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Child of the Wolf

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So it was the day before school started and Stiles was minding his own business at home in the kitchen, his computer open with a fucktillion webpages on werewolves and magic (and okay maybe a porn site in the background, shut up it was soft-core). The house was quiet and Stiles was able to flick between three things at once without having to listen for Dad or the pitter-patter of werewolf footsteps.

Just as Stiles decided he needed another sandwich, he heard his father's car pull into the driveway. He had just enough time to pull the newspaper over his sketchbook on the drawing of the latest weird creature in Beacon Hills, lock his laptop screen, and fling himself casually into a chair when his father appeared in the doorway.

Father and son stared at each other for a moment. "Aren't you in the middle of a shift?" Stiles asked, unable to keep his mouth shut for longer than absolutely necessary. "Everything okay?"

His father rubbed his hand over his face. "You're grounded," was all he said.

"Dad!" Stiles jumped to his feet, upending his chair and nearly toppling to the floor. "What the actual hell!"

He frantically tried to remember what he'd been doing in recent days that might have set his father's law-and-order instincts off. Sure, there might have been a spot of perfectly justifiable grave robbing the previous week, but Stiles and Derek had been trying to save Isaac from a succubus and that totally took precedent.

"You're grounded forever," Dad said, chopping at the air with his hand. "In fact, we should talk military school."

Stiles flapped his jaw, but no words came out. He gestured wildly in what he hoped conveyed, are you insane?

His father walked over to the fridge and pulled out the orange juice. Such an innocuous action jump-started Stiles' mouth. "What? When? More specifically, what?"

Dad knocked back a mouthful of juice and put the empty container in the sink. "This town is dangerous, Stiles."

"Yeah, Dad, I got that memo two years ago," Stiles snapped. "So what?"

"More dangerous than you know," Dad shot back, leaning against the counter.

Stiles highly doubted that, because if there was more shit out there than what he'd already been dealing with, he was just fucking done. Instead, he tried to drag his mind back into normal law enforcement mode. "So, what, new sex offender in town?" he asked. "Serial killer? Is it an election year?"

The glare Stiles got was pure Stilinski bitchface, but at least his dad wasn't freaking out anymore. "You need to listen to me. You're grounded until school starts."

"Great," Stiles said, throwing his hands wide. "Fine. Sure. Are we done? I need to meet Scott in an hour."

Dad huffed, frustrated. "You're not listening to me, this place is-"

"Dad! It's Beacon Hills, it's the same as it's always been!" And the sad, sad thing was, Stiles wasn't even lying. Beacon Hills had always been full of werewolves and witches and hunters and other crazy shit, even if the people in town refused to see the truth. "I'm fine!"

Which also wasn't a lie. He may have spent two years being fate's bitch, his best friend being a werewolf and the whole town a festering cesspool of weird, but that was just Stiles' new normal. He was fine. No big fucking deal.

Dad's attention focused on Stiles like a laser-sight, and he was moving across the kitchen, grabbing Stiles' shoulders and pulling him into a too-tight hug, like Stiles was a little boy with a snuffly nose and scraped knees, not the man Stiles was.

A short, scrawny, nearly-always terrified man with perfectly justifiable anxiety attacks and more than a hint of PTSD, but still.

"I need to know you're safe," Dad said against Stiles' hair. "You get that, right?"

And Stiles did, because he spent every day feeling the same way about his father. "Yeah, Dad."

Dad let Stiles go, ruffling his hair as he did so. Stiles made a face, ducking away.

"I have to go back to work," Dad said, picking his hat up off the table. As he did so, he upended the concealing pages on top of the drawing of Beacon Hills' latest supernatural visitor. Stiles steeled himself for a question, ready with a quip about his artistic ability, but Dad just gave the drawing a long look, and put his hat back on his head. He cleared his throat. "You be careful," he cautioned.

"Like a bull in a china shop," Stiles promised. His father appeared unconvinced, but he walked out the door, leaving Stiles once again alone.

Stiles waited until he heard his father's car drive away, before slumping into his chair and letting his head thump against the wooden table.

What in the name of fuzzy werewolf dreams was that?


"I hate you."

Scott looked up from the side of the road, looking wounded. "I didn't do this!" he protested.

Stile poked once more at the jumble of wires under the jeep's hood. "I'm not talking to you, fur-head," he snapped. "What the hell am I supposed to do with this?"

"For the last time, call a tow truck," Scott said. "I don't know anything about car engines and neither do you."

Stiles pushed away from the car, looking up and down the deserted forest road. He and Scott had been on one last before-school walk in the forest to try to locate the wendigo rumored to be hiding in the hills, and his jeep had sputtered to a halt just as they crested the final hill in the Beacon Hills forest preserve.

Honestly, it had seemed like a good idea at the time.

If Stiles survived this day, he was going to have that inscribed on his tombstone.

"You know if I call a tow truck, my dad's going to kill me," Stiles said. "Either that or ship me off to military school, and you know that obeying orders gives me hives."

"How would I know that, you've never done anything you've been told in your whole life," Scott pointed out. He was staring down the road to the east. "There's a car coming."

Stiles would have to believe werewolf ears for that one. "Maybe they can help," he muttered, flinging himself against the side of his car.

Scott frowned, his hands hanging loose at his side. "It's just..."

Stiles narrowed his gaze at his friend. "What?"

Scott licked his lower lip. "It's that Allison mentioned that there might be some people coming to town."

Stiles blinked, Scott's words hitting him hard. He took a deep breath, trying to suck in some air around the weight of his heart sinking in his chest. "What, like hunter people?" Stiles asked. "And now we're trapped in the middle of a freaking forest and you just think to mention this now?"

"I didn't think she meant so soon!" Scott shot back, just as in the distance a car rounded a hairpin turn and drove into view.

Stiles' heart nearly gave out in relief. It was one of the official cars from the Sheriff's department, painted the familiar safe white and black. "Oh man, you're still fired."

"What?"

"You got to share this whole 'hunters coming to town' shit with the team, bro," Stiles said as the car slowed down on approach. "And since when are you talking to Allison again?"

"She texted," Scott replied, as the car rolled to a halt on the side of the road. "She's coming back to school tomorrow."

Stiles was going to say something witty and snarky, as was his way, when the door of the police cruiser opened and a stranger stepped out.

Sure, she was wearing a Sheriff's department uniform, hair pulled back severely from her face and so totally hot it was surprising she wasn't on fire, but she was a stranger to Stiles and he had known every single person to serve with the Sheriff's department since he was three.

He didn't know this woman.

He and Scott were alone on top of the mountain with this stranger in deputy's clothing, and she had a gun.

He had a werewolf, but those things never evened out in the end.

The woman in the deputy's outfit walked towards the jeep. "Are you having some trouble?" she asked, her voice unexpectedly husky. If Stiles hadn't been having a panic attack, he might have been gaping at her total hotness, even in the deputy outfit.

"No, we're fine," Scott said quickly, picking up on Stiles' silent freak out. "You know. Out for a walk."

The stranger-deputy raised her eyebrows at the two of them, going around them to shine her flashlight at the engine beneath the upraised jeep hood. "You have any enemies?" she asked after a minute.

"Nope," Stiles said automatically, backing away and pulling Scott with him. "We're living enemy free these days."

The stranger looked at him oddly. "Really? Because someone's sliced through your antifreeze line," she said, pointing at a spot in the engine. "You must have overheated at the top of the hill."

"Silly me," Stiles said, smacking himself in the head. "I'll get that looked at."

The deputy slipped her flashlight into a loop on her service belt. "Why don't I give you boys a ride into town and we can call a tow truck to come up and retrieve the jeep?"

Stiles stared down at her. She was really short, even in her deputy boots, with auburn hair pulled back off her face and the greenest eyes Stiles had ever seen, even considering a lifetime of staring at Lydia Martin, and quite possibly the cutest nose in existence.

He just hoped she wasn't going to try to kill him, because that would put a real crimp in his fantasy life.

"Come on, hop in," she went on, gesturing towards the cruiser.

"Ah, see, here's the thing," Stiles said, far more hopeful about his chances of survival in an open air fight rather than being trapped in the back of the car. "So, I'm sure you're very nice and everything but I don't know you and I know all the deputies and their families and sometimes even their household help, so no thanks, we're good."

Far from looking annoyed, or even surprised, the woman nearly smiled at him. "Blue jeep, chatty to the point of irritation, you must be the Sheriff's kid."

"I am-wait, what?" Stiles demanded, but the woman was already reaching for her shoulder-radio and calling in.

"Dispatch, this is Deputy Rushman, I'm up on the edge of the Beacon Hills forest preserve with a stalled jeep and two minors in need of a lift."

A burst of static, and then a familiar voice came over the radio. "Roger, Deputy Rushman," said Margery's voice. Stiles nearly collapsed in relief. He'd known Margery for nearly his whole life, trusted her as much as he could trust anyone in the Sheriff's department. "Are you going to bring them in?"

"I'm trying to," Deputy Rushman said, never taking her eyes off Stiles. "One of the individuals would like to verify my identity."

Stiles heard Margery's sigh over the static. "Stiles, is that you?"

He edged closer to the deputy and said, "Hey, dispatch, what's your 10-20?"

"Button it, Stiles, and let Deputy Rushman do her job," Margery ordered. "If you mess up her first day on the job here in Beacon Hills, I suspect your father might have something to say about that. Now you get in the patrol car and come back into town."

"Yes ma'am," Stiles mumbled automatically.

"Dispatch, I'm suspending my patrol for the time being," Deputy Rushman said. "Will resume at the end of shift."

Margery rogered out, and the deputy looked up at Stiles and the hovering Scott. "So," Stiles said, smiling sheepishly at the woman. "How about that ride back into town?"

The deputy waved her hand at the patrol car. "Get in."

She turned to open her door. Stiles turned to say something to Scott, but his friend was no longer at his side. While they'd been talking, Scott had been edging closer to the deputy, until he was standing right beside her.

And then, to Stiles' everlasting humiliation, Scott sniffed her.

"Oh god," Stiles muttered in utter mortification. He sprang forward and hauled Scott away to the other side of the car, away from the deputy and the puzzled look she was giving Scott. "You are the most embarrassing person I have ever met!"

"What?" Scott demanded in a stage whisper.

"You can't just go around smelling girls, are you some kind of stupid person?" Stiles hissed. He shoved Scott at the back-seat door. "No shotgun for you."

Stiles slid in the passenger side door and buckled in, certain his face was red with embarrassment. Yeah, he was sure the new deputy smelled nice and all that, but it was like a rule, you didn't just go around smelling girls. It was creepy and stalkery and you didn't just smell people, no matter if they looked like they might smell like cinnamon and cloves and gunpowder.

Scratch that. Maybe Scott wasn't the one acting like a creeper.

Deputy Rushman slid into the car, checking the mirrors and stowing her hat on the seat between her and Stiles. "Everyone buckled in?" she asked.

"Yes ma'am," Stiles said, hearing Scott give a similar response from the back seat. And with that, the deputy started the car and pulled out into the road.

They drove in silence for a few minutes, letting the police radio crackle with muted ambiance. The deputy kept her eyes on her surroundings, taking in the forest and road turns with interest. It wasn't until she shifted her gaze to him, that Stiles realized he'd been staring.

"Do you boys often spend time out walking in the woods?" Deputy Rushman asked.

"You know," Stiles said, "School starts soon and we won't get a chance to commune much with nature."

"It's nice to get away from town," Scott added, and Stiles realized with horror that Scott was pressed up against the wire screen separating the backseat from the front part of the cabin, his nose inches away from the deputy's hair. "Gives us a chance away from checking everyone's Facebook status."

The deputy raised an eyebrow as she glanced in the rearview mirror. "If you say so."

Stiles turned around to give Scott the stone-cold glare he deserved. It wasn't on the same level with the Derek Hale deathstare, but Stiles was getting close. "So, Deputy Rushman," Stiles said loudly. "What brings you to our little town?"

The deputy shrugged. In profile, her nose was even cuter than Stiles first imagined. "The job posting came up. I wanted to come back to the West Coast."

"Where were you posted before?" Scott asked. He made the question sound reasonable, as if he wasn't still inhaling the woman's scent.

"New York."

Stiles and Scott exchanged a glance. Stiles' mind went back to the idea of new hunters in town, and he wondered from how far away they might come. "Cool," was all Stiles could think of to say.

"So," the deputy said, pulling off the preserve road and into traffic. "You're Stiles Stilinski, does that make you Scott McCall?" she addressed the backseat.

Scott sat back. "Yes," he said slowly, shadows on his face. Two years before, Scott would never had looked like that, never have thought the worst of people. But that was before Scott had been turned into a werewolf, before the Argents came to town, before Gerard and the Kanima and the Alpha pack.

Back when he and Stiles had still been boys.

"The Sheriff talks about you," Deputy Rushman said, stepping on the gas.

"All good, I hope?" Stiles quipped.

A slow smile spread across the woman's face, and Stiles nearly swooned. The woman was breathtakingly gorgeous. He just hoped she wasn't a Hunter, that would suck beyond measure. "Something along the lines of, part of our local Scooby Doo gang."

Scott's eyes went wide, and Stiles nearly choked on his indignation. "Scooby Doo?" he demanded. He turned to Scott. "You're Shaggy."

"You're Shaggy, dork," Scott said, kicking the back of Stiles' seat. "I'm Fred."

"I take it back," Stiles said. "You're Scooby Doo."

Scott kicked the back of the seat again. "You get to be Velma," Scott said. "Lydia is Daphne."

Stiles snorted. "So who does that make Scrappy Doo?"

He met Scott's eyes, and couldn't stop himself from grinning. "Jackson," they both said at once, and Stiles could barely hold down hysterical laughter.

The thought of Jackson Whitmore as Scrappy Doo was so entertaining that Stiles nearly missed the part where Deputy Rushman pulled the patrol car up in front of the Sheriff's station. That brought Stiles back to reality with a bump.

"Oh crap."

He stared at the deputy, feeling somehow betrayed, as she put the car into park and sat looking at him.

"What did I ever do to you?"

Deputy Rushman jerked her thumb towards the station. "You should head inside. I'm sure the Sheriff will want to speak with you."

"I really thought this was the start of a beautiful friendship," Stiles grumbled. He got out of the car, remembering to let Scott out of the backseat. With a wave, Deputy Rushman pulled the car out of the parking lot, leaving Scott and Stiles standing on the pavement.

"We could just run," Scott suggested as they stared at the front door of the Sheriff's station. "Pretend none of this ever happened."

"Not possible," Stiles said. "You know Margery, she probably told Dad the second after she talked to us on the hill. Running will only make it worse."

Scott slapped Stiles on the back, nearly putting him on the ground. "Have fun in military school," he said as he headed towards the station.

Just because, Stiles punched Scott in the kidney. "At least I'm not some freak who was slobbering on the new deputy, bitch."

"I was not!" Scott yelped.

"Dude, if you had been any closer to her, you'd have been violating about sixty sexual assault laws."

"That wasn't it!" Scott exclaimed, for the first time looking a little worried. "Did it look that bad?"

"If I was a girl, I'd have tasered you no question," Stiles said, jerking open the front door. "Hey, Mark."

Deputy Strong glanced up at the boys' entrance. "Hey Stiles," the man said. "The Sheriff is waiting."

"Of course he is," Stiles muttered. With a wave, he and Scott walked down the hall.

It had been months since the massacre, the blood long cleaned up, the bodies long buried. But Stiles still remembered seeing the bodies of the dead deputies, feeling the spine-chilling fear of the Kamina, of Matt's psychotic break.

It was the smell, more than anything, that stayed with Stiles. Not rot, not putrefaction; the bodies had been too freshly killed for that. No, what Stiles remembered was the mix of blood and urine and shit, bodies letting go in violent death.

Breathing was suddenly difficult, and Stiles didn't know how he could have gone on, if Scott hadn't put his hand on Scott's shoulder to give him a push.

Scott had been there too. He knew. He remembered.

Just a few more steps, and Stiles had recovered himself when they made it to the Sheriff's office. Dad was in his chair, hunched over paperwork, and he didn't look up until both Scott and Stiles were in the room.

"Sit."

They sat.

Dad put down his pen and looked up to face the boys. He looked about as old as Stiles felt. "What part of 'you're grounded' don't you understand?" he asked.

Stiles shrugged. "It might have been the 'you're' part," he tried, but the words fell flat. At his side, Scott fidgeted in his chair.

Dad folded his hands on top of the paperwork. "Deputy Rushman found you up on the preserve, didn't she?"

"Yes, but-"

"Do you want to remind me how many people have died up in the preserve in the last few years?"

"Um, like nine, but that's not the point, Scott and me are always safe," Stiles said. For the thousandth time, he just wanted to say, I've got a werewolf in my back pocket and I'm not afraid to use him, but he didn't think Dad would appreciate that.

Dad just looked at him. And then, for reasons Stiles didn't understand, he shifted his gaze to Scott.

And held it.

Scott, a small frown furrowing his brow, stared back at the Sheriff. The moment stretched, beyond a simple disapproving look, and Stiles realized that Scott's eyes were shifting gold into a full-on werewolf glare.

Oh shit, Stiles thought, freezing in place as he tried to figure out what to do. There wasn't anything in the Beacon Hills survival manual about when your Sheriff father and werewolf best friend got into some manly stare down.

Then Dad blinked, and the gold faded in Scott's eyes. "You boys need to stay safe out there," Dad said, but to Scott, not Stiles. "This place is dangerous."

"I know that," Scott said, the barest hint of a growl in his voice.

"Good." Dad glanced at Stiles. "I'll be working late, getting the new deputy up to speed. You good for dinner?"

"Yeah, I'll nuke a hot pocket," Stiles said, shooting to his feet. "Good talk. C'mon, Scott."

Scott stood slowly, giving Dad a nod and letting himself being ushered out of the office and into the hallway.

Stiles kept himself from exploding until they were out of the station and clear down the sidewalk. "Dude, did you just wolf-out in front of my dad?" he demanded.

Scott ran his hands through his hair. "Shut up, man, I don't know! He was just all up in my face!"

"That? Was not up in your grill. That wasn't even anything," Stiles insisted. "And yet here you are, all vamping out in my dad's office and slobbering over the deputy, what the fuck?"

Scott stalked off down the sidewalk, leaving Stiles to run to keep up. "It's just-" Scott said after a few minutes. "She smelled like Allison."

Stiles ducked in front of Scott, stopping him in the middle of the sidewalk. "Who smelled like Allison?" Stiles asked, because it sure as hell wasn't Deputy Rushman.

"Who else?" Scott asked. He pushed past Stiles, but he was moving slower now, so Stiles didn't have to risk a twisted ankle to keep up.

"Okay, no," Stiles said. He take the knowledge to his grave, but he'd spent enough time in Allison's presence over the last two years to know that she smelled like melon shampoo and that purple body wash stuff, that her psycho wolf-killing family used Tide laundry detergent.

The deputy hadn't smelled like any of those things in the enclosed space of the car, just the leather of her holster and the fresh scent of the green pines in the woods.

"She did," Scott insisted. "Like, not on the surface, like under her skin."

Stiles rubbed the back of his neck, suddenly uncomfortable. "You mean, like, a girl thing?"

"No, the other girls don't smell like that," Scott said right away, then he got what Stiles was hinting at. He blushed and threw a punch at Stiles. "Not like," and he lowered his voice, "Not like they're on their period or anything."

"Oh my god," Stiles exclaimed, walking away from Scott. "You can tell when they're-" He couldn't even bring himself to say it. "Oh my god!"

"That's not it!" Scott insisted.

"Good!" Stiles paused. "Although it would make life around Erica easier at times."

"Shut up, it's just something," Scott said, hurrying to keep up with Stiles. "Like you taste something and know you've tasted it somewhere before, but can't remember where?"

"Maybe it's some Hunter thing? Like wolfsbane aftershave or something?" Stiles suggested.

"No," Scott said right away. "It's not anything I've ever smelled in anyone else. Just Allison."

"Well, that's good," Stiles said. "I wouldn't want-" He pulled up short, nearly tripping over his feet.

"What's wrong?" Scott asked.

Stiles kicked the ground, frustration welling up in his chest. "Hunters are coming to town, my life is shit, my jeep is stranded at the top of the forest, and it just occurred to me that my dad's spending the night with the hot new deputy," Stiles snapped. "What isn't wrong with my life?"

As if in answer, a familiar black car rolled down the street and slowed to a stop beside Stiles and Scott. The window rolled down, and Derek Hale glared out at them. "In," he said.

They got in.

"We've got a problem," Derek said as he accelerated down the road. "There's been another wendigo attack. Boyd and Jackson are meeting us there."

Scott and Stiles exchanged a glance. So much for that hot pocket, Stiles thought glumly. At least Dad wouldn't be home to miss him.

"What do you need?" Stiles asked, squaring his shoulders.

Time to go save the world.