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Twirling 'Round with this Familiar Parable Part I

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Allison Argent barely remembered her Papa. He died in a car accident when she was in second grade and neither of her fathers were around too much before that anyway. After Papa died, Dad made a point to be around more, not to go on as many business trips, and not to move the family as often. He didn't give up his career, though. As Allison grew older, she slowly realized that her Dad's dedication to his job wasn't normal. It bordered on more than a little extreme, actually.

But, it wasn't like Allison could change anything. Not when her mother was on Dad's side. In fact, if Allison hadn't known better, she'd think her mother was even more dedicated to her father's job than he was.

It was nice, living in San Francisco, though. Allison's mom actually decided to go into business for herself, so Allison had a little more freedom to do the things she wanted to do, rather than all the archery and the gymnastics, and everything. Don't get her wrong, Allison liked archery and gymnastics. She just wasn't as passionate about them as her mother. So, Allison finally got to date.

Allison's first date was with a boy named Todd. He was sweet and kind and tried really hard to make sure she had a good time. They saw a movie and he paid for her hamburger. At the end of the night, when Allison kissed Todd, it felt like she was kissing her brother, if she'd had one. He followed her around school all day the Monday after their date and Allison had to pull him aside and tell him, point-blank, she wasn't interested. She only found out after she moved to Beacon Hills that the move had given her a reputation as a bitch, a heartbreaker. Allison failed to see how anything she'd done had been deserving of the designation. Wasn't it better to put someone out of their delusions before they got to attached to them? That's what Allison's mother had always taught her.

Despite her secret reputation, Allison went on a few dates with Shelley Baker before they added Will Caldwell to their relationship. Allison lost her virginity to Shelley and Will, who both lost theirs as well. It was a fun relationship. Allison loved the way Shelley smiled at her and threw her arm over Allison's shoulders. She loved the way Will made bad jokes and the way he ran his hands through Allison's hair, making her shiver. She might have even loved them, but she wasn't ever quite sure.

And then she had to move away. Her last night in San Francisco, Allison went to see them over at Shelley's house. Her parents were cool about providing a safe space for them to just be together, without having to worry about getting in trouble or getting walked in on. Shelley and Will were both juniors, and the same age as Allison, who had been held back when her family moved to San Francisco after moving four times the year before. Allison guessed Shelley's parents thought seventeen was old enough for them to be responsible for themselves.

"I don't want to leave," Allison told them, resting her head on Will's chest and lacing her fingers with Shelley's. "This is...I mean, I can't be with you guys from hundreds of miles away. Not when you'll both be here."

"We could try?" Will suggested, but he didn't sound very hopeful as he combed his fingers through her hair.

"It would be so uneven," Shelley said with a sigh. "I mean, that's what everyone always warns against, right? Letting any one side of the triangle get too strong? There's so many songs about it."

"I like the John Mayer one," Allison said absently, turning her face against Will's shirt and refusing to notice how wet the fabric was growing. "I won't …" she said, reaching up to kiss under Will's jaw. "I won't see anyone. This whole year. I'll stay single. And when I'm eighteen and you guys have graduated, maybe we can figure something out? Maybe I can finally stay in one place for longer than a year."

"Don't do that, baby," Will said, exchanging a glance with Shelley. "We just want you to be happy, okay? If you want to date people, you should."

Allison didn't respond in the affirmative, but she did reach over Will to give Shelley a tearful kiss.

Allison found out from one of her friends that two weeks after she'd moved away, Will and Shelley had gotten drunk at Drew Marquardt's party and had slept with Vic Bartelotti. She tried to tell herself good for them and that they deserved to have some comfort in her absence, but she just felt so alone and unloved that it was difficult.

Her resolution not to let herself date anyone this year grew harder. She didn't need romance. She needed to really focus on high school, and on graduating so she could make something of herself. Allison desperately wanted her parents to be proud of their strong, independent daughter, not the limp wet rag she felt like when she thought about breaking up with Will and Shelley.

And then she sat down in her first class at her new school and a cute boy with dark brown eyes gave her a pen just when she needed one.

~*~

"Scott!" Stiles called through the bathroom door, rapping on it repeatedly. Scott rolled his eyes at himself in the mirror. Whatever this new crisis was, it could wait. The new semester was starting the next day along with lacrosse tryouts and Scott was going to be ready. Whether his brother liked it or not. "C'mon, Scotty, I got something good!"

Scott wrapped his towel around his waist and opened the door. "This is just because our parents are both working, isn't it? You always do this, Stiles!"

Blinking, Stiles opened his mouth and closed it before pointing his finger at Scott. "Okay, I don't always do this. You're exaggerating."

Scott raised an eyebrow at his brother and went to his dresser to get dressed.

"And even if you weren't," Stiles continued, "I have never suggested what I'm about to suggest."

"We're going to get in trouble, aren't we?"

"Probably." Stiles grinned and Scott couldn't help but be sucked into curiosity. If Stiles was this excited, it had to be good. Like that time a truck carrying snack cakes overturned and the two of them were able to gather four backpacks worth before the deputies started trying to clean up the mess.

Scott pulled on his boxers and then reached for a pair of jeans instead of his pajama pants. "What are you suggesting?"

"Dad just got a phone call that I listened to, and-"

"Of course."

Hitting Scott upside the head, Stiles continued, "And the dispatcher said they're calling in everyone for a big search in the woods. Even state police! A couple of joggers found a body in the woods."

"A dead body?"

"No, dumbass a body of water. Yes a dead body!"

None of this added up for Scott. "If they already found a body, what are they looking for?" Stiles got this manic look in his eyes and Scott gulped nervously. "That's the best part. They only found half. All they know is that it's a girl."

"A girl is dead," Scott pointed out, pulling on a shirt. "That's terrible, Stiles. Why are you smiling like that?"

"We're going." Stiles' tone didn't leave any room for argument.

"Oh." Scott grabbed a pair of socks from his drawer. "Well, yeah. We should help find her. So her family knows. Should we ask Dad if he wants our help?"

"You know," Stiles said, clapping his hands on Scott's shoulders, "I bet he would ask if he could. But, with us being minors, I'm sure he doesn't want to look bad with the voting population by relying on his teenage sons the way he totally should be."

Scott was pretty sure Stiles was just spouting BS at this point, but he kind of did want to go on an adventure. And he really didn't want his brother going out into the woods at night alone. "You're going to do this with or without me, aren't you?"

"God, Scott, you know me so well," Stiles said, handing Scott his hoodie. "It's like we're brothers or something."

Scott pushed Stiles. "Just get in the car."

~*~

Isaac knew he was in trouble as the glass was leaving his fingers. He tried to catch it on the way down, but he wasn't quite quick enough and it bounced off his hand and then his foot, which he raised to try to break its fall. It was no use, though. The glass hit the floor and shattered.

Hands shaking, Isaac crouched, trying to pick up the pieces as quickly as he could. Maybe his father hadn't heard the crash. Maybe he could hide the glass, or tell Dad that he'd left it outside and it must have been stolen. He'd still get punished, but maybe it wouldn't be for as long.

"Isaac!"

Shit. No, it was too late! It was too late. God, why was Isaac so stupid? No wonder his Mom and Pop had left. Isaac was the reason his Dad's life was so bad. He deserved to be punished.

Hissing when the glass sliced into his finger, Isaac stuck the bloodied finger into his mouth and kept picking up pieces, setting them all in the relatively-still-whole bottom portion of the glass. He'd gotten all the pieces picked up and the whole mess sat down on the counter before his dad showed up at the kitchen door. "Isaac! What have you done?"

"I know!" he cried, casting down his eyes, but trying not to cower. Dad hated it when he cowered. "I'm sorry. I cleaned it up."

"You-" Dad stopped mid-breath and looked at the pile of broken glass. "You did clean it up. That's something, at least. Maybe you aren't completely useless."

Hope flared in Isaac's chest. "Does that mean I still-"

Dad scoffed and rolled his eyes. "There's the Isaac I know. Yes, stupid, you still have to be punished. If I let you break things and get off without punishment, what sort of parent would I be, huh?"

Isaac bit back the urge to say, "A good one." Instead, he said, "Yes, sir. I know, sir. I'll be downstairs, sir."

"That's more like it." Dad followed Isaac down the basement stairs, his footfalls heavy and intimidating on the boards. Isaac was three steps from the bottom when Dad kicked the back of his knee and sent him sprawling. Isaac's wrist took the brunt of the fall, and it ached, but Isaac could tell it wasn't broken this time. "You've got to work on those reflexes, son."

"Yes, sir," Isaac replied, his voice at a volume that belied how terrified he felt just being in the same room as the freezer. If he stayed calm, if he didn't freak out, Dad would let him out sooner. If he cried, Isaac would have to stay in there until it was time to get ready for school. Isaac couldn't ever miss school. Not even when his eye was purple and his ribs were bruised so badly he could barely breathe without being reminded how worthless he was.

"Get in."

Isaac did so without protest. Protest just led to more bruising. There was no way Isaac would ever be able to overpower his father. And even if he did, he'd still end up in the freezer somehow.

There was no way out of this.

Lifting up the freezer door, Isaac shuddered at the smell of Pine Sol. Sometimes Isaac wasn't able to hold his bladder as long as he should have been able to, so now, after every time he was punished, Isaac had to clean out the freezer from top to bottom. It got rid of the blood, too.

If he stalled too long, he would have to stay in longer, so Isaac crawled into the freezer and closed the lid behind him. The sound of Dad fitting the lock to the clasp outside made Isaac's breath come too quickly. There was plenty of air. Dad had drilled air holes after the first time he'd locked Isaac in here. Isaac was fine.

It was fine.

He wasn't going to cry this time. If Isaac could make it through just one of these punishments without crying, he was sure Dad would finally see him as a man and would stop doing them.

Taking deep, slow breaths, Isaac pushed all of his feelings away. He could do better than this. Dad always believed he could do better than this.

~*~

Derek only had an hour between getting off work and when he had to be in class, but Laura had said it was important. So important that she couldn't wait for him to get home after class, apparently. So, Derek met her for lunch at the bar. She already had a hamburger waiting for him when he got there, but most of his fries were suspiciously gone.

"Really?" he asked her, sitting on the barstool next to her and reclaiming what was supposed to be his food. He tried to sound annoyed, but mostly he was worried. Important things that couldn't wait and Laura stress-eating always meant something bad was either about to happen, or had already happened. Plus he was feeling a weird mix of emotions from her, which meant she wasn't clamping down on them as tightly as she should have been. Derek hadn't been regularly able to feel what Laura was feeling since the first year she'd been alpha.

"They were good, if that makes you feel any better." Laura smiled, but the expression was tight and less-than-genuine.

"It doesn't."

Laura snorted her version of a laugh and Derek relaxed a little. It couldn't be that bad if Laura was laughing. "I'm going to Beacon Hills." Of course, his version of that bad and hers were often vastly different.

"Why? Did something happen with Peter?"

Shaking her head, Laura said, "No, I don't think so. But someone sent me this." She pulled a piece of paper from her back pocket and unfolded it, smoothing it down against the bar between them.

Derek saw that the paper was a print-out of an article from a newspaper which said that a strange deer carcass had been found and the authorities suspected kids. The article showed a picture of the deer, which was certainly dead, but it also had a spiral marked on its side. "What?"

"Someone came home."

"You don't know that," Derek told Laura. "It could just be kids."

Laura gave Derek an exaggerated eye-roll. "Yeah, because kids ripped the deer's throat out. No, Derek. A werewolf did this. A Hale did this. You know there were two bodies missing."

"Because they were burned to ash, Laura! They're gone!"

Laura started to respond, but a man suddenly came up to them and put his arms around both of them. He smelled drunker than a skunk (at 12:30 in the afternoon) and slurred, "Hey! Are you two looking for a man? I bet I could give you the dicking you're looking for. Damn, you're both so pretty."

"Oh my god," Derek cried, having to hold back his strength as he pushed the man away. "We're brother and sister!"

"Hey, it's the future, baby," the man said, swaying back toward Derek. "Whatever works for you works for me."

Laura turned the man around and looked into his eyes. "Leave."

She didn't even have to let her eyes glow with power and the guy looked like he was about to piss himself. He nodded vigorously and stumbled away. "Yeah, sure. You got it, lady!"

Derek caught the man say something about, "cockteases," as he left, but there were more important things to focus on. "Even if someone is back, how do you know we can trust them? Why haven't they contacted us before?"

"Maybe because we abandoned our territory and moved across the country, Derek! We didn't give them any time."

"And we were what? Supposed to defend ourselves against the Argents after they'd broken the Code? Two kids, and one of them an alpha who didn't know how to handle her power? Yeah, yeah, we should have stayed. Maybe then someone would have put us out of our misery."

"Oh my god," Laura cried, grabbing Derek by the collar. "You know I don't like it when you talk like that."

Derek forced himself to calm down. He nodded. "I know. I'm sorry."

"Now, I'm going, whether you like it or not. I've been holding my life on hold for too long, Derek. I have to know."

Laura was talking about the couple she'd been trying to date for the past year, even though she kept pulling back when things started to get serious. Derek thought it was a fool's errand to begin with, since they were human and letting humans in on their secret only ever lead to regret and death.

And it wasn't like Derek didn't want to know either. If they had any family left besides Peter, and family they could trust, Derek wanted to know about it. To be honest, he'd like to believe that the last six years hadn't happened, but that wish wasn't ever going to come true. "I'll come with you."

"You have school."

Derek huffed in annoyance. It was true, he did have class. He was just starting his last semester of his comparative literature degree. He didn't really have any idea what he was going to do with the degree, but with all the money from the insurance policies Talia had bought for the family, it wasn't like Derek had to work. School took his mind off of everything that had happened. To be honest, he figured he would just keep going to school until he couldn't anymore.

"Family is more important than school. The semester just started."

Frowning, Laura leveled a look at Derek. "No. I mean, it's probably nothing. I don't want you to lose a whole semester over nothing. I'm leaving in three hours, anyway. There's no time to buy you a ticket."

Derek doubted that statement, but he knew better than to argue with his alpha, especially in public. Damn Laura. That must have been the reason she wanted to meet him for lunch at the bar, rather than the apartment. Derek had lived with his sister since she was born and he still didn't have a good sense for the depths of her deviousness. "Fine. But you have to promise to call. This can't be like that weekend you ran off to Atlantic City."

"I left a note! It's not my fault you couldn't find it!"

"You left it in the middle of a pile of mail! How was I supposed to find it?"

Laura pursed her lips for a moment before closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. After she let it go, she opened her eyes and stood up. "I'm leaving. Be good." She kissed his cheek and Derek had just enough time to squeeze Laura's hand before she left.

Derek got a call from his sister every night, until the fourth night she was in Beacon Hills. The full moon. When she wouldn't call him back for twenty four hours straight, Derek went to the airport and got on the next plane to California. The only car available at the rental agency was a Camaro, but Derek didn't mind. A car like that would probably come in handy if things had gone terribly wrong again.

Derek stopped at a gas station when he arrived in Beacon Hills just after dark. The clerk had the news playing on the TV, and they were reporting "breaking news." The body of a young woman had been found in the Preserve. Derek knew without a doubt that it was Laura's body they'd found. And according to the anchor, they'd only found half.

It took every ounce of Derek's self control not to smash the glass door as he left the food he was going to buy and left his car parked in the lot and ran out into the woods. He knew one thing for certain - whoever had killed Laura had been a werewolf. If she'd been killed by hunters, the alpha power would have transferred to him. And Derek wasn't feeling particularly powerful.

Mostly he felt terribly, terribly alone.

~*~

Jennifer Blake sat in the principal's office feeling more like one of her students than a colleague. She tried not to let it show, but the fierce blush on her face had to be visible. It couldn't feel that hot, that present and mortifying, without being obvious to everyone. Everyone included Jen's boss, Mrs. Haber, and the Superintendent, Mr. Landweber. "Look, Jen," Mr. Landweber said. "If it were up to me, I'd give you a day's unpaid vacation and leave it at that, but the parents are really breathing down my neck on this one."

"I would have snapped at that kid, too," Mrs. Haber offered, shaking her head. "He's such a little shit, pardon my French."

"Yeah," Jen said with a sad laugh. "And I get it. You can't risk a lawsuit. Not on this budget."

"Right," Mr. Landweber said. "It's a shame, too. You're one of our best teachers, Jen. I just … I think the kids lose here, no matter what I do."

"Jen, I know it's not much, but we can give you some severance to get you to the next school year. And glowing recommendations."

"Even with recommendations, who's going to hire me after getting fired?" Jen asked, more to herself than to the others, but Mr. Landweber replied anyway.

"There are plenty of school districts who are desperate for teachers. Ones who haven't heard of Eisenhower High..."

Great, now Jen had to move, as well. Maybe she'd try California. She was single as of two weeks ago, so she might as well take the opportunity to uproot her life while she could. Right?

Jen burst into tears. "Sorry. I'm sorry. I can't seem to help it!"

Mrs. Haber took the chair next to Jen's and handed her a box of tissues before putting her arm around Jen's back. "I know. It's okay."

~*~

Stiles felt a little bad about dragging Scott out into the woods the night before the tryouts (even if there was no way Scott was making the team with his asthma as bad as it was). But how often in your life do you get the chance to go searching for half a body in the woods? Unless you're up for doing some very unspeakable acts, not very often. Like, once in a lifetime often.

"How are we going to find the body?" Scott asked.

"I don't know," Stiles replied gleefully. God, there was nothing like an adventure to get the adrenaline pumping. "I was thinking we'd just stumble around until either we found it or the cops did."

Scoffing, Scott said, "It's nice that you've put together this plan with your usual level of detail."

"I know, right?"

Then, Stiles saw the search line. He lunged to the ground and scrambled to switch off his flashlight as Scott fell beside him. Stiles tried to lead the way around the search line, but Scott fell behind (like always) and Stiles couldn't keep track of both Scott and the cops.

"Stiles," Dad said, wiping rain back from his eyes. "Where is your brother?"

"Who, Scott?" Stiles asked, stalling for time.

"You have another brother I don't know about? Yes, Scott. I swear to god, Stiles, if you're being a bad influence on your brother again, I'm going to split you up. I'll move you down to the guest room and if that doesn't work, I don't know. We'll look into military school or something."

Stiles knew his dad wasn't serious about military school, but he didn't want to risk it. Raising his voice so Scott would be able to hear him, Stiles said, "Naw, nah. He wanted to stay home, get some extra sleep before school tomorrow. You know, all that perfect son crap."

"Don't," Dad said in warning, pointing his finger at Stiles. Then he raised his voice and called, "Scott! Scott, are you out there?"

Miraculously, Scott didn't make an appearance and turn himself in. Maybe Stiles was being a bad influence on him. Sweet!

Driving out of the Preserve, Stiles kept an eye out for Scott, but didn't see him. Crap. Not only had Stiles dragged his brother out into the woods, but he'd lost him there, too. Stiles drove around a little, looking for Scott, but he couldn't find him. So Stiles went home, telling himself there was no way he'd have to help look for his missing brother in the morning. Maybe he could stage a break in and convince his Dad it had been a kidnapper.

When Stiles got home, Scott was in their bathroom, doing something to his side. "Oh, thank god. I thought you were dead. What's going on here?"

Scott gave Stiles a dirty look, but he pulled back the towel he'd been holding against his side to reveal what looked like a bite mark made by a giant animal. Like a bear or a mountain lion or something. "This is what's going on, Stiles!"

"Oh, my god!" A thrill lanced through Stiles' body and his stomach flopped. "Oh, I think I'm gonna be sick. What happened to you?"

"It was dark, but I think it was a wolf," Scott said, wincing as he pressed the towel against his side and gestured for Stiles to start handing him bandages and stuff.

"Impossible," Stiles told him.

"But I heard a wolf howling."

Stiles rolled his eyes and unwrapped one of the large gauze pads Mima kept in the first aid kit, handing it to Scott. "There are no wolves in California. There haven't been for, like, sixty years."

~*~

When the pretty, red-headed girl approached Allison in the hallway and complimented her jacket, Allison couldn't tell whether she was getting hit on, or if the girl really just did like her jacket. But then her boyfriend joined the conversation, looked Allison up and down, and leaned against the locker next to her. Yeah, they totally wanted Allison to be their third, at least for a hook up. But Allison was done with romance. Even really, really attractive and obviously popular people weren't going to change her mind.

The cute boy who saved the dog she ran over, on the other hand...

"Are you seriously still staring at that guy?" Lydia asked during lunch. "I know you think he's 'cute' and that he's a lot better at lacrosse this year than he was before, but seriously?"

Allison ignored Lydia's question and watched another boy join Scott at the lunch table, sitting right next to him. They whispered together the entire lunch period and Allison wondered why Scott hadn't mentioned having a boyfriend when he asked her out to the party.

She caught up with them in the hall directly after class. "Hey, Scott."

"Oh, hey Allison!" Scott said, giving her the cutest smile that had ever been smiled. Allison bit her lip nervously at the way that smile made her feel. The boy beside Scott elbowed him and Scott said, "Oh, yeah. This is Stiles."

"Hey," Stiles said, giving Allison a smile that was decidedly more awkward, though he was almost pulling off nonchalance. "What's up?"

"Are you coming with us to the party, Stiles?"

Brows knit together in confusion (which made Allison even more confused), Stiles looked over to Scott, who shrugged. "Um, I- uh, I didn't know I was invited. I mean, yeah. I could come."

"Oh, I just figured," Allison said, pointing to Scott, "that you would want your boyfriend to come on our date."

"Boyfriend?" Scott asked, looking at Stiles. They both burst out laughing at the same time. "You thought Stiles was my boyfriend?"

Blushing up a storm, Allison tried to keep her sense of humor as she cried, "Shut up! I'm new here. You two are just really close. I assumed..."

"Stiles is my brother!" Scott said, taking Allison's hand, like he was trying to make her feel better about her mistake. Well, that was something anyway.

"Oh, your brother! Yeah, I see the resemblance now." Allison didn't see it. "Yeah, brothers. In the same class."

"We're honeymoon twins," Stiles offered, still snickering behind his hand.

"Oh, you have two moms," Allison realized at the popular phrase for half siblings born in the same month. "Okay."

"Had." Beside her Scott's mood had taken a decided downturn. Stiles sighed and looked up at the ceiling.

Nodding, Allison said, "Oh. Sorry. Yeah, I had two dads. My Pop died when I was little."

"On that note, I'm gonna go." Stiles pointed over his shoulder and turned on his heel, stumbling a little as he started walking away.

Scott gave Allison a small smile and Allison's heart fluttered again, like she was the girliest girly girl ever. "I'm sorry about your Pop."

"Thanks."

"So..." Scott took her other hand and swung them both between their bodies. "You still want to go to that party, now that you know Stiles isn't my boyfriend?"

Leaning closer, Allison whispered, "I want to go even more now that I know Stiles isn't your boyfriend."

Scott guffawed.

"Wait, so your brother's name is Stiles Stilinski?" Allison asked as she pulled Scott toward her locker so she could get her books put together.

"It's a nickname. I'd tell you his real name, but I've been sworn to secrecy under pain of death."

"His real name is that bad?"

"So bad, Allison," Scott said, shaking his head and laughing. "So, so bad."

~*~

Derek found the body of his sister, but not until after witnessing the alpha bite some kid. Great. That was just what Derek needed – a new werewolf to deal with. He'd leave the responsibility of it to the alpha, but he'd bitten the kid without consent which was just wrong on so many levels. And the alpha's scent was all over Laura. He'd killed Laura and given the bite away for free to an unwilling kid. He had to be stopped, not just for revenge (okay, mostly for revenge), but also because he was giving the Argents even more reason to hunt down every last one of their kind.

The kid's name was Scott Stilinski (the sheriff's kid, great) and he survived the bite. Derek had to make sure that everyone else survived Scott getting bit as well. And if he could get Scott on his side, get his trust somehow, Derek would have a powerful tool for getting rid of the alpha. Be he some miraculously surviving Hale or not.

Of course Scott didn't see the bite as a gift, and when Derek told him they were brothers now, Scott hissed, "I already have a brother!" Like a person couldn't have two brothers.

As he was being handcuffed, Derek wished to everything sacred that Scott hasn't had a loud-mouthed, fearless, trouble-making brother. Especially not one with a mouth like that. Because how exactly was Derek supposed to help Scott through the full moon if he was behind bars? It wasn't like the alpha was rising to the occasion and taking responsibility for what he'd done. Hell, it was almost as if he wanted Scott to be as dangerous as possible. Like Scott was...Scott was a diversion tactic, not a wanted pack member.

Derek felt sick.

~*~

Scott woke from a nightmare with a howl, his sheets drenched with sweat. Across the room, Stiles sat bolt-upright.

"What?"

Scott had to clamp down on this whatever it was so he wouldn't attack Stiles again. "I'm fine," he managed to growl out around teeth that felt too big. "It was just a dream."

"A freaking werewolf dream? You're having werewolf dreams now?"

Sighing, Scott let his head fall forward into his now-normal hands. "God, I feel like I just ran five miles! Ugh, I'm covered in sweat."

"What did you dream?"

Scott wasn't sure if Stiles really wanted to hear his dream or of he was just being the asshole brother version of polite. Scott decided to tell him anyway. "I hurt ..." For some reason saying Allison's name out loud made her involvement in the dream that much more real. So Scott left her out of it. "...someone. I attacked them, in a school bus of all places. It felt so real!"

"Yeah, but it was just a dream. Right, Scott?"

"Yeah," Scott agreed. "It was just a dream."

Scott ignored Stiles' rambling about what normally happened in dreams that made Stiles wake up sweaty and tried to focus on the fact that it had been a dream. He hadn't hurt anyone. Yet.

"Hey, do you think Danny's hot?"

Scott rolled his eyes and looked over at Stiles. "Yeah, I guess. Why?"

Stiles was staring up at the ceiling, one hand sort of waving around as he spoke. "Do you think Danny thinks I'm hot?"

"Danny's mono, Stiles. That's why things didn't work out with him and Jackson and Lydia. How is Danny going to work into your five year plan to get Lydia to go out with you if he already dated and broke up with her?"

"While you make a fair point," Stiles allowed, turning to face Scott across the dark room, "I didn't say I was going to marry him. I just thought, as one step in the plan to winning Lydia's heart and getting rid of Jackson, it'd be nice to get my virginity out of the way."

Scott huffed, but he didn't reply. Scott knew Stiles, and he knew that Stiles would do a lot better to find people he cared about before losing his virginity. Scott also knew that trying to convince Stiles of this was next to impossible. Scott would just have to rely on the fact that Stiles was kind of a spastic jerk, and people didn't really like him, much less want to sleep with him.

The rest of the night, Scott resisted calling Allison to check up on her. He's look like such an idiot, calling in the middle of the night for no reason. If Allison started thinking Scott was an idiot, Scott was pretty sure he would die.

~*~

Derek didn't know what to do and the fear made him feel more than a little defensive. It wasn't like he could go to the hospital, and Laura wasn't there to make everything better. Laura would know what to do. She would have friends and back up plans and all the words she needed to convince people to help. Derek had a poisoned bullet in his arm and nowhere to go.

The only person Derek could think of who might help was Scott. Scott had agreed to find the alpha with him. Maybe it could be a little like they were brothers.

Derek went to the school looking for Scott, but ended up with Scott's asinine brother, who was far too squeamish for what Derek needed. But then, when it came down to it, Stiles had been ready to cut off Derek's arm to save his life. Derek didn't know how to feel about that, except to keep reminding himself that the kid was only sixteen.

When the alpha turned out to be Derek's previously wheelchair-bound uncle, and Derek realized this after sending Stiles in to go check on him, Derek couldn't get to Stiles' side fast enough. He told himself he'd do the same for any innocent person his uncle was trying to kill, but Derek wasn't very sure about that.

~*~

"Wait, you guys are actually going out on a date?" Scott asked, watching his mom put in her earrings and his dad hold up two ties in front of the mirror before Mom pointed to one. "You haven't ever gone on a date!"

"About time, then, isn't it?" Dad asked with a wink and Scott was seriously skeeved out. Everything was falling apart around his ears! "We can't stay a couple forever."

"Sure you can," Scott insisted, cringing when the doorbell rang. "Lots of people stay coupled these days. Strong, independent people like you!"

"Go get the door," Mom ordered, digging around in her section of the closet for something. Oh, god, Scott hoped it wasn't her sexy shoes. She only ever wore them on her anniversary and that was the night Scott and Stiles made sure to stay over at a friend's house. The one year they hadn't had seriously scarred Stiles for life and Scott sure as hell didn't want to succumb to the same fate.

When Scott opened the door, he got very confused. "Allison? What are you doing here?"

Before Allison could answer, Stiles called out from inside the house, "Oh, my god, Mima! What's with the shoes? I'm not emotionally prepared for this! This is not cool!"

Scott could hear his parents explaining the situation to Stiles, but it was too soft for Allison to make out, so he told her, "Uh, family thing. Don't worry about it. Do you want to, um, come in?"

"Are you sure?" Allison asked with her big, pretty eyes and those dimples in her cheeks and Scott wanted so bad to just kiss her.

"Yeah, yeah. Are you kidding? Come on in. My parents are just going out on a date tonight. It's, uh, well sort of a big deal."

"Oh," Allison said with a nod, her smile turning into a big grin. "Yeah, okay. Is there...Is there somewhere we could talk?"

"Not a bad conversation, right?" Scott asked. He felt like of Allison came over here to break up with him, he might die.

"Oh, no," Allison assured him, putting a hand on his arm. "I just needed someone to talk to and I wanted that someone to be, well, you."

His heart leaping up into his throat, Scott smiled back at Allison. He thought about taking her to his room, but Stiles was probably up there in active denial. So, Scott brought Allison back to the kitchen. "You want something to drink?"

"No," she said, pulling Scott down into the chair beside hers. "I just ... there's been this stuff going on with my family..."

Scott swallowed against the nervous lump in his throat. "Your family?"

Allison looked really serious, so Scott tried his best to really focus on what Allison was saying. "Yeah, there's something happening, I guess between–"

The doorbell rang and Scott's mom called down from upstairs. "Scott? Could you answer the door, please?"

"Sorry," he said to Allison before calling up, "Can't Stiles get it? Or dad?"

Stiles is helping your dad get some cuff links down from the top shelf and I'm still trying to get into my hose! Just go answer the door! And be nice!"

Scott rolled his eyes over toward Allison, who chuckled and looked down at the hands in her lap.

"I'm so sor–"

"Just hurry back," Allison said, pushing Scott gently. "It can wait two minutes."

"Two minutes," Scott promised before rushing out of the kitchen and practically throwing the door open.

To reveal Peter Hale. The Alpha.

"Hello, Scott," he said with the evilest and most polite smile Scott had ever seen in person.

Scott tried to slam the door in his face, but Peter was too quick and too strong for him. "What do you want?"

"I have a date," Peter said, his grin widening.

Scott's chest tightened with fear. He almost grabbed for his inhaler before remembering that he didn't carry it with him anymore. "Why? Why are you doing this?"

Peter stepped closer and said in a low voice, "You know I need you in my pack, Scott. And what better way to do that than to bring your parents into the fold? If they survive the bite, that is."

Clenching his fist, Scott calculated whether or not he had a chance against Peter on his own. But then Dad came down the stairs and practically shoved Scott out of the way. "Peter! Thanks for coming."

Scott heard his mother coming down the stairs and Peter looked around Dad to see her, too. With that stupid, polite smile, Peter looked both of Scott's parents up and down. "Oh, believe me. It's my pleasure."

Was Dad actually blushing? For the love of... Okay, Scott had to stop this, he had to–

Mom actually did push Scott out of the way, greeted Peter, and then herded both of them out the door before Scott could protest. They all got into Peter's car, with Mom in the middle, and Scott barely kept himself from punching through the window next to the door.

He had to stop this. Somehow.

Dad ended up giving Stiles a ticket, but their plan worked. At least temporarily.

By the time Scott got back to the house, Allison was gone.

~*~

Somehow, Stiles managed to land Lydia as his date to the winter formal. Oh, who was he kidding, the only reason she agreed to go with him was because Jackson had dumped her like the unworthy douchebag he was. And bringing Allison to the dance, even just as friends and even to help keep her safe from the alpha, made Stiles hate Jackson even more out of brotherly loyalty to Scott.

At school a few days before the dance, Stiles asked Lydia if there was a third person she wanted to ask to the dance with them, but she'd glared at him and said, "Isn't it bad enough that I have to go with one loser? You want to saddle me with two?"

Stiles thought her attitude was completely unnecessary and might have stepped on the toe of her boot on purpose. No one said he couldn't be vindictive, even toward the girl he loved, alright?

~*~

Allison couldn't believe that Scott came to the dance, despite the fact that he'd been banned from it. Yet he came, and he asked her to dance, and even though she had both arms around one person, it felt perfect. It felt like nothing she'd ever felt before, not even how she'd felt about Will and Shelley. Everything was just Scott. And she wanted him. She wanted him so badly it hurt.

She hesitated for a moment. There was so much going on in her life right now. Werewolves were real. Her aunt Kate was trying to find one in particular. Despite all that, Allison wanted one thing – one normal, completely human thing – to be her decision. Her choice. "Come outside with me."

Scott's eyes lit up and he grinned. "Yeah, okay."

Allison led Scott out into the parking lot and toward one of the empty busses. She had a condom in her purse, from when they'd been going out before. It seemed like a good time to use it. And then her father tried to kill Scott – because he was one of the werewolves they'd been looking for.

Allison felt like all the air from her lungs turned into cement and she couldn't breathe. She couldn't believe it. Scott had lied to her! If he wasn't who he said he was, how could she trust he meant it when he said he loved her?

And yet she still wanted to go to him. To make sure he was alright. But then he was gone.

~*~

Peter was fully aware of how psychotic his actions must look from the outside. But he didn't care. He didn't care that he'd been taught it was tantamount to anathema to kill a human, lest the hunters come down on the pack. He didn't care that his niece had to die for the cause. She'd left the business of revenge open ended for six damn years. She didn't deserve the alpha powers she'd been given.

Even as an alpha, Peter was still weak. He made himself a beta, but didn't have the wherewithal to properly bond with him. It didn't help that the random teenager he'd bit had been such an insufferable goody-two-shoes. Peter needed loyal and ruthless. Instead he got resistance and whining and fucking morality. He really did have the worst luck sometimes.

With Derek on his side, and possibly Scott if Peter could manipulate him correctly, Peter only needed one more beta before he was at full strength again. Three, three, three. Everything came in threes. Three betas until power. Three people per triad. Three celebrities dying at a time.

It was this thought he had in his mind when he went to go get Scott from the silly high school dance and demand he help find Derek. It was this thought Peter had in mind when he came across the pretty little girl all alone in the dark.

Peter liked the way she walked, the way she demanded attention, the way she was unafraid until Peter gave her a very good reason to be afraid. Scott's feckless brother almost interrupted them, but he was too far away and too human to stop Peter from giving this girl the bite. This Lydia, as Scott's brother called her. Peter liked the name. She reminded him nothing of Jan.

Peter's mouth was still full of the girl's hot, tangy blood (it was true you got used to the taste of human blood; Peter hadn't believed it until he ripped out his first human throat in that video store) when Stiles confronted him, begged Peter not to kill her, like that had been his plan. The people in this town really needed to work on their intelligence.

Except there was a spark of something in Stiles' eyes when he explained how he could find Derek. For a sixteen year old to see things and think about things the way he did? Peter felt his blood jump in his veins. After. After Peter got Derek back and killed the Argents, then he would turn Stiles. It would be a shame to risk death-by-bite when that brain was still of immediate use.

And then the three betas could have each other, and Peter could keep Stiles for himself.

~*~

At some point, when Derek was hanging from his wrists and listening to Kate natter on and on, like she could break him after he'd lived through the past six years, he decided he'd had enough. But rather than give up Scott or even Peter, Derek decided to go for the low blow, instead. "Where's what's-her-name?" Derek remembered Liz's name – there was no way he could forget – but he didn't want Kate to know that.

Kate gave Derek a long, searching look, her lips pursed. "What's it to you?"

"I always liked her better," Derek sneered.

Kate laughed, but her expression was tight around the edges. "Oh, Derek. As much fun as it would be rehashing old times, what I need from you are the names of your pack mates. I mean, c'mon, sweetie. It's not like you haven't given up those secrets before." Her eyes cut toward the door and the tunnel that led toward the basement pantry of the ruined house.

It took all of Derek's willpower not to growl and fight against his restraints. He wasn't going to let Kate win. Not ever again.