Actions

Work Header

True and Charmed

Chapter Text

The masked shadowy creatures came out of nowhere. Scott and Derek bared their fangs and turned the loft's black light dancefloor into a battleground. The shadows were strong. One threw Derek to the ground, right after having its neck snapped. Then Scott stood alone. All he knew was that these things attacked Isaac and Lydia earlier. They were attacking his pack. Something primal growled within him. From deep in his throat Scott let out a howl of rage. One of the shadows swung its sword.

Suddenly a ball of light shot out from behind him, striking the creature and disintegrating it. Another one ball flew over his head. Scott ducked and turned around.

A boy, about his age, stood in front of the window. It was too dark to see clearly, in his black clothes he was just a silhouette against the sky. He wasn't looking at Scott, but at the creatures. One appeared in front of him. It swung its sword at him, but the boy waved his hand and the creature was lifted up in a swirl of light and tossed aside. The shadowy creatures, who probably knew they could not win, disappeared. The boy looked around the loft. Derek was lying on the floor still trying to pull himself together. Scott stood up and shifted back to human form.

"Who are you?"

The boy took a couple steps forward, not saying anything. Scott made out his face, but what really struck him was the scent. There wasn't any fear. But there was something off about it, something just a bit different.

The door to the loft opened. Scott turned around for second to see Lydia, Kira and Allison standing there. When he turned back around, the boy was gone.


They were sitting on the terrace of a villa overlooking a calm, clear lake. Lilith, goddess of chaos and transformations, sipped a cup of chamomile tea. Her red hair curled over her shoulders and down her back. A garden snake slithered up and down her arm.

"Your brother owes me the debt, not you."

"Which never would have happened if he hadn't gone back in time to save me. It's time I save him. Besides, I'm older and more powerful. Whatever you want me to do, I can do it." He met her eyes with a steady gaze.

"You'll be away from your family for a year and a day. You won't be able to see them or talk to them."

"Better me than Chris."

It wasn't just the physical danger. His brother was strong, and smarter than him, but Chris still had depression. Very well managed depression, of course. But if he went off alone to who knows where, no one would be there to make sure it would stay managed. Chris sure as hell wouldn't tell anyone about it.

"You'll be acting as a whitelighter to a werewolf."

"A werewolf?"

"A werewolf who has risen to be an Alpha through character and strength of will alone. A true Alpha, they call them. Very rare. And this boy, Scott, has an especially great destiny. You will need to guide him and his pack."

"What's so special about him?"

Lilith smirked. It made him slightly uneasy. "All in due time. But do you really want to do this? They are not fond of witches, you know."

"I've dealt with demons. I can handle werewolves."

"If you fail, I will go back in time and rescind my help. Your future will be lost."

"I understand."

She flashed her stone white teeth in a smile. "Well, if you insist." She stood up. The snake flickered its tongue in what appeared to be amusement.

"When do I leave?"

"Samhain."

She held out her hand. He took it without hesitation.


The morning after Halloween, Scott and Stiles were sitting in Stiles' room. Scott had just come back from dropping Kira off at home. She seemed pretty okay with him being a werewolf, so that was something. Stiles had said he had some news to share before school.

"Teleported?" Stiles opened and closed his mouth like a dying fish.

But Scott was first. Because Scott's news was weirder.

"Yeah. He teleported in the loft, shot the masked guy with some energy ball, and left before you showed up without saying anything."

"Energy ball?"

Scott shrugged. He pulled Stiles' desk chair without asking and came over and sat down next to him. Stiles lay back on his headboard. The golden streaks of sunrise seeped through his curtains, making his face look a little less pale. They all had trouble sleeping lately, but Stiles had been hit the worst.

"So what, there's a weird supernatural thing that doesn't hate us?"

"I don't know. I guess."

Stiles chewed on his lower lip. He glanced out the window for a second.

"What if he is your angel? Like, the mask guys are demons and an angel came here to help?"

"That'd be nice." Scott pictured the boy. He probably was at the party earlier, Scott just didn't notice him in between Kira's fox aura and Allison and Isaac's, well. . . He would see Argent before school to talk about the shadow things. Maybe there was a ritual they could do or some "monster be-gone spray" they could order off Amazon.

"Hey, Scott, you're not listening."

"What?"

"I said, I think I may have written on the board."

"What?"


Mrs. Yukimura felt the Oni's death not as a pain but as a foreboding. Her daughter had come home and gone straight to bed without so much as a word. She was going to have to explain this to her soon. Kira's innocence couldn't last that much longer, as much as she would wish otherwise.

The kettle screamed as the water boiled. Mrs. Yukimura steeped her tea and watched the sunrise over the town. There was still time.

There were few things in this world that could kill an Oni. If one of those beings was allied with the Nogitsune, or God forbid the host,heaven help them all.


"You can't go!"

Wyatt sighed. He put down his suitcase next to his bed. Everyone was supposed to be out for Halloween, but apparently Chris had ditched his party. Why did his brother have to be such a nerd?

"Look, Chris-"

"You said you'd take care of it, not leave in my place."

Chris leaned into in Wyatt's face. Wyatt watched his brother scrunch his eyebrows in a desperate attempt to hold back tears. He pulled him into a hug.

"It'll be okay, Chris. I promise."

Chris pressed his wet eyes intohis brother's shoulder. "You can't leave us."

"You know I have to or she'll undo everything. You saved me, Chris. Now, let me save you."

Chris pulled away. He wiped his eyes with the back of his sleeve.

"Okay."

"Good. Now, you have to be the oldest while I'm gone. Make sure Mel doesn't blow anything up and tell PJ that she can eat pasta once in a while and clean out my locker and don't touch my car or my weed and if anyone at school asks, I'm in witness protection and spend time with Henry and-" His watch beeped. Time to go. He hugged him again, squeezing him so tightly he almost couldn't let go. "And take care of yourself. We don't want you to get hurt."

"I love you, Wyatt." He almost never said that.

"I love you too little brother."

He orbed to Beacon Hills Preservation before he started to cry.


Allison ran through the hall as the warning bell rang. She was late, her dad had told her about his run-in with the shadows years ago as he was driving her to school and in her horror she had forgotten her math notebook in the car and so she was late and they were definitely all fucked and-

"Oh gosh!," Allison crashed into a boy and they fell to the ground in a heap. The paper the boy was reading landed next to her head. The boy snatched it. A ring he wore accidently caught in her hair, yanking out a few of them.

"I'm so sorry," he said. The boy pulled himself up first, and then held out a hand. Allison let him help her up and stood face to face with an angel. An angel with eyes so blue,she could swim in them. He smiled.

"I'm really sorry."

"It's okay, I was the one running," Allison said. She glanced down at the slip of paper. A schedule. "You're new?"

"Yeah, just moved here. I'm Matthew."

"Nice to meet you, I'm Allison." She clutched her bag to her chest. The second bell rang.

"Want to help me find my class so you can use me as an excuse?"

She laughed. She hadn't done much of that in a while. "Sure."

They walked down the hall as students darted into rooms. Allison felt so relieved to be talking about normal things that she didn't notice him sticking her hairs in his pocket for safe keeping. As Matthew entered his class, flashing her a smile as he did so, her phone beeped. It was her dad.

She wasn't normal anymore.


Scott copied down what was on the board. He came early to try and find if the guy from last night was there. Stiles was home, trying to get some sleep on Scott and the Sheriff's orders. The twins were following him around to try to help, even though both he and Isaac hadn't forgiven them for Boyd. His powers were still hard to control. Everything was taking its toll. Scott didn't know how much more he could take of this. He was so lost in thought that he didn't notice the door open or a boy hand Mr. Yukimura a note.

"Class, we have a new student. Matthew Smith."

The scent made Scott jerk his head up and stop writing in the middle of the letter p. The boy, the angel, was standing in the front of the classroom with a book bag slung over one shoulder. Scott watched as he made his way to the back of the room without so much as a glance in Scott's direction and took a seat behind Kira. Did he not recognize him?

For the rest of the class Scott only half listened to the lecture. The other half of his attention was on Matthew. If he could stop these shadows then he needed to talk to him. Now.


For a few minutes, he leaned against a tree and looked out onto the town below. The lights were blurred by the tears, and anyway, the view was nothing compared to the Golden Gate Bridge.

Then he made his way to a one story white house not far from the woods. Lilith told him his host would be expecting him. At the door, a man in his early forties greeted him.

"I'm Dr. Alan Deaton. I've been told you would be coming tonight."

"Thank you for your hospitality." Dr. Deaton helped his with his two suitcases. They entered the living room. It looked pretty normal for a Druid. Then again, his own house looked pretty normal for a witch.

"They didn't tell me your name, however."

"Matthew. Matthew . . . Smith." Smith? Really? Dr. Deaton smiled. The archdruid, the head druid, had smoothed his way by saying he was a type of angel beyond their understanding (whitelighters weren't that confusing of a concept, but whatever). So the guy already knew any name he gave would probably be fake.

"And I see you have your ring." He gestured to the amethyst ring that Lilith had given him.

"I came prepared."

"Well let's get you settled in. Your room's in the back." They went down the hall, past bare white walls. At the end was a little guest room with a bathroom attached. It was a small room overlooking an oak tree near the house. A generic picture of a boat was the only decoration in the room. Empty, but nice. At least he wouldn't have to wait to shower.

"I heard you know my charges." Wyatt set down the luggage on the bed.

"Yes. They're less experienced than you are I'm sure, but they are quite capable already."

"You work with the Alpha, right?"

"Yes. Scott McCall."

"What's he like?" He knew that whitelighters were supposed to get to know their charges themselves (because Aunt Paige complained about it), but considering he was getting his first charge at seventeen, Wyatt figured breaking the rules would be okay.

"He's still unsure of himself, but he tries to fight whatever comes his way." Dr. Deaton smiled. "He has a knack for inspiring people to follow him."

"That's good. And the rest of his pack?"

"His friends Stiles, a human boy, Allison, a human descended from a line of hunters-"

"He has a werewolf hunter in his pack?"

"Yes, and a werewolf, Isaac, and a banshee, Lydia."

"A werewolf pack and there were only two werewolves?" Wyatt snorted. "Why not have a coven full of leprechauns while you're at it?"

Dr. Deaton laughed. "There are other, more traditional groups in Beacon Hills as well. But considering the way these kids were thrown together, they managed pretty well in my opinion."

"Even with awakening the Nemeton?" Lilith hadn't sent him here totally unprepared.

"Yes, even with that." The druid didn't flinch. Wyatt sat on the bed, leaning back on his hands.

"You didn't know where the Nemeton was? You're a druid."

"Not all druids know these things. Some are more experienced-more powerful-than others."

If Chris were here, he would say this was utter BS and spend the whole year mistrusting the guy. But Wyatt got the sense that Dr. Deaton wanted to help these kids. He was their emissary, their other guide. But he was also a druid, an enemy of witches. Wyatt would work with him, for now.

"Now, I'll let you get settled in. Have you eaten?"

"Yes."

"Would you like some tea?"

"No, thank you."

"Then, good night." Dr. Deaton left. Instead of packing, Wyatt checked his phone. He had planned on scrolling through Halloween parties and use a spell to see which one was right. But there was only one party his charges could be at in this small town. A blacklight party in a loft.

Wyatt sighed. Here goes nothing.


As soon as history class ended, Scott rushed out of the room. He waited for Matthew to walk out and tapped him eagerly on the shoulder, a bit too eagerly because he almost pushed Matthew over. Good one, McCall.

"Oh I'm so sorry. Matthew right?"

He waved his arms like a bird trying to fly in a desperate attempt not to fall over. Scott bit down on his lip to stop himself from laughing. Matthew managed to right himself.

"Yeah, can I help you?"

He didn't look any different than any other boy his age. Better looking, sure, but nothing out of the ordinary. He wore regular clothes, except for a ring with a purple stone Scott noticed reflect light from a window. In class he hadn't said anything, just took notes like everyone else. But Scott remembered the scent.

"Um, yeah, could we, uh." Scott gestured that he should follow him. Matthew did. They made their way through the hallway into the music room. The room was empty, curtains drawn and lights off. Scott shut the door. Matthew didn't react beyond throwing his book bag down.

"I saw you, last night."

"At the party?"

"No, after. You killed those shadow creatures"

"Oh. Oh!" His eyes widened. "Right, Scott, is it?"

"Yeah-"

"I'm sorry." He held out his hand. "I should have introduced myself but I wasn't paying attention in class. I came in after attendance and I couldn't really remember what you looked like. I was going to look for you later today, but you're here, which is good." He shook his hand quickly and up and down.

"It's okay." Introduced himself?

"I'm Matthew, I mean you already knew that." He rubbed the back of his hair awkwardly. Scott smiled. He got that.

"And I am here to be your, um, guardian angel."

"My what?" Stiles was right? Well, first time for everything.

"Well there are different terms people use, but let's just keep it simple. Anyway, I have been assigned to watch over you and your pack for the next year, to guide and protect you in your fight against evil."

He was actually an angel. Scott was talking to an angel. He resisted the urge to cross himself. What did his old priest say about angels? Oh God, did he know Gabriel? Did he know God? He realized Matthew was still talking.

"Well technically the Oni aren't evil." Matthew stared off into space like he was remembering something. He shifted his weight from one foot to the other and back again. "They're Japanese spirits controlled by a master and have no will of their own." He took a couple steps to the piano and drummed his fingers on the top. "Traditionally they are summoned by kitsune, a Japanese fox spirit, to fight against other kitsune, usually dark kitsune or void. They have a name. I mean, of course they have a name. Nogitsune, I think that's what it's called. Feeds on chaos or fear or something." He tilted his head. His blonde hair fell into his eyes. He was kind of cute, in an angelic sort of way.

Scott rubbed his temple. He was getting a headache trying to keep all this straight. "Kitsune?" Fox spirit-oh no.

"Yeah. What we need to do is figure out who summoned them and why."

"Well so far they just touched my friends and left this weird symbol on their necks like a backwards 5. They felt really cold for a while, but now they're fine."

"Marking them for something. Doesn't sound too serious."

"And I think the girl I went to the party with is a kitsune. But she's really nice, I don't think she'd do anything."

"What's her name?"

"Kira. Her dad's our history teacher."

"Well kitsune are usually women, so I think that leaves him out. Does she have her mom? I mean, does she live with her mom?" Matthew scratched his head.

"Yeah. I don't know where she works."

"Tell you what, I'll check her out and look at Kira and see what I can find. The Oni can't be summoned during the day, and they're not hard to beat from what I saw. So I wouldn't worry that much. But just in case, let me look into it first, okay?"

"Okay, I guess." Not worry? Did he see-wait no of course he saw, he fucking killed the damn things. With energy.

"Did you tell anyone else about me, by the way?"

"Uh, no, just, my friend Stiles. And Derek saw you for a second."

"Stiles?" Matthew frowned. "Do you think I could speak with him?"

"He's at home right now. He's not feeling too well."

"Alright. Anyway, keep an eye out for anyone showing suspicious behavior. It could be possession, or enthrallment or something. They'll probably be mortal since mortals are easier to possess. Cool?"

Scott realized his mouth was hanging open. "Yeah." He didn't know what to ask considering he couldn't wrap his head around half the stuff this guy had said. He never felt so stupid and so out of the loop, and that included math.

"Cool. I have to go find out where my science class is. See you later." Matthew patted his shoulder, grabbed his bag and left the room before Scott could think of a reply. But what reply is there to guardian angel?

Of course he didn't notice Matthew had plucked a couple of hairs from his shirt.


It was the first time he had ever introduced himself to a charge, and really he shouldn't have had to do this for another 10 years, but still, could he have been anymore awkward? No wonder Scott looked at him funny. There he was going off about dark spirits and what not and this kid had never even seen a demon. At least he hadn't blown his cover.

The Beacon Hill High School lunchroom was crowded with people talking and eating. Wyatt usually sat outside or in the gym back at his old school. His friends would do a little practice on the baseball field if the weather was nice. But now he was at this new place with no one to sit with. No friends, no teammates, no family. Good thing he had a job to do.

Wyatt already knew there weren't any cameras in the school. (Apparently they had them, but they took them down. Small towns were quaint.) So Wyatt found an empty bathroom and orbed to the address he managed to find. The bathroom faded into a teenage boy's room. A few pieces of clothing and papers scattered the floor. Stiles, a skinny pale teenager with bags under his eyes and messy hair, stared at him with shining eyes. He had hoped Stiles was alone and was used to supernatural stuff by now.

"So do you have wings hidden under your jacket?"

A bit too used to supernatural stuff, apparently.

Stiles waved his arms around as he shot question after question at him. Maybe that's what having new witches as charges felt like. Maybe that's why Aunt Paige complained about one college student from years ago.

"Look." Wyatt sat at the edge of the bed. "I'm here to ask if you've seen anything weird lately. Unusual."

"Why, what's going on?"

"Probably possession."

"Possession?" If it was possible, Stiles paled even more. Wyatt mentally kicked himself.

"Don't worry, I've seen worse." No he hadn't, but he heard of worse.

"How do you know if you're possessed?"

"It depends on what's possessing you. But lapses in memory, strange behavior, nightmares-"

"I think I might be the one possessed."

Wyatt did not expect it to be that easy, in his family it never really was

"Well it might just be the ritual you performed. From what I was told, you, Scott and a girl named Allison were in an ice bath for several hours."

"Yeah."

"There are much easier and less dangerous ways to find people. I understand why you did what you did, but next time something like that happens please just let me handle it. You were using magic you don't understand."

"Okay, next time we need to find the creepy magic tree you can lead the way with angelic bread crumbs."

"Thank you, I will." Wyatt was a Halliwell. He was no stranger to sarcasm.

"How can you tell if I'm possessed?"

"Well-" Wyatt nearly snapped his fingers. "You can give me a lock of your hair."

"My hair?"

"It's not a full proof way, but it's the easiest. Just one lock of hair."

Stiles leaned back against the headboard of his bed. "Isn't giving your hair to magical creatures dangerous? Like you can use them to control them or make voodoo dolls or witchcraft something?"

Did this guy just compare witchcraft to fucking voodoo? Wyatt had half a mind to smack him.

"If I wanted to kill you, I could just do it with this." Wyatt summoned an energy ball into his hand. He gave Stiles a look. Stiles yanked out a piece of hair.

"Thank you. Now get some rest. I'll take care of things."

"Do you have a halo?"

"No, right now I'm playing mortal kombat though." Stiles gave him a weird look as he faded into light and Wyatt was back in the bathroom. It took him a few minutes to realize that Stiles wasn't talking about the video game.


"An angel." Mr. Argent looked through the camera in his car.

"It was when Derek and I were fighting the shadow creatures -the Oni," Scott said. He saw Allison and Isaac in the car as well. They were about to see a reclusive Yakuza crime lord to get information about the creatures Argent had saved his life from the Oni a while back. Scott and Lydia were in Scott's room skyping with them.

"His name is Matthew," Scott continued. "He's in my history class."

"Matthew?" Everyone turned to Allison. "I think I met him this morning."

"What did he say," Mr. Argent asked.

"Nothing really. He seemed like an ordinary guy."

"He said he was going to be here the next year. He was assigned or something. And he can kill these Oni."

Mr. Argent shrugged. "We can try it. But I'm not sure about this kid. I've never heard of anyone who's ever met any angel."

"Does anyone have any better ideas," Lydia asked. "There is apparently an evil fox spirit that feeds off chaos roaming the streets in someone else's body. If some guy knows how to stop them, he can claim to be a god for all I care." Scott bit back a comment about blasphemy.

"I think we should trust him," Allison said.

Mr. Argent sighed. "It's almost sunset."

"Where will we find them," Isaac asked.

"They're looking for someone possessed," Scott said. "They think it's one of us. If we all stay together tonight, they'll come looking. I haven't been marked yet."

"Where do we wait for them," Lydia asked.

"I have an idea," Scott replied. "My house."

The other talked about what to set up. Scott let his mind wander. Matthew said don't worry about Kira, he'd handle it. So he kept his mouth shut.


Deaton was still at work. He wouldn't be home until late, but he said Wyatt could help himself to whatever was in the fridge. No Mom or Chris there to make dinner, and the silence was slowly driving him insane. Wyatt just gave up and ate a baloney sandwich in front of the TV.

Everyone would be worried sick about him. No one, not even Chris knew where he was. Beacon Hills was only a two hour drive from San Francisco, but it felt father away from Heaven. But until his year was up he was stuck here, on the edge of civilization, working with Druids and werewolves and Goddess knows what else to eradicate a Japanese fox spirit. Being a witch sucked.

Wyatt checked the clock on the nightstand. Almost sundown. He shut the TV off and picked up the pad of writing paper he scribbled on earlier. He went into the guest bathroom and shut the door.

Left ajar for darkness to find

Now I close these doors

Protect the world of their minds

From evil evermore

Wyatt took out a lighter from his pocket and carefully burned the piece of paper. Next he burned the locks of hair he collected. He could feel his magic wafting out with the smoke of the flame.

Let his will be done.

His new phone beeped. Courtesy of Lilith, along with enough money for witch supplies and other essentials. He exchanged numbers with Stiles to keep his mind at ease, although he told him he could just call his name and he'll be there. Mortals and phones, whatever.

Everyone is going to Scott's house to wait out the Oni. You can go too.

He might as well meet everyone at once. Wyatt sipped in the air like it was a drink. He stared his reflection in the eye.

He a child of a Charmed One. The chosen wielder of Excalibur. The Twice Blessed witch. Any damn shifter or spirit who thought they could get the best of him had better think again.

Wyatt blew out the match. He smiled at himself.

I'll be right there Stiles. Just have to take care of something first.


Kira lay on her bed, texts books and papers lying on her floor. Instead of studying, she stared at the lightbulb in her hand. It glowed as if it was stuck in a lamp. The glass felt warm to her skin. Why could she do this? First her pictures showed a "fox" aura, and now she was a human battery. It was almost as if she were a kitsune from a mythology book. The sound of bells ringing shook her out of her thoughts. She turned around.

"Kira, is it?"

A boy around her age stood before her. A bright glow quickly faded around him. Her door had been locked, so were the windows . . . Kira threw the bulb. The boy ducked and the bulb shattered against the wall.

"Woah, easy." He held up his hands. "I just want to talk."

Kira scrambled off her bed. "Who are you?"

"My name is, is Matthew. I'm here to help you."

"What are you? How did you get in here?"

Matthew leaned against her desk. He gripped the edge of the table and stared out the window.

"Do you know what angels are?"

"Angels?"

"Yeah. Angels. Divine messengers, feathery wings, harp, talk to prophets on hills and in caves."

"Yeah."

"Well I'm nothing like that." He looked at her now. "I've never even played a harp. But I am here to help you. If you'll let me."

Kira let out a breath she hadn't realized she had been holding. "How?"

Matthew stared out the window again. "Tell me about the pictures," he said after a minute. "How did this all start?"


Scott paced his room. Allison, Isaac and Argent were still talking to the Yakuza boss. He had told them things that lined up with Matthew's story, although he was a lot more fatalistic. The way Matthew talked to Scott, it was like he had everything under control. Scott couldn't help but get his hopes up.

The door opened. Scott realized he hadn't clued his mom in. He ran down the hall only to find his dad standing in the kitchen. His laptop sat on the table.

"What are you doing here? And why do you still have a key?"

"Funny you mention keys. Because while I have a key to this house, I'm not exactly sure how you got a key to my office."

He spun the laptop around and a picture popped up of Scott and Kira.

No one said anything for a minute.

"Let me help you out here. This usually begins along the lines of it's not what you think or let me explain."

Scott glanced at the window. Almost sunset. "Dad, let me help you out. You need to leave."

"I will. With a satisfactory explanation."

"Go get a warrant." If he didn't even tell his mom for months, why the fuck would he tell him?

"I don't need a warrant. I'm your father."

"No you're a gene donor. I got my hair color from you and that's all I got." His mom walked in the door. "So you're not allowed to play tough dad with me."

He wasn't even angry, because what was that other than the truth?

"Hey," Mom said. "What's going on?"

His dad didn't move. "Maybe you should explain."

Where was Stiles when he needed him? Even if he couldn't think of an excuse he could think of something to say to distract him. Scott couldn't even think straight. All he could see were his dad's judgmental eyes on him.

"Maybe I just wanted to piss you off," he blurted out before he could stop himself. "Because the only time you ever give me the time of day is when you're yelling at me."

"So that's it, a cry for attention?"

"What-"his mom tried to cut in but Scott wouldn't let her.

"I've been crying, Dad. Crying for 6 fucking years. If you haven't cared then, what makes me think you ever will?"

His dad was taken back. His mom just stood there, not saying anything. He wish she didn't feel guilty like he knew she would-it wasn't her fault.

"Look, Scott-"

"No Rafe, you look. Stop pretending that you care about me. I could be lying here on the floor dying and you wouldn't give-"

"Scott." His mom pointed behind him. The Oni stood there, empty eyes staring at Scott. Maybe it was because of his anger, maybe because he had to protect his parents. Either way, Scott flashed his red eyes and let out a tiny growl.

The Oni glided towards him. Its katana was drawn. Scott clenched his fists. But before he could lunge at the damn thing, his dad stepped in front of him.

"Scott, run."

"Dad?"

Scott watched as the Oni turned his attention to his dad. With a single move it sliced his father's chest. Blood seeped through his white shirt. Scott felt his breath get caught in his throat.

Then the Oni turned to him.


"I swear that's all I know." Kira clutched her comforter as she watched her guardian angel spin around in her desk chair. "I wish I could help."

"No, this is good, thank you." He leaned forward and clasped his hands as though for prayer. "I think I might know who the possessed person is. Then all I have to do is perform an exorcism and we're good."

"Okay." Kira nodded quickly.

"Now, one last question. Have told your parents any of this?"

"No." How could she tell them? She could barely ask her dad to buy her tampons at the store.

Matthew leaned back in the chair. "It'd probably be better not to. For now at least."

"So I'm a kitsune."

"Yes. Not that there's anything wrong with that."

"Okay."

"Cool. I have to go help Scott with some stuff, but I'll talk to you later."

"Okay. Oh, I don't have your number." Kira pulled out her phone. Matthew chuckled. "What?"

"Nothing."

Suddenly the lights darkened. The sound of whips of mist echoed through the room. Kira jumped off the bed. Matthew yanked her arm and pulled her close to him.

"What's going on?"

Matthew opened his mouth to answer, but suddenly he gasped. A spirit, an Oni, had his neck in its fist. In a second, Matthew was released. He fell to the ground like a dead body. His twitching fingers were the only thing telling her he was alive.

The Oni turned to her. Its mask had no eyes, just holes of black. Kira tried to move, but her legs wouldn't-couldn't-listen to her. The Oni hesitated a second, then grasped her neck as well. Her body turned to ice, to darkness. It let her go, and she fell too. She fell right next to Matthew, and saw the kanji on his neck.


Deaton had done the job well. The house was fortified against any supernatural creature. That also meant he, Derek and the twins were trapped inside, but still. The Oni paced around the perimeter of the house, looking for any weaknesses.

The twins guarded the front door. They still insisted that they should join Scott's pack. Scott wasn't sure. They had been brought up in an abusive pack and "rescued" by Deucalion. If left to their own devices, they wouldn't likely kill anyone. But when they hadn't been left to their own devices, they killed the boy who had sat next to him freshman year of English and drew sketches of anime. They killed the girl who visited his mom in the hospital and stole all the pens. Scott couldn't forget that. Nor could he forget they wanted to join him more out of protection than comradery. Could he trust them?

Derek lounged in a chair near the door. He looked more bored than anything else. Angels did not impress him. Scott was impressed that he had been following him around all day without him knowing about it. When this was over he needed register for some Alpha classes or something.

His parents were in the living room. His mom was trying to stop the bleeding. He could hear his dad asking for him, saying he had to tell him something. Scott tried to shut out the words. This wasn't happening. This wasn't the time.

"Where did Dad go," he asked, 10 years old and too young to understand what drunk was. His mom blinked hard. Her eyes were red.

"He left, sweetie. He left."

"When is he coming back?"

He went to his abuela's that weekend. When he came back, his dad's things were packed in boxes and shipped somewhere else.

He didn't get to come back and pretend nothing happened. He didn't have the right to discipline him or give him that look. That was his mother's look.

The shattering of glass drew Scott out of his thoughts. An Oni had broken through the window. Derek and the twins moved to stand in front of him. Betas guarding their alpha.

No.

"Guys, don't." They turned to him. "Don't try to stop them. It's okay."

Aiden tried to say something, but Derek moved him out of the way. He nodded at Scott. Ethan stepped aside.

The Oni moved like mist. Scott stood his ground, not moving, not fighting, not running. He wouldn't let anyone die for him, ever.

One Oni moved to him. It touched his neck. Scott's breath escaped his lungs. His muscles shut down, and the floor rose up to catch him.


Wyatt threw himself on his new bed. Talk about baptism by fire. One day here and he already had a dark chaos spirit and a bunch of clueless teenagers to deal with. At least he didn't have to give any grand speeches about destiny. It seems they already were fighting evil by their own free will, without any Elders forcing them to. Made his job easier. Still, he wished his family was here. He never thought he would have to fight alone.

There was a knock on the door.

"Come in."

Dr. Deaton opened the door. "I heard you had a run-in with the Oni."

Wyatt pointed to his neck. "Not exactly what I planned for my first tattoo."

He chuckled. "I'm going to have to leave tomorrow for a couple days. There's money for food. You have my number if you need me."

"Where are you going?" He had never been allowed to have the house to himself. Even a few months ago when his parents went to some hotel one weekend he had to stay with Aunt Phoebe. Wow, a whitelighter and an adult. He was growing up.

"It's just to get some things I think we may need." Wyatt didn't ask him to elaborate. They both had their secrets.

"Cool. Promise not to do cocaine in the bathroom and stuff."

"Much appreciated. Good night."

"Night."

He wouldn't do drugs. That being said, a little witchcraft wasn't out of the question . . .


Even though they had almost been killed today and an evil fox spirit was on the loose, for some reason Allison felt better than she had in a while. Like everything was going to be okay. Like she wouldn't have nightmares tonight. At the traffic light she squeezed her dad's hand. He smiled at her.

Things were looking up.

Scott went with his parents to the hospital. His dad was going to be fine, just fine. So he went to go find Stiles. His mom had given him something to help him sleep. He followed his scent to an empty operating room. Stiles was facing away from him.

"Hey Stiles? You okay?"

He turned around. "Yeah. What's been going on?" He followed Scott into the hallway.

"My dad was stabbed by the Oni. He's going to be okay."

"The Oni?"

"That's what they're called. Anyway, I feel bad because right before that I yelled at him and then he got stabbed trying to protect me."

"Don't feel bad. It wasn't your fault." Stiles patted him on the shoulder. "It's his fault. He left you. He abandoned you."

"Yeah-"

"Hell, what's to say he won't find a way to blame you for this, huh? His 'screwed up excuse for a son.' You don't need him." Stiles smiled. "You have me."

"Yeah." Scott didn't say anything else as they took Stiles' jeep home. He was too drained to think. About Kira, about the angel, about the spirit, about his dad, anything. Stiles respected that. He was such a good friend. And he was right.

They did have each other.

Chapter Text

The Oni are Japanese yokai. Their purpose is to defend or attack whatever their target is. Oni can be summoned by other yokai or shifters using chaotic magic. Light and dark magic cannot summon them, but they can kill them with different powers. They only attack at night.

Whoever has power over the Oni commands them; they have no will of their own. If you see Oni attack innocents, you have to find their master and stop-or kill-them.

They are most commonly used to hunt down Nogitsune.

-"A Witch's Protection Against the Forces of Chaos" by Rose Masterson

Before Wyatt left, he smuggled out books on chaos magic and any spells he might need. They weren't the Book of Shadows. But they would do. He flipped to one of the earlier pages of the book, a section on kitsune.

Nogitsune are a subspecies of kitsune-void kitsune. They feed on and strife, but are fueled by chaotic magic, not dark magic.

A subset of Nogitsune are ninko. These are spirits with no body but possess a host to carry out their acts of malice. Killing a host does not kill the Nogitsune. They only move on to the next host. The best way to deal with them is with a spell:

"Let the words of the witches be told

Help me fight evil dark and old

Spirit of strife be split from my sight

Darkness cannot overtake the light."

The spell must be done under the light of the waxing moon.

When the spirit is removed from the host, trap the spirit. Spells can help but are not necessary. No known vanquishing potion.

A new moon was in two days. In three he could cast the spell. Granted, he never had done an exorcism before, but he could handle it.

He flipped to one of the first pages in the book.

Werewolves are the most numerous and prominent shifter species. They are divided into packs, which are like covens except they are more hierarchical. Packs are led by an Alpha, a power and position that is either passed down to the first born in a family, much like a matriarch or patriarch, or usurped by murder, like with warlocks. They have red eyes and are stronger, generally. Non alphas are divided into betas and omegas. Omegas are akin to solitary practitioners, but they have a greater stigma attached to them. Betas and Omegas have yellow or blue eyes.

Only alphas can create more werewolves by bite. The only known cure for a bite is to vanquish the one who bit you.

As creatures of chaotic magic, werewolves are not bound to good or evil. They can ally with either. Most, however, are content to keep to themselves. Nowadays, demons, witches and other beings of both good and evil rarely work with them, but in past centuries they worked with both sides on several occasions. Some could be counted on as trusted allies. Their powers could enhance witches' magic (and vice versa) through blood magic.

But then in the Burning Times, witches began to kill werewolves (and other shifters like werecoyotes) and use their blood for the power to hide from witch hunters. Most of them were warlocks, but some were good witches driven to dark deeds out of fear and a belief that shifters did not count as innocents. They do. Werewolves retaliated, not understanding the difference between warlocks and witches. They killed blindly. The two sides agreed to a truce in the late 1600s.

Weaknesses include wolfsbane, mountain ash (which can be used as a barrier against all shifters) and mistletoe. Silver does not hurt werewolves. That is a myth.

(See Beast of Gevedan entry)

Someone in the margins wrote-

Do NOT trust these creatures.

Nothing on True Alphas. These authors must not know as much as they think. Wyatt flipped to the first page.

There are two types of magic. Order-good and evil. The magic of witches, demons, whitelighters, nymphs, cupids, etc. And chaos, with its ill-defined rules. The magic of shifters andwild spirits. The two types of magic have seldom mixed since the rule of King Arthur.

In ancient times, witches were respected. Priestesses, midwives, soothsayers and other magical people could practice freely. The high point was supposedly during the time of King Arthur. . Wyatt had heard enough stories about that era and so he skipped that section.

Places ruled by chaos are beyond Heaven and Hell. A witch's magic is blocked.

Unless the witch has a ring of amethyst, which was mentioned later in the book.

They often have distinct features such as ley lines, sacred rivers or islands, stones or Nemetons.

Wyatt scanned further down the page.

Nevertheless, there are times when witches must confront these forces. Therefore they should be prepared to fight, armed with knowledge and reverence for their craft, as with any other battle

Wyatt felt secure in the knowledge and reverence department. He had set up his closet as a miniature altar room. Behind the shirts and jackets were his books, crystals, herbs and other ritual objects. Dr. Deaton swore he wouldn't intrude. They had an understanding.

Wyatt checked the clock on the nightstand. Almost 1 am. He needed rest in order to fight a Nogitsune. Yet the quiet was so unnerving. All alone, in a strange house. Wyatt rummaged through the chest of herbs until he felt something soft. In his hands was an old teddy bear, worn and faded. Away from home and forced into fighting evil alone, even a high school boy was allowed some comforts.

Wuvey in hand, Wyatt pulled the covers up to his chin and drifted off to sleep.


"Stiles how bad is it? Stiles, can you hear me?" Those few seconds of silence almost killed him.

"There's some kind of smell down here." He sobbed. "Something smells terrible. It's probably why my eyes are watering."

Oh god, what if he's somewhere breathing in toxic air? "Listen, I'm gonna call your dad."

"Wait no no no don't."

"But your dad-" was the sheriff.

"No just please don't call him, alright? Promise me you won't. He's already worries about me too much."

He worries too much? Scott was the one who was about to throw up. "What if I can't find you? Stiles I can't make a promise like that." They were taught to tell adults and authority figures if something was wrong. And something was really, really wrong.

"No Scott, you can find me. You can do it Scott, you can find me."

"I don't if I can do this." Beacon Hills wasn't that small. What if he couldn't find him? Scott walked from the door, to his bed, to his door again. He kept pulling at his hair, even though it was too short to pull.

"Oh no I got to call you back. I got to turn the telephone off." Scott kept walking. Walking meant he wasn't going to throw up. "No hey wait. What?"

"I'm going to call you right back."

"Hang on Stiles, wait. Hold on, man." He hung up. This was a dream. A hallucination brought on by wolfsbane again. This couldn't be happening. o. Scott ran down the hall. "Isaac, Isaac get up!" Her ran back to his room. How was this happening?

Isaac walked into the room rubbing sleep out of his eyes. "What's wrong?"

"It's Stiles. Get dressed." He threw a spare helmet at him.

"What's wrong with Stiles?"

Scott gripped his desk to keep his claws from popping out. He wanted to tear something up, run ten miles. He wanted to jump out of his skin.

"I don't know."


In those moments between awake and asleep, Wyatt couldn't help but wonder what his family was doing. He hated not being able to talk them. Suddenly, one of the books in the closet shot out and hit the wall on the other side of the room. Wyatt was out of bed in seconds. The book opened, its page flipping of their own accord until they stop at one particular page.

To find one not herself

If a person is possessed by a spirit, it may be hard to scry for them. Or if a witch is looking for a spirit and does not know the host, it could be even harder.

To do this spell, scry like normal but while saying this incantation:

Hear these words, reveal to me

The one who is possessed

That I may find them easily

Let the crystal do the rest

"Thanks Grams." Nice to know he wasn't completely alone after all. Wyatt quickly put his clothes back on. He was not hunting a Nogitsune in his pajamas.


A few minutes later, Stiles called back. Listening to his sobbing almost made Scott vomit.

"Scott, I have to go. My phone's dying I have to go."

"Stiles, why are you whispering?"

Stiles sobbed. "Because I think there's someone in here with me." The line went dead.

Scott felt the blood in his veins stop flowing for a moment. In that moment so many things flashed through his mind. A lifetime of sleepovers and bike rides and how would he tell this to the Sherriff? No, he couldn't think that. Nor could he think about how all of this was his fault. All he could think about as he and Isaac drove to Lydia was that Stiles would be okay. He would be okay. He would be okay.


Stiles shone the light of his phone. The basement was dark He could barely breathe because of the terrible smell. His leg, his leg was hurting. With his frozen fingers fumbling he switched on the flashlight on his phone. He shined it on his leg.

A bear trap.

Suddenly everything became bright. Really bright. He was nothing, just air. Was he dying?

He heard a voice talking to him gently. "It's okay Stiles. It's okay, I'm here. I got you." All he could see was light, but he could feel the warmth around him and arms holding him. Was he in Heaven? Would he see his mom?


Back in the bedroom Wyatt fumbled with his phone in one hand while holding a sleepwalking kid around the waist.

"Hello?"

"Hello Scott? This is Matthew."

"Oh thank God, I was just about to call you. Stiles is missing."

"Not anymore."

"What?"

Stiles mumbled something. His whole weighted seemed to shift to Wyatt's elbow. He winced.

"Look, I found Stiles in this cave-"

"Where!? Is he okay? What happened?"

"Now we're at-ow!" Stiles fell to the floor in a heap.

"What?!"

Wyatt tried to pick him up, but in his sleep Stile swung his leg out and tripped him. Wyatt held his arms out and tried to right his balance only to fall over, his phone flying out of his grasp. He landed on the wood floor face down, ass up. His phone somehow landed right on the back of his head.

"Hello? Hello?!" The phone slipped to the floor. Wyatt could hear Scott's frantic shouting ringing in his ear.

He hated being a witch sometimes.

"I'll bring him over to your place."


The next thing Stiles knew, he was in a bed and someone was gently shaking him awake.

"Stiles? Hey, Stiles?"

Scott. It was Scott. This was Scott's room. Stiles pushed himself up by one arm and rubbed the sleep out of his eyes.

"What happened?"

"Matthew found you in the coyote den. You were still asleep, Stiles."

Stiles looked over Scott's shoulder to see Isaac and Matthew standing by the bed. Isaac shifted his eyes from Scott to Stiles and back again. He kept running his hands through his hair. Matthew rubbed his eyes and yawned. Angels yawned?

"You said in your dream you thought you were in a basement somewhere. That someone was with you." Scott held Stiles' arms and gently pulled him to sitting position.

"Yeah, yeah. It was too dark to see."

Matthew sat down at the edge of the bed. "Scott tells me you've been having nightmares lately. Trouble sleeping."

"Uh huh. That's just from the thing with the Nemeton, though."

"Anything else?"

Stiles felt those blue eyes staring into him. This guy knew things. Things Stiles couldn't begin to understand.

"I think I might have left Barrow a message."

"What," Isaac asked.

"The handwriting, on the board. It looked like mine. And the weird key on my key ring? It had chemicals on it. From the chemistry closet."

Isaac made a little squeaky sound. Matthew simply nodded. Someone probably explained to him that someone left a coded message for a serial killer ordering him to kidnap and kill Kira. In fact if he had been there when Kira was kidnapped there might have even been a blackout.

"Does this have something to do with the Oni," Scott asked. "Do you think he's possessed?"

Matthew stood up. "Perhaps." He fished something out of his pocket and tossed it to Stiles. It was a dark crystal hanging from a black cord. Picking it up, Stiles felt the cool touch on his palm, and something else too. Energy.

"Obsidian is used for protection and grounding the physical. So you'll know when you're awake and when you're dreaming. It should stop the hallucinations."

"Wow, okay." Well that was useful. Stiles wondered if there was a necklace that could get him laid.

"I'll talk to you guys tomorrow after I look into some things." He stifled another yawn.

"Thank you, Matthew" Scott said.

"How do you know all this stuff," Isaac asked.

Matthew chuckled. "Trust me, there's so much out there I don't know." On that vague note, he teleported away in a stream of white lights, just like Scott said.

Scott patted him on the shoulder. "I called your dad and said you were sleeping over."

Stiles nodded, grateful he didn't have to ask. Isaac bid them goodnight and went back to his room, and Scott and Stiles climbed into bed. Scott let him have the comforter because he was still shivering. The boys fell into an easier sleep than they had in weeks. Better than they had since the Nemeton. It was like magic.


Chris Halliwell couldn't sleep. He had been having trouble sleeping all week. It happened when he was younger. His depression had been pretty bad. But that had been years ago. This week he would be lucky to sleep for 5 hours a night.

Something made him crawl around the cat sleeping at the end of his bed and tiptoe to Wyatt's room. As if that would help ease his guilt. To his surprise both of his parents were sitting on Wyatt's bed.

"Chris?" His mom lifted her head from his dad's shoulder. "What are you doing up sweetie? It's 1 o'clock in the morning."

"I was going to the bathroom and I heard a noise." They had enough to worry about. He didn't want to worry them more. But his dad scooted over and gestured for him to sit. They weren't buying it.

"Have you been getting enough sleep lately?" he asked as he wrapped an arm around Chris' shoulder. As if on cue, Chris stifled a yawn.

"Sort of."

"Chris?" His mom gave him that look. The "you-are-sick/sad/scared-and-you-can't-hide-it-from-your-mother" look.

"Okay, fine. I haven't slept much okay? It's been hard."

"Oh, baby. Why didn't you tell us?" His mother brushed a hair out of his face.

"I didn't want to worry you."

"Chris," his father said gently but firmly, "it's our job to worry. We're your parents."

They didn't know it was his fault. They didn't he was supposed to be the one who left. All they knew was that Wyatt had gone somewhere and wouldn't be back for a year (that is if the Charmed Ones didn't find him first, which they could.) He closed his eyes and felt his father kiss the top of his head. It made him hate himself. They would hate him, if they knew.

"Hey, what's with the family moment?" A short blond girl stood in the doorway, rubbing her eyes.

His dad sighed. "You couldn't sleep either, princess?" Chris moved closer to him mom to give Mel room to sit.

"No."

"Hey, I know," their mom said, "how about we all sleep in our room? It'll be just like when you were younger."

"Mom, I'm in high school," Chris protested.

"It'll help all of us sleep."

"I think that's a good idea," their dad said.

Five minutes later the four of them (plus the cat) were in the master bedroom trying to fall asleep. Somewhere between his dad's soft snoring and his sister's soft bedhead brushing against his face, Chris drifted off hoping wherever his brother was, he was sleeping soundly.


It was lunch time. So far that day Stiles had seemed a lot better. A little magic and a lot of surveillance went a long way. Wyatt noticed Scott was extra attentive to him in class. From what he could tell those two boys were like brothers. Good. Any witch knew how powerful the bonds of brothers and sisters were. A Nogitsune was no match for that strength.

So, with his charges safe for the moment, Wyatt found a little corner of a hallway to eat a grilled cheese sandwich he bought. (He would bother to cook food when he wasn't busy fighting supernatural entities.) All he wanted a minute to catch his breath and think about something else. A mystery novel he had checked out from the school library lay in his lap. But Wyatt found himself staring out the window as students ate lunch in the quad outside. He leaned against the metal lockers.

All the rest of junior year, the summer, the beginning of senior year, everything was gone. A whole year of birthdays and holidays and school and work and the Golden Gate Bridge. Those kids outside were making weekend plans. What weekend plans did he have?

"Hey." Scott appeared next to him without making a sound. He took a seat next to him. Wyatt tried not to show his annoyance.

"I was wondering if you knew anything else about Stiles. Like how to help him?"

"I do have something that could help, yes." A magic spell.

"Is he the one that's possessed?"

"I'm not sure." Yes he was. "But the stone I gave him will help."

Scott hugged his knees to his chest. Wyatt looked at his new charge. Lilith said he had a great destiny, but no one could tell just from looking from him. In fact, Scott gave off an aura of vulnerability more than anything. Soft brown eyes worn from sleepless nights, slouched shoulders and messy hair. Wyatt had a strange urge to run his hands through that hair. He always had these weird thoughts. Stupid ADHD.

"What if it's not the Nogitsune? What if it's something else?"

"What do you mean?"

"Stiles' mom died when he was a kid. Frontotemporal dementia. It's the only dementia that can hit teenagers. Stiles could have it, too. And there's no cure."

"Oh. I see." Wyatt leaned forward to better see Scott's face. "Scott?"

"If it is that, I'm going to . . ." He swallowed. "I'm going to save him."

"Save. . . "He was going to bite him. Of course he was going to bite him. He didn't think there was any other way to save him.

In seconds, Wyatt threw his arms around his charge. Scott rested his head on Wyatt's shoulder.

"Listen to me Scott. If Stiles does have that, you don't need to do anything, okay? I will."

"How?"

"I'm an angel. That's my job." He didn't want to explain his healing power unless he had to. The last thing he needed was a charge who thought he or she was invincible.

Scott pulled away to look him in the eye. His eyes were wet.

"Thank you."

According to the rules, curing a mortal (or a witch) of a mortal illness would be personal gain.. To hell with personal gain. He was in a place beyond Heaven and Hell, a place with no rules. If Lilith cared, he would tell her where to put her stupid snake. All that mattered at the moment was this poor, scared boy that needed him.


Paige Matthews knelt in front of a living room window in her house. Her children were at school, and her husband was at work. In the quiet, she lit a single white candle. In the silence, she lifted her desire into the ether.

It felt like yesterday when she held her new baby nephew in her arms. All of his fingers gripped on of hers. She sang him to sleep. She watched him outgrow his clothes, his crib, his bottle. Their beautiful boy, gone.

Right now they had no idea where Wyatt was. He could be time traveling for all they know. So instead of scrying for the umpteenth time, Paige sent out a plea to her ancestors to watch over their baby boy. She bowed her head.

Let him be safe.


As Stiles closed his locker, he gripped the stone around his neck. He never had been one for new age stuff, but the necklace Matthew gave him seemed to really work. No waking dreams or illegible words. He even got some decent sleep at Scott's house.

Scott insisted that he drive Stiles home before work. He said Deaton wouldn't mind, and besides, Stiles didn't know exactly where his jeep was. He slung his backpack over his shoulder and headed for the parking lot.

At the front door, Stiles suddenly felt a rush of shortened breaths hit him. He sprinted into the janitor's supply closet and collapsed. No, not now. The last thing he needed was a panic attack.

His heartbeat sped up as his throat tightened. Why did this have to happen now? They had become so infrequent in the past couple of years. Why now? Stiles pressed the stone charm in his palm. His hands shook. Of its own accord, his hand jerked forward. The cord snapped off and the necklace fell to the floor.

"No. Fuck. ." Stiles scrambled to grab the stone, but the sound of heavy breathing made his blood stop running.

"Stiles." The bandaged man stood over him. Stiles forced himself to look up at that big, gaping hole of a mouth.

"Everyone has it, no one can lose it. What is it?"

"I don't know."

He stepped closer. Stiles smelled something burnt. The stench made him gag.

"Tell me Stiles. Everyone has it, no one can lose it."

"I don't know. I don't know!" Stiles gripped his head to try to block it out. This wasn't real. It wasn't real.

The room turned to shadow, the air to ice. The bandaged man bared his teeth. His grotesque, razor sharp teeth.

"What is it?"

"It's . . . a shadow."


She had come home right after school just like her mother had asked. She had something to tell her, she said. Kira knew it was about whatever was going on.

The lightbulb wasn't plugged into anything, but it shown as brightly as if it was. Kira watched her mother set the lightbulb down. The coils quickly faded like dying embers soaked in water.

"All kitsune have fox fire, but beyond that some have different powers than others. You are a thunder kitsune, so you have control over lightning, electricity."

Kira touched the lightbulb, which felt warm as it lit up. Then with a loud cracking sound the bulb shone bright white and shattered.

"You'll learn to control it in time. But for now we need to focus on the Nogitsune. I fear he may have chosen a particularly powerful host. If that is the case, I fear for all of us."

Kira stared at the broken bulb. "How do I stop it? Why is it even here?"

Kira's mother placed a hand on her shoulder. "Let me explain."


The November air brushed against Scott's skin like a cold finger Even his werewolf powers couldn't stop him from shivering. But that didn't stop him from waiting by his motorcycle for Stiles. When his friend got there he would somehow convince him to hang out at the clinic with him. Scott wanted Stiles where he could see him.

His dad left a message about going out to a restaurant this weekend. How lovely, dinner with Rafe telling him what a delinquent he was. Maybe during dessert he'll get to hear about the wife and son in San Francisco who Rafe actually liked.

He spotted Isaac running down the sidewalk towards him. He stopped at Scott's bike gasping for air.

"Oh dude, sorry I can't give you a ride home today. I forgot. Stiles-"

"Is missing."

For the second time that day Scott felt like vomiting.

"I was watching him," Isaac continued, "but Coach stopped to talk to me for a second when Stiles was headed to his locker. When I went to find him, he wasn't there. I tried tracing his scent but he must have done something to mask it."

They didn't have time to panic. He didn't have time. Stiles needed them to focus on a plan to save him and stop the Nogitsune. He could throw up in his room later.

"Scott?"

Scott shoved on his helmet. "Get Allison and Lydia. I'm going to get Matthew. We're finding Stiles. We're saving him."


The sword felt so right in her hands. An extension of herself. Kira sliced the air around her. Forward, backward, a circle above her head. The feeling of grace, of power, was so enticing she almost didn't bother with her phone blaring on her nightstand.

"Hey Scott." She tucked a strand of hair behind her ear.

"Hey, listen, Stiles is missing."

"What?"

"We think he's the one possessed by the Nogitsune."

Kira lost the grip on her sword. She didn't even hear it clatter on the floor.

"Kira, are you there?"

"Yeah, I'm coming. Actually, I think you need to come with me. I need to explain some things to you."


For the last couple of days Allison felt almost normal. The "darkness" from the Nemeton just disappeared. Her aim was flawless again. The nightmares vanished. Maybe, she had thought, life was getting better.

Of course, then she got the call from Scott, which led to her roaming the woods armed with a crossbow. Again. The afternoon sun seeped through grey clouds, casting faint shadows around the trees. Every crack of a twig made her edgy. Isaac had said he'd meet her at the cross roads to track Stiles' scent, but Allison didn't want to wait around. Stiles had been spotted going into the woods and that's where she had gone looking.

She was not sure what she was supposed to shoot, if it was Stiles who was possessed. They had never talked much (she got the sense that he was a little jealous that Scott had spent so much time with her), but he was so awkward and scrawny and loyal that she doubted she had it in her to even slap him.

Lydia was trying to get a sense or something back at the school. She still had trouble figuring out her Banshee powers, but it was better than nothing.

Suddenly there were footsteps behind her. Allison heard someone fall on crinkled leaves. A young's man voice, cursing. Allison spun around and held up her crossbow. It was the new guy from last week. Before she could lower her bow some unseen force threw her against the nearest tree.

"Hey!" She heard Isaac growl. Allison pushed herself off the ground and rubbed her lower back. Whatever that was, that hurt.

"Well, who the fuck carries a crossbow?" She saw the new guy-Matthew-wave his hands around frantically as Isaac ran over to her.

"You okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine."

Matthew came over as Isaac helped her up. "Sorry. You just startled me, is all."

"It's okay." If she were being honest she would admit that scaring an angel capable of killing yokai was more than a little awesome. "What are you doing here?"

"Scott said you guys might need some help."

"He found Stiles last night," Isaac said.

"Stiles was missing last night?"

"Matthew found him before we could call you. He sleepwalked all the way to the coyote den. Now he says he knows where Stiles is."

"How?" There had better not be any more sacrifices this semester.

"Scott said he had this necklace-"

"First of all, he is standing right here." She heard the scowl in his voice. "Second-" Matthew tripped over a rotting root and landed face first into a pile of leaves.

"I hate nature."

Allison covered her mouth to hide her smile. "Are angels allowed to hate?"

"Oh, absolutely." He brushed the leaves off his clothes. "Let's keep moving."

The three of them walked a few more minutes in silence. Allison kept her bow pointed down because Matthew kept twitching at the sight of it. As if a crossbow could kill an angel.

They stopped at the clearing in front of the coyote den. Stiles was nowhere to be seen.

"Are you sure this is where he is," Allison asked.

"Well he was here," Matthew said. "He couldn't have gotten far."

"He was here a few minutes ago," Isaac said. "I'll try to pick up his trail."

Matthew took a step forward and promptly fell again.

"What the. . ." He turned over on his back as Allison crouched down and discovered a line trip wire.

Suddenly she heard the sound of pressurized gas being released. A purple fog seeped from the coyote den. Isaac started coughing loud hacking coughs.

"It's . . .wolfsbane."


Classes were over for today, so no one would interrupt Scott, Kira and her parents in Mr. Yukimura's classroom. On the front desk lay yellowed pictures of a young Asian woman with a 1940's hairstyle. She looked just like Kira. But it wasn't her. It was her mother.

Kira's mother held up the sword she gave her daughter. "I had to break into Eichen house to get this. That was where I buried it, in 1943."

"You used it on the Nogitsune," Kira said.

"Yes."

Scott imagined someone stabbing Stiles with that sword. "This all happened before, hasn't it?"

"Those who don't know history are destined to repeat it," Mr. Yukimura said.

"When was the last time someone used it?"

Kira's mom held up the picture. "1943."


Wyatt orbed Isaac and Allison to the clinic.

"Matthew, what do we do?" It took a second to realize Allison was talking to him. She had Isaac leaning against her. He looked like he was having an asthma attack.

"Don't worry, put him on the table."

Together they got Isaac lying down on the operating table. Before Wyatt could heal him, however, the bell at the front door jingled. Allison released a sharp breath as Dr. Deaton stepped into the room with a black briefcase.

"What happened?"

"Isaac has been hit with wolfsbane gas," Allison said.

Dr. Deaton retrieved a syringe from the bottom of a cabinet. He gently pushed Wyatt to the side. "Let me." Wyatt shut his eyes as the druid jabbed Isaac.

"I think it's working," Allison said. Wyatt opened his eyes and was greeted with the sight of Isaac vomiting black goop all over the floor. When that was finished, Isaac drew in air like he had just run a marathon under water.

Dr. Deaton patted his shoulder. "You okay?"

Isaac nodded. Dr. Deaton turned his attention back to his briefcase.

"You find anything," Wyatt asked Deaton.

Allison gripped Isaac's arm to help him stand. "Find what?"

Dr. Deaton held out a syringe filled with a sickly green substance. "A poison."


"So how do we save him?"

Kira's mother stood without flinching. "By killing him."

"There must be another way. There has to be."

"Sometimes history does repeat itself Scott," Mr. Yukimura said.

"Only if you don't learn." Scott knew he promised not to say anything, but there was no choice at this point. "I know someone who can help."

Kira's mother sighed. "The boy who saved you from the Oni?"

"Yeah, His name's Matthew and he's an angel."

"An angel?" She raised an eyebrow. "I've never met an angel in 900 years."

"He says he knows how to save Stiles and defeat the Nogitsune. But he needs a few days to do it. We need to give him a chance."

Kira's parents looked at each other. Scott knew that they knew something, something they weren't telling him.

"All right," Kira's mother said. "You have three days. And if that doesn't work, then Kira and the Oni will do what is necessary."

Scott didn't say anything. He couldn't agree to let someone kill his best friend.


The woods were quiet. Almost no one was there watching the sunset, enjoying nature. But if anyone were there, they would have heard a truly unnatural scream. And then they might have seen a young woman walking briskly due east.

Lydia didn't know how she knew, but she knew. She knew that Stiles was ahead of her and that he was planning to kill someone.


"You think this boy's a witch?" Mr. Yukimura followed his wife to the front steps.

"I haven't see him, so I don't know for certain." She unlocked the door. The couple stepped into their foyer.

"Would you trust a witch?"

"Whether I trust him is irrelevant. He's going to cast spells whether I agree or not." Mrs. Yukimura slipped off her coat.

"Do you think it's possible he could save Stiles and not have to kill him?"

Mrs. Yukimura headed to the kitchen. "With a witch, anything is possible."


"How do we find Stiles," Isaac asked. His breathing was evening out. But the world still looked unsteady. He felt a strong hand hold his arm and guide him to a chair.

"Leave that to me."

Matthew's scent had no fear as he teleported away. After everything that happened these past months, no fear was something Isaac couldn't quite understand.


Lydia didn't remember walking aimlessly through the school. She didn't remember wandering out into the forest in the direction of the coyote den, before making a sharp turn due south. She didn't remember getting in her car and driving to the sheriff's station. When she finally came to, the sun had set and she was standing behind the station as Stiles exited through the back door.

And she screamed.

And she screamed.

And she screamed.

Stiles covered his ears. He sunk to his knees. Any cry for mercy was lost in her unearthly wail. Even a Nogitsune could be subject to a Banshee. Less than a mile away, unbeknownst to the two of them, Kira and Scott had tracked down his scent to the station. They too covered their ears.

As Lydia's scream died out, Matthew orbed behind Stiles. Before Stiles could react or Lydia could say anything, Matthew took Stiles by the hand and teleported him away. Lydia would have to worry about that later. Because at that moment Deputy Parrish opened the door.

"What's going on?"

"Someone's about to die."


In a shimmer of light Wyatt and Stiles appeared in the clinic. Allison and Isaac had driven off to find Lydia when she hadn't answered her cell phone. Deaton had gone to finish preparing the poison. Just as well. No one to witness his witchcraft.

Stiles twisted Wyatt's wrist until he lost his grip. He cried out in pain. Stiles stepped a few feet back but made no move to exit.

"You think you're so clever, witch?"

"Excuse me?"

"I've been around long enough to recognize your craft when I see it. No other creatures have such a talent for meddling in things that don't concern them."

A smirk crossed Wyatt's lips. "I think you must be confusing me with someone else."

"Such talent, and such arrogance. You're not going to win. All you're going to do is expose yourself to a pack of werewolves. So why don't you run back to Mommy and Daddy before get hurt?"

Wyatt kept his face still. But hiding pain from one who feeds off of it is easier said than done.

"You're all alone here, aren't you? Aw, poor little boy, did your family abandon you? Oh, how sad. And witch families are always so close." Stiles, no, not Stiles, paced the room. His hands were behind his back.

"What I'm doing here isn't your concern. And you wouldn't be trying to tell me to leave, if you didn't think I was a threat."

He chuckled. "Please. You're powerful, I'll give you that. But you're young. Inexperienced. I can't believe your family let you out this young." He stopped. "Maybe when I'm done here, I'll travel to your home, and taste the pain only a witch can-"

Whatever he was going to say was cut off by a choking sound. Wyatt gripped his hand into a fist as Stiles fell to his knees, hands clutching his throat. From his pocket Wyatt pulled out a vial of mountain ash. He released his telekinetic grip and before Stiles could react Wyatt threw the ash out into the air. It settled into a perfect ring around Stiles.

"You may be older, but not wiser."


Scott pulled his motorcycle up to the station just as people were evacuating the building. He overheard two officers talking about a bomb that Deputy Parrish was investigating. A bomb discovered thanks to "that weird psychic girl." Kira got of the bike while Scott checked his phone. Not a word from Allison, Isaac or Matthew.

"Lydia?"

Lydia bounced up and down on the balls of her feet in the middle of the lot. Her body was folded forward to protect herself from the cold. An urge to wrap his arms around that tiny little banshee confused Scott. It wasn't romantic. Must have been the alpha in him being protective. Kira beat him to it anyway. She squeezed Lydia in a hug.

"Are you okay?"

"Matthew took Stiles. He teleported him away."

"Where," Scott asked.

"I don't know. He just left."

"You're sure Matthew isn't going to try to kill him?" Kira glanced at the bomb squad exiting the station. "My mom said that's the only way."

"Matthew knows other ways. I trust him."

"He's a fucking angel," Lydia added. "For all we know he's been killing demons since before we were born."

"Matthew said the Oni aren't demons."

"Scott!"

"Okay! We'll go find him. Don't worry." Scott and Kira hopped back on his motorcycle. He felt bad about leaving Lydia there, but the way she glared at him, he thought she was about to kick his ass. Werewolf or not.

Stiles would be fine, he thought as the headed out. Angels can't kill people. Right?


In the back room of an herbal shop, a 13-year-old girl with long black curls and a long white dress knelt in front of a cauldron. Next to the cauldron, bowls of herbs, a lit candle and a silver athame sat, ready for use.

Tamara Mitchell was proud to be a witch. Her craft was ancient. It passed through the generations like the blood in her veins. Grams had told them witches could do anything. She was going to find Wyatt. Like hell would she let whatever took her cousin stand in her way.

In this night and in this hour

I call upon the ancient power

She took a deep breath, and continued.

Power of the witches rise

Course unseen across the skies

Come to us who call you near

Come to us and settle here

She placed leaves in the cauldron. Then she took the knife and cut a finger on her left hand. She squeezed out a drop.

Blood to blood I summon thee

Blood to blood return to me

The light of the candle flickered, but it did not die. Tamara waited, but nothing happened.

Half of her childhood she felt like one of nine more than one of three. They had all grown up together. When their mothers fought demons and their fathers were at work, they would stay at Magic School or at Grandpa's house together. In the past couple of years, Wyatt would watch them. He stopped fights. He helped with homework. He told stories. When demons attacked, everyone would gather behind his force field. Wyatt was everyone's older brother, not just Chris and Mel's.

And now he was gone.

Tamara's boss, a practitioner named Eliza, opened the door slightly.

"How is everything?"

"I'm fine." Tamara cleared away her supplies. "The spell didn't work. But my mom's spell didn't work either. It makes sense."

"I'm sorry, dear." Eliza was a woman on the verge of elderly. She felt more like Tamara's grandmother than her boss. Tamara smiled as Eliza touched her shoulder.

"It'll be alright. I have faith."

"Thank you."

Before Tamara headed back to work, she touched the pentacle around her neck. She took another deep breath, and blew out the candle.


It was Allison's text that told them where to go next. Scott and Kira pulled up in front of the clinic just as two Oni appeared. One entered the clinic while the other slashed its sword through the air. The metallic gleam reflected his red eyes. Scott hadn't even realize he had shifted. He threw his body back in a flip as the Oni swung its sword again. He steadied himself by digging his claws into the ground, skidding to a stop right as another Oni formed from shadows next to him.

Kira charged the first Oni as Scott dodged blows from the second. She knew her eyes were already changed. The shift was something to get used to. Her body felt like it was plugged into an electrical grid. She was alive. Alive and on fire. The first Oni raised its sword up like an executioner. Kira saw a chance and stabbed her katana in the shadow's chest. A yellow glow seeped through as the shadow evaporated.

Scott swiped his claws at the second Oni. He might as well have clawed the air. The Oni's mist swirled around his claws and spiraled back to shape a second later. Then it drew its sword. Before Scott could duck it stabbed him in the stomach.

"Scott!" Kira kneeling in front of him in a second. With her arm around his waist she helped him to his feet. The wound was already starting to heal, but it would take a few minutes before his body to recover completely.

"I need to get to Stiles." He leaned against her body as they headed to the door. "One of the Oni went in there." Another Oni emerged.

"Go. I'll be okay here."

Scott stumbled inside to find Matthew standing over the broken mask of the Oni. To the side Stiles stood folding his arms.

"Stiles!" Scott hobbled over to him, clutching his stomach with one hand. . But some unseen force pushed him backwards. Scott fell over on his back and saw a line of mountain ash out of the corner of his eye.

"I trapped him," Matthew said. He held out a hand to help Scott up. Scott gripped his arm. Matthew was strong. Not as strong as him, but strong for a human.

"Don't worry, he's-" anything the angel was about to say was cut off by a katana held an inch from his throat. A few seconds passed before Scott realized that Stiles was holding the sword to Matthew's neck. Stiles. Holding someone at knifepoint. Stiles.

"Unfortunately mountain ash doesn't quite work on my host." Stiles kicked the ring open. "And even worse, for all your so called divine powers, I think you bleed like a mortal."

"Stiles, please don't-"

"Stiles, please, Stiles, no," he said in a whiney voice. "My God Scott, you are so pathetic. I'm 140 pounds of pale skin and fragile bone and you can't even take me. Some alpha you're turning out to be."

Scott felt like he had been punched in the stomach. Stiles wasn't wrong.

Matthew flicked his hand as though to summon something. But nothing happened Stiles laughed, a dry, disturbing laugh. A laugh that made Scott feel nauseous. This wasn't Stiles. But Matthew still didn't smell of fear.

"Looking for your ring? I took it in the struggle."

"Ring?" Scott asked.

"Without it, our little angel boy here can't access his power. The Nemeton blocks it." Stiles leaned close to whisper in Matthew's ear, but Scott could hear every word.

"How does it feel to be absolutely powerless? At my mercy?"

Why does possession always equal creepy?

"I don't know." Matthew yanked Stiles' arm, causing the katana to drop to the floor with a clatter. With his other arm, Matthew elbowed Stiles in the gut. Then he kicked his feet out from under him. "How does it feel to be powerless?"

At that second, the front door ringed as it opened. Stiles used the distraction to kick Matthew in the shin. When he fell, Stiles chuckled.

"Kira!" Stiles shot out of the room. Someone hit someone and a chair was thrown against something. Then, silence.

Scott slowly made his way to the waiting room. Deaton was standing over Stiles' still body. In his hand was a syringe. Kira stood off to the side, breathing heavily.

"Did that kill it? Is he okay?"

Deaton wiped off the needle. "The fox is poisoned, but not dead. Not yet."

Chapter Text

Eichen house was always creepy. The place was haunted, everyone knew that. Kids dared each other to scale the walls and see what lay inside. They never made it to the front gate-security was always tight. A boy in Scott's homeroom said he heard screams from the courtyard when he biked past there at night. Tortured screams. So, when Scott drove up to Stiles and his dad waiting at the gate, he wanted to puke up what little he had eaten that day. No one in their right mind would go to a place like this, especially in the middle of the night. Of course, that was the point.

Stiles swayed slightly as Scott came up to him. He needed sleep. In his bed.

"Stiles," Scott pleaded, "I can't help you, if you're in there."

"And I can't hurt you."

Scott did the only thing he could think of.

"Matthew."

"Who," the sheriff asked. Before Scott bothered to answer a pillar of white light appeared, followed by Matthew, who took one look at Eichen House and screamed.

"Jesus Fucking Christ, what the shit is that?" Matthew backed away from the gate.

"You're an angel?" The sheriff scratched his head.

"Am I in Stephen King novel?" Scott smelled a tinge of fear. So, even angels were scared of something. Not that he could blame him.

"Okay, that's it." The sheriff snatched the duffel bag from Stiles. "You're not staying here."

"I need to be locked away," Stiles said. "So, I don't hurt anyone."

"We have three days," Matthew pointed out. "I can finish the exorcism tomorrow."

"What if something goes wrong?"

"We'll handle it," Scott said.

"Handle what, death?"

"You can stay at my place." The three of them turned to Matthew, who was still eyeing the institution.

The sheriff raised an eyebrow. "Your place? Where do you live?"

"At Deaton's place. So, I guess it's not really my place, but I don't think he'll mind. I mean, it's better than this."

"Can you stop me from hurting anyone," Stiles asked.

Matthew smiled, rather angelically to Scott's eyes. Or maybe that was just the relief talking.

"The Nogitsune won't be a problem."


Wyatt grew in a house that sometimes doubled as a safe haven for innocents. He couldn't even count how many times he came home from school or woke up late on the weekends only to find a nymph or a mortal or someone sitting in their living room with a cup of tea and a story about some demon. Having Stiles stay with him didn't seem like a problem.

But druids, while often agents of good, are somewhat reclusive by nature.

"I'll vacuum and clean the dishes for like a month." Wyatt watched Dr. Deaton take one look inside the guest room-with two guests-and frown.

"Maybe I should just-"

"No." Wyatt cut Stiles off. "That place looks creepy and I can't let you stay there."

"What place?" Dr. Deaton asked.

"Eichen house."

Dr. Deaton nodded. "I see. Well Stiles, you are more than welcome to stay here for the next few days."

"But what about when you're at school and Matthew's at work?"

"I'll take a couple days off from school. Stiles, the whole point of me being here is to watch over you all."

Stiles glanced at the bed, the battle between his desire to stay at Eichen and keep everyone safe and exhaustion born from several weeks poor sleep playing out on his face. The exhaustion won. "Okay, I guess I'll stay here," Stiles said, nodding.

Dr. Deaton shut the door. "Good night."

Wyatt gestured to the bed. "I'll sleep on the floor. I insist."

"Okay." Stiles kicked off his shoes and flopped on the bed. Then, he sat up. "Oh, I forgot my pillow."

"You can use one of mine."

"No, my special pillow. My mom gave it to me and I can't sleep without it."

"Then I'll go to your house and get it."

"But what it the Nogitsune gets out?"

Wyatt marched down to the kitchen. He grabbed a salt shaker off the table, came back, and orbed the salt into a neat circle around Stiles.

"There. Now he can't escape."

Salt actually did nothing. But mortals didn't know that. Just like they didn't know when witches gave them sleeping potions to get a good night sleep themselves.


Scott traced the lines of the ceiling cracks with his eyes. Then, he started on the siding of the house next door. Anything to keep from looking at the clock which would tell him exactly how much time he had left before he had no time to fall asleep.

He listened to the sound of his mom breathing, of Isaac snoring, of the neighbor's cat knocking over a book, anything to distract him from the tick-tock tick-tock echoing from the nightstand.

Was this how people with mentally ill loved ones felt? That the person they grew up with became someone they couldn't understand or recognize? That their friend and the one hurting their friend were the same person? How can he stop who he wants to save?

8-year-old Stiles kept pulling his arm so hard that Scott felt like he might fall over. "You have to see it!" He jumped up and down like a jumping bean.

It was the day after Christmas and Scott was at Stiles' house to see his new present. He kept saying on the phone how awesome it was. Scott wondered if he got a motorcycle. He wanted a motorcycle someday.

Stiles guided Scott up the stairs through the familiar hallway with well-worn carpet and wedding pictures. He made it to Stiles room when Stiles told him to close his eyes. Scott tripped over wrapping paper as he made his way blindly to the bed. He kicked his legs as he heard Stiles rip out cardboard. Then Stiles told him to open his eyes.

"Lightsabers!" He shoved a glowing green stick in his lap. "Just like in Star Wars!" Stiles waved a red lightsaber in the air.

Scott had never seen Star Wars. But he got swept away in Stiles' excitement and before he knew it they were knocking wedding pictures off the wall until Stiles' mom called them downstairs for leftover Christmas cookies.

"Did you guys have fun sword fighting?" She set down two glasses of milk.

"Yeah," Scott said, "but I hope one day we fight other people together."

"Yeah! Like in the movies! We'll be Batman and Robin. Only different."

Scott smiled, scrunching up his nose as Stiles blew bubbles in his cup of milk. They talked about who their supervillains would be and whether they should wear capes (they had just watched The Incredibles).

Two weeks later Stiles came to school with something wrapped in paper. It was a cheap costume mask colored red and blue.

"For when we're superheroes together."

Scott opened his drawer, careful not to look at the clock. Inside, next to old essays and birthday cards, was a blue and red mask that frayed at the edges. That was when the tears, which he didn't even realize he had been holding in, slipped down his cheeks.


Allison adjusted her crossbow by the light of the basement lamp. The room was full of neatly arranged guns on steel shelves.. Somehow that calmed her nerves. It was late, past midnight, and she had school in the morning. But she couldn't sleep. She wanted to keep busy. If she was doing something, she wouldn't have time to think about how Isaac had almost died. He almost died right in front of her. And she just stood there crying like a goddamn girl.

Her father knocked on the open door. "I had a feeling you would be down here."

"I'll go to bed soon. I needed to do something. I hate waiting. Feeling useless." She concentrated on the screwdriver. In addition to hand to hand combat and how to escape from knotted rope, Allison had learned a few mechanics lessons in the past year. She knew the ins and outs of crossbows, guns and other weapons. Knowledge was power. Power was the opposite of useless.

Her dad put his hand over hers, gently halting her work. She sighed.

"Leave it for now, huh?" He made his way to the back. "I have something else you can do. Something we should have done a while ago." He pulled out a case. Inside were 6 silver bars.

"It's time for you to graduate."

Silver had no effect on werewolves. The myth began because of their family name, Argent. But hunters made silver bullets as a tradition. Allison wasn't sure how she felt about following in the footsteps of her family, considering all the things her family had done. Her father had these bullets. Maybe that was enough. Maybe not.

"Dad wait. I think I want to use my own mold."

"You have a bullet mold?"

"Not a bullet mold, an arrowhead. My weapon is a crossbow, so I think I should make a silver arrowhead."

Something different. Something hers. She made her own code. She would make her own weapon to uphold it.

Her father smiled and kissed her head.

"Dad, if something happens-"

"Hey, hey you don't have to worry about me."

"Yeah," Allison scrunched up her face in discomfort. "I didn't get to say anything to Mom."

"You don't need to say anything. I'm going to be around a long time. I promise."

"Well then, take it as a reminder. Maybe you don't need to hear it, but I need to know that I said it." She tried to smile, but it didn't feel right. "I love you. I'm proud of you. I'm proud of us."

He kissed her head again, but didn't say anything. Tears hung in his eyes, threatening to slip down his face. He left her with the melted silver. This was a rite of passage.


If someone else asked Wyatt, he would say that that fact he would be able to skip school and sleep late had nothing to do with his decision to invite Stiles over. That was a lie. He was supposed to help mortals, but if he could, he would help mortals and weasel his way out of setting an alarm. Alarms, as everyone knew, were cruel. It was almost 10 when he finally pushed himself off the cot and saw Stiles in bed furiously texting.

"Hi," Wyatt yawned.

"Good morning." Stiles didn't look up from his phone. "I'm just letting my dad know that I'm alright."

"Okay. Breakfast? I can make scrambled eggs." Or he could make sunny side up eggs that look scrambled.

"I don't eat breakfast."

"But it's the most important meal of the day. Serving it up Gary's way." Wyatt did a little dance.

"I also don't like Spongebob."

"How do you not like Spongebob? It defined a generation."

"It's overrated and sends a bad message about people who want to be left alone." He gave him a look. "Like now, for instance."

So, this was what having a roommate was like. Wyatt grabbed some clothes and headed for the shower. The sound of furious typing was drowned out by music and running water. It was going to be a long day.


Sheriff Stilinski knew that texting during work was unprofessional. But when his son was possessed by a demon and his only saving grace was a kid angel, the sheriff figured anything to keep his mind at ease was good.

"Where are the records from 2004's arrests?" Agent McCall threw open the door without so much as a hello.

"They're in the database. In 2004 we switched to digital records, unless someone needed a print out," Said the Sheriff tersely.

"I need a printout, Sheriff."

The Sheriff bit back a retort. "Alright then. I'll get right on that."

Agent McCall left the room as abruptly as he came in. The door was shut hard enough to rattle the blinds. In the sheriff's mind, Agent McCall acted more irritable every day he was in Beacon Hills. He could think of several reasons for this, but if the sheriff had to guess, he would have said it was because he had been more of a father figure to Scott in the last few years than Scott's own father.

The sheriff's phone buzzed in his pocket.

Melissa: How's Stiles?

Sheriff Stilinski: Doing okay I guess. It sounds like he can even get on an angel's nerves.

Melissa: I hope the angel doesn't wash his mouth out with soap.

Sheriff Stilinski: Nah, he swore worse than Stiles does.

Melissa sent a laughing emoji. The sheriff grinned.

Sheriff Stilinski: So, when all of this is over, I believe you owe me a cup of coffee.

Melissa: Can it be hospital coffee?

Sheriff Stilinski: No, real coffee. We can't keep canceling.

Melissa: We can't keep lying to the boys either.

Sheriff Stilinski: It's not lying. It's just not sharing information.

Melissa: I feel guilty though.

"Your printer is broken."

The sheriff quickly shoved his phone in a drawer and slammed it shut. He cringed at the loud sound the desk drawer made. Agent McCall crossed his arms over his chest and set his wide, unblinking eyes on him.

"Who were you texting?"

"My son. He's home sick today and I wanted to make sure he was taking it easy."

"I see. Get me the records, Stilinski." Agent McCall slammed the door behind him.

Actually, if the sheriff had to take a bet, he would say the reason Agent McCall hated the sherriff's guts was because he knew the sheriff was dating his ex-wife.

Sheriff Stilinski: We'll tell them soon. I promise.


Scott did not want to eat lunch. He was still feeling queasy. When bell rang for lunch, instead of going to the cafeteria to pick at a burger and endure the pitying looks of teachers and students alike, Scott made his way to the lacrosse field. He sat on the metal bleachers as the wind struck his skin, reminding him of how cold Stiles must have been in that cave. "So cold," he had said. Cold and scared. And then this thing was there and Stiles wasn't. And he didn't know what to do. He didn't know what to do without his best friend. He never had to learn that.

Scott was lost in his own misery, and he didn't notice Allison was there until she was sitting next to him.

"Hey," she said softly.

"Hey." He stared out at the field, not looking her in the eye. If he did, he probably would start crying again.

"I accidentally packed two sandwiches." She held out a PB&J sandwich.

"I'm not hungry, thanks."

"Scott, hey." Her hand was warm when she rested it on his. Slowly, almost against his will, he turned to look at her.

"I've never had a best friend. Not like the way you two are. I don't know what it's like. But I do know that if Stiles were here right now, he would tell you to eat."

She wasso beautiful. The way her gaze made him feel like she was looking at something important. The fact that he knew she packed him a sandwich to make sure he ate something. The smell of her strawberry shampoo as she let him rest his head on her shoulder. All of it was beautiful.

And then it became awkward because Kira walked down the field.

Scott jolted away from Allison. He didn't dare look at her. Instead he watched Kira run up the steps with this big smile because either she didn't know he and Allison dated before or she didn't care and she sat next to him. He was stuck between his ex-girlfriend and a possible future girlfriend. Why, he thought, did these things always end up happening to him?

"Hey Scott. I didn't see you in the lunchroom and I didn't know how you were doing. I know you and Stiles are really close. So, I thought I'd come keep you company. Hey Allison."

"Hi."

What did that "hi" mean, Scott wondered. Did it mean: "hi, back off he's mine?" Did it mean: "hi, I never loved him anyway?". Did it mean: "let's all have a threesome?" No, he concluded, it probably did not mean that last one.

"Also, I figured, since you kind of got a crash course in eating sushi, I'd give you some of those California rolls I promised. I think you'll like them." She took out a tupperware case filled with what smelled like seaweed.

"Crash course?" Allison and Kira leaned forward to see each other over Scott.

"Yeah, he's never had sushi before."

"But you're from California. Aren't there a ton of sushi places in California?"

"My mom just never took me to a sushi place before." Scott picked at the plastic wrap on the sandwich.

"Well, anyway, I wanted to give this to you." She smiled and handed him the container.

"Um, thanks Kira."

"Hey look," Allison said. She pointed to the entrance to the school. "It's Isaac."

Isaac jogged over to the bleachers to join them in what had suddenly transformed into the world's most awkward double date.

"What's going on?"

"We're just making sure Scott has lunch," Allison said.

"Yeah," Kira said. "It was so weird. Me and Allison had the same idea."

"Really?" Isaac held up two bags of peanut M&M's. "Great minds think alike."

"Thanks."

"Yeah, your mom said that you missed breakfast."

"Scott, you missed breakfast?" Allison frowned at him as Isaac sat next to her.

"I woke up late, so . . ."

Having three people look at him with concern, at the same time, was weird. Scott grew up with only one real friend. A friend that did not have the motherly tone of voice that Allison frankly should not have had at 17. As touching as this all was, part of Scott wanted to hide in the janitor's closet. Werewolf bites did not cure social awkwardness.

Of course, Lydia had to pick that moment to come in and dump a bag of apple slices unceremoniously in his lap.

"Last time I checked, sitting in the cold for no reason never helped anyone. So, we are going inside, where it is warm, to eat lunch." She placed her hands on her hips. The wind blew her hair around her face.

Scott blinked. "How did you-"

"Because when your parents divorced in middle school, the teachers checked to make sure you had eaten."

Scott scrunched up his shoulders and ducked his head. He had thought no one had noticed.

Starving never helped anyone either. If you want to help Stiles, get your ass inside. Now."

The five of them trekked back to the school. They found an empty spot in the library. Scott liked the quiet. Better than the cafeteria, that's for sure.

"Now eat," Lydia told him. She shoved the sandwich in his face. Scott's face flushed. Everyone was looking at him.

"Hey, have you heard about the girl on the cheerleading team?" Isaac said. "She got drunk and set this other girl's uniform on fire."

"While she was wearing it?" Kira gasped.

"No, she broke into her locker."

The two of them kept talking. Allison nudged Scott's arm, then gestured to the sandwich. He slowly chewed and swallowed one bite, then another. Everyone else pulled out their own lunches as well. For the next thirty minutes, one or two people would say something distracting. Mostly gossip. The others would subtly keep an eye on Scott, silently encouraging him to eat. By the end of lunch, he had eaten everything they had given him. The nauseous feeling in the pit of his stomach had mostly disappeared. He wasn't alone. And Stiles wasn't either.


As dusk fell, Stiles and Wyatt were in the living room watching a cop show. Wyatt hated cop shows. Not only were they boring, he felt like they were propaganda. Yes, his old family friend Uncle Darryl was a cop. And yes, most cops were good people. Obviously. But the shows always felt like they were only acting nice for the cameras. If no one was watching, would they really speak to the driver of the dented Ford so nicely? Not to mention it was the same routine every time. How many times did they have to hear the Miranda rights? That would be like watching witches kill demons again and again every week. Who would watch that?

But no, they were in the living room watching a cop show. Because whenever he said anything the least bit negative about police officers, Stiles would go on for 10 minutes about, "how do you know, have you ever been shot at, look at these statistics, where would we be without blah blah blah." Since when did being possessed mean dominion over the remote?

Even worse, Stiles kept complaining about not being home. He was across town, texting his dad and best friend every two hours. Wyatt was two hours away from home, forbidden to speak to anyone for a fucking year. It was hard to resist the urge to smack his new charge on the back of the head. Being a whitelighter sucked.

The doorbell rang. Stiles had curled up comfortably in the fetal position on the couch. Wyatt shoved his arm roughly.

"Go answer the door. I'm your angel, not your maid."

"But I'm possessed. Shouldn't I be-"

"Just go. It's fine."

Stiles jerked his limbs around until he fell off the couch. Wyatt waited until he left the room before orbing to remote to his hand.

"Matthew? There's a pizza delivery guy here."

"Money's on the mail table," he shouted. He flipped through the channels until he found a repeat of last week's game. He had watched it live with his friends days ago. The game made him miss them. Wyatt flipped again until he found Family Guy. Stiles came back with the pizza box.

"Hey, why didn't you tell-hey, I was watching something."

"'Was' is the key word there."

Stiles held the pizza out. "I'll give you your pizza if you give me the remote."

The pizza box disappeared from Stiles' hands in a flurry of orbs. It reappeared in Wyatt's lap. Stiles' mouth formed a silent "what?" Wyatt laughed. Not everyone grew up in a magical family. Hell, not everyone grew up with siblings.

"Nice try. You can have some if you want, though. It's just plain cheese."

"God, you know you're kind of petty for an angel." Despite his grumbling, Stiles grabbed a slice. They settled in to watch TV.


Lydia watched her backyard from her bedroom window. Her dog, Prada, lay asleep in her lap. Lydia ran her hand over her fur absentmindedly.

The sequence of events was so strange. She barely thought of Stiles, or spoke to him, until the last year. She knew him, of course. The awkward sheriff's son. The boy who lost him mother in elementary school. Another boy who stared at her as she walked down the hall. They all stared. No one saw.

Then the Winter Formal happened.

"Lydia, I've had a crush on you since the third grade. And I know that under that cold, lifeless exterior, there's an actual human soul. And I'm also pretty sure that I'm the only one who knows how smart you really are. Uh-huh. And that once you're done pretending to be a nitwit, you'll eventually go off and write some insane mathematical theorem that wins you the Nobel Prize."

She had almost teared up. But she didn't want anyone to see her cry. Crying smears mascara. Instead, she led Stiles out onto the dance floor. Strictly out of pity.

As the craziness that was their quaint, little hometown descended on her, the person whom Lydia had turned to the most was Stiles. Stiles, with his ADHD. Stiles, with his unending snark. Stiles, with his convoluted plans that she somehow had confidence in. Stiles who, as she sat there staring out the window, was being possessed by a Japanese fox demon. So suddenly she had feelings.

Lydia hated feelings.

Her phone vibrated in her pocket. Aiden texted her about maybe grabbing dinner tomorrow. She didn't reply.

"Lydia, dinner," her mother called from the stairs. Lydia carefully placed her sleeping dog on the bed. She went downstairs to eat. Stiles would be fine, and the feelings would disappear.


"I'll be in my room if you need me," Dr. Deaton said as Wyatt tried not so subtly to shut the door in his face.

"Really, it's fine. I'll perform the exorcism tonight and by tomorrow he'll be out of your hair."

"Alright then. Good night."

Wyatt shut the door. Behind him, Stiles attempted to stand upright. Performing a spell in front of a mortal, especially in werewolf country, was risky. So, Wyatt gave Stiles another sleeping potion. That might have been unethical. He didn't care.

"It's okay, Stiles. I'll do the exorcism when you wake up." Stiles leaned against Wyatt as he was guided to the bed. It was like having a drunk roommate.

"But you said it had to be done at night."

"Yeah, but you need your rest." And he needed to not be burned at the stake or mauled to death. "We'll do it when you're awake."

"Okay, night." Stiles fell face first on the bed. He kicked off his shoes. Wyatt covered him with a blanket and put his shoes next to the door. When Stiles began snoring, he broke out the candles.

Wyatt orbed the bed to the center of the room. He placed the five candles equidistant from each other. One by one he lit them. Earth, fire, water, air, spirit. Even in a land of chaos the five elements could be found.

With a deep breath, Wyatt chanted.

"Let the words of the witches be told

Help me fight evil dark and old

Spirit of strife be split from my sight

Darkness cannot overtake the light."

Stiles flipped on his back. He arose as though some invisible string attached to his chest pulled him up. His body convulsed. But his eyes were still closed. He leaned over the side of the bed and coughed. A stream of dirty cloth bandages spilled out.

"Ew."

The bandages formed a pile. Suddenly, a hand reached out of the pile. Wyatt stepped back as a body of ripped wrappings and sharp teeth formed. The grotesque thing staggered out of the circle towards him.

Thinking fast, Wyatt orbed a lamp at the creature's head. It collapsed to the floor. Stiles sat up.

"What happened?"

"It's okay, Stiles. Everything is okay." He ran over to the bed. He had watched his mom calm down mortals before.

"Shh, Stiles, it's okay, I-"

Wham. Stiles punched Wyatt right in the nose. Everything went black.


The silver arrowhead sat in her hand. It didn't weigh much. Lead was heavier, more accurate. But silver was traditional. Her father said they were to be used in close range, for example, firing at shadow creatures five feet away from her.

Allison fastened the arrowhead on the shaft. She loaded, took aim at a target hung on the wall, and fired. The arrow hit dead center with a satisfying smack.

She was a huntress. A feeling of content settled within her. Let the Oni come. Let werewolves and kitsune and kanima and whatever else come. She was done being afraid. Done being useless. She was a huntress. She would fight.


Lydia woke up to pebbles being thrown at her window. Standing on her backyard was a tired looking Stiles.

"Stiles?"

"Lydia, come down here, quick."

She threw on her robe and raced down the stairs. Outside, the air was cold and still, but she didn't care. She threw her arms around Stiles' neck.

"You're okay."

He wrapped an arm around her waist. "Of course I am."

Something pinched her arm. Like a doctor's needle. Lydia leaned into Stiles' body. She felt woozy.

"What?"

"I'm okay, Lydia." He grinned down at her face. "But you're not."


Wyatt woke up to Stiles slapping him in the face. Repeatedly.

"Hey, Matthew? Oh my God, wake up!"

"Oh my God, stop hitting me!" He shoved Stiles away. They were on the floor in his room. Dr. Deaton was on the phone with someone.

"Matthew's awake. Yes, we'll be right over."

"What happened?"

"Apparently, whatever you did while I was asleep made two of me. Right now, evil Nogitsune me has kidnapped Lydia, and is probably plotting world domination or something. Good me is torn between thanking you and kicking your ass."

"I exorcised a spirit out of you. You're welcome."

"You hit me with a lamp. No welcomes from me."

Mortals were so ungrateful.

"Yes, okay, alright." Dr. Deaton hung up the phone. "Mrs. Yukimura believes the Nogitsune is using Lydia as leverage. If he wanted her dead, he would have already killed her."

"I think I can track down Lydia," Wyatt said. "Just give me a few minutes."

"Someday I'd like to know just how you did this," Dr. Deaton said. He gestured to Stiles. "I don't think I've ever seen an exorcism like this."

"Trade secret."

He nodded. "Very well."

Magic. It never went how witches thought it would.


Lydia stumbled down the narrow steps. The gate was shut. She tried to jerk it open. She tried throwing herself against it. It had been locked for decades. It wouldn't open now. She heard footsteps behind her and knew who it was.

The weight of the situation set in. Lydia was a banshee. She knew when someone was going to die.

"What do you want?" She asked.

"More," Not-Stiles stood up.

"More what?" She whispered.

"The trickster stories are all about food, Lydia. The coyote, the raven, the fox. They're all hungry." He casually walked down the steps to her. "I'm the same."

If she didn't know better, she would think she heard a tinge of regret in his voice.

"I just crave something a little different." She closed her eyes, not wanting to give what she already knew she was giving him.

"I crave what you feel." Lydia looked out the gate. She suddenly felt his cold skin touch her face. His mouth on her ear. She shuddered and gripped the metal bars.

"And I'm insatiable."

A small, hoarse cry was the only sound she made. She was too scared to scream.


Scott squeezed Stiles so hard he almost forgot about his super strength. Only Stiles pleas for mercy stopped him from breaking a rib. Even then, he didn't completely let go. He gripped Stiles shoulders.

"You're in pain?" Before he could answer, Scott was already taking his hand. Dark lines appeared on his arm as he drew the pain away. "You're cold."

"It's fine, Scott. It's just a dull ache, really."

"Where?"

He sighed. "Pretty much everywhere."

They were at Scott's house. Everyone else was in the living room, planning what to do next. Scott and Stiles were upstairs in Scott's room. The others were tactful enough to give them privacy.

"What if we can't find her?" Stiles asked. "What if she's, well, gone?"

"He wouldn't take her unless he had a reason," Scott said. "I think he wants her for something."

"She's a banshee. Which means he probably wants to kill someone-"

"And then we would hear it."

Stiles looked half dead. The circles under his eyes made him appear zombie-like, or drugged. Scott didn't want to think about what his friend had suffered. They had to find Lydia. If he wondered about nightmares and tortured riddles, Scott would pull Stiles close to him and never, ever, let go.

"We're going to find her, Stiles. My mom's almost home. She's going to watch you, okay? You're not going to be alone right now."

"I'm going with you."

"Stiles-"

"It's Lydia, Scott. The girl I've been in love with since 3rd grade. Alright? I'm not just sitting here waiting. I'm done waiting."

Scott didn't reply. He understood what Stiles was feeling. He felt the same thing.


Wyatt held the crystal over the map of the town. He tried to let his mind go. Scrying under pressure wasn't something he had a lot of practice with.

Don't think about the what-ifs, his mom had told them. Think only in certainty. You have the power to find whoever you seek. Just let yourself do it.

In his mind, he saw the girl. Red headed, primped and polished like so many other girls her age. Wyatt hadn't had a chance to talk to her yet. But from afar he could see a certain confidence in her walk. Apparently, she had been mauled and mind raped by a serial killer werewolf. Yet she carried herself like she wasn't afraid. Lydia was a banshee. Wyatt had a feeling she would have made a fine witch.

The crystal was pulled to a building on the edge of the map. Oak Creek.


The Oni assembled in Mrs. Yukimura's living room. There were only five left. She hoped it would be enough.

She didn't have to check Kira's room to know that her daughter had left. It seemed Kira had inherited her mother's former optimism. Mrs. Yukimura despised the fact that she would be the one to break that youthful hope.


Scott, Stiles, Kira, Isaac, Matthew, and Allison stood at the gate to the old internment camp. It was here that the Nogitsune was summoned, Mrs. Yukimura had told them It's only fitting that it die here.

Scott and Stiles ran past empty cardboard boxes and broken glass as they hurried through the side gate. The building was old and decrepit, with the faint smell of decay still lingering in the air after all these years. Scott could smell Lydia. Her fear, her perfume, her unique smell.

"She's here." He turned back to Stiles. "This way."

When they ran through the narrows passage ways, Stiles lagged behind. He was out of breath. Scott could hear it. He shouldn't have let him come. But leaving him behind might not save him either.

Scott followed the smell until he came upon a narrow flight of stairs. They ran down and there was Lydia, clutching the metal bars of the gates.

"Lydia?" Stiles gasped. "Are you alright?" Scott yanked the lock. He gripped it with his claws.

"No no no no, you shouldn't have come."

Scott pushed open the gate. "What? Why? Lydia, what's happening?"

"Who else is here? Who came with you? Who else is here?" Her face was streaked with tears.

When a banshee was crying, it wasn't a good sign.

Someone was going to die.

One of his pack was going to die.

Something inside of him, something deep and fierce, screamed. His eyes didn't change color, but Scott felt the alpha in him nonetheless. His senses heightened, and focused. As the three of them raced through the passage, Scott ran ahead. He didn't see Stiles collapse. He didn't notice Lydia stay with him. At the time, he thought it was adrenaline.

Then the earth shook. Like something cracked open. A fault line, perhaps.

Then a scream. Allison. Lydia screamed Allison's name.

Then he was at another locked gate and he was watching an Oni pull its sword out of Allison's stomach.

Allison.


Chapter Text

Wyatt was fine until the stupid Oni whacked him over the head. That wasn't ninjitsu. That was an honest to God bitch slap. Maybe they were mad Wyatt had vanquished their friends. Whatever.

So he was out of it for a couple minutes. Then when he came to, Allison was lying in Scott's arms, bleeding out . The Oni had left, at least. Wyatt had been hit in the head twice today. He didn't have the mental capacity at the moment to handle things tactfully. So instead, he shoved Scott out of the way. Ignoring the gasps and protests of those around him, Wyatt held out his hands over Allison's wound. The familiar warmth spread through his fingertips. The blood was erased in light. Allison drew in a sharp breath. She sat straight up, clutching her stomach.

"You're fine," he said. Wyatt dusted off his jeans. Fighting evil was always a dirty business.

"What the fuck?"

Wyatt turned around to see Isaac staring at him like he was a goddamn alien. As if he didn't have claws. The courtyard was silent. Wyatt looked around and realized everyone-Scott, Allison, Isaac, Kira and her mom(who he later learned came to try to get her daughter to leave)-were all looking at him like he had done something insane. That's when he remembered that these people weren't witches. They didn't have experiences with whitelighters before. For them, this was insane.

"Um, ta da?"


The hospital always felt different at night. Midnight emergency rooms were full of the desperate and the disturbed. Melissa McCall had gotten used to the insanity. She had seen things as a nurse that people wouldn't believe. But she never had seen this.

Or rather, it was what she wasn't seeing.

Inside of an examining room, Allison lay on an examining table. She had taken off her shirt. Melissa listened to her heart beat, her breathing and took her blood pressure. She checked the skin for any sign of cuts. Then she made Allison follow her flashlight with her eyes.

"Are you sure you were stabbed?"

She nodded quickly. "The Oni stabbed me right here." She pointed to a spot two inches above her belly button. "There was a lot of blood. But then Matthew healed me, and it was like I was never stabbed."

Melissa sat down net to Allison. "Well, you aren't showing any signs of having been stabbed. I wouldn't have thought anything happened if you hadn't told me. Whatever this boy did, I'm pretty sure he saved your life Allison."


Hospitals made Wyatt nervous. Even at 17, his dad needed to hold his hand when he got a shot. The last time a doctor drew his blood, Wyatt had been told to stay seated for a few minutes after the procedure had finished. They had thought he would faint. It wasn't just needles, though. Hospitals were places full of the sick and dying. They were also full of gurneys and restraints and operating equipment and other, unknown torture devices. He avoided these places at all costs.

So being in a hospital in the middle of the night, surrounded by strangers, was not good.

Wyatt sat in a plastic chair. His leg was shaking. Everyone else was outside the room Allison was in. Like she needed to be checked out. Wyatt had been healing people since he was a baby. Actually, since he was a fetus. Going to the hospital was ridiculous.

Some guy standing outside the room came over to him. Despite his grey hair, he looked about the same age as Wyatt's dad. The man's arms were crossed over his chest. Wyatt thought he saw the flash of a knife hidden in his sleeve.

"It's Matthew, right?"

"Yes."

"I'm Allison's father. Chris Argent." If they were somewhere else, Wyatt would have said that was his brother's name, too.

"Oh. Oh!" Wyatt jumped up and offered his hand. "Hello, sir."

Mr. Argent shook his hand. "I just wanted to say thank you for saving my daughter."

"Oh yeah, sure, no problem. Just doing my job." Wyatt wished he had been forced to look after witches, like he was supposed to do. Witches would have moved on from this by now.

"Regardless, thank you." Mr. Argent crossed his arms again. "You're staying for a year, right?"

"Yes."

"Alright, good."

"Um, so you're a police officer, or something?" Something with hidden knives, that's all Wyatt could tell.

"No, I'm actually a hunter by trade."

"A hunter?"

Mr. Argent curved his mouth into an almost smile. "A werewolf hunter."

Wyatt nodded. "Okay," he said in a high pitched voice. "I have to use the restroom, excuse me."

Mr. Argent held up his hand. "Hey, you don't have to worry about me. We only hunt what hunts us. It's in our code."

"I get it. Excuse me." Wyatt walked briskly for the men's room. Hunters. He knew all about that code. Exodus 22:18-Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. Every young witch learned that code and what pain it had brought upon their people. If Allison wasn't going to shoot him with a crossbow, her dad was going to burn him at the stake.


Peanut butter and sushi did not taste that great when they were coming up the second time. Everything Scott ate that day, he threw up in the trashcan of an empty men's room at the hospital. He hoped his mom wouldn't find out. She didn't need to worry.

Allison. Allison had been bleeding in his arms. She had almost died in his arms.

"I can't take away your pain."

"That's because I'm not in pain."

And then Matthew pushes him aside like he was a worried bystander. Scott let Allison die. Matthew saved her life. Scott wasn't an alpha. He didn't know who was in charge of True Alphas. Maybe it was whoever sent Matthew here. Whoever they were, they had chosen wrong. Like Derek's sister once said, he didn't save anyone. He only found the bodies.

Suddenly, Matthew pushed open the door. He froze when he saw Scott.

"Oh, hey. Didn't know you were in here."

"I just needed a minute." Scott stepped away from the trashcan.

"I just wanted to, um, wash my hands." He hurried over to the sink. Scott listened to his heartbeat over the water rushing from the faucet. He wasn't the only one who was shaken up.

"Thanks for saving Allison. Like I can't even begin to say-"

"It's okay, Scott. I was just doing my job. You don't even have to say thank you." Matthew stuck his head in the sink. He splashed water over his face.

"Matthew, what you did was amazing." He still couldn't quite grasp it. To save someone from the brink of death, with just a touch of the hand. It was more magical than anything he had seen in this town.

Matthew wiped off his face with a paper towel. He took a deep breath.

"Amazing is overrated."

Isaac pushed open the door. "Allison's being kept overnight here. Her dad insisted. Derek and the twins are looking for the Oni."

"I can find them. Give me a few minutes." Matthew made his way to the door, but Isaac his arm.

"Thanks for saving her."

Matthew pressed his lips together. "You're welcome." Then he left to do some divine ritual that angels could do. He had done it several times, but never explained what it was. Scott assumed it was something beyond the knowledge of mere mortals.

Isaac leaned against the wall. "You okay?"

"I'll be fine. We have more important things to worry about now." Scott headed out the door. "Come on, I have an idea."


Derek Hale had never been a knight in shining armor. Ever. What he was, was someone who did what needed to be done. Whether or not that aligned with the morals of others was secondary. Right now what needed to be done was stop the Nogitsune.

He drove through a street lined with houses and well-kept lawns. Behind him, Ethan and Aiden followed on black motorcycles that broke the quiet. They agreed to stay and fight. Derek doubted they would settle in Beacon Hills to join Scott's pack. They would leave sooner or later. But in at the moment, they were there and they were helping. That was all Derek was concerned about, especially because he planned to leave after all this was over. His mother had told him that their family were once the guardians of Beacon Hills. Most of the family was dead. He would rather join Cora in Brazil than stay and attempt to recreate a failed legacy. Let Scott's pack handle it.

His phone beeped.

Isaac: Allison's fine, but she's staying overnight. She said silver kills the Oni.

Derek: We're looking for the Nogitsune.

Isaac: Matthew said he knew a way to find them. He'll text us.

Derek: Okay.

Derek had lived in New York for a year. He had met witches. He knew their scent. He knew what this boy was. Whatever this guy's reason for coming here was, if he could stop the Nogitsune, Derek was willing to put aside a centuries old grudge. Because he was someone who did what needed to be done.


The combat rooms at Magic School weren't being used by classes that Saturday morning. The sun streamed down the wooden walls and across the blue practice mats. The back wall was lined with shelves of weapons and equipment. In the corner was wooden target. That was where an 11-year-old Wyatt was trying to learn how to throw knives.

Technically they were athames. Witches used them to cut herbs or energy. Warlocks used them to steal other witches' powers. And, as a last resort, they were used for self-defense. While fencing made more sense, given that he owned Excalibur, knife throwing just looked cooler. Ninjas were cooler than knights, everyone knew that.

Being born with powers was simple. All he had to do was be born. But skills were something he had to work for. Wyatt liked the idea of vanquishing demons with a skill. A skill that showed he was dedicated, intelligent and badass. His parents didn't like him using that word, badass. That made Wyatt want to be one even more.

The problem was that the knife didn't hit the target. They didn't hit anything. The knives clattered to floor around the target as though he had been throwing hangers. Wyatt couldn't ask a teacher for help. They'd take away the knives and say he was going to hurt himself. Knife throwing was a combat skill for older students. 11-year-olds made herbal remedies.

Wyatt picked a knife that landed near the leg of the target. He balanced the handle in his palm. With a deep breath, he chucked it forward. It landed close to where it landed before.

"You're not doing it right."

A girl around his age leaned against the frame of the door. She wore a red tank top and blue jeans, with no black robe that students wore. Her dark brown hair curled around her tan shoulders. She crossed her arms and jerked her head at the target.

"First of all, you want to use thinner knives when you're going for accuracy and shorter distances. The athames you just used are too thick."

She went over the target area. A bunch of different knives were scattered around the ground. The girl picked up a slender blade.

"It's better to practice by standing closer to the target. Here, stand over here." She pointed to a spot two feet diagonal from the target. Wyatt obeyed. He assumed she was a student who had taken a class on this.

"Now, hold the knife like this. Let me." She stood behind him and placed the knife in his hand. Then she positioned his fingers. The knife was pointing away from the target.

"Be very light." She guided his arm. He threw the knife. The blunt end hit the target, and the knife fell to the ground again.

"It takes a while to learn how. My mom showed me last year. I'm still learning."

"Your mom taught you? Lucky. My parents don't want me to do anything dangerous yet."

She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. "My mom wants me to come to Magic School because she doesn't want me to do dangerous stuff either."

"Are you new?"

"I guess. I just got here. My name's Bianca."

"I'm Wyatt."

She nodded. "I've heard of you."

Everyone had.

"My mom's with your dad right now, talking about if I can go to school here. I might not." She lifted one shoulder in a half shrug. "I don't care."

"Why couldn't you go here? Aren't you a witch?"

Bianca picked up the knife. Wyatt noticed she had a weird, red mark on her wrist. She stepped back until she was in the center of the room.

"I'm a witch. But not like you." She threw the knife. It hit the edge of the target with a thud.

Before Wyatt could ask what that meant, his dad found them. Another woman around his age was with him.

"Wyatt, what are you doing? You know better than to handle athames without adult supervision. You could have gotten hurt."

"Bianca, you were supposed to sit outside the headmaster's office, not run off." The woman took Bianca's arm and gently led her to the door.

"Sorry, Mom. I got bored." She turned to his dad. "I'm going home, aren't I?"

"Actually, no." Dad slipped his hands in his pockets. He looked around the room, at the knives. Then he looked at Bianca. "You're going to attend Magic School."

"Really?" Her eyes went wide.

"We've agreed that you can stay and attend Magic School." He glanced at Bianca's mom. "To give you the best possible future."

Bianca's mom ran a hand through her daughter's hair. "You'll make lots of new friends here, sweetheart. And you'll learn lots of new things. Plus I'll come visit every week and you'll come home for holidays."

Bianca bounced up and down with excitement. Wyatt smiled. He was glad she was goingto Magic School. She seemed cool.

"Now put away the athames," Dad said. "I don't want to see either one of you doing this again. You don't need to learn any of this yet."

"Yes, Dad." Wyatt and Bianca collected the knives and put them on the shelf.

"I know how to use throwing stars, too," she whispered to him. She pointed at sliver, little circles on the top shelf. "I can show you sometime."

"Do you wanna hang out next Saturday? I mean, once you're all moved in and stuff."

She tucked her hair behind her ear again. "Okay."

"Cool."

Wyatt followed his dad back to the library, where Chris and some other students were reading. He nodded and agreed as his dad told him that he didn't need these skills yet and that he should enjoy being a kid. But as he sat down with his homework, Wyatt couldn't help but grin.

He was going to learn how to fight.

He strapped a silver blade to each arm. Allison said that her silver arrowheads destroyed the Oni. Wyatt's powers appeared to be strong enough against them, but he liked having a backup plan. He had already called Scott and told him to meet at the school. He didn't want to orb them there. Let them drive. They had seen enough magic for one day.

Before Wyatt left, he opened his window. About ten feet away was an oak tree. Wyatt balanced the dagger in the palm of his hand. He held it pointing behind. Then, in one clear motion, he threw the knife at the tree. It embedded itself into a thick branch.

That was what he called amazing.


Derek stepped onto the side of the high school, not far from the athletic field. The Nogitsune lounged on the stone steps leading to the school. He wore Stiles' face. To his left and to his right were Oni. The two held their swords out, poised to strike.

Derek set a box down. His family's symbol, the triskele, was carved onto the top.

"Did you bring me a present?"

He sounded like Stiles, except without the frantic edge in his sarcasm. This Stiles sounded amused. Pain, strife, chaos. The Nogitsune must have been delighted.

The twins stepped out of the shadows.

"I brought two."

"A pack of former alphas? Pity someone like Deucalion isn't here. He'd be more my speed." The Nogitsune smiled. "Or maybe Laura? She would put up a real fight."

If the mention of his late sister was supposed to distract him, Derek say anything. Instead, he and the twins roared. The Oni charged. And the Nogitsune continued to watch from his perch.


They opened the door to the school. And there was snow.

Scott was surrounded by snow, barren trees and Japanese statues. Kira held out her hand. Little snowflakes landed in her palm. Lydia and Stiles looked around.

A figure wrapped in bandages appeared. He wore a bomber jacket and old trousers. His eyes were not visible, but his teeth were long and inhuman. The Nogitsune.

Four Oni appeared out of smoke. One swung its sword at Kira, who blocked it with her own. Scott stepped back.

"What is this?" Scott asked. "Where the Hell are we?"

"Between life and death," the Nogitsune said.

"Bardo," Lydia said.

Scott didn't feel dead. Every nerve in his body was alive with adrenaline. A part of him even craved the feeling of his claws unsheathing. As scared as he was, (and still a little queasy), the thought of digging his claws into this mummied freak was so enticing that he had a hard time keeping his powers in check. He was in control. But he didn't want to be.

"Do you know the ritual of seppuku, Stiles?"

"No, and I don't want to." Stiles leaned against Lydia's body for support. They stepped back as the Nogitsune approached them."

"When a samurai disembowels himself with his own sword, to maintain his honor. But that's not the cut that kills him."

Scott froze. Stiles wasn't going to die. He wouldn't let that happen.

"The killing stroke is made by his kaishakunin, who beheads the samurai with his own katana." The Nogitsune pointed to Scott. "Scott is your kaishakunin."

Unbidden images flashed through Scott's mind: Stiles, lying dead on the ground, snow stained with blood, while Scott lifts a sword above his head.

"You're best friend is going to kill you, Stiles. And you're going to let him. Because just like you, everyone else is going to die. Everyone touched by an Oni's blade." He stepped in front of Stiles. He held up a bandaged finger in his face. "Unless Scott kills you first."

Scott clenched his jaw. He wanted to sink his teeth into that thing's neck. He wanted to rip it to shreds piece by piece. He wanted the Nogitsune's pleas for mercy to be cut off by the sound of him choking on his own blood.

"Why? Why are you doing this," Stiles asked.

"To win the game."

"You're not winning yet," Scott said.

Bam. The bang of a gunshot echoed through the winter night. A yellow light glowed from the Oni's chest. The shadow dissipated into smoke. Everyone turned to Isaac, who stood in the doorway holding Argent's gun.

"Silver kills Oni," Scott said. Two more Oni were shot down.

"Perhaps. But it won't kill me," the Nogitsune growled as Matthew teleported in.

"Maybe not." Matthew slipped out a dagger from his sleeve. In one move, he threw it at an Oni's chest. As it disintegrated, he tilted his head and smiled. "But I have other ideas."

"An angel with knives hidden up his sleeve. How curious." Scott detected a sliver of anger in the Nogitsune's voice.

"We have a few moves up our sleeves, too," Matthew said.

"Divine moves," Scott added.


Derek was pushed against the stone steps. An Oni loomed over him. He grabbed its arm as it tried to slash him. Somehow he found the strength to push it off. He jumped up. The Oni pointed his sword at his chest. Then a yellow light appeared in the Oni's chest and it disappeared, revealing Argent holding a crossbow.

The twins fought the other Oni near the field. Argent took aim, then fired.


The teens ran into the normal, not-snowy hallway. For a second Scott thought that they won. That it was over. But out of nowhere, the Nogitsune slammed Kira against the lockers. Her head hit the metal and she slid to the floor, unconscious. Then he took Isaac by the throat and threw him across the room. Stiles leaned against Lydia as the two of them backed away.

"Divine moves? Divine moves, you think you have any moves at all? You can kill the Oni, but me? Me? I'm a thousand years old! You can't kill-"

Matthew threw an energy ball at the Nogitsune's face. Everyone stared as the Nogitsune fell backwards. He crashed to the floor, burn marks appearing on his skin.

"Oh my God, will you shut up already?" He looked at Scott, who was trying to remember to speak. "Oh, what now? That was nothing." He gestured to the Nogitsune, who was trying to scramble to his feet.

"What the hell are you?" Lydia asked.

"An angel," Scott said.

"Someone powerful," the Nogitsune answered. He rose to his feet. "A greater power than you children have seen."

Matthew tensed. "I'm not going to be the one killing you."

"Oh?"

"You forgot about the scroll," Stiles said.

"The Shugendo scroll," Lydia added.

The Nogitsune swallowed. "Change the host."

"You can't be a fox and a wolf," Stiles said.

Scott yanked the Nogitsune's arm back. He drew his fangs and bit into the fox's flesh. He would have been lying if he said he didn't enjoy it. The Nogitsune screamed. Kira, who had woken up during all of this, stabbed the Nogitsune in the back. The lights flickered. The Nogitsune dropped to his knees. He coughed, and out came a little fly. A fly that flew in the air for a few seconds before Isaac trapped it in the triskele box.

Before anyone could celebrate, Stiles fainted.


Allison woke up in in an empty hospital room. The clock said it was after midnight. She checked her phone. There was a text message from Lydia.

The Nogitsune is dead. Stiles fainted. We're taking him to the hospital, just in case.

Okay.

Her father insisted on keeping her overnight in case anything happened. Scott's mom told the staff that she was throwing up. The doctor told her it must have been a stomach bug. Her vital signs were normal. Tomorrow she would return home, back to whatever passed for normal in her life.

Suddenly, Nurse McCall opened the door. "Hey, you're awake."

"Yeah, I guess I just fell asleep." She had no idea how she did that.

"We won. It's dead."

"Yeah, Lydia told me. She said Stiles passed out."

"Yeah. He woke up after a minute. He's here, in another room down the hall. He looks alright too, aside from the sleep deprivation. His dad's keeping him home for a week to recover. You dad, meanwhile, is in the cafeteria. He'll be up in a few minutes."

"Can I see him? I feel fine, I promise."

Nurse McCall glanced outside. "Well, okay. Only for a few minutes."

Allison wrapped her hospital gowned body in her blanket and followed Nurse McCall down the hall. They stopped at a room as the sheriff opened the door. He put a finger to his lips and gesture them inside.

On the bed, Scott and Stiles lay, asleep. The bed was only meant for one person. Half of Stiles' body lay on top of Scott. One of Scott's legs couldn't fit on the bed and was propped up on a stool. A blanket was tangled up in a mess of limbs. Allison covered her mouth. She couldn't decide if the scene was cute, funny or necessary after everything they had been through.

They were alive. That's all that mattered.


Bianca threw another knife at the target. It hit dead center. No one else was using the room at that time of night. She preferred it that way. Working through anxious energy was easier without other students discussing memes or potions or the rumor that someone had sex in the library (it was a girl two doors down from her, not like Bianca cared.) While she was grateful for the fact that she wasn't as alienated as she was at 11, sometimes Bianca needed space to think.

And what she was thinking about right then, was Wyatt.

Since she first came to school here, Wyatt had hung out with her. She taught him martial arts and he took her to his house to play videogames with his siblings. Whenever she was upset, he would crack a joke or tell a story about some stupid thing he did at school. The idea of him just gone was hard to process.

What made it worse was that Chris was being so quiet. He pulled away from everyone and stayed in his room all the time. She knew that he suffered from depression. She knew his family was worried about him. But she didn't know what she could do. These boys were like her brothers and she couldn't do anything. Bianca considered trying to lug the punching bag out of the closet, but settled on throwing another knife.

"Hey, can I talk to you for a sec?"

Speak of the devil. Chris stood in the doorway. He wore wrinkled pajamas and an apprehensive expression. He had grown taller than her in the past year. But his bed head would never change.

"Of course. Come in."

Chris closed the door behind him. Bianca offered him a knife. He stepped to the center of the room and threw it. It landed on the floor next to the target.

"You need to center yourself. Here." She gently pulled his hand back and wrapped his fingers around the knife handle. Her other hand rested on his shoulder. She could smell the shampoo in his hair. It had a nice scent.

"Try again."

He did. The knife struck the target an inch from the center. She felt his shoulder relax under her hand.

"Very good." She let go of him. "So what did you want to talk about?"

Chris retrieved the knife from the target. He played with it in his hands. It made Bianca a bit nervous.

"Chris?"

"It's about Wyatt. Look, you can't tell anyone about this, but I know who took him."

"You know? Chris, everyone's been looking for him. Why don't you tell your parents?"

"Because Wyatt left to protect the future." He handed her the knife. "The one we changed."

Bianca looked at her reflection in the blade. She knew about that future. Where Wyatt was the source, Chris was an orphan and she . . .

"Bianca?"

. . .was a killer.

Bianca threw the knife with such force that the blade went through the wooden board. Only a couple of inches of the blade was visible.

"I'm listening."

Chapter Text

Stiles sat up quickly, too quickly, before he was even fully awake. He looked at the clock on his nightstand. 2:41 am on a Friday night, or a Saturday morning really. His dad was dealing with a car accident downtown, wouldn't be home for a while. But really he didn't need his dad. It was just a nightmare. He'd been having since he was saved last week. This was the first night he was sleeping by himself. His dad needed to stop worrying about him, anyway. Everyone just needed to stop acting like he was a basket case. Scott wasn't even sure if he was ready to go back to school on Monday.

Suddenly a bunch of bright lights appeared on the other side of the room, illuminating the darkness so quickly that Stiles' eyes hurt. And then Matthew was there, rubbing away sleep from his eyes. Was this a an angel power or was he just psychic?

"What are you doing here?"

"You called for me. I sensed you were in trouble."

"Oh." Stiles flipped on the lights. "Sorry, um, I guess I must have done it by accident. I'm fine, you can go."

Matthew sat down at the edge of the bed. Stiles felt him look right through him, like he could read his mind, which scared the crap out of him. The last thing he needed was an angel reading his thoughts about the cheerleading team.

"What are you doing up?"

"I. . .I can't sleep." Stiles looked down at his sheets.

"Did you have a nightmare?"

"Um, yeah. Well, maybe I called you in my nightmare, somehow, but really I'm fine."

Matthew didn't move.

"Do you want to tell me about it?"

"No."

"Do you want to go back to sleep?"

"No."

Matthew glanced at the door. "Is your dad home?"

"No."

"Well then how about I stay here until he comes home, okay?"

"No, you don't have to, really. I'll be fine."

"Don't tell me how to do my job."


Wyatt felt like an idiot. Someone else in his family should have been there, not him. He was taught how to kill demons but he never had to deal with their effect on mortals. But here was this terrified, traumatized kid and he was expected to fix this.

Stiles was staring at his comforter like he was trying to read it. Wyatt thought he reminded him of his brother. Chris was all about not wanting pity. He didn't understand sometimes that it wasn't pity. It was love. Wyatt took a deep breath. He had sat up with Chris before, when they were younger. He could handle this.

"It must have been really scary, not controlling your own body like that." Well thank you, Captain Obvious.

Startled, Stiles looked up. "Yeah."

"Being forced to hurt the people you love. I'd probably have nightmares, too." He did have a few nightmares about that very thing. His parents talked him through it. Stiles needed someone to talk him through it too.

There was something in the way Stiles looked away again, the way he crossed his arms like he was trying to keep it all in. Aunt Phoebe said that being feared was almost intoxicating. If a Charmed One felt that seduced by power, imagine what a scared 17 year old felt.

"You enjoyed it, didn't you?"

"What?" He jumped out of bed, backing away from him until he bumped into the wall.

Wyatt didn't move. "You enjoyed hurting people, having power. Being feared. That's part of why you're having these nightmares, right?"

"Wha-what?" Stiles eyed the door. As if Wyatt would let him dodge the question that easily.

"Hey, Stiles, if I was in your shoes, I would have enjoyed it."

Stiles' head jerked forward. "Wait, what?"

"It's human nature. To pretend that evil isn't tempting is like pretending it doesn't exist. That doesn't mean you're evil or that anything was your fault. So don't beat yourself up about it."

Of course, a mortal facing temptation was a lot different than Wyatt facing temptation.

It was quiet for a minute. Wyatt waited for Stiles to say something. He knew he couldn't push it.

"I keep dreaming that I'm stabbing Scott, but he dies." A sob escaped his throat. "He dies looking at me with this open mouthed, silent scream. And I feel guilty, but I feel powerful, too." His eyes scrunched up as he wiped the wetness away. "Cause I've always been the guy that needs to be saved, the one with no weapons or powers or knowledge. For once I'd like to be. . ."

"Strong?"

"Yeah." Hesitantly Stiles sat back down on the bed next to Wyatt.

Made sense, considering what he's faced. A boy like this probably felt helpless all the time. Wyatt pulled Stiles into a hug. Stiles leaned into his shoulder. Wyatt felt tears seeping through his shirt. He rubbed his hand up and down Stiles' back like he did with Chris. If it had been Chris, he would have told him how proud they were of him, how they would always be there for him, how he was never alone. Comforting Stiles just made Wyatt miss his brother all that much more.

"You know, there are many different ways of being strong Stiles. The fact that you survived this long, that so many people trust and rely on you, that to me is a sign of strength." He felt Stiles lean against him more. He was exhausted. Wyatt should have realized this sooner. He should have talked to him sooner. In fact, he probably should check in with everyone.

"Come on, let's get you to bed." Stiles lay back and Wyatt pulled the covers over him. If it had been Chris, Wyatt would have been pushed away and told he wasn't a baby. Stiles merely rested his head against his pillow.

"Sometimes I still don't know if I'm awake or asleep," he mumbled into his pillow. "Like what if this whole thing is a dream? What if I'm somewhere else completely?"

Wyatt had never taken philosophy. He didn't know about Descartes, existentialism or anything like that. But his inner whitelighter, his inner witch, his inner older brother, made him lay down next to him and wrap an arm around him. "Stiles, whether you are awake or asleep, I'm here. And when I'm here, I will protect you. Count on that."

"Thanks," he said as he looked at him with grateful, bleary eyes.

Wyatt smiled. "Of course."

Within minutes Stiles was quietly snoring. Wyatt waited until he was sure he was asleep, then placed a hand over his forehead.

Hear me now, I cast this spell

To bring light where darkness dwells

With these words I guard this sleep

And this peace I hope to keep

In twenty minutes he heard the door open downstairs, and the sheriff climb the stairs. Wyatt orbed out just before the he opened his son's door. Back in his own room, he wrapped his own blanket around himself and drifted off to sleep planning his weekend. He had to see how they were doing.


It was Saturday. The morning sun had just barely rose enough to shine through the trees. No one else besides Allison was in the woods yet. She loaded yet another arrow. Almost with her eyes closed she pulled back the string and let go. It hit the target with a satisfying thump.

It was almost therapeutic, being able to hit the target again.

A twig snapped behind her. Allison swung around, arrow ready, only to find Matthew standing there with his arms raised in defense.

"Oh my god, would you put that thing down," he shrieked.

Allison strapped the bow over her back. She was a bit annoyed. He shouldn't have sneaked up on her like that. After everything that happened this guy didn't think she wouldn't be on guard? She could have shot him. And what was it with angels and crossbows anyway?

"What are you doing here?"

Matthew carefully climbed down the hill, holding his hands out to grab trees for support. Toward the bottom he almost stumbled, but caught himself and landed in front of her.

"I just came to check on you, see how you were doing. You know, dealing with things."

Allison shrugged. She took her bow and went back to shooting at the target. She didn't want to be rude, but talking about a near death experience wasn't how she wanted to spend her Saturday.

Matthew watched her string her bow and hit the target dead on. They stood in silence as she fired arrow after arrow. It felt weird, this guy watching her. Even though he saved then she still didn't know if she could trust him. Kate killed people. Anyone could. Matthew randomly showed up and he knew a lot about the supernatural. Either he was working for someone or had an agenda.

"Do you mind if I join you?"

Allison snapped her head. "I only have one bow."

Matthew rolled up his pant leg. Strapped to his leg was a knife.

"I don't carry it in school. But sometimes it's nice to have it around." He walked over to a spot about ten feet from the target. The knife was thrown into the center with a loud thump. He pulled it out and threw it again. Then he stepped back to let Allison fire again.

Finally she emptied all the arrows in her quiver. Matthew stood by as she plucked them from her target and packed up her stuff. She headed up the hill, and he followed.

"When did you first start archery?"

"As a kid. I was trying to find a talent of some kind, and I sucked at everything else. My dad was really happy that I took it up, but after a while I dropped it."

"You didn't know your family were hunters growing up?" Matthew almost tripped over a fallen branch. By instinct Allison shot out her hand to steady him. "Thanks."

"My dad said he wanted me to have a normal childhood. If my aunt hadn't shown me everything, I don't know if I'd know about it now." They were at the end of the trail where her car was.

"So you were just drawn to archery on your own?"

Allison busied herself with digging through her purse to find her keys. "Yeah, I guess it just runs in the family." Along with being a psycho. Matthew leaned against the car, hands in his pockets. He looked up at the sky, completely ignoring her agitated everything.

"A lot of things run in a person's blood. What their eye color is, whether they can hold their liquor, that sort of thing. But it doesn't determine everything."

"Okay, thanks. Don't really want a pep talk right now."

"Okay. Oh!" He stared at something behind her.

"What?" She turned around. Nothing was at the trail, besides them.

"Nothing, it's just that the way the light falls on the path, half in shadow and half in light." To her shock, Matthew pulled out his phone. "Sorry, one sec."

"Don't take a picture of me!" She had enough of creepy photographers. Especially since Matthew shared the same name as her old stalker.

Matthew motioned her to move. "Then get out of the shot." She darted out of the way as Matthew snapped a few pictures of the trail. The woods were pretty, with the leaves swirling in a light breeze and the early morning sun lending everything a golden hue. The worn foot path was half shaded by the trees. The shadow split right down the middle. If Allison had been a photographer, she would have taken a picture. Matthew adjusted his shutter speed and his zoom. He looked pleased.

Matthew got down on his knees to take a different angle. "Perfect." He dusted of his pants as he stood up. "So, where were we?"


Taking pictures in the middle of talking with his charge was unprofessional. But Wyatt wasn't an official whitelighter yet. Also, he had orbed Allison's keys into his pocket to stall her. She wasn't going anywhere. She would be held hostage until he had done something motivational. Maybe he should have practiced a speech.

Thinking on his feet, Wyatt swung his arm out and grabbed her wrist. Without saying anything Allison twisted his arm and the next thing he knew she had him on the ground pinned by the throat not unlike his sister. If he had fought back, he could probably have taken her. But that wasn't the point.

"Okay, hand to hand combat, check," Wyatt managed to say. Allison got up, realizing he wasn't threatening her. Wyatt lifted his head and coughed. He was going to feel that tomorrow.

"What, are you testing me?" She raised an eyebrow.

"Just wanted to see how well you could handle yourself." Allison wasn't a witch who needed a pep talk or someone to bitch to about how annoying demon hunting was. She was a mortal. She felt vulnerable and, like Stiles, probably hated it.

"And how well do you think I can handle myself?"

"Not bad." Wyatt got up and brushed the dirt off his clothes again. "Mind if I try something?"

Allison waited as he held out his arms in an offensive pose. She held her hands up in preparation to block. Suddenly clumps of dirt were orbed straight at her. Allison ducked, dodged and in one instance flipped out of the way before tripping and landing on her ass. He bit his lower lip to keep from laughing.

"Reflexes, okay." Matthew offered her his hand. After a moment of hesitation, Allison took it.

"You have the potential to be a really great fighter, Allison." God knew he was still nervous around her. "And until then, don't push yourself too hard. You're young. You'll learn."

While he was talking her, he orbed her keys into her jacket pocket. Then he left to go check on his next charge and let Allison work it out herself. One of the first whitelighter rules was to take things slow.

The clinic was quiet. Deaton had gone out to lunch. Scott was arranging the tools needed for a hip surgery on a dog later that day. Scott was excited he was going to watch. It wouldn't be long before he had his own practice own day. Dr. Scott McCall. He liked the sound of that.

His dad had left last night for San Francisco. He said he would call in the next week. Scott didn't say he would pick up if he did.

Derek had also left. He wanted to be with his sister down in South America where she had been staying for the past few years. Scott had wished him well, and said that they should call if they need anything. The twins left as well, after Matthew healed Aiden from a fatal stab wound. Scott couldn't blame them. They said they were going to find another pack somewhere back east and lay low for now. For the time being, his pack consisted of Stiles, Allison, Isaac, Lydia, Kira and Matthew. And Malia, who was supposed to return from Eichen house in a few days. He didn't see any problems with convincing her to join him. He had already controlled her shift.

That was something to worry about later. He needed to focus on work.

The bell rang. There were two heart beats, and the distinct scent of more cat fur. Matthew strolled in wearing a bright white T-shirt and an even brighter smile. It made Scott feel like a heathen in his leather jacket.

"Hey."

"I found this cat on the side of the road and I think it's sick." He stood aside and watched Matthew set the cat carrier on the table. Inside a small grey tabby peeked out at him.

"Hey there." The cat allowed him to gently pull her out. She purred actually, and rubbed her nose against his hand. She was a real sweetie, Scott thought.

"What's her name?"

"The tag said Marbles." The name was familiar, but he didn't think he had ever seen this cat before.

"Deaton's on lunch break, but I can look at her if you want."

"Knock yourself out."

At least this was something he could do right. He tried to ignore Matthew drumming his fingers on the table. He was able to tune it out until he grabbed a tiny needle and vial from the cabinet. Then he could hear his angel's heartbeat speed up.

"You okay?"

"Oh, no, I'm fine. Why?"

"No reason." Matthew turned his head away as Scott drew a blood sample from the cat. The distinct scent of fear rose from his skin. In a sick twisted way, Scott was relieved. For the past couple weeks this guy was so perfect, so badass, that even something so little as fear of needles made Scott feel better about himself. After all, he had a tattoo.

"So, how did a teenager start working at an animal clinic?"

Scott continued checking Marbles as he talked. "I was a freshman. I was biking home when I saw Deaton trying to get a cat out of a tree. She had pink eye. I held the ladder and he got the cat. She was freaking out, until I held her. I guess she liked me. Deaton needed a hand with things and he offered me a job. After a few months of working here, I decided that's what I want to do to. I was thinking of working as a nurse or physician's assistant, but I think vet would be a better fit." Vets work on animals, not people, which meant less people judging him.

"That's awesome."

"Yeah. Let's see, Marbles seems a bit swollen around the abdominal area. I also noticed she seemed to be in pain when she moved towards me. I'd have to have Deaton check the sample, but I, Oh my God."

"What?"

"This is the cat. The cat we're supposed to operate on tonight." Scott stared at Matthew as Marbles licked his thumb. "You stole a cat."

Matthew scratched his head. "You know, angels work in mysterious ways."

"Oh my God, go give her back."

"Okay, okay, give me a second." Matthew took the cat and the two of them disappeared in a swirl of light. A few seconds later, he returned.

"Look, I just wanted an excuse to come here, alright? I've been checking in with everyone to see how they're handling everything."

"Checking in? About what?"

"Just talking, seeing how they've handled recent events. I already spoke with Stiles and Allison and I was planning on-"

"Don't."

"What?"

"Don't. You don't need to check upon anyone. They're my pack and I'll handle it." He had the strange urge to flash his eyes red.

Matthew frowned. "I know they're your pack, but that doesn't mean I can't help, too. You're my charges."

"It's my job to look after them, not yours."

"And who's going to look after you? Scott, you can't be strong all the time."

"I'm a werewolf. I'm stronger than you."

Matthew laughed. He actually laughed. "You couldn't take me if you tried."

"Oh, really?" Scott rolled the operating table to the side, near the back room. He slipped off his jacket.

"You. Me. Right here. Right now." He wanted nothing more than to wipe that smug smile off of his face.

"Are you insane? Scott, we're in an animal clinic."

"And you just stole a cat. Who's the insane one here?"

Matthew shrugged. He walked to one side of the room. Scott stood at the other end.

"So, how do we decide who wins?" Matthew asked.

"Whoever pins the other down first. No using lethal force and no groin shots. Ready?" Matthew nodded. "Go!"

A swirl of lights encircled the operating table. Scott jumped in the air as it flew towards him. While he was distracted, Matthew whipped out a knife. He threw that as soon as Scott hit the ground again. Scott ducked. He charged at Matthew, only to be deflected by a glowing blue force field that enveloped Matthew in a sphere. Scott took a step back. Then he picked up the force field and threw it down on the ground. And then he picked up a stunned Matthew and threw him on the ground. Matthew landed on his back, dazed. Before he had time to recover, Scott straddled him and pinned his wrists above his head.

"I win."

Matthew panted. The wind had been knocked out of him. Scott wait for him to catch his breath. He noticed the way Matthew's blond hair fell into his eyes. He had a strange urge to brush the hair away.

"I can't . . . believe . . . you just did that." Matthew closed his eyes for a second as he caught his breath.

Scott smirked. "Still think you're the stronger one?"

He opened his eyes. "I have other powers. I just don't want to reveal them unless I have to."

That made Scott laugh. "Give it up, Matthew. I have you pinned to the ground."

"So what? You think I can't get out of this?"

"Try it. Try to break free of my hold."

Matthew yanked at his wrists, to no avail. He squirmed under Scott's legs, but they stayed, locking his body in place. Scott wasn't even using his full strength and there he was, holding an angel to the floor.

"There's no way for you to escape." He bent his head down to whisper in Matthew's ear. "Admit defeat."

Matthew glared at him. "Make me."

So, so many thoughts rushed through Scott's at that moment he realized that he had the most inappropriate boner ever.

In the next moment, he realized that Matthew had the second most inappropriate boner ever.

Scott scrambled to get off of Matthew. He quickly righted the operating table and picked up a couple of pens that had been knocked over. He didn't look at Matthew.

"Anyway, the point is that I'm fine. We're fine." That was a lie. They both knew it.

"I'll see you at school, then." Scott didn't turn around. He just heard the sound of Matthew teleporting away.

He had been turned on by an angel. Maybe he should go to church.


Wyatt turned on the shower to cold. Usually, he hated cold showers. Usually. He sighed as the water rained from the showerhead. He held placed his hands against the wall and leaned into them.

He wasn't gay. He knew that. Not that there was anything wrong with that. But he wasn't. He had a girlfriend last year. A three month relationship. She was a cheerleader. Gay guys didn't date cheerleaders. Unless they were male cheerleaders, but she was a female cheerleader, because he was not gay. Friction. Friction can cause boners. It must have been the friction. Scott might have been gay, though. But he wasn't.

Wyatt ran a hand through his hair. Scott needed to learn to deal with his insecurities. He had been bitten less than a year ago, became an alpha two months ago. Everyone had a learning curve. Even the Charmed Ones.

Then again, Wyatt had never seen someone get through a force field like that.

A few minutes later, Wyatt lay on his bed. He held Wuvey to his chest. Weird boners aside, tomorrow would probably be more difficult than today. Wyatt had been taught about demons, but he never had been taught about the cruelties of ordinary people. Those things never touched him. When he heard about what happened to Isaac, how terrible his father had been to him, Wyatt couldn't think of anything he could say that wouldn't sound like pity or preaching.

Maybe he shouldn't bring it up, then. Maybe what Isaac needed was a friend, not an angel.


Isaac was the only one at the field early Sunday morning. It was better to be early than too late, his mother had told, and he really didn't want to keep an angel waiting. So he sat on the bleachers trying to study, or at least not fall asleep, until Matthew teleported in a little before 10.

"Oh good, you're already here." Matthew stepped onto the middle of the field. Isaac followed him.

"Yeah, you wanted to see me?" Isaac noticed a worn football in Matthew's hand.

"Yeah you see, I don't have a lot of experience with werewolves. And as your guardian angel I think I need to understand the basics. So I thought maybe I could test out your reflexes, see what you can do. For future reference." He tossed him the football. "And I don't know anything about lacrosse."

"Uh, okay." Isaac threw the football back. "Why didn't you ask Scott?"

"Scott's an outlier." Matthew tossed the ball in the air. "Go long."

Matthew threw the ball, but it landed several feet short of Isaac. The next time, however, he twisted his body too much and threw it all the way to the top bench of the bleachers.

"Looks like you don't know much about football either." Immediately Isaac wanted to take that back, but to his surprise Matthew just laughed.

"Okay, you want to see skill." Matthew threw the ball again. It arched over the field and headed straight for Isaac's head. It was easy. He held out his hands to catch it, but the ball veered sideways at the last minute while surrounded by a swarm of lights. Isaac ran after the ball as it flew behind him. The ball then did a complete 180 and went back behind him. He could hear Matthew snickering and waving his hand around, which only made him run faster just to show him up. For 15 minutes Isaac ran around the field until he forgot to look where he was going and tripped over a bench.

Matthew came over and held out his hand. "You okay?"

"Yeah." As weird as it was to chase after a floating football, Isaac had had a little fun. He took Matthew's hand and let him help him to his feet.

"I guess that's enough for today." He checked his watch. "Had breakfast yet?"


"Okay, DC or Marvel?"

Isaac thought for a minute while he finished chewing his pancakes. "Marvel."

"DC."

"Marvel has Captain America."

"Batman. Batman wins at everything. It's Batman."

They were at a little diner by the sheriff's station, with red vinyl seats and a jukebox in the corner. That particular morning hardly anyone was there. Wyatt and Isaac got a booth in the back and for the last two hours talked about everything from school to the weirdest memes to whether or not the old man reading the paper realized that his coffee had spilled all over his waffles, or if he actually preferred it that way. Wyatt was no empath, but he could tell Isaac didn't have many opportunities to just chill out on a Sunday at a diner. And although the food wasn't terrific, Wyatt wasn't having a bad time either.

"I guess DC has some good supervillains, though," Isaac said.

"Like Lex Luthor?"

"Like Catwoman. I always thought Catwoman was hot." Isaac took a sip of his coffee. "Reminds me of Allison a bit."

"You like Allison? Are you guys dating?" A werewolf and a werewolf hunter dating sounded incredibly stupid to Wyatt. And Wyatt had a long family history of forbidden relationships.

Isaac blushed. "Yeah, but it's complicated. She's Scott's ex."

Wyatt nodded. "Two bros competing over the same girl. Never pretty."

"I wouldn't know. If my brother and I had ever competed for the same girl, he would win. No question."

Angst about a dead older brother. Wyatt didn't even have to nudge him and here he was talking. Score one for the amateur whitelighter.

"I think Allison might like you. You two spend a lot of time together. So you can't be that bad."

"Yeah, I guess."

"You've survived a lot Isaac. Women like survivors. Makes them feel safe." He didn't know if that was true, but it sounded good.

"Survivor?" Isaac tilted his head as he finished his pancake.

"Survivor. Resilient. Tough."

He grinned and ducked his head. "I never thought of myself that way."

"Well you should. But no one can be tough all the time, so if you ever need to talk, just call for me, okay?"

"Okay."

"Anything you else want to talk about?"

Isaac shrugged. "Right now just dealing with school stuff. I need to graduate, but I'm probably not going to college, so I don't need great grades."

"Why do you think you won't go to college?"

"Money. The state took the house after my dad died. I'm going to get some money when I turn 18, but not that much." Isaac moved pancake crumbs around his plate with his fork. "I figured I'd find a job or something, but there's not much I can really do."

From what Wyatt understood, Isaac was living with Scott and his mom. It was most likely a temporary arrangement, which left him scared of the future. What this boy needed was stability. Wyatt would look into that.

The diner doorbell rang, and suddenly there was Stiles, a backpack over one shoulder and less bags under his eyes than Friday night. The spell must have been working.

Wyatt waved Stiles over. He didn't miss the glare Isaac gave him, or the annoyed "Oh God" Stiles slipped in under his breath. Making a mental note to deal with team building later, Wyatt scooted over and relinquished his plate of fries.

"Hey Stiles, want to settle a tie? Which is better, DC or Marvel?"

"Oh DC, definitely. Poison Ivy is like my celebrity crush."

Of course she was. She looked just like his actual crush.


Her mother had gone to the store, leaving the house rather quiet. Lydia was laying out her outfits for the week on her bed. She couldn't decide whether to wear the red scarf tomorrow or not. It had lace on the ends; she got it during her 15th birthday party from Rebecca Miller, one of the cheerleaders who used to go to the mall with her. Rebecca hadn't talked to her since the winter formal. A lot of people haven't. Lydia didn't want to dwell on it, though. Any day when there wasn't a supernatural killer on the loose was a godsend at this point.

"Hey, got a minute?"

Lydia spun around. Matthew stood next to her dressing table. She dropped her scarf and nearly screamed.

"Sorry, I should have knocked. My bad."

"What are you doing here," she asked, trying not to look freaked out by the fact that apparently this guy could teleport into her bedroom at any time day or night.

"Just checking in, trying to see how you were doing. As your guardian angel, I feel it's my job to make sure everything's okay."

"Really, because I've never read about teenage angels coming into girls' bedrooms in the Bible." She smiled, her patented not-fooled-for-a-second smile. "Just because you saved my life doesn't mean we're dating." After the events of the past two weeks, she was convinced this guy wasn't an angel. She didn't know what he was, but there were no angelic, divine qualities that she saw.

Matthew backed away, hands up. "Woah woah woah, all right that is not what I came here for. I'm checking in on everyone, not just you. And I would never take advantage of a situation like that. Of course you don't owe me anything."

"Good, because just because Aiden took off doesn't mean I'm just going to sleep with the next hot guy available."

"You think I'm hot?" Matthew grinned and straightened out his jacket. "Well thank you."

Lydia rolled her eyes. "So what do you want?"

"To see how you were doing, after everything that happened and stuff."

"Well I'm fine. Just going through my clothes." She waved her hand at the bed. Matthew nodded.

"You, uh, really seem into fashion."

"Yes well, before I became known as the town nutjob, I had a reputation to keep." Lydia ducked back into her closet to find some pants for tomorrow and not have to look at this damned angel.


Wyatt felt like he was talking to an older version of his cousin PJ. She was obsessed with her weight and her make-up and her Instagram followers. Wyatt may have been on the baseball team, but he kept a low profile because popularity was more effort than it was worth. Everyone else went from reasonably liked (Chris, Kat, Henry) to having a small niche of friends (Tamara, Mel).

Wyatt watched Lydia go through her closet. Quickly he orbed her dresses, shoes and jackets around. He orbed a big floppy straw hat on top of her nightstand just as she turned back around.

"Hey, just what do you think you're doing?" She stuck her hands on her hips and looked up at him with a glare Wyatt couldn't help but find funny. PJ would have gotten mad too, because she hated being psychic as much as her mom did. Lydia pushed him aside and snatched a red scarf that fell on the floor.

"Well you said you used to have a reputation to keep up, so that means you don't anymore. Might as well practice my powers." He lifted the red scarf out of her hand. She reached out on her tiptoes for it but it flew higher, just out of her reach.

"Did you just come here to be a nuisance?"

"Maybe." Wyatt half expected Lydia to smack his arms with her pillow like PJ.

"Why are you doing this?" Lydia crossed her arms not even bothering to grab the scarf anymore.

"Why not? Why do you care? You aren't popular anymore, so why bother with all this crap?"

"I might be a freak now, but I don't have to dress like one. I can dress for myself."

Wyatt dropped the scarf on a pillow. He plopped down in the desk chair. Lydia sat perched on the edge of her bed.

"Look Lydia, I know you probably miss your old friends. But do you think your old friends could face an evil fox spirit, werewolves and serial killers and not piss themselves? Or do you think those girls have a 5.0 GPA?"

"How do you know about that?"

"I heard some things. Impressive things. But what I don't understand is why you would hide something like good grades?" With his friends it was the bad grades that were hidden.

"Because hot guys don't date smart girls."

"No, dumb guys don't date smart girls." Lydia glanced at a white dress on the bed. She bit her lip.

"A true man does not fear the strength of a woman, Lydia. He respects it."

"What is that, a proverb?"

A Wiccan proverb.

"What I'm saying is, embrace your strengths. You're an intelligent, resilient and courageous person. You're a banshee. You have powers no one else has. That's special." He got out of the chair. "And if those girls don't want to hang out with you anymore because they're shallow, they are not worth your time."

She sighed. "So is this your plan? Dispense sage and cliché advice while acting all aloof, fake name and all?"

"Yeah-wait, how did you know I'm here under a fake name?" Matthew was his middle name. He thought he responded to it quickly enough for people to think it was his real name.

"Oh I didn't, just suspected. But now I know." She smiled. "So why don't we keep this to ourselves as long as you don't teleport in here unless it's an emergency?"

She was just like PJ. Wyatt held out his hand. "Deal." What was he going to do, he thought, come in here while she was changing like a magical peeping Tom? Even if that wasn't wrong, it clearly violated the personal gain rule.

She shook his hand. "Deal."

"Also, my advice isn't cliché."

"Please. 'Be yourself' was patented by Disney decades ago."

"And playing dumb to get with a guy was patented by the Victorians." He orbed away before she could come up with a retort. That was how arguments were won in his family.


Kira was surprised when Matthew knocked on her door. He wanted to check in and make sure everything was okay. It was sweet. No one else had checked up on her that week except Scott. So she led him up to her room and they somehow ended up getting into a discussion about TV shows. After a couple of hours her dad came up to ask if Matthew wanted to stay for dinner.

"I don't remember the last time I had homemade sushi Mr. Yukimura. Especially not this good." Matthew picked up another dragon roll with his chopsticks.

"Thank you," her dad said. Kira knew her dad was happy about the fact that they finally had someone over for dinner who actually liked sushi. "I can also cook American style as well."

"Where did you learn to cook?"

"I learned Japanese cooking when I studied abroad in Japan. My host mother let me watch her cook. Plus about half of the TV shows in Japan are some sort of cooking show. American cooking was something I picked up from my own parents."

"Wow, that's awesome."

The situation seemed surreal to Kira. An angel, a divine messenger, sitting at the table with her family, taking about cooking. Her mother, who was adding wasabi to her rolls, was a 900-year-old kitsune. Just last month she thought an orange aura which appeared only in pictures was weird. She hadn't known weird.

"Kira, can you help me get dessert," her mom asked. Kira followed her into the kitchen. Her mother took out a small cake from the fridge. She set it down and gripped the counter top.

"Kira, there's something about Matthew you should know."

"What?"

"He's not an angel. He's a witch."

"A witch?" Sure, she thought, kitsune, werewolves, werecoyotes, banshee, why not add in witches?

"Yes. I've encountered them before. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's just that witches are different than kitsune or other shifters. They use a different kind of magic, with a different set of rules. Witches are either light or dark, good or evil. They aren't neutral like others can be."

"So Matthew is a good witch."

Her mother reached out and tucked a lock of Kira's hair behind her ear. "Yes, but be careful all the same. Witches and wolves have had a difficult history, even more than foxes and wolves. Druids are not very fond of them, either. We don't know why he's here, or what he really wants. For right now, just be careful."

Kira nodded silently. She didn't say that she thought it must be hard for Matthew, having to hide who he is. He probably missed his home, too, wherever that was.

The two women took out the chocolate cake and brought it back out to the living room. Matthew and her father were discussing lacrosse. Neither one of them understood why everyone in this town were obsessed with the sport. Kira didn't understand, either.

After dessert, Matthew said goodbye. He pulled her into a quick hug.

"Let me know if you need anything," he said.

"Thanks. Let me know if you need anything, too. Us new kids have to stick together."

She wasn't afraid of him. She thought it must be hard, being there and not being able to tell anyone who he really was. Kira's heart went out to Matthew, or whoever he was.


Wyatt collapsed on his bed. He had an English paper due tomorrow that he had to finish, but all he could do was stare at the ceiling. Being a whitelighter was hard. It wasn't the danger or the work. It was the emotional aspect. All of these kids were fucked up in their own way, and now he had to sort everything out somehow. He had known he was going to get charges someday. But he hadn't expected to get six of them while he was still in high school.

On the bright side, the group already had an established leader they respected. And they wanted to save innocents. He didn't need to prod them. But the main problem was that most of the people in this so-called pack were about as close as a randomly assigned group project.

Stiles was jealous of Isaac and hated himself. Isaac wasn't secure in relationships and didn't seem to open up to anyone. Allison had felt the effects of her dark side, but wasn't allowing others to help her. Lydia was about as welcoming as a December storm. They all needed to become closer, both as pack members and friends. They needed the type of bond that made Wyatt's own family so powerful. Luckily, Kira had a mother who actually knew what the hell she was doing. She had a stable home life and no apparent trauma. She was also very sweet. The only thing she needed was some friends.

And then there was Scott. Scott wasn't as badass as an Alpha could be. Last year Wyatt read a book about non-demonic threats that included a whole chapter on the Beast of Gevedan. Werewolves had the potential to be incredibly powerful. And unlike the Beast of Gevedan, Scott's power would be used for good. Scott just needed to stop feeling threatened by other people offering help. He needed to believe in himself. He was already strong, compassionate and resourceful. If Wyatt were gay, which he was not, he would think Scott was pretty hot, too.

As Wyatt made plans in his head, Dr. Deaton knocked on the door. "Can I come in?"

Wyatt shoved Wuvey under the bed. "Yeah, sure."

Dr. Deaton opened the door. He wore a lab coat over his clothes. He must have just gotten back from operating on Marbles the cat.

"Did you eat yet?"

"I ate at the Yukimuras'. But thanks."

"Alright. Listen, in the future, could you let me know if you're staying out late? A curfew wouldn't make a lot of sense, given the circumstances. But I was told to look out for you."

"Of course, no problem. Thanks."

Dr. Deaton grinned. "And while I understand that your methods might be somewhat unorthodox, can you please not kidnap my patients in the future?"

Wyatt felt his face heat up. "Sorry. I won't do it again, I just needed to talk to Scott. I'm new at this."

Dr. Deaton chuckled. "I understand. Good night."

"Good night."

Dr. Deaton left. Wyatt went into the bathroom to prepare for bed. It wasn't easy, being a whitelighter. But Wyatt was up to the challenge. However he ended up at Beacon Hills, he was there for a reason. He was meant to help these guys. And he would.

Chapter Text

The following Saturday, Stiles parked the jeep at the west end of the woods at 8 am. The mid-November air weaseled its way through his jacket, making him shiver. He should have worn a heavier coat. Matthew had texted him that he needed to come here. He had said it was important. Stiles sprung out of the car and nearly tripped when his foot caught in the seatbelt.

"You okay?" Isaac stepped out from behind a tree, wearing a smug grin on his face. Stiles wanted to punch him.

"Yeah, I'm fine. Where is everyone? Where's Matthew?"

As if on cue, Matthew teleported next to the jeep. He tilted his head. "This is your car?"

"Yes."

Isaac snickered. Stiles really wanted to punch him in his stupid werewolf face.

"Alright, did you bring us here to mock me or is there an actual point to this?"

"Another supernatural creature has wandered into to Beacon Hills. The others are already in the woods"

"Oh great." Stiles threw up his hands. "Who's dead now?"

"No one. It's a unicorn."

"A unicorn?" Stiles' mouth opened into a perfect "o." Isaac spun around, as if the unicorn was about to appear behind him. Finally, Stiles thought, they would get to see something cool and nonlethal.

"Unicorns are gentle creatures. But we shouldn't let regular people see them. Gotta keep magic a secret, right? So, we need to find it. Now I'm going to find Kira. She hasn't answered her phone. Scott's busy today, so it'll just be the five of you. Here." Matthew held out a long lock of what looked like silver hair. Isaac came over to him. "Can you get a scent with this?"

Isaac sniffed the hair. If Stiles wasn't about to meet the symbol of hope and wonderment, he would have cracked an off color joke. Instead, he and Isaac raced into the woods.

"Good luck," Matthew yelled after them. "Text me if you need me."

Stiles was too focused on the task at hand to answer.


Wyatt lounged on the living room couch. He could get used to having the house to himself. As much as he loved his family, having alone time was something he didn't get as often as he liked.

Before he forgot, he chanted the little spell he came up with that morning.

Phones be silent, miss the calls

From this moment until night falls

That should force Stiles and Isaac to work together. Wyatt had gotten up early that morning leaving a trail of unicorn hair in the woods for them to find. In Magic School, they did the same thing with the younger kids. A little game of scavenger hunt, it was both fun and a way to facilitate team building. Wyatt and his siblings and cousins had often hung out at Magic School when their mothers were fighting demons. Sometimes they joined in student activities. Find the unicorn was one of his favorites.

Except this time the people playing didn't know that it was a game. Wyatt doubted they would participate if they knew that. Hopefully being forced to rely on each other would help Stiles and Isaac get along.


Kira hadn't hiked in New York. She wasn't an outdoors person. But Matthew had told her, Allison and Lydia to go to the woods. There was a unicorn on the loose at the eastern part of the Beacon Hills Preserve.

Allison marched ahead. She left her crossbow in the car because she said there was no way in Hell she would shot a unicorn. Lydia was not far behind her. She was reading an old book Allison's family had written a long time ago about all the supernatural creatures they had hunted. The book was in Latin, and Lydia was translating the small section on unicorns. Kira trailed behind. The two girls were best friends. Kira felt awkward, like she was intruding. Not to mention Allison had every reason to hate her considering she may be dating her ex-boyfriend, it was complicated.

Suddenly Kira's foot got caught on a root. With a shriek, she tripped and fell face first on the ground. Allison and Lydia rushed over to help her.

"Are you okay?" Allison took her arm to pull her up.

"Yeah. Sorry, I just wasn't paying attention." Kira blushed.

"No problem. It's not very exciting, tracking animals." Allison smiled at her.

"Guys, look." Lydia pointed to the ground near where Kira tripped. A horse's hoof print was clearly visible. In fact, as the girls looked in that direction, there was a trail of prints.

"Good job, Kira." Allison sprinted after the trail. Lydia and Kira followed her.


Bianca and Chris ate their lunch in a secluded corner of Magic School's cafeteria. The Charmed Ones were fighting an evil witch in the manor. Chris' mom told him and Mel to go hang out somewhere else for the day. She gave them each $10. Naturally Chris orbed to Magic School and Mel went to her friend's house, both places where the food was free, in order to pocket the money for later use. Bianca had dragged him to the dining hall without even saying hello. She was too stressed for that.

Bianca twirled spaghetti on her fork as she rested her chin on her hand. She stared blankly at her food. Ever since Chris had told her about why Wyatt had left, she was convinced that if she just found a loophole in Lilith's deal, she could bring Wyatt home.

"What if we use a different calendar?" she asked.

"Different calendar?"

"She said he had to leave for a year and a day. But did she say what calendar? If we go by an ancient calendar, he would come home sooner." Bianca took a bite of her pasta.

"Yeah, like three months sooner at most." Chris took another sip of his chamomile tea.

"Maybe we could use time travel."

"Didn't time travel technically get us into this mess?" Chris pushed his chamomile tea away. "God, if I wasn't so useless none of this would have happened."

"What do you mean time travel?" 14-year-old Bianca and Wyatt were in Bianca's room. It was lunchtime at Magic School, but Wyatt told her to sneak out of the cafeteria to meet up with him. Something about Chris.

"He went back in time to stop me from becoming the Source, and then you followed him back to kill him. Or save him. Or marry him. I don't know, I heard Aunt Phoebe say you were engaged or something."

The idea of being engaged-let alone to a little nerd who she taught jujitsu to-shocked her the most.

"And now he has these memories and thinks no one loves him and he has to go to therapy because he has depression and-"

"Is he going to be okay?"

"Mom and Dad said he will, but it'll take time. And a memory erasing spell."

Bianca plopped down on her bed. She hugged her knees to her chest. Wyatt sat next to her. They were quiet for a minute. It was a lot to take in.

"I don't want to be an assassin," she whispered when the silence was too much.

"And I don't want to be evil." Wyatt wrapped an arm around her. "But we're not. Chris saved us. Now we need to save him."

"If you even think this is your fault, I will stab you with this fork."

"But-"

"He told you to take care of yourself, remember? He did this because he loves you. We all do."

The second she said that, Chris snapped his head up and looked at her. Her face felt hot.

"I mean, your family loves you. Look, you protected him and now he's protecting you. That's what family does. So, you can miss him and worry about him as much as you want, but don't you dare blame yourself. Understand?"

"Yes, Bianca." Chris smiled slightly.

"Good."

Bianca's roommate Lilian waved at her. Bianca gestured for her to come over. It would be good, she thought, for them to talk about something else.

"Hello. How are you?" Lilian asked, her British accent matching the scone she had on her tray.

"Good. We're just going to study later," Bianca said.

"That's nice. How are you doing, Chris?"

"Fine, thanks." Bianca shook her head. Lilian nodded.

"Well, have you guys heard about the recent witch hunter attack?"

"Witch hunters?" Chris took a small bite of his chicken.

"They captured three women in a coven." She lowered her voice. "But the weird part is that they didn't kill them. They just took off with them. No one knows where."

"No one can scry for them? Or sense them?" Bianca frowned.

"No. They're not dead. It's like they vanished." She glanced around to make sure no one was listening. "I heard that the hunters weren't just any hunters. They were from the Order."

The Order of Man had been an organization of witch hunters that killed thousands of witches during the Burning Times. Legend said that once they had a witch in their sights, there was nowhere he or she could hide. They had been everywhere. After everyone had stopped burning them, the Order continued in secret well into the 19th century. They supposedly died out sometime around Queen Victoria, but there were always rumors. Some of Bianca's ancestors had been killed by the Order, starting her line on a path of revenge that led them to becoming assassins.

"It's probably not true," Lilian said. "But if it is, I don't want to think about what those poor women are going through."

"What if the Order had taken Wyatt? We wouldn't know," Chris said quietly.

"That would never happen." Bianca grabbed his hand. "He's safe, don't worry." She doubted that the goddess of chaos would allow that to happen. Not only did she need him, only an idiot would risk the wrath of the Charmed Ones. Even a goddess.

"Your brother can take care of himself, Chris. I have faith in him," Lilian added.

Chris nodded. "Thanks."

Bianca took her hand away. Lilian raised her eyebrow at her and smiled. Bianca waited until Chris was eating before kicking her roommate under the table.

She was never going to get together with Chris Halliwell. Ever.


"I've never tried archery. But I've taken up sword fighting like it's nothing, so maybe my kitsune powers work with that, too." Kira gulped from her water bottle.

"Yeah, we should totally practice sometime. I've always wanted to try fencing." Allison mimed some impressive blocking techniques with an invisible sword. Kira laughed. Lydia walked a little behind them, muttering about mud and boots.

"It's still weird, you know? Like my whole life is a lie, I'm not even human."

"I understand. Except for the nonhuman part. I'm still trying to figure out where I fit in with my family's legacy."

Kira knew that Allison's family were hunters. Several members of her family tried to kill Scott and other innocent werewolves in town. But from what she saw, Allison was nothing but nice. Even the fact that Kira was into her ex-boyfriend didn't stop her from talking to her. Lydia was less overtly friendly, but she already offered to take Kira to the mall later that week. There was this foundation, she said, that Kira just had to try.

They followed the tracks through a particularly dense part of the forest. Kira and Allison waited for Lydia to catch up. She flinched as she stepped in a large puddle.

"It's official. I hate nature."

The girls continued through the woods. Lydia ducked beneath a large branch. Part of it caught in her hair, so they had to stop and help her get free without ripping off half her scalp. For some reason, Lydia saw this as a reason to start talking about hair pulling and sex. Kira was a virgin, who only ever had one boyfriend. They went on three dates and broke up because they were better as friends. She hadn't even gone to second base, let alone sex. Kira zoned out as Allison and Lydia discussed a boy named Jackson and what he did or didn't do in bed for a few minutes. She never had met him. She didn't care.

Finally Lydia turned to Kira. "Okay, so are we going to talk about the elephant in the forest, or not?"

"I thought we were looking for a unicorn," Kira said. She didn't mean to be sarcastic; she really wasn't paying attention. But Allison still laughed.

"I meant Scott," Lydia said, annoyed. "We've all been with the same guy."

Kira turned to look at Lydia. "Wait, you dated Scott too?"

"It wasn't so much dated as made out with him in the coach's office one time."

"Right after we broke up," Allison added.

"I apologized, didn't I?"

"Wait, so all three of us, um. . ." Kira scrunched up her eyebrows. "Like Scott?"

"I never really liked him. It was more of an, adventure, let's say." Lydia grinned. "He wasn't bad, though."

"No he was not," Allison agreed.

"Oh, we never kissed. Or did anything, really. I'm not actually sure we're dating."

"It's hard, dating with all this stuff happening," Allison said. The two of them stopped for Lydia to catch up.

"I know! And I don't even think I'm ready for a boyfriend right now. But, on the other hand, Scott's a really great guy."

"I know." Allison giggled. "Believe me, I know. But if you're not in the right place, it's just not the right time." She sighed. "I don't know what Isaac and I are doing. I mean, we haven't even gone out on a date. I'm not sure what I want at this point."

Lydia leaned against the trunk of a tree. "Do people actually do this for fun?" She chugged in air like it was beer at a frat party. She rubbed her calf probably because of a cramp.

"The tracks lead to that hill over there. We can rest there and get a lay of the land." Allison grabbed Lydia's hand. "Come on."

They trudged through the brush. Kira sympathized with Lydia's pain. Before she received her powers, Kira would have been as exhausted. After she got them, she felt like she could run a marathon.


Stiles was going to puke. They had been running around for hours. He thought he had left his stomach back at the top of a hill. Isaac's damn werewolf endurance meant that he had to keep up with a fucking superhero. Isaac offered to slow down for him, but Stiles didn't want to give him the satisfaction. If Scott were here, he wouldn't even offer, he would just slow down. Then again, the faster they ran the closer they were to seeing a real live unicorn.

Isaac stopped at a clearing and sniffed the air. He waited until Stiles half collapsed against a tree. He sprawled his limbs out and leaned the back of his head against the trunk.

"We'll wait here a sec. It was here, but I think it went that way." He pointed to left, towards a narrow foot path.

"You . . . don't need to wait . . . for me." Stiles winced as he felt a cramp in his calf. The pain was almost bad enough to make him forget the cold.

"It's fine. I'm going to try to call Allison again."

"Our phones don't work, remember? They haven't worked all day." Stiles thought it was because of the lay lines. Or it could be that God had it out for him specifically, which Stiles saw as a distinct possibility, considering he was recovering from demonic possession.

Stiles watched Isaac try and fail to call Allison, Scott and Matthew. Matthew said he could be reached just by shouting out his name. Maybe he forgot to pay his magic bill.

"Okay, I guess we just keep going this way. That's where the smell leads."

"Okay. Peachy." Stiles grabbed a low branch. Through some miracle, he managed to hoist himself up to a somewhat standing position. Isaac watched him silently.

He led the way through the path. He didn't run this time. They walked at a nice, slow pace. Stiles felt insulted yet also strangely grateful. Mostly he was exhausted, so he didn't complain.

"Wait." Isaac stopped. He looked around for a second. "I think I hear neighing."

"let's go!"

Unicorn here they come. Stiles ran without thinking about where he was going. After a few feet, his ankle caught on a twisted root that jutted out of the ground. Stiles yanked his foot up and fell forward. He cried out as a sharp pain shot through his ankle.

"Stiles!" Isaac knelt next to him. "Are you okay?'

"What part of me crying out in pain makes you think I'm okay?!" Stiles pushed himself up to a sitting position. His ankle still hurt.

"Here, let me see." Isaac pushed up his pant leg. He gently pressed his fingers against Stiles' ankle. Stiles winced.

"I don't think it's broken, but I don't think you should walk on it right now, either." Stiles felt the pain lessen. To his surprise, he saw dark lines on Isaac's hand. Scott had taken away his pain before, and he knew in theory that all werewolves could. He just hadn't expected Isaac to do it for him. Isaac took his arms and pulled him up to stand on one leg.

"I'll carry you."

"What?"

"I'll carry you. Here." Isaac bent forward. "Climb on my back."

"You seriously want to give me a piggyback ride?" This was weirder than being possessed.

"The unicorn could get away. Hurry."

Stiles scrambled on Isaac's back. He clasped his arms loosely around Isaac's neck, scared he might choke him. Isaac grasped his legs under the knee. It was like when his dad gave him piggyback rides when he was five, except he actually liked spending time with his dad.

"I think I hear it. Let's go." Isaac started walking slowly. "Let me know if I need to stop."

"Okay."

The unicorn better be worth it, Stiles thought. Because this was the most awkward thing he had ever done.


Scott was pretty sure this was the most awkward thing he had ever done. As a child, he had refused to go door to door for charity. Knocking on stranger's doors was openly inviting painful small talk and rejection. He didn't know how Jehovah's Witnesses survived it.

Mr. Tate frowned when he answered the doorbell. "Can I help you?"

"Um yeah. I'm from the school, Beacon Hills High School. I heard about Malia, and our coach said as athletes we have a responsibility to our community. Because we're role models." He did say something like that, but that was when he was encouraging people to do a walk for the homeless. Befriending a lonely girl counted as a responsibility to the community, though.

Mr. Tate stared at him. Scott scratched his head. "If you want me to come back later, or just leave, I totally understand."

"No, please, come in."

Mr. Tate led Scott into the living room. "I don't know why the lacrosse coach would send students to see Malia. Sounds more like something a volunteer group would do. But I'm not complaining. Malia doesn't have many opportunities to meet people her age yet. Please, sit down." He gestured to the couch. The room was sparse. Only two couches, a coffee table and a small TV occupied it. No pictures were on the wall. Even after all these years, Scott supposed, the memories of Mr. Tate's lost wife and daughter were still painful.

"Thank you." Scott sat down. He clasped his hands together. Volunteer groups probably did reach out to incoming students. It's just that this incoming student was a werecoyote that Scott turned back into a human, and he felt responsible for her. That was why he was asking her to join his pack.

"Malia," Mr. Tate called out. "A boy from the high school is here to meet you." He rubbed his hands together. "She's not used to strangers. It might be a bit difficult."

"I understand." He wished he could use "feral child" as an excuse during social interactions.

He heard feet run down the stairs two at a time. A girl came into the living room. Her hair hadn't been brushed, and her T-shirt didn't hide the fact that she wasn't wearing a bra. Mr. Tate patted her shoulder.

"Malia, this is Scott. He wanted to say hi."

"Scott?"

"Hello." Scott jumped up. "It's nice to meet you."

"Hi." She looked him up and down.

"Malia why don't you show him upstairs? I'll get us some lunch. Scott, do you like mac and cheese?" Scott guess that he was one of the few kids Malia's age that she had talked too since she came back. Mr. Tate was probably relieved she could even have a chance at having a friend.

"That'd be great, thanks."

Mr. Tate went into the kitchen. Malia spun around and sprinted up the stairs. Scott followed her.

When they got to her room, she shut the door behind her. When Scott and Stiles had snuck in her room to find a scent a few months ago, they found a little girl's room with dolls and Disney princesses and tiny furniture. Those things had disappeared. Several large cardboard boxes were in the corner of the room. A twin bed with dark blue sheets lay where her old bed had been. A small desk was next to the door. The room felt barren, like a stranger had just moved in. In a way, that was true.

Malia sat on the edge of her bed and hugged her knees. She watched Scott walk around her room.

"Malia, I don't know if you remember me-"

"I do. Ms. Morrell told me who you were. She was at Eichen House."

Dr. Deaton's sister was not someone Scott was entirely sure she could trust. But he had to admit, she was useful.

"Good. Um, since I changed you back into a human, I think it only makes sense if, I mean, if you want to, to join my pack."

She stared at him. "Your pack?"

"I mean, we're stronger together. You, me, my friends. And I can show you how to control your powers."

"Can you show me how to change back?"

"Into a coyote?"

She nodded, not noticing or not caring about the shock on his face. "I want to change back."


Wyatt took a deep breath as he walked into Beacon Hills Memorial Hospital. The white walls, white desks, white lab coats, gave him chills. He quickly walked to the desk where Scott's mom was sitting. He had seen her before, when Allison was being examined.

"Hello, Matthew, right?"

"Yup. Can I talk to you for a second?"

"Sure." She led him into an empty room. There was a hospital bed and some equipment. Wyatt crossed his arms over his chest.

"First of all, let me start off by saying that, as an angel, I'm supposed to look after people. That's not just with supernatural stuff, but other stuff. So, I'm going to get involved in personal things because it's my job."

Ms. McCall tilted her head as she looked at him. "Okay. What do you want?"

"Well, I was thinking. I spoke with Isaac last week. I know about the stuff he's gone through."

"Yes, he's been through a lot. I thought about suggesting he see a therapist, but I don't know any therapist that could help with werewolf problems. I wish there was something I could do."

Wyatt didn't expect it to go this easy.

"Actually, there is something I think you can do. I know that you are letting him stay at your house. But it looks like a temporary arrangement. I think Isaac might need a little assurance, something permanent. I thought, and this is just advice for you to take or leave, that you could become Isaac's foster mom."

"Foster mom?"

"It's just a little paperwork. And someone stops by and talks to you. The sheriff can put in a good word for you. Plus the state would give you money for his room and board."

He watched Scott's mom nod her head and shift her gaze as she considered. This was so intrusive, Wyatt thought. He had no right to interfere with such a delicate living situation.

"You're right."

"I am?"

"I should have thought of this myself. I'll talk to Scott first to make sure he's on board with this, but I think it's a great idea."

"Okay. Great," Wyatt said, smiling in relief.

They talked for a few more minutes before Ms. McCall had to return to the desk. Wyatt stepped out of the hospital and took a long, deep breath of crisp, fresh air. He was doing great as a whitelighter.


Matthew Smith was the worst angel Stiles ever met. Not that Stiles had ever met an angel before. But his ankle was throbbing, his face was uncomfortably close to Isaac's, and they were staring at a stuffed unicorn toy. The plush toy was taped to a tree, along with a cheap voice recorder that played a horse neighing. If Stiles wasn't stuck piggyback riding Isaac, he would rip that stupid, smiling stuffed face into a million pieces. Then he would set it on fire. Then he would set Matthew on fire. Then he would set everything on fire, because he wanted everyone else to suffer along with him.

"I guess we should head back to the Jeep," Isaac said. He adjusted his grip on Stiles' leg. "Which way is it?"

"I parked at the west end of the woods."

"Hey guys." Allison waved over from the top of an incline. She, Kira and Lydia climbed down to join them. "There you are."

"Yeah, and there's the unicorn." Stiles jerked his head at the toy. Allison laughed in surprise. Kira went over to the toy.

"Are you serious? All this way for that?"

"Stiles, are you okay?" Lydia ran over to them. "What happened? Why are you carrying him?" she asked Isaac.

"I hurt my ankle."

"Are you okay?" Lydia asked.

"Yeah, I'm fine."

"Hey guys, there's a note." Kira held the stuffed unicorn in one hand and a folded piece of paper in the other. "It says 'Good job guys. This was a team building exercise designed to facilitate teamwork. I promise that before I leave, I'll bring you guys a real unicorn to see.'"

"Yeah, sure he will. Come on. My jeep's this way."

"Stiles," Allison said, "you can't drive with a hurt ankle. My car can fit all of us. We can go to my place. My dad has a first aid kit."

"No. I'm not leaving my jeep." He worked hard for that jeep. He saved up for years. He had duck taped almost every inch of the engine. He was not abandoning his jeep. Ever.

"I agree with Allison," Isaac said. Of course he did, Stiles thought. He was as love stricken as Scott had been. He didn't hate Allison, but he didn't get why these guys loved her so much.

"Okay, forget you guys. I'll go get my jeep myself." Stiles tried to jerk his leg out of Isaac's grasp, but Isaac just held tighter with his damn super strength. "Isaac, let go."

"I'm not coming back here to look for you because you can't walk back to your car."

"Stiles," Lydia said. She wore that look that made that guy almost cry freshman year. "We're taking Allison's car. End of story."

Allison led the way back up the incline. Isaac carried him against his will. Stiles was fuming and shivering at the same time.


Scott racked his brain to try to come up with any response.

"I want to be a coyote again," Malia repeated. "I hate being human."

"Why?"

"Because I missed out on 8 years of my life. Because I have absolutely no idea how to function in normal society. Because I have to see my dad every day and figure out how to tell him that the coyote he was so desperate to kill was me."

Scott swallowed. "But won't your dad miss you? Malia, he's so happy to have you back."

"It's my fault my mom and sister are gone."

"That wasn't your fault at all. You were eight. You had no idea what was happening or how to control it."

Malia glared at him. "Look, can you just change me back? Can you teach me or what?!"

"No, I can't!" Scott threw up his hands. "I can't change into a full wolf. I don't know how to teach someone else."

"Then go away. I'm busy." She pointed to the boxes. Probably boxing away her childhood, Scott thought.

"I can't help you change into a full coyote, but I can help you. I can help you control your powers."

"Control? I've been in control for 8 years. And now I'm-" Malia's voice broke. She hid her face in her arms. Her hair fell over her face, hiding her eyes.

Scott knelt in front of the bed. "Malia, look at me." She stayed still. From somewhere, a sense of authority crept into him. "Malia," he said, his voice coming from deep within his throat. She brushed her hair aside. Her eyes shined with tears. Scott grabbed her into a tight hug.

"It's okay. It's not your fault. It's okay. It's okay," he whispered. It was like if he kept repeating the words, "it's okay," they might just come true.

"What if it happens again? What if I hurt someone else?" She sobbed into his shoulder.

"I won't let that happen. I'm your alpha. I'm going to look after you."


Wyatt was thrown against the wall of an alleyway and held by the throat. That's what he got for surprising a hunter.

Mr. Argent took his hand away. He waited until Wyatt caught his breath.

"What are you doing here? Did something happen?"

"No, no not at all. I just wanted to run something by you real quick."

Mr. Argent glanced at the street. Across from them was a little café.

"I'm supposed to be meeting someone soon for lunch."

"Oh, this will just take a minute. I was thinking, you trained Allison, right? Hand to hand combat and stuff." Mr. Argent nodded. "I thought that maybe if you have time, you could also teach Stiles and Lydia a few things."

"Teach?"

"Hear me out. Both of them are in direct contact with the supernatural, but don't have any super strength or healing. They want to fight or at least defend themselves, but they can't. I think you teaching them will not only be good for them, but for everyone. For your daughter. More people on your side who can fight can't be a bad thing, right?"

"Okay." Mr. Argent started walking over to the street. "I'll talk to Alison and figure out a time."

"Really? Great." Wyatt had gotten out of training his charges in martial arts. This day just kept getting better.

"Now if you'll excuse me," he said as he stepped onto the sidewalk, "I have a meeting."

"Oh sure, of course. Bye." Wyatt orbed away before Mr. Argent could change his mind.

He entered the kitchen. Dr. Deaton was out. The others had probably figured out the unicorn was fake. Wyatt decided to give them time to simmer down from the anger they must be feeling. He plopped down on the sofa and turned on the TV.


Stiles was set down onto the Argent's living room sofa. The room was cleaner and less cluttered than his living room, with a flat screen TV mounted over an electric fireplace and two white couches. Stiles hadn't been in their living room before. When he normally came here it was for monster related stuff, and everyone met in Allison's dad's office. Allison's dad wasn't there at the moment. He was at a meeting with a CIA official, Allison had said. Arms dealing sounded more impressive to Stiles than hunting werewolves.

"Okay, let me go get the first aid kit." Allison frowned and touched Stiles' hand. "You're freezing. Kira, go to the linen closet near the bathroom and get him a blanket. Isaac, can you make him some hot tea?" She went to find the bandages.

Lydia gently propped his injured leg on an ottoman. She rolled up his pant leg.

"It looks like you scarped your shin, too,"

Stiles bit his bottom lip and nodded. "Of course I did." Of course he would do that, he thought. He was the type of person who tripped over air. This accident was especially annoying, since he had hurt his ankle over nothing.

Kira returned with an old, knitted blanket. Instead of simply handing it to him, she draped it over him. The simple gesture reminded Stiles of his dad taking care of him whenever he was sick. Despite the pain and the irritability he was feeling, Stiles gave Kira a small smile.

"Thanks."

"Of course. I hope you feel better." She sat down next to him. "Oh! I should turn on the fireplace." She jumped up and flipped a switch. Immediately flames danced on top of fake wood. It was easier than the fireplace at Stiles' house, which needed half a tree and a Hail Mary to work.

"I found it," Allison called out from the hallway. She ran in carrying a white box.

"Are there any anti-bacterial wipes in there? Stiles cut his leg," Lydia said.

Allison knelt down next to the ottoman. She pulled out a pack of something and a roll of gauze. Lydia took the pack. She ripped out a wipe and rubbed over Stiles' leg. He winced at the sting.

"Hold still."

Lydia continued cleaning his cut as Allison pulled off his sock and shoe. She wrapped his ankle with gauze. Kira sat next to him again, close enough for their legs to touch. Stiles wasn't touchy feely. Standard physical affection for him was his dad patting him on the back. This physical contact both weirded him out and soothed him at the same time.

Isaac walked into the room carrying a tray with several mugs. "I couldn't find the tea, but I found hot chocolate. And I figured, since I was boiling the water, might as well make a few." He set the tray down on an end table. Kira handed a cup to Stiles.

"Thanks, Isaac," Stiles said. Isaac shrugged again. He collapsed onto the other couch.

Everyone else thanked him, too. Lydia put a large band aid on his cut. She rubbed it to make sure it stuck, which gave Stiles goosebumps. She came over to sit in the other side of him. Her leg touched his. The girl he liked since 3rd grade was sitting close to him. Yet Stiles felt drowsy more than anything. He had woken up early that morning.

Allison joined Isaac on the other couch. "Hey, anyone want to watch TV? We don't have any homework since it's almost Thanksgiving."

"I have nothing better to do," Isaac said. "Plus Stiles should probably sit for a bit." Stiles assumed Isaac didn't want to carry him again. Stiles didn't care. In fact, he would rather stay on the couch at that moment. Lydia and Kira agreed to stay as well.

Stiles sipped his cocoa as Allison flipped through channels until they came across a Christmas movie. It was over a month until Christmas, but no one complained. The screen was filled with high definition string lights and snow. Some guy's flight was delayed and he might not get to see his kids for Christmas. The standard Hallmark-like movie, it lent a feel-good atmosphere to the room. Allison and Isaac talked quietly, and Kira played a game on her phone.

After 20 minutes, Stiles didn't have the strength to keep his eyes open. Someone took his now empty cup away. The volume was turned down. Everyone spoke in whispers. In his sleepy, warm state, he slumped against the couch and didn't notice he was resting his head against Lydia's shoulder. He breathed in the smell of her vanilla shampoo. She didn't push him away. As the movie played, Stiles dozed off, feeling more secure and at peace than he had in months.

Chapter Text

Stiles first heard the news from a news alert. That his father did not tell him about the three homicides that day was irritating, to say the least. He and his friends were the go to people for investigating the weird and strange. Almost a whole family being slaughtered by an assassin counted as weird and strange. Especially when the assassin had no mouth. And Scott, Kira and Allison all said to let the adults handle it because class was about to start. Stiles had never heard anything more irresponsible in his life, going to class when a murderer was on the loose.

So instead of investigating, Stiles, along with Scott and Isaac, headed to tryouts for lacrosse. Despite the assassin, Stiles was happy that he probably was going to play more this season. His ankle was barely even sprained according to the doctor, and after a week he could run no problem. And even without werewolf powers, he had gotten stronger in the past year. He could certainly run faster. Maybe Allison had noticed, because yesterday she invited him and Lydia to a training session that weekend. Stiles had agreed to go without hesitation. He could handle it.


 

"Yes, McCall, you're on the team." Coach flipped through the packet of names and dates.

"Am I still captain?" Scott clasped his hands in front of him. The other boys were already stretching on the field, a couple were throwing balls at the goalie. It was tryouts for the new season. Several dozen students were in the stands watching including Lydia, Allison, Malia and Kira.

Coach looked up from his papers. "All positions are open." He walked out to the field. Scott knew he could be captain again. He wasn't worried. He was a werewolf, after all.

Stiles and Isaac were arguing about some webseries they both happened to watch. In the last few days Scott was relieved that they weren't sniping at each other anymore. Matthew had claimed his little team building exercise helped, to which Stiles had replied that he was lucky he wasn't suing Heaven for damages. Isaac also seemed happier since Scott's mom signed the paperwork making Isaac her foster kid. Nothing had changed as far as their arrangement went. But Scott could hear Isaac in the next room, and he knew Isaac had slept better in the last week than he had since he came into their home.

Unfortunately, his love life was not going as well. Over the weekend, Kira had broken off whatever they had, saying she had too much to worry about at the moment to start a relationship. Allison broke up with Isaac, too. At least the two of them weren't going to fight over her and throw each other into walls again.

So, he went out onto the field feeling optimistic. His pack was getting along. There were no supernatural threats trying to kill everyone. Malia was becoming acquainted with the rest of the pack. Lydia had taken her shopping for clothes, which Mr. Tate was extremely grateful for. Things were looking up, he thought.

Then Scott saw the goalie.

Two boys were throwing ball after ball at him. It was to the point that even Scott would have had some difficulty keeping up. But there was no thwack of the ball hitting the net, no frustrated groan as it dove just short of the lacrosse stick. No, the boy caught every. Freaking. Ball. Scott stood there stunned as the boy took off his helmet. His name was Liam; he was a freshman whose stepfather was a doctor at the hospital. The screech of Coach's whistle shook him out of his thoughts. Scott joined Stiles and Isaac as they got in line to run laps. As he stretched his arms behind his back he felt his eyes burn with the desire to change, a primal instinct to maintain dominance. He was an Alpha. He wasn't about to be replaced by some upstart.


Demons discovering the internet was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because Wyatt could monitor demon activity while lying on his bed. A curse because most demons' message boards were disturbed, despicable and grammatical nightmares. Usually only demons born of his generation were on the dark net. Young demons were not powerful, and if the discussion boards were anything to go by, not very good at spelling.

Wyatt wanted to look through these sites to see of anyone had found out where he was. So far, no demon had clue. A fair number believed he had either turned or had taken a trip in time. The Charmed Ones were on a warpath. Many demons wished that wherever Wyatt was, he would return home soon before his mother and aunts vanquished half the Underworld. Wyatt's stomach turned queasy at the thought of what his family must be feeling. For the umpteenth time, he wished there was some way he could tell his family he was okay. But Lilith had forbidden it.

Wyatt was about to log off and start his homework when something caught his eye. Beacon Hills Deadpool. Quickly he looked over the post that consisted long list of names and dollar amounts next to them. His eyes stopped at Scott McCall-$20,000,000.

It was a list of chaotic magic creatures. A hit list.

None of the demons on the message board wanted to risk coming to a place where their powers couldn't work just for a chance to make some cash. Beacon Hills was a place even demons feared. But that wouldn't stop human bounty hunters. A couple of names had already been crossed off.

They'll all be dead in a week, one guy wrote.

Who the hell is the Benefactor?

Better them than us.

Wyatt slipped on his jacket. He placed a knife in his boot in case of an attack. He never had used knives or other weapons against mortals before. But this was a unique situation. Beyond a whitelighter's duty to his charges, or a witch's duty to innocents, Wyatt had to protect Scott. If he died, not only would his destiny not be fulfilled, Wyatt's future would be lost.


"Terrible. Horrified. Pathetic. Unbelievably pathetic." Coach looked over the array of exhausted runners. "Is that everyone?"

Stiles bent over the finish line, halfway between a stroke and a nervous breakdown.

"Yeah, that's everyone."

Isaac and Scott each grabbed an arm and hoisted him up. They watched the other boys lie on the field, unable to move. And they watched Liam, doing pushups.

"What is he, is he a werecheetah? Is that even a thing?" Stiles glared at Liam with what little energy he had. So much for being in better shape.

"Maybe he's just that good," Scott said.

"Maybe we should kill him," Isaac said.

Stiles made a gagging sound. "I'm going to puke, take me somewhere."

Isaac and Scott dragged Stiles off to the bathroom.


Lilith said that he couldn't talk to his family or friends. She never mentioned demons.

A bar for demons was located in San Francisco. The place looked like any other dimly lit pub. People at around tables with drinks and fries. A TV near the bar had a baseball game on. The only difference was that when a fight broke out, people threw fireballs instead of knives.

Wyatt had cast a glamour spell and a cloaking spell to hide himself from demons and his family. His orbs now matched his black t-shirt. His face was changed to appear older and less noticeable. A beer in hand, he made his way to the corner of the main room. A group of four men, only a few years older than him, sat there. He took a seat in the empty table next to them. His shaking hands spilled a few drops of beer.

For a few minutes, all he heard them talk about was a female demon three of the guys had slept with. The conversation was not so different from what he'd probably find in another bar. Then one guy bragged about an innocent they murdered. Wyatt had to stop himself from throwing an energy ball at his head. Finally, someone mentioned the deadpool.

"I'd go, but powers don't work in that place. Plus, the reward is money, not powers." The tallest of them downed his third shot. "What's the point?"

"I heard from Ramon that the person behind it was a banshee," a black-robed man said.

"Where'd Ramon hear that," the third man asked.

"From an oracle yesterday."

The tallest one nodded. "Banshees piss me off. They scream too much."

"Just like the girl I was with last night," the fourth one said. They changed the topic back to sex.

A banshee, Wyatt thought. What other banshee was in Beacon Hills besides Lydia?


That evening, Isaac lounged in a chair in the hospital waiting room and reflected on why they couldn't catch a break.

"What is up with you," Stiles asked Scott during practice.

"I don't know, I'm having a really off day."

"Off day? You were dying out there. It caused me actual physical pain to watch you." He pointed to Isaac. "Not that you were doing any better."

Isaac shrugged. Scott had thought he should try out with no wolf powers, even though that was how he made team captain in the first place. Isaac went along with it so he wouldn't upset Scott. Coach had told him earlier that he was on the team either way. With no captain position to defend, he didn't have to care.

Later, towards the end of the practice, Liam showed up Scott and Stiles, pushing past both of them. Isaac was on the other side of the field at the time, but with his heighted senses he heard everything.

"Do over," Malia yelled out from the stands.

"No Malia, don't help," Stiles mumbled. Isaac covered his mouth to muffle his snickering. This could only end in something funny.

"This is practice sweetheart," Coach yelled back. "There are no do overs."

"Ten bucks on Scott and Stiles."

"I'll take that action." Coach blew the whistle. They resumed their previous positions. Isaac didn't even bother trying to hide his amusement.

Once again, Scott and Stiles charged at Liam. Once again, they were knocked to the side. Liam sprinted down the field, pumping his arms up in victory. He didn't notice Isaac's lacrosse stick thrust out in front of him until it was too late.

"Ow! My leg!"

How someone could twist their ankle by tripping over a lacrosse stick, Isaac would never know. If Liam was that pathetic, Isaac thought, he shouldn't even be trying out. Especially since the three of them were pretty sure that Liam had been kicked out of his fancy prep school. It was all Liam's fault, really.

The three of them were in the hospital, waiting for news about Liam. Scott was over by the front desk. He hadn't spoken to him during the car ride there. Isaac couldn't tell if he was mad at him or disappointed. Stiles, who had left to go home twenty minutes ago, had not shut up.

"God Isaac, what are you, seven? Why don't stick out your tongue next time? At least then no one will trip over it."

From the back seat, Isaac had stuck his tongue out at the rearview mirror.

"For the love of God. . ." Stiles had shaken his head. Isaac had grinned.

It was only when Isaac entered the hospital that he remembered Melissa. She would find out about this. She'd probably kick him out. Isaac was more trouble than he was worth. He couldn't blame her. So, while Scott waited for news about Liam, Isaac thought about finding a blanket and sleeping in the woods. It was better than trying to find another place and get kicked out again.

"Hey." As if he could read his thoughts, Scott came over and sat down next to him. Isaac avoided his gaze.

"He's going to be out of practice for a couple of weeks, but it's nothing too serious."

"I'm sorry." He was, actually. He didn't mean to hurt Liam that badly. But he was mostly sorry for himself. At least Liam had a home to go to.

"Isaac." He felt Scott's hand on his shoulder and turned to look at him. "I know you didn't mean it, but next time you need to think things through. You can't just hurt whoever annoys you. Especially since you're a werewolf." Scott sounded disappointed, but not angry.

"I know." Isaac gently pulled his shoulder away.

"My mom will probably ground you."

"Ground me?"

"No TV, no going out unless someone's dying, you know." Scott shrugged. "Probably for a couple of weeks, at most. It was partially an accident."

"I'm not getting kicked out?' Isaac blurted out the words without thinking. Scott was taken back.

"My mom signed the paperwork, remember? You're her foster son. You're not going anywhere."

"Oh." Isaac jumped up before Scott could say something else. "I have to use the bathroom." No way was he crying in front of Scott and everyone in the lobby.

As he splashed water on his face, Isaac felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. Matthew was calling. He didn't want an angel lecturing him on top of all of this. He shut his phone off.


Wyatt slapped down a thin stack of papers on the sheriff's desk. Sheriff Stilinski looked up from his coffee, a blank expression on his face.

"A deadpool?"

"Yup. A hit list of every supernatural creature in Beacon Hills. Around 50 of them."

The sheriff scanned the papers. "How much . . . what is Deputy Parrish's name doing here?"

Wyatt took a seat in a chair by the desk. "Beats me. I've already talked to Deaton. He called the people on the list he knows and told them to get out of town. As for the rest of them, I took care of it."

Wyatt kneeled over a cauldron. He ripped pieces of sage and rosemary and mandrake, then sprinkled them in the bowl. He dropped a lit match in next. Smoke drifted up from the cauldron.

"Power of the witches rise

Come to me across the skies

Protect the innocents written here

Let none with ill intent come near."

Wyatt put the pieces of paper in the bowl and watched them burn. His closet smelled of burned herbs.

"Why does Scott's name say 20 grand next to it? Wait, how may zeros is that?" The sheriff tilted the paper. "Is this a typo?"

Wyatt opened his mouth, then closed it again. "Um," he said quietly, "it's 20 million."

"WHAT?!" Sheriff Stilinski jumped out of his chair. "Who in God's name would put a 20 million dollar bounty ON A CHILD?!"

"Don't worry, I'm on it."

"We need to get these kids out of town. We need to find everyone on this list and hide them somewhere. Do the kids know about this?"

"I've been trying to reach them." No one had been answering their phones. But with the spell, they were probably safe for now. Besides, Wyatt thought it was more important to tell the sheriff first. If anyone knew how to deal with assassins in this town, it was probably the cops.

Then again, he mused, these were small town cops, not homicide detectives or federal agents.

On the other hand, when the small town in question was a place like Beacon Hills, the cops all might as well be homicide detectives.

"Well I got a text from Stiles saying they're at the hospital. Apparently, Isaac accidentally tripped a kid in lacrosse and they were going to go check on him."

Accidentally, Wyatt thought. Isaac was a werewolf. That was no accident. The only accident there was when a whitelighter would "accidentally" smack his charge.

Sheriff Stilinski scanned the list again as he threw on his jacket. He paused, then grabbed the paper.

"Wait a second. I know these ones." He pointed to a group of people sharing the last name Walcott. A family. "A mother, father and son were murdered yesterday. The younger son, Sean, is in the hospital right now."

"Someone must already be collecting the bounty," Wyatt said. He wasn't worried. All innocents should be protected for the time being. He followed the sheriff out of his office.


Lydia had done a lot of screaming in the past year. Banshees were called the wailing women in folklore. She didn't know about other banshees, but she lived up to her name. Whenever she felt a sense of cold, blank emptiness in the air, something in her just wanted to scream. And scream. Yet out of all the freaky stuff she had seen in the past year, nothing made her want to scream more than this.

An hour ago, she had wandered into the home of the Walcotts. She knew they had been murdered yesterday. She had never been drawn to places where the bodies had already been found. It was the newly dead and the about to die that called to her. Something had yet to be uncovered. Something dead. Deputy Parrish had come inside the house to investigate the crime scene. Parrish believed that she was psychic and had followed her as she had walked through the house.

There had been a panel. A panel with screaming faces. Only Lydia could see the faces. Only Lydia had known to press the panel open. Inside it was cold. Not only the cold of death, but the cold of a freezer. The two had come upon a meat locker.

Of human meat.

If that wasn't worth screaming over. Lydia didn't know what was.


Wyatt winced in pain as they left the sheriff's station. Sheriff Stilinski stopped as he saw Wyatt lean against the station wall.

"Are you okay?"

Aunt Paige told him that when he got his first charge, there would be a ringing in his ear. But his charge wasn't a mortal or a witch. Instead of ringing, he heard screaming. Loud, screeching screaming.

"What is it?'

"Lydia," he managed to get out before he orbed away.


Scott turned his phone on. Two missed phone calls and three texts flashed on the screen, all from Matthew.

Scott, where are you?

Answer your damn phone.

There's a hit list with your name on it.

It took a few seconds to absorb the information. In those few seconds, Scott heard his mother scream. Without thinking he raced down the hallway until he saw Sean Walcott covered in blood, trying to grab his mom's wrists. His teeth were bared and sharp. Scott roared. He body-slammed Sean to the ground and pinned him there, but Sean wrestled free and kicked him against the wall before taking off down the hall.

Scott sniffed the air. He glanced through an open door into what he assumed was Sean's room. A dead, half disemboweled deputy was sprawled in the floor.

Scott's mom grabbed a railing and pulled herself up. Her scrubs were covered in blood.

"I'm alright. I'm okay."

"Are you sure?"

"Go get that son of a bitch."

Scott listened for the sound of running footsteps and panting. He ran in the direction of Liam's room. Near his room, he stopped. Scott sniffed the air. There was blood. And fear.

"Liam."

Scott heard more panting, mixed in with snarls and growls. He ran to the stairs leading to the roof. The noises grew louder. Scott pushed the door open. Isaac lay on the ground, unconscious. Sean gripped Liam by the throat. Scott heard Liam's little whimpers of fear.

"Don't. You don't need to do this. Whatever it is, whatever you are, we can help you."

"No, you can't."

"Let me help you."

The offer wasn't a cynical attempt to subdue him. He'd seen people twisted by the cruelties of life to know that sometimes people turn into things they didn't choose. He smelled fear from Liam and from Sean.

"Wendigos don't need help," he said, his voice edged with desperation. "We need food!"

Liam screamed as Sean pierced his back with razor claws. He twisted his body away from Sean. They struggled. Scott darted towards them. Sean pushed Liam off the edge of the roof. Scott pushed Sean out of the way. Sean grabbed him by the torso as Scott reached out to Liam, who gripped the ledge of the roof with one hand. Scott tried to grab Liam's arm. But his own arms were held down by a psychotic wendigo, whatever a wendigo was.

"I can't hold on," Liam screamed.

Scott bared his fangs. In the back of his mind came the thought that he was going to bite someone like Peter bit him. But the most pressing thoughts in his head were stop Liam from falling, save Liam. Scott dug his teeth into Liam's arm, holding it in his mouth. Liam screamed in agony. A gunshot was fired. Sean stopped holding onto Scott.

Scott pulled Liam up to the roof. Sean lay dead at their feet. The man who shot Sean stood by the doorway. He held a finger to his lips or rather where his lips would have been if he had a mouth. The man headed down the stairs. Scott was too stunned to try to stop him or ask questions.

Isaac stirred. He opened his eyes. "What happened?"

Scott looked at Liam, who was bleeding and trembling in his arms.

"We have a problem."


"Hold him steady," Scott yelled as Isaac sat in hospital supply closet and struggled to keep Liam's arms at his side. The smell of Liam's fear reeked.

"Please, I don't wanna die, someone save me." Isaac covered Liam's mouth. Muffled squeals and groans were all Liam could say.

Isaac hissed. Scott assumed Liam bit him.

"Shut up Liam," Isaac said. "No can hear you scream anyway."

"Isaac, not helping."

"Then you hold him down!"

Scott dug through a box until he found the duct tape. He ripped off several large pieces. Isaac pinned Liam's arms to the floor as Scott taped them to his side. Then he taped his mouth shut. The legs came last. By the time Scott was done, Liam looked like the cliché kidnap victim. Technically, they were kidnapping him.

Isaac peeked through the door to make sure the coast was clear. Scott hoisted Liam over his shoulder. The two werewolves made a beeline for the back door of the hospital, where patients were unloaded from ambulances. It was abandoned now. Ambulances were being sent to other hospitals as the police investigated the murder of a teenage cannibal on the roof.

Isaac checked his phone. "Allison said she'd be here in two minutes. Kira's with her."

"Okay."

Liam made a noise that sounded like a protest. Scott looked over his shoulder, but couldn't see Liam's face.

"It's okay, Liam. We're not going to hurt you," he said softly.

"Don't worry," Isaac said. "The human sacrifices were in September."

Liam whined loudly.

"Isaac." Scott wanted to kick him. First, he tripped a freshman and twisted his ankle, and then this.

"Well, it is true."

A car horn beeped. Scott heard Allison and Kira talking. He ran outside and quickly threw Liam in the back seat.

"What's going-Scott McCall, did you just kidnap a child?!" Allison gripped the steering wheel.

"Oh my God!" Kira turned her head from Scott to Allison back to Scott again. "Oh my God."

"I'll explain at my house. Just drive!" Scott yelled.

Within seconds the car sped away, taking all five of them from the hospital, and the police.


Wyatt held back Lydia's hair as she puked into a toilet in the sheriff station's bathroom. He couldn't blame her. He was a witch destined to fight demons all his life, and he felt bile in the back of his throat when he saw the "meat locker."

Deputy Parrish was talking with the sheriff in the next room. They were discussing the deadpool. Deputy Parrish was on the list, for five million. He also didn't seem to know why he was on there. There were witches who discovered their powers in their 20's. Wyatt supposed other supernatural creatures worked the same way.

Lydia sobbed into the toilet. Wyatt carefully pulled her into a hug.

"We're all going to die."

"No, we're not. I'm your angel and I'm not going to let that happen."

Poor girl, he thought. She had been through so much. He wished he could heal her pain, heal everyone's pain. But she was strong, too. She had survived through so much.

The sheriff knocked on the door. "You okay in there?"

"Yeah," Wyatt answered.

"Can I come in?"

Lydia wiped her face and flushed the toilet. Wyatt opened the door. The sheriff gave a tired sigh.

"Something happened at the hospital. Sean was killed."

Wyatt nodded. His spell was only supposed to protect innocents.

"We need to round up all these people and hide them somewhere," the sheriff said.

"We could use the loft," Lydia said.

"Loft?' Wyatt helped her stand up.

"Derek's loft. The one where you met Scott. Derek won't care since he's in South America. And there's a security system already in place."

"I'll start tracking people. You two go home, get some rest." The sheriff held up a hand to Wyatt's protests. "I got this."


Scott sat on his bed, his head in his hands. Stiles and Isaac sat on either side of him. In the bathroom, Liam lay in the bathtub, still wrapped up in duct tape.

"So, you bit him," Stiles said, not really a question.

"Yeah."

"And you kidnapped him."

"Yeah."

"And you brought him here."

"Allison said we couldn't bring him to her house," Isaac said. "And Kira was freaking out too much to help. They told us to call them if he gets loose or something."

"This doesn't end with us burying pieces of his body in the desert, does it?" From the bathroom, they heard Liam struggling. Isaac snickered.

"See, this is why I come up with the plans. Your plans suck," Stiles said to Scott.

"Like your plans are any better," Isaac. Stiles reached over and playfully shoved his arm.

"Will you two help me or not?"

"I already helped bring him here," Isaac said. "I'll get arrested either way."

"Okay, fine. Let's just get him out of the tub," Stiles said.

Scott dragged out Liam from the bathroom. Isaac taped his arms and legs to the arms and legs of a desk chair.

"Okay Liam," Stiles said, "here's how we're going to do this. We're going to take the tape off. You start screaming, we put the tape back on. You talk quietly, the tape stays off. Understand?"

Liam nodded quickly. Stiles jerked his head in Liam's direction. The werewolves frowned, and Stiles ripped Liam's tape off. Liam's face twitched, but he didn't say anything.

"Okay Liam, you've seen a lot of confusing and things tonight. And unfortunately, more confusing things are going to happen because of the confusing things that have already happened. Do you understand?" Stiles paused for breath.

"Not really," Liam answered, glaring up at Stiles.

"What the fuck are you talking about?" Isaac eyed Stiles with confusion.

"Okay, Isaac, you want to explain?" Stiles made a sweeping gesture in Liam's direction. "Be my guest."

"Okay." Isaac crossed his arms over his chest. "Liam, you're a werewolf now."

"WHAT?!" Liam thrashed in his chair, almost knocking the thing over.

Stiles hastily covered a squirming Liam's mouth with tape. Scott stared at Isaac, open mouthed.

"What?" Isaac shrugged. "Why beat around the bush?"

"Isaac, we don't want to scare him," Scott said.

"What do you want to do, lie?"

"Also, he might not be a werewolf," Stiles said. "There's a chance he could die."

Liam's eyes bulged out as he rocked his chair back and forth, so much so that Scott had to grab the back of the chair to steady it.

"He's not going to die. He would have done it by now," Isaac said. "Derek told me that once." He grabbed the back of the chair too. "Listen, Liam, Scott and I are werewolves. Stiles is human. He used to be demonically possessed, but he's not now. There's also a werecoyote, a kitsune, which is kind of like a werefox but not really, a banshee and another human, who comes from a family of werewolf hunters."

"Alright," Stiles said as Scott crouched down in front of Liam, "Isaac, that's enough explaining."

"Listen, Liam." Scott tried to make his voice soft and reassuring. "You're not going to die. And you're not alone in this. We're going to look after you." He remembered what Derek told him after he saved him from hunters on his first full moon.

"We're brothers now."

Liam looked at him like he was insane. Stiles snorted.

"Really, Scott?"

"I mean it's technically true," Isaac said. "We're of the same pack. So, we're all brothers."

Stiles rolled his eyes. "Oh my God," he muttered.

Isaac was right. Scott and Stiles had been best friends for years (and their parents were not so secretly dating). Isaac was now officially his foster brother. To Scott's amusement, Stiles and Isaac had begun to bicker like siblings. And Scott felt a sense of protectiveness with Liam. Even newly bitten, there was a connection between them.

Scott noticed Liam's eyes were getting a bit red. He heard a muffled sniffle.

"Oh my God, is he crying?" Stiles asked.

Scott hated himself. He hated that he had gotten Liam into all of this. He hated that Liam was crying. He should have done better, done something different.

Scott and Isaac ripped the tape off of Liam. He wiped the tears from his eyes.

"Liam, are you okay?" Scott asked.

Stiles nodded. "Yeah, Liam, we're sorry-"

Liam smashed the chair against Scott's back. He stumbled forward.

"Liam, what the Hell!?" Stiles turned around and Liam punched him in the eye. Isaac tried to grab Liam, but he kicked him right in the groin. Isaac screamed. Liam darted out the door. Scott ran into the hallway and saw him staring down at his now perfectly healed ankle.

Isaac and Stiles came into the hallway, wincing in pain. Stiles clutched his eye. "Get him!" He, Scott and Isaac charged at Liam as they screamed, and he screamed. All four of them tumbled down the stairs and landed in a heap of limbs near the doorway.

Then Matthew teleported in. Of course, Scott thought. When he was struggling to be an alpha, that's when Mr. Perfect Angel showed up.

"What the fuck are you guys doing?"

"Grab him!" Stiles pointed at Liam, who had been momentarily stunned to see an angel appear. Liam darted to the door, only for Matthew to teleport to the front of the door. He grabbed Liam by the shoulders.

"Hey, hey it's alright. No one's going to hurt you. Slow down," he told Liam softly. Scott noticed Liam's muscles relax and wished he could have stopped him as easily. Scott, Isaac and Stiles got up from the floor and watched as Matthew somehow managed to calm Liam down.

"What's going on?"

"Scott bit him," Isaac said.

"What?" Matthew looked surprised, but not shocked. Scott doubted anything could rattle this guy.

"Who are you?' Liam kept staring at him. At least he wasn't trying to leave.

"I'm Matthew, and apparently, I'm your guardian angel too." He took his hands from Liam's shoulders and held out his hand.

Liam hesitantly shook his hand. "My name's Liam."

"Nice to meet you."

"Am I a werewolf?"

Matthew nodded. "I guess so, but with a few months adjustment period, you'll be fine. There's no reason you can't still have a perfectly normal life."

Stiles raised an eyebrow. Scott glared at him. Even if what Matthew said was a lie, it was a nice lie.

"Now Liam, why don't you and Isaac go into the kitchen while I talk to Scott for a few minutes? I'm sure Isaac can answer any of your questions better than I can." He smiled a little, the kind of look a big brother gives to a scared little kid.

Isaac led him into the kitchen. The rest of them headed back upstairs. Once Matthew shut the door, Stiles let out a whistle.

"Did they give you babysitting training up in Heaven?"

"Why the fuck did you bite this guy?! Oh my God Scott, do you know what kind of day I've had? I'm talking demons, assassins, demon assassins."

"He was falling off of a building and my arms were being held down by a-"

"Wendigo, the sheriff told me." He sighed. "Okay, you're right, you had to save him. Right now, we have bigger things to worry about." Matthew pulled out a few folded pieces of paper from his pocket. He held up one. Scott immediately saw his name next to a number with a lot of zeros.

"Someone made a hit list of supernatural creatures in Beacon Hills. And we need to figure out who, before an innocent dies."

"How?" Scott asked.

"I have a lead. All I know is that the person behind it, called "the Benefactor," is a banshee in Beacon Hills."

Stiles tilted his head. "Another banshee? Wait, is Lydia okay? And Allison and Kira?"

"I just warned Kira and her family, and I was with Lydia earlier. They're a bit shaken especially since earlier today Lydia found the wendigo family's meat locker."

"Ew!" Stiles crinkled his nose. "Is she okay?"

"Yeah, I told them to call me if they need me. Right now, I'm going to go check on my lead. You guys deal with Liam."

"Let me help," Scott said.

"Thanks, but it'd be better if I handled it." Matthew teleported away before Scott could argue.

"He's done this longer," Stiles said.

"Yeah." Scott remembered how Matthew said he wasn't part of his pack. He certainly meant it.


Wyatt orbed to a house by a lake about twenty minutes from Beacon Hills. There were no people there, no clothes draped over chairs or used plates. It must have been a vacation home for a wealthier family. The spell he had cast directed him to an upstairs room with white walls and white carpets and bright lighting.

It took him almost half an hour to find the equipment hidden behind one of the walls. Old analog tech that someone had hooked up to the dark side of the internet. Wyatt blasted the machines. They sparked, beeped and fell apart. The deadpool was over.

He stumbled through the house in the dark, too wary of potential unseen residents to use a light. He stubbed his toe against walls and tables and cursed fate for not giving witches night vision too. Wyatt stepped to the right, and an end table holding dark shapes that looked like picture frames fell to the ground. He gave up and flipped on a light.

Broken glass and picture frames were scattered on the ground. Wyatt looked at the pictures on the floor, searching for a clue as to who this banshee was. He picked one up. A mother and her daughter, who couldn't have been older than 13, smiled at him from the docks. Wyatt held it up to the light.

It was Lydia.

There was no other banshee. Lydia was behind it. She suffered because of the supernatural and now she was looking for revenge. She must have stuck her own name in to throw everyone off. And Wyatt had believed her. He had been suckered into her sobbing act and comforted her while she was plotting the deaths of dozens of people.

Wyatt didn't think he should have been surprised. After all, he thought, he was in Beacon Hills because someone betrayed his family. If an Elder could do such a thing, why not a banshee?

Chapter Text

Wyatt tried to doze off in a chair in the sheriff's office. It was only early evening, but it had been a long day. The chair was too uncomfortable. And Stiles constantly coming over to threaten him wasn't helping, either.

Lydia was in the sheriff's office, answering questions about the equipment in her lake house that was used to create the deadpool. She said she'd never seen it, she was innocent, and her own name was on the list, blah blah blah. Wyatt couldn't even stand to be in the same room as her. He had trusted her. He had wanted to help her. And she had betrayed them.

Everyone, except him and Stiles, were out trying to stop any rogue assassins who didn't know that the deadpool was over, or preparing for Liam's first full moon. Stiles was standing at the door to his father's office, shamelessly eavesdropping. Every so often, Stiles would stare at Wyatt like he was contemplating taking a baseball bat to him. It wasn't as bad as Allison, who managed to kick him in the shin when he told them what happened (she was aiming somewhere else, but he blocked that). She was probably thinking about how to disembowel him with her arrows at that very moment.

While no one else was as openly violent towards him, what annoyed Wyatt was that no one else believed him, either. Scott said point blank that he was wrong. Kira said he must have made a mistake. Isaac and Malia were less enthusiastic in their defense, but neither of them thought that Lydia did it. Even the sheriff seemed skeptical when Wyatt orbed Lydia into his office. At one point he asked if angels were capable of drinking. (Wyatt said no, but he didn't add that half angels definitely could get drunk, or that he himself smoked weed.)

The sheriff opened the door to his office, a clipboard in hand. Stiles jumped back and stood with his hands crossed over his chest in a failed attempt to be casual. The sheriff rolled his eyes and motioned for Wyatt to come over.

"First of all, she said she had no idea how to use any of that equipment. And no money for the deadpool, either."

"See?" Stiles' gave Wyatt a smug look.

"She could have stolen the money," Wyatt said.

The sheriff poked the air with his pen. "Well, I'll get back to that point in a minute. But before that, I looked up some stuff about the lake house. Turns out Lydia's grandmother used it to conduct experiments decades ago. Experiments about communicating with the dead. That was before she was sent to Eichen House in the last years of her life."

"You think she could have been a banshee, too?" Stiles asked.

"Seems likely."

"Even a banshee couldn't make a hit list from beyond the grave," Wyatt said.

The sheriff flipped to a page on his clipboard. "A young woman in Eichen House, Meredith Walker, helped Lydia's grandmother with her experiments before she was also committed. She might have some information about the deadpool. Now, going back to the money issue, Derek called up a couple of days ago saying he was notified that one of the Hale family vaults was broken into. About 117 million dollars was stolen."

"Aha!"

"The money actually belonged to Peter, who neither Derek nor anyone else has seen in a while. Derek wasn't too concerned, just wanted us to know."

"He wasn't too concerned about 117 million dollars?" Stiles seemed to forget about Lydia for a moment. "God, I wish I was that rich."

"I think people's priorities shift when most of their family burns to death in a fire," Wyatt snapped. He'd never spoken to Derek directly, but he feared for his own family's safety long enough to have some idea of what he'd gone through.

"The point is, whoever stole the money probably used it to fund the deadpool. But as far as I can tell, Lydia has a pretty solid alibi for the last few days."

"She could have gotten someone else to do it. And she's smart. If she could figure out a chemical cocktail to kill a werewolf or whatever she did, you don't think she could break into a safe?"

Stiles jerked his head forward. "Lydia's own name is on the list, you idiot. You think she wants to commit suicide by assassin?"

"Maybe she hates herself for what she has become. Maybe she sees herself as a monster. I'm not saying she doesn't need help or that she should be killed, but she's a danger to everyone right now and she needs to be locked up."

He had briefly thought about vanquishing her, but banshees weren't demons and he didn't have any way to contact his family or the elders for advice. When it came to obeying the Wiccan Rede, Wyatt preferred to be on the safe side. Still, he wouldn't let Lydia out of his sight.

"Lydia is not crazy. She's not a murderer. And she's not a danger to anyone." Stiles shoved Wyatt and tried to walk into the office. The sheriff blocked his path.

"Until we figure out what's going on, you can't talk to Lydia. I'm sorry, son."

For a second, Stiles was frozen. Then he ran out of the station.


The lake house was technically the scene of a crime, but the sheriff allowed Scott to use it to hold the newest members of his pack. Malia had already been there for a previous full moon. She allowed Kira to chain her up without protest. Liam was harder. He was still confused, distrustful, and freaked out about assassins. And when he stood in the boat house and realized what Scott had in mind for him, he tried to run. Isaac caught him just as he left the property.

Scott knelt next to a shivering, hyperventilating freshman and wracked his brain with what to say.

"It's okay, Liam." That sounded stupid, even to him. Of course it wasn't okay, he thought. He ruined someone's life. Then again, anything he said would be better than Isaac's memorable quote: "At least you didn't get locked in the fridge." The sound Liam made was after that was halfway between a moan and a hiccup.

Kira ran in. She clutched her phone in one hand and her sword on the other. "We have a problem."

"What is it?"

"Dr. Deaton called and said he needs help. Something about a family in the woods being attacked. What should we do?"

Scott glanced at Liam, chained to a pole, and the door, which led to the basement where Malia was. He couldn't leave either of them. And he couldn't handle both of them alone.

"I'll go," Kira said. She slipped her sheathed sword over her shoulder.

"You can't go alone."

"I'm a kitsune. I can handle it."

Isaac pointed to Liam. "What else do we do?"

"Okay. But if something happens, call me. Or Matthew."

"Got it."

Kira gave a quick smile as she headed out the door. If nothing else, at least the two of them had settled into a peaceful comradery. Mr. Yukimura had even invited Scott to dinner again next week, provided they were all alive then.


In a couple minutes, Allison called to report about the people she and her father were protecting. Scott went to the kitchen to talk to her, grab a water bottle and then poke his head in the basement to check on Malia. He was about to head out to ask Isaac to sit with her when he heard a roar. He ran to the basement to find Isaac picking himself off the ground. An empty pile of chains lied at the pole where Liam had been bound. Couldn't anything go his way, Scott thought to himself as he sniffed the air for his beta's scent. What next?

All in all, about thirty people gathered in Derek's old loft. A pack of werewolves and a small pride of werecats. Werecats, Allison had learned, disliked werewolves, hunters, damp places and faulty alarm systems. One werecat, a girl Allison recognized from bio class, looked ready to jump out the window or jump the closest person. A werewolf about the same age had glared at the girl with yellow eyes. The alpha, Naomi, had to break things up before they escalated into a fight.

Allison's dad had called Derek a few hours ago and he didn't care. From what he said, Allison guessed his family had hidden people when he was growing up. She tried not to think about the kinds of people they had been hiding from. She had seen enough of what her family-and her-was capable of.

Allison and her father checked the circuit board in the hallway. The electricity was fine. They just needed talk privately. She glanced back at the door. No one seemed to be paying any attention to them.

"What if Matthew is the one behind this?" she whispered. "What if he has a plan to cause chaos or something? He's not even on the list."

Her father glanced at the door. "About that. There's something I need to tell you."

"What?"

"I'm pretty sure Matthew isn't an angel. He's a witch."

"A witch? Witches exist, too?" What didn't exist, Allison wondered.

"As long as werewolves have. But they usually stay away from werewolves. An old feud, I don't know all the details. They're not fans of druids, either. I had my suspicions. He always knows where people are. Witches can scry for people, use magic to locate them. The thing is, I'm pretty sure witches belong in a different category than the rest of them. I think that's why he wasn't on the list." "If witches hate werewolves and druids so much, why is one here?"

"I don't know. I don't know if he wants to help or hurt us. Maybe he's right, maybe it is Lydia."

"Dad!"

"Or maybe it's part of a large plan. I'm afraid I don't know much about witches. Outside my area of expertise." He glanced at the door again. "Your mother did, though."

"Really?" Allison fiddled with the circuit board as though it were broken. She didn't want to show pain. Her mother had died only six months ago, and the ache hadn't gone away. But she had other things to focus on. And she hated looking weak.

"Your mother came from a hunter family, like the Argents. Except instead of werewolves, they hunted witches. And their code was different. They took it from the Bible."

"What was it?" Her mother hadn't been religious. They never went to church.

"Exodus 22:18. Let not suffer a witch to live."

Allison swallowed. "Genocide," she whispered.

"Your mother left that code, and her family, before she met me. I've only talked to them a few times. But I've seen enough."

Allison imagined movies of people burned alive. The fire usually didn't look realistic, but the actors made up for it with their screaming. She hoped she never saw the real thing.

"What should we do, Dad?"

"Wait for now. Matthew has secrets, but I don't get the sense that he's out to harm anyone. Actually, he's the one who suggested I train Stiles and Lydia."

"Why would he do that?"

"I don't know. There are other forces at play."

Suddenly, spritzing sounds punctuated the air. Purple tinged gas suddenly shot through the vents. Allison's dad instinctively pushed her behind him. But Allison ran into the loft anyway. Everyone ducked and ran to the windows in the back. But before anyone could open anything, Naomi sank to her knees. Choked coughs racked her body. Several other werewolves and werecats collapsed as well. By the time one person finally managed to force open a latch, half the room was sprawled on the floor.

"What is this?" Allison asked.

"I don't know," her father answered. "Do you feel anything?"

"No."

"Me neither. Whatever it is, I think it only affects the supernatural."

Gas wafted through the loft. More people fell. Allison was reminded of a documentary she had watched at her last school. In the streets of Medieval Europe, plague victims had languished in the streets of towns and cities. People had drawn crosses on the doors of infected households. As a young werewolf cried out in pain, Allison wondered if someone would paint a triskele on this door.


Before he had left for the loft, Argent had given Scott a device to use in case Malia or Liam escaped. He had described it as a kind of dog whistle, for werewolves. They used something earlier in the year when Cora and Boyd had been freed on a full moon. Scott and Isaac ran to where Liam collapsed on the ground with his hands to his ears. It took everything for them not to do the same.

"Liam?" Scott squatted next to him. He didn't touch him. Isaac stayed back.

"Liam, it's okay. You're going to get through this."

"I can't let them see me like this."

"Who? Your parents?"

Liam choked out a yes. He was crying, crying like a boy who no longer cared who saw him cry.

"They can't see me like, like . . ."

Scott swallowed. "Like a monster?"

"I've seen monsters." Isaac, who had leaned against a tree nearby, walked over to Liam. Scott heard Isaac's breathing hitch as he sat down next to them.

"I've seen scary things. Terrible things. Believe me, I know what monsters are. And you're not one of them Liam."

"You're a werewolf," Scott finished. He stood. "Like us."

Scott offered his hand. Liam grabbed it, and Scott could feel him trembling. Isaac rested a hand on Liam's shoulder. It wasn't long before Liam's breathing evened out.


For the last full moon, Stiles had stayed with Malia the whole night. He had cracked jokes and had told stories of lacrosse and werewolves and Star Wars (he had promised to watch them with her over break). Malia had still felt the effects of the full moon, but by the end of the night she had calmed down enough to think that maybe she could handle the full moon on her own. Kira running around fixing chains and shoving bottles of water in her face made her change her mind. It wasn't that she wasn't grateful that Kira was staying with her. She seemed nice enough. When Malia was properly chained, she offered to hold her hand. Of course that was a stupid idea, but it was sweet. But she wished that Kira would leave her alone.

But then Kira got a phone call and had to leave. And she heard Scott and Isaac chase after Liam as he ran away. Nothing in the stillness of the empty house distracted her. Her claws scratched the ground as though to try to grab onto some bit of sanity. Malia counted all the cracks in the ceiling and teeth in her mouth. But it wasn't enough to slow her heart rate down. Her eyes glowed blue and she couldn't stop it and she shoved her body into the chains and she wanted to stop it but she couldn't. She couldn't. Someone needed to be there with her.

One of the chains snapped.

Soon footsteps tapped there way into the house. Malia breathed in deeply, and the scent told her it wasn't her pack. Fear shot through her blood. In a frenzy she struggled against her binds. Whoever they were, they weren't good people. They wanted to hurt her. They wanted to hurt her pack. Malia didn't know how she knew, she just knew. The pounding of her heart drowned out all rational thought.

Another chain snapped.

A man walked down the stairs. He grinned at the sight of her restrained. Malia tugged against the chains again.

"Hello, little girl. You want to come back to my car with me?" He chuckled. "I have some candy for you in my trunk."

The rest of the chains snapped. Malia lunged at him. He only stepped aside. In one hand he held a stick. When it touched her, a spark of electricity zapped through her nerves. Everything went black.


Ringing phones and quiet mummers of the sheriff's station lulled Wyatt into a sense of peace. No one was in danger as far as he knew. The culprit was caught. Everything was fine. The people being guarded at the loft was just a precaution. He still orbed to Deaton's house to check the darknet. Halliwells never assumed anything.

He stretched in the bed, scrolling through to find a word or two about the ended deadpool, maybe disappointment at the lack of gore. There was nothing. After five minutes, he stumbled across a forum that said that the deadpool had been offline temporarily, but was back on again. Wyatt sat straight up.

Whoever the Benefactor was must have had their headquarters raided. But, as one demon noted, this banshee was resourceful. Too resourceful.

When he went back to the station, Wyatt glanced at the sheriff's locked door. Lydia had been taken to the police as soon as Wyatt pulled the plug on her little game. Someone else must be working with her.

Just then, Stiles stepped around the corner. Wyatt beckoned him over with an outstretched hand.

"What now, did I do it too?" He dropped into the seat next to him.

"No. The deadpool is back-" Wyatt's phone vibrated in his pocket.

Allison: Someone poisoned all the people in the loft. Me and Dad are fine. I think it only affects shifters.

"Oh, fuck."

"What?" Stiles snatched his phone from him without warning. "Oh my God."

"Yeah." Wyatt grabbed his phone back. "I gotta go help them."

"What about Lydia?" Stiles followed him as he headed to the door.

"What about her?"

"She couldn't have done this."

"Not alone. But I can't worry about that right now. My sp-protection isn't working, and I need to stop these people from dying."

"We'll investigate it." They exited through the front door.

"You break her out of there and I'll put her right back in."

Stiles yanked on Wyatt's arm to stop him from leaving. "Look, Lydia didn't do this, okay? I know her."

Wyatt hesitated. He wished he had someone to advise him. His father, his aunt, even his little brother would know what to do. Was he following his instincts, he thought, or was what happened in the past clouding his judgement?

"Please, Matthew. I know you want to help us." Stiles let go of him. "But you have to trust us."

Wyatt sighed. "Alright. Do whatever you think is best. But if something goes wrong, call for me. Remember, I'll hear it."

"Okay."

Wyatt orbed to the loft wondering if he had made a mistake.


The boys arrived back at the lake house just in time to come upon a man in the driveway, carrying an unconscious Malia over his shoulder. Two other men and one women followed him with guns at the ready.

Liam didn't hesitate. An instinct he was just beginning to understand took over. Pack. Trouble. Fight. He had barely spoken to this girl, but the desire to protect her overwhelmed him. He jumped at the woman and punched her out cold. He growled, an inhuman growl he was starting to like.

One man pointed his gun at him, only to be knocked down by Isaac. Scott roared, a loud savage roar that made all their eyes change color. An alpha's roar. Malia stirred. She kicked the man who held her right in the center of his back. Although he tried desperately to hold on, she wrested free from his hold.

The third man fired at Isaac. The bullet hit him in the chest. Liam screamed. Scott roared again, and charged at the guy. Unfortunately, the man was skilled enough to didge even an alpha. Then man who had held Malia pressed a button.

RING RING RING

A terrible sound brought Liam to his knees. A piercing, blinding ringing that made his brain throb. The others heard it, too. Liam's hands were on his ears. He couldn't stop one of the men from grabbing him.


Light seeped from Wyatt's hands. Another werecat gasped and breathed deeply. Wyatt leaned into Allison, who knelt next to him. He had never had to heal so many people before.

"Are you okay?"

"I'll be fine. Just bring over the next one."

He thought he was going to faint.

Before he had orbed to the loft, Wyatt had cast it from outside the building to remove the gas. It seemed to have worked. No one knew what the gas was. Wyatt himself didn't care. He didn't have time to care. There were still people to be healed.

Despite Allison's earlier threats, she helped prop Wyatt up. As the last few stricken came through, his arms and chest throbbed. His eyes kept closing. Allison's hands gripped his arms.

"Matthew, you need to-"

"I'm not letting any innocent die. Not when I have a chance to save them."

Only when the last person came through, an older woman, and alpha named Naomi, did Wyatt let himself retreat into the darkness of sleep. He thought he heard someone calling for him as he drifted off. But maybe he had just dreamt it.


Stiles never realized how easy it was to break someone out of the sheriff's station. They might need to beef up the security. He had set off the fire alarm via an app on his computer (he figured out how to do that last summer) and in all the chaos Stiles just grabbed Lydia's arm as she was walking out and off they went. No one had been watching her anyway. Only his dad had any idea why she was in there in the first place.

The two of them sped down the street to Eichen House. Lydia stared out the window, a pensive look on her face.

"I know you didn't do it Lydia. You don't have to worry, okay? We'll figure this out."

"My grandmother had nothing to do with this either."

The equipment, it turned out, had been used by her grandmother, the one who bought the lake house. She had done strange experiments up at the house, most of which, according to the report Stiles' dad had found, involved trying to communicate with the dead. Lydia's grandmother was most likely a banshee. Like Matthew had said, a banshee had started the list.

Like they knew, death didn't stop people from terrorizing people. There was Peter.

Lorraine Martin had been a patient at Eichen House before she died. According to the records, she heard voices and screamed constantly. (Luckily they knew what Lydia was, even if they had no idea how to help her understand her powers.) A young woman who assisted Lorraine in her experiments, Meredith, was also a resident at Eichen. Stiles hoped that they could find something at Eichen that might help.

At a red light, Stiles took Lydia's hand for a second. He wished he could think of something to say to magically take this all away, everything she had gone through in the past year. But he couldn't, so he didn't say anything. Lydia gripped his hand back before the light turned green.

Sometimes more is said in silence. Sometimes silence is enough.


Liam woke up leaning against a cold dirt wall. He looked up and saw a small patch of night sky at least twenty feet above him. He felt water around his shins, it had seeped through his jeans and chilled his skin. He was in a well.

Isaac groaned. He lay half consciousness next to him. A small spot of blood stained his shirt.

"Isaac? Isaac, are you okay?"

" . . . wolfsbane?"

"Huh?"

"Wolfsbane." He opened his eyes. "The guy shot me with a bullet full of wolfsbane. If we don't get out of here . . ." His eyes widened as he took in their surroundings.

In Scott's kitchen yesterday, Isaac had been trying to tell him about how easy it was to lose control. Liam vaguely remembered something about Isaac being claustrophobic, something about losing control while locked in a closet. Control takes time to learn.

Liam was in control at the moment. But Isaac's breaths came in shallow pants. His claws snapped out of his fingertips, then retracted. He clutched his chest.

"Oh God."

"Isaac, Isaac look at me." Liam knelt down in front of him. He wasn't sure if he should touch him or not, so instead he tried to sound calm and assured like his mom and stepdad did when he freaked out. It was hard when he was freaking out, too. He had just been bitten yesterday.

"It's going to be okay, Isaac. It's going to be okay, it's going to pass. We're going to get out of here, it's going to be okay." Remind the person that the panic attack will pass soon. His mom always did that.

"No. No, I can't." He was crying. He held his stomach and bent his head forward like he was going to throw up. "I can't get out. Oh God."

"Listen to me. Isaac, look at me." Liam swallowed back his fear. One person, or werewolf, freaking out at a time was enough. He knew the moon was already messing with his emotions, but he couldn't afford to lose control too.

"Look at me Isaac."

Isaac looked at him. Liam smelled something foul, and realized he was smelling fear.

"We're going to get out of here, okay?"

"But it's the full moon. You aren't in control."

"I learn fast. Tell me what to do."

"You need to find an anchor. Like a feeling or a person or something, it keeps you human."

"Well right now I think that's you. Come on."


Kira sprinted through the dark woods, letting her hidden senses take over. Dodge that tree, watch that branch, steady. The little girl she carried in her arms, Emily, tried to be as still as possible. Her little fingernails dug into the back of her neck. All Kira could think at the moment was thank god the blood on the Emily's little white dress wasn't hers.

Dr. Deaton had mentioned a small family of harpies lived alone in the woods near him, a mother and two girls. The mother kept to herself, but had sought out his help once in a while when one of the two daughters had gotten sick. Harpies, Dr. Deaton had said, were not popular with other shifters. Not as shunned as wendigos, but still, it was better to keep a distance.

Emily had screamed a piercing loud screech that rivaled Lydia's voice when Kira found her. Kira assumed the wings came later.

A white house appeared in the distance. A gun went off behind her, hitting a nearby tree. Kira practically flew those last few feet. The door shut behind as another gun went off. A bullet lodged itself into the wall. But she knew they would leave. People feared druids. Almost as much as they feared witches, according to her mother.

Dr. Deaton took the girl from Kira's arms, which was hard because she did not want to let go. Only with whispered assurances and patience did Emily release her arms.

"Good work, Kira. That was most impressive."

Kira didn't feel impressive. She felt the adrenaline leave her in a rush. She felt the impact of seeing a dead woman and a five-year-old almost get killed. She felt a sense of dread because they didn't know where the older girl was. But she handled it, just like she said.


From the moment Stiles met the head orderly, Brunski, he knew the guy was a prick. The way he smiled when a patient screamed for help in a nearby room put Stiles on edge, and he made sure to keep Lydia close to him.

He led them to a room full of boxes of files and papers. Boxes were lined on shelves, tables and a few were stacked on the floor. There were no windows to open to let out the dust. For a moment Stiles was glad that Scott wasn't with them, before he remembered that Scott didn't have asthma anymore.

"Where's my grandmother's file?"

"Don't know. The papers haven't been organized in a few years."

Lydia stifled a sigh. "Is it possible for us to speak with Meredith Walker? She knew my grandmother."

"I'm afraid Meredith Walker passed away this week."

"What?" Lydia's head tilted back. "How did she die?" The unspoken question, of course, was if she was killed.

"Suicide." Brunski scratched his nose. He closed the door without another word.

"Great facility they're running here," Stile muttered. "Thank God I didn't actually stay here."

"Let's just look at the file." Stiles dug into the first box he could get. He scanned folder after folder for Martin, Lorraine. So did Lydia.

The two searched in silence for several minutes before Lydia pulled out a folder with her grandmother's name. Stiles quickly flipped through it. There were several reports, a couple forms, and a scrap of paper. Stiles squinted.

"It's in code."


Scott woke up lying on the couch in the lake house. Malia sat next to him. She hadn't shifted.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

"Having something to focus on helps."

Scott sat up. His head throbbed.

"Focus? What happened?"

"You were knocked out. I managed to stop them from taking you, but Isaac and Liam were already in the van."

They took their pack. Those were the words neither one of them had to say. Scott ignored his headache as he got up.

His was finding his betas.


Stiles tilted the paper. A series of seemingly random numbers and letters were scrawled in hurried lines. He knew Lydia's grandmother committed suicide. Maybe it was a note.

"If your grandmother was a banshee, maybe she left it for you. What would she use as a code, something that you both knew? Maybe an inside joke, a nickname or something?"

Lydia studied the paper. Stiles' phone buzzed in his pocket.

Allison: Everyone in the loft is alright, but Matthew is unconscious. He healed everyone. I don't think he's behind this.

He never thought he was. Matthew wasn't bad, only mistaken.

Stiles: Lydia's grandmother might have been. She might have been a banshee. She's dead now.

Allison: Maybe there's another banshee in Beacon Hills.

Before Stiles could process that message, Lydia held out a list. It contained several names, including Lorraine's.

"Wait, you figured out the code already?"

"The nickname my grandmother called me. Ariel, after the Little Mermaid." She touched her grandmother's name. "Every night she would read the Little Mermaid to me."

"She read you a movie?"

Lydia gave him a look. "It was a book first, Stiles."

"Oh. Wait, I think I see one of the names here." Stiles took a folder out of a box of files.

"And here." Lydia picked up another one. "I think both of these are suicides, too."

For several minutes they scoured the boxes. As they looked through files, they noticed one thing. All the names on the list were suicides.

"Did every single person here commit suicide? How has this place not shut down?" Stiles picked up another paper. "Hey, this one was reported by Brunski."

"Look at this one." Lydia pointed to Brunski's name on another form. "He discovered this patient, too. And I think he discovered my grandmother."

"What?" Stiles glanced at every file they found. "Did he discover all of them?"

"That can't be a coincidence."

"No." The two turned to see Brunski standing in the doorway, smiling at them. "It can't be."

Zap. The taser touched Stiles' skin. Light shot from the weapon to his body, frying his nerves. His knees gave away. The cement ground rushed up to meet him. He wished he was a werewolf, or someone strong. Someone who could protect Lydia. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Brunski.

"Your turn, sweetheart."

Chapter Text

A werewolf carried an unconscious Matthew over his shoulder into the living room. Dr. Deaton guided him to the couch. Carefully, the werewolf laid the angel down. Allison watched from the edge of the room. She had this strange sense of not wanting to intrude. Something about the house felt different. The pictures of sailboats and trees on the wall, IKEA lamps on the table and an old wooden coffee table all looked ordinary. But Allison still had a slight sense of unease. Maybe it was the fact that the house was in the middle of the woods. Maybe it had to do with Matthew lying half dead on a couch.

"Will he be okay?" she asked.

"Unfortunately, I don't have any experiences treating angels." Dr. Deaton pressed a finger against Matthew's wrist and timed the seconds with his watch. "But from what I can tell, he most likely fainted from exhaustion."

Kira poked her head into the room. "Emily's crying."

Poor Kira, Allison thought. She had to deal with Nogitsune and assassins and her own powers in the space of a few months.

"I'll see to her." Dr. Deaton covered Matthew with a blanket. He left. The werewolf continued to watch the angel sleep.

"Is he really an angel? Like in the Bible?"

Allison tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. "Uh, we're not sure."

Kira stepped into the room. "Whatever he is, he stopped an evil fox spirit and helped us against assassins." She shrugged. "That's good enough for me."

"He saved my pack. That's good enough for me, too." He turned to leave. The rest of the shifters were hiding in a nearby underground bunker.

"Wait," Allison said. "What's your name?"

The werewolf studied her. Allison was pretty sure he had been born a werewolf, raised with stories of her family and people like them. She couldn't blame him for not trusting her.

"Brett," he said after a few seconds.

"Thank you, Brett."


Lydia was a banshee. She could sense impending death. But she did not need any special powers to know that waking up tied to a pole in the basement of an insane asylum did not bode well.

"Help us! Help us! Someone help!" She screamed loudly, desperate for anyone to hear her.

Lydia heard Stiles pull against the restraints. "Lydia there's a lot of people screaming for help in a place like this. I don't think anyone's listening."

"Well, I'm open to better ideas."

Stiles sighed. "Matthew! Matthew, we need help. Matthew!"

Nothing happened. There were no ringing sounds, no swirls of light. Stiles tugged on his binds again.

"Why isn't he answering?" Lydia asked. She couldn't believe Matthew hated her that much.

"Probably because the assassins got him or he's trapped somewhere. Great. It's okay, we'll figure a way out of this."

"In case you didn't notice, all those suicides were murders," she hissed.

"That's why she left you the message."

"She predicted her own death." Lydia couldn't imagine what fear her grandmother had felt. Burnski had murdered her grandmother. "She knew I'd be able to figure it out."

The door opened. "Now you'll be able to predict your own." Brunski carried a small silver case as he entered the room. Lydia wondered if he carried a gun, or some other weapon, inside it. Probably something more subtle, like a drug. "They weren't murders. I'm not some serial killer like Ted Bundy going around cutting up college girls." He knelt down next to Lydia. She wished her hands were free so she could claw his eyes out. He had murdered her grandmother.

"No, you're just an angel of death," Stiles responded, a hint of sarcasm biting into his voice.

"I don't think you understand the level of my commitment to my work her, Stiles. There are people here who don't simply need treatment. They need release. I helped them. I helped Lorraine."

"You killed her," she whispered.

"I helped her," he said.

Delusional egotistical bastard, she thought.

"And now you can help me. Because there is something about it that has always bothered me."


Liam dug his claws into the stone-lined wall of the well. He had done rocking climbing at a gym before. He thought this wouldn't be a problem. Except that "this" included below freezing temperatures, cold water, mossy rocks, and of course carrying a poisoned, claustrophobic werewolf over his shoulder. Other than that, it was just like rock climbing.

Isaac's hyperventilating was making Liam freak out. He tried to focus on the wall in front of his face, his hand grips, anything besides the full moon and the assassins that were probably waiting somewhere outside the well. But the blood rushing to his head was hard to ignore. He was angry.

"Remember what we told you, Liam," his stepdad had said earlier that week, right before he had been bitten. "Play smarter, not harder."

Liam let the anger pump through his veins and fuel his body. He was a werewolf. He needed to learn how to channel his anger.


Allison paced the length of the living room. Dr. Deaton was calming the little harpy girl in the kitchen. She wished she had paid more attention in middle school when they went over Greek mythology. She just hoped no one was carrying golden apples. Kira was perched at the edge of an easy chair. Her sword rested in her lap.

"So, he's going to be okay?"

"I guess." Allison checked her phone. "But I can't get ahold of anyone. Isaac, Scott, Stiles, no one is answering their phones."

"What if something happened?" Kira gripped the hilt of her sword. "What if one of them, you know, got taken by an assassin."

Allison came over to rest a hand on Kira's shoulder. "I believe that they can handle themselves. I've seen it."

"My mom hasn't called." Kira hugged her sword to her chest.

Her parents had been hiding out in a motel just outside of town since last night. After the Nogitsune, something happened with Mrs. Yukimura's tails, or something, Allison wasn't sure. All she knew was that she couldn't heal like she used to. So they drove out of town without Kira, because they knew Kira wouldn't leave her friends behind. Every couple of hours she had texted Kira to let her know she was okay.

"Maybe it's just bad service," Allison said. "Maybe they fell asleep."

"My parents would never-" Kira covered her mouth. "Oh, Allison, I'm so sorry. I wasn't even thinking."

"It's okay."

Allison wrapped her arms around Kira's shoulders. It was a sweet moment that was interrupted by a loud snore coming from the couch.

"He's really asleep," Allison said.

"Yeah."

"I don't know if Matthew's involved with this or not, but my dad told me something earlier." Allison whispered even though there was no need to.

"What?"

"Matthew might not be an angel."

"He could be a witch?"

"Yeah." Allison frowned. "How did you know?"

"My mom told me." Kira held out her hands like a balance scale. "She said witches were either good or evil, nothing in between. And Matthew's definitely a good witch. He just doesn't want people to know-"

"Because werewolves don't like witches."

"Right. I think druids don't either. Maybe they see them as competition? They both know about nature but only witches have innate powers."

"So then why is Matthew living in a druid's house?"

"I don't know. My mom doesn't know, either."

Allison headed to the hall. "Let's go find out."


The silver case held an old mini track tape. Lorraine was written on the front in bright red letters. The moment he hit play, Lydia heard footsteps.

"Brunski," a woman said. "What, what are you doing?"

She remembered that voice.

"Don't worry, Lorraine. It's going to be alright. You're just going to have a little trouble breathing." He sounded like he had been smirking then, too.

Oh God, she thought. Oh God.

"Lydia, look at me. Don't listen, okay, don't listen to it." Labored breathing filled the room. "Just focus on my voice, alright? Don't listen to it, block it out."

She couldn't. She couldn't block it out. She was a banshee, she couldn't block out any death, especially this one. "Lydia?" Stiles tugged at the chains. "Hey, turn it off!"

Lydia strained against her bonds and saw Brunski jerk his arm in what looked like a punch. It was hard to see what was behind her. She saw Stiles fall forward, his head resting on his chest.

"Stiles!"

Brunski gripped her by the throat. "Then listen, just listen. I need your help with this, Lydia."

"Please don't. . ." her grandmother managed to get out. Her dying breaths. Lydia couldn't think. Her dying breaths.

Brunski gripped her face in his fingers and whispered into her ear. "Here it is. This is the part I never understood. Listen."

"Please don't hurt her."

"Hurt who?"

"Ariel." Her grandmother gasped, and the heavy breathing stopped.


"We shouldn't be doing this," Kira said for the third time. She stood outside the door as Allison looked around the room. "What if he wakes up?"

"Then we say we have overwhelming evidence that he is up to something." He had used the same phrase when talking about Lydia.

Kira was still new at this. Allison tried to sympathize, but they needed to get some answers. No one had any idea who Matthew really was or why he was here. Allison had searched her own father's things to find answers about the sacrifices. Digging through a witch's things didn't bother her.

She started in the obvious places. Under the bed, she found 2 empty suitcases, a backpack full of school work and a Hershey bar wrapper. Allison lifted the mattress. Nothing. In the dresser, she learned that Matthew wore boxers, not briefs, and not much else.

Kira kept clenching and relaxing her hand. Allison quickly opened the closet door. She pushed aside a row of shirts and knelt down in front of a large trunk.

"What's this?"

On the top were maps of Beacon Hills with red marks in places like the coyote den where Stiles was found sleep walking. Matthew must have used these to scry for people.

He was a witch.

"Did you find anything?'

"Check this out."

Kira closed the door and joined her in the closet. She pulled out all the maps. Underneath were vials and crystals.

"Look at this." She held up one to the light. "It says mandrake. And this one says bloodroot."

"Ew!" Allison held a bottle out by her fingertips. "This one says bat guano."

"Gross."

Under the bottles, they found several books. Kira opened one entitled "A Witch's Protection Against the Forces of Chaos" by Rose Masterson.

"Listen to this. It's a spell against the Oni." Kira ran her finger down the page. "Let the words of the witches be told. Help me fight evil dark and old. Spirit of strife be split from my sight. Darkness cannot overtake the light."

"Wow, he really is a witch." Allison hadn't really believed it until then. "But is he a good witch or a bad witch?"

"The spell must be done under the light of the waxing moon," Kira continued. "When the spirit is removed from the host, trap the spirit. Spells can help but are not necessary. No known vanquishing potion. This must be what he did to Stiles. But why did it make two of him instead?"

"Maybe he's still learning witchcraft. I mean, he is still our age."

"My mom said witches can be good. If he helped get rid of the Nogitsune, isn't that good?" Kira put the book back.

"Unless his plan involves getting our trust."

Allison rummaged through the bottom of the trunk. She searched through books until she found a journal.

"Here's something." She opened to the first page.

"This is not a Book of Shadows," she read, squinting to read the handwriting. "This is a record of my time in a place of Chaos Magic. Wait, what's chaos magic?"

"I think witches have something called order magic, and kitsune and werewolves' powers are called chaos magic. My mom told me some stuff, but it was kind of confusing." Kira leaned in to see the journal.

"I'm keeping a record because of witches' lack of knowledge of shifters and similar creatures," Allison continued. "I'm also keeping an account of any spells or potions I use. If I think the information is really important, I'll add it to my family's Book of Shadows when I return home."

"Is he here for research?"

"Maybe. It doesn't say why he's here." Allison flipped through pages that detailed stuff about werewolves, werecoyotes and kitsune. She probably knew most of it anyway. She stopped at one page.

"Oh my God."

"What?"

Allison silently handed Kira the journal. Kira read the spell out loud.

"Left ajar for darkness to find, now I close these the world of their mindsfrom evil evermore. What is it?"

"A spell to stop the darkness," Allison whispered. "Besides the Nogitsune, Stiles, Scott and I were suffering from the side effects of a ritual we did to save our parents. We had nightmares, Scott couldn't control his powers, Stiles had trouble reading, and I-" Allison took a deep breath. "I saw visions of my aunt."

"Your aunt?" Kira probably knew what had happened, Allison thought. By this point someone would have told her.

"Yeah."

Kira touched her shoulder. "I'm sorry," she whispered. Allison didn't realize until then that she was crying. She wiped away the tears with her sleeve and smiled.

"Thank you. And I wish I could thank Matthew, too. He did that and he didn't even expect any thanks."

"Maybe that's because the spell includes the people's hair." Kira pointed further down the page. "How'd he do that?"

"We bumped into each other when we first met. Literally." Allison wiped her eyes again. "He must have taken some of my hair then."

"That's kind of creepy."

"Yeah." Allison laughed. "Yeah, it is."

"Hey, look at this." Kira pulled out an object hidden in the corner of the trunk. A teddy bear, worn and faded. Some child had loved it for a long time.

"Who do you think owns this?"

Allison stared at the bear. She swallowed. "I think he does."

"Matthew?"

Allison gently took the bear. She scooted out of the closet and held the bear up in the light.

"When my mom passed away, I would fall asleep listening to her old CDs. It made me feel closer to her. I think Matthew misses his family."

He missed his family, she thought. Maybe he even cried himself to sleep. But he still saved her, saved them. He put a bunch of strangers before himself. Even if Matthew wasn't an angel, he acted like one. The only other time she had seen such compassion was with Scott.

"Whatever the reason he's here, I think he's here to help. Maybe he just made a mistake with Lydia." Kira set the journal back in the trunk. She placed everythng backwhere they had been before.

"You're right." After carefully replacing the teddy bear, Allison closed the trunk. The girls quickly walked back to the living room.


Two of the men guarded the well. Scott's eyes glowed as he watched them behind a tree branch. He tensed as he heard Isaac's quick, panicked breathing and Liam's grunting. Both betas were near the top of the well.

"How much longer do we have to wait?" The taller man glanced at the well.

The shorter man scrolled through his phone. "Until the one who got shot dies, I guess. We want to make sure it looks like an accident."

"A bullet wound looks like an accident? What, were they playing with a gun and it accidentally went off in the bottom of a well?"

The shorter man's phone dinged as he sent a text. "Eh, it's a small town. That has probably happened before."

A small explosion erupted down the trail in a flash of orange. A small fire cast the trees and the men in a dim light. Smoke entered the air, leaving a pungent smell. The men left to investigate, their guns at their sides. Scott and Malia emerged from the trees, the former thankful he had once asked Lydia for the ingredients of her self-igniting Molotov Cocktail.

At the well, Scott saw Liam carrying Isaac over his shoulder as he tried to climb out of the well. He was both shocked and surprisingly proud. Scott reached down into the well. He gripped Liam's arm and pulled him higher. Malia reached down and grabbed Isaac. She lifted him off Liam's shoulder. Scott continued to pull Liam until he was out of the well, but even then he didn't let go of his arm Isaac half collapsed as soon as he stood on the ground, with only Malia's arms keeping him from falling.

"You're okay guys," Scott said with certainty, strong enough to convince them. Then he pulled them both into a hug, each arm wrapping around each neck. He breathed in the scent of their fear, relief, pain, the warmth that told him they were alive. "You're both okay," he said quietly, trying to convince himself.

"Okay well he's bleeding," Malia said. "Let's get out of here."

Isaac's heartbeat was still too fast. His hands twitched. Scott gently moved his arm to Isaac's waist and let go of Liam.

"Here, I got you." He carefully lifted Isaac bridal style, thinking it was the best way to avoid touching his wound. To his surprise, Isaac's breathing evened out almost instantly.

"They're coming."

As the teenagers ran into the woods, the two men stepped back into the clearing. Neither Scott nor his pack would know that the assassins wouldn't realize their victims had disappeared for another half hour.


Lydia's tear stained face held hardened eyes as she turned away. Stiles' lips curled in disgust. Brunski cracked a joint in his neck as he stood. He picked up a small first aid kit from one of the shelves.

"We get a lot of teenagers trying to break into our drug cabinets. Most if the time they don't succeed." He pulled out a syringe. "But you two look pretty clever to me."


Wyatt woke up with a headache and a little girl staring him in the face. Her blonde hair hung over her eyes and her little fingers gripped a too large T-shirt.

"Hi."

"Hello," Wyatt said. She looked around five or six years old. He remembered when Peyton was that age. She would have been talking a mile a minute if she were here, telling her new friend that she loved My Little Pony, blueberry pancakes and the color purple. Peyton would turn nine in a few months and he wouldn't be there to celebrate.

"Are you a angel like on the Christmas tree?" She played with her hair, pulling it over her face.

"Um, sort of. I'm Matthew. What's your name?"

"My name is Emily. My mommy's not here. Can you bring her back?"

Scrying, Wyatt thought. That didn't involve fainting. "Sure Emily. I can bring her back."

Kira came into the room, followed by Allison, who stared at him so intensely that Wyatt was scared she was going to kick him again. Emily ran up to Kira.

"He's gonna to find my mommy! He's gonna to find her."

Kira's eyes widened. "You can do that?"

Wyatt rubbed his throbbing head. "Yeah, I found people before."

Kira frowned. She looked down at Emily smiling, then at Allison.

Allison winced. She sat down next to him. "Her mother's dead. An assassin killed her."

"Oh." Shit, Wyatt thought.

Emily didn't notice. She hugged Kira's legs and bounced up and down. Kira picked her up and brought her over to the couch. Wyatt took her into his arms.

"Emily, listen to me. I think your mommy is in a place I can't get her from."

"What?" She pulled on her hair again.

"Your mommy is in Heaven now."

"Can you bring her from Heaven?"

Wyatt gently cupped her chin and pushed the hair from her eyes. "Afraid not, ladybug," the family nickname for Peyton slipping from his lips. "See, when people go to Heaven they become angels that watch over their families. Your mommy is up there, watching over you. You can't stop people from becoming angels."

If he could, he would summon her mother then and there, just to stop the tears forming in her eyes. He didn't know what was stronger, seeing her grief or feeling his homesickness.

"I don't want an angel. I want my mommy back."

"I know, sweetie. I know. But there are some things you can't change. Somethings even angels can't change." Like his Aunt Prue, like his grandmother. Even whitelighters couldn't heal the dead.

"Will I see her ever?"

"You will. In your dreams. See, if you put amethyst under your pillow, it gives you special dreams. I've done it before. And in some of those dreams, you can see your mommy. And she can tell you how proud of you she is, how much she loves you."

"What's am-this?"

Wyatt handed her over to Allison. He went to his room. As he dug through his trunk, he noticed that Wuvey was slightly out of place, but brushed it off as something he didn't notice before.

When he returned, Emily was half asleep in Allison's lap. He held out the crystal.

"Pretty."

"It's very pretty. Here, you can sleep in my room tonight. Put this under your pillow, and if you really believe, your mother will come to see you."

"Promise?" She wiped the tears from her eyes with her small hands.

"Promise."

"Okay." She took the crystal. "My sister isn't in Heaven. Can you find her?"

He smiled. "I'll try my best." He hoped to God she wasn't gone too.

Dr. Deaton entered the room. He quickly scooped Emily up in his arms and took her back to the kitchen. When he saw the amethyst in her hand, he gave Wyatt a quick, curious look. Wyatt hoped he could play it off later as some angel thing. The last thing he needed was a druid binding his powers with oak leaves or whatever it was they did.

Kira held up her phone. "We can't get ahold of Scott or Stiles or Isaac. We don't know what's going on."

"Well, Stiles left with Lydia to investigate the deadpool."

"You let Lydia go?" Allison gasped in shock.

"Not so much let go as let Stiles break her out. I don't know if she's behind this or not, but I want to trust my charges' instincts. But now if Stiles isn't responding, either Lydia did something or they've been captured by assassins."

"Lydia wouldn't do anything."

"We don't know that, Allison. I know you care about her, but sometimes the people closest to you can hurt you the most."

"Did someone hurt you?"

Wyatt quickly looked away and pushed himself off the bed. "We need to find them, and Emily's sister. I'll be right back."

He wasn't talking about himself. He didn't even remember Gideon; he had been a baby. But Wyatt knew his father had taken a long time to recover from that betrayal. And Wyatt definitely remembered what had happened with Chris.

"Wait." Allison grabbed his sleeve. Wyatt tensed, scared she was going to hit him. Instead, to his surprise, she threw arms around him.

"Do you have another one of those stones?"

"Yeah." Wyatt held her tightly for a second, before slipping away. "I think I do."

"Can I have one?"

"Of course." He smiled at her. "It's going to get better, Allison. It'll still hurt, but it won't hurt as much."

"Thanks."

Wyatt went to work scrying with the assumption that fainting had made Allison ease up on him out of pity.


"I'll admit," Brunski said as he filled the syringe with an clear liquid, "I don't have any special talents, like Lorraine. But somehow, I just knew I was going to be able to do this again."

Lydia gasped as Brunski made eye contact with her. He came towards her. "No, no no no." Suddenly, he lunged at Stiles instead.

"No! Stiles!"

She almost broke her spine as she twisted to see. She couldn't lose him. Not Stiles. She-

"Stop. Right. There." A girl's voice, hard and hurting, stopped everyone in their tracks.


The last text Scott had gotten from Allison said that Matthew had fainted. So he took Isaac back to the clinic. Liam and Scott laid Isaac carefully on the operating table.

"Okay, this kinda hurts now." He gripped the metal table and hissed.

"Where's Deaton?" Malia checked the backroom.

"He's not answering," Scott said. "We don't have time."

He grabbed a syringe from the back of a cabinet. Deaton had showed him how to do this once, in case he was ever shot with wolfsbane and no one was around.

"Okay Isaac, just try not to move."

Scott rolled up Isaac's sleeve, not bothering to use rubbing alcohol because werewolves rarely got infected. Isaac screamed as the needle was jabbed into his forearm. One of his veinsturned black for a moment, and without warning Isaac puked dark colored vomit over the side of the table. Out of the corner of his eye, Scott noticed Liam grab a countertop to keep from falling over.

Isaac gasped in breaths like he had ran a marathon. His breathing settled after a couple of minutes. Scott gripped his shoulder.

"You're going to be okay."

His pack was safe. Scott's pocket beeped.

Allison: Call me when you get this. Stiles and Lydia are missing.

Or not.


A loud screech filled the room. It was so loud it was almost blinding, and stopped as quickly as it started. Stiles was distracted by an odd ringing in his ear. He didn't notice at first that someone had sliced Brunski's throat open.

A girl, around their age, stepped out of the shadows. Sharp talons dripped with blood. Outstretched wings of grey feathers sprouted out of her leather jacket. With her red hair, Stiles thought she looked like Hawkgirl. Without a word she ripped the restraints from Stiles' wrists. Then she turned to Lydia.

"He killed your grandmother?"

Lydia stared at Brunski with hatred in her eyes. "Yes."

"You're not the one, are you? The Benefactor?"

"No," she whispered. "I'm not."

"I believe you." She freed her. Stiles crawled over to her with trembling hands and knees. . The girl left the room as suddenly as she had come in.

Stiles didn't have the energy or motivation to figure out what had just happened. Instead, he yanked Lydia's arm and without thinking ran into the hallway. No one was there to ask them questions. No one was there to wonder why they were there. The two of them opened a side door and sprinted down the stone steps. The gate was open.

They didn't stop running until they were several blocks from Eichen House. Behind the old ice skating rink, Lydia sank to the ground like a rag doll.

"Oh my God. Oh God." She trembled. Stiles held her.

"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry Lydia. But we're safe now."

"Grandma's not safe," she cried. "She's dead." Her head rested on his shoulder. He brushed the hair from her face.

"I'm sorry, Lydia."

"All those people, they're all dead. And her last thoughts were off me. She thought I was going to die."

"But you didn't, Lydia. And your grandma would be happy if she knew. And I bet she does. She's in Heaven."

"Do you believe in Heaven?"

"Uh huh. My mom lives there."

She looked up at him. Her green eyes were red with tears. He stared into her eyes for several moments. Then, as though she had seen whatever she had been looking for, she kissed him.

She had kissed him once before, to stop a panic attack. The shock of the kiss leveled his breathing more than hers. But this kiss was different. It wasn't gentle. It was desperate. It was like she was kissing away the world with him. Her lips never stayed still. He struggled to keep up. He broke away from her.

"What was that for?"

Lydia wiped a tear from her cheek. "I don't know. All I know is, you've always been there for me. You saw me, really saw me, when no one else did. And when I thought you were going to die, I realized I didn't want to lose you. I can't lose you, Stiles."

"Um, Lydia, you just went through something traumatic, and I think that makes emotions-"

"No." Lydia got up. She walked a few paces, then spun around.

"I think I'm falling in love with you."

Stiles was having a hard time following the shift in events. Half of his mind was back at the kiss, the other half was pondering the random bird girl. He stood up.

"I've loved you for years, Lydia. I've loved you since you won the spelling bee in third grade. I think I'll always love you."

She smiled slightly. "Okay."

"Okay."

She went to him. They kissed again, slower this time. Because they had all the time in the world to kiss each other. The world had shrunk to her perfume and his soft moans. When Matthew and Allison and Kira found them, they were still kissing. When they returned to Deaton's place for healing magic and explanations, they kissed into between sips of chamomile tea. Sties didn't feel the magical, fantastical feeling he thought he would feel. He felt like home. He liked that feeling better.

They kissed, and they kissed, and they kissed again. They kissed until Isaac came in, got annoyed and sprayed them with air freshener. And then they laughed and kissed some more.


The Eichen House staff didn't find the bodies until the next day. One, an orderly, had his throat slashed with what looked like animal claws. But there were no signs of footprints or fur.

The other, a patient by the name of Meredith Walker, had had her heart ripped out of her chest. Blood stained the girl's sweats, the walls and the windows. At least one of the staff ran out of the room to puke.

Sheriff Stilinski found the remnants of old computer equipment under Meredith's bed. Most of it had been destroyed beyond repair. Police couldn't retrieve any information. From what the sheriff had gathered from his son, this girl had been a banshee and probably the Benefactor. A lot of people in Beacon Hills had the motives and means to kill her, starting with the bird girl and ending with any wendigos he prayed were not still hiding in town. After filing the report and calling the cleanup crew, the sheriff went home to down a shot of whiskey. Actually, four shots.

Chapter Text

Early morning light was just caressing the trees in the forest on the outskirts of Beacon Hills. The birds were not yet calling out to the world. The earth was not yet warmed by the sun. In this stillness, the rushing water of a small creek was the only clear sound.

And then, through the trees ran a young woman. She appeared to be in her mid-twenties. Black hair and eyes contrasted with fair skin. Her wrinkled blouse and faded jeans were stained with dirt. Twigs snapped under her feet as she ran.

Suddenly, a gunshot pierced the quiet. The woman didn't see who fired. But she felt the pain in her abdomen. She saw the blood. She ran quickly, clutching her stomach. At the sign that read "Beacon Hills Nature Preserve," she let out a small sigh of relief.

Sanctuary.


Before school started, the locker room was empty except for an angel and a werewolf, in what could technically be called a drug deal.

Liam stared at the little vial in his hand. The liquid inside was dark green. It smelled gross and probably tasted gross, too.

"It's not to use all the time," Matthew said. "It just calms you down. No side effects, no tiredness, no addiction or withdrawal. An all-natural concoction for when your temper flares up."

"Um, thanks." Liam didn't want to drink this. The whole situation, from being pulled aside to the tube in a plastic bag (people carry drugs in plastic bags all the time), was sketchy at best. But he didn't want to be rude to his guardian angel.

"I know this is a difficult time, but if you have any questions or need any help, let me know."

"I thought you said you didn't know anything about werewolves?'

Matthew opened his mouth, then closed it. Before he could say anything, the door slammed open. Scott's anger had a distinct smell. Liam had been practicing smelling pheromones.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?!"

Matthew made a gesture to Scott to lower his voice. "Chill, I'm just giving Liam something to help him control his temper."

"What is that?" Scott snatched the vial from Liam's hand. Liam made no attempt to stop him.

"It's an all-natural herbal remedy."

Scott held the vial up to the light. "What's in it?" Matthew's lips tightened.

"Trade secret."

Scott tossed the vial in Matthew's lap. He turned to Liam. "You're not taking that."

"Okay."

"What is your problem?" Matthew grabbed his arm, which Scott yanked away. Liam saw his eyes flash red.

"Liam, go to class."

Liam swung his book bag over his shoulder as he ran out the door. He sped over to the coach's office and sat down near the vent outside the door. He wanted to know if they were going to talk about him.

"-the hell were you thinking?! You're giving a high school freshman some weird substance to take that you won't say what's in it? All-natural. Cocaine is natural, Matthew."

"Oh my God, calm the fuck down. I've seen people take this stuff before-"

"Were any of them werewolves?"

"There's no wolfsbane in here."

"Maybe it's some other thing we can't take. How would you know?"

"Okay, look-"

"And you didn't even ask me if that's a good idea."

"Why the hell would I ask you?"

"Because I'm the alpha, jackass."

In Liam's experience, cursing usually preceded doors closing and his step dad sleeping in the guest room.

"Oh. Get over yourself, Scott. I'm sick of you and your fragile masculinity. You don't have to be in charge all the time."

"What exactly do you think alpha means?"

"All I'm trying to do is help Liam."

"What'll help Liam is learning to control his powers without some herbal steroid or whatever. He needs to be able to do this himself."

"He has a disorder." Liam winced when he heard that. It was true, but the way Matthew said it stung. All those times his mom said there was nothing wrong with him, he never quite believed it.

"Liam is capable of controlling his temper. He already saved Isaac during his first full moon. He has incredible control. He doesn't need this shit." Liam heard the sound of metal clanging and broken glass. He assumed Scott threw out the vial.

"How dare you-"

"I dare plenty."

"You may be an alpha," Matthew said, "but you will never be anywhere near as powerful as I am. Don't hurt yourself trying."

"Then how come I beat you last time? Or do you not remember that?"

What last time, Liam wondered.

"You may think you're so badass," Scott continued, "but remember I can have you pinned to the floor before you can say a word. And don't think I won't."

"I'll turn you into a toad first. I'll not be ordered about by my own charge."

"Whatever you say. I guess you don't remember what happened next."

"Bite me, McCall."

"Don't tempt me, angel."

Liam's jaw dropped open as the ringing of angel teleportation rang through the vent. Quickly he hurried to class.


"I don't understand. If they're witch hunters, why aren't they killing the witches?" Piper Halliwell frowned as she read an entry in the Book of Shadows. It was one of the first entries in the book, probably written by Melinda Warren herself.

The Order of Man is a secret society dedicated to eradicating witches. While they despise all forms of magic and all magical creatures, witches are their preferred targets.

During the Burning Times, they encouraged paranoia and fear among neighbors. Even those unfortunate mortals suspected of witchcraft are not safe. Often times they resort to trickery or pretend to be hexed, to drive people into a mob.

When they find a witch, they care not for trials. Instead, they tie the victim to a stake. Then they gather greenwood as kindling to prolong the fires. As the hunters watch the poor soul suffer from torment, it is not uncommon for them to pray to their god for thanks. The screams and the prayers haunt many a witch's dreams.

We may not use our powers against them. But at least a few witches have used their athames in self-defense.

"There has to be something we're missing." Piper flipped through the book. "Did anyone witness these people? Maybe they're different hunters."

"Yes," Paige said as she attempted to scry. "One girl got away. She saw their emblem. But all she remembered after that was this weird ringing sound."

"Weird ringing sound?" Phoebe asked. She paced the attic floor.

"Yeah. It only lasted a few seconds. She's at magic school now. A couple teachers are calming her down. They might try a memory retrieval spell later tonight."

"So far they haven't been seen in San Francisco, right?" Piper closed the book.

"No. The girl's from Pennsylvania."

"Wyatt is fine, Piper," Phoebe said. "He's one of the most powerful witches on Earth. And even without his powers he knows how to take care of himself."

"So then why didn't he put up a fight?" Piper brushed her fingers over a side table. Wyatt's old roller skates, ones he had outgrown years ago, sat there. "There wasn't any sign of him putting up a fight."

"Maybe he wanted to try to protect other witches that were taken," Paige said.

"Or maybe he was protecting us," Phoebe said. "He could have gone to stop them from going after us."

"Plus we don't know that he was even taken by these guys. Last place we know he was at was the manor, and there was no sign of forced entry."

"Maybe he ran away." Piper picked up one of the skates. She ran her fingers over the little wheels. "You know he had been acting weird the week before."

"Wyatt did not run away, Piper," Phoebe said. "I mean I did sense something strange when I saw him, but that was more like guilt and stress. I think that was just school."

Paige frowned. "But when we went to his room to find something to scry with, some of his clothes were missing. And we couldn't find Wuvey. You guys know how pissed Wyatt would be if he lost it, even if he wouldn't admit it."

"He didn't run away, Paige!"

"We have to consider the possibility, Phoebe. If we don't, we might never find him."

"Maybe he felt guilty for going to run away . . ." Piper's words were broken off by crying. Her sisters rushed to her side.

"Why is he gone? Why is my baby boy gone? We're the most powerful witches in the world. Why can't we find him?"

Phoebe placed an arm over Piper's shoulders. Paige took her hand.

"It's going to be okay," Paige whispered.

"Why did he leave? Doesn't he know we love him?"

Outside the attic, Chris stood on the steps. He saw his mother and aunts through the barely opened door. Tears streamed down his face silently. More than anything in the world, he wanted to confess everything. Just to stop his mom from crying.

Chris stepped into the bathroom. He found a tiny pair of nail scissors in the medicine cabinet.

"Take care of yourself. We don't want you to get hurt."

Chris put the nail scissors back without using them. If he couldn't help his family, the least he could do was listen to his brother.


"I don't do PDA. No hand holding, kissing, no cutesy nicknames. I don't use emoji in my texts. And the whole letter jacket thing is possessive. I don't do possessive."

"I promise not to possess you, Lydia."

Lydia leaned against the lockers as Stiles stowed away his jacket. She walked with him to his third period class.

"As for sex, I don't have sex in cars. I don't have sex on my period. Condoms are mandatory. I'm willing to hear out whatever kinks or preferences you might have, but I'm not guaranteeing anything. Oh, and if you ever make a comment about my number of sexual partners or describe my body in detail to other people, I will leave you."

"I would never. Although I have to tell Scott when I lose my virginity."

"I understand."

Stiles nodded. They stopped at an alcove near his classroom. He glanced at the clock. They had three minutes.

"As for anniversaries and Valentine's Day, I expect to you remember them. You don't have to do anything fancy, but you do have to remember them. We're not going Dutch. You will pay for the first date, and then we will switch off each time. I'm going to come to every lacrosse game, some of the practices and any parties the team throws. I also expect you to attend any award ceremony or party I have. In fact, I have an Honors Society event in two weeks. I'm getting a certificate of excellence. It's semi-casual."

"Okay." Stiles wondered if he should have taken notes.

"So what are your terms?"

"Well first of all, I am an awkward virgin. Our first time is going to suck. You're probably going to have teach me some things. Second, I'm not the touchy-feely type either. I love you, and will tell you that, but I'm sarcastic. We are going to be sarcastic to each other. And my dad wants to have dinner with you. You don't have to laugh at his jokes or anything."

Lydia pulled up a calendar app on her phone. "We can set up a time for this weekend."

"Also, I don't like it when people mock my jeep. I can't afford expensive dates. If we sleep over, I have to sleep in the middle of the bed, with a special pillow."

"Bring the pillow to my place. My bed is bigger."

"If you ever make fun of my ADD, I will leave you."

"I won't."

"Lastly, sometimes Scott and I pretend to flirt. It's supposed to be funny. I swear we're not a thing, even though I know there was that rumor in 8th grade. We kissed once when we were 12 and it was so gross it took Scott two years to figure out he was bi."

Lydia tilted her head. "Wait, Scott's bi?"

"Sort of. He never really met a guy he wants to date, and he doesn't do casual sex."

Lydia crossed her arms over her chest. "Never met a guy?" Stiles knew who she was suggesting. Liam had told Stiles about the lovers' quarrel he overheard that morning. The whole pack knew by that point.

Stiles leaned against the wall. "Yeah, I would ask him about that, but I'm really looking forward to our honeymoon stage. I want to make out in the couch's office, go to McDonald's at midnight and make you a mix tape. A real mix tape."

Lydia smiled. Not a strut down the hall smile, or a sarcastic smile, but a real smile. Stiles wished he could kiss her.

"I was going to see Much Ado About Nothing this Saturday. We could go back to my house afterwards. My mom will be at a party that night. I could teach you some things."

Stiles let his giddiness show through with a small grin. "Sounds good."


Ever since Wyatt had arrived in Beacon Hills two months ago, he had almost always eaten lunch alone. He had done this sometimes at his old school because he wanted to get some alone time. Alone time was hard to do at home with a large family full of people who teleported. Here, Wyatt felt like an only child. Even though he and Dr. Deaton ate dinner together at least three days a week, most afternoons and evenings were spent doing homework or watching TV. Wyatt wished he had more company.

But eating with his charges was too familiar. Wyatt wanted to keep his distance. In 10 months he would leave forever without anyone ever knowing his real name. It wouldn't be smart to get too attached to everyone. Besides, whitelighters were supposed to keep separate from their charges (his parents were an exception).

So Wyatt munched on his quesadilla in a side hallway, drawing in his math notebook as opposed to starting the homework. He was so engrossed in his drawing that he didn't notice Scott until he sat down next to him.

"Hi."

"What do you want?" Wyatt continued doodling as he waited for Scott to answer. He was still pissed about that morning. All he did was make a potion. Scott was the one who blew things out of proportion.

"I just want to say I'm sorry for things getting out of hand."

"Okay, thank you." Wyatt met his eyes, deciding to be the better person.

Scott sighed. "I just, I want to be better at this, you know? Better at leading people, better at fighting."

Wyatt frowned. "Better at fighting?"

"I'm an alpha and I still get my ass handed to me." Scott rubbed his arm, like was remembering someone grabbing it.

"Then stop holding back."

"Wait, what?"

"I can see it when you fight. You always holdback your full strength. Like you're scared of your own powers." New students at magic school, and some of his aunt's charges, had shown similar behavior. Wyatt feared becoming evil, but since he had possessed his powers from the womb, he never feared losing control. His siblings and cousins had started receiving their powers at a very young age. All of them orbed, froze rooms and scryed with ease. Scott had been a werewolf for less than a year. Without a proper guide (what little he knew of Derek didn't suggest teaching ability) it would make sense that he still feared himself.

"How do I stop being scared? If I lose control, I could kill someone." Scott hugged his knees to his chest. Wyatt tried not to roll his eyes. If he lost control, he could kill a country.

"Trust yourself. You were given these powers for a reason."

"What reason?"

"I don't know, I'm not an Angel of Destiny," Wyatt snapped. "The point is, the power of control is something you possess. Just trust your instincts. Okay?"

"Um, okay."

Scott slipped his bag over his shoulder. Before he stood up, he bit his lip.

"By the way, from now on, I'm going to check on everyone. I appreciate what you did last time, but this is my pack and it's my job to make sure everyone's doing okay."

"And it's my job to-"

"I'm trusting my instincts, alright?" Scott stood and turned to leave, a hint of a smug smile his face. Wyatt wanted to kick him. But then Scott stopped.

"Were you drawing a triquetra?"

"What?" Wyatt instinctively shielded his notebook.

"The triquetra. The Celtic symbol for the holy trinity. The church I go to for Christmas has one." Scott glanced back at the paper. "Is that a symbol that angels use, along with the cross?"

Wyatt slammed his notebook shut. "Discussing theology is not in my job description. I can't give too much away."

"Oh, I understand." Scott walked away again, thinking about something Catholic, Wyatt assumed. He hated the Abrahamic portrayal of angels. Hell, he hated a lot of actual angels. No cursing, no alcohol, just meddling.

Wyatt resumed doodling for another few minutes. He finished his quesadilla by the time he was interrupted again.

"What are these?"

Lydia marched up to him. In her hand was a plastic bag containing chocolate cookies. She held them up to Wyatt's face.

"Oh, those are apology cookies. For accusing you of murder. I baked them myself, from scratch." Wyatt smiled. He was proud of that. His mom would have been proud, if she had been there.

"There's raw egg in here." She tossed them in his lap. "So thanks for almost giving me food poisoning from undercooked food."

"Oh." Wyatt threw the bag at the trash can. He missed by a few inches. With a groan, he went to go throw them out.

"Look, I'm sorry about what happened, all right?" He tugged at his shirt as Lydia bore holes into him with her eyes.

"Sorry about what? The cookies or the murder accusation."

"Um, both?"

Lydia placed a hand on her hip. "If you ever land me in the sheriff's station again, I'll castrate you."

Wyatt stopped himself from shielding his groin with his hands. "Look, I get it. You're pissed that I didn't believe you. But I found the equipment in your house. I knew the Benefactor was a banshee. If you were me, what would you have done?"

"I would have taken the time to listen before teleporting to the sheriff's station demanding handcuffs." Lydia dropped her hand. "I would have given my charge the benefit of the doubt."

Wyatt couldn't think of anything to do except apologize.

"I'm sorry."

Lydia sucked on her bottom lip. "Thank you."

"And I'm happy for you and Stiles."

"Well, I took you advice. I'm embracing my strengths, not dating dumb guys. I think it's working well so far."

"I'm glad."

"Maybe we could double date sometime."

"Excuse me?"

"Everyone's heard about you and Scott this morning. He pinned you to the ground, right?" Lydia laughed as Wyatt felt his face heat up.

"We were talking about wrestling. We spared once."

"Oh really?"

"I'm not gay!"

Wyatt was loud enough to attract the attention of a few people near the end of the hallway. He quickly shoved his notebook in his backpack.

"You know, it's okay to be-"

"Well I'm not." He glared at Lydia. "I'm not, alright? God."

"Are you allowed to say the Lord's name in vain?"

"Fuck off."

Lydia's laughter echoed down the hall as Wyatt ran to his next class, seven minutes early.


Work that afternoon was slow. A woman brought in her dog for vaccines. A man's cat had gotten scratched up yesterday. Besides that, Scott cleaned the cat cages. He organized the syringes. Half an hour before he was set to leave, he worked up the courage to talk to Deaton.

"How do I become a better alpha?" He pressed his palms on the operating table and leaned forward. Deaton's face was unreadable.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, Matthew is giving people orders and coming up with plans and I feel, I don't know, useless." He knew Deaton was a Druid and had advised alphas in the past as an emissary. Perhaps there was some advice, or a manual.

Deaton nodded. "Scott, how long has it been since you were bitten?"

Scott didn't know where this was going. "Um, about a little less than a year."

"How long have you been an alpha?"

"Since October. Two months ago."

"Do you have any idea how long Matthew has been fighting the supernatural?"

"Longer than a year?"

"Perhaps. I don't know. But whether he has experience or not, he seems to have studied for a long time. He was born into this, unlike you."

"How are angels born? Doesn't God make them adults?" Scott made a mental note to flip through his family Bible later.

Deaton opened one of the cabinets. He rummaged through boxes until he pulled out two books. One was thin, the other very thick.

"I've been meaning to give these to you, but I kept forgetting. Maybe this will help you."

They weren't how to be an alpha self-help books. The thin one was titled The Prince, the other The Art of War.

"You said you read a lot of classics over the summer. Perhaps you'd like to read a couple more. Alpha are leaders, and being a leader is a tradition that is older than you would think."

"Thank you." Scott placed the books in his backpack.

"But I think you don't give yourself enough credit," Deaton continued. "After all, whose idea was it to use mountain ash to stop Gerard?"

Scott frowned. He had been able to smell Gerard's cancer, and realized he was trying to become a werewolf to cure himself of it. But that wasn't that impressive.

"Who gave Isaac a home and stability?'

He winced. Even Derek, the guy who bit Isaac in the first place, had done nothing more than give Isaac a section of floor to sleep on.

"Who reached out to Malia, who saved Liam, who broke through the mountain ash to stop the Darak?"

"Okay, I get your point. But I still feel like I need to do more, be stronger. I want to protect people. I want to lead."

Deaton smiled. "It's that strive that will make you a great alpha. Not to mention a great vet. Just trust your instincts."

Vet school was even harder to get into than med school.

"Thank you."

Hearing a vet have faith in him meant so much.

The front door opened. Scott smelled blood. Human blood.

He rushed to the lobby. A woman, around mid-twenties, stood there with blood on her shirt.

"Please, help me." She collapsed. Scott caught her in his arms before she hit the floor.


Wyatt flipped through one of his books.

Werewolves are very hierarchal by nature. An alpha can control their betas' shifts, call them together with their howls and subtly influence their motives and emotions. Betas are naturally inclined to listen to their alphas.

Unlike order magic, there are no clear sides of good and evil. Rather, each pack is a side unto themselves. Alliances can be formed and broken. Because of this, packs need strong leadership to survive attacks on multiple fronts without allies.

A beta can become an alpha by killing their alpha. While this can be looked down on depending on the circumstances, it is not equivalent to a witch killing another witch for power. The new alpha is not necessarily seen as evil, and they have no greater propensity for evil than they did before. Furthermore, the new alpha inherits not only power, but responsibility. They lead the pack.

Wyatt sighed. He threw the book on the bed and stared out the window.

Scott may have had a biological reason for needing to be in charge, but Wyatt was having trouble understanding it. Witches, good and bad, didn't follow orders. Evil witches and warlocks had been under the nominal control of The Source at best. Since he had been vanquished, they had no leadership. And good witches, especially his family, were ambivalent to the authority of the Elders. And no head of a coven or a family had the kind of authority an alpha had. There had been times when his aunts hadn't listened to his mother, or times when his mother hadn't listened to her older sister. Free will was sacred. If an alpha could influence the pack like the book said, Wyatt wanted no part in it.


"So you're a banshee?"

Scott held Ciara's hand as Deaton stitched the wound on her stomach. She hadn't wanted an ambulance, too many questions, she had said. The wound was long, but not deep. They had given her a mild painkiller, but most of the medicine was only for cats and dogs.

"Like my mother, and her mother before her. We're not as numerous as we once were, but God willing I'll have a daughter someday." Her voice had a soft lilt to it.

"Are you Irish?"

"I moved here from Dublin when I was 13. I'm what they call Black Irish."

"My dad's family is Black Irish. I'm half Irish, half Columbian."

Ciara winced as Deaton sewed sensitive skin. Scott let some of her pain seep into his body. He kept her talking.

"One of my friends is a banshee. I think her dad's mom was one, but she passed away years ago."

"Poor girl." Ciara shrieked in pain. "I remember when I was coming into my gifts. What's her name?"

"Lydia."

"And what's your name again?"

"Scott."

Ciara's eyes, which had been dazed with agony and confusion, focused on him.

"You're Scott McCall?"

"Um, yes." How did she know his name? She wasn't even a werewolf, he thought.

"I've heard of you. The True Alpha. They say you're going to do great things."

"Wait, who said that?"

Ciara didn't answer. She fainted.


At dinner, Chris was quiet. That didn't raise any flags. Chris was quiet a lot. Piper noticed he hadn't eaten much, just like last night. That raised red flags. As did the bags under his eyes. Leo watched their son ask to be excused.

The dishes were set in the sink and Mel went to her room. Piper rinsed a cup and waited for her husband to say it first.

"You think Wyatt's disappearance is aggravating Chris' depression?"

"I think Chris might know something." She set the cup down.

"What?!"

"Chris came home on Halloween, right when Wyatt disappeared. He said he hadn't see anything. But today Paige suggested Wyatt might have run away."

"Wyatt would never run away."

"Leo, think about it. If Wyatt was running away, who do you think he would tell? His sister isn't even in high school yet. His friends at school wouldn't understand because they don't know he's a witch. His magical friends would be too scared of pissing off the Charmed Ones. Who does that leave?"

"Doesn't Chris know how worried everyone is? What the hell is wrong with him?!"

Piper took her husband's arm to stop him from banging on Chris' door.

"He does know, Leo. He knows to the point that he's not eating or sleeping properly."

Leo swallowed. "Do you think he's hurting himself?"

"I don't know."

"Well, we can't confront him. He'll deny it. And if we use a truth spell and it turns out we're wrong, it'll break his trust."

"We need to be careful about this. We don't want to hurt Chris, but we need to find Wyatt." Piper leaned against the sink. She stared at her reflection in the faucet.

"I have an idea."


Scott pined Matthew's wrists above his head. They were in his bed, in his territory, and his little angel was at his mercy.

"You've been disrespectful," Scott leaned down and whispered into his ear. He could feel the fabric of his T shirt on his skin, smell the shampoo in his hair. Hear his heartbeat echo through his body. "I should teach you a lesson."

"Yes Scott," he replied. He made no move to resist. Instead Matthew arched his head back, exposing his neck.

"You are mine, understand me?" Scott licked the skin above the collarbone. The smell of arousal wafted in the air.

"Yes, Scott."

Scott brushed his lips against his collarbone. Matthew squirmed under him, unable to hurry him along. Scott could feel his eyes burn red as he watched Matthew's soft blue eyes widen.

"You are mine."

Scott sat straight up in bed before he even knew he was awake. His breathe was coming in and out in deep pants. If he wasn't a werewolf he would have been worried he was on the verge of an asthma attack.

What the fuck kind if dream was that, he wondered. That wasn't even a sex dream, it was like a BDSM dream. A BDSM dream starring his guardian angel. He was going to hell. He was going to hell and burn for entirety in a chasm of endless fire while listening to Rebecca Black's "Friday" on repeat. No amount of Hail Marys could change that.

Scott curled up on his side and tried very unsuccessfully to ignore the fact that his bed was wet and his groin was throbbing. Or the fact that the alpha inside him felt satisfaction in seeing Matthew saying those things to him. Or the fact that the boy inside him liked the smell of Matthew's hair.


Madeline never kissed him like this. Scott's kisses weren't sticky with lip gloss. His arms held his waist steady as Wyatt tried to kiss back. Scott was faster, stronger, more experienced. Kissing took all of Wyatt's focus.

Suddenly, Scott broke away. Wyatt realized they were sitting on the floor of the attic. Anyone could walk through the door.

"We shouldn't be here."

"Don't worry, Wyatt. Everything's going to be alright."

He liked hearing Scott call him by his real name.

"Come here."

Scott slipped a hand under his shirt. Wyatt closed his eyes. Madeline never made him feel like this . . .

Wyatt opened his eyes. The clock told him he had another hour before it was time to get up for school. He pulled the covers over his head. His sheets were wet.

He wasn't gay. Anyone could have a gay dream. Dreams didn't make him gay. He wasn't gay.

He wasn't gay, but he wished the dream was real. In the dream he was home.

Chapter Text

Her first Christmas without her mom was the day after tomorrow. Allison had never been a huge fan of Christmas in the first place. Every year she had wished for a younger sibling or a permanent home. Every year she had been disappointed. This year she finally had a home (and Liam and Malia were beginning to feel like younger siblings) but Allison wasn't in the mood to celebrate.

At the end of math class, Allison headed out the door and almost walked head first into Stiles. He grabbed her shoulders and steadied both of them. Allison was pleased to see the combat training helped with his reflexes.

"Hey, you okay?"

"Yeah, I guess."

He fell into step next to her as they made their way down the hall. They passed Isaac as he closed his locker. The three of them walked up the steps to the humanities wing.

"It's weird," Allison said. "My mom was the one who made the chicken every year. I don't even know if we're going to eat anything special."

Stiles bit his lip. "Yeah, I know what you mean. My first Christmas was strange. We ended up going to a fancy restaurant that was open. Now we do that every year. We started a new tradition. Well, one year we celebrated with Scott's family. His aunt asked me if I was on anything. When I said I was, she switched seats."

Allison giggled. Isaac smiled a little.

"Yeah, can't wait to see that. Honestly, I haven't celebrated Christmas in years."

Allison stopped laughing. Isaac was busy pulling a chocolate bar out of his bag as she looked at him. She tried to think of something to say to avoid the elephant in the room.

Stiles had other ideas.

"Can I ask you something?"

"Yeah?"

"Why didn't you tell anyone, Isaac?"

Isaac bit on the chocolate bar. "I don't know. I guess because I thought no one would believe me." He twisted his shirtsleeve. "I thought no one would care," he said softly.

"My dad would have cared," Stiles said. He stared at Isaac intently, while he avoided Stiles' gaze.

"My dad would have taken you out of that house the minute he knew what was going on. He would have found your relatives-"

"I don't have any relatives."

"-or he would have you placed in the best home he could find. Hell, he might have even put you in our house." Stiles grinned. "Whether you would have wanted to live with me, that's another question."

Isaac finally looked at Stiles. Isaac smiled, but Allison saw something raw and scared in his eyes.

"It doesn't really matter now."

"You're right," she said. Stiles raised an eyebrow as he watched Allison take Isaac's hand in hers. She understood. They had broken up, but they were still a pack. And dating or not, something about Isaac made her feel protective.

"It doesn't matter now, because from now on nothing like that will ever happen again. You're not alone, Isaac. We're here. We care."

The bell rang. He took his hand away. "Um, yeah. Thanks." He sprinted down the hall.

Stiles and Allison watched him leave.

"You know," Stiles said, "emotions are hard to deal with. I don't think it's personal, about the break up or anything."

"I know."

Stiles left for English class. Finally, after months of substitutes for Jennifer. The school had hired the banshee who Scott had met as a permanent teacher. From what Allison heard, Ms. Ciara Cornwall was a harsh grader, but lenient with extensions. Lydia, her new protégé, seemed pleased with the arrangement.

Allison hurried through the almost empty halls to class.


Wyatt had always loved Christmas. Every year he and Mel and Chris had decorated the tree with hand crafted ornaments and an excessive amount of tinsel. Their father had climbed up to put on the Christmas star, which he had gotten from his grandfather once upon a time. On Christmas Eve, Wyatt and his siblings and his cousins had all gathered together in one room for a sleep over. In the morning they had woken up to presents and food and a week without school. There would be no presents this year. No gingerbread men. No going over to friends' houses to play whatever game someone had gotten. Nothing.

On the way to lunch, someone in the hall played Parker's favorite Christmas carol. Wyatt held his head down as he found a quiet spot alone. He briefly debated whether or not to eat outside.

All Wyatt had to look forward to was being able to avoid Scott until he could look him in the eyes again. Ever since the dream earlier that week, Wyatt had only asked Scott a question on the history homework. With no pressing supernatural threats and Scott's assurances that he could look after his own pack, Wyatt let himself relax with Dr. Deaton's Netflix password.

He wasn't gay. He knew he wasn't gay. But he still wanted time to clear his head.


The night before Christmas Eve, Scott and Isaac carried a big tree into the living room. Scott's mom set up the old tree stand, with the necessary National Geographic magazines put strategically in place to keep the tree steady.

"It's all they had," Scott said. The tree was only about 6 feet tall.

"It's okay sweetheart. Your Aunt Marcia would have found something else to complain about. Isaac, can you get the lights and the ornaments from the basement?"

As soon as he left the room, Scott's mother whispered in his ear.

"If someone starts asking questions or Isaac feels uncomfortable, do me a favor and fake an asthma attack. Or if someone brings up politics. Or my love life. Or the squeaky floorboard."

"So basically, you want to fake an asthma attack as soon as we sit down to eat?"

"Basically."

Scott's relatives were going to come the next day. He loved his family, as crazy as they were.

But they were crazy.


In the Halliwell Manor, Piper's efforts came to fruition. All that week, she had spent all her free time-when she wasn't working or fighting demons or trying to find her missing son-turning her home into a Hallmark movie. Poinsettias and lights filled the house. The smell of cinnamon and vanilla permeated the air. If it wasn't for Wyatt's disappearance, Piper would have been wrapping gifts.

Instead, she and Paige were brewing a potion in the kitchen. A potion that would eventually be put in Chris' tea.

"You think chamomile tea will mask the taste of burdock root?" Paige stirred the pot of boiling water.

"I think so." Piper leaned against the counter as she watched her sister brew. "I still can't believe we're doing this in the first place. I know I came up with the idea, but now I'm having second thoughts."

"This potion isn't going to hurt Chris. It's just going to knock him out for a bit so we can enter his dreams and find out what he knows."

"It doesn't change the fact that we're essentially drugging him. And invading his privacy in the worst way possible."

Paige threw in a teaspoon of ginger in the water.

"We're doing this to save Wyatt. And Chris. If he does know something and doesn't think he can tell us, then the guilt must be eating him alive."

"Why can't he tell us? That's what I don't understand. He's never had a problem telling us when demons were around before." Piper crossed her arms, each hand gripping the other arm.

"He didn't tell us about the depression, though."

"Don't remind me."

"Look, he's going to be fine, Piper. We're going to find Wyatt, and then you can sit down with Chris about why he needs to tell us things. It's going to be okay."

Piper peered into the pot. She sprinkled in a few red rose petals.

"I hope you're right."


Allison usually wasn't surprised when Lydia showed up at her door uninvited. But on Christmas Eve, she assumed there would some family obligation.

And the chicken roast was not a very Lydia-esque thing.

"Can I put this in the fridge for now? We'll roast it around 7."

Allison stepped aside to let Lydia and the chicken through.

"Could you get the bag," Lydia called over her shoulder. Allison saw a large shopping bag sitting on the floor. Objects wrapped in tinfoil peeked out of it. Allison lugged the thing over with both hands. It was heavy.

"What's with all the stuff?"

"Christmas Eve dinner. I didn't know if you guys ate on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, so I took a guess."

Allison stood speechless as Lydia rearranged contents of the fridge to make room for the chicken. The rest of the food- including a tray of sushi courtesy of the Yukimiuras, who were spending Christmas upstate- was stuffed in any free space Lydia could find.

"I don't understand. What is this?"

"This, Allison, is Christmas dinner. I knew you and your dad weren't going to make anything, so I took the liberty of bringing you food myself." Lydia put her hands on her hips and gave her a knowing smile.

"Wow." Allison stared at the fridge. "Thank you."

"My mom is coming by later to drop off a fake tree. It's only a couple feet high, but it does its job well. And it comes with lights."

Allison's father came into the kitchen, flipping through the mail. He only gave the fridge a passing glance. "What's that for?"

"Us, Dad. It's Christmas dinner."

He stopped walking. "It's Christmas?"

"It's tomorrow," Allison said.

"Oh no, I completely forgot."

"No, don't worry. I wasn't going to celebrate until Lydia came in with a feast."

"My mom and I got a couple presents for you, too. She's bringing them with the tree."

"Tree?" Allison's dad dropped the mail on the counter.

"It's a small, fake tree," Allison said. "With lights."

Lydia pulled out three big, red bows from the bottom of the bag. "Now, where do you want these?"


"Are you sure you don't want to eat dinner with us? My sister wouldn't mind."

Dr. Deaton stood in the doorway. Wyatt tried to smile from his bed. He doubted he was being very convincing.

"No, really, I'd prefer to stay here. Angels and Christmas, you know. We do things differently."

"Alright. If you change your mind, we'll be downstairs."

Wyatt waited for his host to close the door. Then he orbed to a small cliff at the edge of the woods. He discovered it while planning the unicorn hunt. The view of the town was beautiful. It didn't match the bridge, but then again, nothing did.

Since smoking weed while on duty as a whitelighter was asking for trouble, Wyatt made due with a cigarette. He leaned against a tree and watched the lights below. The pungent smoke drifted in the wind. It wasn't that far away or long ago that Wyatt came to this place. Beacon Hills wasn't a terrible place. The people were nice. The streets were quiet. The work didn't seem as bad as that of the Charmed Ones. But it wasn't home.

He didn't cry, though. Wyatt didn't feel anything but the numbing sting of loneliness, like an icy shroud covering him. Any tears he shed from homesickness were gone. He inhaled the smoke again and coughed.


Chris didn't cry. He was too tired to cry.

Every year, the children of the Charmed Ones had a sleepover on Christmas Eve. They had gathered together in the living room of one of their houses. The ones who stopped believing in Santa had sworn to the younger kids that of course he existed, witches exist. (This logic was why Wyatt had believed in Santa until he was 13. Their parents had been forced to sit him down and tell him they were the ones wrapping all the gifts. Chris had been threatened with bodily harm if he didn't keep his mouth shut.) They had stayed up as late as they could, fighting over blankets and asking for water. Wyatt, as the oldest, had told Christmas stories.

Chris didn't want to have a sleepover this year. He didn't feel like pretending to be okay to everyone in his family. But Aunt Phoebe had twisted his arm, and his mom had insisted it would help. A sense of normalcy, she had said.

His and Henry's sleeping bags were set up in the far end of the conservatory. Henry read a comic book. He had been quiet recently. Chris didn't ask. He wasn't in a position to be asking people questions. Mel, Tamara, Kat and Parker quietly talked about Game of Thrones, a show none of them were allowed to watch, but did anyway. Their blankets and pillows were arranged like spokes on a wheel. Peyton was already asleep, her little arm clutching her rag doll. PJ scrolled through her phone. Chris noticed her pretending to cough to hide her crying at one point. Everyone tried so hard to act like everything was normal.

Then suddenly they weren't. Mel said that if Wyatt were here, he'd be throwing tinsel at someone by then. She laughed as she recalled two Christmases ago, when their mom had been so mad to find evidence of their tinsel fight all over the house. Kat said that Wyatt would sing the raunchiest version of Jingle Bells he could find, purposefully off key. Chris hated that they were reminiscing. Wyatt wasn't dead. Lilith would have told him that. It was part of the deal.

Around 10, his mom called him into the kitchen. She was at the table. Two cups of hot tea sat next to the kettle.

"Sit."

Chris hesitated. He knew that something was wrong. His parents had been acting weird the last few days. Like they knew something. Chris sat down, and glanced at the tea.

"Here." His mom gestured to the cup in front of him. "Have some. It helps with the nerves. I want to see how you're doing."

"I'm not thirsty, thanks."

"Humor me. I'm a witch and a chef, I know what my son should be drinking."

There was a potion in the tea. Chris knew with absolute certainty that there was a potion in the tea. He didn't know what kind, but he assumed it had something to do Wyatt's disappearance. They were probably on to the fact that he knew what happened to Wyatt. He couldn't drink it. But if he let on that he knew that they knew, he would be sent straight to interrogation in the attic, with spells he couldn't possibly hope to counteract.

He would have to think fast.


Lydia, Allison and Allison's dad sat down at the kitchen table. There was so much food, the chicken and dessert had to sit on the counter. Christmas carols were played on Lydia's ipad, and a couple of candles were added for ambiance.

"So let me get this straight," Lydia said, a clump of lettuce stabbed onto her fork, "you beat up a clown?"

"It wasn't like that," Allison said. "Really, it's nothing."

"Oh come on, that's a cute story."

"Dad, the clown almost sued."

"Yeah, until he saw the gun I was carrying."

"Dad!"

"Allison was in second grade. Her class had an end of the year trip to the circus. This clown came up and this one boy started crying, he was so scared. The clown was new, so he tried to hug the boy. The boy screamed, and Allison came to his rescue and punched the clown right in his big red nose."

Lydia slapped her thigh. "Are you serious?"

"I got my class banned from the circus. It was one of the only times I was glad we were moving."

"Yeah, but from what I remember, the boy thought you were a hero. As did most of the other kids." Her dad chuckled. "Your mom and I didn't know whether we should have taken away your toys or given you ice cream."

"And you guys decided to just ignore it, while Aunt Kate gave me a high five and extra chocolate cake." Allison smiled.

"She always did spoil you."

Allison took a bite of chicken. She swallowed some milk.

"It's weird that it doesn't feel weird to talk about them. Like I should feel really sad right now, but I don't."

"Everyone grieves in different ways," Lydia said. "Besides, if your mom were here she'd want you guys to have a merry Christmas."

As if on cue, the song "Have a Merry Little Christmas" started playing. Allison let out a loud, nearly hysterical laugh, the kind that only comes from relieved stress.


Chris pretended to drink a sip of the tea. His mom stared at him just a little too intently.

"I need to use the bathroom."

He ran out of the room before his mom could say anything. In the bathroom, with the door locked (not that that would stop anyone) he uttered more of a plea than a spell.

Goddess of chaos, protect my lies

Let the truth remain in disguise

Hide the secrets of my mind

So all may continue by your design

The words were spoken under his breath, from the top of his head. Chris could only hope Lilith heard him, although part of him almost hoped his family could break through the spell. The guilt was killing him. But there was nothing to be done. The future was at stake.


Midnight mass was one of the few times Scott went to church. As an Irish-Colombian, being Catholic was as much of a destiny as it was a personal faith. He wasn't devote. He didn't follow all of the church's teachings. But on Christmas Eve, the pews were packed and extra chairs were brought out because everyone was religious on Christmas. Scott would be there as Father Joseph told the story of the birth of the Savior. And every year, for a few minutes, Scott felt closer to God.

Except this year.

This year, Scott spent half the mass apologizing to God-in English, Spanish and three words in Latin-that he was attracted to His holy messenger.

It wasn't that Scott was against homosexuality. He didn't think God cared about that. But God did care when those homosexual feelings were directed to an angel. Scott had skimmed the story of Sodom and Gomorrah earlier that very day. Flirting with an angel was not okay. So Scott begged forgiveness, and prayed that his new crush could be redirected to someone else. Or better yet, he could not like anyone because he was too concerned about apparently being a sort of chosen one.

"A gypsy told me about you," Ciara had said after she had woken up. Dr. Deaton had been in the lobby, calling his sister to take the banshee back to her place for the night. "She told me to tell you, just you."

"What did she say?"

"She said a True Alpha would rise. He would lead an army and stop the ones who seek our destruction. An army of those who despise werewolves. He would unite them, as king."

"What destruction?"

"The destruction of magic. The druid had the gift of foresight, you see. She also told me to tell you to trust the witch. With the witch by your side, you cannot lose."

"I don't know a witch."

"You will."

Dr. Deaton came back into the room to help Ciara to the car. Scott tried wrapping his mind around this so-called prophecy.

What was so important about a witch, he wondered. He already had a freaking guardian angel.

Scot briefly considered praying about what Ciara said, too. But he figured that God would let him know in His own time. That's what Father Joseph had always said.

Meanwhile, Scott spent the other half of mass making sure Isaac was okay. Scott's mom had insisted Isaac come to church, not because she wanted him to convert, but because she didn't want the rest of the family complaining about it tomorrow. (It didn't matter that they didn't go the same church. Aunt Marcia would ask him about his religious beliefs, and if he knew what happened at a Catholic mass, that might shut her up). Isaac, who had next to no experience with organized religion, had been eyeing the back exit the whole night. Scott saw his eyes dart around every time people sat or stood, confused. Isaac was scared he would out himself as a nonbeliever. It wasn't necessary. Scott's mom warned him ahead of time to bow to the cross. And Father Joseph would start the Eucharist soon, and Scott would try not to get the wafer stuck to the roof of his mouth again. Then most of the people would leave, and Scott could sleep in for once.

The choir started singing Holy Night. Scott got out the song book they kept in the backs of the pews. Isaac leaned towards him as they both followed along, quiet and slightly off key.


The potion was working. Two minutes after Chris went back to the living room, he passed out. Piper waited until a few of the other kids fell asleep, too. Then she had Paige orb Chris to the attic.

"What's going on, Mom?' Henry sat wrapped in a blanket near Chris.

"Nothing, sweetie," Paige said. "It's just that we think Chris might not be feeling well. We just want to check on something."

"Okay."

Piper noticed her daughter watching them with suspicion in her eyes. Maybe she had the same thoughts as they did.

In the attic, Chris lay in a circle of candles. Paige and Phoebe stood by in case something went wrong. Piper brushed the hair out of his eyes as she said the spell.

Let me inside to find

The secrets hidden in his mind

Everything went black.

Then suddenly, it was white.

Piper looked around. She was sitting on the terrace of a villa overlooking a calm, clear lake. She didn't remember ever visiting a place like this on vacation. Chris sat opposite from her.

"Mom, what is it?"

"Chris, sweetie." She grasped his hand. "Can you tell me where Wyatt is? I promise I'm not mad. We just want to find him."

"I don't know where he is, Mom." Chris took his hand away. He stared down at a cup of tea in front of him.

"You don't?"

"No."

"Chris, I know something is wrong. I know you haven't been feeling well. You know something." She tried to keep her voice calm and steady, but desperation seeped in.

"I knew something was wrong. But he didn't tell me. And when I came home on Halloween, Wyatt seemed, I don't know, disturbed. But he said that it was nothing. So I went upstairs. If I-," his voice broke. He swallowed. "If I had tried harder to make him open up, maybe he would still be here."

Chris didn't know anything. Piper wanted to blow up the table, or maybe the lake. She had no idea where Wyatt was. As she comforted her son, telling him nothing was his fault, Piper felt like she was screaming.


"So what's it like, living with a witch?"

Alan Deaton leaned back in the arm chair. His sister sipped her chardonnay. A half-eaten fruitcake sat on the coffee table, and an instrumental version of silent night played softly from the TV.

"Not terrible. He cleans after himself, does a few chores. We eat dinner together several times each week. He's good company. And very funny."

The boy, like Scott, made Alan regret not settling down and having kids of his own by this time. He hoped in the future, after they dealt with the Order perhaps, he might finally settle down with a woman who could fill his home with her presence.

"Has the archdruid or the council contacted you since he arrived?"

"No." The high council of Druids weren't keen on idle chit chat. Unless it was dire, they were left to their own devices.

"He seems to be settling in well, whatever his true purpose may be." Her voice carried a hint of suspicion.

"Yes, he is. I think we're lucky to have him."

"Still, I hope you have enough rowan wood."

Alan took a swig of his Irish coffee. "Of course I do. I always do, just as I always have wolfsbane and mountain ash. I know how to be prepared, just as you do."

"I'm sorry. But Matthew's presence concerns me."

"I understand. But think, our presence most likely unnerves him. Whatever his reasons are, I know he misses his family."

She smiled. "Don't we all?"


"Does the kitchen sink have to break on fucking CHRISTMAS DAY?!" Melissa slammed the phone on the receiver. Isaac flinched. He was in the living room, and it had nothing to do with him. But he still got nervous.

"No one is available," Melissa muttered as she marched up the stairs. "And now I can't cook, my bitch of a sister-in-law is going to blame me. God, why couldn't this happen tomorrow?" She closed her bedroom door behind her. Isaac thought he may have heard crying.

It was almost noon. Scott slept in late, because as he said, sleep was the best present of all. Isaac knew Scott would hate him for this. He knew that Scott was dealing with his feelings for Matthew. But when a Christmas miracle was needed, who better to ask than an angel?


Christmas Day came with warm weather and a chance of rain. Kira missed New York snow and large Christmas trees.

One of her father's old friends, a professor at the University of Southern California, invited them to his house for the weekend. Her father had to awkwardly attempt to explain why he moved to teach high school on a small town with a high murder rate across the country. They weren't going to move back until after Kira finished high school. She had convinced them that she was going through so many changes in her life, she needed stable friends who understood. Officially, her father moved to work on writing his book about the history of the FBI.

The three of them shared a guest room. Kira stared out the window and watched the street outside as her parents slept. They would open presents downstairs, with the professor and his wife and a couple of his co-workers who would stop by. Then the next day Kira and her parents would drive home. Christmas was nice, but it wasn't that exciting now that she was older. Still, she hoped she got a Kindle.

She looked at her phone.

Lydia: Merry Christmas. We'll all hang out on New Year's Eve.

Allison: Merry Christmas Kira, and tell your dad thanks for the sushi!

Malia: Mery Christmasss

Scott: Merry Christmas Kira. I hope you guys have a great time at the professor's.

Stiles: I think our turkey has frost bite. I wish you were here to use your fox fire on it to cook it.

Liam: (Christmas tree emoji)

Isaac: Merry Christmas.

Stiles: Our turkey just cracked the tile on our floor after my dad dropped it. I don't think your magic could have saved it.

Allison: How's your Christmas going?

Scott: Are you free New Year's Eve? Lydia wants to have a party at her lake house.

Malia: r u coming back? Dad wants me shoping 4 clothes and I don't know what to buy

Stiles: Update-We're eating McDonald's on Christmas. My dad does not understand the term "cholesterol."

Malia: I hate shoping

Stiles: They have green milkshakes. Isn't that for St. Patrick's Day?

Kira spent the next two hours texting everyone, scrolling through Facebook and planning the rest of her winter break. But before she was called down to breakfast, she noticed one person who hadn't texted.

Kira: Hey Matthew, Merry Christmas. I hope your day goes well.

As she served herself waffles, her phone beeped.

Matthew: Thank you.

Poor guy, all alone on Christmas. Kira hoped that, even if the resident angel-witch couldn't be with his family, he could still have a nice Christmas.


When Wyatt was 14, he was forced to help around the house because he had shot bottle rockets out the attic window. His dad had forced him to hand him tools as he fixed the sink and listen as he explained what each of them did. Wyatt even tweaked a couple pipes once.

"So the sink water comes out really slow," Isaac said. Ms. McCall leaned against the sink, gripping the edge of the counter. Wyatt crouched down and studied the pipes for a second.

"Can you use your angel magic to fix it?"

"Yes-no."

"What?" Ms. McCall crossed her arms. "What does that mean?"

"Give me a sec."

Wyatt secretly loved the shock on their faces when he orbed back two minutes later, a tool kit in hand.

"This should take too long." Wyatt tried to sound more confident than he felt. He immediately lied down, his head and arms strategically positioned under the sink.

"You know how to-you know what, okay." Ms. McCall threw her hands up. "An angel is doing our plumbing. Why not?"

"That's a Christmas story right there," Isaac muttered.

The two left him to work. For several minutes, Wyatt lost himself in a world of clinking metal and tightening pipes. His father's words flitted through his mind. He could do this. He could do this. He could-

"What are you doing?"

Wyatt slid his body forward. Scott's face was right above his. His soft brown eyes took in Wyatt, and he blushed.


This was not a Christmas present, Scott thought. This was God testing him, because God didn't take birthdays off. And apparently God wanted to test his resolve.

Matthew lay on his kitchen floor, his shirt ridding up and showing the edge of his stomach. His arms flexed under his shirt as he did something with a tool under Scott's sink. His dream flashed into his head. Arms, chests and lips.

"What are you doing?"

Matthew slid forward and stared up at Scott.

"Your mom needed some help. Everything is closed because of Christmas."

It was Scott's imagination. Matthew was an angel. He couldn't have felt aroused. Scott must have imagined the smell of pheromones coming off of him. That must have been it. But he saw a hint of a blush on Matthew's neck. Scott frowned. Was his angel-his actual God given angel-attracted to him? No, that made no sense.

Scott offered his hand. Matthew took it, and Scott felt very conscious of his fingers as he helped him up. Matthew smiled, but the twitch in his shoulder betrayed his anxiety.

"Thanks."

"Sure. So, how does an angel know how to fix a sink?"

"Well, we can't always steal cats to arrange meetings with our charges." The room filled with their nervous laughter. Matthew looked into his eyes.

"I need to know these things. So one day, someone needing a bit of guidance and a repaired chandelier, will find me at their door."

"Lucky them. I mean, you're such a good angel." Scott felt his own face flush. He was always so bad at words, he thought.

"Thanks. Uh, I have to finish this."

"Do you need any help? I could hand you tools and stuff."

"If you want."

Matthew went back to working on the sink. Scott busied himself cleaning the already clean counter to avoid staring at him. His ears pricked up as he heard Matthew swore. Angels swearing was not something he expected.

"Do you want anything to drink, by the way? Tea, lemonade?" Scott swung open the fridge door. He grabbed the bottle of lemonade before Matthew could even answer.

"Hey, you'd know what I'd love, Scott?" Matthew scooted further back as he twisted a pipe.

"What's that?"

"The ratchet extension. Could you hand that to me?"

"Sure."

Scott put the lemonade by the sink. He fumbled around in the tool box. "Um."

"It's third from the left."

"Okay, here."

"Thanks." Matthew continued working. There was silence as Scott quickly grabbed glasses from the cupboard. Suddenly, he felt his elbow bump into something. Matthew yelped.

"Oh my God, I'm so sorry!"

Matthew was drenched in lemonade. Luckily the bottle was half full. But his t-shirt was soaked.

"I am so sorry. Here, let me get you a shirt."

"Scott, relax. It's okay." Matthew slipped his shirt off. "I can get a shirt back at my room. I'm almost done."

Scott purposefully stared at the empty bottle on the floor. "Okay. Again, I'm sorry. I'm a werewolf, I should-"

"You're fine Scott, really." Scott dared a peek up. Matthew smiled at him. Really, no stained glass depiction on any angel could ever do that smile justice.

"Okay."

"Okay. And it's all done anyway." Matthew twisted the faucet. Clear water poured down as it should.

"Wow, it's fixed. That's amazing."

"I mean, it wasn't a serious problem." Matthew scratched his head. "But thanks."

"You're amazing."

For a second, he thought he saw his angel blush.

"So yeah, I think it's good." Matthew gathered his tools in his arms.

"Okay. Thanks."

"Hey Scott." Isaac ran into the living room. He paused at the sight of Matthew shirtless. "Could you help me with wrapping something? I'm really bad at it."

"Yeah, sure."

Scott was damned. Doomed. It didn't matter what the Bible said. He was falling for an angel.


"Why don't you stay for dinner?"

That was when things took a turn for the awkward. All he said was that Christmas made him homesick, and the next thing Wyatt knew, Ms. McCall set him down (with a borrowed shirt from Scott) in the living room while the turkey roasted in the oven. Isaac and Scott were also there. The three of them stared out the window, waiting for people Wyatt had never met to come. A tree tangled up in blue lights stood next to a small pile of wrapped objects. Fake, dusty poinsettias sat on every available surface.

Fuck Christmas, he thought. This one was even worse than the time he was 13 and his parents had had to tell him that Santa wasn't real. (Unicorns were real, but Santa wasn't? What logic is that?)

Isaac craned his neck. "A red car just pulled up in the driveway."

"That's Aunt Marcia." Scott darted to the door. He opened it as a middle aged woman carrying a hot pot wrapped in tin foil. Her arms were lined with gift bags.

"Come here, mijo! Oh, just look at you!" She and Scott kissed each other's cheeks. "Oh, you've grown so much! I'm glad your mother finds time to feed you."

"Hi, Aunt Marcia."

"Hey, Melissa!" A man in a trench coat with a casserole dish pushed past Marcia. "Where do you want this?" He carried the casserole into the kitchen. Wyatt heard him greeting Ms. McCall in Spanish. Marcia followed with her dish.

Two boys, around late elementary school age, darted through the door. Wyatt could tell they raced each other to the door. He and Chris had done that all the time as kids.

"Is that your motorcycle, Scott?" The younger one stared up at Scott with unbridled eagerness.

"Can I ride it?" The older one jumped up and down.

"I wanna ride it!"

"I asked first, butt face!" The older boy glared at his younger brother. Wyatt bit back a laugh.

"Hey, Julian, it's not nice to call people names." Scott led them to the couch. "And right now neither one of you can ride it. You have to be 18 or older."

"You're not 18 yet," Julian said.

"No, but I have a job." Scott sat on the couch. Each boy sat on either side of him. "If you have a job in high school, then you can save up for your own motorcycle. But as for my motorcycle, you have to be 18 to ride it. I don't want your parents yelling at me."

"Okay," Julian said.

"But that's forever from now," the little one protested.

"Are you kidding? I still remember the day you were born, Gabriel. And now you're 7. That went by so fast. 18 is going to come before I'm even ready."

"Okay." Gabriel slumped into the couch.

"Now, say hello to Isaac and Matthew. Isaac has been staying with us for a while. And Matthew is a friend from school."

"Aren't you celebrating Christmas with your family?" Gabriel asked Wyatt before Scott could stop him.

"I'm Jewish," Wyatt lied. The boys seemed to buy it.

"Hey Scott, Isaac said as he peeked out the window. "There's a station wagon outside."

"Abuela!" Julian ran outside. Scott and Gabriel followed.

"I'm getting the rest of the stuff from the car." Scott's uncle ran through the living room without acknowledging either Wyatt or Isaac.

Outside, the greetings of various relatives was audible from inside the house. Isaac glanced out the window.

"So this is Christmas."

"Yeah." Wyatt glanced at the Christmas tree. He wondered if his family had sat down to dinner yet.


Mel knew Chris knew where Wyatt was. She guessed that it had something to do with the time travel thing, because that always made Chris jittery and quiet. Mel didn't say anything because she trusted her brothers. If things were really bad, Mel would be able to see by looking at Chris' face. She would tell her parents, and they would travel to the past or the future or wherever to save Wyatt. Mel wasn't scared.

That didn't stop her from crying in the bathroom as everyone sat down to dinner. She didn't want to upset her young cousins. Or her parents. Or Chris. The running faucet drowned out her quiet sobs.

Every year, the nine children had played secret Santa. With a ten-dollar budget, they had bought little knick-knacks and books over the years. But this year, Wyatt wasn't there. No one wanted to play without him. Mel realized as she looked at the tree that morning how empty it looked. The lack of Wyatt's off-key Christmas carols made the manor sound empty. And at dinner, the space where Wyatt had usually sat was empty. Everything was empty.

Mel washed her face. She opened the door to find her mom waiting in the hallway. Without saying anything, she pulled her into a hug.

"We all miss him, honey."

"It hurts, Mom." She cried into her shirt. "Sometimes it hurts to breathe."

"I said the same thing, when your Aunt Prue died."

"I don't want Wyatt to die!" Suddenly, Mel clutched her mother to her. She shook like a leaf in the winter wind. Wyatt wouldn't die. He couldn't die.

"We'll bring him home, Mellie. I promise you. We'll bring him home." She kissed her head.

It wasn't fair, being the child of a Charmed One. Christmas was just another reminder of everyone they had lost.


"Isaac, would you like some more mashed potatoes?" Aunt Marcia handed Isaac the bowl without waiting for an answer. Isaac scooped up a couple bites before hastily passing the potatoes to Uncle Bobby. Scott was somewhat pleased he himself seemed muscular enough that he wasn't being told to eat more anymore.

"So, Scott, are you still seeing that girl your mother mentioned, Allison?" Uncle Bobby slapped a handful of mashed potatoes on his plate.

"Um, not anymore."

"That's too bad," Aunt Marcia said. She frowned. "She sounded nice. You seeing anyone else?"

"Not at the moment."

"He's in high school" his mom said. She sipped her second cup of wine. "Right now he should be focused on school."

Uncle Bobby shrugged. "When I was his age-"

"When you were his age, you were in summer school." Abuela cut into her turkey. "Let the boy be."

"I have a girlfriend," Gabriel said. "She's a third grader."

"An older woman." Abuela laughed. "Good for you."

"There's this one boy is my class who's dating a boy," Gabriel continued. "And he's also a third grader."

"Third graders are babies," Julian said.

"You were a third grader two years ago," Abuela said. "I have the picture to prove it."

"The picture lied."

Scott laughed as he saw his Aunt Marcia furiously cut her chicken. Here it comes, he thought.

"Gabriel, what boy is this in your class?"

"John. He's the one brought cupcakes on his birthday."

"I'm not sure I want you talking to John." Aunt Marcia glanced at Scott, who couldn't help but roll his eyes. He used a rainbow umbrella last Easter, and the next day she emailed him a link to one of those places California banned for minors.

"Honey, who cares what these kids do. They're third graders. Half of them still believe in Santa Claus."

Matthew coughed as he gulped his water. Scott wished his mom hadn't invited him. Things were weird enough as it was.

"Being gay is against the church."

"So is divorce," Abuela said. "Look at Melissa."

"That's different. Her husband had a child with another woman."

"Oh my God, Marcia." His mother's fork clattered loudly as she threw it on her plate. "It's Christmas. Can we not talk about my failed marriage right now?"

"She brought it up."

"The Pope said it's allowed. That's it." Abuela patted Scott's leg and smiled at him as he took a deep breathe. She already knew.

Bobby took another helping of stuffing. "First people spend all this money they don't have on weddings, and now gay people get married. It's a marketing scheme. Like the moon landing. Now we have all these sci fi shows. Started when they filmed the moon landing."

"The moon landing was real, Bobby," Aunt Marcia said.

"How do you? You weren't there. Unless you lied to me about your age."

"The only thing I lied about when I met you was that I said your sweater wasn't hideous." Uncle Bobby chuckled.

"Do you have any idea how long it took for me to knit him that sweater," Abuela asked. She was not amused.

"Well if it's so nice, how come Scott isn't wearing the sweater you made him?" Aunt Marcia resumed eating.

"Scott loves the sweater. Right Scott?"

"Um, it's hot in here," Scott said. "Too hot for a sweater."

"I want to see this sweater." Scott's face flushed as Matthew grinned.

"Scott, go get the sweater," his mom told him. He knew she just wanted to get off the topic of her and his dad. Scott reluctantly ran upstairs.


Ornaments hung off antlers that were attached to snowmen who carried gold to baby Jesus. Wyatt couldn't have thought of a weirder Christmas sweater if he was high.

"Excuse me," Isaac choked out as he covered his smile, "I have to use the bathroom." He ran out of the dining room. Scott glared at his foster brother with a look that only made the sweater funnier. Wyatt didn't need super hearing to know that he was laughing. Wyatt could hold it in because his own family wasn't that much less embarrassing.

"Aren't you just adorable," Scott's grandmother cooed. "Oh, you've grown up so much."

"I know," his mother agreed as she cleared away the dinner. "I can't believe he's halfway done his sophomore year of high school."

Scott silently took his seat across from Wyatt. Wyatt caught a glimpse of the Virgin Mary on his back.

"You know," the grandmother said, glancing down the hall, "I bet I could make one for Isaac, too."

"He'd love that," Scott said before Isaac could come back and stop him. "I bet it'd mean a lot to him."

"You too could wear them together," Wyatt added. "It could go in next year's greeting card."

"Do you want one?" Scott's grandmother asked.

"Sorry, I'm Jewish."


The children of the Charmed Ones gathered on the couches in the manor living room to watch The Polar Express. Peyton, the baby of the family, snuggled next to Chris to the point of wrapping his arm around her body. Mel sat on his other side. Towards the end of the movie she threw a blanket on her brother and cousin as they drifted off to sleep. Kat and PJ were on their phones checking Facebook. Parker and Henry played a board game on the floor. Tamara, the most Wiccan of them all, laid back with her new book on Morgana le Fey.

Mel quietly orbed up to the steps leading to the attic. She pressed her back to the wall and peered her head around the corner. The door was slightly ajar.

"Give me power to hear

What is not quite near."

"So he doesn't know," her mom said. "Now what do we do?"

"I'll meet with the Cupid Council tomorrow," Uncle Coop said. "We'll put out his name to all the field agents."

"There has to be something we're missing," her dad said.

Mel frowned as the adults continued talking. She trusted her brothers. She wouldn't rat them out.

Not yet.


After dinner, everyone took their pie and coffee to the living room to open presents. Isaac sat on the floor, his back resting near Scott's legs. He hadn't expected any presents. He certainly didn't think to buy any. But as Gabriel and Julian threw balls of wrapping paper everywhere, Melissa pointed to a small, silver box near the back. His name was written in cursive.

"A pocket watch?" A silver watch ticked the time two minutes fast. Isaac traced the engraved letters on the back. Alexander.

"It belonged to my father," Melissa explained. "Alexander Delgado."

"He was always so fussy with that thing." Bobby leaned back into the couch. "Always checking it, even with the kitchen clock right there."

"I don't understand." Isaac stared at the engraving.

"It was my idea." Everyone turned to Marcia. She sat perched on the edge of an arm chair, her legs crossed at her ankles.

"I just thought it'd be a nice gesture."

"And I agreed," Scott's grandmother said. "The other boys have their own gifts. But I know that if my husband were still here, he'd want his watch to go to someone who could look after it." She gave Isaac a look. "Someone careful."

Before Isaac could make an excuse to run to his room to flee the attention and emotion, Scott came to the rescue.

"Silent Night," he sang surprisingly well. "Holy Night. All is calm. All is bright. . ." The rest of the family joined in, except for Matthew. He turned to the window. Isaac knew that for whatever reason, he wanted to hide his emotions too. As Isaac sang the words to songs he learned last night at church, he thanked God-or whoever was listening-for gifts he couldn't properly name. It wasn't a Christmas miracle. There was no magic snow or men in red suits. It was both more and less ordinary. A warm fire. Children's laughter. An offering of mashed potatoes. As the singing came to an end, Scott rested his hand on Isaac's shoulder. Isaac didn't cry. He smiled.

Chapter Text

The Friday afternoon sun cast shadows through the trees as Scott, Liam and Isaac ran through the woods. Scott had the lead in their little race, with Isaac on his heels. Liam lagged behind. He was young. He'd learn.

Scott laughed as he jumped over a small creek. His jacket flew behind him like a cape. He felt invincible. Free. He hadn't had the time to enjoy his powers when he had been trying to stop whatever was trying to kill them that week. But between a guardian angel and a burgeoning community of the supernatural, Scott could flex his claws and throw back his head in a spontaneous howl. Isaac and Liam joined in, a chorus of animal instinct and teenage energy.

Malia jumped down from a large rock jutting out of an incline. She finally had a decent wardrobe of hiking boots and jeans (and bras, to Scott's relief). And her social skills were improving by the day, although there were some setbacks.

A growl from the back of Malia's throat made a werecat snap her head in their direction. It was lunch, and Scott's pack and the small pride of werecats were on opposite sides of the lunchroom. The girl, Abbie Miller, had walked past them on the way to buy a candy bar. Apparently, that was a threat.

They had decided on a truce when they had discovered each other's existence. Werewolves and werecats weren't enemies exactly, but they usually didn't share territory. So, Scott and Dr. Deaton had met with the matriarch of the pride to discuss terms. No bites, no altercations, no expectations of friendship. If each group kept to themselves, there would be peace.

But werecoyotes weren't werewolves. Even when they weren't loners, they were stubborn, territorial and violent. Malia bared her teeth at Abbie. And Abbie's eyes narrowed.

Scott gripped Malia's arm before she could get out of her seat. If they weren't in a crowded room, he would have flashed his eyes red. Abbie's pride sister was subtler, merely giving the girl a look. After a couple sneers, the girls resumed eating.

Scott's later lecture about exposure and safety was met with the same look Malia had in class. He briefly considered investing in a spray bottle. Instead, he decided the shifters needed to let off some steam.

The four stopped at a clearing. Isaac spontaneously grabbed Liam in a headlock and gave him a noogie. The boys wrestled each other to the ground, a ball of tangled limbs and laughter. Malia dove into the fray after a minute. Scott watched from his perch on the edge of a rock. He snorted at the sight of Liam somehow tied up in his own sweatshirt. They were all goofing off, excited about the weekend. And then, without warning, they stopped. It was like someone flipped a switch. They all turned due west at the smell of human blood.


Stiles held his forearm out to defend his stomach. His arm absorbed the impact as Allison tried to land a punch near his rib. He grabbed her wrist and twisted it. She bent her leg between his to kick the back of his knee. Stiles jerked forward into Allison's hold.

"Enough." Argent crossed his hands to signal them to stop. Allison loosened her grip. Stiles rubbed his wrists. He was so pale that his bruises were easy to see. At least he could feel the muscles in his arm as the flexed. He could feel himself getting stronger by the day.

Argent led them through the trail to the car. They walked in silence only broken by a soft but cold wind. Lydia wasn't with them that day. In a small house on the edge of town, his girlfriend was learning how to silence the voices of the dead by drowning them in her own. Ciara knew the ways of banshees. Lydia would learn them.

They came to the top of a small hill. Suddenly, Argent held his arm out to stop them. His other hand slipped a gun out in a single move. Allison took a fighting stance. Stiles tried to hear what they heard. The crunch of boots on leaves. Running. Below them three figures, two females and one male, ran frantically through the trees. One of the girls fell behind. The other took her by the arm, pulling at her sleeve. The boy wore a large backpack.

"Who are they?" Stiles whispered.

"I don't know." Argent answered. He watched them run past the hill. "But it looks like they're on the run from something."

"Maybe they need our help." Allison's father grabbed her shoulder before she could run after the strangers.

"We don't know what's going on. We proceed cautiously."

"Well we need to proceed faster. They're getting away." Stiles wiped sweat from his mouth. His nerves were on edge.

Argent smirked. "That's why we have a car."


Lydia's scream cracked a window. Ciara watched her from the sofa, a cup of tea in her hand. A tarnished silver locket sat on the coffee table.

"What did you hear?"

Lydia took in a deep breath. As a young banshee, she still had to develop her voice. Screaming took something out of her.

"I heard a woman's voice. She was begging a man, Edward or Edwin, not to do something. She sounded so scared. Then I heard . . ." Lydia covered her mouth. Ciara shifted her body to allow her student to sit. As soon as she did, Ciara put an arm around the young woman's shoulders.

"It's alright my dear. Remember, the past and present are two very different things."

"I heard a gunshot." Ciara passed Lydia a tissue box. Lydia patted her eyes, no thought to her smudged mascara.

"He shot her, didn't he?"

Ciara rubbed her shoulder. "I'm afraid so, my dear. The locket belonged to a World War I nurse. Her lover was jealous of the attention one of her patients gave her. The woman's great niece gave me the locket, with the story. She asked if her great aunt was at peace." Ciara peered into Lydia's eyes. "I think she was."

"But you're not sure?"

"We aren't mediums, Lydia. We sense death, how it has happened, how it will happen. We can hear the dead when we scream, but only through certain means, like the locket. The mysteries of the afterlife are not for us." She smiled. "But to ease an innocent's heart, we can lie."

"It's sad."

"I know. But seeing death gives a greater appreciation for life. And we can alter outcomes. After all, you already have."

Lydia rested her head on Ciara's shoulder. "Thanks."

At least she wasn't alone anymore. There was another banshee.

Suddenly a scream ripped itself out of Lydia's throat. Her body jerked forward. Her arms clutched her sides as though she was vomiting. She was too disturbed to notice Ciara next to her, screaming too. A feeling of dread washed over Lydia. Something wrong, something unnatural was near.

"What was that?" she gasped when the screaming subsided. She collapsed into the sofa cushions.

"The undead," Ciara replied. She pushed herself up to stand. "We can sense death, even when death is twisted into life."

"Undead? You mean like zombies?"

"No. Vampires."


Wyatt snapped a picture of the Beacon Hills Nature Preserve sign. Photography was something he had picked up at age 12. He had seen Aunt Prue's pictures in an old magazine. They had been so exact, but emotional. His mother had let him borrow the family camera. By age 13, he had bought his own.

The raised letters of the sign cast long shadows, adding depth. He focused on the capital h. Before he could take another shot, something told him to look up. Not a premonition, but the Wiccan instinct all witches possess. Wyatt saw three teenagers barrel out of the woods like they were being chased. The one in front, a girl in a red dress, froze as soon as she saw Wyatt.

"You."

"Who are you?"

She was pale, with dark hair and black eyes. The shape of her bones was a bit too visible under her skin. The other two stopped just behind the girl. She was in charge. Wyatt glanced at the boy. He wore black, loose fitting clothes. Brown hair hung over his eyes. He clenched his hands like he was ready to fight. Or ready to throw an energy ball. The other girl, shorter than the one in red, shifted her eyes everywhere as though she expected to be killed at any moment. Her blond hair and blue blouse looked ordinary enough. But they didn't need a sign that said "demon." Wyatt knew evil when he saw it.

"I asked you a question." He strode towards them, watching the fear light up their eyes. He doubted they were anything more than lower level demons or two-bit warlocks who couldn't even blink. Wyatt stood up straight, letting himself look and feel as intimidating as possible. He would be lying if he said he didn't enjoy feeling that powerful. He stopped just a few feet from them. The girl in red pulled the others behind her.

"Who. Are. You?"

She straightened her own spine and stared him dead in the eye. "I think the better question would be, what are you doing here? Aren't you a bit far from home?" Her voice had a hint of a British accent.

"Not that far away," said the boy behind her. "San Francisco is only two hours by car. Or two seconds, if you orb there."

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"And we don't know what you're talking about," she replied. "So, why don't we just go our separate ways? We don't want any trouble."

"Do I look like I care what you-"

A black car sped down the road. It left a trail of skid marks before it came to a halt in front of them. Argent stepped out of it with a gun on his belt. Allison and Stiles came to stand behind him. The trio stared at them, then at Wyatt.

"What's going on here?" Argent asked.

"Nothing I can't handle," Wyatt said. The leader frowned. Mortals didn't help witches. Not like this, with guns and voices of authority. While Wyatt respected the Argents' skill, demons were another story. He wished they would take the hint and leave.

"What are you kids doing here?" Argent ignored Wyatt and stepped over to the demons. "Or should I call the sheriff?"

"We weren't doing anything wrong," the other girl said. "I don't know why you all are acting like we're criminals."

"Or why you aren't asking him what he's doing here." The leader pointed to Wyatt. "He's acting just as suspicious."

"I know Matthew." Argent didn't take his eyes off her. "I don't know you."

"Matthew? Is that what he told you his name is?"

"Enough!" Wyatt summoned an energy ball just as Isaac, Liam, Scott and Malia came barreling down the trail. The strange boy's jaw dropped open as he saw Scott's eyes red eyes. Wyatt swore as his magic disappeared.

"What is this?" Scott didn't wait for anyone to answer. Instead he grabbed the boy by his neck. He dragged him over to the other shifters, despite the girls' protests. Isaac opened the boy's backpack. He pulled out what appeared to be a medical bag filled with blood.

"Oh, God." Stiles averted his gaze.

"Is there a blood drive we don't know about?" Isaac dug his own claws into the boy's arm.

"Get off me, you dog show reject!" The boy struggled in their grip. He managed to kick Isaac in the shin before Scott shoved him against a tree.

"Leave him alone!" The other girl had to be held back by the leader.

"What are you?" Scott flexed his claws as he held the squirming boy the by the shoulder. "What are you doing here?"

"Vampires."

Wyatt orbed a necklace from around the leader's neck to him. He held up the ruby pendant to shine in the sunlight.

"This is a symbol of vampires. A drop of blood." Usually the queens dressed in gaudier clothes, but then again, they usually stayed in the corners of the underworld.

"Vampires?!" Liam glanced up at the sky. "But it's daylight."

Scott dropped the vampire boy's shoulder in surprise. The boy backed up a couple of steps, never taking his eyes off the werewolf.

"They have ways to go about in the day." Wyatt summoned another energy ball. The boy stepped in front of the girl l and stood in a fighting stance.

"As though we could even be half as dangerous as you," he said. Wyatt narrowed his eyes. He couldn't risk them blowing his cover. But before he could vanquish the little leech, Scott pulled him towards him.

"Wait!"

A glance from Scott stopped Liam, Malia and Isaac from fighting. A raised hand stopped Argent from reaching for his gun. Reluctantly, Wyatt dismissed his energy ball.

"We know what they are, but not what they're doing here." He turned to the queen. "Give them a chance to explain."

"They're vampires! That is the explanation." Wyatt wished, yet again, that his charges were witches. Sometimes their naiveté infuriated him.

"Our clan was attacked by hunters," the queen said. "Most of them were killed in the fight. We're the only survivors. My mother had told me of this place, a beacon for the supernatural. We thought we could hide here undetected."

"That's why we brought blood," the other girl added. "So, we wouldn't have to hunt."

"You really think we're stupid enough to start something in werewolf country?" The boy crossed his arms.

"All we want is a place to live in peace." The queen clasped her hands, almost in prayer. "Please."

"You can't live in peace," Wyatt shot back. "You're already dead."

"Check the rest of his bag," Scott told Isaac. "You guys see if there's anything on them." Argent and Allison came forward to pat down their clothes for weapons. The girl and the boy stood, allowing themselves to be searched. When Allison motioned for the boy to raise his arms, he did so with only a scowl as protest. Scott himself searched the queen. Wyatt couldn't believe they were wasting their time like this.

"There's nothing else in here but money and a couple of old books," Isaac said. "They're in Latin."

"Lydia can read them," Stiles said.

"Okay. For right now, the three of us are going to follow you." Scott pointed to Isaac and Malia. "We're going to see that you're settled in. And then we're going to be keeping an eye on you. As long as you don't try anything, you won't be harmed. Understood?"

"Yes," the queen said.

"Alright." Isaac threw the bag, minus the books, to Scott, who handed it to the boy. "What are your names?"

"Vivian," the queen said.

"William," the boy said.

"Sybil."

"I'm Scott."

"Are you fucking kidding me? You're seriously going to let them go?" Wyatt glared at the girl, Sybil, who shrank from his gaze. "They're vampires! This isn't Twilight. They're soulless killers who feed on blood."

"I'm inclined to agree," Argent said.

"There's no proof that they killed anyone," Scott said. "Wouldn't killing them go against your code?"

Argent sighed. "Point taken. But I think I'll come along, too. I want to be prepared, just in case."

"I'm not missing this," Stiles muttered like it was a goddamn show. Allison nodded.

"Got it." Scott glanced at Wyatt. "We can't just go around killing people because they might be dangerous. There have been werewolves that killed people. Doesn't mean all werewolves are killers." Scott climbed down the hill. Vivian followed behind him.

"You don't know what you're doing," Wyatt said. Scott stopped. He stared Wyatt dead in the eye.

"Maybe. But I'm doing it anyway."

Damned alphas and werewolf hierarchy. Wyatt believed the only reason Scott was doing this was to take charge of something, prove he was the leader. All his life, Wyatt had been taught that vampires were evil. It would take more than a few words to change his mind.


Vivian remembered the words of her mother,.

"The Charmed Ones are the most powerful sisters on Earth. They vanquished The Source himself . . . the Twice-Blessed Witch is supposedly even stronger."

Everyone had heard when Wyatt Halliwell had mysteriously disappeared on Samhain. The Charmed Ones had scoured the Underworld to find him. People had whispered of a plot to make Wyatt evil. Others talked of a supposed plot by Elder years ago, to kidnap and kill the witch as a baby. Wyatt had almost turned evil, except his younger brother traveled in time to save his soul. A few people wondered if that had something to do with the disappearance, but that theory had quickly been dismissed. It was years ago. The Elder in question had been killed.

And suddenly here the witch was, in a place of foreign magic. Without the amethyst ring he wore on his finger, Wyatt would be powerless. And he must have known that his family was beside themselves with worry. What had compelled him to come to Beacon Hills, the vampire queen wondered. What made him want to play whitelighter to werewolves?

Vivian led the way over a worn trail of dirt and leaves. Overhead, the sun made lacework shadows of barren tree branches. The air was still and cold. The alpha, Scott, walked in step next to her. She let her hair fall over her face, to hide her stare. He was handsome, she thought. His dark hair curled around his ears like a girl's. His shirt tightened in all the right places. Vivian wanted to seduce him. Not just for an alliance. For sex.

They neared the place. Vivian hurried a couple paces ahead. She swung her hips just so. This would be easy. She knew the smell of desire.


When Isaac had lived with Derek, Derek had made an offhanded remark about his old house being reclaimed by the state, and that he had had to sign a bunch of papers to get it back. Isaac had assumed that Derek wanted the house for sentimental reasons, or for some werewolf magic crap.

He never would have guessed that Derek would bother to fix it back up.

No one knew that Derek had rebuilt his house. Even Stiles, with his conspiracy boards, never thought to check up on the old place. The burnt-out shell had transformed into a white, empty manor in the middle of the woods. Isaac thought it looked like something out of a fairytale. Or a horror movie.

"We saw the listing online," Sybil explained. "The owner said he's willing to rent it out to us." She stopped at the porch, running her hands over the railing. William walked past her into the house. Vivian followed him, and Scott followed her.

"He is?" Argent eyed the windows with caution.

"Yes. We were going to buy some furniture tomorrow." Sybil paused in the doorway, leaning against the doorframe. "What?"

"The owner's family died in a fire. In this house. Like 8 people burned to death in a fire in this house," Stiles said.

"They were werewolves," Isaac added. "A couple of people survived. The guy who rented you the house was the one who bit me." He leaned against the railings and stared into the trees. He had stayed in the house with Derek before. The house didn't scare him.

"Oh." Sybil glanced in the front hall. Isaac heard the other vampires move through the rooms. Scott was telling them the story of the Hale fire, too.

"I hope they're at peace now," Sybil said quietly. "I know what it's like to lose your family."

"Sometimes losing family can be for the best," Isaac muttered.

"Well, when we're all settled in, you are more than welcome to come for dinner. Not be dinner, I mean. Have dinner. I know how to make pasta." Her bottom lip curled into her mouth.. "So, yeah."

"Cool." Socially awkward vampires. Isaac could live with that.

"So how long have you had your, uh, angel?"

"Since Halloween. He's a nice guy. Sometimes he can be stubborn, though. He'll come around." Isaac wasn't worried about what Matthew said. He had thought Lydia was a murderer. Even angels could be wrong. Sybil didn't seem like a bad guy to him.

"As long as the hunters haven't followed us here, I think we'll be fine."

"What hunters?" Argent frowned.

"They called themselves The Order of Man," Sybil said. "We were resting in a cave for the night on our way to meet another clan. Suddenly . . ." Sybil's voice trailed off.

"I'm sorry," Allison said. "I lost my mother, too."

"I hope she's at peace," Sybil said. She glanced in the house. "Thank you for letting us stay here in Beacon Hills. I don't know what we'd do without this refuge."

"Refuge?" Stiles raised an eyebrow. "Considering all people killed here in the past year, I wouldn't exactly call this place a refuge."

"Considering all the people killed by the Order, I'd say refuge fits just fine."


"What if he attacks us?" William leaned against the living room wall. The locals had left them to settle. Their books would be returned later that week. The half-moon shone through the high windows.

"He's not going to do anything," Vivian said. "Scott won't let him." She lounged in a stuffed red chair, one of the only pieces of furniture in the house. Sybil sat at her feet.

"The son of a Charmed One is not going to take marching orders from a werewolf." William began pacing. Old floorboards creaked under his boots.

"He's their whitelighter. They don't control their charges." Vivian brushed a strand of hair out of Sybil's face. Sybil smiled at her.

"What the hell is a werewolf doing with a whitelighter anyway? Why is Wyatt Halliwell here?"

"I don't know. And I doubt we're going to get an answer." Vivian ran her hands through Sybil's hair.

"I don't like it here. We're at the mercy of beasts and a witch."

"I think they're nice," Sybil said. "They're different."

"Stop being so innocent," William snapped. "You're not an innocent anymore." Sybil flinched.

"That's enough." Vivian's words rang with an authority she inherited from her mother. She touched the pendant at her throat. William bowed his head.

"We will live here, in peace, until I say otherwise. There will be no biting, no fighting, no trouble. We achieved safe haven. Let us be grateful for that."


Many witches, including Wyatt, didn't know that vampires were technically chaos magic creatures. In fact, they were closer relatives of werewolves and kitsune than demons, being classified as a type of shifter. But they had been cast out of places of chaos magic centuries ago, and then became pariahs of the underworld for their heritage and morally ambiguous nature. Wyatt realized they technically did have a right to claim sanctuary in Beacon Hills. In fact, they might have had more of a right to be in the town than he did. The Nemeton called them, just as it called others. But Wyatt still didn't trust them.

Two days after the vampires arrived, they appeared in his history class with notebooks and innocent looks. The only reason he hadn't planned an attack was because Aunt Paige once said charges had to be allowed to make their own mistakes. It was how they learned. Wyatt was waiting for the opportunity to say, "I told you so."

At lunch, Wyatt saw the vampires go into the lunchroom. He assumed the pack could watch them. He found a spot by a window to eat his sandwich and watch the rain. This time, instead of Scott interrupting his alone time, Stiles ran up to him with a bound journal.

"I have a question," he said before Wyatt could say anything. "What other creatures exist?"

"Excuse me?"

"I decided to start a bestiary, like the Argents made. So that way we can look back on it and other people can use it later. And I want your awesome angel knowledge to contribute." He held up the journal with a hopeful smile. The cover of the book was black, with a green dragon curled in the center.

"So, what, you want me to tell you stuff about demons or something?"

"Yup" Stiles plopped down next to Wyatt, pen in hand. "Any time you're ready."

Wyatt gently closed the book. "No."

"What?"

"Stiles, I approve of what you're doing. Believe me, keeping records is important. But you and your pack need to be the ones to record, not me. What would you learn if I just told you all the answers?"

"These are life or death situations here, Matthew. It's not Geometry." Stiles put away his journal in a huff.

"Besides, most of my knowledge is about demons, which I highly doubt you'd ever meet-and no, before you say anything, Nogitsune do not count as actual demons. There's a distinction. You can try asking Dr. Deaton, but druids are notoriously secretive."

"Yeah, I caught onto that," Stiles grumbled. He leaned forward, his head resting on his hands.

"Can I ask just one question?"

Wyatt just wanted to eat his sandwich in peace. "Fine." He took a sip of water.

"What do you know about witches?"

Wyatt coughed. "What?"

"Witches. Brooms, spells, wands. What do you know about them?"

"Why are you asking that?" Wyatt leaned against the wall, away from Stiles.

"Because when I was possessed by the Nogitsune, he accused you of being a witch." Stiles frowned, studying Wyatt's face. "I remember him saying you were all alone, that your family wasn't there. You were upset, but you denied everything."

"That's because I'm not a witch." Fear crept into his voice. He swallowed.

"You gave me a crystal. You tried giving Liam a potion. Scott mentioned seeing you draw a symbol used in both Christianity and Paganism. And when I woke up from your botched exorcism, five candles were in a circle around me. Kinda like a pentagram."

Wyatt was a Halliwell. He would not be intimidated by a mortal.

"Did it ever occur to you that the Nogitsune was lying, to create more strife? Or that maybe angels aren't the same as the ones in church windows? Werewolves aren't exactly like in The Wolfman, are they?"

Stiles' gaze moved across his face, searching for something.

"Do witches exist?"

"That's something you'll have to find out on your own." Wyatt went back to eating his sandwich.

Stiles stood up. "The Nogitsune was definitely wrong about something, at least."

"What's that?"

"You're not all alone here. You have us." He pointed down the hall. "You're welcome to sit with us at any time."

"Eating lunch alone isn't a bad thing, you know."

"You never eat with us, you never hang out with us."

"I'm your guardian, not your friend."

"Really?" Stiles tilted his head. "Could have fooled me."

Stiles headed back to the cafeteria. Wyatt slumped back against the wall. Welcome was irrelevant. He shouldn't become too attached to these people. After his year was he most likely would never see any of them again, for his safety as well as theirs. And the weird thoughts he kept having about Scott were not helping. At all.


Allison had pointed the vampires out to Kira that morning. Kira knew what it was like to be the new girl, especially in the middle of supernatural threats. When the bell rang for lunch, she made her way through the hoard of students until she found a girl in a white blouse.

"Hello. I'm Kira."

Sybil blinked. "Oh! Isaac mentioned you. Hello." She offered her hand. Kira shook it. "I like your scarf."

"Thanks. I got it for Christmas. Anyway, I was wondering if you wanted to sit together at lunch."

"Okay. That'd be great." Sybil waved at a boy down the hall. Kira assumed it was one of the other vampires. He walked off in the other direction without acknowledging them.

"Sorry, William takes a while to warm up to people. And Vivian volunteered to help with then new library." The old library had been damaged by various supernatural fights, including one fight between an assassin from the deadpool and a werewolf that ended in cracked walls. Students were clearing out the books so the workmen could renovate in the coming months.

Kira led Sybil to the cafeteria. The girls picked a small table by the window. Sybil only had a bottle of water. Kira assumed vampires couldn't eat.

"So, what do you think of Beacon Hills so far?"

"It's nice. Quiet. I don't understand why everyone is obsessed with lacrosse here."

"I know. It took me a month to even understand the rules."

"I heard the coach is crazy."

"My friends are on the team. They told me he once told a player that chewing gum causes testicular cancer."

Sybil giggled. The two girls talked about school and books and clothes until the bell rang.


Scott saw Matthew on the school steps as students were running to catch their buses.

"Want a ride?" said Scott, holding out a spare helmet. Matthew lived with Deaton, which wasn't included on any bus route, but the guy could teleport. And the house was out of his way, although Matthew might not have realized that. Scott's impromptu offer made little sense.

But the way Matthew smiled, it was like he had offered the moon.

"Seriously? I've never ridden a motorcycle before."

In three seconds Matthew was sitting behind him. Scott felt his body resting against his. He pictured paint drying. At the same time, he pulled Matthew's arms around his own waist.

"Hang on tight to me. I don't want you getting hurt."

Matthew's heartbeat quickened. Scott started the engine, but the heartbeat seemed to drown out the revving. They rode out of the parking lot, past buses and cars and people he had grown up with. Their voices faded as the two boys sped down quiet, suburban streets. Scott knew this town by heart. He knew which way was quicker, and which way was the scenic route. All the turns became sharp turns, and Matthew gripped his waist tighter. Scott felt an electric energy in the air. A spark. He wondered if Matthew felt it, too.

As they entered the woods, Scott took care to stay on the beaten dirt trail. The winding path was tricky, and for all his powers and cunning, Scott suspected Matthew was human enough to bleed. He felt protective of him, even though Matthew claimed he wasn't in his pack.

When they were almost at the cottage, a gun shot rang through the air. Scott skidded to a stop. Both boys jumped off the bike.

"What was that?" Matthew asked.

"Hunters," Scott replied. "And I don't think it's deer season."


Sybil opened the door to the Hale House. "This is where we're staying." Kira poked her head in.

"Wow. You can't even tell there was a fire." The front hall gleaned with white walls and polished wooded stairs.

"Yup. We haven't gotten a chance to get a couch yet, but we have sleeping bags. We don't actually sleep in coffins." Sybil winked.

"What is she doing here?"

William stood at the top of the stairs, arms crossed over his black T-shirt. His glare would have been more intimidating if Kira hadn't already fought assassins and Oni.

"Hi. I'm Kira. Sybil invited me over." She flashed a smile that only seemed to bug William more.

"We're going to study in my room," Sybil said.

"I don't think that's-" William froze. He leaped off the top step and landed at the foot of the stairs in a fighting stance. Sybil sniffed the air.

"Hunters," she whispered.

"We have to leave. Now." He grabbed Sybil's arm. They ran to the back of the house, Kira right behind them.

"Where's Vivian?" William opened the back door. The three ran into the woods.

"She's still at school. She said she wouldn't be back until later." Sybil glanced back at her new home for a second before running alongside William.

"We can hide at Deaton's house. He's a druid who lives in the woods." Kira pointed due west. "Other people hid their before. Our angel lives with him. He can protect you."

"He would sooner kill us than protect us," William said.

Kira unclipped her belt. In seconds the belt unfolded into a katanna.

"Then I will."


An afternoon run through the woods was just another day for Malia. Malia had lived in the woods for years. It was her territory. So, when she came across the cat girl lying top of a large rock, she knew that the girl was invading her territory.

"Move." She flashed her blue, werecoyote eyes.

Abbie flashed her green eyes. "You move."

Malia growled. Abbie snarled. Their claws flicked out of their fingers. No one was there to tell them to back off.

And then they heard the gun shot. And both girls moved away from the noise as fast as possible.


Scott could smell Kira. He knew the scents of everyone in his pack. He and Matthew teleported to the edge of the woods. Kira, Sybil and William almost ran into them.

"You heard it too?" Kira held her katanna at her side. "Yeah. We were on our way to Deaton's house-"

"Did you kidnap her?" Matthew yanked Kira towards him.

"Matthew, chill. I was just hanging out with-"

"Quit acting so high and mighty. You think these guys aren't going to shoot you too?" William sneered at him. "In fact, out of all of us, I bet they kill you first."

"You blood sucking little bastard" Matthew summoned an energy ball. Before Scott could stop, a bullet flew past them into a nearby tree. Everyone ducked. A man thirty feet back called out that "they" were close.

"We need to get out of here. Now. Your grudges can wait."

"I'm not taking them anywhere," Matthew said.

"I said now!"

Sybil screamed. She clutched her arm. The white shirt was stained with black ooze. The hunters were getting closer.

"On God." William gulped.

Another bullet flew by. Kira swung her sword. The two halves of the bullet fell to the ground. Despite the imminent danger, Scott was still impressed.

"We need to go." Matthew touched Scott's shoulder, but he moved away.

"If you don't take them, then you don't take me," Scott said.

"I can teleport you against your will."

"Then I'll knock you out and run right out the door. They're allowed to stay here, so they get the same protection as anyone else."

"Are you serious?"

Scott didn't answer. His eyes flashed red.

"There they are!" They were close enough to them that even Matthew heard.

"Fine." Matthew waved his hand. Everything disappeared in light. Then Scott stood in Deaton's living room.


"This way!" Abbie jumped over a ravine 20 feet across. Malia was only two steps behind.

They darted through trees without leaves, no greenery to hide their movements. Ears alert for any sound. Suddenly three shots were fired due west.

"Come on." Abbie motioned her to follow. "My family made a place to hide. Not much further."

They stopped at a large rock half hidden by bushes. Abbie pushed aside some leaves. An opening small enough to crawl through smelled of stale water and woolen blankets.

"We'll be safe here."


Wyatt watched Scott and William settle Sybil onto the couch. Kira had asked him if he could heal her. He had said his powers didn't work on vampires. They might have, considering vampires apparently weren't demonic. But he didn't want to help them. Aunt Paige had been bitten by a vampire before he was born. She had almost lost her soul because of these leeches. They were exiles of the Underworld. They weren't worth healing.

William clutched Sybil's hand. "It's going to be okay. Vivian will come."

"Let me see." Scott gently took Sybil's arm and examined the wound. He peeled away the sleeve of her shirt. Wyatt almost gagged at the sight of black pus oozing out of a hole.

"I'll call Deaton to see if there's something we can do. I could sew the wound, but it won't help the infection."

"Blood jumpstarts the healing process," Sybil said. "But we left it at the house."

"Does it have to be human blood? He might have some stuff from the clinic here."

"That could work," William said.

"Kira, you find something to wrap her arm with for now. I'll see if there's anything here. Matthew, call Deaton."

Wyatt headed into his room. He pulled out his phone. He'd need to explain away the black stain on the couch, if nothing else.


"My mom left a flashlight here when we were hiding from assassins." A small light flickered in Abbie's hand. Malia saw shadows dance on the walls. It reminded her of her coyote den. It was only months ago, but it felt like an eternity.

"You were here with Naomi's pack." The scent of werewolf faintly hung in the air. The cave was about the size of a large bedroom "It must have been a tight squeeze."

"We didn't want anyone to die when we could have done something." Abbie rolled the flashlight across her palm. The light danced around the room.

"We're not heroes, though. Not like you."

"I'm not really a hero," Malia said. "I'm not even sure I want to stay human sometimes."

"Your pack led the fight against the assassins. Your alpha allowed vampires to stay in town because he felt like it was the right thing to do. It sounds heroic to me. My pride likes to stay out of trouble."

"I think that's smart." Malia hugged her knees to her chest. She missed her fur. It was cold.

"I'm sorry for trying to start a fight, Abbie."

"I'm sorry, too. I guess even a town this small is big enough to share."

"I guess so."

They waited another few minutes before peeking outside. No sign of anyone. As the sunlight faded into blue, the girls walked back to the road in a comfortable silence.


Kira wrapped her scarf around Sybil's arm. She tried not to stare at the black stuff. The arm was starting to darken.

"It's okay. I'm sure Scott will think of something." Kira had never been a very convincing liar, but Sybil smiled nevertheless.

"Thank you. Thank you for your kindness."

"It's going to be okay," William said. He stroked her hair. "I promise."

"Thank you, William. And tell Vivian thank you, for- " She coughed, "-saving me."

"Saving you?" Kira asked.

"It's a long story," William replied. He winced as Sybil coughed again.

"Vivian saved my life. If it wasn't for her bite, I'd be lying dead in an alleyway right now."

"Oh my God, I'm so sorry."

Sybil coughed too much to respond.

Scott ran into the living room. "There's nothing here. Matthew?"

Matthew walked in. "Deaton's not answering his phone."

Kira and William knelt by the bed. Sybil's eyes were half open. There was a smell in the air. Scott remembered it from the clinic. He had been able to smell which animals were getting better. And which were not. He knew the two of them could smell it, too.

Kira swallowed. "It doesn't need to be human blood, right?"

William shook his head, his eyes still on Sybil. "No."

Matthew took a step back. "No. Absolutely not. There's no way in hell I'm letting this girl feed on you, Kira."

"He's right," Scott said.

"Scott, she's dying."

"I know. And that's why I'm going to do it."

William snapped his head up. "What?"

"I'm the one who let you stay in Beacon Hills. I'm the alpha. This is my responsibility."

"Are you out of your fucking mind?!" Matthew tried to pull Scott away from the couch. Scott brushed him off.

"I'm the leader. This is my decision. That's final."

"What if she doesn't stop? Can't stop? What if you die? What if she turns you?" Matthew threw up his hands in exasperation.

Scott knelt at Sybil's head. "Sybil. Wake up."

Sybil's eyes fluttered open. "What?"

"Are you actually going to do this?" William whispered.

Scott held his wrist to her mouth. "Here. Drink up."

She weakly grasped his arm for a moment. "Th-thank you, Scott."He felt her lips tremble. Her fangs pierced his skin. It reminded him of a blood drive.


Study dates sometimes ended with the girl screaming. But those screams usually don't turn into sobs as she clutched her ears to block out gunshots. And the boy's idea of helping usually didn't involve stories about Polish relatives and lacrosse coaches. But they helped all the same. As he ran to get warm tea, Lydia held the locket in her palm. The silver was cold to the touch.

"Is this a gift or a curse?"

She felt her bed dip and bounce as Stiles scooted towards her. His warm body leaned close to hers.

"I don't know, Lydia. But I'll be there with you. No matter what."

She kissed him. A slow, gentle kiss, full of promises of kisses to come. A kiss interrupted by his phone ringing.

"Hello? Wait, what hunters?" Stiles jumped up. "Kira, what happened? Scott did what?"

"What's going on?"

"We're on our way." Stiles hung up. "Apparently Buffy the Vampire Slayer was passing through the neighborhood."

"Better than Bella Swan."


The pack was gathered in Deaton's living room, all talking over each other as they explained what happened. The werecoyote had an interested audience in most of them. Her story of a hidden cave and a new ally was short, but sweet. The werewolf Isaac and the banshee Lydia watched with interest as Kira mimed slicing a bullet in half. But Vivian was watching a different story unfold.

Vivian knew the smell of desire. In the foyer of the druid, its scent wafted in the air. She also knew the look of love. As soon as she saw Scott look at his whitelighter with such affection, she gave up any plans of seduction. With amusement, she saw Wyatt return his gaze when Scott wasn't looking. The look on the Elders' faces when they saw their champion of good has fallen for a shifter. The Twice-Blessed Witch, the mate of an alpha. Vivian didn't have to see William's face to know he was smirking.

The vampire queen gestured for Sybil and William to stand with her. She waited for Scott to say something first.

"Listen, I hope you're all alright. If the hunters come back, Deaton said you can stay here, or you can come to my house. If you need anything, just ask."

She dropped into a deep curtsey. Her red dress spread out like a fan. The rest of her clan followed suit.

"For centuries, we have tried in vain to serve the masters of the Underworld. We were exiled for our troubles. Barred from Hell, banned from Heaven, the friends we found have been few and far between."

"Have you tried Facebook," the mortal named Stiles muttered under his breath. Vivian ignored him.

"Now we have finally found someone worthy of our loyalty. Scott McCall, on behalf of my clan, I accept you as our liege. We offer you our bounty, our blood, and if need be, our lives."

"Our what?" Scott took a step back. He clutched the edge of his jacket.

"It means king," Lydia said. "Studied for the SAT yet?"

"I am studying. And thank you for your, um, offer. But I'm not a king."

"Oh? Do all alphas receive an angel to watch over them?" Vivian glanced at Wyatt, who slouched in his seat. "Especially ones so capable?" He gave her a slight nod.

"She's right about one thing," Wyatt said. "You are destined for something great, Scott."

Scott shoved his hands in his pockets. "Okay, well then, yeah."

Vivian's lips curled upwards, letting a hint of fang peek through. Someone very powerful had gone to a lot of trouble to secure Scott a Charmed One's son as a whitelighter. That someone must have seen what she saw. Something remarkable.

Chapter Text

She was tied to a pole with metal chains. The people stood behind a glass window. Some to watch, others to cheer, a few had come to pray for her soul. She wished she could thank those few.

He was so smug. She wanted to claw that smirk off his face.

"I love the smell of burnt witch in the morning."

She trembled with anger. "At least I'm paying for my crimes. There'll come a day when you'll pay for yours, too."

"Remorseless to the end, huh?"

The man turned to face the people. A born politician, he was.

"Let today be a lesson to all those who would seek to defy human nature with their way of life. Let today serve notice that black magic will not be tolerated in our society. And let today be remembered as the day we burned the witch!"

Fire burst forth from the floor. Her orange jumpsuit singed to black. Heat seared her skin. In seconds it would burn away. Then her nerves, her muscles, her blood . . .

She died screaming.

She woke up screaming. . Her youngest daughter ran in as her husband rubbed his eyes. The clock on the nightstand and the window outside told her it was late. Or early.

"Mom, what happened? Was it a demon?" Peyton's brown eyes shined with an innocence that tugged at her mother's heart.

"No sweetie. Just a bad dream. It's okay."

"I'll sleep here and make the bad dreams go away." She pulled at the covers.

"No, Ladybug. I'll be fine."

"I'll stay here and keep Mom safe," Coop said.

After another minute of coaxing, Peyton went back to her room. Phoebe felt her husband's arms around her shoulders. Her muscles relaxed.

"Same dream?"

"Yeah."

"I'm sorry."

"Thank you."

Phoebe laid her head on Coop's chest. She fell asleep to the rhythm of his heartbeat.


Paige wasn't supposed to have coffee in the Magic School library. She had once been headmistress of the place; she knew the rules. But she also knew her brother-in-law, the current headmaster, had other concerns.

The room was practically empty. Most students were eating breakfast or doing their homework at the last minute. Paige let the quiet sink in as she skimmed an old, leather bound book.

Witch Trials and Male Witches: A History by Amber DuBois

Two thirds of witches were female. The first witch in history was a woman. The most powerful line of witches was all women until Wyatt was born. For better or worse, being a witch wasn't seen as a man's job. During the Burning Times, women were typically killed in much higher numbers, although, as the author noted, this wasn't always the case. In Russia, the majority of victims were men. Overall, historians believed that the number of deaths ranged from 40,000 to 100,000 in Europe.

Paige didn't know if these hunters believed witches were only female. She hadn't heard of any male witches that went missing. All she could hope was that the Order didn't find her nephew.

Kat orbed in front of the desk. Paige noted a ketchup stain on her sweatshirt. Her black curls were tied into a tight ponytail.

"Mom, this isn't fair."

Paige hid her book. She didn't want to scare her children.

"What isn't fair?"

Everything was unfair at 13, she thought. At least her daughters didn't have to deal with braces.

"Dad bought this sunflower butter crap-"

"Language."

"-for Tamara because she's suddenly a vegan, and he won't buy real peanut butter because it's 'a waste of money to buy both.' How am I supposed to have PB&J with just J?"

"Well now you can have SB&J." Paige went to put the book back on the shelf. Her daughter was at her heels, sulking.

"More like BS&J."

"Watch your language, Kat. You'll have plenty of time to curse later in life."

"Henry and I want real peanut butter. It's two to one."

Paige sighed. "Okay, don't tell Uncle Leo I told you to do this. Orb into the dining hall when the students are finishing up breakfast. Throw on a robe to blend in. Steal the peanut butter that they keep in the back by the bread. Problem solved."

"Wait, you're telling me to steal?" Paige hated that Kat looked impressed.

"Everyone did it in college. Now hurry up. School's going to start soon."

Kat orbed away. Paige took a deep breath. She had charges to meet with.


The door to the headmaster's office was closed. It was a heavy door. And the magic that created it made it almost impossible to eavesdrop. Students couldn't listen to parent-teacher conferences, even if they pressed a glass to the door. On that particular day, there were no parent-teacher conferences. No one stood anxiously at the door. No one heard the sound of a wooden chair cracking as it was thrown against a wall. No one heard the crying. No one heard the headmaster brush the splinters aside. When the door opened, the rip in Leo's sleeve was the only indication a stranger would have that the headmaster's son was missing.


The lunchroom was crowded. Long, white tables packed with students eating, talking or studying. Blue and white booths lined the wall. In one of those booths, two girls with the same first and last name-Prudence Halliwell-were arguing just quietly enough to not be heard over the chatter.

"Stop skipping lunch, PJ. There's starving kids in Zimbabwe." Mel shoved the BLT sandwich in her cousin's face. For once the girls were eating together. Usually PJ ate with her gaggle of future sorority sisters, and Mel ate with her friend Jamie. But Jamie was sick, and the twins weren't speaking to each other. Something about butter. Henry and Parker were in the sixth grade, which meant that they had a different lunch period.

PJ's friends were all either on their phones or talking about a bat mitzvah next weekend. Mel stabbed at her mac and cheese. PJ smoothed down her pink top and tugged at her blonde ponytail.

"They children in Zimbabwe can eat my sandwich then." PJ chugged half her water bottle down in less than a minute. Mel hoped it wasn't part of some stupid diet.

"You realize your vanity is setting women back thirty years?"

"You're failing math. How feminist is that?"

"Oh please. What has Algebra ever done for anyone?"

"Oh, my God, look," a girl named Ashley exclaimed as she held her phone up for all to see. PJ and the other girls huddled next to her. Mel saw a picture on the screen of a skinny starlet. She gathered her things and left without a goodbye. Let someone else talk to her, she thought.

The hallway was almost empty. She could hear her sneakers against the linoleum floors. She stopped at the entrance to the library. Next to the entrance was a glass case. The baseball team's silver trophy from last year sat on the top shelf. Wyatt's name wasn't on it, but Mel had to blink back tears all the same.


"Have you even bothered to try it?" Tamara offered half of her sunflower butter and banana sandwich to her sister. "It's really good, trust me."

"I don't negotiate with terrorists," Kat said.

"That doesn't even make sense."

"You don't make sense."

"Will you both shut up?" Kat's friend Josh looked up from his phone and his untouched meatloaf. "Seriously, to vegan or not to vegan. That is the question."

Kat glared at the sandwich. "I don't care what she eats. I just want my own peanut butter."

"Well I'm sorry Dad doesn't want to buy both. I wasn't complaining when he bought that gross mac and cheese with the orange powder." Tamara fiddled with her crescent moon pendant.

"That stuff tastes great."

"That stuff is radioactive," Josh said without looking up from his phone.

"Okay Josh, you think she's right? You try it." Kat shoved her sister's sandwich in her friend's face.

"Fine." Josh bit at the corner. Stuff that looked like peanut butter oozed out. He chewed it slowly. Kat watched his face as he swallowed for any sign of gagging.

"Well?"

"Eh. It's okay." Josh shrugged.

"See?" Tamara grinned like a cat that got the dairy-free cream.

"That doesn't prove anything. Josh eats the cafeteria food."

"Then you try it," Josh said. He tossed the sandwich in her lunchbox. Kat groaned.

"Goddamn it." She touched her lips to the crust, then opened her mouth and squeezed her eyes shut. The sunflower butter wormed its way onto her tongue.

"Well?" Tamara leaned on her propped up elbows.

"It's . . . edible."

"Told you."

"It's not peanut butter though."

"At least it's not meatloaf." Josh held up the mystery brick on his tray. "This shit makes me want to turn vegan."

The three resumed eating until the bell rang.


Replacing Wyatt was harder than Chris had thought it would be.

Chris' eight-year-old cousin Peyton sat next to him on her living room couch. Her big brown eyes were wide with glee as an episode of My Little Pony played on screen. Wyatt was the only other one in the family who actually tolerated this show, and he watched with Peyton every week. She had been so despondent after Wyatt left that Chris decided that he would watch with Peyton. He didn't realize how much he hated children's programming until that point. Or singing. Or horses. Or friendship.

Peyton had whined when he checked his phone at the beginning of the show. 15 minutes in, Peyton's attention was only on the screen. Her little pigtails bounced in excitement. Chris took a chance and peeked at his phone. His friend Justin had sent him a couple memes. Chris texted back "lol." Justin was typing something back when Peyton's little finger tapped his shoulder.

"Chris. You're missing it." Peyton pointed to the TV, where one of the ponies was upset about something that would be resolved in the next 10 minutes.

"I'm just texting someone, Peyton. I don't even know who the characters are, so it's hard to keep up."

"Oh!" Peyton pointed at the white horse. "That's Rarity. She's a fashion designer. And that's Applejack. She's a farmer, and honest. And that's Twilight Sparkle. . ." To Chris' dismay, Peyton started a long explanation of every character that was shown-their powers, their pets and other inane facts. In that moment, Chris realized how much he didn't want children.

Parker flounced into the room. She tossed her jean jacket on a chair. Without so much as a hello to her cousins, she snatched the remote from the floor.

"Hey that's mine."

"No it's not. You watched enough of this dumb show. Go play with your Barbies." Parker switched to a show Chris didn't recognize.

"No, you go read your books. Chris, Parker stole the remote!" Peyton must not have remembered he was sitting right next to her.

"Chris doesn't want to watch this show either." Parker didn't even bother looking at her sister. She pushed her glasses up and leaned back on her hands.

"Chris!"

"Chris, tell Peyton to shut up."

"That's a bad word!"

His phone buzzed in his pocket. It was his sister. Saved by the ringtone.

"Mel-needs-me-see-you-later-love-you-bye." He orbed away before either girl could do anything.


Tamara stretched her legs until they touched the other end of the couch. Her parents were at work. Her sister was at soccer practice. Her brother was upstairs. She had the living room to herself. With a soft sigh, she flipped through her book until she found the dog-eared page.

Thieves had no honor- that was the saying. But this thief had saved John's life. The bandits would have seized him for the purse, if not for the bounty, yet quicksilvered arrows darted out through the trees to scare them off. As if they were sent by Providence itself.

John carried on towards the tavern-

"Where's the scissors?"

Tamara peered over the top of her book. Her brother stood at the bottom of the staircase with a piece of paper in his hand. His wavy brown hair covered his face so she couldn't see his eyes.

"I have a pair in my top desk drawer." Figures he would lose his, she thought.

"Thanks." Henry darted upstairs. He would probably stay up in his room until dinner. Henry had done that a lot lately. On the weekends, he either went to a friend's house, the park or the library. A few days ago Parker had said he hadn't spoken to her much in the last week and a half.

Tamara had heard her parents discussing it one night. "Adoption angst," as her mom called it. She had gone through it when she was in high school-when her parents weren't her parents, and her birth family was out there somewhere waiting for her. Maybe Henry wanted to find his birth parents, too. Especially since he was a mortal in a family of witches.

Tamara wished she knew how to tell Henry that he wasn't any different than her or Kat or any of them. But he didn't want to talk about it. Bugging him wouldn't do anything.


Chris slumped back in his seat and glared at his cousin. Mel had told him PJ had skipped lunch that day. He orbed her to the manor kitchen and sat her down to a grilled cheese sandwich and a stern look.

"God, will everyone quit it already? I just want to lose a few pounds." PJ pushed her chair back. Before she could get up, Chris telekinetically pushed the table towards her.

"I heard your mom tell my mom that the doctor told you you're underweight. If you keep this up, you'll have to see some specialist. Your parents will be on your back all the time. Do you want that?" He pressed his hands on the table like a camp counselor lecturing a kid. Wyatt would have thought of something better to say.

"What, you'll be jealous that you're not the crazy one anymore?" PJ shot back. "Maybe I'll ace my math test and become the smart one, too." Her face filled with defiance.

Chris nodded. "I get it. It's a big family. Sometimes it's hard to get attention. Wyatt's the powerful one. Peyton's the baby. And half the reason I think my parents ever pay attention to me is because they're scared I'll off myself." He rubbed his wrists. He knew that she knew what he had done before. And he hated that she knew about it.

PJ's bare shoulders twitched. "I didn't mean that. Chris, please don't talk like that."

"Does it scare you? Well guess what, you not eating is scaring me too. It's scaring a lot of us."

PJ picked up the sandwich with the tips of her fingers. "I'm sorry." She wouldn't look him in the eye.

Chris pulled up a chair. "You're beautiful, PJ. But you're more than just a pretty face. You are smart, and you are creative, caring and powerful in your own right. So don't ever think that you're not. Okay?"

PJ peeked up at him. "Okay."

"Okay. Now how about I get you some milk to go with your sandwich? Sound good."

She nodded. She took a small bite of her sandwich and chewed it carefully. By the time Chris got the milk, half the sandwich was eaten.


Restaurant kitchens quiet down in between lunch and dinner. In a San Franciscan restaurant, a handful of patrons sat at tables that afternoon. Half the staff was on break. No one was near the pantry at the back. So no one heard their boss crying into a napkin. Everyone knew Wyatt wasn't there for his shifts anymore. His mother said he had been sent to rehab for drug use. They offered their condolences. He was such a sweet boy, started busing tables at age 12. The staff all hoped he would come home soon.

His mother agreed.


After dinner, Chris orbed to Aunt Paige's house. Wyatt had told him to spend time with Henry. He hadn't said they had to have some heartfelt discussion, though.

"I will go up to the six-fingered man and say Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya." The TV screen was filled with the swordsman's face. "You killed my father-"

"Prepare to die," Chris and Henry said in unison. Henry grabbed the bowl of popcorn from the table as Inigo and Wesley started fighting.

"They're not even trying," Chris said. He had taken a few sword fighting lessons at Magic School.

"Of course not. They're both using their left hands." Henry shoved a handful of popcorn in his mouth. "Oh look. Here comes the flip."

"I wonder if Inigo is paid by the hour. Maybe that's why he wants it to go on for so long."

"Nah. There was no TV back then. This was what they had for entertainment."

"There was TV around when the grandfather came to read to the kid. How come they didn't just watch that?" Chris scooped up some popcorn without taking his eyes off the screen.

"Maybe it's like when Grandpa wanted to take us fishing once."

"Yeah, and Wyatt capsized the boat after ten minutes." Chris shook his head. He still couldn't understand how his brother had done that.

A commercial break started. Henry got up. Chris heard the fridge door open.

"Get me a soda," Chris called without looking. A second later he felt something press onto the couch cushion and saw a soda can sitting next to his lap. "Damn Henry, you should try out for basketball in high school."

"Eh, it's not that impressive."

"Is too."

"Maybe it runs in my family. Who knows?"

Chris frowned. "Do you want to find your birth parents?" It was understandable. Most adopted kids wanted to meet their biological parents. And that's without taking the mortal/witch family dynamic into consideration. It was natural if Henry felt like he didn't belong. Crappy, but natural.

"Right now, I'd rather find Wyatt." Henry drummed his fingers on the top of the soda can.

"Me too," Chris said quietly.


"So here's what we have so far." Phoebe smoothed over the map. It was of the continental United States. Red dots mostly littered the east coast, with a few in the Midwest. Piper stood at the Book of Shadows, the book opened to one of the very first pages, probably written by Melinda Warren herself.

"The Order killed witches back east during Salem. Makes sense they would start there if they rose up again." Piper turned the page. "But there's nothing here about kidnapping."

"Paige said the girl who escaped didn't really see much." Phoebe added a red mark to New Orleans.

"She also said witches in Europe are mobilizing against their own attacks." Piper squinted at the page. "You remember that witch hunter we faced once? He buried those charms that blocked our powers?"

"Yeah?"

"There's a way around that. Danburite dipped in the blood of a werewolf."

Phoebe rolled the map back up. "Danburite is a crystal that helps unblock energy. I've never used werewolf blood, though."

"That's probably because they don't like witches." Piper shut the book.

"Still, it's something to consider." Phoebe stood up, brushing dust off her dress. "I have to go home. It's almost Peyton's bedtime."

"How is she? How are the girls doing? I haven't seen them in forever." The sisters headed down the stairs to the first floor. Phoebe's car was parked in the street.

"They're okay. Chris came over earlier to watch My Little Pony with Peyton." Phoebe smiled as she remembered how embarrassed her nephew looked when she had found them in the living room. And how he had let Peyton snuggle up next to him.

"Oh that's adorable. I hope you got a picture."

"Unfortunately not."

The sisters stopped at the front door. Phoebe gave her sister an impromptu hug.

"How are you holding up?"

Piper buried her head in her sister's shoulder. "Some days are better than others."

"We'll find him, Piper. Wyatt is strong. He's smart. He's almost an adult."

"Almost," Piper whispered, her voice breaking with a small sob.

"It's going to be okay. I can feel it."

Piper's body trembled as she cried. Phoebe rubbed her thumb over her shoulder blade.

"It's going to be okay, Piper. It's going to be okay."

"Every time I pass by his room I expect him to be inside. Sometimes I swear I can hear his footsteps." Piper lifted her head to wipe her eyes. "Why did he go, Phoebe? Why isn't he here?"

"I don't know." Phoebe felt her own eyes burning with tears. "I don't know."

It was in the very room that Phoebe had delivered her nephew. She could still remember holding him in her arms. All the demon attacks, all the threats, all the fear. All for this. A disappearance into the night. As her sister cried, Phoebe silently asked the oldest of gods to find her nephew. To bring him home. They had already lost Prue. They couldn't lose him, too.

Chapter Text

The small Mexican town was only about 20 minutes south of the border. Located on top of a plateau, wooden and concrete buildings lined a potholed road. People walked about a small square, selling food or talking.

Stiles rubbed his hands together. "This doesn't seem so bad."

Lydia frowned. "It's not the town. It's the plan."

"What's wrong with the plan?" He shouldn't have asked that. There was a lot wrong with the plan.

"Stiles. This could be the stupidest plan we've ever come up with." Lydia's eyes shifted around, searching for threats like Argent trained them to. "You're aware of that, right?"

"I'm aware it's not our best." They began walking to the rendezvous point. He tried not to act like he noticed the people watching them-two American teenagers, as out of place as a burrito in a Chinese restaurant.

"We are going to die."

"Are you saying that as a banshee or are you just being pessimistic?"

"I'm saying it as a person who doesn't want to die."

"Okay then, well do you mind restricting any talk of death to actual banshee predictions?"

"This plan is stupid and we're going to die."

"Oh thank you."

Stiles kissed the smirk off Lydia's lips. He slipped his hand into hers, and they swung their arms in unison as they walked.


"It's okay. We'll be fine." Scott loaded his suitcase into the Jeep's trunk.

"Will you call me if-"

"Yes, we'll call you if anything happens. But seriously, you don't have to worry."

"It's my job to worry."

"Worrying causes health problems." He slammed the trunk shut. "Unless angels don't have health problems."

Matthew crossed his arms over his chest. "You don't need to know about angels' physiology."

"I can smell pheromones. I know a little bit already."

Matthew arched an eyebrow. "You should get going. It'd be better to get there before it gets dark."

Scott's lips curled into a slight smile as Matthew walked off to say goodbye to the others. Everyone had gathered at Stiles' house to load the Jeep and Allison's car, which was parked outside. A few minutes ago, Stiles had mentioned that Matthew stood closer to him and followed him around more than anyone else. Scott was starting to think his angel was into him. Of course, it was a moot point considering Matthew was an angel.

Liam stepped into the garage. Scott waited for the same thing he had been hearing all day.

"I'm only two years younger than you, you know."

"Which is a lot when we're in high school. Also, you were bitten two months ago. You're too inexperienced." Scott smiled. "We don't want you getting hurt."

"I'll be fine."

"Right, because you'll be here with Matthew."

"I don't need a babysitter!" Liam stomped his foot on the concrete floor.

"Think of it this way. You two are holding down the fort so we can go knowing Beacon Hills is protected."

Allison came in lugging a case of water bottles. Her face was scrunched up in pain. Scott reached out to take them before she could protest. She reopened the car trunk.

"My car doesn't have room. And I thought it'd be a good idea to have these if we're stranded somewhere." She ruffled Liam's hair. "Hey."

Liam batted her hand away. "Will everyone stop treating me like a child? You are two years older than me."

"Actually, I'm three years older than you. Look, I know you're upset. But I promise we'll bring you back a T-shirt."

"Forget it." Liam stomped off. Scott and Allison chuckled.

"I hope he stays out of trouble while we're gone," Allison said.

"Somehow I doubt it."


Allison followed her dad, who followed a Mexican hunter, down a winding dark corridor. The Calaveras were known for their strict adherence to the Hunter's Code. According to her father, the head of the family did not approve of Allison's new code.

The man, Severo, said nothing as he walked. He wore a black jacket and a stern expression. Her father didn't seem to like him; he touched the knife hidden in his jacket when Severo came to greet them. Allison wished she had her bow with her. But she had been training with knives recently. And they weren't alone. Her friends weren't far away.

At the end of the hallway, Severo opened a metal door. The room was large, with stuffed chairs and red walls. Dim lighting prevented Allison from seeing the woman's face clearly as she rose to greet them.

"Hello, mija. My name is Araya."

The place was sketchy as fuck, Stiles thought. Two guys stood on either side of the door with concealed guns and standard leather-jacket-trying-too-hard-to-look-intimidating outfits. Stiles held up the card he had purchased in town earlier. Lydia stood close to him. One of the men pointed to a camera above the door. Stiles held the card up higher. The men opened the door.

At the end of a hallway was a door. Loud thumping could be heard through the metal. Stiles slowly opened it. He knew what was behind the door, but he was still on edge.

Moving spot lights diffused light through the efforts of an overworked fog machine. Loud, drunken teenagers danced like they didn't have a care in the world. The beginning of an orgy may or may not have started in the back of the room. Above it all, in little stations set on balconies, two DJs controlled the music.

A rave.

They made their way to the bar. They were supposed to watch the whole place. If the guards seemed suspicious, they were to text Scott and Allison.

Unfortunately, the bartender set two shots in front of them as soon as they sat down.

"It's on the house," a deep voiced man said behind them.

So much for sneaking. Stiles hoped that the others were having better luck.


Kira felt more awkward than usual standing in the middle of a dance club floor filled with half clothed people.

"Blend in," Malia yelled over the music.

Kira's face was blank.

"Dance, dumbass."

"Oh."

Malia had already turned to a guy in a tight T-shirt. She leaned her head back and swayed her hips. He grabbed her by the waist. The two of them twisted their bodies in time to the music. It was hard to believe that this girl had spent half her teenage years as a coyote.

Kira looked around the room. A girl with an empty shot glass leaned against the wall. She wore a white sundress that she tugged and fiddled with. She sprinted over to the girl before she could lose her nerve.

"Hi, do you want to dance?"

"Huh?" The girl jerked her head back. "Are you talking to me?"

"Um, yeah, but it's okay you're busy." Busy. They were at a club. Kira mentally kicked herself.

The girl shrugged. She set the glass on the nearest table. She walked out onto the dance floor, then looked over her shoulder. "You coming?"

"Okay."

Near the center of the dance floor, the girl wrapped her arms around Kira's waist. She guided her hips to the beat. They looked in each other's eyes for several seconds as Kira arched her back. The girl's tongue touched her lips. The guards walked past them without as much as a glance.


"I've always loved the music of youth. Especially this kind, with its savage energy," Araya said as she sat behind the table, whittling with a sharp knife, holding it like she had used knives all her life. Her son stood nearby, in the shadows. He hadn't said much.

"We know you have Derek Hale," Allison's father said. "And as far as we know, he hasn't spilled human blood. Unless you have any evidence to the contrary, keeping him would violate the code."

Araya smiled. "You changed your code though, haven't you Allison? What was it your father mentioned once? Something about protection?"

"We protect those who cannot protect themselves." Allison held her head level, her back straight.

"And what makes you think you have the right to change hundreds of years of tradition, hm? Our code has served us well."

"But it hasn't served others."

"Like your mother?"

Allison did not avert her gaze. "Like a lot of people."

Her father had told her not to betray emotions on the car ride there. She was an Argent, and Argents could keep their cool.

Araya nodded at her son. "Severo will show your father to the basement, where we keep those difficult to contain. You, Allison, will come with me."

"To where?" Her father made no move to follow Severo as he headed towards the door.

"We will not hurt your daughter, Chris. She's one of us, after all. The bearer of our legacy."

Allison nodded towards her dad. They weren't alone, after all.

Araya touched Allison's shoulder. "Come, mija. I want to get to know you."


Isaac and Scott walked down a red hallway. The noises from the dance floor were audible even without their heightened senses.

"Where do you think he is?" Isaac sniffed the air for any trace of Derek. Even if he wasn't his alpha anymore, even if a part of him blamed him for Erica and Boyd's deaths, he didn't want him hurt.

"Probably below ground. Somewhere where no one would just stumble across him." Scott turned a corner and paused.

"Do you hear something?" Isaac didn't have senses as strong as a True Alpha's.

"Maybe."

They walked further down the hall. Isaac hoped that the others could distract the Calaveras long enough.

Suddenly both boys stopped. A man was walking around the corner towards them. Electric crackling told them that he was carrying a cattle prod, one of the hunter's favorite weapons. They waited until he came to the edge of the hall. Scott darted out an arm to punch the guy in the guy. Isaac grabbed the cattle prod before the man could react. Then Scott knocked him out.

"Let's keep going," Scott said as they shoved the guy in a convenient nearby closet. "There has to be a staircase or something."


After her father left, a man brought Stiles and Lydia inside the room. They took the seats next to Allison. When Araya wasn't looking, Stiles winked at Allison. The plan was going well.

"So I see you brought a banshee with you. And a boy you've started to train in combat." Araya looked them over. "Tell me Stiles, do you think you'll one day join our mission?"

"Are you talking about hunting werewolves or are you trying to convert me?"

Allison snickered. Stiles' sarcasm was a power in itself. Even Araya seemed amused.

"Are you going to give us Derek or not?" Lydia asked.

"Perhaps."

"We're going to get Derek. One way or another."

"I'm afraid the three of you are in no position to make threats."

Stiles leaned forward. "What makes you think it's just the three of us?"

Araya's smile fell off her face as she stared at Allison, not Stiles. For a second, she almost looked betrayed. Whatever code rule she had broken, the woman was not going to take it lightly.

Severo spoke into his walkie talkie. Guards from each section answered back. Until he got to the northern section.

"Who else is here?"

Stiles shrugged. "Who do you think?"

"You brought a wolf into my home?"

She looked at Allison, not Stiles, and sounded almost insulted. Allison stared her dead in the eye.

"We brought an alpha."


"Maybe we should check this way," Kira said. She led the others through another hallway.

Isaac swallowed. Having Kira and Malia with them made him feel slightly calmer. Malia had trailed their scent after they had both apparently gotten into it with the guards on the dance floor after the finished a second search of the room.. (What amazed Malia more than anything was that most of the people just kept on dancing while people were battling with glow stick nunchucks and other weapons.)

A gentle rumble through the walls made Scott stick out an arm halt the others. He took a step forward. Pure white smoke blew in from a side hallway, so thick the floor was covered. Suddenly more smoke was released behind them. A large puff flew into Isaac's face.

"Wolfsbane," Scott said. "It's wolfsbane! Kira, get out of here. Kira, look out!"

Scott, Malia and Isaac started coughing. Through the smoke, Isaac saw a man appear. Kira swung her katana. The man dodged it and whacked her across the head with a stick, knocking her out. An older woman, Araya, appeared.

"Someone who has only been an alpha for a few months should be more careful when facing a hunter of forty years."

Loud, rasping coughs were the only noises Scott could make. Isaac remembered in 5th grade when Scott had had such a severe asthma attack that an ambulance had been called in. He had sounded just like this. And this woman just stood there.

That's when it hit him.

Isaac growled. "You don't know where Derek is either. Bitch."

Araya laughed. With what little strength he had left, Isaac lunged at her, claws out. She was surprised enough that he managed to pierce her skin before she jabbed a cattle prod at his chest. Everything went black.


Scott woke to the glare of cheap fluorescent lighting. He was lying on a concrete floor. Someone said he was awake. Hands gently tugged at his arms.

"Scott, you okay?" Stiles searched his face for any sign of pain.

"They don't have him. They don't have Derek."

"We know," Kira said.

"But now they have Allison and Lydia," Isaac said as he knelt next to him. Kira hovered near them. Malia leaned against a post.

"Lydia? What do they want with Lydia?"


"I have to admit, I don't have much experience with banshees." Araya poured tea. The table was full of untouched food. The cut on her check was an angry shade of red.

"That makes two of us, since I don't have much experience being one." Lydia glanced at the town in the early morning light. They were sitting outside, three men standing in front of them, bodyguards perhaps. Lydia remembered what Ciara had taught her. Their ways were not secrets, but they were not to be overshared.

"I have a feeling you underestimate your abilities, Lydia."

"Trust me. You'd have better luck with tarot cards."

"Is that so?" Araya sipped her tea. "Let's find out." She grinned over her tea cup.

"Tell me. Which of these men is going to die?"

Lydia swallowed. Ciara had never told her how to handle something like this.

Allison had been told to wait in what she could only assume was a torture chamber. Two chairs sat in the middle, with wires plugged into a nearby box curled around the armrests. Her father had left with Severo. Something about hunters back east. Araya would be back in a few minutes.

She ran her fingers over the black box. It looked a bit like a stereo, with a dial at the top. Allison knew what the box was. She had an idea of what they were going to do. But she didn't want to call for Matthew. Not yet. Allison hated all those times she had been forced to call for help. Besides, Matthew was a witch, a human as vulnerable to bullets and knives as she was, without the protection of a last name like hers. It was better she try something herself.

"So how does this work?" Araya peeled an orange with a knife. "Do you have to touch them? Should I give you something they own? Or is it just a feeling?"

"I told you. I don't know."

"Just how close to death do they have to be?"

"The phrase 'women's intuition' started with us. When you have a sense of foreboding, don't ignore it. Even if there's no reason behind the feeling. You are a banshee, Lydia. Your feelings are a reason unto themselves."

Araya set the knife down. Lydia saw her tap the blade. A coldness came, and not from the air.

"Don't," she said as Araya's fingers gripped the handle.

"Don't what?"

"Don't kill him."

"Ah, it seems you have a greater mastery than you thought."

Araya took the knife. Lydia lunged forward but all she did was topple over fruit and spill tea. One of the men glanced over at them. The knife flew into his chest. He collapsed onto the dirt road. The other hunters didn't as much as scream.

Lydia jumped out of her chair. "What did you do that for?" she asked in a breathless voice.

"He stole from me."

"What do you want?" That sense of cold hadn't gone away.

"Right now? I want to know about your friends, Allison and Scott." She leaned forward, her arms pressed against the table. "I want to know what kind of hunter and what kind of alpha they really are."


When they came for them, they came with guns and more cattle prods. As one woman reminded them, not all of their party had the power to heal. A subtle threat, but with Lydia nowhere to be seen, Kira and Scott went with them without a fight.

Scott straddled the metal chair. Chains bound his wrists and ankles, and wires connected those chains to a black box in the middle of the room. Lydia sat in another chair, also bound. Severo held Kira by the arm, forcing her to stand at the box. Other hunters fiddled with the wires. Araya smiled at Allison.

"Now let us show you how we find out what we need to know."

"Let them go. Now." Allison's voice sounded like her mother, Scott thought. Like she wasn't to be messed with.

Araya turned to her son. He took Kira's wrist and pulled it to the box.

"Your hand goes here. Now, let me explain what's about to happen. This one, the fox, has an immunity to electricity. So, she's going to turn the dial for the alpha. If she doesn't, I'll turn the dial for the banshee."

"No. I'm not doing this." Kira tried to twist her wrist away.

"Are you sure? One of your friends has the power to heal. The other? Not so much."

"What are you doing?" Scott asked. "Is this a game to you?"

"This is a test, Lobito," Araya answered. She sauntered around the room, clasping her hands together. "Let's see if you pass. We're going to ask you some questions. You answer, nobody gets hurt. You don't answer, we turn the dial."

"Don't test us, Araya," Allison whispered. She took a step towards her. Her clenched chin was level with the floor. Her eyes took the hunter on, unflinching.

"You remind me of your mother when she was young, mija." If Allison was bothered by her comment, she didn't show it.

Kira tugged at her wrist again. Scott could smell the fear from her more than anyone else in the room. Her heart was beating faster, too. She looked at him like she was begging him for something.

"Do what they say," he told her. "Okay? Whatever they want. I can take it."

He couldn't help her at the moment. He kept his voice even, but he was scared, too. He'd never been electrocuted before. Kira swallowed, and nodded.

"So," Araya said to Scott, "we don't know where Derek is. We want to find him as well." She tilted her head. "You know who took him."

"What? How would I know that?"

"That doesn't sound like an answer to me."

"We don't know," Lydia said. "Why do you think we came here?"

Araya's lips curled upwards. "Kira, turn the dial." Kira's eyes darted to Scott, to Lydia, to Allison. "Should we turn the dial on Lydia instead?" Severo touched the other knob.

"No, no! Do it, Kira. Do it."

It wasn't simple morality that drove Scott to accept the pain. The space between his lungs felt like it was being squeezed by angry hands. The thought of Lydia hurt almost made his eyes flash red. Protect Lydia. Protect his pack.

"You bastards." Allison darted to the box, but a large hunter grabbed her waist and held her as she kicked and twisted with a fury Scott couldn't help but like. She had always been so strong. She gave him strength, too.

"Let's start at one."

Kira turned the dial.

His wrists prickled, like an outlethad shocked him.. All his muscles tensed at once. He screamed. Sparks flew from the chains, illuminating the room. He clutched the metal chair. Araya let him suffer for a couple minutes.

"Tell me, who really has Derek? Who had a reason, a vendetta particular to the Hales?"

"I said I don't know," he said in between long, desperate breaths. The sparks were reflecting off the sweat on his skin.

"Oh, you don't know because you haven't figured it out yet." She glanced at Allison, who was still trying to fight her way free. "So think."

It was hard to think when he was being electrocuted.

"Tres," Severo said.

"It's okay," Scott told Kira.

She turned the dial again. The sparks jumped higher. Scott arched his neck as he yelled in pain. He was starting to feel numb. A painful numbness, like someone had hit his funny bone a hundred times.

"Who had the power? The power of a shapeshifter?"

"I don't know."

"Someone who could have turned without you knowing. Turned, but not from a bite."

"I don't know," he growled.

"Diez!"

"Scott!" Allison's voice was tinged with desperation.

Scott's stomach dropped.

"Diez!"

Araya shoved Kira out of the way. As if on cue, Lydia screamed. The hunters covered their ears, including the one who held Allison. Allison slipped a dagger out of her boot. She threw it at the box just as Araya managed to turn the dial. The knife pierced the dial, missing Araya's hand by inches. Sparks erupted from the top of the box. Scott ripped his arms free from the restraints and roared. In the confusion, Allison was able to slip next to Araya and pull out another knife.

"No one move. No one even breathe," she said as she pressed the blade to the woman's throat.

"Say the name, Allison. I know you figured it out."

"What you're saying is impossible."

"Scott?"

Scott slumped in the chair. His claws were out, his eyes red, panting as though he was human again after a long run. Images flashed through his mind, conversations and cut throats.

"Kate." He rested his head against the back of the chair. "Kate."


When they were being released, the hunters all glanced at Isaac with suspicion. He heard them whisper to each other that he had managed to give a scar to Araya. Fear wafted from their bodies. Isaac wished he had more time to appreciate that people thought he was intimidating for once in his life. Instead, the pack waited at the edge of the compound for Argent to finish talking with Severo. Allison had said she needed to use the bathroom. Isaac thought she just wanted to avoid everyone.

The bright sun made him squint. When she pulled up to the compound on a motorcycle, Isaac took a few seconds to recognize her. The girl. The one who saved him from the alpha pack all those months ago. Isaac had never gotten to properly thank the mysterious girl who had saved him from being killed by Deucalion and his pack. He darted over.

"Hey, looks like you lived."

"Yeah, thanks to you."

"You know her," Stiles asked as he backed up to avoid getting run over.

"Braeden," Scott answered.

Lydia pressed her lips together. "A mercenary."

"She saved my life," Isaac said.

"For money."

"Right now, I'm the only one who's going to take you to La Iglesia."

"The Church?" Lydia raised an eyebrow.

"What's The Church?" Stiles asked.

"It's not a place you'll find God."

But before they left, they had to decide who was riding in what car. On the way there, there hadn't been much of an argument about who rode with Stiles and who rode with the Argents. That was before the Argents learned that their psychotic sister/aunt was back from the dead as a crazed werewolf. It was especially awkward, since Allison had apparently looked up to her aunt so much. Eventually, after five minutes of begging and promises of free Panera Bread when they got back home, Isaac agreed to sit next to Lydia in the back of the Argents' car. Malia and Kira, especially Malia, would ask too many questions. Scott was the alpha. He got to refuse by saying no.

Isaac spent the twenty minute drive to La Iglesia staring out the window in an effort to avoid eye contact. Allison didn't say anything, and any attempt by Lydia or her father to talk to her was meet with tugged sleeves and painful silence. Isaac understood. He didn't like talking about his own father for the same reason. It was hard to distinguish pity and sympathy.

"What are you going to do when we get there?" Allison didn't look at her dad, but they knew who she was talking to.

"I'm going to do what I have to in order to keep you and everyone else safe."

"Are you going to kill her?"

Argent's hands tightened around the steering wheel. "I don't know."


Of course the Jeep breaks down, Scott thought as the car suddenly jerked and stopped in the middle of the road. This piece of crap was held together with duct tape and prayers. And considering Stiles was an atheist, it really wasn't enough.

"What happened?" Braeden stopped her bike.

"I don't know, it felt like we hit something." Stiles was already searching the hood for dents. The others scrambled out of the car.

Argent's car stopped next to the Jeep. Allison stayed in the car as her father lifted the hood.

"I don't really see a problem here."

"We need to get there by nightfall," Braeden said. "It's too dangerous otherwise."

"We can't fit everyone into my car."

"I could ride on the roof," Isaac suggested.

Scott frowned. He couldn't think of a solution.

"Go." Stiles gestured with his arms for Scott to join Braeden on her bike.

"What? Not without you guys."

"Dude, the more people looking for Derek, the better. We'll find a way. We always do."

Scott and Stiles embraced. Then he hugged Kira and Malia. He didn't feel right leaving them alone in the middle of nowhere with a supernatural serial killer on the loose, but he knew they would look out for each other. Lydia darted out of the car. She pulled Stiles to her in a deep, quick kiss that made Scott smile. After years of hopeless pining, Stiles finally got the woman of his dreams. At least something in their lives was going right.


Lydia still felt the ghost of her boyfriend's lips as they drove onwards. Until they reached the town, the only sound was the beep of Lydia's phone.

Matthew: Are you okay? Kira told me you were taken by the Calaveras.

Lydia: They didn't do anything to me. They hurt Scott, but he's healed.

Matthew: So I heard. Why is Allison's aunt alive?

Lydia: She was cut by an alpha. Apparently that counts as a bite. The Calaveras covered it up to uphold the code.

Matthew: Code?

Lydia: If a hunter is bitten, they have to take their own life. Like with Allison's mom.

Matthew: That's a terrible code.

Lydia: Yup. And now we're going to go confront her and find Derek.

Matthew: Call me if you need me. Promise?

Lydia: Promise.


Stiles searched under the hood of his Jeep for anything that looked like it was on fire. He felt a tap on his shoulder.

"I don't think we hit something." Malia held up something in the fading light of the sun. A jagged, sharp thing that looked like a huge claw.

"I think something hit us."


Scott and Braeden made it to a cliff above the town first. The others were only a minute behind. The town was in ruins. Stones and bricks and sheets of tin lay in piles that suggested homes or stores. In the center, a large cathedral towered over everything else, casting a long shadow over the empty path. Even as a Catholic, Scott found the place ominous.

"La Iglesia." Braeden took off her helmet.

"What happened here?"

"An earthquake. It leveled the town."

"Then why is the church still standing?"

"The locals think it's because of what's underneath."

"Do I want to know?"

"The church was built over the ruins of an Aztec temple. It belonged to a people called the nagual."

Scott squinted. He had heard that name before.

"Shapeshifters?"

"Werejaugars."

Derek had told him once that when a person was bitten, the shape they took could reflect the person they were. Jackson, a jerk with identity problems, had been turned into a kanima. And Kate was a serial killer. Whatever form she took, it wasn't going to be pretty.

"So Derek and Kate are somewhere in there?"

"I don't know. I've never gotten this far before."

The Argent's car stopped near the motorcycle. Braeden gestured to a steep path as they got out of the car. She headed down to the town. Scott took one last look at what was supposed to be a sanctuary, then followed her. The others weren't far behind.


"I wish we had another flashlight," Malia said to Kira. They were guarding the Jeep as Stiles, who had their only flashlight, fixed whatever he could fix to get them going on the road again. Stiles was taking too long. Malia didn't like waiting. She still wasn't in complete control of her coyote senses yet, which meant she had trouble seeing the large, jagged boulders near the road as night fell. Malia could hear something, though. Something that made her on edge.

Kira went over to the headlight. She held her katana to the light, directing it towards the rocks. A figure, one with darks eyes that glowed in the light, darted behind a boulder.

Malia roared at the thing that watched them. She tried to run after it, but Kira yelled, "We can't leave Stiles alone." That held her back. She remembered all of those times when Scott or Matthew said they needed to stick together. They were a pack.

In the wild, coyotes would leave the weak and injured for dead. But she wasn't in the wild anymore.


Lydia squeezed Allison's hand as the group headed to the church. Allison didn't say anything, but she squeezed back.

"So, who was it that Argent mentioned? You have a guardian angel or something?" Braeden kicked over pieces of wood, then pushed open the doors to the church.

"Yeah, his name is Matthew. If something gets bad, we can call out his name and he can teleport here," Scott said.

The pews had long since decayed, spider webs and dust coating the seats. Moonlight shone through skylights made by rotted wood and fallen stone. At the back of the chapel, a crucifix was stuck to the wall. The altar still stood. Lydia noticed Scott cross himself. She hoped he found some comfort in the church. She just found the place creepy.

"I've never met an angel before."

"He's not what you would expect," Lydia said.

"Can you guys catch Derek's scent?" Braeden led them to a door.

"Yeah, he's here," Isaac said. "And something else."

"Something like what," Argent asked.

"Something not human," Scott answered.

Argent and Braeden both held their guns at the ready. Braden opened the door. The group walked down a staircase to a stone passageway that resembled a cave more than a temple. Besides an empty shelf built into one wall, the only decorations were dead vines and more cobwebs.

Suddenly, Isaac and Scott pointed their flashlights behind them.

"What?" Lydia pulled her jacket closer to her body.

"Nothing, I just felt like there was something behind us," Scott replied.

They continued on for another few feet, until they heard something growl in the distance. Braeden and Argent aimed their guns in front of them.

"Is this why you never get that far?" Scott asked.

Bullet after bullet was fired in a flash. The group backed up as whatever it was sounded closer.

"What is this thing?" Braeden tried to aim into the darkness, but it was impossible to see.

"I've heard these noises before," Argent replied. "Berserkers."

"What?!"

"It's coming back," Isaac yelled.

"Kids, get behind us." Argent fired his gun again. "Scott, get behind us, now!"

Lydia saw the red light of Scott's eyes right before she heard it.

The roar was deafening. Stone walls trembled, bits of dirt falling from the ceiling. Alone, it would have scared off most things. But then Isaac joined in. Their voices blended together. A scream was building in the back of Lydia's throat. The whole place felt of death, and she was a banshee. She didn't hold back. When their voices faded into silence, they heard the scurrying of whatever it was fade away as well.

"I think we scared it," Scott said.

"I think you scared everything," Braeden replied.

"Maybe they should be scared," Lydia muttered. After everything that had happened to her, a part of her quite liked the idea of being scary.


Right when the Jeep roared to life, a raindrop fell. Stiles and the girls scrambled into the car and drove off, following the GPS to the location Braeden had told them. Luckily whatever was out there had done nothing more than watch them.

"Do you think they're all right?" Kira watched the rain fall outside her window. Lightning split the sky.

"Yeah, I think so." Stiles kept his eyes on the road as the thunder drowned out the rain momentarily.

"How would a storm even bother them if they're underground?" Malia asked.


"What is that?" Isaac pointed his flashlight down a side hallway. A large stone carving took up one wall. Lines and circles surrounded the head of a fanged monster.

"Tezcatlipoca. The nagual jaguar god." Braeden ran her fingers over the stone. "I think we found Derek."

Isaac handed Lydia his flashlight, then he and Scott pressed their ears to the wall. There was airflow. Another room.

"Stand back."

The werewolves punched the wall. The stone, old and decrepit, gave way easily. Lydia shined a light into the dark chamber. It looked like a chapel room of some sorts. In the center, a figure lay in a tomb. A hand rose.

"Oh my God," Scott whispered.

"In all my entire life, I've never seen anything like this," Argent said.

They had found Derek. A 17-year-old Derek.


It figures, Stiles thought. It figures that the only tree for miles in this Godforsaken desert would fall on the hood of his car. The tree was small enough to be blown over by the wind, but big enough to cause damage that even his duct tape couldn't fix.

"That's it. We're not standing out here in the rain or walking there. I'm calling a cab." Kira looked up car services in the area.

"It was sunny earlier. Clear blue skies," Stiles muttered.

"Well it's not anymore," Malia said as Kira dialed.

"Hola? Habla inglés? Yes, our car is stuck. We need a ride."


The storm was worse than they had thought. The wind more powerful, more dangerous. And the church was not as invincible as it appeared.

Braeden and Argent climbed out of the underground temple first. Before the others could follow, a bolt of lightning struck the church. Stones from the roof broke loose. They fell in front of the door, blocking the entrance.

"We're trapped!" Lydia banged on the door with her fists. "Oh my God, we're trapped!"

"Dad? Dad!"? Allison pressed her ear to the door.

Scott set Derek down. He and Isaac pushed on the door. It wouldn't budge.

A roar from deep within the temple shook dirt from the ceiling.

"We have to find a place to hide." Scott picked Derek up again. "Come on."

They ran back into the temple, unaware of the woman's eyes that watched them. Bright, green eyes.

 

Chapter Text

The motel had only one room available, which was fine since Stiles didn't want to be alone the way things were going. Kira sat on one of the twin beds and covered herself with the dark blue comforter that matched the patterns on the wallpaper. Malia looked out the window as Stiles flipped through channels to find something in English. Everything was too quiet, too quiet to think.

Lydia had already gone through enough mental trauma, Stiles thought, without being stalked by whatever was in that temple. Isaac was fucking claustrophobic. He was not going to handle it well. Scott was scared of clowns, which probably wasn't going to be an issue, but he could still get hurt. And what if the pressure was too much and he threw up and couldn't pull himself together? And Allison had to face her long dead, psychotic aunt who brought up all those unspoken-but-really-obvious-fears of being as crazy as her. Not to mention whatever the fuck happened to Derek.

Stiles settled on a ballet. Lightning streaked the sky again. Kira sighed.

"Do you think they're okay?"

"No," Malia said. "They could all already be dead."

Tact was a human skill that was hard to learn.

"They're not dead, alright?" Stiles lay on the other bed. He stared up at the ceiling. "No one is dead yet. They probably called Matthew and he teleported them somewhere."

"Then why didn't they text us?" Kira asked.

"Bad cell reception? I don't know. Look, if we start thinking they're dead, then it's all over and we might as well give up."

"What's the difference?" Malia joined Kira on the bed. "We're not able to help either way."

"Hope is helping. Trust me."

"It must have been really hard," Kira said.

"What was hard?"

"This. All the stuff you and Scott and Allison and everyone has been through."

"Yeah." Stiles kept his eyes on the ceiling. "Yeah, it was hard. But it's gotten easier. In the last few months, it's started to feel like, I don't know, a pack."

Malia pulled the covers over herself and scooted closer to Kira.

"Besides my dad, I don't have any family," she said. "Although my dad said I'm adopted, but anyway, I'm glad I have a pack. I didn't like being alone."

Kira smiled at her. "Yeah, I like having a pack. Which is weird, because I don't think kitsune are supposed to have packs. But I like it."

Stiles yawned. "Me too."


The top of the San Francisco Bridge was a place where demons, angels and anyone else could meet away from the prying eyes of mortals. One could look out over the lights from cars and buildings and realize how small everything was. To stand over everyone-literally-created a desire to protect, a sense of superiority, or a feeling of loneliness. Chris closed his eyes to the wind blowing in his face. He propped his elbows on his knees and held his folded hands in front of his mouth. Bianca shimmered next to him.

"Hey."

"Hey." Chris opened his eyes. "Sorry I called you so late."

"It's fine. I was still up." Bianca sat down, letting her legs dangle over the edge.

"I just, I don't know. Last night I had this dream . . ." Chris closed his eyes again. "I walked into this dark room. It looked like a mausoleum. . ."

He saw it play in his head again as he told her. In this room, Wyatt was on the floor next to a crypt, crying. Chris asked him what was wrong, and Wyatt kept saying he didn't want to leave. Chris saw Wyatt's name on the plaque. He looked back at Wyatt, but he was gone. As far as nightmares go, it wasn't that scary. If Wyatt had been home, he would have forgotten it by first period.

"What if he's dead?"

"I don't think Lilith would allow him to die. She needs him to complete this task. And even a goddess fears the Charmed Ones." He opened his eyes to Bianca touching his cheek in concern.

"But what if he's being tortured or something? What if he's in pain right now? See, that's the problem." Chris took a deep breath. "What can be worse than not knowing?"

"Thinking like this isn't going to do anything." Bianca grasped Chris' hands. "Come back to my room. Lilian is at home this weekend. You can sleep in her bed."

Chris was tired. Maybe that was why he thought that the lights from below lit up Bianca's face like a halo. He let Bianca shimmer them back to school.


Wyatt stared out at the clear night sky. Magic was dependent on the phases of the moon. There was no moon tonight. To some cultures, it was a time for reflection, or grief. Wyatt knew it was a time of inner wisdom. Letting the old die away was not a time of grief. It was a time of peace. He sipped his tea.

A knock at door. "Come in."

"Have you heard anything?" Deaton was still in his lab coat from a late night at the clinic.

"No. Not since Lydia texted me hours ago."

"Are you going to call?"

"I think Scott wants a chance to prove himself. And I need to let him. I'm not going to be here forever."

"When your year is up, you won't return." It wasn't a question.

"This is an exception to the rule. My people don't like to get involved in the affairs of shifters."

"That's a pity then. If they did, maybe these affairs wouldn't so often end in murder." Deaton crossed his arms.

"Trust me, you'd be surprised how often our affairs ended in murder."

He was right, Wyatt thought as Deaton left. If any place needed witches, it was this town. Too bad no witch would want to come to a place where their powers were dependent on amethyst. He closed his eyes and listened again. Nothing.


"Matthew! MATTHEW!" Lydia screamed up at the dirt ceiling. "Matthew, get your angel ass down here!"

"Maybe there's bad angel reception," Isaac suggested as he sat on a rock ledge. "We're underground, in a place that's cursed-"

"It's not cursed because there are no such things as curses!" Lydia kicked the wall, not caring about the dirt on her favorite boots. She was not going to die in a place like this. At least if she died in Beacon Hills her mom would be able to bury her body.

The five of them had found a room with a door that they had quickly barricaded with a couple of shelves that leaned against one wall. It looked like an apothecary. A couple of broken jars and old books were in one corner. Derek lay on a stone slab that might have once been used as an operating table. Scott and Isaac threw their jackets over him to keep him warm, and Allison kept staring at him and covering her mouth. She was five minutes away from a mental break down. Lydia knew that look well.

"We're going to be fine, okay?" Scott put a hand on Lydia's shoulder. "In a few hours the storm will pass and they can clear the door. We'll leave here in the morning and it'll all be okay."

"As long as no one breaks down the door in the meantime."

Scott wrapped an arm around Lydia in a sideways hug. She was glad he was there. Scott always made her feel safe. Even if he didn't know what to do, he would do something.

"What the hell is this?" Isaac sniffed one of the jars coated in an oil that smelled somewhat like lemon.

"Oh my God Isaac, we're not here to try whatever drugs these people had lying around." Lydia kicked the dirt again.

Later on, much later, they would realize that it was vervain, an herb that was native to the Americas. Several cultures believed this herb warded off witches, much like rowan wood did in Europe. The temple may have had heavenly reception, but the Wiccan connection was purposefully blocked.


Chris lay on a long twin bed. The satin sheets felt soft against his arms. He pulled the blanket up to his neck and watched Bianca across the room as she slept. He couldn't see much in the dark, but the shape under the comforter comforted him. Sleeping with someone else in the room always put him at ease.

Bianca had been putting him at ease for months. She was the only one he could talk to about any of this. Every time he was with her, he never felt like a burden. He never wondered if it was all his fault. She would tell some story from school, say something hilarious. He'd hear her laugh. No matter how bad things got in his head, Bianca helped Chris put things in perspective.

But even with Bianca, Chris knew he wasn't going to get any sleep.


Scott listened for any sign of the Berserkers that Argent had mentioned. Whatever was out there was leaving them alone for now. Maybe they would be able to walk out of this unharmed.

He doubted it.

A groan from the stone slab startled him. Derek, or rather young Derek, lifted his head.

"What happened?" He looked around the underground temple room, and at the four of them. "What the hell?"

"Uh, Derek, everything's fine."

"Who are you? How do you know my name?"

Okay, maybe everything wasn't fine.


Braeden was not getting paid enough for this shit.

Leading a bunch of teens to a cursed underground temple was one thing. But spending two hours digging through rubble with her bare hands while god knows what was lurking around, was another thing entirely. Not to mention getting continuously soaked because of the rain and the goddamn hole in the ceiling. And her only company was a hunter who was mulling about the possibility that his sister would kill his daughter.

She better get overtime for this.


Derek looked so young. His face was free of any stubble. His voice was softer. He didn't have his fists clenched. There was no resting death glare. Isaac couldn't connect this kid to the guy who bit him. This kid seemed younger than the rest of them.

"What do you mean a fire?" Derek frowned.

"A fire started at your house." Isaac noticed Scott didn't say who started it. "And, and most of the people in the house didn't make it out. I'm sorry."

"But they're werewolves. They can jump out of a burning building. And Mom would carry Aunt Cassie and Justine out."

"Are Cassie and Justine human?' Lydia asked.

"Yeah. It happens sometimes. Justine is my cousin. And Cassie is Mom's sister."

He had never talked about his family like before.

"Something might have blocked the door. We don't know." Scott rubbed his hands together. "I'm really sorry, Derek."

"Your sister Cora's not dead," Isaac hastily added. "She's in Brazil right now. She couldn't get here because a storm got her flight canceled. But we talked to her this morning. She's fine."

He didn't mention Peter. Peter was not a consolation. Peter was a murderer.

Derek stared at Scott, unmoving, unblinking.

"I don't believe you."

"Why would I lie about this?"

"How should I know? I don't even know you. But I do know that my mom is more powerful than you could ever hope to be. They couldn't take her."

No one said anything. There was nothing they could say or do that would make Derek believe something so horrific. And they knew it.

Isaac heard Allison cry. Her heartbeat was quick. There was nothing they could say to her, either.


The room was dark except for the TV, which was on a rerun of a nature show set too low to hear. Malia and Kira slept in their bed.

Stiles had the blanket pulled over his head. Under it, he scrolled through the texts his father had sent him. As far as everyone else knew, Allison's dad had taken them all camping. (As far as Allison's dad knew, their parents were all fine with a trek across the border.) Stiles' dad sent all the usual requests to be safe and have fun and call him tomorrow. And there was something about needing to talk to him about something. Stiles already knew his dad and Scott's mom were dating. So did Scott. But they didn't know that they both knew. Stiles wanted to let them have a sense of privacy. Neither Scott nor Stiles were opposed to their parents dating, either. They would make awesome stepbrothers.

He thought about texting Matthew, but decided against it. He didn't want to interrupt whatever witch stuff he might be doing. Stiles didn't understand why he didn't just admit to being a witch. Even if regular werewolves didn't like witches, their pack wasn't the type to judge. Everyone was too messed up to have a right to judge. Not that this hadn't stopped anyone before, but the guy saved him from demonic possession and stayed with him when he had a nightmare. Who cares if he was a witch?


Something inhuman-a Berserker, Argent called it-roared. Loudly. The walls shook. One of the shelves stuck against the door tipped over. A rock fell from the ceiling, nearly missing Lydia's head. Derek twitched as he bent forward. He looked afraid.

"What was that?" He flashed his eyes yellow. When did his eyes change yellow?

"Berserkers. Don't worry, we're safe here." Scott flashed his own eyes. He needed to sound like an alpha.

"What are Berserkers?"

"People who wear animal bones to channel their ferocity and power," Allison said. "They quickly lose their humanity and become animals themselves."

"What do they want?"

"We don't know," Scott said.

Another roar. Then a quiet howl, one that humans couldn't quite hear. Derek walked over to one of the shelves. He waited. There was another howl.

"That sounds familiar. But they're not a werewolf."

"That's a werejaguar," Isaac said. "Sort of similar to a werewolf."

"Who is she?"

Scott felt the eyes of his ex-girlfriend bore into him.

"Uh, I'm not sure."

"Why is she after us?"

"That's also a good question." Scott stuck his hands in his pockets.

"What's going on? Who's out there?"

Scott swallowed. Before he could think of a good lie, Lydia cut him off.

"It's Kate. Kate Argent."

Thank god for her blunt honesty.

"Kate? That's Kate?"

"Yeah," Isaac said. "It's a long story."

"I know Kate. I can handle this." Derek headed for the door. Scott grabbed his arm.

"You can't go out there."

"Kate would never hurt me."

Scott winced. His innocence was too much to bear.

"Derek, you can't go out there," Lydia said. "It's not safe." Isaac moved over to the door, eyeing Derek's struggle.

"Let me go. Kate isn't going to do anything to me. She's my girlfriend."

"Wait, what?" Scott was so startled he dropped Derek's arm. "Girlfriend?"

He really, really hoped Derek would remember everything on his own. He did not want to explain what happened to him.

Derek avoided his eyes. He rubbed his hands together. "I mean, we did stuff. She's not like, into dating though."

"Stuff?" It was taking Scott time to process what Derek said.

"You did stuff with Kate?" Lydia jerked her head back. "Exactly how old is Kate?"


Chris groaned and turned over on his back. Too many thoughts were swimming in his head. Too many possibilities. There was nothing worse than not knowing. There was no way of-

"That's it!" Chris sat straight up. Bianca pushed her head up.

"Chris?" She rubbed the sleep out of her eyes. "What's wrong?"

"I can't believe I didn't think of this before. The way to find Wyatt. We have to figure out why she took him. We have to know what Lilith would want with a witch."

"Huh?"

"Think about it. She said he'd be gone for a year and a day, then returned. Why? What does he need to do that would take so long? If she wanted to put an enchantment on him or kill him, why would she need that long?"

Chris got out of the bed. He walked to the door, pivoted on his heel and walked to the window. He started at the dark, moonless sky. It was a time to let the old die away. Old worries, old problems.

"What do you want with him?" he asked the sky.

Bianca yawned. "It can wait until morning, Chris. You need your sleep."

"No, the library's empty now. They'll be less people asking questions."

"Chris."

"Give me half an hour. Then, I'll go back to bed."

Bianca threw the covers off. "Fine. Half an hour. Let's go."


"You did stuff with Kate?" Lydia jerked her head back. "Exactly how old is Kate?"

"It's not that big of a deal." Derek shrugged. "It's not that much."

"Derek, how old are you?" Scott asked.

"Werewolves age differently."

"How old?"

Derek rolled his eyes. "15."

Lydia frowned. "How old-"

"She was 24." Allison closed her eyes.

"24?!" Isaac scrunched up his face in a look of disgust.

Memories flashed through Allison's mind unbidden.

"If I was in high school again," Kate said as she checked out Jackson at a lacrosse game. "Or even just a substitute teacher."

"You are sick," Allison replied. She thought she was kidding.

Later, when Kate had aimed a gun at Scott:

"I do love those brown eyes."

Kate had said some weird comments, but there was no way she was-

There had been no way Kate was a serial killer.

What couldn't she be?

Allison didn't realize she was shaking until Isaac was holding her sideways against his chest. One hand lightly squeezed her shoulder.

"Are you okay?"

"Allison?" She looked away from Scott's questioning eyes. He was too gentle. She couldn't handle that at that moment. Somewhere in the pit of her stomach her agony twisted into knots.

As if on cue, a Berserker roared. Derek flinched again.

Allison curled her hands into fists. She couldn't keep them there like this. She couldn't scare them like this. She couldn't scare her. Allison was done being scared. Another roar. The other shelf fell. With a grunt, Allison yanked the ancient door handle. The door opened with a rusty creak.

"Allison! Wait!"

She didn't. She ran down a dark hallway full of falling debris, armed with only a flashlight and a pocket knife. The roars were coming closer, from the direction of the crypt. She was not going to wait like some damsel or cry for help anymore. Her aunt had wanted her to learn to be a hunter. Kate was going to get her wish.


The Magic School Library wasn't usually this dark. The lamps were off, their phones the only source of light. They didn't want a teacher catching them. The two sat together at a table near the corner. If anyone had seen them, they might have noticed how close the two sat. Their arms almost touched. But their only company were towering shelves of ancient tomes filled with the words of the witches.

Bianca wanted to go back to sleep. God, she wanted her sleep. Chris' anxiety was putting a toil on her. She didn't let him know, but she was seriously considering telling Headmaster Wyatt, Chris and Wyatt's father, what was going on. Let the adults handle it, she thought. The Charmed Ones could vanquish this bitch and bring Wyatt back in less than a week if they knew who they were up against. Then Wyatt would be home, and Chris would get better. Bianca leaned her head against her hand like she did in math class.

Chris squinted at a page from a book on chaos magic. "It keeps saying the same stuff. Lilith started out as a snake who was able to tap into the power of the All and gave birth to races of shifters and other creatures." Chris turned a page. "Werewolves, werejaguars, werecats, kanimas."

"What the hell is a kanima?"

"I think it's a lizard."

"Maybe Wyatt is hanging out with a kanima, then. I'm sure if he remembers to feed it, everything will be fine." That earned a laugh. Chris didn't laugh much these days.

"I doubt she'd want him to look after her children. But look here." He held the book out and pointed his phone to the bottom of the page. "I keep seeing this, too."It was a red dragon.

"She wants him to look after her pets?"

"No. It's a symbol of King Arthur." Chris flipped the page again. There was a picture of Excalibur. Bianca had seen it in the Halliwell attic once.

"Lilith was the goddess of Camelot. It was the last time she had widespread reverence."

"So Lilith wants Wyatt to start Camelot again? Shouldn't she have taken the sword too then?"

"I don't know. I think she wants something else." Chris telekinetically replaced the books in their proper places. "Because if she just wanted Camelot, she could have just waited a few years."

"But a Camelot ruled by a witch would never be worshipping Lilith. Maybe she wants him to join her." Bianca straightened up the chairs. They shimmered back to her room, to avoid running into anyone else.

"How?"

"I wish I knew." Bianca gently pushed Chris to her roommate's bed. "Now sleep. You promised."

"But tomorrow's Sunday."

"For the love of God, Chris. I will slip a potion in your food tomorrow."

"Okay, fine." Chris crawled back into bed. "I just don't want to have another nightmare."

It was the sleep deprivation talking. That was why Bianca pulled back her blanket.

"There's room for two if you don't mind being squished. That might help."

It was anxiety that made Chris jump into her bed without comment. Bianca couldn't process any other possibilities at that hour. They had to sleep on their sides; the bed was thin. She lay her arm across his waist. His hair smelled good.

"Thanks, Bianca. For everything."

"No problem."

She heard his breathing even out before she said a quick spell to banish nightmares. Then she fell asleep to the sound of his breathing.


As soon as the roaring stopped, Scott ran out the door. "Put the barricade back. I'll find Allison," he called over his shoulder. He followed Allison's scent. He knew it well.

If anything happened to her, he thought, he would never forgive himself.

The dark, winding tunnels carried the smell of lilac and washed skin. He ran up one way and down another. Luckily, there were no growls anywhere.

Near the crypt, Scott flashed his eyes red to see more clearly. A feminine figure was crawling into the hole he and Isaac had punched earlier.

"Allison."

She slipped through the hole. Scott followed her. In the crypt a small crack in the ceiling let in moonlight. It seeped over her pale skin and black hair, casting an eerie glow over the room.

"What do you want?"

"You can't face her. Not alone."

"So?"

"So you don't know what'll happen. Kate's been bitten. She's not in her right mind. She might attack you."

"Kate has never been in her right mind." There was an edge in her voice. "She murdered a family. She molested a teenager. Turning into a shifter didn't make my aunt a monster. She always was one."

"That doesn't mean you should risk your life to fight her."

"Why not? I'm her niece. Who's to say this doesn't run in the family?"

"What?"

"What if psychotic murderous rage runs in the Argent blood? Look at Kate, my grandfather, my mom was a hunter too and she tried to kill you. Even my dad shoved a gun in your face. Why the hell should I expect anything different from myself?"

"Allison you're not making any sense. You will never be like her."

"You can't know that for sure."

"Yes, I can."

"No, you can't."

"Yes, I can."

"How?" She threw up her hands in frustration. "How do you know I'm not just like her? How?"

"Because I loved you!"

In the second it took for Scott to realize what he had just said, he watched the very second Allison's heart broke.

"Loved me?"

"I didn't mean, you said you didn't want me to wait for you, I . . ." Scott stumbled over the words in a desperate attempt to find something to say.

Allison took a slow step away from him. She shook her head. "It doesn't matter right now. Right now, I'm ending this."

"Allison!"

His hand shot out to grab her wrist. She jumped just out of his reach. Suddenly he felt himself fly back. She had kicked his feet out from under him.

"I'm sorry." She ran as he scrambled to his feet. Scott swore under his breathe as he tried to catch her scent again. If she got hurt, he would never forgive himself.


Isaac held his arms out as he blocked the door. He didn't know what was worse, having a young Derek look ready to break down the door or Lydia holding her hand on her hip and smacking her lips together in disdain.

"Scott said-"

"Scott's your alpha, not mine," Derek said.

"We are not leaving them alone in this godforsaken murder temple." Lydia added, "It's too dangerous."

"So why are they out there alone?" Derek crossed his arms like Isaac had seen him do so many times before. "If they die, what makes you think the three of us will make it out alive?"

Isaac let his arms fall to his side. "What are we supposed to do then? What's the plan?"

"You two go after Kate. If that doesn't work, I'll start screaming," Lydia said.

Isaac pushed the door open. "Okay, fine, but if this goes wrong I'm blaming you. Even if I have to do that beyond the grave."

Lydia flashed a smirk as she strolled through the door.

"I'm a banshee. If you blame me, I'll hear it."

The three of them ventured into the hall.


It was too dark to see what snatched at the edge of her jacket. Allison twisted her body away, but it held on tight. She couldn't see what was behind her. Maybe she was toying with her. Maybe she was testing her. With a furious scream, the fabric tore. She was free.

"You said you wanted to be strong."

Allison whipped her head around. Too dark to see her face, but she knew that voice.

"Remember how I said I could give you what you need."

Allison lunged at her. Her hands clawed onto anything they could-hair, clothes, eyes. She screamed and kicked at her shins. Kate calmly took her wrists and held them in front of her.

"You're so strong, Allison. You have natural talent. I'm so proud of you."

"Let go of me!"

Her grasp tightened around her wrists, but it wasn't enough to hurt her. Allison knew she wasn't going anywhere.

"Remember what I said, Allison? You don't need to be psychotic to be a killer. All you need is a reason."

"Are you going to kill me?"

"No." Kate rubbed her thumb over Allison's hand. "Since the day you were born, I was protecting you. And that's what I'm going to continue to do."


The storm died down to a drizzle. Braeden was on her hands and knees in dirt and church dust. She watched Argent throw large chunks of plaster over his shoulder as she caught her breath.

"We need to call in some help. It's too much."

Argent didn't look up. "The Ayara was very clear neither she nor her people would go anywhere near here."

"Then I'll call the other kids to come down here." Braeden held out her phone. She squinted as the phone tried to find service.

"Fuck."

"Keep digging." Argent heaved a chunk the size of his chest to the side. "We need to find them before she does."

"Kate's not going to hurt Allison."

"I don't know what the hell she's going to do."


Scott ran through the hallway, trying to catch Allison's scent again. The dust and dirt made it difficult. Suddenly Scott stopped. He smelled something, but not Allison.

Scott recalled a story where there was a monster in the woods. It would walk up behind people when they were alone. Large, lumbering footsteps would come closer, closer, and if anyone turned around, it would kill them. Scott clenched his jaws. The story didn't have werewolves in it.

He turned around. A tall, lumbering creature covered in bones stood before him. Its face was covered by the skull of some desert animal. The creature held its arms out, its fingers splayed out and claws curled. Scott couldn't believe this thing had ever been human. And he doubted another roar would scare it off.

Scott darted down the tunnel. The ground shook as it ran after him. A low growl came from its throat. Scott saw an opening to the left. He ran through it, only to skid to a stop. Another one was ten feet away from him.

Scott let out his claws. He slashed at the chest of the berserker in front of him once, twice. The bones weren't scratched much less damaged. The other Berserker growled. Scott barely had enough time to throw himself against the wall and avoid its claws. He ran past them back to the main corridor.

He ran back towards the room where his pack was hidden. He needed to regroup, maybe get reinforcements. Maybe Allison had already came back. But before he could reach them, another clawed hand came out of the darkness. Scott's head was slammed against the wall. It was strong. Then he was hoisted into the air and thrown across the hall. He landed a good twenty feet away, face down. His lip was bleeding.

As Scott pushed himself into a sitting position, he heard another growl. It was louder and angrier than the others. It didn't sound like a Berserker. Scott scanned the darkness, he saw a pair of bright green eyes.

"Long time no see."

Kate.

The darkness grew stronger. Her eyes dimmed. Scott's arms and legs gave out from under him. He collapsed into unconsciousness.


When Scott woke up, he was chained to a wooden beam in another temple room. He was too weak to break the chains. Kate stood in front of three Berserkers. The little light there gave Scott the chance to get a good look at them. Despite the bones, he thought Kate appeared more terrifying than the Berserkers ever could. She knelt in front of him.

"What do you want from us?"

"I want a little bit of insight, Scott."

"Into what?"

"My family. The Argent family has been around for over 400 years. A powerful, wealthy, aristocratic family of werewolf hunters. Yet somehow, in less than a year, this great family is decimated. By a teenage boy."

All he did was protect his pack and almost get killed by Allison's mom. And what happened to Kate was her own fault. Scott blinked his eyes to get the blood out of them. The cut on his face was still bleeding. She crouched down to his level.

"So my question is simple. What the hell is so special about Scott McCall?"

Nothing, he immediately thought. That was the problem.

"You want me? Then take me. Just me. Let the others go." His voice was hoarse from all his howling.

"Oh no, we're all staying here." She stood up. "It's time for church." She roared. He tried to break the chains. But he was too weak from the fight. He needed a miracle. And his angel wasn't talking calls.

Kate kicked him in the head. He blacked out again.


I send my pleas to the unseen moon

Protect my charges in the night.

Let no dark forces overtake them.

Return them to me in the morning light.

Wyatt pulled Wuvey closer to him. He wished his dad was there. Actually, he wished his charges were there, safe and sound. If anything happened to them, he would never forgive himself.

It would be a while before he went to sleep.


Allison banged her fists against the door. The temple had too many side rooms. This one was a long, narrow chamber with a stone slab with brown-red stains on it. The room might have been used for human sacrifices.

Allison pressed her forehead to the door. A natural, Kate had called her.

"Come on sweetie. I have a surprise." Aunt Kate led a seven-year-old Allison by hand to the living room. It was her birthday, but she had just moved to town last week and didn't have anyone to invite to a party.

Aunt Kate stopped at the door. "Close your eyes."

Allison squeezed her eyes shut and swung her little hand back and forth. The door opened.

"Hello. Are you Allison?"

She opened her eyes. A woman in a blue and yellow dress and short black hair was kneeling before her.

"Snow White!"

Allison threw herself into the princess' arms. Years later she would realize how much her aunt hated Disney movies. But that day Allison showed Snow White and Kate the drawings she made.

"Look at this pony," Kate said. "You're a natural."

Allison banged the door again, gentler this time. Kate was a monster, but she was still her Aunt Kate.

She winced as the thought of what happened to Derek entered her mind unbidden. He wasn't even that much older. A few years after her fairytale party, and he got a nightmare of a life.

Kate was her aunt. That didn't make her not a monster. That also didn't mean she was one, too.

"I loved you."

Because she would never, ever, hurt Scott like that.


Scott opened his eyes. Moonlight streamed down from a stained glass window into a den of broken chairs and overgrown plants. He was lying on a table. As he tried to move, he found his arms and legs tied down by restraints weaved with wolfsbane vines.

The three Berserkers stood motionless as guards. Kate strolled in with a completely human appearance.

"Tell me Scott, they ever teach you the myth of Artemis and Actaeon in school?"

When they had started their mythology unit, he had been busy fighting a psychotic alpha and trying to not to be killed by his girlfriend's family. He didn't remember much from his class.

"No? Didn't think so." Kate yanked on one of his ankle restraints. Scott grimaced in pain. "Well, Artemis was a goddess. And Actaeon was a hunter who happened to see her naked one day." She tied one of his wrists to a metal bar. "This did not make the goddess too happy. In fact, she was so angry, Artemis turned Actaeon into a deer."

After what Derek had told them, being tied down on a table with Kate was giving Scott a tightening feeling in his chest. He pulled on the rope.

"And this sent his own hounds into a frenzy. He was actually torn apart by his own hunting dogs."

Scott turned to one of the Berserkers. It growled. He turned back to Kate, who had a skull mask in her hands.

"What are you doing?"

She chuckled. "I'm not going to be turning you into a deer. But you are about to become something unrecognizable to your friends. They won't know what they're fighting. Or killing."

Scott desperately jerked his limbs. "Kate hold on." She slowly walked to his head. A Berserker held his chest down. "No, Kate, no. No, Kate, don't."

She held the mask in the air for a few seconds. He kept screaming no, no, Kate stop. As the mask lowered he just screamed. Even for a few seconds after the bones touched his face, he continued to scream. A throbbing pain shot through the front of his head. Then everything went black again.


Isaac, Derek and Lydia wandered through the temple until they came to a room filled with bones. Lydia picked one up.

"What is it?" Isaac asked.

"This is a buffalo bone."

"The buffalo told you that?"

"No, I took a forensics course last summer."

"Oh."

Suddenly they heard a low growl from the passageway outside. Derek and Isaac's eyes flashed yellow.

"What is it?" Lydia asked.

"A Berserker." Isaac moved so that Lydia was behind him.

A figure wearing an animal skull came into view. Bones were strapped to its arms and chest. It slammed Derek against a wall.

Derek dodged its fist and landed a punch of his own. He hit him right in the face. It retaliated by punching him in the chest. The wind got knocked out of him. He grunted.

Lydia screamed at the Berserker. Everyone covered their ears. It ran at her, and kicked her into the wall. Her head hit the stone. She winced.

Lydia's head throbbed with pain. Blood was smeared down her cheek. She saw its arm, and it took her a moment to recognize the tattoo. Scott's tattoo.

"Scott? It's Scott!"

"Where?" Isaac looked back at the bones.

"The Berserker. It's Scott."

Scott threw Lydia to the ground. Isaac lunged himself at him. He pushed them both to the ground.

"Scott? Wake up!"

Scott threw him off. Derek charged at him. He howled. Claws slashed at bones. Scott tried to catch his arm. Derek punched him again.

Isaac jumped on top of Scott like a kid getting a piggy back ride. He tried to pry the skull off as Scott tried to pry him off. Scott slammed himself against a wall, squishing Isaac. Isaac let go.

Scott grabbed Isaac by the throat. He pushed him against the wall, two feet off the ground. Isaac kicked his legs and tried to pull the hand away. Scott curled his fist.

"Scott. Scott! Wait, Scott." Isaac flinched as Scott's fist stopped inches from his face. "Don't you remember? We're brothers now."

As cliché as it was, Isaac could actually see it in Scott's eyes as he recognized Isaac. Slowly Scott lowered Isaac to the ground. He jerked his head. Then he backed away, holding his arms out as though looking at them for the first time. He ripped off bones tied to his arms, his chest. Finally he dug his hands into the skull. As he pulled on it, a bright yellow glow appeared. The skull ripped in half. Scott's werewolf face appeared. He roared.


Allison backed up several feet. Then she ran straight into the door. The wood was God knows how old, and it splintered easily. A werewolf roar came from her left. She pulled out her knife from inside her jacket. She didn't have a lot of experience with knives. But she had excellent aim.

She ran towards the sound. A light came from a doorway down the hall. She came into a room with a stained glass window. The first thing she saw was Scott pulling a skull off his head.

"What the fucking hell?!" She had turned Scott into a thing.

Scott sank to his knees. Lydia and Isaac went to him. Derek flinched. Kate stepped out of the shadows, with three Berserkers.

"Kate?" he asked. "Is that you?" She smiled at him.

Allison immediately put herself between Derek and Kate. "Don't you dare."

"Allison."

"It's okay," Derek said. "She's not going to hurt me. She loves me."

"No, she doesn't. She doesn't even know what love is."

"Allison-"

"Did you even love me?"

Tears were falling from her eyes. She didn't bother to hide them. Kate took a step towards her. Allison took a step back.

"Of course I do."

"Do you even know what love is?"

Kate retracted her claws. "Love is doing whatever is necessary to protect someone. Love is putting their safety before your own. And that's what I've done, Allison. I've done it since the day I first held you in my arms."

"The only reason Peter attacked me is because of what you did to his family. Those innocent people-innocent children-what danger were they to me?"

"It was too much of a risk. I love you, Allison. And I'm going to do whatever I have to protect you, even kill."

"And what about you? You're not too much of a risk? Look at you, Kate. How are you any different from them?"

Kate reacted as if she had been slapped. Allison wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.

"If you really love me, then leave. Because I will never be safe from my fears with you around."

Aunt and niece saw each other as if for the first time. Allison took her aunt in, the good, the bad and the horrific. And Kate saw the woman Allison was becoming.

"I'll leave. But I know, somewhere deep down, that you still love me too."

"No, I don't."

She smiled. "Then why haven't you attacked me?"

The knife whizzed past Kate's ear, missing her by inches.

"Because I don't want to be like you."

Kate touched her ear. Her proud smirk fell as she backed away. Allison knew that she had it in her to shoot her. And Kate knew it too.

She slipped away through yet another passageway. The Berserkers followed La Loba.

Suddenly Derek cried out in pain. He collapsed to the ground, clutching his head. Allison knelt next to him.

"Derek?"

His nose twisted. Hair appeared on his face. It was like he was shifting, but different. He rolled on the floor in pain. His chest expanded. His arms bulked out. He roared. The whole thing lasted a minute. Then he looked up at Allison.

Derek was himself again.


The next morning Chris woke up to Bianca's hand on his stomach and her nose on his neck. He pretended to be asleep for another twenty minutes so he wouldn't have to move. When she turned around, her hair was knotted, locks of it stuck to her face. He thought she looked beautiful. "Good morning," she said.

"Good morning."

He suddenly became aware of his morning wood. Luckily she got out of bed.

"I better go shower. I have an English paper due tomorrow."

"Yeah, I have homework, too." He sat up, making sure the blanket covered his lap. "I should go."

"Call me later, okay?"

"I will. And thanks for letting me stay here."

"Of course." She ruffled his hair, then cupped his cheek in her hand.

"I'll be here whenever you need me."

Chris orbed to his bedroom. His sister was sitting on his bed, eating Doritos.

"Well well well."

"Do not well with me Mel."

"What were you doing out all night?" She spilled crumbs on his cover, and he hated her for it.

"None of your business."

"Were you with Bianca?"

"No!" His face felt hot. Mel grinned as she chewed.

"I knew it! You like her."

"I do not. We weren't doing anything. We were just hanging out."

"You stayed over in her room. And her roommate wasn't there."

"How do you even know that?"

"I know everything. But I won't tell Mom and Dad, if you give me a good reason."

Chris grabbed his wallet from his desk drawer. "$10."

"$40."

"$40?"

"Do you know how pissed Mom and Dad would be if they found out you spent the night with a girl? You're 15. The only reason I'm not asking for more is because I like Bianca."

"God I hate you." He fished out his tips from waiting tables at his mother's restaurant. Mel left, taking her chips with her. Sisters, he thought.

Chris climbed into his bed. It was still early that morning, and he didn't sleep much the night before. As he snuggled under the comforter, he thought how ridiculous his sister was. Bianca would never like him. He was too young, too sullen, too nerdy. He would never tell her about his crush. She would turn him down. She probably thought of him as a little brother. That's why she helped him last night.

If only the books were helpful. Lilith wanted Arthur to come back, that seemed obvious. But what did she need Wyatt-or Chris, because he was the one she came to first-to do? Slay a dragon? Wyatt liked dragons too much. Maybe he was supposed to find Merlin. Or Guinevere.


After an exhausting night and a long trip back, all Allison wanted was to go home to rest. But she found herself knocking on the loft door out of a sense of responsibility.

Derek opened the door. He was back to his regular self, with an even slightly more guarded expression.

"Hi. Can I come in?"

He stepped to the side. She walked in, rubbing her hands together.

"What do you want?" he asked, not unkindly.

"I want to apologize. For attacking you and your pack last year. I never actually apologized, to any of you, and I should. My mother's death wasn't your fault. And it was no excuse to attack you all. And I want to apologize for what Kate did to you. I'm pretty sure no one ever apologized for that. I'm the matriarch of my family. I'm sorry."

Derek walked over to the window. The afternoon sun made patterns of broken light on the floor. He sat on a sofa.

"I accept your apology for what you did. You were grieving, and Gerard was manipulating you. I understand why you did what you did. But I don't accept your apology for your aunt." He crossed his arms. "You were a child when that happened. And you weren't even in Beacon Hills. That is not your fault. Or your father's fault. It's hers."

"Oh."

"You're nothing like her, Allison. You may think you are, or she may think you are, but you're not. Trust me, I know her."

Allison didn't even know how much that was a relief to hear until he said it.

"Then I'm sorry because, because deep down I think I still love her. And I hate myself for it."

Derek slouched forward. For a moment, Allison thought their conversation was over. She turned to go.

"Don't hate yourself for that," he said. She turned around. "Because I think deep down part of me still loves her, too."

Allison had a sudden urge to hug Derek. But she didn't, because she doubted it would be well received.

"Are you going back to Cora?"

"Yeah. Both of us will be back here in a couple of months to take care of some things."

"Okay." She turned and headed to the door, then stopped. "And Derek?"

"Yeah?"

"I'm glad you're okay."

He smiled, an actual smile. "Thank you."


Scott was too tired to unpack his overnight bag. Matthew teleported in just as he flung it in a corner. It hit him right in the chest.

"Oh crap. I'm sorry." He pulled Matthew up. Matthew didn't say anything. He threw his arms around Scott and hugged him tight.

"I heard what happened. Are you okay?"

"Yeah." Scott hugged him back. "I'm fine."

Matthew loosened his arms and held him by the shoulders. His face was full of concern.

"Are you sure?"

"Yeah. I mean, I barely remember it."

That was a lie. Part of him was still in those bones. His body was no longer his. Scott fought the urge to sniff Matthew to ground himself. When he had sniffed Lydia in the car, she threatened him with Chanel #5. He didn't want to press his luck, so he clenched his fists and hoped his angel wouldn't notice.

"I'm really proud of you, Scott."

"What? Why?"

"Allison told me how you talked to her in the temple. She said she wouldn't have made it through without breaking down if it wasn't for you."

"Um." He didn't ask if Allison had told him about the "I loved you" moment.

"And you managed to break free of being a Berserker. You know Dr. Deaton told me that he's never heard of anyone who could do that? Same with Allison's dad."

"Oh. Well, Isaac helped me. He's the one who called me back."

Matthew looked down, then smiled. "Yeah. You'd be surprised what brothers can do."

"Yeah. Anyway, I'm good. Really."

"I don't want to leave you alone though." Matthew looked at him with those angelic blue eyes. "Can't I at least make you a cup of tea?"

Now how could he say no to that?

Chapter Text

The night before Valentine’s Day, a woman in a red dress walked on stage in a nightclub just outside Beacon Hills. The band played a few notes. She held the microphone close to her mouth, almost as if to kiss it.

“Never know how much I love you. Never know how much I care. When you put your arms around me, I get a fever that’s so bare. You give me fever.”

She ran her hand through her hair, the flash of her ring standing out against her black curls. A man in the front row licked his lips as she caught his eye.

“When you kiss me. Fever when you hold me tight. Fever in the morning. And fever all through the night.”

She rolled her head and her hips as the drummer snapped his fingers. Everyone watched her. No one look at their phones or their drinks. It was as though they were hypnotized.

“What a lovely way to burn.”

The owner came on stage. “Give it up for Sayuri Ishiyama!”

They gave her a standing ovation. As well they should. After all, it was her specialty.

After the show, she disappeared to the back room they used as a dressing room. The couch probably had at least two venereal diseases in its stuffing. Sayuri sat at a desk in front of a tacked up mirror. She would be at the end of her journey tomorrow. Already she sensed the power of the Nemeton, and she wasn’t even in Beacon Hills proper. Tomorrow she would have lunch with her old friend Noshiko. She looked forward to catching up with her. If only they could have met in better circumstances. But at least she could finally meet Noshiko’s daughter.

Sayuri stared at her reflection. She smiled at the orange eyes that looked back at her.


 

Chris saw a small bag of candy taped to his locker along with a pink sticky note.

Will you be my Valentine? –Dalyn

“Happy Valentine’s Day!”

A boy with dark brown hair and a red T-shirt slipped an arm around his shoulder in a quick side hug.

“I mean, I like you as a friend,” Chris said as he opened his locker. They laughed.

“I know you’re down lately, and you miss your brother. Just wanted to cheer you up.”

Dalyn was the only other witch at their school and Chris’ friend since preschool. He had been there when Chris was going through deep depression a few years ago. Then Chris was there for him when his mother had been killed by demons a year and a half ago. They both knew when to pry and when to leave the other be. And when to break out the candy.

“So what’s going on with you and Bianca?” They slipped into English a minute before the bell. Dalyn grinned as Chris groaned.

“She’s a good listener.”

“Your sister told me you spent the night with her,” he whispered. Chris gritted his teeth. Mel had promised she wouldn’t tell their parents. Not that she wouldn’t tell anyone.

“Look, I was having trouble sleeping, okay?”

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, just a bad night.”

“You can stay at my house some night if you want. My dad and stepmom probably won’t even notice. You know they’re hardly ever there. Or I could stay at your house.”

“Thanks. Actually, do you want to come over next Saturday?”

“Sure. What time?”

Their conversation was interrupted by their teacher calling the class to order. She had a stack of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on her desk.

“Quiet down everyone. Holiday or not, we are going to cover a lot today.” She held up one of the books. Immediately after she said this, one of the school’s acapella groups came in.

“We have a singing Valentine for Courtney.”

“That’s me!” A girl from Chris’ homeroom jumped out of her seat. The teacher set the book down and crossed her arms. Such was the way of Valentine’s Day.


 

Wyatt’s uncle was a cupid. Every year he took all the kids to the temple of the cupids, with its Greco-Roman design and smell of roses. They had strawberry milkshakes and heard stories of tales of love from one of the other cupids. Valentine’s Day almost made him more homesick than Christmas.

As he walked to class, he saw Lydia at her locker. She held a single red rose in her hand. Her eyes were closed as she smelled it. A small smile rested on her face. The old saying stop to smell the roses never made as much sense as it did then. Wyatt pulled out his phone and snapped a picture.

Lydia opened her eyes at the sound of the camera. “Did you just take a picture of me?”

“Sorry, I’ll delete it if you want.” He showed her his phone. She studied it.

“No, it’s a good picture. Send it to me. I want to show Stiles.”

“Okay.”

He hadn’t taken many pictures since he left home. Maybe he should. On the day of love, there was so many moments to capture. Love lost, love eternal, love yet to be. If Wyatt couldn’t celebrate the holiday, watching other people celebrate would be the next best thing.


 

“I can’t believe it has been that long.” Noshiko poured two glasses of red wine and set them on the coffee table.

“I know, it feels like yesterday when I was singing for the damiyo. And look, now 90 years have passed.” Sayuri sank back into the white cushions. “Geisha is yet another lost art in this modern age.”

“There are still Geisha, Sayuri.”

“Yes, but it’s not the same.”

Noshiko laughed. “Nothing is the same anymore.”

“And that reminds me. Where is your daughter, Kira?”

“At school. She’ll be home in a few hours.” Noshiko wore that proud smile that parents so often had when talking about their children.

“I saw the pictures. She’s the spitting image of you.” Sayuri sipped her wine. “You know, I’m a little surprised you didn’t have a boy.”

“Really?”

“You’re always so different, Noshiko. You were a Christian. You swam with mermaids. You moved all the way to America. I figured out of all of us, you would have had the boy.”

“Sorry to disappoint. That honor goes to Kuzunoha. But you’ll like Kira. In some ways she’s even stranger than me.”

“How so?” Sayuri gulped down the rest of her wine.

“She joined a werewolf pack.”

She grimaced, as though the wine went sour. “What?”

“Oh, half of the kids aren’t even werewolves. She just found a group of friends at school, really. They’re good kids. I wasn’t pleased when it looked like Kira and Scott, the alpha, would date. But nothing ever came of that, luckily.”

“Your daughter was a wolf’s lover?”

“Wolves aren’t as savage as we would think, Yuri-chan. Remember, the alpha Naomi helped me fight the Nogitsune before.”

“Still. One of them seduced your daughter, Nosh-chan. Your child.” Sayuri covered Noshiko’s hand with hers.

“Scott means no ill will. And they broke up long before things got serious. Speaking of which, I heard things are getting serious between Kuzon and Akari.”

The women gossiped about old friends from the Edo period. If Noshiko noticed her friend’s lingering unease, she didn’t mention it.


 

The Cupids’ Temple was aglow with soft lights and clear crystals hanging from the ceiling.  The atrium looked like a sky full of stars. PJ was supposed to be eating lunch at school. But it was Valentine’s Day. It felt like her holiday more than Halloween. She sat at the fountain at the center of the room and watched the lights sway in the breeze.

“Hey there, sweetie.” Her dad strolled down the steps. Cupids had the day off, but many were preparing for the celebration that night.

“Hi, Dad.”

He took a seat beside her. “Thinking about when you’ll find love one day?”

“No. Thinking about when I’ll be a Cupid one day.”

Her dad tucked a lock of hair behind her ear. “The first half Cupid in generations. And the first one who’s also a witch.”

“I can handle it.”

“I know. Actually, I’m having trouble with a charge. He wants to ask out a coworker, but he doesn’t think she’ll say yes. Her last boyfriend was very muscular. He’s too busy to go to the gym, sits at his desk all day. I’d say he’s almost scrawny. I’m trying to get him to ask her out now as opposed to trying some dangerous drug.”

“If she says no, then she says no. He shouldn’t hurt himself trying to please someone. If he has to, then it’s not love.”

“Well, what about if it wasn’t a steroid? What if it was about skipping lunch?”

PJ rolled her eyes. Someone must have told her parents. Probably Chris.

“If someone loves you, they accept everything, the good, the bad,” her father tapped her nose “and the beautiful.”

“Yes Dad. I’m not skipping lunch anymore. Promise.”

“Will you promise to talk to your mother and I next time something like this happens?”

“Yes, Dad.”

“Good.”

PJ quickly hugged her father. Then she beamed back to the bathroom outside the cafeteria. She knew her mom would talk to her later that day. Her parents might even send her to the therapist Chris saw. As annoying as she found it, she knew her parents were doing it out of love. And any Cupid knew that parental love was as important as romantic love.


 

Lydia had a lunch meeting with Ciara, so Stiles ate his sandwich in the library alone. He kept looking at the picture she sent him that Matthew took. It felt unreal. He had a girlfriend on Valentine’s Day.

He wondered if his dad felt the same way.

Two days ago.

“Boys, we have something to tell you.” His dad and Melissa asked them both to stop by the sheriff’s station after school. They were standing side by side in his office. His dad scratched his head.

“You see, we were going to tell you this before-“

“We know you’re dating,” Stiles said.

“What?”

“I have super smell,” Scott said.

“And I have excellent deductive skills.”

“And I heard you whispering to him on the phone, Mom.”

“And I noticed you took off your wedding ring.”

“Then why the hell didn’t you say anything,” the sheriff demanded.

“We wanted to wait until we thought you were ready,” Stiles said.

The sheriff snorted. The boys left a minute later after promising they were both fine with their parents dating. They just wanted them to be happy.

“Hey Stiles?”

Malia dropped her books on the table. She pulled up a chair next to him.

“I need your help with something.”

“Is it a boy?”

“No.”

“Is it a girl?”

“No?”

“Is it Izzy Johnson?”

“Who?”

“That kid who goes by they and always smells like peanut butter.”

“It’s not about Valentine’s Day!”

The bell rang. Stiles shoved the last bit of his sandwich in his mouth. He held up his phone and pointed to the text button, then ran out the door. Matthew was talking pictures of a couple near the water fountain. Stiles waved, mumbling hello through the bread.


 

As soon as school had let out, Kira had come home to a strange woman in their house. Sit with us, her mother had said. Come meet my old friend.

“So Kira, what are you planning to do after high school?”

Kira sipped from her porcelain cup. Her mother has brought out the fancy tea set they only used for special occasions.

“I don’t know what I want to study yet. I was thinking of becoming a teacher, or a social worker. I worked at a daycare back in New York. I love working with kids.”

“Oh, isn’t that nice.” Sayuri smiled, her bright red lipstick cracking. “Do you think you’ll have kids when you’re older?”

“Definitely.”

“She’s a little young to be thinking about that now.” Kira’s mom nibbled on a scone. “She’s not even through with high school yet.”

“Oh, she’s almost 18. You know even a hundred years ago girls her age would already be married.”

“Times have changed.” Her mother smiled.

“Yeah, the life expectancy went up,” Kira said. She grabbed a scone.

“Well you don’t have to worry about that, dear. You’ll easily live to be a thousand.”

Kira dropped the scone in her tea. “What?”

“I thought you knew. Your mother told you how old she is, right?” Sayuri looked to Kira’s mother, who frowned.

“Kira and I haven’t talked about kitsunes in depth yet. And it’s hard to absorb-“

“What about you?” Kira grabbed her mother’s arm. “Are you going to live for centuries, too?”

“Kira, I had to use my tails to summon the Oni. I don’t have the same power as I used to. And even if I did, a thousand is the average life span for our kind.”

“Average?”

“The longest lived kitsune was almost twice that old when she died.”

Kira let go of her mother’s arm. “So I’m going to be alone? For centuries? And watch you and Dad and all my friends die of old age?”

“Children are supposed to watch their parents die of old age, Kira. And you won’t be alone.” Her mother gestured to her friend. “That’s why I’m so glad Sayuri is here. She is only 535 years old.”

Sayuri flipped her hair back. “I don’t look a day over 300.”

“She’ll be here with you for many, many years. You won’t be alone.”

“I can teach you all you’ll need to know.” Sayuri smiled at her. “I just wish I hadn’t had to come here under such circumstances. They’re all over America now.”

“What?” Kira asked. “What’s all over?”

“Hunters. These people called the Order of Man. They started out burning witches, then they fell off the grid for a while, and now they’re killing or kidnapping any supernatural being they can get their hands on.” Sayuri shook her head. “I heard rumors about some secret experiments, but I doubt they’d bother with that.”

“Are they coming here?”

“They wouldn’t dare,” Kira’s mother said. “Not with the Nemeton here. They know there are many supernatural creatures who have been drawn here. They won’t risk fighting such numbers.”

“Besides,” Sayuri added, “we’re kistune. Tricksters. We can outsmart any mere mortal. Our cunning ways have given birth and laid waste to empires. Hunters cannot hunt us.”

“Don’t get overconfident,” Kira’s mother warned her.

“You’re right, Nosh-chan.”

“You’ll teach me how to be a trickster?” Kira asked.

“Yes.” She took Kira’s hand. “I will teach you how to trick.”


 

After school, Scott was sterilizing needles when he heard the familiar jingle. He hid the needles because he knew Matthew would be freaked out by them.

“Hey. What’s up?”

Matthew had a camera slung around his neck. He looked around the room.

“Where’s Deaton?”

“Out to lunch. He’ll be back soon. Why?”

“I was just taking pictures and thought maybe I could take a few here.”

“Sure. I’ll get out of your way.” Scott stepped out of the camera’s range, but Matthew shook his head.

“No, I meant with you in the picture. If you want, that is.”

“Oh. Yeah, sure.” Scott smiled as though it were picture day.

Matthew slipped off his book bag. He fiddled with the camera, holding it higher, zooming out, then pressed a button. There was a clicking sound, followed by a flash. Scott didn’t remember about flashes until Matthew clicked the picture.

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

His eyes were red. He’d seen yellow eyes in a picture before. Red eyes made him look even stranger. Monstrous, even.

“Why are you apologizing?” Matthew saved the picture.

“I forgot to tell you. Camera flashes trigger my eyes. My other eyes.”

“I know. Dr. Deaton told me when I stopped by the house after school to pick up my camera. I wanted to take a picture of your other eyes.”

“What?”

“They’re a testament to how far you’ve come, how much you’ve endured. Your red eyes are the destiny you have to fulfill. They’re as much a part of you as your brown ones. Don’t be ashamed of your red eyes. They’re beautiful eyes.”

 Like a cliché rom com, the world seemed to hold still. The two dogs barking quietly in the holding room were barely heard over the loud silence in Scott’s head.

“Beautiful?”

Matthew fiddled with his camera. “I mean, you know what I mean. The point is, you should never feel ashamed of them. And it just so happens that red is one of my favorite colors.” He flashed a smile as he put his camera back. “I think it makes you look heroic.”

Beautiful, he thought. Beautiful. Matthew said his eyes were beautiful.

“You have really beautiful eyes,” Allison had said on the bus once.

“Well at least this one is normal,” she said as she held the results of the photo booth. Three out of four pictures had his yellow eyes. He gave her the one with his eyes closed.

“I gotta go do some homework.” Bag slung over his shoulder, he headed out the front door.

“Bye,” Scott whispered. He continued to stand there for a minute after the door closed.

Beautiful. His werewolf eyes were beautiful. His werewolf-ness was beautiful.

It wasn’t even two minutes later when the phone rang. “Excuse me,” a woman said, “but I found this stray dog outside my yard. I think there’s something wrong with his ear, and I was wondering if I could bring him in.”

“Sure. What’s your name?”

“Sayuri.”


 

Kira sat at her window, watching the cars drive past. Sayuri had left an hour ago. All of the things she had said were playing back in her mind, like watching a movie over again. She kept going back to the word centuries. Kira couldn’t imagine her life in ten years let alone a hundred.

“Kira?” Her mother stood in the doorway. “Can I come in?”

“Where’s Sayuri? I thought you guys were still catching up?”

“She went to go for a walk. She likes exploring places. I just wanted to see how you were doing. I know the things we talked about are a lot to take in.”

“Mom, how do you do it?”

Her mother sat at the edge of her bed. “Do what?”

“Let go. Watch everyone you care about die.”

There was a still silence as her mother collected her thoughts. Kira saw the sorrow pass on her face and wished she hadn’t asked.

“It’s not that you learn to let go. It’s always hard, although it gets less hard over time. It’s about learning to let yourself get close to people. Even when you know they will die relatively soon. Over the centuries I’ve had lovers, friends and family all leave for the next life. And they’re still with me in my thoughts every day. Their love and wisdom is carried on through me. So don’t fear the future, Kira. And don’t distance yourself from your friends. Believe me, centuries feel a lot longer when they are spent alone.”

“That’s really sweet.” Kira went to sit by her mother. “Thanks.”

Her mother tucked a lock of hair behind Kira’s ear. “It’s Sayuri who’s had to learn more about letting go than most of us ever will. She lost her little girl not too long ago.”

“Oh my god. That’s terrible.”

“I think she is so eager to teach you as a way to come to terms with her loss. She was so excited to me you. And already she’s so protective. She looked like she wanted to strangle Scott.”

“Scott? Why?”

“For being a werewolf daring to date a kitsune.” Her mother shook her head. “To be fair, they are traditionally our enemies.”

A cold feeling washed over Kira. “You don’t think she’ll hurt Scott, do you? How long ago did she leave?”

Her mother went over to the window. “Well, she should have been back by now. But she could have just gotten lost.”

“What type of kitsune is Sayuri? Wind, forest?”

“Music. One of the rarer types. They’re similar to sirens. They can hypnotize, seduce or harm their victims through song.”

“How do we stop her?”

Her mother gave her a small smile. “You’re a kitsune, Kira. A trickster. What do you think we should do?”


 

A small moan escaped Lydia’s lips. She arched her back slightly as she lay on her bed.

“No one’s ever done this for me before.”

“No one’s ever given you a foot rub?”

Stiles pressed his thumb against her instep and rubbed small circles. Lydia had said she didn’t like big Valentine’s Day celebrations. It’s a good thing he listened to her, he realized, because he doubted a necklace would have gotten this reaction.

“Has anyone ever told you that you have the cutest moans ever?”

Lydia giggled. “No. Your moans are pretty cute, too.”

“Thank you. They wouldn’t have been possible without your help.”

That earned him a snort. Lydia covered her mouth.

“Don’t be embarrassed. Your snorts are adorable.”

“They are not?”

“Oh really?” Stiles switched from rubbing her foot to tickling it. Lydia snorted again and threw a pillow at him.

“You’re impossible.”

Stiles flopped back on the bed beside her. “I’m your impossible though.”

She cupped his cheek in her hand and pulled him into a kiss. Stiles loved the smell of her strawberry shampoo. He loved feeling how soft her body was beneath her hand.

She broke away, and smiled. “I never thought I’d feel as safe around someone as I do you.”

Stiles grinned sheepishly. “Thank you.”

“You’re so beautiful.”

“Thank you.” He kissed her. A long, slow kiss. All his dreams of dating Lydia Martin were nowhere near as amazing as reality.

Suddenly Lydia sat straight up. Stiles covered his ears a second before she started screaming. He was getting used to dating a banshee.

“Lydia, what it is?”

Lydia jumped off the bed. “Scott! It’s Scott. The clinic!”


 

“It’s Valentine’s Day and we’re single as fuck.” Liam pushed the library door harder than necessary. His friend Mason shrugged.

“More candy for us.”

“We spent a holiday cramming for a test in the library for God knows how long.” Liam gestured to the sun sinking below the horizon. “This sucks.”

“Hey Liam.” Allison waved from the sidewalk. The boys jumped down the steps to meet her.

“What’s up?”

“I forgot to give this to you when we all got back from Mexico.” She pulled a T-shirt out of her backpack. The word Mexico was scrawled on the front.

“Oh, sweet. Thanks. Oh, Allison, this is my friend Mason. Mason this is Allison.”

“Sup.”

“Hi. Are you guys just getting out of the library?”

“Studying for biology.” Mason held up the textbook. “What about you?”

“Just forgot my English book in my locker. Do you guys need a ride?”

“My dad’s picking me up,” Mason said. As if on cue, a car pulled up to the front of the library. “There he is now. See you Liam. Nice meeting you.” He ran over to the car.

“Do you need a ride, Liam?”

“I was going to take the bus.”

“It’s getting late. I don’t think it’s a good idea to be taking the bus alone this late.”

Liam rolled his eyes but followed Allison to the car. As they drove out of the parking lot, Allison turned on the radio. A sappy love song was playing.

“I hate Valentine’s Day,” he said.

“Why?”

“Because everyone else has someone but me.”

“You’re only a freshman in high school, Liam. Trust me, you have plenty of time to find someone.”

“You sound just like my mom. Which means you sound just like a middle aged woman.”

Allison laughed. Down the winding streets of the town they drove. Her phone rang when they were a few blocks away from his house. It was Lydia.

“Put it on speaker.” Click. “Lydia? I’m in the car with Liam.”

“Scott’s in trouble.”

“What?” Allison slowed the car. She parked near a street corner.

“I felt it. He’s at the clinic. Dr. Deaton and Matthew are on their way, too.”

“We’ll be there.” Allison hung up the phone. She made a sharp U-Turn and held her arm out in front of Liam’s chest.

“How is that going to protect me in a crash? I’m a werewolf!”

“Sorry. Just instinct.”

Liam clutched the door handle. He tried to even out his breathing, control his heartrate, like Scott had told him to do. He tried remembering what everyone said about anchors, something that made him stay human. All he could think of was Scott-helping him with lacrosse, pulling him aside when he was about to have a rage episode, making him believe everything was going to be okay even when something terrible was attacking them.

“Scott’s going to be alright, Liam.”

“How do you know?”

“Because he’s Scott. He’s strong.” At the stop sign, she tousled his hair again. “And he’s got us.”

“But we don’t even know what’s going on.”

“All the more reason not to panic.”

“Sorry.”

“It’s okay. It’s okay to be scared. But you can’t let emotions cloud your judgement.”

“I don’t know if I can do that.”

“Don’t worry. You’ll learn.”

***

Kira held her sword over the palms of her hands. The blade shined in the moonlight. Her mother had told Sayuri about her school. She seemed interested, even saying she might look into being a substitute teacher. Kira decided to make the appropriate choice and wait for her in the music room. Sayuri would find her soon enough.


 

Before he opened his eyes, Scott felt something warm around his face and chest. It felt good, like when his mom would wrap him in a blanket fresh out of the dryer. It was warmth and love and home and Scott wished it wouldn’t end. And when it did end, the first thing Scott saw was Matthew’s worried eyes.

They’re beautiful eyes.

Before he knew what he was doing, he smiled.

“Hey.”

“Oh thank god you’re okay.” Matthew slipped an arm behind Scott’s back and gently guided him to a sitting position. Scott thought it was one step away from being held in his arms.

He heard a cough and saw Stiles sitting next to them. Then he realized most of his pack was in the room. Stiles, Lydia, Liam, Allison, Malia and Isaac. Scott scrambled to his feet at a speed which made him a bit dizzy.

“Easy.” Matthew took his arm and guided him to a chair. “I don’t know what happened, but I was lucky to heal you. You need rest.”

“Yeah, sure.”

“Can you tell us what happened?” Dr. Deaton went over to a cabinet where they kept examining equipment.

“Yeah. A woman said she was coming over with a stray dog.”

“Hello? Is anyone here?” A woman with a slight accent called from the waiting room. She was the woman on the phone. Dr. Deaton hadn’t come back yet. Scott went out to greet her.

“Hi. I’m Scott. You’re Sayuri, right? We spoke over the phone.” She gave him a once over look. Scott had become used to people being surprised a teenager worker at a vet’ clinic, but their judging stare still made him nervous.

“Yes. Hello.”

Scott looked around. “So where’s the stray?”

“But when she came, she started singing.”

High notes hung in the air each for a second, as bright as stars, before dropping to the earth. Her voice was the haze of half-awake moments, just lost dreams still at the edge of the mind. And Scott was only half awake. His head hit the floor, or maybe the floor hit his head, it was hard to tell. He wasn’t in pain. He needed to rest.

“The next thing I knew, you were all here.”

“Oh, was it a mermaid?” Liam asked.

“Mermaids don’t live this far inland,” Matthew said.

“So mermaids exist.” Stiles pulled out a small notebook as Dr. Deaton came over with a small device they used to look in dogs’ ears.

“Let’s take a look.”

Matthew rested his hand on Scott’s shoulder, and it was all Scott could do not to grin like a goofy idiot. He caught Stiles’ eye, who wiggled his eyebrows in an overly suggestive manner. They had to look away to stop themselves from laughing. Scott avoided looking at Allison. Ever since the “I loved you” incident, he had been avoiding her all together.

Dr. Deaton rubbed his chin. “I can’t see anything unusual. It seems Matthew healed you completely. Did you see anything else? Did she tell you her name?”

“Sayuri. Actually, right before I passed out, I remember her eyes changing color. They looked gold, or yellow.”

“Or orange.” Dr. Deaton put the equipment away. “I think you encountered a music kitsune. An Ongaku.”

“Another kitsune?” Allison frowned. “Do you think Kira and her mom know about this?”

“Where is Kira anyway?” Malia asked. “I called her but it went straight to voicemail.”

“You don’t think . . .” Allison pulled out her phone. “Let me try.”

“We don’t know if this woman is after Kira,” Stiles said.

“We need to find her.” Scott slowly stood up. “Matthew, you try to sense for her. Lydia, see if you can sense anything, too. Malia and Stiles, go with her. Allison, call your dad and let him know what’s happening. Then take Isaac and see if you can catch her scent.”

“What about me?” Liam asked.

“You’re with me.”

Whether it was the chance to ride a motorcycle or a chance to get in on the action, Liam eyes lit up in excitement. Scott tousled his hair as they walked out of the clinic. He knew he needed to train his beta sooner or later, might as well start with this.


 

Kira was sitting at the piano when Sayuri came in. The older woman ran her finger over a music stand.

“I guessed that you would be waiting for me here. We tricksters have a certain sense of humor.”

“My friends texted me. I know you tried to kill Scott.”

Sayuri strolled over to the piano. She leaned on the back of it, propped up on her elbows. “Apparently, I didn’t try hard enough.”

“I don’t want to hurt you, Sayuri. But I’m not going to let you attack my friends.”

“Let? My dear, as much as I see the potential in you, you’re still a child. You don’t even know what you need to learn.”

“My mother believes in me.”

Sayuri smiled at her. Kira wondered if she was thinking of her own daughter. She didn’t flinch when Sayuri brushed her hand against her cheek.

“Don’t worry, Kira. I would never hurt you. And when you’re older, you’ll understand.” Sayuri opened her mouth.

Kira knocked over the canister hidden under the piano. The hiss of gas rushing into the air startled Sayuri. She opened her mouth again, and squeaked. Not sang, squeaked.

“I might not know a lot, but I know what helium is,” Kira said in a high pitched voice. She got up and picked up her sword.

Sayuri grabbed a music stand. She swung it at Kira, who blocked the blow with her sword. Electric sparks traveled up the sword, into the music stand and into Sayuri’s arm. She dropped the stand and winced. Kira used the distraction to kick at her ankle. Sayuri lost balance and tripped over the fallen stand. Kira held the blade inches from her throat.

“I don’t want to hurt you either. But you need to promise not to attack Scott or my friends or any innocent people living here. Give me your word you won’t, and I’ll learn whatever you want to teach me.”

Sayuri stared at her, stunned. And slightly impressed.

“I give my word.”

As her mother had told her earlier, kitsune always keep their promises.

Suddenly the door was kicked open. Scott, Matthew and Liam.

“Are you okay?” Scott asked. He eyed Sayuri warily.

“Why is your voice weird? Why is my voice weird?” Liam covered his mouth.

“Don’t worry.” Kira put away her sword and offered her hand to Sayuri. She took it.

“I took care of it.”


 

“Okay, so we’re going need to search the state database for birth and adoption records.” Lydia added that to the list tacked to Stiles’ corkboard.

“But if it’s family of werecoyotes, they might not have used traditional adoption agencies.” Stiles unspooled the red thread he kept in his desk. Red was for things he didn’t know.

After the kitsune scare, Malia had finally managed to drag Stiles aside and explain that she wanted to find her birth family. She had just found out that she was adopted, and she wanted answers about why she had been left to discover her true nature alone, and in the most horrific way possible.

“Maybe her dad has some sort of record that she can get a hold of?” Stiles tacked a red thread next to a piece of paper that said “birth parents.”

“Malia said her dad didn’t get any records. And it’s more complicated than that. He could have gotten Malia illegally and lied about it. After all, why would shifters let non-shifters raise a shifter baby? They must have known something like this would happen. A time when she would lose control. Maybe it wasn’t a matter of just being adopted. Maybe someone was trying to hide Malia.”

“Oh my God Lydia, you’re brilliant.”

Out of nowhere, Lydia pulled Stiles by the shirt collar into a passionate kiss.

“What was that for?”

“That was because I can be brilliant with you.”

Stiles held her by the waist. “Lydia Martin, we are going to be absolutely brilliant whenever possible.”

“Whenever possible? Why not always.”

“Because sometimes we’ll be moaning.”


 

Even though Scott had been healed, when his mom had heard what had happened he was out on bed rest for the night, no ifs, ands or buts.  Scott thought that his mom was much better at handling supernatural stuff. A kitsune attack barely even phased her.

After she had first seen him in his wolf form, Scott’s mom hadn’t look him in the eye for a week. Even Stiles had called it a curse. Even though his powers had allowed to him to hear calls for help, take away pain and fight off bad guys, Scott realized that he still felt like a monster. A freak. Mathew was the first and only person who made him feel like something else. Something good.

Heroic.

Scott had told Allison he had loved her. It just slipped out, just like the time he had admitted to Stiles that he loved Allison in the first place. But it wasn’t a matter of simply falling out of love with her. Scott was starting to think he was falling in love with someone else.

Chapter Text

Scott dragged Stiles by the arm to the coach's office before school.

"I have something to tell you. I think I'm into Matthew."

"Okay, that's kind of obvious, dude."

"But I don't mean just interested in him." Scott took a deep breath. "I think I'm in love with him."

"Scott, I know you're bi. It's okay-"

"He's an angel! Humans aren't supposed to fall in love with angels Stiles!"

Stiles rolled his eyes. "First of all, you're not human. Second of all, I'm pretty sure Matthew's not an angel."

Scott jerked his head back. "Wait what?"

"Scott, I think Matthew's a witch."

"A witch?!"

"Yeah. The Nogitsune accused him of being one, I woke up from the botched exorcism to five white candles, he tried to give Liam a freaking potion, plus I highly doubt angels like Family Guy."

"I saw him doodling a triquetra."

"That's a witch symbol, Scott."

"No it's not. It's Catholic."

"It's both."

Isaac opened the door. "Hey, what's going on?"

"Stiles thinks Matthew is a witch."

"You didn't know that?"

They both turned to him, confused. "Wait, how did you know that?" Stiles asked.

"Derek told me a little while ago. He said that's why Matthew smells a bit off. Witches' blood."

Scott's jaw dropped open. "I thought that was an angel smell."

Stiles pressed his lips together. "That probably means at least some of Naomi's pack knows. And probably the werecat pride. And the vampires. Actually when we met them it seemed like Matthew was trying to keep them from talking. He knew that they knew. Deaton for sure knows. He knows almost everything."

There was a knock on the door. Kira and Lydia stepped inside.

"Don't you think Coach has had enough of you guys pranking him?" Lydia looked at the office chair they had messed with on Mischief Night.

"We weren't going to prank him." Stiles looked around the office. "Although, I am suddenly getting a lot of ideas standing here."

"We're talking about how Matthew is a witch," Isaac said.

Kira clasped her hand over her heart. "Oh you guys know too? Thank god, I was dying to tell you but my mom and Allison didn't want me to."

Scott threw his hands up in exasperation. "Allison knows?"

"What do I know?" Allison quickly closed the door behind her and squeezed in between Kira and the desk.

"That Matthew is a witch," Lydia said.

"Wait how do you guys know?'

"He smells different," Isaac said.

"He acts like a witch," Stiles said.

"I just knew that he didn't respond to his name sometimes," Lydia said. "I think Matthew is an alias."

"An alias?!" Scott didn't even know the name of the guy he was falling in love with. Matthew sounded like an angel's name. What if his real name was Balthazar?

Allison perched herself on the edge of the desk. "My dad told me that he was a witch."

"And my mom told me."

"Then when we were dealing with the deadpool, we were in Deaton's house while Matthew was unconscious and decided to search his room to see why he's really here."

"But all we found was potion stuff and a journal in the back of his closet."

"You found cool witch stuff and didn't tell me?" Stiles pouted.

"And Allison found this spell though."

"What spell?" Stiles asked.

"To get rid of the darkness." Allison gestured to Scott and Stiles. "From when the three of us went through that ritual."

"He did that?" Scott couldn't process everything at once. He leaned against the desk.

"Whatever he's doing here, he wants to protect us."

Malia knocked on the door. "What's going on?"

"Matthew is a witch," Isaac told her.

"Okay." Malia closed the door and walked away.

"Aren't any of you a little confused by all this?" Scott shook his head. "I mean, Matthew has been lying to us and we don't know what's going on and everything is turned upside down."

"Well Scott, witches are enemies of werewolves and druids," Allison said. "I think he lied to protect himself."

"Although kitsune and eastern supernatural creatures are okay with them."

"But why didn't he tell us?" Scott sat on the edge of the desk.

"Maybe he was just scared," Lydia said. "Scared of what we would think of him."

Isaac headed to the door. "This is getting a bit too deep for me." He opened the door just as Coach was reaching for the door handle.

"What hell are all of you doing in my office?"

"Scott likes this guy but he's scared to come out of the closet," Stiles blurted out. "We were all just telling him it's okay." Scott quickly wiped his eyes like he had been crying.

"Aw, it's that sweet. Do it somewhere else!" Coach blew his whistle at them. He pointed to the hallway and almost hit Liam, who had just walked over.

"Out!" He physically pushed Liam away from the door. The rest of the pack exited the room single file. Coach slammed the door behind him.

"Malia told me Matthew's a witch," Liam whispered. "Do you think he'd let me ride his broom? Like in Quidditch?"


During history class all Scott could focus on was the back of Matthew's head. If he stared at it long enough, maybe he could find some damn answers.

No one else was mad that he'd lied to them for months. His name, his identity, nothing was true. How could Scott fall in love with someone he didn't even know?

Matthew was writing something in his notebook. As he turned the page, Scott caught a glimpse of the triquetra on his paper. He had never thought that it might mean something other than the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit to someone.

His phone buzzed in his pocket.

Stiles: Just ask him out already and accept your new kid fetish.

Scott: Fetish?!

Stiles: Allison was new. So was Kira. Now Matthew. Once is an incidence, twice a coincidence, 3 times is a pattern.

Scott: Oh my god Stiles leave me alone.

Stiles: So you don't know him that well. Get to know him. That's the whole point of a date, right? In fact, traditionally speaking, people usually go on dates and get to know each other before falling in love.

Scott: He's going to say no. His people apparently hate mine and he's in denial of being gay and even if he wasn't, I'm awkward. He doesn't like me.

Stiles: Yes he does. Ask him to hang out with you, don't call it a date.

Stiles: Also do you think we could use your dad's FBI clearance to look up confidential birth and adoption records from the state of California?

Scott: No.

The bell rang. With no clue and no plan (he had technically never asked anyone on a date before, Allison had always done that) Scott darted down the hall after Matthew.


Wyatt had absolutely no interest in going to a dance at another school, or dancing in general. But when Scott heard he didn't know how to dance (which wasn't entirely true since he jumped around a lot at his old school's dances) he had insisted on teaching him.

"You do so much for me, all of us, can't I at least help you with this?" And he looked so hopeful that Wyatt found himself agreeing to meet Scott in the woods that Saturday for a dance lesson.

"Okay, so I'm going to place my hand on your shoulder blade. You're going to put your hand near my shoulder-"

"Why are you the leader? Shouldn't I learn how to lead?"

"My abuelo told me when men first danced the tango, they would learn how to follow before they learned how to lead."

"You said this was the cha cha."

"Same basic principle."

Even though Scott was half a head shorter than him, Wyatt put his hand on his shoulder. Scott held his other hand, which was folded "dish towel style," as he called it. Wyatt's right foot was place in between Scott's feet, which somehow prevented him from stepping on his toes.

"You start with moving your right foot right, while I move my left foot left."

"Okay." They stepped, Wyatt feeling the hand on his back guide him.

"Then I step back with my left foot. . ."

They practiced for a few minutes before Scott played a soft violin piece on his phone. The cha cha wasn't as awkward as Wyatt would have expected. Ballroom dancing wasn't particularly sexual. And he loved spinning. Scott would hold one hand up high as Wyatt spun around on the balls of his feet.

"Do people at your school really dance like this at a school dance?" he asked as the song ended. He didn't bother to move out of the dance hold.

"Some people. The old music teacher held a ballroom class after school. I went a couple of times. It was mostly girls."

"That makes sense."

"I know some guys who ballroom dance, though they're mostly either old or in drag."

Wyatt laughed. "They have drag queens in a town this small?"

"Beacon Hills has the only gay club in the next three towns over." Scott shrugged. "Although they usually don't do the waltz."

"Their loss."

Wyatt laughed as Scott broke the hold to give a deep bow, one arm behind his back. "May I have this dance?"

He gave an awkward curtsy that almost made him trip. "I'd be honored."


"You're going down!" Dalyn leaned sideways as his spaceship veered right to avoid the asteroid. The conservatory in the Halliwell manor was filled with zooms and pew pew pews.

"Eat laser, bitch!" Chris pressed his thumb down until the space rock became space dust.

"Chris," his dad called from the living room, "watch your language."

"Yeah dad."

After a few minutes the boys paused the game. Dalyn scooped up a handful of popcorn from a nearby bowl.

"Okay, since you don't feel like talking about shit, I get to vent."

"What happened?"

"So yesterday I was staying after school for newspaper. My chips get stuck in the machine by the gym. Then the lady at office goes 'well maybe it's a sign from God that you shouldn't be eating so much.'"

"You're on the swim team. You can eat whatever you want."

Dalyn passed him the popcorn. "Yeah, and if Doritos are so unhealthy why are they being sold by the school in the first place?"

"Did you get a refund?"

"After 10 minutes. My stepmom was waiting for me and complained about waiting. Then again there isn't a time when she's not nagging me. I swear when I go to college I'm never looking back."

"When I go to college I'm going to have to live at home. My mom says it's too expensive to pay for a dorm. I'm going to have to go to school somewhere nearby, unless I get a scholarship."

"Yeah but your parents are actually cool. If my mom were still here I wouldn't mind living at home through college."

Chris' mom walked into the room. It's like she knows when we're talking about her, Chris thought.

"Dalyn, are you staying for dinner?"

"My stepmom said I could come home whenever."

"We're having salmon."

"Awesome, thanks Ms. Halliwell."

They turned the game back on, making sure to swear quietly enough so Chris' dad wouldn't hear.


Clouds in various greys and white floated by. Scott and Matthew lay on their backs, taking a break from dancing. If it was a movie, Scott would say one cloud looked like a flower or a horse. But they were all just blobs, almost no sun light peeked through.

"Tell me something about yourself," he said.

Matthew folded his hands behind his head. "Like what?"

"Anything. We talk to you about our lives, but we don't much about you. Not even angel stuff. Do you watch TV?" Stiles had mentioned he liked Family Guy, and Matthew had made the occasional SpongeBob reference.

Matthew grinned and bit his lip. "Promise you won't laugh?"

"Promise."

"Sometimes, when it's on, I watch My Little Pony."

"Really?" Scott wasn't surprised. He seemed like the cartoon guy. In whatever house or coven place he lived, Scott bet that Matthew had posters of cartoons and videogames in his bedroom.

"I mean, it's a really relatable show," Matthew went on. "The main character starts off not wanting to deal with people. The way everyone gives Pinky Pie a what-the-fuck face, we all have a friend like that. The animation is good, too."

"Promise you won't laugh?"

"Promise."

"I watch telenovelas to practice my Spanish."

"Why would I laugh about that?"

"Because I'm a teenage boy who likes soap operas. Really cheesy soap operas. Like, the acting is really bad sometimes."

"A lot of stuff has bad acting."

"True."

"So you guys never speak Spanish at home?"

"Rarely. Both my parents wanted to make sure I didn't have an accent. I only spoke Spanish when I went to my grandparents' house as a kid. That's where I first started watching them, with my Abuela."

"I think that's sweet."

"Isaac never mentioned it, even though I know he can hear it. Stiles teased me a bit, but he's madder that I've never seen Star Wars."

"You've never seen Star Wars?!"

"Oh my god, there are other movies out there."

"I can't believe you."

"No, you know what's worse? Isaac has never watched Avatar the Last Airbender."

"WHAT?"

"You have to make him. You're his foster brother. You're not an only child anymore. That reminds me, have you read the comics where-"

"No spoilers!"

Scott rolled over so he faced Matthew. His blue eyes were so pretty.

"Besides, technically I already have a brother."

"Does Stiles like Avatar?"

"No, I mean my father's other son."

Matthew frowned. "You have a brother?"

"My dad had a short affair when I was little. No one, not even him, knew about the kid until I was about 11. That's when he left. But he was probably going to leave anyway."

"Did he live move in with the other woman?"

"No. But now his other son lives with him."

"Your half-brother."

"Like I said, he's technically my brother. But I only met him a few times. I mean I don't hate him, but I don't feel like I need to talk to him. I don't talk to my dad, either."

"Still, he's your brother. Maybe he wants to reach out to you. Family is important, Scott. It's the love of brothers and sisters that have changed the world."

Scott wondered if Matthew had brothers or sisters. He wondered what his family was like, if they missed Matthew, if they would try to kill him like the Argents did. He wondered what Matthew's real name was.

"My dad is family," Scott said instead, "and he withheld my inhaler from me as a kid. Blood isn't everything."

"He did?"

"Yeah. It happened a couple times as a kid. I just couldn't breathe. He thought I was being dramatic, I think he was drunk, but I couldn't get any air in. I thought I was going to die." He laughed. "But I've been a lot closer to death since then."

Matthew slipped hand on Scott's. He held it there for several long seconds; it wasn't by accident. His blues pierced the fake smile he wore.

"I'm sorry that happened. And I promise you, no matter what happens, I'm not going to let anything or anyone hurt you like that again. I swear by Heaven and Hell."

"Don't make promises you can't keep."

"You have no idea what promises I can keep."

"With the witch at your side, you cannot fail."

The gypsy their banshee English teacher had spoken with had talked about a witch. Matthew scooted closer to Scott. Their arms touched. Scott silently thanked the gypsy or whoever decided to bring Matthew here.

"Come on." Scott stood and offered Matthew his hand. "Shall we dance?"

Mathew accepted his hand. As soon as he stood, he dropped into another curtsey. Scott, still holding his hand, pulled it to his lips like a gentleman greeting a lady.


"Have you guys kissed yet?"

"Shut up, Dalyn." Chris slapped him with a throw pillow. He looked behind him in case his parents were near. The coast was clear.

"I don't know why you're so embarrassed."

"Because we're not dating, okay? Bianca would never go out with me."

"Because of your inferior skills?" Dalyn pointed at the TV with his foot.

"She's two years older than me. She probably sees me as a little kid."

Dayln leaned close to Chris. "Maybe she wants you to call her Mommy."

"That's it!"

Chris lunged at him, knocking them both to the floor. Dalyn laughed as Chris hit him repeatedly with a couch cushion. Chris' mom ran in.

"Oh my God kids, you guys gave me a heart attack. And someone could have gotten hurt."

"Sorry Mom." Chris climbed back onto the couch.

Dalyn grinned sheepishly. "We'll be quiet, Chris' mom."

"Okay, good. Dinner will be ready in about an hour."

As soon as she left, Dalyn starting laughing again. Chris threw a pillow at him.

"Seriously though, Bianca likes you. And you like her. What's the problem?"

"I'm too messed up, that's the problem. Calling her in the middle of the night, been in therapy for three years. Who wants to date a mental patient?"

"Bianca comes from a family of assassins. You don't think she has her own issues?" Dalyn grabbed the controller as he sat back down on the couch. "And Bianca is so good at this stuff, at helping you and talking to you, maybe it's sign that she would be good for you to date?"

"I guess."

"And she's a witch."

Both boys had agreed last year that they only wanted to date witches. Chris didn't tell his parents, because they would go on about love happens anywhere and don't judge a book by its cover. They would almost certainly be offended considering their own mixed marriage. And that was part of it. A witch being with a whitelighter or other magical being has a host of problems. Dating a mortal at times seemed almost impossible. Dalyn's own father didn't even know he was a witch for fear he couldn't handle it, like so many other mortals. Every day Jews married Jews and 49ers fans married 49ers fans. Why shouldn't witches marry witches?

Loud thumps on the staircase announced Mel. She ran into the room wearing all black and carrying Grams old spell book. A walking stereotype, Chris thought.

"What's with the book?"

"We have to write poetry for class. I'm looking for inspiration."

"You're cheating."

"And you're a loser. Glad we had this talk."

Dayln offered the controller. "Wanna play?"

"Sure."

They unpaused the game. Chris knew his sister didn't play videogames that much. Victory was at hand.

"So are you going to ask her out or not?"

"You haven't asked her out yet?" Mel glared at him.

"Okay, both of you get off my back. I'll ask her out when we don't have so much to deal with." When Wyatt returns, that what they knew he meant.

Satisfied, his sister and friend moved on to talking about a TV show they both watched until Chris' mom called them to dinner.


Wyatt was keenly aware of Scott's hand against his back. That hand supported him as Scott guided his body back into a dip. His head tipped back and Wyatt saw the patterns of clouds peeking between the trees. Then he felt a rain drop.

"Oh shit it's raining." Scott pulled him up just as it started pouring.

"Here." Wyatt took Scott's hand and felt his fingers interlace with his. For a moment they looked into each other's eyes and Wyatt almost forgot it as raining. Then thunder echoed over the sky, and Wyatt orbed them to Dr. Deaton's living room. Scott tumbled into Wyatt, who ended up catching him as he fell against his chest.

"I'm sorry, I didn't give you any warning. We can go back for your motorcycle when the storm's cleared."

Wyatt helped Scott to the couch.

"Was it weird for you the first time you teleported?"

"I don't know. I've been doing this since before I could remember."

"How far can you teleport? Like all over the country?"

"All over the world, and to a few other realms besides."

"Wow. You must have traveled everywhere."

"Not really. I'm not allowed to go that far until I'm older. And even then there are rules."

"So you can't take us to Tokyo right now?"

"I'm afraid not."

"Okay."

Wyatt flipped on the TV to the local weather as background noise. For a few minutes neither boy spoke, and they sat on opposite ends of the couch.

"Can I ask you something?" Scott said as a commercial came on.

"What?"

"I know you don't want to discuss theology, but what are angels' stances on being gay? Is same sex romance allowed?"

"Romance is general has usually been off limits for angels. The rules are loosening a little." After his parents married, several other whitelighters petitioned to marry their charges on the grounds that if the Charmed Ones got to do it, not letting others marry would be showing preferential treatment. Every couple was judged on a case by case basis. Outside of the Halliwell line there were now about a dozen half whitelighter, half witch children as well as couple of half whitelighter, half mortal children.

"With mortals, they don't really care who you date."

"Are you allowed to date?"

"Are you asking me out?" Wyatt said it in a joking tone, as he would with any of his friends back home. But then he saw Scott suck in his lip.

"Are you asking me out, Scott?"

"What would you say to me if I did?"

Wyatt winced. He didn't want to hurt Scott's feelings. Scott was so sweet.

"I would say that I'm not gay. And that even if I was, it wouldn't be a good idea. I'm your angel. I'm here to look after you, and I don't want to take advantage of you."

"And I would say that I think you're lying?"

"Why is that?"

"Because I don't think you're straight. And I don't think you're an angel."

Wyatt maintained a calm, even voice. "What do you think I am then?"

"A witch."


Scott hated himself for the fear he smelled from Matthew. He shouldn't have brought it up, but he needed answers.

"Scott, that's ridiculous. Why do you think I'm a witch?"

"Your smell. I've been told it's the smell of witches' blood."

"How does witches' blood smell different?"

"Earthy."

Matthew jumped off the couch. "I am not a witch."

His heart beat very fast on the word not.

"You're lying."

"Just because you can hear my heartbeat doesn't mean you know everything, Scott." His voice was getting higher pitched. "Because you don't know anything."

"Because you don't tell me anything." Scott got up too.

"I have my reasons."

"None of us care that you're a witch."

"You told other people this?"

"Allison found a spell book in your closet!"

The words came out harsher than he had meant. A clap of thunder outside boomed. Then the lights flickered and went out.

"Great. Just great." Scott didn't know if he was talking about the power or the spell book.

"She didn't know if she could trust you. You had just accused Lydia of murder. And she doesn't care. We don't care if you're a witch, Matthew. You're our friend."

"Who else knows about this?"

"Anyone who has super senses and recognizes the scent. And maybe people who've met witches before. A lot of people, possibly."

"Super. I'm glad I was told about this." At least no one knew he was the son of a Charmed One. Hopefully. Wyatt went to the kitchen. He opened the fridge door, then slammed it. Scott propped his elbows on the countertop.

"Even if you're not an angel, you're still one of the most amazing people I have ever met."

"Don't call me amazing. I told you, you don't know everything." Wyatt opened the fridge again for a coke can.

"You can tell me. Whatever it is-"

"And I'm not gay, either." Wyatt took a sip of soda. "So stop pretending that I am."

"So angels are okay with gay people, but witches aren't?"

"Don't think I won't throw you out into the rain."

"What are you so afraid of?"

"I'm not afraid of anything."

"I can smell you fear."

"God damn it Scott! Just what the hell do you want?"

Scott swallowed. "You."

Wyatt shook his head. "I'm not gay."

"Who are you trying to persuade? Me? Or yourself?"

The only response Wyatt could give was to orb away.


As soon as Matthew left, Scott wanted to smack himself. Who was he to force the issue? He was so caught up in his own thoughts and desires that he pushed his angel-his friend-too far. Still, was it so wrong to want some honesty, he wondered. To know about his crush's life?

Suddenly Scott had an idea. He could hear that Dr. Deaton wasn't in the house. It was just like Allison and Kira, he could sneak into Matthew's room. Only he wasn't looking for a spell book. Scott didn't know what he was looking for. He darted down the hall before he could talk himself out of it. At the end of the hall was a door that smelled earthy.

The room looked like any guestroom. The bed was made. A backpack sat by the nightstand. A couple of socks lay near the door. Scott kept his ears trained for any sounds like a door opening or a teleportation jingle. He felt like a thief in the night.

A dark shape under the bed caught his eye. Scott reached under the bed and pulled out a teddy bear. Matthew's smell hit his nose as he touched the worn fabric. He must have slept with it every night.

He hugged the bear to his chest and breathed in the smell. Matthew wasn't an angel. He was human, with human fears and human homesickness. Someone had given him this teddy bear. Someone he must miss terribly.

The pitter patter of rain puttered out. Scott gently returned the bear to its hiding place. He would get his bike and find his friend. It was time they all supported Matthew for a change.


Seconds later he was behind the bleachers at the high school, the first place that popped in his head. Standing next to metal bleachers during a lightning storm was a terrible idea, of course. Wyatt sprinted to the school. It was open on Saturdays for clubs and practices.

Right when he opened the door, Danny, a boy on the lacrosse team, nearly bumped into him as he walked out. He carried an instrument case under his arm.

"Hey, Matthew, are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm fine. Why?"

"You're shaking."

"Just cold, from the rain. I'm going to wait out the storm here."

A beep came from Danny's pocket. As he checked his phone, Wyatt looked around to see if anyone else was there. Only a few other students. None of his charges, or other shifters. If they could smell that he was a witch, what was to stop anyone from killing him for his powers? Shifters weren't like witches. They didn't have the same rules.

"My ride is late. I'll wait here until the rain stops, too."

"Cool."

They chatted by the lockers. Danny had lots of crazy stories about the lacrosse coach. Wyatt almost wanted to watch a lacrosse practice just to see this guy yell. As the wind and rain died down, Danny checked his phone again. His ride was almost there.

"So are you okay," Danny asked as he slid it back in his pocket.

"Yeah, why?"

"You seem agitated."

"I'm fine."

"Is it about Scott?"

Wyatt almost tripped over his own shoes.

"What? How'd you know that?"

"I mean, it's pretty clear he likes you."

"Does everyone know?"

"Yeah, you didn't know that?"

"No!" He really needed to start paying more attention, as a whitelighter if nothing else.

"Well do you like him?"

"I'm not gay! Oh my god, why the hell does everyone think I am?"

Danny gave him a once over look. "I've seen this before."

"Seen what?" Did Danny know that he a witch, too?

"In the closet, in denial."

"I'm not in denial."

Danny raised an eyebrow. "Have you ever had crushes on girls?"

"Well, I mean, I had a girlfriend."

"And how did that work out?" he asked in a patronizing tone.

"She broke up with me after a couple months because I didn't want sex. But that's not because I'm gay. I just want to wait until I'm in love."

"Did you like kissing her?"

"She wasn't a good kisser."

"Was she inexperienced?"

Not according to her next boyfriend. "No, it just, it wasn't good. It felt weird. But that was just her."

"Have you ever had any other crush on a girl?"

"Not really."

"Do you check girls out?"

"I mean, I was raised to respect women."

"You can respect people and still be attracted to them. Do you watch porn?"

"I am not having this conversation!"

Have you ever had any dreams with-"

"Dreams don't mean anything, okay? Why does everyone think I'm gay? I'm. Not. Gay!"

"You're telling me you've never had any sexual or emotional attraction to a female in your life. How exactly is that straight?"

Wyatt blinked. Then he darted down the hall.

"It's still raining!"

"Leave me alone!"

Wyatt ran down the halls, through the doors, away from the school. He ran in the rain that mixed with a few tears on his cheeks. He ran down streets he didn't recognize. He ran until his legs trembled.

He could never outrun himself.


Bianca combed her wet hair. Lillian was still in the shower. In the quiet of their room, Bianca stared at her reflection.

Lillian had just spent the last hour questioning her(she didn't know how she found out that Chris had slept over and hoped no one else knew). If what Lillian believed was true, Chris would ask her out tomorrow and propose when he graduated college.

Bianca tied her hair into a loose bun on top of her head. She pulled a textbook off the floor as Lillian came back.

"I know you're not actually studying."

Bianca didn't look up from the index. "Oh really? How?"

"Because that's my textbook." Lillian closed the book. The cover was a plant. It was a biology textbook. Bianca was taking chemistry.

"Oh."

"The whole point of roommates is to gossip about stuff like this. Like with Ben. I talked for hours about Ben freshman year. We stayed up until 2 am the night he finally kissed me. Why won't you talk about Chris?"

"Because it will never happen."

"Why, because he's two years younger? I mean eventually-"

"I'm the daughter of an assassin, Lillian." Bianca threw the textbook aside. "I know you and a lot of other people forget it, but believe me, I don't. I see the way some students-some teachers-look at me out of the corner of their eye. You really think the headmaster will let me date his son? He didn't even want to let me into this place to begin with!"

Bianca jumped off the bed. Lillian grabbed her wrist before she could shimmer away.

"Maybe some people do look at you like that. Maybe Professor Wyatt does, I don't know. But Chris doesn't. He never did."

"I almost killed Chris in another timeline."

"And Chris' brother almost killed everyone." Lillian let go of her wrist to take her hands. "Bianca, Chris likes you. And you like him. And I know that you two have both gone through a lot. You guys deserve to be happy."

Bianca hugged her. When she had been assigned to a room with Lillian all those years ago, she had been terrified that this heiress of a powerful line would shun her. Instead, both girls got the closest thing each had to a sister.


Scott slammed his bedroom door shut harder than he meant to.

"What do you mean he was crying?" he asked into the phone.

"I mean there were tears coming from his eyes due to emotional distress," Danny said. "What else can that possibly mean?"

"And you just let him leave?"

"He ran away before I could say anything. What do you want me to do McCall, tackle him?"

"Just let me know if you see him."

Scott tossed his phone on the bed. He felt nauseous. Matthew was able to teleport anywhere. He could have been anywhere. And from what Danny had said, he wasn't in great shape.

"Hey." Isaac leaned against the door frame. "I heard the call. You okay?"

"This is all my fault."

Isaac walked into the room. He scratched his head.

"Look, I'm not at giving pep talks, but I think Danny is right about one thing. If Matthew is gay and in denial, then he's going to have difficulty coming to terms with it no matter what anyone says or does. And from what Danny said, he's at least not straight. And isn't this a good thing for you?"

"Just because he likes guys doesn't mean he likes me."

"I know so. I've seen the way he looks at you."

"Thanks."

Isaac wrapped an arm around his shoulders. His stomach settled.


Hot shower water filled the room with steam. Wyatt wanted the water to drown out his crying and hide the smell of his cigarette. He hugged his knees and pressed his back against the wall. His hands trembled as he held up the lighter.

His father had talked to him about sex and relationships. The man always paid at dinner, but that didn't mean he was entitled to sex. And he gave roses. The woman would thank him. From what he had overheard from his mother and aunts, the woman would wear high heels and make up on dates. Yes, men and women were equals. Yes, they were partners. Yes, Wyatt's mother kept her last name and passed to along to her children. But his dad had still taken him and Chris to baseball games while Mel had kept Barbies under her bed.

The thought of someone paying for his dinner made Wyatt physically ill. He breathed in the smoke to settle his stomach. The gay clubs and drag queens Scott had mentioned were for other people.

But apparently letting another man lead him in a dance was for him. Or letting another man throw him against a wall and fucking ravish him. Maybe he should just smear on his mother's makeup and let Scott take him to that club. Because he had no masculinity left.

Wyatt lay his head on the damp fabric of the bathroom rug. He watched the swirling smoke he breathed merge with the steam.

"Matthew?" There were two quick knocks. "It's Dr. Deaton. Are you alright?"

"I'm fine." He held his cigarette under the shower, then threw it away.

"Scott called. He said that you weren't feeling well. He sounded very concerned."

"I said I'm fine. I'm in the shower."

"When you are done showering, would you care to join me in the living room? I think some chamomile tea would help you."

Chamomile. His mother made him chamomile tea. He couldn't hold in the sobbing anymore, desperate, wheezing crying that made Dr. Deaton knock even louder.

"Matthew, I'm unlocking the door."

"Just leave me alone. Please."

Click. The creak of the door made Wyatt flinch. He felt a hand on his shoulder.

"Matthew? Can you get up? Did you hurt yourself?" He knew Dr. Deaton didn't mean hurt himself by accident.

This must be what Chris feels like all the time, he thought. Hating how crazy everyone's concern makes him feel, hating everyone watching him. Wyatt shrugged Dr. Deaton's hand away and pulled himself up.

"I just need to be alone."

Dr. Deaton studied his face, most likely for any signs of whether he would do something to himself. He nodded.

"Let me at least help you to bed."

He placed his hand on Wyatt's back and gently guided him to his bed, then sat next to him.

"Scott told me you and Danny talked."

"That's one way of putting it."

"Do you want to talk?"

Wyatt pressed his hands together in his lap. "Do you know I'm a witch?"

"Yes."

"Does everyone know?"

"I don't know about everyone. But your people have a distinct way about you. Very passionate, stubborn, what many have called pride. Powerful, knowledgeable. The first of all supernatural beings. I never thought any less of you for your heritage. And I know Scott won't, either."

"I don't care if he does. I'm not, I can't be. . ." Wyatt couldn't even say the words.

"It's okay-"

"No!" Wyatt jumped up. In seconds he would either start screaming or throwing things. "It's not okay. It never will be okay."

Tears slipped down his face again. Wyatt sank to his hands and knees, his face inches from the carpet. Through his tears he heard soothing words and felt gentle hands on his shoulders. He cried into Dr. Deaton's shoulder.

"Shh."

"What if I can't have children?"

"Oh, Matthew."

He wanted him to call him Wyatt. He wanted it so much.

"You can still have children. And from what I've seen of you, you are going to be a great father."

"It's not fair." He cried harder. None of it was fair. Here he was, far away from home, crying on the floor. Dr. Deaton continued to comfort him, but all Wyatt wanted was his family-his mom, dad, aunts, uncles, brother, sister and cousins.

But what would they think of him?

Chapter Text

A real estate agent chose not to lock the door behind her. This was her first time appraising the house. She didn't know what was inside, only that the owner had been murdered, not uncommon in the town as of late. Better to be cautious, she thought. She didn't know if she would need to make a run for it, especially this close to sunset.

Everything looked okay at first. A few broken dishes on the floor was the only suspicious thing she saw. She went through the kitchen, the living room, the bedrooms and the bathrooms. But then she heard a thump in the basement. She was a real estate agent, not an idiot. She darted to the door.

It was locked.

Suddenly a force pulled at her shirt. Like something was dragging her. She fell on her back and screamed. Nothing was there. No one was there. Not as she was dragged down the stairs onto the darkness, into some box. There was no one there.

But she still kept screaming.


"Are not hearing me, son? Get in the damn freezer! Get in!"

Dark. Everything dark. Walls closing in. Nails clawing at the ceiling-door-trying to get out. It's small. It's too small. Please, Dad, I'll be good. Please let me out. Let me out. Let me-

"Isaac!"

Scott was there and he was shaking him awake. Light appeared. Isaac shielded his eyes in surprise. Melissa was in the doorway.

"It's okay, sweetheart."

It took him a second realize she was talking to him instead of Scott.

"You were having another nightmare," Scott said.

Isaac bit back the sorry on his lips. They had both said it wasn't his fault several times. But he had woken them up. He was troubling them and he wanted to apologize.

"Here, scoot over." Scott pulled back the covers, just like last time. The nightmares were much less frequent since he had moved in, but they still happened every few weeks. Scott always spent the night in his room. Isaac would fall asleep to the sound of his breathing. Eventually.


After the boys were settled in, Melissa boiled water for a cup of tea. She needed to think.

She had a foster son under her roof who had suffered through serious trauma. Any nurse worth her name tag would have sent him to a therapist months ago. But where was she going to find a psychologist whose specialties included teenagers, child abuse and the supernatural? Melissa rubbed her eyes. She knew she was going to have bags under them the next day. She knew her boys were going to have bags under their eyes, too. This couldn't go on. It wasn't good for any of them, especially Isaac.

Isaac. It was a good thing she thought, that his father was already dead. She had never been a violent woman. But even she would have gladly gone to prison if she had ever gotten a chance alone with the guy.

The kettle's steaming scream startled her out of her thoughts. She poured her cup and held her face over the warm water.


In the early morning light, Lydia read a mystery novel. She knew who the killer was by chapter three. All the supernatural murders they had in town had certainly sharpened her deductive reasoning. All of a sudden, she felt a familiar sense of foreboding. She screamed.

Then she was in Isaac's living room. She had never been in Isaac's house before, but she saw a picture of him on a table. Isaac, his brother and his father. Lydia shivered. Why did she have to be a banshee? Why couldn't she have been a mermaid?

That foreboding feeling again. A chill brushed against her arms. The floorboards creaked. She turned around. There was nothing there. Then a force pushed her to the ground, dragged her by the ankles, down to the basement. She screamed.

And she was back in her room. Her mother was banging on the door.

"Lydia? Lydia!"

"Just a nightmare, Mom."

She texted Stiles, then picked out her clothes for the day. Whatever was going on, she'd find out soon enough.


Sheriff Stilinski was running on three hours of sleep and a bad cup of coffee.

They had received a call the night before, some screaming in the Lahey house. In five minutes, Deputy Parrish found a body in the basement. Cause of death yet to be determined. But he had his suspicions. And so did Deputy Parrish, who was researching ghosts on his computer. No one was mocking him. It was Beacon Hills.

Stiles had told him that Matthew was actually a witch, not an angel. The sheriff was neither religious nor picky. He texted Stiles to get his friend to come to the station, and Matthew could tell Parrish he was a psychic, expert or Hannibal Lector for all the sheriff cared.

He stared at the empty coffee mug on his desk. He dialed the phone.

"Hello?"

"Melissa? It's Noah. Is Isaac at school?"

"Yeah, what's wrong?"

"We have a situation."

He quickly explained the details of the murder. Melissa told him about Isaac's nightmare from the night before. They both agreed Isaac should not be told for as long as possible. The poor kid, the sheriff thought. After all these years on the force, he still couldn't understand how someone could hurt their own child.

Before they got their boys involved, the sheriff said he would call Argent. The boys would leap right into danger. Werewolves or not, the sheriff wanted to keep them out of danger.


Isaac stared at his BLT. Since Melissa had an early morning shift, Scott had hastily packed them both lunches. Until he had moved in with them, no one had packed him lunch since God knows when. It was the little things-the packed lunches, the movie nights, the 'have a great day' and 'good night's-that took getting used to. He took a bite and chewed slowly.

"Hey." Allison set her bag down across from him. The lunch room was crowded. It was still too cold to eat outside.

"Hey."

She gave him a soft smile, the kind she wore so well. "Scott told me about last night."

"Oh. Yeah." He took another bite of his sandwich.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

It was just the two of them. Stiles, Lydia and Malia were in the library trying to research adoption records. Scott was being tutored by Ciara. Kira was having lunch with the vampires. Liam had lunch detention. And Matthew always ate lunch by himself. Isaac got the sense he was purposefully keeping his distance from them. He knew a lot about pushing people away.

"The nightmares are getting less frequent. It's okay."

"Are you okay?"

Isaac stared at his sandwich. "I'm just worried about graduation."

"You don't think you'll graduate on time?"

"No, I mean after. Where I'm going to go, what I'm going to do. I'm already imposing enough as it is."

"You're not imposing, Isaac. They chose to take you in. Ms. McCall even signed the foster forms."

"Yeah." He didn't say that she probably did it out of pity.

"Isaac, look at me." He did. Her eyes were warm and beautiful. "We're a pack. We look out for each other. We're going to look out for you. I'm going to look out for you. Okay?"

"Okay."

They ate in silence for a few minutes. Allison checked her phone.

"Have you talked to Matthew lately?"

"Not really. When there's no supernatural stuff going on, or he's not giving advice, he usually keeps to himself." It was a shame, Isaac thought. Awesome magic aside, Matthew was a pretty chill guy.

Allison dragged her fork through her pasta. "I hope he's okay, after everything." She suddenly started scrolling through her phone, like she had just remembered something.

"What is it?"

"Uh, nothing."

She was lying. He could hear her heartbeat. But her soft smile told him the lie wasn't from something bad. Isaac wasn't one for mystery solving. He'd find out eventually.

"Are you fucking stupid? Can you do anything right?"

"I'm sorry-"

SLAP. Isaac almost fell backwards. Luckily the phone rang. He ran up to his room, careful not to lock the door. It made his father furious.

If the phone call was long, maybe he would forget he was angry at him. Maybe.


"So it's not A or B, not nor B. Understand?"

"I think so." Scott crossed out the sentence from his essay. Ciara's Keurig beeped.

"The tea's ready."

She poured two mugs. He could smell the black tea leaves. He liked Ciara. She was Lydia's mentor, but she had given extensions and sympathetic smiles to everyone in the pack. Her office was always open, and it was full of books and thrift store knick-knacks. Ciara even let them call her by her first name.

"Hey Ciara?"

"Yes?" She handed him his mug.

"Do you remember what you said about the witch?"

"You mean Matthew?" She chuckled at his surprise. "I don't think he has fooled anyone, Scott."

"I think he's mad that we know he's a witch."

"Maybe he thinks if people know, someone will find out and try to kill him. Shifters hate witches."

"They wouldn't attack a member of a pack. But he doesn't want to be part of a pack."

"Well, witches are rather stubborn. They don't like authority, no matter who it is. There are coven leaders and matriarchs, but those are nominal titles. Many witches practice alone. Having an alpha just isn't something they do." She sipped her own tea. "Besides, I have a feeling Matthew's 'pack' is back wherever he came from."

"With the witch, I cannot fail. That's what you said the gypsy told you. But what about when he leaves?"

"I'm sorry. Banshees can't predict the future unless it relates to death. But I have a feeling it will all work out."

"Thanks." He didn't feel that reassured, but the tea was soothing.

Scott's phone beeped. It was his mom.

We have a problem. Come down to the station. Whatever you do, don't tell Isaac.


"I guess my dream meant something after all."

Wyatt sat in a chair in the corner of the station. Lydia was telling everyone about her dream of Isaac's house. Scott, Stiles, Allison sat on a couch by the door. Malia fiddled with a stapler on the sheriff's desk. The sheriff looked like he needed more coffee. Kira and Liam were at school, in case the ghost was able to leave the property and attack Isaac.

"For right now I ordered all officers not to step foot on the property," the sheriff said. "Except possibly Parrish. He was on the hit list. He has to be something supernatural."

"So how do we defeat a ghost?"

Everyone looked at Wyatt.

"I can handle it, don't worry."

"Handle it how?" Allison asked.

"Do you have a wand?"

If his dad wasn't the sheriff and sitting right there, Wyatt might have smacked Stiles. A death glare had to suffice.

"You're not going into the house alone," Scott said.

"Yes I am, and you can't stop me."

Wyatt wasn't planning on going in the house at all. One of the books he had brought, Grams' old spell book, just so happened to have a potion to kill a ghost. All he needed to do was pour it over Isaac's dad's bones. But Scott telling him not to go in the house just made him want to go in. Scott wasn't at fault, no one was, but their last argument had left him pissed.

Scott was about to open his mouth before the sheriff held up his hand. "I think what Scot means is that this guy was dangerous in life. In death, he's even worse."

"Isaac just had another nightmare last night," Allison added.

"Isaac doesn't know about this, right?" the sheriff asked.

"We made sure not to tell him," Stiles said.

"Yeah, the last time he thought he'd heard his dad was at the Motel La Suicide," Lydia muttered. "We're not doing a repeat."

"Motel la what?" Wyatt's eyes snapped to Scott, who avoided his gaze. A bad feeling settled in the pit of his stomach.

"Wait, was this that motel you kids stayed at when there was that track meet?"

"What happened? I was a coyote."

Allison touched Scott's hand. He sighed.

"The Darach wanted three werewolf sacrifices. So she put wolfsbane in Coach's whistle. We inhaled it, and started seeing things. Um, I saw Deucalion kill my mom."

"She was trying to drive you to commit suicide," the sheriff said. It wasn't a question.

"We found Isaac under his bed," Lydia said. "He later told us he heard his dad yelling at him to get in the freezer in their basement."

"Oh my God," the sheriff said.

"We managed to snap everyone out of it, though," Stiles added. He looked at Scott. Wyatt knew what was going through his mind. The same things that went through his mind with Chris. He sucked in a deep breathe. He crossed his arms over his chest and tried not to think of his brother.

Chris had never been that close, but . . .

"I'll handle it." He orbed away before anyone could stop him.

If that damned druid bitch had still been alive, he would have orbed out her heart and shown it to her.


Scott climbed into Stiles jeep a few minutes after Matthew left. Stiles had volunteered to drive him to the clinic so he could fill in Dr. Deaton. Malia sat in the back. Her father wanted her home for dinner. He had a feeling she didn't understand everything they had talked about-although she had probably heard about suicide at Eichen she knew enough to see what was written on everyone's face.

Stiles drove them home without saying anything. He rubbed his mouth and kept sneaking looks at Scott.

"What?"

"My dad might want to talk to you later. You and Isaac."

Too bad he can't talk to Boyd, Scott thought. A tight feeling started in his chest. He already lost enough people. He wouldn't lose Isaac.

"I think actually my dad might want you to talk to someone," Stiles went on. "Like how your mom told my dad she wanted Isaac to talk to someone."

"Talk to who?" Malia stuck her head between the seats.

"Okay, first of all Malia, you want to drive in my car, you wear a seat belt. I don't care if it's uncomfortable. I don't care if you can heal. Scott's wearing one, right Scott?" Scott tugged at his seat belt to show her. Malia grumbled some newly learned swear words as she fumbled with the seat belt holder.

"Second, we're talking about therapists."

"Like the ones at Eichen House? Are you guys going to Eichen House?"

"No one is going to Eichen House," Scott said. "Not all therapists are the same. And if someone can find a therapist who knows about the supernatural, fine."

"There's Ms. Morrell," Malia said. "She knew I was a coyote. I talked to her at Eichen House. She also talked to people outside of it."

As they stopped for a red light, Scott and Stiles looked at each other. After over a decade of being friends, there were times they didn't need words.

"A different therapist," Stiles told Malia. "Not Ms. Morrell."

"Why not?"

Scott had not gotten a lot of sleep that night.

"Because she's not in my mom's insurance."

"What does that mean?"

"Malia, what did we say about questions when we're busy?" Stiles turned onto the clinic's street.

"Use Google on my phone."

"Yes, thank you."

"Okay, but why aren't we telling Isaac that his dad is-"

"It would upset him," Scott said quickly as he jumped out. Even though they were the same age, she still seemed a little too young to know these things.


"So you're not a psychic?"

"No, banshee."

Allison watched Deputy Parrish give Lydia a once over as she sat on his desk. They were in the sheriff's station, telling the only supernatural-ish officer exactly what was going on. She knew exactly what was going on. That look was universal.

"So this is a ghost murder."

"Seems like it. But don't worry. Our friend is a witch."

Parrish stared at the computer, with all the grisly details of the case.

'Incredible. So then what am I?"

"We don't know. Not yet anyway."

When Lydia went to get a drink of water, Allison took her seat next to Parrish. It took him a second to notice, since he was unsubtly checking out Lydia's ass.

"You know, my mother told me that if a grown man was interested in a high school girl, it was because he couldn't find a woman his own age to date."

Parrish sputtered as he shifted through some papers. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean anything untoward."

"Let's keep it that way, shall we?" She flashed a bright smile, the kind her aunt had used. It came in handy.

Lydia came back and started telling him about mountain ash. They had to stop him from actually taking notes. He wasn't a bad guy, Allison thought. But even good people need a kick in the ass every now and then.


Orbs of light swirled in the corner of the sheriff's office. Matthew appeared, holding a small vial. "Got it!"

"Oh, what is that?" Stiles ran over and shoved his face near the vial. Matthew stumbled back. He fell back onto the couch.

"Watch it! You'll break it."

"Sorry."

"This is a potion to vanquish ghosts. I just pour this over Isaac's dad's bones and bye bye, ghostie."

"Ah dude, that's awesome."

The sheriff clicked a few buttons. He frowned. "It says here that Mr. Lahey was cremated."

"Cremated?!" Matthew jumped off the couch. "What the hell? It took me two hours to make this!" He waved the potion around. "Why didn't anyone tell me that?"

"How were we supposed to know that was relevant?" Stiles threw his hands in the air. "We're not mind readers."

The sheriff chuckled at the death glare his son received. Matthew may have been a powerful witch or angel or whatever, but he still acted like any other teenager.

"Well, I-oh fuck, forget it. I have a plan B."

"Plan B?" the sheriff asked.

"Yup. I'll keep you guys posted." Matthew disappeared as he had come.


"What's Paradise Lost?"

"It's a book we're reading for class." Isaac lay back on the couch while Liam sat in an armchair, shaking his leg.

Liam had already done his homework at lunch detention (including the forgotten math homework that had gotten him detention in the first place). But Scott had said Isaac shouldn't be left alone, just in case. Liam had asked Isaac if he could come over after school to study. Even though he thought that Isaac just wanted to be left alone.

"Is it good?"

"It's basically fanfiction of the Bible."

"Oh."

"I finished the reading anyway." Isaac tossed the book aside.

"Cool. Um, want to watch TV?"

"Actually I'm pretty tired." Isaac eyed the staircase to his room. Liam racked his brain for an excuse to stay. But then Isaac sighed.

"I know you all are worried because of that nightmare last night."

Liam almost blurted out what nightmare, but stopped. This was a way in.

"But I'm fine, really. You can go home."

"I'm an only child," Liam said. It was the first thing that came to mind. "And until I started school here, I never had any close friends. I don't really know what to do."

Isaac stretched, taking up the entire couch. "You can stay if you want, but I'm going to take a nap." The tiredness seeped into his voice.

"Do you want me to go?" Maybe after Isaac fell asleep he could sneak back in anyway.

"I mean, whatever you want to do."

He wanted him to stay. Liam shifted around, making himself comfortable. He listened to Isaac fall asleep as he scrolled through Facebook.

The front door slammed open. Isaac, startled, fell off the couch. Malia walked in, holding a large wooden cross in one hand.

"What the hell, Malia! Knock." Isaac rubbed his eyes.

"I found this in my attic. It said on Google they ward off evil spirits."

"Evil spirits?"

"She's kidding," Liam said. While Isaac stared at the cross, Liam gave a frantic "cut it out" signal to Malia.

"He has a right to know."

"Know what?"

"Nothing!" Liam grabbed Isaac by the arm and dragged him to the stairs. "Okay we have a little situation. But since you're tired we all decided that you shouldn't be bothered. Sleep's important."

"What's going on?" Isaac ripped his arm away. "Malia?"

Malia handed him the cross. Liam thought it looked creepy, like something out of a horror movie that doesn't save the cast from whatever is killing them.

"Isaac," Malia said. "Your dad is back."


Three months after his brother died, Isaac was stuck in the backyard for the night. Only an idiot would burn the lasagna, his father had said. Isaac at least was able to grab a jacket. He huddled, his hands wrapped around his knees. Too cold to try to sleep. If he tried, he might not wake up.

It was better than the freezer. He could see the stars and grass and space, there was so much space around him. He could walk if he wanted. Instead he sat by the backdoor, wishing he had thought to snatch a hat.


"What if it doesn't work? I've never resurrected someone before." Kira eyed the vial from the couch. Her mother rubbed her shoulder.

"If that doesn't work, CPR should do the trick." Wyatt slipped the spell in his pocket as he took a sip of tea Mrs. Yukimura had offered. To vanquish a ghost, one must be a ghost. Luckily witches were good with loopholes. With the potion, he would have a temporary death. Then he'd simply say the spell and Mr. Lahey would die a second time.

Kira, a thunder kitsune, could resurrect the recently deceased with electricity, closer to a jumpstart than CPR. Wyatt had faith that she could save him when the time came. She was stronger than she thought.

Someone banged on the front door of the Yukimuras' home. They heard Kira's dad answer it.

"Hello, Scott."

Wyatt rolled his eyes as Scott ran into the living room. Kira bit her lip. She must have told him.

"What the hell are you doing?"

Wyatt held up the potion. "Plan B."

"You're not becoming a ghost. That's a terrible plan."

"Only ghosts can kill ghosts," he replied sharply. Even he knew he sounded like a know-it-all.

"I'm the alpha. I'll do it."

"This potion is for witches. The spell is for witches. Only a witch can do this and I'm the only witch here!"

"And why are you here, Matthew?" Mrs. Yukimura sipped her own tea as she studied him. "Why is a witch going to all this trouble to protect us?"

This was why he didn't want anyone to know he was a witch. They'd start asking questions.

"Let's just say I owe a debt. A debt I'm repaying by being here."

"A debt?" Kira frowned. "What kind of debt?"

"It's complicated. I know I haven't been entirely truthful, but I need you to trust me." He smiled at Scott. "I know what I'm doing."

"We're coming with you."

"You're going to get hurt."

"We stick together," Kira said. "You taught us that."

Wyatt didn't know if he should be annoyed or proud.


Stiles knew his dad was making him keep Parrish busy because he didn't want him going to the Lahey house. Scott was a werewolf, he said. And Allison had weapons. When Stiles had asked his father for a weapon of his own, he had snorted and told him to work on some homework while he was out there.

"So why is Beacon Hills of all places full of supernatural creatures?"

Homework would not be accomplished anytime soon. Parrish had too many questions.

"There's this magic tree stump that attracts them, gives them power."

Parrish leaned back in his swivel chair. "Magic tree stump? Was there a Magic Tree House that got torn down?"

"It used to be a tree, alright? Oh my God." Stiles flipped through his math textbook. He hoped everything were okay.

"And now supernatural creatures are being hunted? So they're taking refugee here?"

"Some are." Stiles did the math in his head. "We know of five. There might be more. Plus all the ones that were here for years."

"Shouldn't you know how many there are?"

"What do you want me to do? Go door to door with a magical census?"

"I'm just saying it might be smarter if everyone banded together. Isn't there safety in numbers?"

"There's also death in numbers, okay? It's called a massacre."

Stiles had to admit Parrish had a point. But how the hell would he be able make a list of people who want to stay hidden?


The Lahey house looked like any other house on the block. Someone had even mowed the lawn. But this was a town where human sacrifices had been performed in the high school. Scott led Kira, Lydia, Matthew and Allison into the front hall. The last time he had been there, Derek had showed him the freezer. Scott clenched his fist as he remembered tracing the bloody lines made from scratching the walls until fingernails broke off. Scott sent a silent prayer to St. Benedict. They may not have had an actual angel with them, but they had the protection of the one true God. The one true God, a salt shaker and some holy water Scott borrowed from Father Joseph "for a school project."

Matthew opened the door. He quickly walked through the hall and every room on the floor. The others followed silently.

"I don't see him." He stopped in the living room, rubbing the vial in between his fingers.

"Witches can see ghosts?" Maybe it was Scott's imagination, but Lydia sounded almost incensed. Ciara had told him banshees couldn't see ghosts.

"Yeah, and so can werewolves."

"I can?" Scott didn't know if he wanted to see a ghost, especially this ghost.

"Yeah. Wolves are sensitive to the supernatural anyway. Cat shifters can also see ghosts." Matthew watched the ceiling, but nothing happened.

"I don't think I can see them," Kira said.

"I know I can't see them." Allison held the bottle of holy water like she had a knife.

"How to we lure a ghost?" Kira picked up a picture of Isaac and his brother. Scott vaguely remembered him. Camden had gone to Afghanistan when they were in 5th grade. He died three years later.

"I have an idea." Lydia stood in the center of the room. "Cover your ears."

A loud scream pierced the air. They waited.

"Maybe if you all leave, the ghost will-"

"We are not leaving you alone, Matthew. Besides you need Kira-"

"Why do you always have to be so stubborn, Scott? I'm trying to protect you guys."

"And who's going to protect you?"

The picture Kira held flew out of her hand. In a second it hit the wall, shattering the glass with a sickeningly sharp sound. Scott crossed himself.

"In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy-"

A lamp flew off a table and hit him right in the face. He fell to the ground with a thud that would have been sickening if he were human.

Lydia shrugged. "Well we got the ghost part."

Scott rubbed his head. He tossed Kira the salt.

"Be careful."

Kira poured a ring of salt around her and Matthew as he lay down in the center. Scott heard upticks from his heart. Despite his confident demeanor, he was scared. But not nearly as scared as the rest of them. Kira knelt by his side as he drank his potion. He went limp, and she helped his body lie back down. Lydia covered her mouth and pressed her hand against the wall for balance. She could sense his death. A light appeared, similar to when he transported. Matthew stepped over the salt, translucent but otherwise the same.

"Wow." Scott reached out to Matthew. The tips of his hand went straight through his face.

"Is he a ghost?" Allison asked.

"Yeah, I can see him," Kira said. "How do you feel?"

"Not bad. Just, lighter I guess."

An unseen force knocked Lydia off her feet. She shrieked, then hit the floor with a groan. Scott smelled blood. Allison rushed to her as the container of holy water shattered as it hit the hard wood floor.

"Water," Matthew said. A swirl of lights appeared on the floor. The lights lifted up the liquid and flung it out. A white mist appeared. Scott heard a groan. Mr. Lahey. Some water fell back to the floor. A shape shimmered into being. Mr. Lahey was as translucent as Matthew.

"Kira."

Kira tossed Scott the salt. He circled the spilled water.

"He's contained."

Matthew stood a little straighter. Kitsune had auras. Witches had something different. As Matthew opened his mouth, Scott smelled what could only be described as power.

Ashes to ashes

Spirit to Spirit

Take his-

Allison screamed as she was tossed against a wall. Scoot and Kira ran to her. The spell stopped for a moment. The ghost flew right in front of Matthew, their translucent faces in mirror expressions of rage. With a sneer, he gripped Matthew by the T-shirt.

"You're not taking me anywhere."

Lydia unleashed an ear shattering scream. Mr. Lahey covered his ears, dropping Matthew so hard the air was sucked from his lungs. The wind reappeared as Lydia was flung into the air. A small tornado encircled her as she clutched her throat.

"Lydia!" Kira screamed.

The ghost had the nerve to laugh.

"You really think a bunch of teenagers can stop me?"

"What do you want?" Allison asked.

"He wants me."

Isaac stood trembling in the doorway. Liam and Malia were two steps behind. The wind stilled. The air itself was drenched with fear. Lydia's breathing returned in desperate gasps. Scott shifted silently, never taking his eyes off his brother.

"Leave them alone, Dad."


A picture crashed to the floor. Amid the broken glass little Isaac and his brother sat in front of a Christmas tree with their arms around each other.

"It should have been you, damn it! It should have been you!"

Camden was better than him. Camden would always be better than him. He had been smarter, stronger and certainly braver. His dad didn't hit him that night, but Isaac still went to bed shaking and starving from being too scared to get some dinner. If Camden were there, Isaac would be safe. His dad wouldn't have a reason to be this mad. And even if he did, Camden would protect him. He would look after him.

There was no one to look after him anymore.

"It should have been you! It should have been you!"

Isaac sank to his knees. He didn't respond. He was too scared to. His father rarely raised his voice. Whenever he did, it was really bad.

"I lost Camden. I lost the brightest and best son anyone could ask for. And I had to spend every day watching you live as a mockery of everything I lost!"

He felt the cold air hover above him. He couldn't look up from the floor. The sound of roaring wind rushed through his ears. Isaac knew father was going to kill him.

"Leave him alone!"

Liam's dark blue jeans stood in the corner of his vision. The wind died down.

"He's part of our pack. Leave him alone or you're going to have to deal with all of us."

"Do you have any idea what it's like to lose a child?"

"Liam!" Kira shouted as the rushing wind started up again. Then there was a hiss as something wooden fell to the ground. Malia's cross.

"My father lost my sister. He has never done anything like this."

The cross was flung against the wall. Isaac flinched, but then his eyes turned yellow as Scott roared. He drowned out the wind, the voices, everything.

"You don't have a right to call yourself his father." He felt Scott's hand on his shoulder. Isaac looked up. He looked his father in the eye.

"You aren't his father. You're a monster. And one way or another we're going to send you back to Hell where you came-"

Scott tried to move his mouth but not a sound came out. His limbs were motionless like statues, and his eyes were transfixed on Isaac's father's face. Isaac's stomach churned at the fear coming from Scott. Memories and nightmares flashed in his mind as an overwhelming need to protect his brother came over him. No one else was going to be hurt from this.

"Dad, stop!" Isaac ran in front of Scott, his arms out to shield him. "This is between you and me."

"I beg to differ." Isaac stayed focused on his father, but he heard the anger in Matthew's voice as he stood up. Suddenly Scott stumbled forward into Isaac's arms, his muscles freed.

"Because I'm not done yet."


Scott felt Isaac's grip on his arms as he watched Matthew curl his fingers into a fist. Mr. Lahey let out an awful, choked sound.

"Let me explain something to you. Werewolves may fear witches," he said as he twisted his hand and Mr. Lahey clutched his chest, "but it is other witches who fear me. You could slaughter half this town in a damned druid ritual and still not have the power to face me. And I will gladly give every bit of power, every ounce of blood that I possess, to see your soul scattered across the four corner of Hell."

Matthew released his hand only to punch Mr. Lahey right in the face.

Ashes to ashes

Sprit to spirt

Take his soul

Banish this evil

Scott saw Mr. Lahey swallowed by a yellow light. Perhaps the ghost tried to say something, but his face was frozen in horror. Like a dying flame he faded. The last thing Scott saw was his eyes, terrifying even then.

"Kira, now!"

Kira, still hunched over in pain, zapped Matthew's chest with a small bolt of lightning. Scott could hear him breathing. Shallow breathing.


Lydia clutched the sheriff's arm as she climbed into the car. He had insisted she go to the hospital to get checked out for whatever the hell the ghost did to her. Between nightmares and loss of oxygen and her regular sensitiveness to the dead, he thought it was a good idea. Lydia knew her mom would freak out and she might get sent back to the counselor again, but she was still too woozy to refuse.

Blinking red and blue lights and yellow tape surrounded the house. Neighbors had heard weird noises and called the police. She had no idea how they were going to explain this, other than noxious fumes and yet another unsolved murder. The sheriff left for a moment to explain something to a paramedic.

Deputy Parrish knocked on the window of the cop car. She opened the door.

"I just wanted to make sure you were okay."

"I'm fine." She tried to smile, but it felt fake.

"Listen, I just want to thank you and your friends for answering my questions earlier. And I apologize for anything I said or did that was untoward."

Lydia's lips turned down. "Untoward?"

"I mean, well, never mind."

"No it's fine. I've seen and heard my fair share of 'untoward' things in high school. I just never heard anyone apologize for them." God only knew what shit she heard by the locker rooms. This guy checking out her ass was nothing compared to that.

"Well they should. And I am."

"Thank you, Deputy, but there's no need. And when I'm feeling better, I'd be happy to help you with any more questions."

"Thank you." The sheriff came back. The deputy aid his goodbye as he closed the door. Lydia leaned back in her seat. He wasn't a bad person, she thought. Hopefully they would be able to figure out what the hell he was.

His eyes briefly fluttered open. Scattered stars sparkled from the sky. Strong hands carried him like a bride. Scott held him so close to his chest. Wyatt could smell his laundry detergent. It was the same kind his mom used. Voices floated around him. Scott was giving orders with authority is his voice; he had come such a long way. Wyatt closed his eyes, feeling oddly safe.

The next time he woke up, he was in a white room that stunk of rubbing alcohol. An IV tube stuck out of his arm. He wanted his mom and dad. He tried to get out of the bed.

"Hey, it's okay Matthew." Scott was in a chair next to him. He covered his hand with his own. "I'm here. No one is going to hurt you."

"What happened?"

"You were still unconscious, so we took you to the hospital. Dr. Deaton is here as your guardian. Lydia is outside waiting to say hi. The others are all at my house. They've been texting nonstop to see if you had woken up yet." His phone rung, as if on cue. Wyatt didn't realize he was smiling at first.

He wasn't totally alone.

"How long was I out?"

"Only a couple of hours. The doctors said you can go home tomorrow."

"Tomorrow?" Fear creeped into his voice. He would have to stay there the whole night. Right near the syringes.

"Don't worry, I'll be here. I'll be here with you all night."

"Oh no, you don't have to do that."

"I want to. You're my friend. And I know you feel scared. Which is also why," he said as he pulled something out of his backpack, "I asked Dr. Deaton to bring you this." He held up Wuvey.

Wyatt's face felt hot and not from a fever. "That's not mine."

Scott bit his lip as he smiled. "Oh really?"

"It's my cousin's."

"I'm a werewolf, Matthew. That means I can hear your heartbeat speed up when you're lying. It also means I can smell your scent on the bear."

He lay Wuvey next to him, even going so far as to tuck him under the white sheets. Wyatt reluctantly rested his head against the familiar soft fluff.

"What's his name?"

"Wuvey. I named him when I was two."

"I think it's smart that you brought him here. After everything that has happened, I want to dig up my stuffed dog Waldo." He grinned. "Maybe Waldo and Wuvey would become friends."

"The best of friends."

Scott rubbed his thumb over Wyatt's hand. That feeling of safety, of home, was coming back. Then pain shot through his head. Scott brushed his fingers against his forehead.

"Here, let me." All of a sudden, the pain went away.

"What did you do?"

"Werewolves aren't just able to heal ourselves. We can take away the pain of others."

"You shouldn't do that."

Scott flinched as though he had been slapped. "Why?"

The words "personal gain" were on the tip of his tongue, but Wyatt remembered that werewolf powers were different.

"Never mind. Cultural differences. Forget I said anything." He smiled and hooked his own thumb over Scott's. It felt like home. Yet it wasn't.


Isaac held his Christmas pocket watch in his hand. He rubbed his fingers over the letters carved into the metal. Melissa had said earlier that week she would take him to find a long chain so he could wear it around his neck. He was scared that it would get broken in a supernatural fight, but she had told him that even if it was broken, it could be fixed.

The whole pack, minus Scott, Lydia and Matthew, was sitting in the living room. A late night sitcom was playing softly as background music. Allison held one of his hands in between hers. She ran her fingers over the lines of his palm. Stiles sat on his other side. Even though he was watching the screen, Isaac knew he was paying more attention to him. Every time Isaac moved his leg, Stiles touched his knee. Kira and Malia sat on the floor. Their heads rested against the soft blanket Melissa had covered him in. And Liam was in the kitchen, making hot cocoa for everyone.

Isaac didn't know how to feel at the moment-neither protected nor in danger, neither terrified nor at peace. Melissa had told him point blank that he was going to therapy as soon as she found someone who specialized in werewolves. He just hoped he wouldn't have to see Ms. Morrell. That woman gave him the creeps.

The front door opened. Isaac heard Mr. Argent being greeted by Melissa.

"How's he doing?"

"Better than he was an hour ago."

Having all this attention was weirding him out. Isaac was not the center of attention. He was a guy who stuck to the shadows, something that had as much to do with survival as with his personality. But he couldn't object. No one would let him, and even if they did he didn't know how to refuse. He didn't turn as Melissa walked into the living room, because if he saw her face he knew he would start crying. When she kissed the top of his head, he excused himself to go to the bathroom.

Water rushing from the facet might have drowned out his tears, if his house had been full of humans. After less than a minute, Allison was at the door.

"Hey, can I talk to you? Actually I have something for you."

He quickly splashed water on his face. As soon as he opened to door, Isaac came face to face with a face of fake fur.

"A teddy bear?"

"Yeah." Allison grinned as she held the toy out like a child at show and tell. "I thought that if it helps Matthew, why not you? Plus I still have my old teddy bear-well actually I tasered it, long story-but anyway, I think it can't hurt."

Isaac awkwardly took one of the arms and held it out in front of him. The bear smelled new. She had probably bought it that very day. The soft brown fur reminded him of some childhood stuffed dog his dad threw away years ago.

"Thank you, Allison."

Allison pulled him to her in a strong, silent hug. Lavender shampoo and soft skin made him close his eyes to see how beautiful she really was. For all her knives and arrows, Allison was so kind. It was why Isaac still liked her. A desperate urge to kiss her came over him, and he pulled away.

"Thank you." He told her again.

There was a knock on his open bedroom door. Malia shuffled her feet.

"Melissa made tacos. She said you like Mexican food."

"Um, yeah, be right there." He was about to follow Allison out of the room, but stopped. "Actually, Malia can you help me move my bed? A lacrosse ball rolled under there. We'll meet you downstairs Allison."

She left without as much as a question. Isaac shut the door. He knew that wouldn't work against super hearing, but they would only be away for a minute. Malia grabbed one corner of the bed frame. He grabbed another.

"First of all, I wanted to say thanks for telling me about my dad."

Malia lifted the frame. "You're welcome."

"And I think it's only fair that I return the favor." Isaac moved the frame over two inches with as much noise as he could.

"What do you mean?"

Isaac gestured her to move the frame again. "I mean that Stiles and Lydia found your birth father."

"What?!" She almost dropped the bed.

"Shh. Yeah. They found out a few days ago. But no one wanted to tell you."

"Why not?"

"Because he's not a nice guy, Malia. We don't want you getting hurt. But you should know." He took a deep breathe to calm the rapid heartbeats he knew she could hear.

"His name is Peter Hale."

Chapter Text

On a Saturday morning before his training session, Stiles' room was silent except for a Stevie Wonder song playing quietly and the sound of pencil scratching paper. From his bed, Stiles copied the old hit list from last semester into a leather bound journal he had bought from Barnes and Noble last month. Deputy Parrish, although a noob to the supernatural world, did make a good point. They needed to know who and what was living in Beacon Hills. They needed a list. Besides listing the survivors of the deadpool, Stiles had written down his banshee English teacher, the vampire trio and Kira's mentor. Next to the names were their species and address, when available.

The Bestiary was coming along nicely. Small paragraphs about various shifters were next to blank spaces that would someday be filled with sketches. Stiles was not an artist. He had showed the journal to Allison and Lydia, and neither of them could draw, either.

At the bottom of the page, Stiles hesitated. He chewed on his pen, then wrote Derek and Cora's names, along with the address of the loft. They weren't in Beacon Hills at the moment, but they could come back.


The smell of bacon floated through the vents. Her father was making breakfast. Malia curled up in her bed, her old childhood quilt draped over her shoulders. In her hands was an old copy of the deadpool. She had never seen the actual list, and she realized it was because her name wasn't "Malia Tate," but rather "Malia Hale." Isaac had given her a copy yesterday.

Besides Isaac, no one knew that she knew yet. Lydia and Stiles were still pretending they were looking for information on her birth parents, and that they hadn't spoken with Dr. Deaton weeks ago and found out that Talia, the old Hale Alpha and her aunt, had given her to him as a baby. She was the daughter of her brother, Peter Hale. Dr. Deaton hadn't told them who her mother was, according to Isaac.

Peter Hale. The name was mentioned in passing before. He had killed Allison's aunt, or tried to at least, because she had killed his family. He had also killed several other people involved in the fire. And he had killed Laura Hale, Talia's daughter, for her Alpha power. Laura would have been her cousin. Derek Hale, who she had technically met in Mexico but never talked to, was her cousin. Her adopted parents were both only children. She never had cousins before.

"Malia! Breakfast!"

"Coming!" She slipped the paper in between the pages of a notebook before running down the stairs two at a time. Family breakfasts were just starting to be family-like, with complaints about work and school and the news. Malia was getting a grasp on normal. She didn't want to lose hold of it.


Dusk seeped through the windows of the boys' locker room. The lights were off. A private atmosphere for a private act.

Matthew's back was pressed against a cold wall. Scott gripped his chin between his fingers. His other hand pressed against his neck ever so softly, alert for any sign he might hurt him.

It was dark, but they closed their eyes anyway. As Scott pressed his body close, Matthew's breathing hitched. He kept his arms down, pressed to the wall. When their lips touched, Scott brushed his fingers over his arms, and the muscles relaxed.

Their lips moved slowly at first. He knew it was Matthew's first time with a guy-his jaw was pressed tight. Scott's nose brushed up against his. He pinned one wrist above his head. With his other hand he gripped his hip. Matthew arched his back, making his jeans press against Scott's.

They broke apart to breathe. "Don't worry," He whispered in his ear. "I'm going to take good care of you."

"And why don't I take care of you?"

Scott pinned both his wrists above his head. "Because I'm the alpha, my little witch."

Scott woke up in a sweat. The sun snuck through his curtains, and the clock on the nightstand said he had an hour until work. He rolled over and smushed his face into his pillow. He had been having these dreams at least once a week in the past couple of months. It wasn't anything new, having sex dreams. But they had never been this frequent, or about the same person. And they had never been so . . . possessive.

My little witch?

As if Matthew would ever let him call him that. Not only was he taller, he was smarter, stronger, better in every way. The guy might be coming to terms with not being straight, but he would never have to deal with weird dreams like this.

As the showerhead blasted him with cold water, Scott leaned against the white bathroom wall and rubbed his hands over his face. He didn't know if this was normal for alphas. He didn't know what to do. There was no way in hell he was asking Deaton. A sex talk with his boss would be hands down the most disturbing thing he had ever experienced.

He wished Derek was in town. Asking would still be awkward, but at least Derek was closer to his age. And he wouldn't judge him, if only because he probably wouldn't care.


Derek stared out the loft window at the sunrise before him. Cora was unpacking her bag. She would take the bed tonight. He would sleep on the floor, if he could even sleep. They still had so much to arrange for the next day-Naomi wasn't answering the phone, and he didn't know who else to ask. Plus they needed a third person.

Tonight was the full moon.

Not just any moon, but The Worm Moon.


Wyatt ran down the hall as soon as he heard Dr. Deaton call his name.

"It came!"

"Did you order something, Matthew?" He held a brown box about the size of a large pillow.

"Yup." Wyatt carried the box to the living room and proceeded to rip tape and paper. In seconds he was holding a book.

"The Anxiety Phobia Workbook?" Dr. Deaton read as he sat down next to him.

"I got two of those, some meditation guides and stuff on depression." Wyatt spoke quickly as he set everything on the coffee table. His brother had actually had a similar workbook from his therapist. He had said it was really helpful. "It's for Scott and Isaac, but I'm probably going to order things for the others later this week. I saw something on Amazon that Stiles might like. It was a coloring book that was called 'Calm Down Bitch.' I thought that since finding a therapist for supernatural teenagers might be tricky, I would bring the therapy to them."

"You seem very excited about this," Dr. Deaton noted.

"Of course." Wyatt began stacking the pamphlets and books into two piles. "It's my job to make sure my charges are okay, physically and mentally. And I realized that doing that is going to take more than I've done so far. These guys have been through a lot. So I'm going to help them work through stuff."

Ever since he had heard about the incident at the motel, Wyatt had been trying to find ways to address everything. A couple of check-ins, some fighting lessons and team building exercises were a start, but he needed to do better as a whitelighter. Not because Lilith was ordering him to, but because he felt responsible for the pack. For the past couple of weeks he had been too wrapped up in his own issues with attraction. Not anymore. They came first.

He hadn't let Chris fall by the wayside. He wasn't going to let them fall, either.


Sitting on a kitchen stool, Isaac scrolled through his phone as Scott finished scrambling the eggs. Lately Scott had been making them lunch or breakfast at least once a week. Isaac didn't know if it was because Scott actually liked to cook or if his alphas instincts made him want to look after him. Then again, Scott had let him stay even before he was an alpha, been looking out for him not long after Isaac had become a werewolf. Since he moved into the house, Isaac had noticed that Scott was one of those people who liked looking after others. Bringing Melissa dinner, texting Malia encouragement about math class, checking in on Liam when he was having anger issues, Scott was just that type of person.

Isaac looked up from his phone as Scott started whistling some sweet sounding tune.

"Sorry, sometimes I like to whistle when I work."

"No problem."

He wondered if blue birds were going to come flying in to wash the pan. It wouldn't have been the weirdest thing he had seen that week.

As if in cue, Matthew teleported next to the counter with two gift bags in his hand. "Good morning."

"Hi!" Scott scooped up eggs and fruit onto plates. "What's up?"

"Is it another unicorn?"

"No, it's not another unicorn, and I already said I was sorry to Stiles. And by the way, none of you had anything better to do that day anyway. But I'm getting distracted." He handed a bag to Isaac. "This is for you."

Isaac pulled out a thick work book. "Anxiety?"

"I know some people mentioned that it would be a good idea to think about therapy, after you know, and even though I'm not a therapist I wanted to help." He tugged at his sleeve and then handed the other bag to Scott.

"Thanks," Isaac said. It seemed like something he could do alone. He was glad Matthew didn't mention his dad. Or the fact that he-and everyone else-had recently heard that Isaac and Scott had almost committed suicide due to wolfsbane and an evil druid lady.

"It's my job to look after you all. And I know I haven't been doing that as much because of," he looked at Scott, then looked away, "some stuff, but I'm here if you need someone to talk to. I'm also talking with Dr. Deaton about any supernatural psychologists in this area."

Scott tossed the bag on the counter without opening it. "I don't need this. Thanks, but no thanks."

There was an uncomfortable silence. Isaac considered skipping breakfast and sitting in on Argent's training session instead of listening to them fight, again. But then Matthew tossed the bag back at Scott and set his hands on the counter.

"I know that I can't force you to seek help, but I would like you to at least consider it." He teleported away, with a sympathetic smile.

Isaac took his plate as Scott loaded the dishwasher. He wondered if his anger had anything to do with the moaning in his sleep. He didn't want to know. They ate their breakfast in silence. Then Isaac settled down in the living room with his homework while Scott took a second shower.

The text messages came after about an hour. They both got the same one.

Come to the loft. Don't tell anyone else for now.

Derek.


"You're back!" Scott looked around the loft, which had not changed since they had used it as a hiding place during the deadpool. Cora leaned against a pole, her mix of disdain and boredom making Scott uneasy. Then again, she had been like that most of the times he had seen her.

"Can you give us a minute," Derek said to Cora and Isaac, who gave Scott an awkward shrug before heading back outside.

"What's going on?" Scott asked as the door closed.

"Tonight is the full moon. The Worm Moon."

"So?" Was there a worm shifter he was going to have to fight? What was a worm moon? Who named this stuff?

"It's the same full moon that Peter used to come back to life. A time of renewal, growth. Some say even rebirth." Derek paced around the room before staring out at the midday sun.

"You want to resurrect someone?" Scott swallowed, remembering how Lydia had been used by Peter. She had spiked her party punch with enough wolfsbane to make everyone hallucinate. Then she had drugged Derek and used his blood and the light of the full moon to bring Peter back. Lydia didn't remember much of the night. What she did remember, she didn't like talking about.

Derek pulled something metal out of his pocket, a silver chain. "Actually, three people."

Scott frowned. "Boyd and Erica." Derek nodded. "And, who else?"

He handed him the necklace. A trikele had been carved into a silver disk. "My sister. Laura."

Scott felt the cool metal in his hand. The disk was worn and scratched in some places.

"This was hers?"

"It had been passed down in my family for two hundred years, from alpha to alpha. Laura left it went she came back here."

Derek held out his hand. Scott let the silver fall into his palm.

"I was never meant to be an alpha. Neither was Peter. The one who is supposed to lead what is left of my family is her. And I think now I finally have the ability to bring her back. If you help me."

"Yeah sure, of course. Um, but first, I wanted to ask you something."


"Don't hold back!" Allison's dad yelled from a nearby hill. "They're going to fight against opponents who won't hold back anything."

Liam tried to punch Allison's face, but she grabbed his wrist and twisted it. He yanked his arm away just as she went for his throat. He liked running in the woods with Scott and Malia and Isaac, when he didn't have to worry about delicate bones or getting a weird boner because someone pinned him to the ground. (It had only happened once, but Malia had already changed in front of them without any regard for modesty. He doubted Allison would be so nonchalant. Or her father, for that matter.)

Near them, Stiles and Kira were hitting each other with wooden staffs. Kira kept apologizing. Lydia and the vampire girl, Sybil, seemed to be having the best time of it. Lydia had even practiced her scream on her. After a few more minutes, Allison's dad called for them to stop.

"Are we done?" Liam had an essay due Monday he had barely started.

"For now. Not bad, everyone."

"This was fun!" Sybil shook out the leaves from her hair. Stiles stretched his arms over his head as Allison and Lydia packed up the equipment.

"Hey Sybil, so you want to go to the diner downtown? Oh, wait, you don't eat. I mean, you do eat, but, never mind." Kira picked up a staff.

"I'd love to." She picked up another stick and linked arms with Kira.

"I love that diner," Stiles said. "Let's go. Come on, Liam."

Fries sounded better than Romeo and Juliet.

They were piling into Allison's car when her father pulled her aside.

"Your uncle is coming to town soon."

"Uncle Ames?" She didn't sound happy.

"What, more hunters?" Stiles crossed his arms before shaking them out. "Is there a union you guys belong to? Each group has its own territory?"

"My mother's family aren't werewolf hunters," Allison replied. "They're witch hunters."

"Witch hunters?" Liam winced as his voice came out louder than he meant it to. "Will they go after Matthew?"

"Oh, they can't hurt him," Sybil said without a trace of worry in her voice. "He's too powerful."

Liam remembered what happened at Isaac's house earlier that week. Matthew had said he was really powerful, right before killing a ghost. He wondered how the vampire knew that.

"Witch hunters aren't that picky about targets," Allison's dad said. "I think it would be best if everyone was warned about this." He climbed onto his own car after kissing his daughter's forehead, with a promise to keep them updated.

"I got this," Stiles said. "I'll warn every creature in Beacon Hills in a couple of hours."

"How?"

They all climbed into Allison's car or Stiles' Jeep as Stiles went on about his new bestiary. Sybil asked if she had drawn her in it, and if so, how did she look? They talked about drawings and school pictures and by the time they came to the dinner, they had almost forgotten the newest danger.


"Werewolves invented BDSM?"

"Not just werewolves, but they did contribute to some things."

Scott sat on the couch, crossing his arms over his chest tightly. This was a very uncomfortable conversation. He had explained things that he never wanted to tell anyone. His face felt hot.

"An alpha instinctually seeks to protect, dominate and guard," Derek continued as he walked over to a cooler in another room. "Usually, in romantic and sexual relationships, this is minor. Being on top, for instance." He strolled over to the couch with a water bottle, then sat in a nearby chair. If he noticed Scott's nervousness, which he most certainly did, he didn't say anything.

"But sometimes, an alpha is involved with someone that sets off certain reactions. I've heard it's actually more common when both people are male, or when the lover is not a werewolf."

"He's not my lover." Scott did not like that word, lover. He had been in love with Allison, but she hadn't been a lover. Lovers wrote poetry. On their trip to the ice rink Scott had told Allison she smelled pretty. He was a fighter, not a lover.

"The biggest factor, however, is whether that person is a member of the alpha's pack." Derek smirked. "Something about stubborn pride really sets alphas off."

He didn't just notice Scott's discomfort. He was mocking it.

"So what do I do?"

"Well maybe I'm old fashioned, but I usually start with a date?"

"Matthew isn't going to date me. He is still dealing with his sexuality, and he won't talk about his past, and, and he's so, I don't know, he shows me up."

"Witches are like that. They don't do well with authority. Or monogamy. I've heard they cheat a lot. You might be dodging a bullet." Derek tossed the water bottle in a bin.

"He would never cheat on me."

"Look, just talk to him. Because except for castration, there's really nothing I can do."

Scott dejectedly left the loft. If only it were that simple, he thought. Like he could just ask Matthew out, and have him fall into his arms.

Isaac was waiting in the parking lot, with his hands in his pockets. Cora was giving him a meaner death glare than usual.

"What's going on?"

"Okay, so first of all, I was going to tell you." Isaac glanced at Cora. "Um, and you too."

"Who's Malia?"

Scott opened and closed his mouth. He didn't know what to say. Luckily Cora didn't let him get a word in.

"I saw Isaac texting this girl who for some reason thinks she's my cousin."

"You told her?!"

"She's the one who told me about my dad, Scott. Neither one of us likes it when people keep secrets. Especially because they think we can't handle it."

"You guys have enough to handle anyway. I just want to protect you."

"I know that. But that protection can make it worse."

"Will you both stop with your pack issues here? Why does Malia think she's my cousin?"

"What the hell is going on?" And of course then was the time that Derek was taking out his recycling.

Scott rubbed his head. He hated being an alpha sometimes.


Wyatt hated being a whitelighter sometimes.

Malia sat on her bed, the goddamn deadpool lying at her feet. Her name was underlined.

"I thought angels weren't supposed to lie."

"Oh trust me, angels lie. A lot."

"When were you going to tell me?"

"I don't know. We were trying to-"

"Protect me?" Malia hugged her knees to her chest. "From what? Myself? My evil, psychotic bloodline?"

"No! We didn't want you to worry about it. Like you are now."

"I had a right to know."

Wyatt joined her on the bed. She looked so young, huddled together with her unbrushed hair sticking up like Kat's hair did. He resisted the urge to pull her into a hug because she would probably smack him.

"You're right. You did have a right to know. And now you know. So what do you want to do?"

"I want to meet my cousins. They're my family. They might know something about my birth mother, or something." She glanced at the door. "And I'd have someone to talk to. I can't tell my dad any of this. Ever."

Wyatt threw caution to the wind and wrapped his arms around her shoulders. She quietly cried into his T-shirt.

"Scott will talk to them. You'll meet your family, and they'll love you."

"How do you know?"

"Because that's what family does."

"But they don't even know me." She was shaking. "And they know what my father did."

"Malia, look at me." He pulled away and cupped her chin in his hand. "Your father is downstairs. He's the one who raised you. He's the one who loves you. Yes, blood is a big factor in who we are." He swallowed. "I know, I'm a witch. But as a witch, I also know that even blood can't determine who we become. Sometimes people born into the best families turn out the worst. And vice versa."

If the son of an angel could become the Source, this werecoyote could do anything she wanted. And he would make sure of that.

Malia's phone buzzed from her nightstand. It was Isaac.

"Hello?" She wiped her eyes. "Yeah, I'm not doing anything. Why-they're here?"

If his dad had been there, he would have said it was fate. The Grand Design. Wyatt didn't remember if shifters were part of the Grand Design, but he assumed they were. They weren't that different from witches-they must have destinies, too. He watched his charge's face change from shocked to excited to terrified. When she hung up, he hugged her again.

"Will you take me there?"

"Of course."


The diner near the edge of town was crowded. In a table far in the back, Stiles shoved three curly fries in his mouth while his girlfriend studied her reflection in her phone. Kira showed Allison and Liam a trailer for a television series she had started watching. Sybil stirred the ice and water in her cup, and smiled. The living were so colorful. Their world was full of color and sounds and the light of the sun, which she hadn't seen much of since she had become one of the undead. Everything from Kira's soft pink sweater to the half-eaten fried chicken on Liam's plate gave Sybil a glimpse of something she forgot she had missed. She decided she would make a point of attending more of their training sessions and eat with the pack at lunch. Her clan most likely wouldn't stay long, so she wanted to make the most of it.

"Hey guys. Mind if I join you?"

Wyatt Halliwell, the son of a Charmed One, stood next to their booth. There was no more room, so he pulled a chair over to sit down. By chance, she was sitting on the end of the booth, right near him. Everyone smiled and welcomed him. He sat, and Sybil silently scooted over as far as she could. It didn't matter, of course. If he wanted to, he could orb to Vivien and kill her and their clan in less than a minute. They had a truce, or something like it.

"So Derek and his sister are back in town."

"Is something happening?"

"Stiles, chew before you speak," Lydia said. "We can't understand you." He swallowed his fries.

"I don't know if something is happening, but Malia went over there." Wyatt bit his lip. "Because she found out about Peter."

"What?!" Stiles accidentally spilled ketchup on the table. "How?"

"Isaac told her after she had told him about his father. I think there's a lesson here. All secrets come to the surface eventually."

"You mean like yours?" Sybil blurted out without thinking. They knew he was a witch, but only the vampires knew how powerful he really was. Wyatt stared at her as if he had just noticed her. Allison hit her fork against her plate loudly.

"I think the lesson is that we hide things because we are scared of how others will react, but it turns out to not be that bad." Allison waved her hand at Wyatt. "Like with you."

If only they knew, Sybil thought, that rumor had it in another timeline their whitelighter was the Source of all Evil.

"Who is Peter?" Liam asked.

"He was a survivor of the Hale fire, the one my aunt started. He murdered several people involved, and thought he had killed Kate. He also killed his own niece to become an alpha. Derek killed him."

"Then he tricked me into resurrecting him using wolfsbane and a special full moon," Lydia added. "The Worm Moon."

"Isn't tonight the Worm Moon?" Wyatt stared at Sybil more intensely as she went on. "I read a bit about werewolf culture. The Worm Moon usually is in March. It's a symbol of rebirth, and had special power." She liked the moon. It had no special significance to vampires, but for shifters, witches and many other supernatural creatures the phases of the moon meant everything.

"What happened to Peter?" Liam asked.

"He just left," Lydia said as she cut her omelet. "But he's apparently Malia's biological father. She was given up at birth, most likely to protect her from either Peter or whoever gave birth to her."

"Now she's about to meet her long lost cousins after Isaac told Cora what was going on and she demanded to see her."

"God forbid we piss off the Queen of Hearts," Stiles muttered as he wiped up the ketchup.

"Queen of Hearts?" Liam asked.

"It's from a TV show. Once Upon a Time."

"Oh."


Malia stood frozen in front of the loft door. This was too much. She had known about her family for a few days and all of a sudden they were here and they wanted to meet her. What if they didn't like her?

"Do you want us to go in?" Scott asked.

"No!" She snapped. She was still mad at him.

"Look, they're not going to yell at you or anything," Isaac said. "Really, the worst they would do is stand there silently and there'd be an uncomfortable silence. That's not that bad."

"They're not . . . overly warm," Scott added.

"They can also hear us," Isaac said. "And their response is uncomfortable silence. See? Not bad."

"Both of you shut up! Just go wait outside or something."

They left, and she could hear them mumbling about Derek being a hard ass (her father still didn't like her using bad words, but she knew what they were). They were both right though. Her cousins could hear her waiting outside. She might as well get it over with.

She opened the door a crack. A girl her age opened the door the rest of the way. She smiled at her.

"Hi."

"Hello," Malia said.

"I'm Cora."

"I'm Malia."

Her cousin's lips curved into a slight smile, as though she wasn't used to wearing them.

A man stood off to the side, his arms crossed over his chest, looking like he did in Mexico. Derek and Cora both had black hair and pale skin. Malia must have taken after her mother. Her birth mother.

"Come in." Cora stepped aside. Malia slowly stepped into the room. She had never been here before. Isaac had lived here once. And it had been used as haven for werewolves and werecats during the deadpool. The windows were too big. Someone could get in too easily.

"We're not staying in this place long," Derek said, as if reading her thoughts. He watched her as she walked. "When Laura is back, we're either going to rent a small house or go back to South America where Cora has been living for a while. It'll be up to her."

"They said you can bring her back," Malia said.

"We can."

"And then we'll be a pack again," Cora said.

"Am I in your pack?"

"No," Derek said. "You're already part of Scott's pack."

"Oh." She suddenly wanted to leave. The room felt to stifling. Malia needed to be out in the forest. But Derek took her hand before she could.

"But pack is not the same thing as family," he went on. "And that is something you are a part of."

Malia impulsively threw her arms around Derek's neck. She heard Cora stifle a giggle.

"Thank you."

To her surprise, he returned her hug.

"You're welcome."


"It's like a Hallmark movie," Isaac said. "With werewolves."

"Yeah, pretty much."

Scott leaned against the building. They were back outside, waiting by the front door to give the Hales some privacy. It had been a long day, and it was only the afternoon.

"You think he can really do it?" Scott asked. "Bring them back?"

"I hope so. I mean, if he did, Boyd and Erica would be back." Isaac let out a loud breath. "God I miss them."

"So do I."

"Remember that time freshman year when Boyd won that art contest for the state? Like I forget what it was called, but he was on the front page of the school paper and in the announcements? I think it was few times our school won anything."

Scott nodded. "Yeah. Besides werewolves we don't really have anything going for us as a town."

"I wish I had spoken to Boyd earlier. I just never did. I guess I was just too scared of someone seeing, you know."

"Yeah." Scott tried not to show how surprised he was. Isaac never talked this much.

"Why do you think he didn't have friends though? Boyd was such a nice person."

"He was black," Scott blurted out before he could stop himself. Isaac raised an eyebrow. "It makes a difference sometimes." Beacon Hills was mostly white. Scott didn't feel like sharing the crap he had gotten in middle school.

"Well if they come back, they'll have us." Isaac glanced up at the loft window. "We'll be a pack."

"I hope they'll be okay with me as an alpha."

"Why would they object?" The surprise in Isaac's voice was touching. At least someone had confidence in him.

"Thanks."

They continued waiting outside. Scott texted Stiles to tell them to meet up at his house. He smiled as he thought about the reactions from everyone. They were getting their friends back.


"What the fuck?! Do you know how bad of an idea this is?"

Wyatt wished, yet again, that he had witches for charges. No witch would be this stupid. Everyone had gathered in Scott's living room to discuss "how this was going to work." No debate about ethics. No questions about the dangers of bringing people back to life. Apparently no one had ever seen a horror movie, and of course no one had ever heard the words "no personal gain."

"No. I am putting my foot down. This is not happening."

"You can't stop us," Isaac said. "And it's not up to you." He glared at him from the armrest he huddle on. He had been so excited when everyone came. His old pack mates were coming back. Wyatt hated that he had to be the one to show him reason, not because he didn't want to hurt Isaac's feelings, but because at this point Isaac was incapable of even listening to reason.

"You can't bring back. They're dead. They're moved on. They belong in a different plane."

"Peter came back," Lydia said.

"From what I know of Peter, he was a bad guy. You shouldn't do what the bad guys do."

"I want to do it." Malia raised her hand. "And Derek said it was a good idea."

"Yeah," Sties said. "Plus without Boyd, the ice rink has really gone downhill in terms of quality. That hurts the local economy. This is really for the greater good of Beacon Hills."

"Do not joke about the greater good Stiles. The greater good is not to be used to justify a whim."

"This isn't a whim Matthew," Allison said. "These are our friends."

"Derek and Cora lost their older sister," Malia said.

"A lot of people lose their older sisters! What makes Derek and Cora so special that they get to have theirs back?" Wyatt snapped.

"Because they also lost the rest of their family." Malia stomped her foot. "They lost everything, and Cora was missing for years and they don't even have an alpha so they can't have a pack again. At least let them have this."

Scott held up his hand. The room grew quiet.

"We don't have three alphas needed to do the ritual. So there's really no use in arguing at this point."

"What about Naomi?" Kira asked.

"We sheltered her pack," Allison said.

"She hasn't answered yet," he replied. "Derek and I are headed to talk to her."

"I'll come," Kira said. "My mom was an old friend."

"Okay. Deaton's coming, too. We're meeting at the clinic in-"

There was a knock at the door. Wyatt jumped out of his seat the second Derek walked in.

"Look Derek, you can't-hey!"

Derek grabbed his wrist before he could even react and yanked off his ring.

"I know enough about witches to know that I'm not going to let you get in the way." He pocked the ring. "You'll get it back after tonight."

Wyatt threw a punch at his jawline. Derek caught his fist and pushed him back in one move.

"Fine. When this blows up in your face, don't come crying to me, you. . ." Derek raised an eyebrow and Wyatt let his insults die on his tongue. He wasn't in any position to be pissing off a werewolf right then.

Wyatt pushed past everyone and slammed the door behind him. He walked down the sidewalk fuming and figuring out when the next bus was coming.


"No."

"Please?" Scott tried to put on the face he had when he asked his mom for the car. Naomi didn't flinch.

Scott, Derek, Kira and Deaton met Naomi in the woods, near her house. A few members of her pack stood behind her, including a boy Scott recognized from a lacrosse game. Brett, he remembered. He and Liam used to be teammates before he had gotten expelled.

"They saved your pack," Derek pointed out.

"You think I want to help you bring back the dead? Your mother," she pointed to Kira "resurrected a lover. Look what happened."

"She wasn't trying to."

"You mess with things you don't understand. Going against the laws of nature."

"If I may, Naomi, but I believe a woman of your age has most likely had some experience going against the laws of nature." Deaton stepped forward. "If your life can be prolonged through magic, perhaps what we seek to do isn't that ill advised. Besides, after all this chaos over the past year, surely you would want to see some stability."

"Stability?"

"You know all that the Hale pack stood for. Descended from a True Alpha, for two hundred years they have fought against all kinds of threats. They were great protectors, blessed with the power to fully shift. People say the Hale pack was one of the most powerful packs of werewolves in history. And ever since Talia died, there has been a hole, a vacuum that so many have taken advantage of."

Naomi may have known that, but Scott didn't. He hoped Laura would help them.

"And you think Laura can fill that hole?"

"I know she can," Derek said. "If nothing else, help us for my mother's sake."

Naomi's muscles relaxed. Scott shifted his weight from one foot to the other and back again. It was cold and he was getting anxious.

"You have to find a third alpha."

"We may not have to," Deaton said. He put a hand on Scott's shoulder, stopping him for fidgeting. "Scott is a true alpha. His power, his spark, is greater than an ordinary alpha. And I believe Scott in particular has an especially strong spark."

"Won't that be dangerous?" Kira asked.

"It will. Scott, you may very well be risking your life."

"I'll do it." He risked his life before anyway.

Naomi nodded. "Very well. I'll help you. For Talia's sake."

"Thank you," Derek said. "Laura and the others will thank you, too."

As they left, Deaton put his hand on Scott's shoulder.

"Are you sure about this?"

"Yeah. Um, I just need some time to myself for a bit."


Malia sat on the couch and watched Cora hit the punching bag that she hung up in a corner of the loft. They had just gotten a text from Kira. The ritual was on. Malia was worried because it might hurt Scott. But Kira said not to worry.

Cora grunted as she kicked the bag. Malia hugged her knees. She didn't know how to start a conversation with her new cousin. And her cousin didn't seem to know, either.

"Are you going to stay?" she blurted out. Cora stopped her workout.

"Yeah. Our aunt Cassie-she's your aunt, too, is coming up from Brazil later this week. She's human." Cora grabbed a water bottle as she walked over to her.

"That's cool."

"You'll like her." Cora took a seat on the far end of the couch. She stared at her water bottle.

"I'm sorry, I'm not very good with this sort of thing."

"I was a coyote for seven years. I know what you mean."

Cora glanced out the window. "I think we have at least a couple of hours until the moon is out. We could watch Netflix."

"My dad doesn't have Netflix."

"You're part of the family now. You get our password. Come on."

She pulled a laptop out of a backpack under the table. Malia noticed it was one of those thin ones Stiles said he wanted a few days ago.

"What do you like to watch?"

Malia shrugged. "I still watch a lot of kids shows. I guess I'm still not used to teenage stuff."

"How about Disney?"

Soon the two girls were silently watching Moana. Malia noticed Cora scooted closer, probably to see the screen better.


The sun was setting, giving the clinic a yellowish glow. Scott pressed his knees to the floor and held his head down. A rosary, a confirmation gift from his grandmother, slid between his fingers. His words were little louder than whispers, but he knew He could hear him. Ever since he had "died" in a tub of ice, Scott had prayed as often as he could, which was not half as much as his priest would like. For his friends, his family and all the people in Beacon Hills. And that night, he was praying for his immortal soul. However he died, whenever he died, may his savior receive his soul. He doubted anything would go wrong, but Scott wanted to be on the safe side.

"Scott?"

Scott crossed himself and rose as Matthew walked in. Deaton must have told him where he was. Cigarette smoke clung to his hair and his clothes. Suddenly Scott realized that Matthew was more scared than he was.

"Scott, you can't do this."

"I've already made up my mind."

"If the person who sent me here hears that I let you die, bad things are going to happen."

"I'm not going to die, and we're not going to let anyone hurt you."

Matthew grabbed him by the shoulders and pushed him against the wall. "Goddamn it, you're going to get yourself killed."

"You risk your life all the time."

"That's different."

"Why? Because you're better than me?"

"No."

"We get it. You're all powerful, you can handle anything by yourself, monsters, ghosts, pain, fear, magic, anything. Can you just give being perfect a rest already?" The peace from prayers was already wearing thin. Scott thought about asking someone to drive him to the bodies so he could complete the rosary in the backseat.

"I'm not perfect you idiot. And I don't have any idea why you would think that."

"You're strong, smart, fearless, compassionate, funny and cute. I'm pretty sure that counts as perfect."

"You think I'm cute?"

Scott set down his rosary. He glanced out at the setting sun.

"I think you're beautiful." He forced himself to look back at Matthew's blue eyes.

"I love you."

Matthew let go of him. He covered his mouth, but the rapid blinking of his eyes told Scott enough.

"You shouldn't love me. You can't love me."

"Why? Because you don't love me?"

"Because you don't know me." He took two steps to the door, then slammed his hand on an operating table. "God, don't you know what it means when you're all powerful? When you're amazing? It means that people come after you. People who want to use your power for themselves. People who want to kill you because they think you are a threat." Matthew pressed his palms against the table. He stared at his reflection in the metal surface.

"It means sometimes you're even scared of yourself. And what you're capable of."

"I'm not scared of you." Scott put his own hand over his. "I could never be scared of you."

Some love confession this turned out to be. Scott didn't even think about how Matthew might have felt about his power. He didn't think about a lot of things he should have.

"I'm sorry, Matthew, about whatever it is that you have gone through. And if you ever need to talk to me, ever, please do. I want to help you. I want to protect you from anyone who wants to hurt you. But these people-"

"Demons." Matthew didn't look at him. "Demons want to use me."

"Well it's a good thing I have a rosary."

He actually laughed. Scott loved his laugh. It made him laugh, too.

"I'll protect you. Even from demons."

"No one has ever said they'd protect me before. I mean, my parents and my aunts did, but most people just think I can protect myself."

Matthew's thumb brushed against Scott's hand. For a minute they stood there. Scott wished he could freeze time.

"I love you," he repeated.

Matthew pulled his hand away. "I'm sorry. I don't love you."

"You're lying. I can hear your heartbeat."

"Scott."

"You do love me, don't you?" He headed out to the lobby. Scott followed him. "You love me too. Matthew-"

"That's not my real name!" He stopped, spun around and walked so close to him that their faces were only inches away.

"Matthew is my middle name."

"What's your first name?"

He looked around, as if scared someone could overhear.

"Wyatt."

"Wyatt." The name felt good on his tongue. A solid, sturdy name that rhymed with his own. "Wyatt."

"I like it when you say my name."

"Wyatt. What's your last name?"

A slight scent of fear hit Scott's nose. Matthew-Wyatt-must have had a last name that was well known. Like Hale. Or Argent.

"You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."

Wyatt slipped his hand into his. He brushed his thumb against it again.

"Halliwell," he whispered. "My last name is Halliwell."

"Wyatt Matthew Halliwell."

"Oh my God, don't say my full name. You sound like my mother scolding me."

Scott giggled. "Wyatt then. I like it. Wyatt."

Wyatt bit back a smile as he scratched his head. "I want to keep hearing you say my name." Suddenly he threw his arms around his neck. "I want you to keep being here. And not because of my obligation. I want you alive because I don't know what I'd do if you weren't."

"I'll be fine. I promise." He clutched his waist and breathed in the scent of his neck.

"And maybe I am lying." He pulled away, reluctantly. "I honestly don't know what to think anymore. But witches and werewolves . . . we're supposed to be enemies."

"But we're not."

Scott was embolden by his confession, by his prayer and by what he was going to do. He brushed his fingers over Wyatt's cheek. Then he kissed that cheek, and felt the heat of his skin.

"I'm coming back. I'll always come back to you."


The old Hale House was where Boyd and Erica had been buried side by side. (The vampires tactfully chose to spend the night in a hotel.) Isaac shivered as Scott stood beside the freshly dug up graves, and Derek was giving last minute instruction. He looked at the silver of the moon, of Argent's gun, of Lydia's bracelet, anything but the bodies.

"Are you guys sure this is a good idea? I've never raised the dead." Argent touched his holster. "But I've seen a few zombie movies."

"You know the zombie myth became popular because of Haitian slaves," Lydia muttered. "The living dreamed of the dead rising up, taking a ship and sailing home for their eternal rest. All we're doing is bringing Erica and Boyd home."

"I heard Matthew doesn't approve." He wasn't there, or with the others.

"My dad didn't approve of me having a master key to the sheriff's station. Didn't stop me."

"You stole a sheriff's key?" Argent asked.

"Temporarily misappropriated. I did steal the salt packets my dad keeps in his desk though."

"It's supposed to be March," Isaac complained. "Why is it so cold?"

"Climate change," Lydia answered. "In the past decade-"

"If I wanted to do my homework I would have stayed home. Or gone with Allison and Kira and Liam and Cora, where it was warm." The thought of the Hale family crypt both creeped him out and made him shiver jealously. He bet it was at least 10 degrees warmer there.

"I think it's starting," Argent said.

They got in position. Lydia, Isaac, Stiles and Argent stood around the graves, each holding a silver mirror. Argent held his up high. Lydia crouched low. Stiles and Isaac held their mirrors opposite each other. The light of the full moon reflected off each surface, casting beams of moonlight down to the waiting corpses. Derek crouched next to the graves. Scott held out both his arms. Derek pried open Boyd's hand. Isaac had to look up. He couldn't puke, He couldn't puke. This was one of the most fucked up things ever, but he would not puke.

He heard Erica's bones crack. Then Scott howled and his head hit the ground. Isaac clutched the mirror so hard it cracked. Stiles cried out in panic. Lydia told him he was fine. She would know. In a second Scott started breathing again.

Isaac didn't look down until he heard the sounds of falling dirt and familiar feminine growls.

"What's going on?" The voice wasn't feminine. It was deep, and slow, like someone had been woken up from a deep sleep.

He didn't realize how much he had missed the sound of Boyd's voice.


Allison pushed open the door just enough for moonlight to get through, that shined on white walls and columns and names of dead werewolves. In the center was the newest arrival, in a coffin that had been pried open. She hoped no one would walk by and ask what sort of weird New Age ritual they were doing. She held her mirror up. Kira and Malia and Liam followed suit. Cora opened her sister's dead hand, her claws ready to draw Naomi's blood.

"Thank you for doing this," Cora told Naomi.

"Let's just hope it works."

Allison should have known it wouldn't have worked. Nothing in Beacon Hills was ever that simple. The second Naomi put her arm in, she screamed and yanked her arm out.

"What?!" Cora tried to touch her arm, but Naomi pulled it away. A single drop of blood ran down her skin.

"It's too much. Too much draining. I can't do this." She looked at Kira. "Tell your mother I'm not young anymore."

Before anyone could say anything, she ran out of the mausoleum, clutching her arm to her chest. The members of her pack who waited outside growled as they ran to the distance.

"Now what?" Liam asked. "Can I put the mirror down now?"

"No!" Cora snapped. She stick her own hand in the tomb. Allison lowered her mirror.

"No. Cora, you're not doing this."

"Who are you to tell me not to? Your aunt started all this in the first place!"

"How do you think Laura will feel waking up to her dead baby sister beside her? What would she say to you if she could see what you were about to do?"

Cora slowly pulled her arm back out. "Then what do we do?"


"Absolutely not."

Scott was lying on the operating table in the clinic. Deaton was checking his pulse. Stiles was peering over him, with that look on his face that meant an argument and a headache.

"You literally almost died. I think your heart stopped, actually stopped, beating for a second."

"Yeah, a second."

"I will chain you to this table all night if I have to."

Derek and Isaac had taken Boyd and Erica to the loft. Argent had helped carry him to the clinic, (which was weird considering those times he threatened to kill him, but he wasn't complaining). Stiles was by his side, threatening to call his mom, Matthew-no, Wyatt, and anyone else he could think of.

Wyatt Matthew Halliwell.

Scott was the only one who knew his real name. He felt special. He didn't realize he was smiling until Stiles smacked his arm.

"Focus, Scott! Deaton, tell him he can't do it."

"Your vitals aren't that great. As a doctor, I'd highly recommend at least a day of bed rest."

"See?"

"But-"

"Please don't do that."

"I have to say, you're in much better shape than I would have thought you would be, Scott. If anyone can resurrect three werewolves, it would be you."

"See?" Scott threw Stiles' words right back at him.

"Oh my God."

Scott carefully pushed himself to a sitting position. When he had blood drawn as a kid, they would make him sit for a minute after, just to make sure he wouldn't faint. That's how he felt. Tonight he had given blood. And he had fainted. But that wasn't going to stop him.


Malia wished she could say something to Cora. As they waited for Scott to come, her breathing was full of small sniffles. Malia had lost a sister. Nothing she could say would do any good.

At least Cora didn't kill her sister.

When Scott did push open the old wooden door, he did it with such force that it almost fell off its hinges. Allison jumped.

"God, Scott."

"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Kira tapped her katana nervously.

"No. But I'm doing it anyway." He said it in that alpha voice. No one argued. Everyone held up their mirrors in the correct positions. Cora held Laura's hand open again.

"It's only going to be a little more blood. But it's more about the energy."

"Do it."

Malia squeezed her eyes shut. He heart was racing. An inhuman, inhumane scream almost made Malia drop the mirror. Scott threw his head back so hard she wondered if he would snap his neck. Suddenly he slipped to the marble floor. His breathing was shallow.

"Scott!" Allison screamed.

"We have to get him to the clinic," Kira said.

"Or the hospital," Liam said as he ran to pick him up.

"Maybe Liam's right." Allison set her mirror down just as a low, menacing growl came from the crypt. Cora and Malia peeked inside. The body was completely still.

Then her eyes opened. Her red eyes.

Malia jumped back, knocking over a metal urn. Ash scattered to the floor. Liam's eyes turned yellow as he clutched Scott's waist.

Laura slowly sat up. She stretched her arms over her head, as though she was just waking up from a nap.

"What-Cora?"

Cora ran into her sister's arms. They stood there hugging as Liam awkwardly lugged Scott's unconscious body out of the room.

"Meet us at Beacon Memorial," Allison said as she and Kira left. Left Malia alone in her undead supernatural family reunion.

Laura broke away from her sister. "What's going on?"

"It's a long story. But first," Cora gestured to Malia, "there's someone I want you to meet."

Laura clung to Cora's arm as she climbed out if her tomb. She stared at Malia intently, as though trying to remember if she had seen her before.

"Laura, this is Malia. She's Peter's daughter."

"Peter's daughter?"

The daughter of her uncle. The daughter of her murderer.

"Hi." Malia couldn't think of anything else to say.

Without a word, Laura wrapped her arms around Malia's waist. Malia gasped. Tears burned behind her eyes.

"Welcome to the family."


Scott woke up to tucked in white sheets. The smell of hospital was the smell of his childhood. He heard the heart monitor, the nurses pushing a gurney in the hall, someone watching CNN in the next room over. He heard a relieved gasp, and felt a hand on his.

"You almost died."

Wyatt. Wyatt.

"Hi."

He squeezed his hand. "Everyone else went to get coffee from the cafeteria. Your mom is at the front desk. She's pissed."

"I figured."

Scott barely had the energy to talk. But that didn't matter at the moment.

"So, when I get home, do you want me to come over? So I can call you by your real name?"

Wyatt laughed as he wiped his eyes. "It's not safe. I'm not safe. I have enemies. You can't get hurt, Scott. Especially not because of me."

"You're not even letting me make that choice. You just keep trying to protect me. Or maybe what you're really doing is trying to protect yourself. Because you think once I get to know you, I'll leave." Scott touched his cheek. "Well, I'm not going anywhere. You can try to push me away, but you're not going to scare me with demons or magic or anything. Because I love you."

Wyatt was shaking. Scott just wanted to scoop him up in his arms and kiss his fears away.

"I don't know what to do."

"Okay. Why don't we start with something small? Like the dance."

"What dance?"

"The winter formal. They almost cancelled it because no one wanted to go. But now they're having it late."

"Oh." Wyatt looked down and grinned. "I've never actually learned how to tie a tie."

"Ties are dumb."

"They are."

"We don't have to wear ties. Promise."

"Okay. Okay, I'll go."

"Really?"

Wyatt's smile grew as Scott brushed his fingers against his hand.

"Yeah. I'll go. Um, I've never been on a date with a guy before. Do we meet each other there, or should one of us pick the other up?"

"How about I pick you up on my motorcycle."

"Okay!"

Scott used some of the strength he had left to bring Wyatt's hand to lips. Hopefully he wasn't overdoing it.

"See you tomorrow?"

Wyatt ran his hand through Scott's hair.

"Definitely."


In a dark, desolate cave in the Underworld, cloaked from the Charmed Ones and other meddlesome witches, The Demon of Fear read tattered scroll by candlelight. Barbas chuckled as he stared at the stone ceiling.

"Very clever, Lilith." He paced the room, his dark robe swishing. "You know, ever since I resurfaced a few weeks ago, I wondered where in the world Piper and Leo's precious baby boy went." He waved the paper in the air. "But now I know. You want to be back in power, back to being the pretty goddess everyone sends flowers. So, you're getting your little friend to help you out."

He picked up an old scroll from an abandoned crypt in Wales. Ever since The Order of Man had killed a few demons, everyone was convinced the end times were at hand. Barbas didn't listen to rumors. He spread rumors. But he listened to the truth. And some old wizard had found it.

Camelot will rise again

Led by Excalibur's Knight

One bathed in goodness' light

Lead an army to save magic's might

One who is True and Charmed . . .

It went on, but the rest wasn't interesting to him. What was interesting was the stories that spread of some werewolf and his guardian angel. Stories that spread to gypsies, to the demons who hunted them, to him.

"I don't have anything against you, Lilith. But your friend doesn't sound like a friend of mine. And his whitelighter, well, I'm curious to see just how much he's grown up."

Chapter Text

Zan was a simple demon. A lower level fellow, with not much in the way of advancement. Hell, he didn't even have much in the way of entertainment. So how could he refuse an invitation from the Demon of Fear himself? Even if it meant going into shifter country.

With him, in an unobtrusive corner of the Underworld, were a group of demons waiting for Barbas. He was going to kill Wyatt Halliwell, and he wanted witnesses. As flame shot up from the middle of the stone floor, and the grinning face of Fear appeared, Zan wondered if he actually could kill the witch. A few men muttered behind him, something about if a werewolf could actually give them trouble.


 

"Lydia and I are going to the dance! Together! As a couple!"

Scott chuckled as he stuffed his backpack in his locker. "You went together last year."

"That was different. You know that."

"Okay, you're right."

"And what about you?"

Scott ducked his head to hide his blush as they walked to history. "What about me?"

"You and Matthew. Sitting in a tree. F-U-C"

"Stiles, seriously."

His friend wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. "He's going to ride your broom."

Which made no sense, considering Wyatt was the witch. "I hate you."

"I know."

They passed Isaac as they headed in the door. Scott tried to smile at him, but Isaac was looking at the floor. He had taken Boyd and Erica leaving hard.


"You're leaving?! You just came back." By that Isaac meant came back to life.

"Yeah, and if our parents see us and we disappear again. . ." Boyd shook his head. "No. We gotta leave now."

He folded up the last of the clothes. Boyd and Erica had spent the night at the McCall house. At first light they were already arranging for their stuff to be snuck out. Derek had given them some funds. Enough for plane tickets.

"How do you know the pack in England is legit? Look at what happened last time."

"Derek knows them. The alpha was friends with his mom." Boyd zipped up the suitcase. "Look, I know what you're trying to say, Isaac. But after everything that happened, we just don't feel like this is the place for us right now."

"We'll keep in touch," Erica said. She was in the doorway, carrying a large duffel bag. "You can even visit us. We can go to the Big Ben and all that."

Isaac nodded. He didn't want to say anything. Boyd clapped him on the back, which turned into a long hug. Boyd was so tall, Isaac barely reached his shoulder. Erica touched his back carefully.

"Bye Isaac."

They hugged too. Isaac helped them carry their luggage to Lydia's car. She would drive them half an hour to the airport. Everyone else had said their goodbyes earlier that morning. As they had said, it was better that they didn't linger.

The three of them had been bitten together. They had been told they were going to be a pack. To look out for each other. While Isaac wasn't an omega by any means, watching Lydia's car disappear around the corner reminded him of the day his brother had left for war.

"Hey Isaac? Ready?"

Allison had asked him to study at lunch. They had a math test next week. They sat in the library opened their books to chapter nine. Isaac tried to concentrate on the pages in front of him. He never liked math.

"How are you doing, by the way?" Allison pulled out an apple.

"Fine. They're going to call next week, when they're settled in."

"You need to do something fun. Take your mind off things." She pointed to a poster with silver snowflakes. "You going to the dance?"

"Probably not."

"Why not? It'll be fun."

"I just, I don't dance very well. I don't have a date, and everyone else is going with dates. Except maybe Malia and Liam."

"I don't have a date. Why don't you go with me? And if the dance sucks, we can go see a movie or something."

Was this a date? Isaac didn't want to ask. If it wasn't a date, bringing up the possibility of a date would make things awkward.

"Um, okay, I guess. Is your dad okay with that?"

"He's become a lot more, I don't know, chill, in the past few months. He trusts me."

"That's good."

"Yeah. So I'll pick you up at your house at 7."

"Okay."

They started going over quadratic equations. Isaac noticed the way Allison would run her pen over the page in endless lines of cursive loops. He thought the loops were beautiful.


Scrying for this demon was hard. For a lower level demon, he sure had a kickass cloaking spell. So they brought in the big guns. Amethyst, the all-purpose crystal that connects witches with magic. Phoebe had run to the store Tamara worked at to pick some up after work. As she came into the manor, she pulled it out of her bag. Power warmed her skin. It had always been such a lovely feeling. She gripped the bannister, about to climb to the attic. Then she was hit with a flash.

Wyatt was holding suitcases. He was trying not to cry. Chris was desperate.

"You can't leave us."

Her eyes shot open. She held onto the railing to steady herself.

"Phoebe?" Piper was at landing, peering down with concern. "Are you okay?"

"I just had a vision."

"About the demon?"

"No. Wyatt."


"Do you want to go to the dance together? I mean, as friends?" If Sybil's heart could beat, it would do so at a very fast pace. But Kira just nodded.

"Of course! That sounds like fun."

"Great!"

They planned to meet outside the school. If the dance is too much, Kira told her, they could always go back to her house for tea. Sybil was touched. Not many people invited vampires into their homes.

As soon as Kira left, William snorted from behind the corner.

"A dance? Really?"

"Do you have anything better to do?"

She breezed past him. On her way to last period, she saw Scott pull things out of his locker.

"Are you going to the dance with him?" She didn't bother saying who. She kept forgetting Wyatt's alias anyway.

"Yeah," Scott said hesitantly.

"A bit of advice-bring flowers."

"Flowers?"

"Boys like him were raised on romance." And stories of his mother marrying her whitelighter. "And no one said you can't be gay and romantic."

Her good deed done for the day, Sybil walked on to history. She took her usual seat by the window.

"You need a fucking dress, Malia. We're meeting after school, in front of the library. End of discussion."

Sybil never knew that banshees could be so bossy.

"I'll come," another werewolf said.

"You want to go, Cora?" Malia, the werecoyote, sounded skeptical.

"I want to help you in your time of need." The werewolf chuckled as Malia growled.

The teacher called their attention to the board. Kira's dad. Sybil took extra diligent notes, even though she knew most of what he said, having lived through it. After all, she wanted to make a good impression.


"My Lord, I haven't seen you since you were in pigtails. Your grandma's memorial, I think. You've grown up so much, Allison. Chris, doesn't she look like her mother?"

"She does," her father admitted.

Her uncle, Ames, had invited them out to eat. Allison chose the diner where she ate with her pack the week before. The wooden walls covered in pennants and the jukebox that no one used was comforting. Her uncle sipped his water and looked out the window at the stores across the street.

"Must be hard, living here. With the sorts of people in this town."

"I've made a lot of friends here," Allison said. "I'm staying until graduation."

"The town does have its problems," her father added. "But it also has its charm."

"So did Sodom and Gomorrah."

Allison saw Scott walk in out of the corner of her eye. He waved at her, then noticed her uncle. He nodded as he went to the counter. She guessed he was getting take out. She also guessed that he was listening to their conversation.

"Genesis 19:1, The Lord rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the Lord in Heaven. And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground." Ames stirred his water. "What do you think of that verse, Allison?"

"I don't go to church."

"We're not religious," her father added. Werewolf hunters never saw what they did as divine, only necessary. When the Calaveras killed, it wasn't about punishment, but protection.

"I see. Well, God punishes the wicked. He does what needs to be done. And sometimes, what needs to be done is, difficult."

"Are you familiar with Luke 19?"

Allison didn't even notice that Scott had come over. Her father motioned him to sit in the empty space beside her. Her uncle studied him.

"Luke 19? With the tax collector?"

"Zekias, a short tax collector, climbed a tall tree to see Jesus as he walked by. Many saw Zekias as a traitor, for taking money to give to the Romans. But Jesus said he would eat with him. Zekias was so moved, he repented and donated half his wealth to the poor. My priest said that we must show the outcasts, the people in the tree, compassion. While God is just, He is also merciful. And that is something I try to practice in my daily life." He held out his hand. "I'm Scott, by the way."

"Scott is a friend from school. Scott, this is my Uncle Ames. He's visiting."

Her uncle shook his hand. "I think I've heard of you."

"I'm sorry for your loss, sir."

"Thank you."

A waitress held out a paper bag. Scott excused himself. Ames followed him with his eyes as Scott walked out to his motorcycle.

"You used to date him, Allison."

"Yeah, used to."

"I think it's better that you broke up. His kind aren't exactly safe."

"His kind?"

"I don't mean because he's Mexican-"

"Columbian."

"-but because he's, well. . ." Ames looked at Allison's father questioningly.

"A werewolf?" Allison asked.

"Yes."

"Well, that's not why we broke up." Allison took a sip of water. She knew her father raised his eyebrow without needing to look at him.

"Scott's going to the dance with a boy."

The look of shock on Ames' face actually made her father burst out laughing.

Ames waved the waitress over. "Check, please."


"I can't believe he lied to me. In his dreams. I'm his mother!"

Paige flipped through the Book of Shadows for the demon they were still hunting for. "Chris is a smart kid."

"Too smart."

"He felt scared," Phoebe said. "I bet that's why he didn't tell us what he knows. He's scared."

"Of what? That'll we'll get mad?"

"No, Piper-that we'll get hurt."

"We're the Charmed Ones. We're supposed to be protecting them, not the other way around. And now we can't protect them, because they won't tell us what the hell is going on!" Piper had her hands on her hips. It was better than waving around, Phoebe thought. They didn't have to clean up the attic again.

"We need to stay calm. If you start yelling, Chris is never going to say anything."

Her sister groaned. "I know. I know."

"What do you want to do?" Phoebe asked.

"Tell Leo, find the demon and talk to Chris. We need to convince him that we can handle whatever this is. And then, then we'll get Wyatt back."

God, Phoebe thought, those words were good to hear.

"Found it." Paige pointed to a picture of a grotesque, scaled beast. "Vanquishing potion included."

Piper grabbed vials off a nearby table, almost knocking one over.

"Let's do this."


Standing on front of the bathroom mirror, he wondered just what he had gotten himself into.

Wyatt hadn't thought to bring his suit to a small town full of werewolves and druids and serial killers. With the card Lilith had given him, he had bought something at the mall-a three piece that looked like something out of a school uniform catalog. He tugged on the sleeves. Was he supposed to roll up the cuffs?

"Matthew?" Deaton knocked on the bathroom door. "Getting ready?"

"Uh, yeah."

Wyatt splashed some water on his face. He quickly strapped a small athame to his leg and pulled down the pants. Special events were the sort of thing that attracted trouble. He would rather be stuck in a position where he had to orb a knife so a security guard wouldn't see it, than be powerless and unarmed.

When he opened the door, Deaton was holding a camera.

"You look very nice."

"Thanks."

Whether he looked nice wasn't even the main problem. What was the main problem was that he said yes in the first place. He shouldn't be getting involved with anyone here. He made sure not to join in the pack's gatherings or get too close. After November, he wasn't supposed to see them again. Not to mention the fact that he was going on a date with a boy. He let Scott pick him up from his house like a girl. He had let Scott led him in a dance like a girl. He was pretty sure Scott carried him to the hospital bridal style after vanquishing Isaac's father (he had been unconscious most of the time, but still). Wyatt agreed to go on a date with an alpha werewolf. He might as well burn his masculinity in a ceremonial cauldron.

But he had said yes. Because Scott had been lying in a hospital bed and Wyatt realized how much he didn't want him to die. How brave and kind he was, ready to risk his life for others. How strong he was, as a leader and a fighter. How cute he smiled when Wyatt had said yes.

Deaton took several pictures. Wyatt tried his best not to scream.

"Don't be nervous," Deaton said. "Just have fun. You two are young, and you've already been through a lot. One night off isn't going to kill anyone."

"I know. It's just that, this isn't what I'm used to."

"Going on a date with a boy?"

"Yeah." Wyatt tugged at his sleeve again. Deaton set the camera down.

"Tell me, what is the saying that witches follow? As it harm . . .?"

"As it harm none, do what ye will." It was not a saying. It was a rede. Wyatt almost felt offended, especially since a Druid was saying it.

"So what's the harm in this date?"

"My dad's not a witch, though."

"What he will think is a matter for another night. Do what you want to do."

The doorbell rang.

"I think I want to throw up."

Deaton laughed. He went to open the door. Wyatt stared at himself in the mirror one last time before following.

Scott held a bouquet of red roses in one hand, and a helmet in the other.

"These are for you."

"Oh. Wow." Flowers. A guy was bringing him flowers. Like his dad did for his mom. Scott's smile fell.

"Sorry, I-"

"No, they're beautiful." Wyatt took them. He noticed they had already been cut, and the thorns had been removed. "Let me put them in water."

"Here, I'll do it." Deaton took the flowers into the kitchen, leaving the two of them alone.

"Um, so, he's probably going to want to take pictures," Wyatt said.

"That's nice. My mom took a couple, too."

"Yeah. If my mom were here, she'd take a ton of pictures on the staircase and by the door and everything."

"Do you live with anyone else, or just your mom?"

Wyatt realized too late that he let more personal information slip. "My parents and my siblings," he said because he already had said so much. "I'm the oldest of three." He didn't mention how he often felt like the oldest of nine.

"Cool."

Deaton returned, with the camera. "Okay, let me just take a couple."

Scott wrapped his arm around Wyatt's waist. Wyatt placed his arm on Scott's shoulder. He remembered that Scott was actually a couple inches shorter than him. As petty as that was, it made him feel a little bit better.

The fact that they were going to the dance on a motorcycle helped, too.


Kira shivered outside the side entrance of the school. Sybil was two minutes late, but that didn't mean anything. Some clocks were slow. She checked her phone again. She saw a text message from Stiles.

The Nogitsune might be back. But it's not possessing me. Meet me at the graveyard.

Come alone.

Kira stared at her phone, quickly piecing together every single thing wrong with the text. If Stiles was possessed, he could just as easily say he wasn't. If he was, why would he tell her the Nogitsune was back in the first place? Her katana was one of the few things that could kill it, so it would make sense to try to get her alone. But why warn her? It had to be a trap. If it was a trap, someone had stolen Stiles' phone or kidnapped him. He could be in danger. Kira had to find him.

She darted past her classmates walking into the dance. The cemetery was less than a mile from the school. With shortcuts through backyards and traffic from the dance, she might as well run. Her muscles contracted and stretched, and her eyes turned orange. In two minutes she leapt over the iron wrought gate.

She didn't see anyone there. Kira undid the belt around her dress, unfolding it into her katana. Her eyes studied the darkened shapes of trees and statues, looking for movement. Suddenly something darted out of the corner of her eye. She ran, only to trip and land face down in front of a gravestone.

Noshiko Yukimura. Beloved Wife and Mother. She is now with her ancestors.

Kira jumped up. It had to be a trick. The Nogitsune was playing with her. She took a step back, and bumped into another gravestone.

Allison Argent. She left too soon.

She ran her fingers over the engraved letters. This didn't make sense. The Nogitsune knew that she wouldn't believe this.

Stiles Stilinski. A true friend the next headstone read. She ran to the next row of markers.

Lydia Martin.

Isaac Lahey.

Malia Tate.

Despite her thick coat, Kira shivered. Whatever was going on, it was a hell of a trick.

"It's no trick," a voice whispered. "You're alone, Kira. You outlived everyone else."

She was alone. Everyone else was dead, except for her. How did the Notgitsune know this? How did he know this is what she was scared of the most?

What if it was real?

It couldn't be. She was just at the dance, wasn't she? Or what if it was a memory? And the loneliness and pain made her go mad with grief?

Kira collapsed near the gate. Strangled cries wracked her shoulders.

Scott McCall.

Alone. She was truly, terribly alone.


The year before, Stiles hadn't been sure exactly how he got Lydia to dance with him. This year, all he needed to do was jerk his head in the direction of the dance floor. She led him by the hand. As purple lights flickered across their faces and classmates flitted around them, Stiles marveled at the feeling of a warm body pressed tight against his own. Arms slipped around his neck. He followed Lydia's natural rhythm. Some slow pop song played, with words he had heard a hundred times but never bothered to remember. He would remember her body, though. And her arms.

Out of the corner of his eye, Allison rested her head against Isaac's shoulder. She looked like she was closer to sleeping than to dancing. Isaac whispered something in her ear, and she grinned. Scott and Matthew were on the other side of the gym, half hidden behind the bleachers. Scott was holding Matthew's hand up, and they were doing these steps that looked like some ballroom crap. Since the start of the dance, the two couples had seemed to repel each other like two magnets of the same pole. Stiles knew things would be awkward between all of them. But after everything they had been through, the pack could handle awkward. Hell, at that moment Stiles thought they could handle anything.

Lydia kissed him. Stiles would remember that, too.


Meet me in the library. Come alone.

Malia had no idea what was going on with Kira, but she hoped whatever it was, it would get her out of dancing. With a quick bathroom excuse to her cousin, Malia skidded down the empty linoleum hall. She flung open the double doors. There was nothing but stacks of books. She sniffed the air.

Blood. Someone was bleeding. She ran through fiction, to the encyclopedias in the back corner. A bundle of blankets, with a dark spot, was half hidden by a shelf. Malia ripped away the covers.

"Mom?"


This wasn't right. Kira hadn't shown, nor had Sybil. Malia had been gone for a while. Cora was texting by the punch bowl. She smelled worried. Isaac sniffed the air.

"What is it?" Allison let go of his shoulders. Arms muscles tensed under her skin.

"Something isn't right."

Her phone beeped. "It's my dad."

"Please tell me he's just telling you to come home on time."

Her screen flashed. "The witch hunters are on the warpath."

"Great." How could ever expect anything different at this point?

Isaac motioned Stiles and Lydia over. Allison showed them the text. Stiles gave a perfect "are-you-kidding-me" face.

"Where's Scott?" She asked.

"I think he and Matthew went outside," Stiles said.

"I'll find them," Isaac said. "You guys should meet up with Allison's dad. Maybe you guys can reason with the hunters."

Allison snorted. "Reason doesn't exactly run in my family."

After they all promised to keep each other posted, Isaac jogged down the hallway. Then he skidded to a halt, squeaking his sneakers along the floor. Something smelled wrong. Disgusting, even. Like rotting meat.

Bam.

The last thing he heard before he fell unconscious was an old guy laughing.


Sybil knew something was wrong. Kira was missing.

She searched the grounds of school. Vampires didn't have the gift of premonition, but something drew her to the field. Perhaps it was the smell of demon blood.

Zan was an associate of the old queen. A lower level demon that Vivian had said had little ambition or imagination. Sybil lunged at him, pinned him to the ground by his neck. The bottle of red wine he had been holding shattered, leaving red liquid and broken glass everywhere.

"What are you doing here?"

"Hey, I got the invitation, kid. Chill. Barbas isn't after your clan."

Sybil gripped the skin of his jugular vein.

"Who is he after?"

"Wyatt Halliwell. And some werewolf."

Scott.

Barbas must have found out Wyatt was there. He must have found out that Scott was special. He wouldn't just go after them. His fear would infect the whole pack.

Zan squirmed under him. "Are you going to let me go or what?"

"No. I'm taking you to my queen. If you don't tell us everything, we're drinking demon blood tonight."


Piper didn't need to be an empath to know that Chris was scared. She and Leo called him up to the attic. Chris was a smart boy. He could tell that they figured it out. He tugged at a throw pillow as he sat on the couch, not looking at anyone.

"Now, we're not mad," Piper said in an even tone. "But your Aunt Phoebe had a vision."

"About?"

She sat next to him on the couch. He hugged the pillow to his chest.

"About how you knew that Wyatt was leaving. That you said goodbye to him."

Leo leaned over, elbows on knees. "We know you did what you thought was best. But you lied to us, son. We need to know where Wyatt is."

"I don't know where Wyatt is."

"Chris-"

"I'm telling the truth!"

Paige and Phoebe orbed in. Piper noticed a rip in Paige's pants.

"Demon's vanquished," Paige said. Phoebe joined them on the couch as Paige walked over to the book.

"Hey Chris."

"Hey." He didn't have to look her in the eye. She could sense his emotions. Piper sighed in relief. Sometimes an empath for a sister wasn't so bad.

"I know you're feeling scared, Chris. But you don't have to be. We're the Charmed Ones, sweetie. We can take care of it." She wrapped her arms around him in a side hug. "I know you've been feeling pretty bad these past few months. And guilty. But it's okay. We're going to make it all okay."

"You can't." He rubbed his eye.

"Where's Wyatt, Chris?" Leo asked.

"I don't know!"

"I believe you," Phoebe said. "But you do know why he left, don't you?"

"I can't tell you."

Piper remembered the other Chris saying those exact words. He had refused to tell them anything-why he was in the past, who he was, what he was planning. His stories had contradicted themselves. The words "future consequences" had been said so many times Piper had wanted to scream. Chris had fought tooth and nail for his secrets.

But the Chris of this timeline was different. When he had hurt himself in 7th grade, it had taken a little bit of effort for him to open up to his parents and therapist. But he did. This time, Chris could tell the truth. All he needed was a little reassurance.

Piper knelt in front of her son. She took his hands in hers. "Chris, look at me." He did. "We are the most powerful witches in the world. In all of time. We have vanquished and defeated every demon we have ever faced-"

"She's not a demon, Mom."

"We can still handle it. We've always pulled through, as a family. We can overcome anything, Chris. And I promise you we will overcome this. We will bring your brother back. But you have to help us."

"It's not just that."

"Then what is it, son?" Leo got down next to her. "Talk to us."

"If I tell you, then, then the bad future will happen."

"The bad future?" Piper had time traveled so much she didn't catch what he meant at first.

"The one I stopped."

Piper was silent. Memories of desperate grief and abject fear hit her. Her husband didn't speak, either. It was Paige who put her hand on Chris' shoulder and smiled.

"Chris, we will find whoever this woman is and orb her heart out. We'll set her on fire and you kids can roast marshmallows. But the bad future isn't going to happen. Ever."

Paige had seen him die, Piper remembered. She had never talked about it. But the edge in her voice was enough. It was enough for Chris, too.

"Lilith took him."


Scott felt Wyatt tremble in his arms. "People are staring," he whispered.

"That's because they don't know how to do a cha cha."

It was true. When they started slow dancing together like everyone else, no one gave them a second glance. Wyatt let go of Scott's shoulders.

"Do you wanna get some air?"

"Okay."

They left through the side entrance. Scott saw some buses parked in the back. He remembered last year. Allison had seen him shift. The look of horror on her face was something that would always stay with him. Scott slipped his hand into Wyatt's. It was okay. This time was different.

They made their way over to the lacrosse field. Scott frowned. His nose was hit with a scent that brought memories of his grandfather sitting in a rocking chair, a cigar in one hand and a newspaper in another. Hacking coughs mixed in with questions about school and stories of Columbia.

"What are you doing?"

Wyatt's fingers shook as he lit the cigarette. "Just give me a sec." He took one, long drag, then Scott snatched it out of his hand.

"Hey!"

Scott threw the cigarette as far as he could. It landed somewhere in the lacrosse field. Wyatt swore as he walked out onto the grass. With his werewolf strength he gripped his arms.

"Let me go!"

"Do you have any idea how much poison is in one-"

"We're not even dating and here you are, already trying to control my life, just like an alpha." Wyatt shook his head. "I should have known better."

Scott studied his face. He let go of his arms.

"Before I changed, I had asthma. Bad asthma. I was hospitalized twice. And my grandfather died of lung cancer." A small breeze carried the scent of tobacco back to him. "Trouble breathing runs in my family."

Wyatt looked back at the bleachers. "I'm sorry."

"I don't want to control you, Wyatt. But I am an Alpha, even if I'm not yours. Sometimes I have the urge to take the lead. I can be overprotective. And stubborn. And stupid."

"I guess we're a pretty good match, then."

They chuckled. Wyatt slipped his hands in his pockets and shivered.

"I'm sorry that I'm nervous. I'm just, just not used to someone else taking the lead." He stepped closer. Their foreheads almost touched. "But I'm finding out that it's not as bad as I thought it would be."

"Then maybe I should lead you back to the dance floor." Scott slipped his hand into Wyatt's pocket. The skin was cold. "Come on. Let's go where it's warm."

Wyatt smiled. Their faces were so close. It would be so easy to lean in, part his lips-

And his phone beeped. Naturally. Scott fumbled for his phone. It could be important.

Barbas is coming for you and your boyfriend. Warn him.

"It's Sybil." Scott frowned in confusion. "She said to tell you that someone named, um, Barbas, is here."

"What?" Before he could answer, Wyatt snatched his phone out of his hand. He stared at the screen. Scott suddenly smelled a strong scent of fear. Wyatt was afraid. He was never afraid.

"Who is he?"

"The Demon of Fear." Wyatt sat on the bleachers. "He can make your greatest fears come to life before your eyes."

"Like an illusion."

"Yeah. Only the Charmed Ones have ever vanquished him."

"Who are the Charmed Ones?"

Wyatt gave him a small smile. "The greatest, most powerful witches in the whole world. They can do anything." He stopped smiling. "I wish they were here."

Scott couldn't imagine any witch braver or greater than Wyatt.

A howl echoed from the distance. Scott clenched his fists. "Isaac."

"He doesn't want Isaac. He wants me."

"The text said he wanted both of us."

Wyatt looked at his phone again. "Well, he's not going to get you." He tried to stand up, but Scott grabbed his arm.

"Wyatt-"

"It is a witch's sworn duty to defend the world from demons. This is what I was born to do." Wyatt grabbed his hand. "And if I have to die to do it, I will."

"Let me help you."

He shook his head. "I know a spell that might be able to stop him. But I'm the only one who can say it."

"I'm not letting you go alone," Scott said in a desperate voice.

Wyatt pressed his face close to his. Scott felt his cold lips on his cheek. Startled, he let go of his arm.

"I'll be fine." He teleported away. The spot where he had kissed him still felt warm.


At this point Allison felt it was safe to say that she wished she was adopted. Not only were there heartless killers on her dad's side, her mother's brother was crazy.

A young woman lay in his trunk. Her wrists were tied together with rope. Duct tape covered her mouth. The only sound she made was muffled cries of fear. The sight reminded Allison of when Scott and Isaac kidnapped Liam a few months ago. At least she was able to see some reason, and even humor, in that. But this, this was being called away from a dance to meet up with another blood thirsty relative in the parking lot of the abandoned bank where they found Boyd and Cora last year. The girl struggled in her bonds. Allison could have escaped in 15 minutes, and knew this girl was doing it wrong.

"What the hell is this?" As far as her uncle knew, they were the only two in the parking lot. For all she knew, her uncle was one step away from shooting her. She shouldn't antagonize him. But she was so, so done with all of this.

"This girl is a witch, Allison." Her uncle tugged at a silver chain around her neck. A pentacle pendant hung on it.

"Okay, let's say for the sake of the argument, she is a witch." Considering that necklace looked like it could be bought at any New Age store, there wasn't much proof. "Why do we need to kidnap her?"

"Usually we wouldn't kidnap her," Ames said. "We'd just burn her." The girl sobbed through her tape. "But now we're working with people who want witches captured. Alive. They want to do stuff with them. We're meeting them near this cliff, I suppose you know where it is, by 11."

"What kind of stuff?"

"They won't say." Ames shrugged. "All I know is, they won't bother anyone again. And we get funding and help dealing with the law."

"And what proof do you have that this girl bothered anyone?"

"If she hasn't, she will. Watch the witch, but never trust her. For she is the embodiment of sin."

"I don't believe in sin. I believe in a code."

"You may have the last name Argent, Allison, but you are of my blood-"

"It has nothing to do with my fucking last name. I am so sick of people torturing and killing people just because they have fucking claws or powers or whatever! You all and your stupid, pointless beliefs got my mother killed!" To be honest, at this point she was fucking sick of her own last name.

Allison pushed the hair out of her face. Ames touched her shoulder. She wanted to burn her jacket.

"I'm sorry, Allison. I really am. But what I do, what we do, is to protect everyone. Look at all the deaths in this town alone."

"Like the Hale fire?"

Her uncle sighed. "I prayed you would understand. I really did." Another car pulled up into the parking lot. Allison wasn't surprised.

"That's funny. Because I knew you would never understand."

Three men climbed out of the car. Allison raised her hands in the air, as though she were held at gunpoint. Two loud, banshee screams pierced the sky. The hunters all covered their ears. A smoke bomb flew through the air. It landed at Ames feet. Allison quickly hoisted the girl over her shoulder and ran.

"Allison!"

She ran to her dad's car parked around the corner. In the distance, red and blue lights flashed. Ames may have had connections with the law, but not in Beacon Hills.

"Nice work," her father said as they sped away. Allison ripped the tape off the girl's mouth.

"Where are you taking me?"

"The sheriff's station," her father said. "You'll be safe there. One of the deputies will protect you until we can get you back home."

"What?"

"We don't care if you're a witch," Allison said. "Witchcraft isn't illegal in this town."

Her father made a sharp turn. "But kidnapping is."


Barbas amused himself by listening to the other demons mumble. They all huddled together, too scared of little Wyatt's power to even think about making a move. One brought him a werewolf as bait, and that was it.

Although, Wyatt wasn't a little boy anymore. He was almost grown, and rumor had it he resembled his father in appearance and demeanor, although for some reason he ended up a blonde. Barbas grinned as he recalled all the suffering his parents had gone through worrying about him and his future. He couldn't wait to see the look on their faces when they found their precious baby with unblinking eyes and pools of blood spilling around him. It would be the pinnacle of his career. By Wyatt's death they would be undone. Finished.

A flurry of orbs appeared near one demon. He screamed and jumped back.

"Isaac? Isaac!"

Wyatt Halliwell was taller than he expected. He had blonde hair that reminded him of that time he met Penny way back in the 50's. She had come so close to vanquishing him. Memories of that potion's bite still stung. The whitelighter ran to the werewolf. As soon as he felt for a pulse, Barbas stepped forward.

"I'm not afraid of you." Even as he trembled, Wyatt clutched the boy to him like he were his brother.

"Oh no. Of course not."

Barbas held out his hand. His skin flashed white.

Lilith was more ruthless than he gave her credit for, closer to a demon than an angel. She had torn a family apart, causing untold mental anguish and guilt for Wyatt and probably his brother as well. And even better, Wyatt had the same knack for forbidden love as the rest of his family.

"This is easier than I thought."

"Prudence, Penelope, Patricia-Oh my God, Scott!"

He sounded just like Leo when he screamed. How lovely.

"Oh my God, Scott!"

Wyatt sank to his knees. He had just left him at the lacrosse field. And there he was, lying on the ground, how-

"He's dead, Wyatt. You couldn't save him. And now you can't save anyone."

And then he was in the attic. But it felt different. Everything was still, silent. The air was too cold,

"Mom? Dad?" He turned around, and something caught his eye. It was an old mirror, one that was propped up against the wall for entirety. His reflection stared back at him in confusion.

"What's with the beard?"

"Lilith's deal is broken. Chris wasn't able to save the future. He wasn't able to save you."

Wyatt gripped the back of a chair. No, this wasn't real. This was Barbas. It had to be. He wasn't evil. His thoughts were the same, his morals still upright.

"This is a trick. I'm not falling for this."

Clap. Clap. "Very clever." His head snapped up. "You remind me of Piper."

Wyatt had read the entry in the book of shadows. He heard the stories, saw the drawing of the man with the unnatural looking face. He wasn't going to let this guy get to him. Blast. Wyatt threw an energy ball at Barbas. He stumbled back into a couch.

"I'm not scared of you," he said with more conviction than he felt. "Stay away from my charges." Blast. He fell to the floor with a cry of pain. "Stay away from my family." Blast. He screamed. "And stay away from me."

Barbas rolled away from the hit. Wyatt pulled out his dagger. He flicked his wrist. The knife shot upwards into the demon's chest. But then it wasn't Barbas anymore.

"Chris?"

His brother breathed in a long, labored breath. Wyatt yanked the knife out. He held out his hands, but no light appeared.

"You can't heal him. You lost those powers because only angels can use them."

"No." Chris stopped breathing. Wyatt pressed his hands over the wound. He tried to remember what he learned about CPR. But all he could think about was Chris helping him with his homework, stealing his Gameboy, reading Sherlock Holmes, playing with his cat. His baby brother. He had been there since before he could remember.

"It's too late. You can't save him."

"Shut up!" Wyatt gripped his hands together and beat Chris' chest desperately. "Chris, wake up goddamn it. Chris!"

"Your brother is dead, Wyatt. Because of you. The evil inside you."

"No. Please no. God."

His brother's body still felt warm when Wyatt cradled it in his arms. He didn't see Barbas pick up his own knife. Nor did he hear Scott roar above them. All there was in the world was the world he feared. The world he ruined.


Nothing mattered except the scents of fear, cologne and earthy, otherworldly blood. Past trees and under stars he ran, the blood pumping through his body and pounding in his ears. The pounding almost drowned out the screams that were cast out into the night.

Lord, I beseech You in Your mercy, protect my pack. Please.

At the edge of town, Scott stopped. He was at the edge of a cliff. Down below, he heard heart beats and ragged breathing. He took a few steps back. Then, without a sound, he darted over the ground. The ravine below came up to meet him. He landed on one knee.

Amen.

His head snapped up at the sound of laughter. An old man in a black robe appeared in front of him. He clapped. His teeth were crooked and yellow. His cheekbones jutted out like they were about to break his skin. The hairs on Scott's arms stood up as the faint stench hit his nose. The stench of rotting flesh.

"Well well, so this is the boy I've heard about. Not bad."

"I take it you're Barbas."

"My reputation proceeds me. Your name is Scott, right?"

"Yeah."

Other figures stepped out of the shadows. They too were dressed in black. It was kind of cliché, really. All of them stood back. Scott got the sense that they were there to watch. Behind them, Scott heard weeping. Everyone stood aside to show Wyatt crying over Isaac's body. The only thing keeping Scott grounded was the sound of Isaac's heartbeat, weak though it was.

Before Scott could get to them, Barbas laughed. "Don't bother. You can't save them."

"Like I'd believe you."

Lord. Give me strength to resist Your enemies, for their might is nothing compared to Yours.

"You really think they will follow you in the end? You think he will?" Barbas gestured to Wyatt, who was curled in the fetal position. "Your fear has already come true-you're pathetic. Hopeless. They're all dying right now, Scott. And you can't save them."

Amen.

"And what about you?"

"What about me?"

"What are you afraid of?"

Barbas chuckled. "You simple boy. I AM fear. I fear nothing."

Scott took a step towards him. The weight of the demons' gaze was almost physical. These things were cast out from Heaven. They rebelled against the one true God. And they lost. They would always lose.

"You're lying."

Barbas frowned. "What?"

"I can smell fear. I can hear your heart beat. You're lying." He took another step forward. "You are afraid."

"Oh really? And what am I afraid of, hm? Tell me kid, I have your friends in the grip of terror, you're out numbered, what could I possibly be scared of?"

"That I could kill you."

A gasp passed through the lips of the crowd from Hell. Scott never took his eyes off Barbas.

"Any of my pack could, actually. You're scared that we'll realize that behind those parlor tricks you're a frail, old man. Weak." His hand shot out, gripping Barbas' wrist. "Pathetic." He twisted it. The man groaned in pain.

"Go on then," he snarled, "prove to everyone that you're a monster. Just like you always thought."

"I'm not the monster here, Barbas. You are."

He let go of his wrist, only to grab his throat. The rest of the demons all stepped back. He shifted, his claws growing and sinking into the flesh. Scott had to swallow down his bile at the smell and feel of the satanic blood and skin.

"You cannot kill me. You cannot stop us from destroying everything you love," he said in a strangled whisper. "You will never be safe. You will never be free." Barbas tried to grab onto his arm. Scott lifted him up.

"Wanna bet?"

Scott ripped his claws through the neck. Blood spattered everywhere. One demon screamed. As Scott jerked his hand away, Barbas sank to his knees.

"What. . .are. . .you?" he gasped, struggling to breathe.

"I'm an alpha."

Barbas fell at his feet. It took about thirty more seconds for his heart to stop, and even longer for him to be considered truly dead. But Scott had already moved on. He grabbed the nearest demon by the neck and snapped it. Some of them managed to teleport away. Some didn't. By the time Barbas was done, the ground was littered with bodies.

"Holy fucking shit!"

The vampires arrived. William landed on his feet. Sybil gripped some man's forearm. He smelled like a demon. Vivian surveyed the damage.

"Is that. . ."William pointed to Barbas' body.

"Yeah." Scott's claws shrunk back into his nails. He felt his ears and teeth fold and twist into human shape.

Vivian knelt down to inspect him. "I guess you don't need us."

William hesitantly touched of the dead demons with his foot. "How did you do that?"

"Through the strength of the Lord."

"No seriously, how?" Scott rolled his eyes. He sounded like Stiles.

Wyatt gasped. Scott had almost forgotten about them. Isaac's eyes fluttered open.

"Where am I?" His brother asked.

Scott knelt beside him. "You're okay. Everything is-" Wyatt pulled him forward. He fell against his chest, his ear pressed against his still rapidly beating heart.

"You're okay. Scott, you're okay." They awkwardly hugged over Isaac, who had to resort to scooting out from under them.

"I thought you were dead. I saw you, and my brother, and . . .wait, how are you here?" Wyatt pulled away. "Where's Barbas?"

"Over here." William pointed to a pile of dust where the body had been. "And his demon cohorts are around there." He gestured to other piles of dust. Scott assumed that's what happened to demons after death.

"You killed Barbas?"

"Who's Barbas?" Isaac pointed to the demon Sybil was holding. "And who's he?"

"This is Zan."

"Zan would like to be let go now. Ow!" Sybil kicked his shin. "Come on, I didn't do anything. I didn't even get to see anything."

"Let him go," Vivian said. She flashed a smile at Scott. "Let him go, so he can go back to the Underworld and tell everyone what happens when they set foot in Beacon Hills. They'll meet a werewolf who rivals the Charmed Ones."

"I'm not sure about that," Wyatt said as Scott offered his hand. He helped him up, and didn't let go for a few seconds.

"Yeah, the Charmed Ones are three witches. He killed Barbas all by himself," William said. "And he's what, 17? I think he's better than them."

"Hey!" Wyatt seemed offended. Scott wondered if the Charmed Ones were his role models or celebrity crushes.

Sybil released Zan. Vivian barred her fangs at him.

"If I see you here again, I'll kill you."

"Yes, Your Majesty." He took a long look at Scott, then teleported away. Back to Hell, where he belonged.

Wyatt entangled his fingers into Scott's. He was still cold.

"Come on, let's-"

Scott's phone beeped.

Stiles: Witch hunters loose in town. Ames is captured, others may be near the cliff.

Of course Ames hadn't traveled alone-cliff? Suddenly soft voices drifted down from many feet above. In all the excitement, he must have blocked them out.

"What is it?" Isaac asked. Wyatt let go of his hand as Scott pointed up.

"I don't think we're going to make it in time for the end of the dance."


Lilith arranged her red curls in a twist. Her pool reflected her catlike grin and white bikini back at her. Her snake lay on the terrace.

"Get over here you damned hag!"

Piper Halliwell was not known for patience. Lilith let a strand curl around each ear. Unfortunately, she would have to wait just a little longer. This plan was over a millennium old. As if a middle aged soccer mom could-

A swirl of light surrounded Lilith. The next thing she knew, she was kneeling in an attic.

"Well, I never. What if I hadn't been decent?"


Scott, Isaac and Wyatt teleported to the top of the cliff. The vampires had left to check on the others Barbas had attacked (Sybil seemed especially worried about Kira). There were only three men, with leather jackets and matching scowls. Scott had seen these types of guys before.

"Witches!" One of the men pulled out his gun. Isaac lunged at him. As he flew, he shifted in midair, landing with his claws in the man's arms. The gun was knocked out of his hand, and the man was knocked unconscious.

"Werewolves!"

Another hunter whipped out a phone. He ran towards the woods. Wyatt teleported after him. That left the third for Scott. The tallest hunter, who also had a gun.

"So what are you then? A werewolf, a witch? What?"

"An alpha."

He flipped through the air, landing behind the hunter. His claws sunk into the leather, and he threw the jacket-and the guy wearing it- over his head, watching him land in a bush twenty feet away.

Wyatt's scream made both werewolves' eyes narrow. They bolted. Not that far from them Wyatt's arm was twisted behind his back as he shouted curses. The man struggled to keep his grip.

"No!"

Wyatt fell to the ground with a loud, sickening thud. The hunter stood above him. The blunt end of his gun was raised as a club.

"Well at least we have one witch to burn."

A growl ripped out of Scott's throat as he knocked the man down with one punch.

Suddenly hot, blistering pain pierced his back. He winced as he remembered the times he had been shot before. A black spot appeared on the front of his white shirt. It began to spread. Derek had once said that wolfsbane bullets become fatal when they reach the heart. This one didn't have far to go.

"You didn't think we'd come to werewolf country unprepared?" Another voice, a female one, asked. Must have been reinforcements. And they actually had shot him in the back. Almost without realizing it, he sank to his knees. His breathing was becoming panting, and his lungs resented every breath he took. He heard the crunch of bones snapping as Isaac fought. And then running footsteps as their own reinforcements showed up.

"Scott!" That was Stiles. Lydia was screaming, like always. He didn't know if that was because she was scaring the hunters away or, well. . The heat was fading, replaced by a deep, dull ache.

"No, no Scott! Matthew, wake up! It's Scott!" Allison's arms were holding up his body against hers. He knew she was screaming, but her voice sounded far away, almost like she was underwater. Or he was underwater. Shouldn't he say last words? About how pretty she smelled, like gun powder and lavender . . . powder. Or he should tell Stiles, wait, what would he tell Stiles? He . . . told him he loved him . . . after the Nogitsune. That was-fuck. Fuck, it . . . was . . .

To Christ I commend myself.


"Matthew, hey, dude wake up." Stiles shoved his arm until he opened his eyes. "You need to heal Scott." He slapped his face. The witch's eyes slowly opened. Too slow for Stiles. Before Matthew could say anything, Stiles dragged him over to Scott.

His head was in Allison's lap, and his eyes were closed. Stiles could see his shoulders weren't moving. Except that meant Scott was no longer breathing. Maybe it was a werewolf breathing technique. It didn't matter to him, because Matthew stumbled to his knees next to them. Light pooled out from his hands. The same thing happened when Allison had gotten stabbed. Except this time, the wound didn't disappear. Black puss dripped through the cheap fabric. The smell made Stiles want to scream.

"What's going on? Why isn't it working?" Allison clutched Scott tighter to her body. Her arms shook, so he shook, too. Behind her, the others stood silently.

"I can't heal him." His voice was too calm as always. Instead of sounding professional, it just made Stiles twitch.

"What do you mean, you can't heal him? You're a fucking witch. I swear to God if this is some stupid rule-"

"It's not." Matthew didn't take his eyes off his date. "I'm sorry."

I'm sorry. I'm sorry for your loss. I'm sorry your mom died. I'm so sorry.

"Heal him!" Stiles grabbed him the shoulders. "Heal him already."

"I can't."

Bam. Blood dripped down Matthew's chin and Stiles fist.

"Help him goddamnit! What kind of witch are you?" Matthew was supposed to watch over him. To guide and protect them. That's what he had said. Lydia was pulling at his jacket, but Stiles held on. This fake angel was going to pull some divine grace out of his ass asap.

"Stiles, he can't save him." Lydia yanked him backwards. He fell into her arms. "Don't you think he would if he could?"

Tears and blood covered Matthew's face, which he kept wiping with his tie.

"Well, why can't you?" Stiles stared at the tie, and the trees, anything but Allison cradling his best friend. Because he couldn't see what was happening. He wouldn't. But Matthew did. Matthew wouldn't take his eyes off of Scott. And Stiles hated him for that.

"Because . . . because I can't heal the dead."