’ll have to figure out what to do with your hair.”

…Are all serial killers closet fashion experts?

They chat like they haven’t in a while, inane things that don’t really mean anything in the long run.  Kate asks about Stiles, and Allison tells her a few things about him, nothing her aunt could use against either of them if that’s her angle here.

Kate wants something.  Allison can see that much.  She’s too interested in Stiles, and then she brings up Scott and seems even more interested.

“Does he know Derek Hale?”  Kate finally comes out and just asks.  Allison doesn’t have to fake her surprise at least, though she hastily injects some confusion as well.

“The guy who was arrested for a while?  From that family that died in that accident six years ago?”

Kate nods, eyes intent on Allison’s face.  “That’s right.  I’ve seen you around town with your two boys.”  She grins when Allison splutters a denial at that particular phrasing, and it hurts because even now, she can’t quite reconcile her aunt with the murderer.  “So I know what they look like, and I think I’ve spotted Scott walking around with Hale a couple times.  Has he ever mentioned an older friend?”

Allison shakes her head.  “No, I don’t think so.”

“How about Stiles?  I’m just worried, honey.  Adults hanging around teenagers for no reason can be dangerous.”

You’d know, wouldn’t you?  Allison thinks caustically.  Outwardly, she shakes her head again.  “Not Stiles either.  Besides, he spends most of his time every day with either Scott or me or both of us.  I really don’t think he’d have time to go meet up with someone else.”

Kate nods thoughtfully, and she seems to believe her.  Then again, not a single word Allison’s said has been a lie.  Well okay, Scott does know Derek, but they aren’t friends, and Stiles does spend most of his time with her or Scott, and he doesn’t go meet up with Derek; Derek comes and corners them.

“I should go hang this up,” Allison gestures at her dress before her aunt can ask her anymore questions, and Kate waves her off.  She barely gets to the doorway before Kate calls her back.

“We’re okay, right Ally?”  Her aunt’s resting her hip against the edge of the kitchen counter, arms crossed, and she’s smiling a bit but there’s also concern there.  “I get the feeling you’re mad at me about something but I can’t think of what.”

Allison’s jaw clenches briefly before she shakes her head and quirks a smile.  “No, we’re good.  I’ve just been busy with school lately.”

She hesitates.  One way or the other, her aunt will be gone very soon, either in prison or in a bloodbath.  And Allison hates that it’s come to this, hates Kate for doing what she’s done, hates that she herself is going to be playing a part in destroying her aunt’s life.

But someone’s got to do it, and she can’t leave Stiles to clean up her family’s mess alone.

“The dance is on Friday,” She says abruptly and hopes no one will mind her selfishness just this once.  “Lydia and I are going to get a mani-pedi in the morning.  I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if you came too.  We could spend the day together?”

Kate instantly brightens.  She looks genuinely happy that her niece has invited her along.  “I’ll clear my schedule.  I haven’t had a girls’ day out in forever.  We can go for lunch afterwards.  I’ll even pay for everything.”

“Great!  I’ll text Lydia to give her a heads-up.”

And somehow, in that moment, everything feels a lot like goodbye.

 


 

The day before the winter formal, Peter Hale tracks them down.  It isn’t that hard; they’re both in Stiles’ house, in the living room playing Mario Kart.  Allison is winning, and Stiles is a sore loser.  She’s wondering how many more banana peels and shells she’ll have to throw at him before he does something drastic like pitch his controller at the TV.

And then Peter is there, perched on the arm of the couch like he was invited instead of breaking in through Stiles’ bedroom window.

“Holy shit!”  Stiles yelps when he notices their visitor about a second after she does, and he really does throw the controller.  Peter catches it, blinks down at it for a moment, and then very calmly shoves Allison off Rainbow Road before speeding off towards the finish line.

Allison gapes indignantly at the screen and then at Peter and then back again.  “You jerk!  I was winning!”

“Not anymore, sweetheart,” Peter presses pause.  “Shall we talk?”

All at once, the atmosphere sobers.  Stiles sighs and switches off everything.  “Let’s go up to my room.”

Peter’s brought the files back.  He’s left them on Stiles’ desk, and that’s where he sits now, next to Stiles’ laptop.  Allison curls up at the end of Stiles’ bed, hugging a pillow to her stomach.  Stiles kicks his desk chair out and straddles it.

Everyone is silent for a minute.  Peter picks up the top file and thumbs the pages before finally focusing on Allison.  “What guarantee do I have that the rest of your family won’t come after me or my nephew once Kate and Gerard and the group of hunters under their command are in jail?”

Allison stiffens.  “I… I can’t speak for everyone in my family.  I don’t know most of them.  But my dad and my mom – Stiles looked; they never hunted anyone who didn’t break the Code first.  I- I don’t know if they’re prejudiced against werewolves or not but they’re fair.”

Peter’s head cants to one side.  “You’re not one hundred percent certain.”

Allison flinches, just a little.  She darts a glance at Stiles before pressing her lips together.  “…No.  I can’t be without at least talking to them, and I didn’t want to do that because I don’t know if they know what Kate did.  They weren’t part of it but if they know…”

She trails off, gaze dropping to her lap.  Her fingers find a stray thread on the pillow and pick at it.  She licks her lips and then looks back up.  “But I have a general idea of how the hierarchy works in my family.  My mom’s the matriarch right now so if she gives them the orders, no one will go after you.”

“You can’t be certain,” Peter repeats, blue eyes hard.

Allison glances helplessly at Stiles.  Stiles spins in his chair, toes sweeping over the floorboards, and then he stands and heads over to his closet.  It’s a walk-in, so they listen to him rifle through something in the back.  Allison is not surprised when he comes back with yet another file, one that she probably hasn’t read yet.  Stiles likes to do his research, and complete it, before showing his findings and plans to other people.  Allison’s tried following a few paper trails herself but she gets stumped in no time.  She can’t dig up dirt like Stiles can, uncover secrets people want to hide, and a part of her feels useless because of it.

“What you’re doing is technically not wrong,” Stiles begins, shutting the closet door.  “The people you killed wiped out most of your old pack when you guys did nothing wrong, and the mastermind behind it is a complete psycho.  For a pack as old as the Hales, pack law gives you the right to be judge, jury, and executioner, right?”

Peter’s eyes are bright, and he’s smiling.  Stiles takes it as confirmation.

“So,” He waves the file in the air.  “We appeal to the Tribunal.  They may not like how… obvious you’ve been ’cause that attracts unwanted attention from the civvies, but no one can claim you didn’t have the right.  We have evidence on our side, our case is solid, and I know Gerard probably has a lot of influence?  But even that’s not gonna save him or Kate when we dump this in the Tribunal’s lap.”

Allison snatches the file and flips through it.  She knows about the Tribunal – she learned about that right alongside Stiles.  The compilation here is clearly a rough draft, with notes in the margins, but it’s coming together already and the Tribunal couldn’t possibly ignore-

Peter plucks the whole thing from her hands and starts perusing it himself.  There’s a peculiar expression on his face, and when he looks up, it’s Stiles he focuses on.  “How did you do this?”

Yeah, Allison asks that a lot too.  Stiles just shrugs, scratching at one cheek.  “Research.  Internet guesswork.  Allison broke into her dad’s office and made copies of information on the Tribunal for me.  I broke into Deaton’s clinic and got my hands on a few books about pack laws and general supernatural dos and don’ts.  Then we put it all together.”

“Then you put it all together,” Allison corrects sharply because she really didn’t do anything, and Stiles has the bad habit of downplaying some of his accomplishments and believing it.

Stiles glances at her before swinging out one hand and knocking their hands together.

“I killed my niece,” Peter cuts in abruptly, and if that isn’t a mood-killer, Allison doesn’t know what is.

Yes, that.  That’s…

“PTSD,” Stiles counters readily like he’s gone over this argument with a fine-toothed comb.  He probably has.  Three times.  “Also, werewolf, paralyzed and in a coma for six years, suffering from fourth degree burns and wolfsbane poisoning.  You’d just lost most of your pack, your former Alpha, your soulmate – mate – and unborn child, and then the woman who was supposed to be your new Alpha abandoned you when she ran away with the only other surviving member of your family, which left you with no pack bonds, no support.  You tell me what supernatural court- what any court would condemn you for going batshit when you finally healed enough to move.”

Allison and Peter both stare at him.  Stiles squirms in his seat but then he lifts his chin with something like defiance.  “It’s a good defense.”

“Yes it is,” Peter agrees, and one look at him and Allison can see the hunger again.  “Are you looking to become a lawyer in the future, Stiles?”

Stiles makes a revolted face.  Peter laughs, a tiny, rusty sound that’s there and gone in a heartbeat.

“I could use that,” The man nods.  “I killed my nurse too but that can be handled easily enough.”

Allison exchanges a look with Stiles.  Stiles mouths Peter’s words back at her.  Allison shrugs.  Maybe the nurse was in the way.  She really doesn’t want to know.  They have enough problems as it is.

“But your parents,” Peter turns to her again.

Allison sighs.  “We could drop the evidence off at the station.  Email another copy to the FBI to make sure Kate or Gerard doesn’t try to destroy it if they get wind of it.  And I’ll be right there with Mom and Dad when the news breaks.  I’ll see exactly how they react.  And if they- But not even they can go against the Tribunal’s verdict, not without consequences.”

Peter studies her, and she wonders what he sees.  Her aunt?  A hunter?

And then he turns away.  Allison can’t say she isn’t a little relieved.  Being under Peter’s regard is a bit like standing on the wrong end of a predator hunting its prey.

The werewolf breathes in, then out.  He closes his eyes for a moment, and Allison wonders if he trusts them, just a little.

When he opens his eyes again, they’re not so cold anymore, not so crazed, but a deadness remains in them that makes Allison shiver.

Still, he looks at Allison.  He looks at Stiles.

And he nods once.

He’s more vulnerable in this one moment than Allison has ever seen him.

 


 

Winter formal comes first.  Even Peter – in mockingly amused tones – tells them to go be teenagers and don’t get caught fucking in the back of a car by a teacher.  He’ll polish up the case – he was a lawyer before the fire, and as good as Stiles is, Peter’s already seen a few holes that will need filling – and find Stiles to finalize everything once the dance is over.

Allison spends the morning and part of the afternoon with her aunt and Lydia, and it’s… it’s fun, yet at the same time, there’s a sick feeling in her gut that doesn’t leave until Allison is back home again and getting ready for the dance.  After that, it’s hard to let the darker aspects looming on the horizon get to her, if only because Stiles will be picking her up at seven, and there’s going to be a dance, and there’s a giddy nervousness zinging back and forth from both sides of the bond.

Her mother helps with her hair and makeup.  Kate rummages through approximately twenty-two newish pairs of heels before finally declaring one of them perfect for Allison’s dress.  Her dad grumps around in a corner and is generally useless until Allison – who doesn’t think she’s behind schedule until she remembers something practically intrinsic about Stiles that she really should’ve remembered before now – begins panicking.

“Stiles is gonna get me a corsage!”  Allison paces, flustered.

“Are you sure?”  Her mom asks, expertly guiding Allison into a chair before she messes up her hair.  “I don’t think any boy in this day and age would get their date a corsage.”

“It’s Stiles,” Allison tells her like that says everything.  It really does, to her at least.  “He’s an old-fashioned romantic.  The point is, he’s gonna get me a corsage.  I don’t have a boutonnière for him!”

Kate pokes her head out into the hallway.  “Chrissy, you’re a useless lump around here anyway!  Go get your daughter a boutonnière!  And make sure it matches the boy’s tie!  Ally, he’ll be matching your colours, won’t he?”

“His suit’s a darker grey,” Allison confirms, beginning to relax again.  She’s seen it hanging in his room.  “White shirt, dark tie.”

“You heard her, Chris, get going!”

“Where am I supposed to buy a boutonnière?”

“How am I supposed to know?  Look it up on the internet!”

It’s things like this, this good-natured bickering between her dad and her aunt, that reminds Allison of more ignorant times, back when she was oblivious to what her family really did for a living.  She almost wishes she could un-know everything she’s learned since moving to this town, but then that would mean living a lie and never meeting Stiles.

She wonders how things would go then, if she was still in the dark when Peter came calling.  Probably drowning in confusion and tragedy when she inevitably gets dumped headfirst and without warning into the supernatural deep end.  At least this way, she has Stiles, and she gets a say in what happens to her family.

She shakes the heavy thoughts away.  Tonight, she has a date with her soulmate.  They can get back down to business afterwards.

 


 

Allison is checking her purse when Stiles rings the doorbell.  She can hear her mom opening the door, and then a blend of voices ushering him inside.  She glances at the mirror one last time before toeing on her heels and heading out.

Everyone goes quiet when she descends the stairs but the best reaction is Stiles, whose eyes go wide when he catches sight of her.  His mouth even drops open a little, like he didn’t already see her in this dress when they went to buy it, and Allison has to bite her lip to stop herself from grinning too widely, pleased with the reaction and blushing lightly because of it.

She reaches the ground floor, and Stiles seems to give himself a mental shake before blurting out, “You look amazing.”

Allison beams, raking an appreciative eye over Stiles as well.  “You clean up pretty good yourself.”

Stiles flushes a charming shade of red before he clears his throat and steps forward, one hand extending with a corsage.  “Um, I got this for you.”

A spray of elegant dark red roses with black and silver ribbons to highlight them sit in its plastic case.  Stiles quickly fumbles it open, and Allison’s already holding out one wrist when Stiles glances at her for her approval.

She holds up the simple boutonnière she got for him and arches an eyebrow.  Stiles blinks, surprised, before his expression melts into something amused but still unmistakeably fond.  Allison fixes it into his suit before stepping back.

They make a striking pair.  Even she can tell.  They catch each other’s eye, and Allison doesn’t know what she did in a past life to get lucky enough to meet her soulmate in some random little town in California.

“Alright, pictures!”  Kate announces, startling both of them when a flash goes off.  “Look this way, lovebirds.  You can make gooey eyes at each other once you’re out the door.”

Both Kate and Allison’s mom have cameras in hand, and Allison’s dad has been delegated to taking video.

“It isn’t even prom,” Allison grumbles half-heartedly, but she can’t stop smiling when Stiles wraps an arm around her waist to pose for the first of many photos.

“Winter formal is equally important, dear,” Her mom tells her before instructing her and Stiles to switch places.

Allison mostly likes the way Stiles’ eyes always find her over and over again.  Then again, she’s the exact same way.

It takes about fifteen minutes for them to finally make it out the front door.  Stiles offers her his arm, and Allison laughs and takes it.  Her mother and Kate tell them to have a good time.  Her dad looks from Allison to Stiles and back to Allison before releasing a resigned sigh.

“Have her home by one,” He tells Stiles, giving him the evil eye in the process, but her curfew was midnight before so Allison calls it a win.

“Yes, sir, we won’t be late,” Stiles promises, and then they’re in Stiles’ car and heading for the school.

“At least I wasn’t shot,” He mutters, and Allison snorts with laughter as she fiddles with the jeep’s radio.  She’s already enjoying herself, and the dance hasn’t even started yet.

 


 

The night is about as perfect as it can possibly be.  They get there, and they meet up with Lydia and Scott inside.  Lydia already looks bored, and she’s eyeing Jackson with undisguised distaste.  To be fair, the lacrosse captain is already making out with a blonde girl near the far wall.  Allison hopes Lydia will have some fun tonight with Scott, although Scott is shuffling nervously in place, darting uncertain glances at the redhead beside him as if wondering if it would be okay to ask her to dance.

Allison turns to Stiles just as Stiles turns to her.  She knows they’re both thinking the same thing.

“Let’s dance then,” Allison grins and pulls him onto the dance floor.  Stiles follows, eager and happy.  They sway to the music whenever a slow one comes on, pressed up against each other like it’s the most natural thing in the world.  They giggle over to the buffet table after Stiles tried twirling her in the air and nearly tipped them both onto the floor like a pair of drunkards because Stiles is strong enough to lift her but he also almost tripped over his own feet while doing it.  Then they spend the next half hour trying to help Coach ask the world history teacher to dance without resorting to spiking both their drinks.

They fail miserably.  Finstock is not amused but Allison knows he’s soft on Stiles, and Stiles plies him with food until he grumbles and tells them to go make out in a corner like normal disgusting teenagers ruled by hormones.

It’s past eleven, they’re resting their feet, and Stiles has taken off his suit jacket, when he leans over.  “Wanna get outta here?  I have a surprise for you.”

“If the surprise includes a bedroom, my father will shoot you, soulmate or not.”

Stiles’ ears turn red, and Allison laughs, taking his hand.  “I’m joking.  Alright, lead the way.”

They lost Scott and Lydia ages ago but Stiles does pop a text to Scott to tell them he and Allison are leaving early.  And then Stiles is driving them away from the school, stopping only at a drive-thru for curly fries, onion rings, and hot chocolate before moving on.

They’re in a more remote part of town by the time Stiles pulls to a stop outside a house with a For Sale sign out front.  Judging by the state of the front yard, as well as the lack of furniture and layer of dust inside, nobody’s lived here in years.

But Stiles has a key, and he seems to know exactly where he’s going as he leads Allison up the stairs and then down one hall where a trapdoor in the ceiling is visible.  When Stiles pulls on the rope attached to the latch, the door swings open and a ladder slides down without a single squeak, hitting the floorboards with a muted thud.

“After you, my lady,” Stiles grins, gathering the food and drinks from her.  “I promise I won’t even peek.”

Allison glances down at her dress before rolling her eyes and pecking Stiles on the cheek as she reaches for the ladder.  “Peek.  I don’t mind.”

She smirks to herself when Stiles makes a strangled noise behind her.

She hoists herself into the attic, surprised to find that everything’s dust-free.  There’s a mattress in the far corner, with several blankets folded on top of it.  There are three lanterns by the bed, and once Stiles passes her the food and drinks and climbs up the ladder as well, he goes to turn them on.  The resulting light from each look like fireflies in the night.

“Get comfortable,” Stiles tells her as he crouches beside a portable heater to adjust the temperature.

Allison puts the snacks down on the floor before kicking off her heels and taking a seat on the mattress.  It’s comfortable and clean, and when she lies down on her back, she finds herself staring through the large window above at a diamond-studded sky.

“Oh wow!”  She gasps in a hushed voice.  It’s a clear night, crisp and cold but cloudless, and the moonlight streaming into the attic casts an ethereal glow over everything.

“It’s not quite a bedroom,” Stiles says as he joins her on the mattress and shakes out the blankets to cover both of them.  “But I doubt your dad would see the difference, so I won’t tell if you won’t.”

Allison just smiles, wriggling until she can rest her head on Stiles’ chest.  Stiles curls an arm around her, and they both settle down to gaze up at the night sky.

“I’m smooshing your dress,” Stiles comments after a moment.  “I forgot about that.”

“Who cares?”  Allison scoffs, far more interested in their surroundings.  “What is this place anyway?  How do you know about it?”

Stiles is silent for a while, tracing distracted patterns over her back.  “…It’s my old house.  When my mom was still alive, this is where we lived.  After she died, my dad and I moved out.  Dad built a lot of this house, you know?  He had some professional help with the foundations but the rooms and furniture and porch, he built with his own two hands.  This attic was one of them because Mom loved to stargaze.  It was his wedding gift to her when they got married.”

Allison listens to the wistful note in her soulmate’s voice and tightens her own arms around him.  She doesn’t ever want to know what it feels like to lose a parent.  She knows Mrs. Stilinski got sick when Stiles was younger, and she knows the Sheriff drinks and works too much.  It isn’t hard to figure out why.

“It was put up for sale but nobody bought it out of respect for the Sheriff,” Stiles continues.  “I’m pretty sure the real estate agents in this town don’t even show it to folks looking to buy a home here, or they make up something about it being unliveable.  Everyone knows my dad didn’t really want to sell it but keeping it was kinda pointless too since we had a new place.”

He falls silent once more.  Allison cuddles closer, seeking out his free hand and tangling their fingers together.

“Thank you for showing me,” She whispers and hopes he knows how much she means that, how much it means to her that he’s chosen to share another piece of his heart with her like he trusts her not to break it.

 


 

Stiles gets her home at twelve-fifty-two.  He jogs around his jeep to open the door for her before walking her up to her front door.

Allison is fairly certain her dad is spying on them through the living room curtains, and Kate is probably taking pictures from an upstairs window, and her mom is the only sane one who’s keeping both of them from interrupting before Allison rings the doorbell herself.  And if she knows, then Stiles probably does too because he’s more paranoid than she is.

But he kisses her anyway, right there on the front stoop, and it isn’t chaste and short like all their previous kisses have been.  He cradles her face with gentle hands and kisses her long and slow, and maybe it isn’t as deep as it could be, and it’s even a little awkward at first because neither of them has kissed anyone else before, not like this, but Allison is dizzy with it all the same once Stiles pulls away to let them both breathe.  Her lips feel swollen, and Stiles’ are in a similar state, with a faint smudge of Allison’s lipstick at the corner of his mouth.

They’re both flushed and hot despite the chilly night air, and Allison could honestly stand here all night kissing her soulmate, but Stiles just presses another kiss to her lips, gentler this time, and tamer, before pulling back once more.  One of his hands move to tuck a stray strand of hair behind her ear.

“I told you you look amazing tonight,” He tells her, earnest in such a Stiles sort of way that Allison can’t look away.  “And you do.  You… You put the moon and all the stars to shame.”

After what he showed her tonight, and what he told her about his mother, she knows he means that on more than one level.  She’s never had anyone admire her like this before, flowery and sappy and still meaning every word of it.

This time, she’s the one who crowds into him and kisses him, arms circling his neck to keep him close.  His eyes are twin pools of dark molten gold when she finally pulls away.

“You should take me out dancing again,” Allison smiles.  “I had a lot of fun.”

She’d have a lot of fun no matter where Stiles chooses to take her.

“Is that an invitation for me to start taking you out on proper dates?”

“You mean we weren’t already dating?”

Stiles gets that deer-in-the-headlights look for a split second before it clicks and he rolls his eyes.  Allison giggles, rubbing the lipstick from Stiles’ mouth with one thumb before stepping away.

She’d say their first date is a smashing success.

The door opens half a moment after she rings the bell, and Allison sees her parents and aunt already crowded in the foyer.

“Goodnight,” Stiles tells her, and Allison echoes the sentiment.  He bids her family goodnight as well, and then takes his leave.  She stands just inside the doorway and doesn’t move until the taillights of his car disappear.

She slumps against the front door as soon as it’s closed.  She knows she’s probably glowing.

“Well,” Her mom says briskly.  “I suppose we could do worse for a son-in-law.”

Her dad inhales the mouthful of whiskey he was drinking and starts coughing.  Kate cackles and pounds him on the back.

Allison grins despite the blush on her face.

It’s been a good night.

 


 

She gets one day to enjoy the memories of winter formal.  She doesn’t contact Stiles because she knows he’s working with Peter now.

She gets the reality-restoring text from Stiles on Sunday afternoon.

:It’s time.:

Allison takes five minutes to sit on her bed with her palms pressed into her eyes, having her last silent freak-out.  Then she straightens, grabs the gun from the middle drawer of her nightstand, and shoots back a confirmation.

:Ready.:

She pulls on a sweater and hides her gun in the baggy front pocket.  Then she heads downstairs.

She strolls into the living room where her mom is reading a book and her aunt is cleaning a gun.  That’s a little worrying but at least it’s disassembled.  Her dad is in his office working on something or other.

Allison scoops up the remote and switches on the TV, casually flicking through the channels.

Her palms are sweaty.  She finds a news channel and stops on it.

Stiles and Peter have been thorough.  Along with the police, the FBI, and the Tribunal, the media has also been informed.  There’s no hiding it now.  No doubt, Stiles and Peter have made sure every news channel is happily shouting the breaking news to the world.

The banner at the bottom blazes, ARGENT CONSPIRACY: SERIAL KILLERS IDENTIFIED?, and two photographs, one of Kate and one of Gerard, are blown up to fill the rest of the screen.

Mom hasn’t looked up from her book.  Kate’s examining the muzzle of her gun.

Allison takes a breath.  And then, “Oh my god Mom!!

Her mother’s head jerks up, eyes sharp and alert, looking first at Allison and then following her line of sight to the TV.

She freezes, and her book drops into her lap, forgotten.

Kate looks up as well, a question on her lips, and then she too sees what’s on TV, and her whole body goes motionless.  She doesn’t even seem to be breathing.

Allison’s shriek brings her father running, and he appears seconds later, glancing around the room before he also catches sight of the television.

He visibly staggers, and one of his hands come up to grip the doorway.

Allison helpfully ups the volume.

“-that the Hale house fire in Beacon Hills, California – ruled an accident that killed seventeen people, eight of them Hales who resided in the town as a much-respected family and the rest visiting relatives at the time – was not an accident after all.  We have conclusive evidence here that it was indeed arson, and the mastermind behind it is Katherine Argent, along with seven accomplices who were either colleagues or were bribed or coerced into assisting her.  It has also been proven that the Hale fire was only one of at least three other arson incidents across the States engineered by Katherine Argent, and one of a string of thus far unsolved murders committed by both Katherine and her father Gerard Argent.  More to come is-”

Kate,” Allison’s mother says, and it is the first time Allison has ever heard her mother speak like this, look like this, cold and hard and deadly as she glares at her sister-in-law.  “What have you done?

Kate leaps to her feet, features twisting into something darker, and if Allison had any remaining doubts about her aunt’s part in all this, they’re all gone now.

Her mother rises with Kate, book tumbling to the ground.  She has no weapon, but right now, with that look on her face, Allison isn’t sure she’d need one.

Her father on the other hand looks… devastated.  But not shocked, not like he has any trouble believing it, and god, doesn’t that say everything?

“They have evidence, Kate!”  Allison’s mother is hissing.  “Are you going to deny your part in- in these massacres?  The Hales followed the Code!  They were one of the oldest and most stable packs on the west coast.  Humans died in that fire!”

“They’re all the same in the end!”  Kate snaps back, contempt flashing in her eyes.  “They all deserve to be put down!”

Both women seem to have forgotten Allison is in the room and shouldn’t know what they’re talking about at all.  Allison is just fine with that.  She curls her right hand around the gun in her sweater, keeping all her attention on her aunt even while the TV reporter continues telling the public about Kate and Gerard.

And then, “-is staying with family in Beacon Hills and police are on their way to arrest her now-”, and Kate is jumping into motion, backing speedily away towards the nearest exit.  “That’s my cue.  We’ll agree to disagree, Victoria.  I-”

Allison breathes, steps forward, and brings her gun up.

Everybody stops.  The click of the safety coming off may as well be a gunshot.

“I’m not sorry,” Allison declares, and she is so, so thankful that neither her voice nor her hands shake as she levels the gun on Kate.

Kate stares.  And she has the gall to look betrayed.

“Allison,” She says slowly.  “What are you doing?”

Allison’s jaw clenches.  “Keeping you here.  Stiles and Peter are handling what goes where and making sure the FBI will be sending out a manhunt for Gerard and his people.  My job is to make sure you stay put until the Sheriff gets here to arrest you.”

She looks Kate square in the eye and doesn’t waver.  “If you run, I swear to god I’ll shoot you.”

Her aunt just looks at her like she’s gauging how serious Allison is.  “…Peter Hale got to you then?”

Allison grits her teeth.  “I didn’t even meet Peter until I knew about- about all this.  My soulmate, you know, is really fucking smart.  And when someone’s going around killing seemingly random people and Biting his best friend out of the blue, he tends to get a little curious too.”

Kate can put two and two together.  “Stiles.  I did wonder.  He isn’t exactly someone anyone would look at twice otherwise.”

Allison’s temper roars to life like oil on fire.  Her grip tightens on her gun.  “Anyone would be lucky to have Stiles in their corner.  He dug up enough dirt on you and Gerard and the lunatics working for you to put you all in jail ten times over.  He found out about werewolves on his own.  He taught Scott control.  He told me the truth and trusted me to be strong enough to handle it.  Which is already better than what this godforsaken family can do!

She’s yelling, she knows.  But she’s so enraged all of a sudden.  She’s cried her tears and mourned the loss of her rose-tinted view of her family.  But it occurs to her that it isn’t until now that she’s gotten truly angry about it, about all the secrets and lies her family is steeped in, about the psychotic nutjobs in her family who can walk around free after torching entire innocent families alive for a living.

“There were so many people in that house,” Allison spits out furiously.  “Children.  Peter lost his soulmate in that fire.  He had a son on the way!  And you killed them all when they did nothing!

“I’m a hunter, honey,” Kate sighs, sounding exasperated.  “It’s my job.  And okay, maybe I like my job more than most, which is just a plus in my opinion, but let me tell you, even your mom and dad have put down their fair share of mutts in their time, and not all of them were adults.  Not all of them were feral.  Some were even pregnant.  Omegas running away from their pack for whatever reason with their unborn spawn.  I’ve personally seen Chris put a bullet between the eyes of one.  Two birds with one stone, and it was a pretty easy job all around; everyone went home happy.  We’re Argents.  Nous chassons ceux qui nous chassent.  Hunting is what we do.”

Out of the corner of her eye, Allison sees her dad move like he wants to interrupt.  She doesn’t let him.  She can’t handle him verifying or denying what Kate’s telling her right now.  She can’t handle it if he lies to her face again.  She’ll have Stiles look into it later but she isn’t going to believe a single word coming out of her parents’ mouths for a long, long time after this.

“If that’s what it means to be a hunter,” She bites out instead.  “Then I never want to be one.  If that’s what it means to be an Argent, then I will tear our family down myself even if it takes me the rest of my life to do it!  What you do is wrong!  'We hunt those who hunt us'?  Give me a break!  You just use that as an excuse to kill!”

In the distance, sirens wail.  About time.

Kate shifts her weight, like she’s gearing up to bolt.  Allison takes a step forward.  “Don’t do it.  Don’t test me.”

Her aunt stiffens.  Her smile is almost amused.  “You’re really gonna shoot me, Ally?  Regardless of what I’ve done, we’re still family.  I’ve always been your favourite aunt, haven’t I?”

Allison doesn’t answer, throat tight, and Kate seems to think her niece doesn’t have it in her after all.

She turns.

Allison doesn’t blink.

A shot goes off, ringing in her ears like a scream.  Or maybe that was Kate because she’s now bleeding on the ground, a bullet wound through her thigh.

“I told you,” Allison repeats, and she barely recognizes her own voice, like ice and stone combined.  “Don’t test me.”

Kate looks up at her, features taut with pain and disbelief.  Allison stares back, numb down to her bones.

And then her dad is stepping in, his own gun aimed at his sister.  Allison can’t see her mother but she has a feeling she’s armed as well by now.

At least they don’t insult her by telling her she can put her gun down.

 


 

The police come, the Sheriff leading the way.  Her family has a license to carry weapons so there aren’t that many questions about the injury.  It’s patched up, and Kate is hauled away.  She tries once to break free before she’s forced into the back of a police car.

Her parents are warned not to leave town.

In the aftermath, the house feels empty even with three of its occupants still in it.  There’s a patch of drying blood on the floor that nobody bothers cleaning up.

Her parents hover and don’t seem to know what to say.

Allison huddles deeper into her sweater.  Her gun’s on the coffee table.  She pulls out her phone and sends off a text to Stiles.  :It’s done.:

Her phone rings almost right away.

“Do you want me to come over?” is the first thing Stiles asks.  Not are you okay or how are you feeling or even it’s alright, you did the right thing, and Allison is just so grateful that she doesn’t have to explain.

“Please?”  She chokes out.

“I’ll be there in ten.

The drive should take fifteen minutes at least.

He’s there in eight.  Either he picks the lock on the front door or nobody remembered to lock it after the police came and went, but he’s there beside her and neither of her parents have moved.  He sits down, and Allison barely waits for that before she’s all but crawling into his lap and curling up on top of him, head tucked under his chin.

She doesn’t give a fuck what her parents are thinking right now.

Stiles’ fingers comb soothingly through her hair.  Their bond pulses with warm reassurance, and Allison can feel some of the prior numbness slip away.

“What happened on your end?”  She finally croaks out, voice hoarse even though she isn’t crying.

“Well, Kate’s hunter friends tried to skip town,” Stiles’ voice lilts sardonically.  “Peter convinced them it was a bad idea.”

Allison snuffles out a snort against Stiles’ shoulder.

“Also, the Tribunal’s contacted us.  They’ve reviewed the case, and they haven’t come to an official decision yet but the letter was definitely more pro-Peter than pro-Kate.  In fact, it was pretty anti-Kate.  Anti-Gerard too.  They want Peter to lie low until Kate and Gerard and the others have been rounded up by the authorities.  They’re gonna send their own people out to help with the manhunt.  Gerard and Kate and company will be tried by a human court.  If they somehow pull off a miracle and win the case, then the Tribunal will deal with them.  Permanently.  They also want Peter to present himself to the Tribunal but it’s more a formality than anything else.  He’s the Alpha.  Beacon Hills is his responsibility now.  The Tribunal will keep a close eye on him for at least the next few years, see how he handles things, but if he behaves and doesn’t go nuts again, they’ll leave him alone.”

He pauses to breathe.  Allison digests the information.  She glances at her parents, who look to have been hanging on to every word.  “What about the Argents as a whole?”

Stiles makes a noncommittal noise.  His gaze meets Allison’s mom’s.  “I’d recommend… retiring before you get fired, if you get my drift.  You’ll probably be getting a letter soon too.”

Even Allison can feel the frigidity of her mom’s glare.  She has no idea how Stiles doesn’t flinch from it.

“He asked if we wanted to go,” Stiles continues after a moment of strained silence.

Allison blinks and actually lifts her head to look at him.  “You and me?  To meet the Western Tribunal?”

Stiles shrugs and nods.  “Peter says he can bring along… well, pack.  In fact, it’s practically expected, for an Alpha to take a few pack members along.  Bringing Scott would be… somewhere between hilarious and disastrous, and I don’t know if you’ve noticed but Derek isn’t exactly known for his diplomacy, not to mention there’s no telling if Derek will turn around and rip Peter’s throat out the moment he falls asleep or something.  I know we’re not exactly Peter’s Pack but we’re pretty much the closest thing the dude’s got to one.”

Allison has to concede that point.  Neither of them – as far as she knows – has entertained the idea of joining a pack, for all that they’ve committed themselves to helping the werewolf, but if Peter’s going to remain the Alpha of Beacon Hills, then Scott’s going to have to acknowledge that sooner or later whether he likes it or not or he’s going to become an Omega.  And if Scott joins, Stiles will join, and Stiles isn’t joining without Allison so Allison will join too.  If Peter ever becomes unreasonable, she’s sure she can shoot him.

“I’m seventeen,” Allison points out.  “You’re sixteen.  Won’t it be weird if the ‘packmates’ Peter takes along are two human teenagers?”

Stiles shrugs again.  “Peter says it’s okay.  He knows what we’re capable of, and the Tribunal isn’t too fussed about age apparently so long as we know the protocol and laws and don’t accidentally – or purposefully – insult someone and start a turf war or something.  Peter says he can teach us.  There’s only so much we can learn from books without actually experiencing it.”

Allison mulls this over.  “What about school?  It’s not like we can wrap everything up on a weekend, right?”

“Get your parents to sign you out for a week,” Stiles tips his head in their direction, and Allison darts a look at them.  Neither of them looks particularly happy with where this is going but Allison isn’t about to back down just because of that.  She’s got more stake in this than they do.  She’s going whether or not they sign her out of school.

“What about you?”  She turns back to Stiles.

“Impersonate my dad and call in sick.  Stomach flu maybe.”

“And your dad?”

“Lacrosse training camp with the team.  Consent forms are easy enough to forge.  I’ve done it before.”

Allison sighs.  “Stiles.”

Allison,” Stiles mimics, and they scowl at each other for a moment.

Stiles glances away first.  “I’ll think about it.”

Allison nods, satisfied.

There isn’t much else to discuss after that.  They’re content to sit on the couch and just take comfort in each other.  Allison’s parents don’t leave but they don’t speak either.

Stiles does eventually have to leave, and Allison sees him out.

“Thanks for coming,” She says once they’re on the front stoop, closing the door behind her.

Stiles squints at her.  “You’re my soulmate; you don’t need to thank me for that.”

Allison manages a half-smile but it falters soon enough.  Stiles searches her face before settling against the railing of the front porch, blinking expectantly at her.

“…Kate.  I don’t know how I feel about her,” Allison admits.

Stiles rubs a hand over his head.  His hair’s growing out from its buzzcut.  “Don’t you?”

Allison leans back against her front door.  “I hate what she’s done.  I hate that she turned out to be- to be what she is.”

She chews on her bottom lip.  The sting is welcome compared to the prickle in her eyes.  “But she’s…”

“Your aunt,” Stiles finishes, and Allison nods.

Stiles’ fingers drum against the railing.  “She’s family to you, Ally.  More than that, she’s someone you’ve loved your entire life.  Nobody expects you to flip a switch and just stop.  Feelings, unfortunately, don’t work that way.”  His mouth twists like he’s tasted something bitter.  “You can love someone and hate them too.  At the same time.  Life sucks like that.  It doesn’t make you wrong or weak.  It just makes you human.”

Allison looks at him and wonders.  She wonders about his father who isn’t around nearly as much as he should be and has an entire liquor cabinet to himself.  She wonders about his mother because frontotemporal dementia doesn’t kill, but she’s dead, and Stiles doesn’t like talking about it, and the few times it’s come up, he always touches his throat like he’s remembering someone’s hands there.

Not for the first time, she thanks the universe for giving her a soulmate who understands.

But isn’t that what a soulmate is for in the first place?  Stiles is cynical in a way no sixteen-year-old should be.  Even with what she’s found out about her family, Allison isn’t as bad.  Maybe that’s how she helps him in return – blunting the jagged edges Stiles is so good at hiding before he cuts himself on them.

She wraps him in a hug then, and she feels his arms automatically curl around her.  He’s calmer these days with her around, physically and mentally, like his ADHD doesn’t affect him as much.

“Keep an eye on Peter,” Allison says pragmatically as she pulls back, feeling stronger already and less like she wants to throw glass at a wall.  “For a crazy Alpha, he’s okay, but still.”

“Still,” Stiles agrees, pushing off the railing.  “Maybe I’ll play fetch with him to make him lighten up.”

Allison coughs around a startled laugh.  “You’re gonna get yourself mauled, Stiles.”

Stiles offers a grin.  “Guess I’ll have to risk it.  I haven’t come anywhere near the end of my list of dog jokes.  See you tomorrow, Ally.”

She watches him drive away before steeling herself and heading back inside.  She is not surprised to see her parents by the door, not bothering to even pretend they weren’t eavesdropping.

A stilted hush falls between them like a brick wall.  Her mom looks guarded and closed off.  Her dad looks like he’s aged ten years.

Allison looks at her feet.  And then she looks at her dad.  “Did you shoot a pregnant woman just because she was a werewolf?”

Her dad’s expression tightens.  “…I shot her because she was an Omega.”

Allison’s hands curl into fists inside her sweater.  “So you could’ve found a pack for her.”

“She was too far gone by then.”

“What about her kid?  Let me guess – it would’ve been too far gone too if you helped the woman give birth to it before you killed her, right?”

“Allison,” Her mother cuts in, sharp and harsh.  “Don’t talk about things you don’t understand.  Just because you know about werewolves now doesn’t mean you know what they’re really like.  They’re monsters.  They need to be killed when they lose control of themselves.”

Allison draws herself up.  Her nails bite into her palms.  “Do you have any idea how- how much of a Nazi you sound, Mom?  You say they’re monsters because they’re werewolves so they deserve to die.  Well our family’s human, and by my count, there’s already at least two monsters in it.  You don’t have to be a werewolf to be a monster.  For fuck’s sake, that’s common sense.”

She doesn’t wait for a reply before she’s turning on her heel and storming off towards her room.  Right now, she can’t stand to even look at her parents.

 


 

Allison climbs out her window on Monday morning to get to school.  She can pick up breakfast along the way.  She really doesn’t want to start another confrontation so soon.

But then Stiles texts, :Skip school n come over?:, and it’s not a hard decision to make.

She doesn’t bother with the front door, easily scaling the tree outside Stiles’ open bedroom window before swinging herself inside.  She drops to the ground in a crouch, and then blinks when she finds Peter sitting at Stiles’ desk, wearing a pair of sweats and a shirt with a towel draped over his shoulders.

Allison spares a second to wonder if she got the right house.  Peter looks almost normal like this.

“Hey, Ally,” Stiles strolls in, a tray piled high with food in his hands.  “Don’t mind Peter; he’s staying in the guestroom for the foreseeable future.  Or at least until my dad stops sleeping at the station, which isn’t gonna happen until this case is over and done with.”

Allison hums and flops onto Stiles’ bed.  Stiles puts down the tray and joins her.  Their hands immediately gravitate together.  “How’re the folks?”

Allison shrugs.  “We had an argument.  Sort of.  I went and locked myself in my room before we could finish it.”

Peter snorts around a mug of coffee.  Allison shoots him a dirty look.

Anyway,” Allison huffs, snagging a piece of toast for herself.  “Was there a particular reason you asked me to come over?”

“Yeah,” Stiles crosses his legs and glances at Peter.  “Peter’s gonna give us a crash course on pack etiquette for when we go meet the Tribunal.”

“Oh,” Allison nods, turning to face Peter properly as well.  “Okay.”

Peter blinks at them.  He looks almost thrown by their easy acceptance to learn from him.

Allison doesn’t know why.  Stiles would eat encyclopaedias for breakfast if they weren’t so dry, and she herself is determined find out as much as she can about the supernatural world.  You can never be too prepared.

Peter sighs and sets aside his coffee.  “If only Scotty had a quarter of your combined work ethic.”  He studies them contemplatively.  “Let’s start with the positions in a pack and what’s expected of each.”

 


 

Peter gives them access to some of the books he collected before the fire, old texts that neither Laura nor Derek knew about so couldn’t take with them when they fled.

The werewolf hands over three to Stiles easily enough.  There’s something terribly fond on his face when Stiles instantly dives into them like they’re oxygen.

Then Peter looks at her, and Allison can tell.  She lifts her chin and squares her shoulders and pretends she doesn’t care.  “You don’t have to give me anything.  Stiles can explain stuff to me after he’s finished.”

Peter doesn’t respond right away.  His fingers ghost over the worn leather binding of the book in his hands.  The pages are yellowed, and the gold script on the front is faded.

Peter scrutinizes her again before sighing through his nose and handing her the book.  “Be careful with it.  It’s an original.  Lose it and I’ll rip your throat out.”

Allison nods solemnly, cracking it open to the first page.  It’s in French.  Old French.  Written all by hand in black ink that’s smudged and washed-out here and there with time.

She settles down beside Stiles and hides a smile when he catches her eye.

Her family legacy doesn’t define her.  If even Peter can see that, can at least accept it no matter how grudgingly, then Allison can believe it herself.

 


 

In the end, Stiles tells the Sheriff about the supernatural instead of spinning more lies about lacrosse camps.  If Allison knew it would result in Stiles showing up at her front door soaked to the bone from the rainstorm, she wouldn’t have encouraged him to confess.

“I got Scott over there for show-and-tell,” Stiles mutters, hunched up on the couch in a fresh change of Allison’s father’s clothes, with a towel over his head.  “So he believed me but- I dunno.  He was still- I left as soon as he broke out the whiskey.”

Allison’s mother comes over with a mug of hot chocolate that Stiles accepts with a tired thank-you.  Things are still strained between them but when Allison glances at her dad, he nods, already pulling on a coat, and she knows he’ll be heading over to the Stilinski household for a chat with the Sheriff.  It’ll hopefully sound better coming from another adult.

There really isn’t much anyone can say to make this all better.  So Allison simply nudges Stiles until he’s lying down on the couch on his side, and after setting the chocolate down on the coffee table, she makes herself comfortable beside him.  It’s a bit of a tight fit even pressed together but she thinks Stiles needs the physical contact anyway.  She pushes thoughts of warm blankets and crackling fireplaces down their bond, relieved when Stiles finally begins to relax.

It says a lot that both her parents just leave them to it.

 


 

Stiles goes home in the morning.  Allison’s dad comes home wearing an expression carved from stone like he wants to punch something – possibly the Sheriff's face – and smelling like alcohol even though he probably hasn’t drunk a drop, but he tells her the Sheriff just needs to get used to the whole idea of the supernatural being a thing.  Also, he’s back at the station working on the case again so the man can get some time to think things through, and Stiles even has permission to go with Peter and Allison to meet the Tribunal now.  Allison has no idea what her dad told the Sheriff but it must’ve been good to get the man on board, however reluctantly.

She still doesn’t like it but she supposes it’s as good an outcome as anyone should expect.  She wonders how the Sheriff will take the news of his son finding his soulmate.  Stiles has told her that that’s a touchy subject in the Stilinski family ever since his mom died.  She hopes – for Stiles’ sake – that the Sheriff will at least fake being happy for Stiles if he can’t be genuinely happy for him.

There are other worries piling up – her parents have a summons from the Tribunal as well, most likely to strip the Argents of their hunter license.

It’s a mess all around, and Allison still isn’t sorry.

 


 

On paper, it seems like smooth sailing.  Kate is tried and convicted post haste.  And standing before the Tribunal is not as nerve-wracking a task as Allison thought it would be, especially with Stiles beside her.  They spend more time sightseeing in San Francisco with Peter than doing business with the Tribunal.

And Allison’s family is ordered to retire, with the exception of Allison should she choose to go down that path.  Stiles on the other hand is offered an apprenticeship on the Council.  He turns it down and gets offered a consultation position instead.  That, he promises to think about.

He still looks shocked by the time they get back to the hotel.  Peter doesn’t laugh outright but he smirks like the cat that got the cream and the canary.  He seems almost proud.

So everything goes well, their plan pulled off without a hitch.

Everything goes well, right up until it doesn’t.

 


 

Nobody manages to catch Gerard.  Mostly because Gerard struts into Beacon Hills one foggy night with a gaggle of minions, sets the Stilinski home on fire, and Allison only knows because she’s woken up by her soulmate bond surging with panic and pain and rage and someoneisgoingtodieforthis.

Her screaming wakes up her parents, and then they’re all tumbling out the door armed to the teeth and speeding towards the smoke in the distance.

The Sheriff is in Washington still coordinating with the FBI to wrap up all the cold cases that Gerard and Kate have committed over the years.  But Stiles was in the house, as was Peter, and they’re both thankfully alive and on the front lawn by the time Allison’s father pulls up to the curb with a screech of rubber.

“The Preserve!”  Peter snarls, staggering to his feet, still holding on to Stiles.  Both their clothes are singed, and Stiles has burns all down his right arm while Peter’s hands are already mostly healed.  “My nephew is living there!  Gerard will go there next!”

“Get in!”  Allison’s mother snaps, and it’s the strangest car ride Allison has ever been in, her parents up front while she, Stiles, Peter, and a crapload of guns are squished together in the back.  They pull away just as the first firetruck turns onto the street.

“What does he even want?”  Stiles gasps, chugging down some water from the bottle Allison produced for him.  “If he has time to be setting my house on fire, shouldn’t he be getting his wrinkly ass outta the country?”

“The fire was to flush me out and make me chase him,” Peter growls, halfway wolfed out, and it’s terrifying seeing it up close.  “He’ll take my nephew next as collateral, to make sure he can kill me after I Bite him.  He wants the Bite.”

For a few seconds, even Allison’s dad cranes his head around to stare, only concentrating on the road again when Allison’s mom shoots him a look.

“My father hates werewolves,” Her dad says with absolute certainty.  “He would never-”

“He would if he’s dying.  I looked into it.  He has terminal cancer.”  Peter bares his teeth in a macabre mockery of a grin.  “Isn’t it funny how impending death changes our priorities?”

Allison stares at the burns seared into her soulmate’s arm even as she patches him up as much as possible.

She has a gun.  She has bullets to waste.  And one of them has Gerard’s name on it.

 


 

Final showdowns are apparently now a thing that features in her life.  They’re all standing in front of the decrepit remains of the Hale house, there are bodies scattered on the ground, some dead, some not, Derek is heaving black goo, and the rest of them are all pointing something at someone else.

Stiles has a gun trained on one of Gerard’s remaining cronies, who – in turn – has a pistol pointed at Peter.  Allison has her own gun jammed under the chin of the hunter that tried to sneak up behind her.  Both her parents are poised to shoot Gerard full of holes, and the only reason they haven’t done it yet is because of the rifle Gerard is aiming at Allison.

“All I want is the Bite,” Gerard is rasping, expression cruel and void of mercy, leaking blood from a gash above his left eyebrow.  “I don’t plan on dying anytime soon.  Mr. Hale over there just has to give it to me, let me kill him, and the rest of you can go home.  I’ll even leave after I get what I want.”

Peter is the only one not holding a gun, although to be fair, his claws are dripping blood and gore after having torn through most of Gerard’s followers like they were made of paper.  He even managed to save his nephew, reversing the effects of a wolfsbane bullet just in time.

Now he’s standing, slightly more man than wolf, eyes burning a violent crimson as he drills holes into Gerard.

“We have no guarantee you’ll leave,” Allison’s mom replies frostily, gun never wavering.  “And you should pay for your crimes.”

“Come now, Victoria,” Gerard sighs like he’s reprimanding an unruly child.  “Surely you can see-”

What Allison’s mother should see is lost because apparently, Victoria Argent has no patience for supervillain monologues.  She fires, Gerard instinctively jerks back, cursing as he drops his rifle because one of his hands is now a bloody mess, and Allison dives to the ground, pulling the trigger of her own gun at the same time.  She misses her target’s head and gets him in the shoulder instead, but it’s enough because the bastard goes down with a howl of pain.

Someone else fires their gun, and Allison scrambles back to her feet, turning just in time to see Stiles plant a bullet in the last hunter’s brain.

Her soulmate looks around.  And then he shouts, “Allison get down!!

Allison tries.  There is legitimate terror coursing through their bond, and she’s never heard Stiles’ voice sound so raw before, but she’s too slow.

Everything seems too slow.  She sees her parents, horrified and angry and scared as one moves towards her and the other tries to get a good bead on Gerard.  She spots Gerard holding a handgun, one he must’ve had on him, and it’s pointed straight at her.

She’s going to die.  She knows it like she knows her own name.

She doesn’t want to die.

A single final shot rings out in the night.

 


 

Something slams into her with the force of a hurricane, a bulk of muscle and fur that sends them both crashing into the ground.  A snarl, vicious and animalistic, the stuff nightmares are built from, rents the air, and Allison hears it loud and clear as she skids to a stop, heart racing, blood pumping, shaking from the adrenaline of realizing death has missed her by a hair tonight.

And then she looks up at the figure crouching over her, and her eyes widen.

“What- Why?”  She whispers hoarsely.  “You don’t even like me.”

Peter coughs, or maybe he laughs, fur receding into his skin even as a gush of red liquid bubbles over his bottom lip to stain his chin.  He rolls off of her and slumps to the ground, chest heaving, and Allison doesn’t need to look all that hard to see the bullet wound that’s ripped his side open.

“Allison!”  And then Stiles is there, wild-eyed as his hands clutch at her like he can’t believe she’s still breathing.

“I’m fine, I’m fine, Stiles, he’s-” And she’s fumbling to fold her hands over the injury that’s rapidly spreading poison through the rest of Peter’s body, desperately trying to at least reduce the rate of blood loss.

Stiles swears and looks over his shoulder.  “I need a goddamn lighter!”

Gerard must be taken care of by now because there’s footsteps racing around and no one’s shooting anybody anymore.

Stiles half-rises like he’s going to meet whoever has a lighter on them, but then Peter’s hand shoots out, closes around Stiles’ forearm, and yanks him back down.

“No.”

Stiles goes still.  Allison feels like she’s going to shake out of her skin.

Peter convulses, and more blood slips from his lips.  But he has eyes only for Stiles, and he says again, “No.”

Stiles stares down at him.  Peter stares back.  His eyes are blue again, human but dead, always so dead, and Allison sits back on her heels and closes her eyes, pressing her lips together to stop whatever noise is tearing at her throat to get free.

She only opens her eyes again when Stiles moves, fingers of one hand curling around Peter’s shoulder in a white-knuckled grip.

“Thank you for saving her.”

Peter offers a glimmer of a smile.  He’s already relaxing despite the agony he must be in.  Stiles swallows hard.  He doesn’t ask are you sure or think about it or you can find something else to live for.  Instead, he turns and calls out, “Do you have morphine, Mr. Argent?  A dose big enough to put a werewolf under?  Lace it with wolfsbane maybe?”

There’s a terrible hush behind them, and then Derek is staggering into view and falling to his knees again a few feet away, and Allison can’t even begin to decipher the turmoil on his face.  “Peter- Uncle-”

Peter ignores him.  Maybe he hasn’t forgiven him.  Maybe he simply has nothing left to say to his nephew.  Either way, he just continues looking at Stiles, right up until Allison’s dad is suddenly there, grave and too pale as he hands Stiles a syringe before backing away again to give them a measure of privacy.

Peter’s hand finally drops from Stiles’ arm.  He’s still smiling, heartbreakingly genuine in a way Allison has never seen before.

“Do you want the Bite, Stiles?”  The werewolf murmurs at the sky above their heads.

Stiles taps the syringe against his thigh.  “Nope.  And I don’t care if you make it a deathbed request.”

Peter hacks out a wet laugh.  “I really do like you, Stiles.”

He extends his arm, and Allison presses her face into Stiles’ shoulder.

When she looks up again, Peter already seems to be drifting off, eyelids fluttering, head lolling, each breath coming a little slower each time.  The lines on his face – pain and age and grief and suffering – all seem to smooth over, easing like they were never there.

Stiles’ jaw works, and then he’s shifting over until he has Peter’s head resting in his lap.  Allison sniffs loudly, not even realizing she was tearing up until this moment, and she quickly drags a sleeve over her eyes before reaching out to cradle one of Peter’s limp hands in her own.  Her palms and fingers are stained and sticky from when she was trying to staunch the wound in the werewolf’s side but she doubts Peter cares about the mess.

Not now.  Not anymore.

““Quicker and easier than falling asleep”,” Stiles quips softly, and Peter apparently still has the energy to quirk a smile of quiet, lazy amusement.  In fact, blue eyes flicker open again with obvious effort, and there’s a weight in his gaze when he looks at Stiles once more.

“Humans can be Alphas too,” Peter breathes out, too quiet for anyone but Stiles and Allison to hear.  “I choose you.  Remember that.”

His eyes slide shut.  His fingers twitch once in Allison’s hands.  He draws one last breath.

 


 

In the distance, far away, amidst the stars and in the light of the moon, a wolf howls, joyous and free, and two welcoming howls answer it.

 


 

In the aftermath, Stiles pulls strings and goes toe to toe with Derek and threatens a few people until everyone relents and agrees to bury Peter next to his wife and unborn child instead of simply sticking him under the floorboards of the old Hale house.

The Sheriff is frantic when he gets home, having heard about the fire, and it didn’t help that Stiles’ phone was destroyed along with everything else.

The Sheriff stays at the station until they can find a new place.  Stiles moves in with Allison.  He gets the guest bedroom, and Allison’s parents were the ones who brought up the idea before even Allison could.

Gerard is deader than a doornail.  Allison’s dad finished him off with four bullets to the head and one more to the chest just to be thorough.  Considering the old bastard was about to kill Allison and ended up killing Peter, nobody gives a shit that Gerard can no longer stand trial.  He would’ve gotten the chair anyway.

The others are rounded up.  Law enforcement all over the States are celebrating.

Derek is not the Alpha.  The power was – for some reason – not passed on to him when Peter died, and the moody Beta stalks Scott for weeks afterwards, glowering at the boy like he’s waiting for the red to take over the gold because he’s the only other werewolf in town.

Allison thinks of Peter’s last words, spoken on the wings of his dying breath.  She looks at Stiles and watches her soulmate break up fights between Scott and Derek and force them both into proverbial time-out corners and convince Derek to teach Scott some werewolf-y moves.

She says nothing.  Stiles will figure it out soon enough, if he hasn’t already.

Things quiet down.  The Tribunal dithers over what to do about two Betas running around with no Alpha but no evident mental deterioration from the remaining werewolves either.  They’ve agreed to a trial period so long as Stiles gives them an update once a month.  Stiles agrees.

School is still in session.  Somehow, their group has grown to include Lydia and Jackson, the former seeming more genuine these days, the latter still a douche.  Allison is pretty sure they’re back together.

Scott’s somehow made friends with a boy named Isaac when nobody was looking.  Stiles keeps shooting him suspicious looks but he hasn’t said anything yet so Allison assumes he’s putting the clues of a new mystery together.  Her soulmate will tell her when he’s ready.

And then, of course, there’s them.  Allison and Stiles, Stiles and Allison.

Stiles takes Allison out paintballing once.  Another time, a dessert convention three towns over.  And every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, he cooks for the Argent household.  Even her parents are impressed with the food.

Allison, in turn, drags Stiles out to a huge archery range she found on the internet in the next county.  Spring Break swings around and they head down to Anaheim to enjoy Disneyland.  Scott, Lydia, Jackson, Isaac, and even Derek tag along.

(When they get home, Isaac’s father has been arrested for child abuse, and Stiles’ end of the soulmate bond exudes vindictive smugness for the rest of the week.)

Isaac moves in with Scott.  They’re not soulmates but they seem to click pretty well.  It makes her feel better on the few occasions she thinks about how much time she and Stiles are spending with each other these days.

Things are better.  Allison still misses Kate, and there isn’t a week that goes by without her and her parents butting heads over the Code and werewolves, but it probably helps that neither of her parents are hunters anymore.

And Stiles.  Sometimes, Stiles goes and visits Peter’s grave.  On occasion, Allison goes with him, but most of the time, she doesn’t.  They knew each other for such a short time, but even she can tell that Stiles and Peter understood each other on a different level than anyone else.  Or perhaps a deeper level. Either way, Allison respects it and gives her soulmate space when it seems like he wants to visit Peter alone.

On occasion, she thinks back to the beginning.  Thinks about where she would be right now if she never met Stiles, or if they weren’t soulmates and weren’t immediately drawn to each other.

She’s okay with never finding out because she’s pretty darn happy now, and she can’t imagine not having Stiles in her life, always just a thought away.

As if on cue, the bond stirs to life inside her, and the impression of a sleepy yawn zigzags down the connection, followed by a crystal clear, ~Mornin’.~ in her head.

Allison smiles up at her ceiling, stretching languidly as she squints against the morning sunlight streaming through her curtains.

~Good morning,~ She thinks back, and then sends a picture of pancakes.

Stiles grumbles of course – he is not a morning person – but Allison knows she’ll be getting chocolate-chip pancakes for breakfast.

Maybe even in bed.

Stiles groans, arousal prickling along the bond.

~I hate you.~

Allison grins.