The strangest thing about this assignment isn’t the part where their higher ups tell them that werewolves are real.
After all, in a world where aliens frequently make the Earth a stopping point on their vacations, werewolves aren’t even close to being the weirdest thing Tim has seen while working with Kon-El. He has an alien hybrid shadowing his every move and drinking his milk straight out of the carton. Finding out that werewolves exist is a piece of cake when Tim compares it to having proof of extraterrestrial life sleeping in his spare bedroom.
No, the strangest part of their assignment working underneath the National Preternatural Protection Service is the way that the revelation doesn’t change anything about Tim’s life except for the types of cases that he takes with Kon once in a blue moon.
Life goes on.
Work drags on.
Kon keeps drinking his milk and leaving the empty carton in the fridge instead of dropping it into the recycling bin. Everything is as normal as it can be until Tim gets a call about a mission in California a year after their first meeting with the higher ups. After that, things start to get weird.
Despite files on werewolf residents going back to the late fifties, Beacon Hills, California is too small to have a local NPPS office. What Beacon Hills does have is Alan Deaton’s veterinary clinic and a human-werewolf team with almost as many successfully closed cases in their field as Tim and Kon have in their own.
Only the way that Kon’s shoulders stiffen underneath the pressed black fabric of his suit jacket gives away the fact that at least one of the three people in the room with them isn’t as human as they look.
Kon steps in front of Tim, eyes glowing as the sharp scent of ozone fills the front room of the clinic. It’s Kon’s protective instinct, Tim knows that by now, but having his partner step in front of him just in case their liaison turns out to be a trap makes Tim feel warm and tingly right down to his toes.
The three men on standing opposite Tim and Kon share a wary look before one of them, a gangly young man dressed casually in a plaid shirt and jeans steps forward and pushes out his hand for Kon to shake. Tim knows firsthand how frightening Kon can be when he does his vengeful Kryptonian impression and he has to give the man in front of them major credit for looking at Kon’s face and offering his hand anyway.
"I’m Stiles Stilinski," he says, smiling as though Kon isn’t eying him as a serious threat and floating several inches off the floor. “I’m the fleshy human part of the Beacon Hills crew. Scott over there — or Alpha McCall if you want to get fancy— is our wolf. You must be Tim —"
Gently, Tim nudges Kon aside so that he can take and shake Stiles’ offered hand. “I’m Tim Drake," he says quickly. “My partner is Kon-El and we were sent by the Metropolis Branch of the NPPL. Our superior told is that the emissary would fill us in on the case and assign us a team, but she neglected to tell us what you all actually looked like."
Stiles glances back at his partner and the dark-skinned man that has to be the emissary. “Yeah, I know what that’s like," Stiles says, voice taking on a conspiratorial note. “Dr. Deaton does that to us too. Every time I think I’ve gotten used to the confusion, I wind up making a fool out of myself."
Scott lets out a snorting burst of laughter and then slaps a hand over his mouth in the next second. He grins at their emissary who responds with a fond smile. “Alan’s better than that," Scott says in defense of the emissary standing beside him. “Stiles is just exaggerating. One incident when we were in high school and Stiles still isn’t over it."
Beside Tim, Kon manages a smile and some of the overwhelming tension in the room eases back until it’s easier to breathe. “Tim gets that way sometimes," Kon says, smiling as he slings one arm around Tim’s shoulders and squeezes him in a brief, hard hug. “You should see the email he sent our boss on the drive up from Sacramento. I’ve never been prouder — or more terrified."
"As much fun as it is to do introductions," Tim says, ignoring how right Kon’s arm feels draped across his shoulders. “We have some supplies for you, Dr. Deaton, and I believe we should start going over the case before we go to our hotel."
Alan Deaton smiles, giving Tim a little nod of approval for returning them firmly back to their jobs. “Thank you, Tim," he says, walking forward until he’s standing quite firmly between the two groups of agents. “Over the past year, we’ve noticed several incidences that were at first marked off as accidents. At first, stags were found injured in the preserve and a few hikers turned up bloody and bruised after lengthy hikes."
"All regular things in a place like Beacon Hills," Stiles interjects. “The town makes most of its money on hikers coming to see where the werewolves roam." When Scott glowers at him and pushes a hand through his curly brown hair, Stiles backpedals. “I’m sorry — roamed."
Deaton continues speaking, picking up where he had left off. "But recently, we’ve had deaths," he says in a low voice. “More than a mountain lion alone could do and there haven’t been natural wolves in California for several decades. Scott went out to see what he could find after the most recent deaths, but —"
"I couldn’t recognize the scent," Scott says with a growl lurking underneath his words. “It’s not really a werewolf, but it’s not something that I can recognize either. There’s something out there in the preserve that I can’t catch and that Stiles can’t trap and it’s killing more people every week."
Tim hums once. “That’s why we were called in," he muses. “You do understand that we’re only authorized for capturing, not killing? Self-defense notwithstanding, our superiors prefer we capture the killer so that they can have documentation and live samples. Killing is never the answer."
"If you want that thing dead," Kon says. “You’re going to have to do it yourself."
Scott bobs his head in a nod and turns an earnest, almost blinding smile at Tim and Kon. “We don’t believe in killing here either," he says, raising his voice to be heard over Stiles’ muttered comment of “Speak for yourself."
When Deaton clears his throat, everyone jumps. “If we’re done here," Deaton says in a commanding tone that makes Tim and Kon snap to attention as though they’re facing one of their bosses. “I have permission to take you two to see the bodies in the morgue today. The NPPL wants this mess dealt with as soon as possible."
"What’s our deadline?"
Deaton winces. “Two weeks," he says. “After that, they’ll send someone in who won’t be as merciful or as careful as Scott has been."
"We’ll be done before then," Tim promises, voice coming out calm despite the hard ball of worry forming in the pit of his stomach. “Kon and I have experience with tracking extraterrestrials and other things that’d probably confuse your nose. If we all work together, I’m certain that we can have this case wrapped up in no time."
Tim’s optimism doesn’t go unnoticed. Kon blinks down at him, still pressed up against Tim’s side as though he’s stuck. “You’re awfully positive about this," Kon points out in a wary tone. “What if this is something too big for us to handle?"
"Then we call in backup and we get the job done anyway," Tim says with a sharp note to his voice. “You know I don’t believe in failure."
"I’m glad that they chose you two to help us," Scott says, his smile barely more than a quick quirk of his lips as he looks at them. “Anyone else would have chosen the easier option."
Kon grins. “Good thing we’re special, huh?"