The sun... ah ... the sunlight streaming in was far too bright, he couldn't stand it, he just ... rolled closer, burrying his face into the soft warmth beside him and inhaling the sweet musky, foresty scent
His eyes suddenly snapped open, his heart racing a mile a minute as he jumped up and stared at the lump of flesh beneath him
"Oh .... crap..... I'm a dead man...."
"You're certainly going to be a dead man if you don't shut up," the lump of flesh grumbled, shifting under the sheets and clearly trying to go back to sleep
"Derek.... this is serious! We slept together!"
"As evidenced by your being in my bed,"
"Are you... did you lose your freaking mind!? What are we going to do!? Don't you remember how tense things got when Kira and Scott finally got together!? You, me, and Lydia kept getting left at the 'alter' wile they went off and screw or smooched or did whatever the hell they did, now if WE end up being together Lydia is going to be all alone and-!"
"Stiles, there are much bigger problems here than you and I tilting the social dynamic scale of our group,"
"Are you crazy!? This is always the beginning of the end! I don't want the gang to split up just because we-!"
"Stiles?? You up yet?"
Before Derek could protest, Stiles had stacked some pillows on top of him, hurrying to cover his naked waist with blankets as the door to the adjoining room opened and Stiles forced a smile
"Morning Stiles, you ready for today?" Scott smiled pleasantly
"Ready as I'll ever be!"
"Cool, where's Derek?"
"Um... right.... Derek is..."
He paused, glancing beside him at the empty bed a few feet from his
"Derek is... in the bathroom!"
"Huh? But... the bathroom door is open..." Scott commented with a small frown, his attention turning to the open bathroom door, heart hammering as he quickly turned his attention back to Scott
"In .. the lobby, he's in the bathroom in the lobby, he went to get us some breakfast and drank aloooooooooot of coffee so he's been down there for ... ya' know... a wile now,"
Scott looked a little concerned, but nodded slowly, giving a shrug
"Ok, well, you let me know when you guys are ready to head out ok? Lydia is already doing some interveiws with other guests downstairs so we'll hit the road whenever you guys are ready,"
"Got it, yep, thanks buddy ol' pal of mine!" he smiled awkwardly, giving two thumbs' up
Scott just looked increasingly worried, but forced a nod anyway and shut the door, finally allowing Stiles to exhale and flop down on his back
"God..... why did we get adjoining rooms!?"
"I don't know, but get off of me," Derek grumbled back, nocking Stiles off of him and reluctantly sliding out of bed
"Dude... we've gotta talk about this, what the hell are we gonna do!?"
"I don't know, date? Like adults? Tell our freinds that we're a couple? Like adults?"
"You keep using this 'adult' thing against me you know," Stiles muttered with a huff, watching with mild confusion as Derek started padding over to the other side of the room
"Where are you going?"
"To the bathroom," he huffed back, nearly slamming the door behind him and flipping the lock
Ok yeah Stiles deserved that
"So you saw the figure in the graveyard, and then what?"
The woman stared at him with a bit of curiosity- a little confusion
"And then...? Nothing, the ghost disappeared and I went home,"
Stiles frowned slightly, nose wrinkling
"So the ghost didn't chase you, or follow you, or try to attack you or anything?"
More confusion and curiosity from the woman, who, if nothing else, atleast seemed amused
"Nah, nothing like that, most ghosts are peacefull, I've never encountered a malevolent one,"
Stiles pursed his lips, turning to Scott and making a slashing-throat motion with his finger
"Alright, thank you so much for your time Ma'am,"
The stranger said her goodbyes, gave a wave, and walked off, leaving Scott and Stiles alone once more
"What the hell are we going to do?" Stiles sighed as Scott set the camera down, a small but pointed frown on the other's face
"We've been in New Orleans for three days and we must've done atleast two dozen interveiws but nothing's juicy! The network said they'd only pick up the show if we could come up with a really great pilot and so far we've only got a midseason episode or two- at best, I thought New Orleans was supposed to be one of the greatest haunted cities anywhere!"
"And it is, the very fact that we've found two dozen people in only three days to give us ghost stories to begin with is nothing to sneeze at, but... you know, maybe getting a TV show isn't the way to go with this, if we're controlled by a network then we're going to be censored, we might have our footage altered, we might lose our integrity, what ever happened to investigating mysteries for the sake of investigating mysteries?"
Stiles looked.... melancholy, sad, his shoulders dropped as he stared at his freind
"We grew up Scott, that's what happened, we aren't teenagers anymore ok? We've gotta pay the bills somehow and this is the only way we're going to get paid for what we love, think about it, people like Josh Gates and those guys from Buzzfeed Unsolved make a legit living off of this stuff, if we want to do this for the rest of our lives like we always said we did then we have to have a TV show, or streaming, or something like that, then we can publish what we want how we want in books- books that will actually sell, we can travel and solve mysteries and don't have to give up anything for our passion,"
"Anything but our journalistic integrity maybe," Scott pouted, causing Stiles to roll his eyes
"Ok, buddy, listen, we don't have journalistic integrity, we aren't journalists, you do remember that don't you? Besides, I don't have the time to go switching careers and turn this into a hobby, my dad's medical bills aren't going to wait and neither is your mom's mortgage,"
Scott seemed... reluctant, but ultimately sighed and hung his head
"Maybe the others had better luck... and if not, we'll see about investigating the Winchester House, we've got... what, three weeks before the deadline? We can still try that, ask Derek to buy the plane tickets,"
Stiles hated that very notion, the fact that Derek kept paying for all of the travel expenses really rubbed him the wrong way, but Derek and Lydia were the only ones with money among them and Lydia's was mostly tied up in things like equipment, contacts, and ofcourse that journalism degree she had blown her college fund on...
He wished they could just afford to pitch in, but between his father's health and Scott's mom's bills...
"Come on, let's go to the diner and wait on the others," he offered, standing up slowly and patting Scott's shoulder
His freind seemed a little reluctant, but before too long was nodding his agreement and following after Stiles
"You didn't get anything either huh?"
It was definitely the worst news of the day, Stiles felt so disappointed that he was bordering on angry, and judging by the look on Derek's face, he seemed to be able to tell
"Not really, we only found one person to interveiw and the haunting was from her childhood, she couldn't even remember the details," Kira sighed, her fork pushing back and forth across her plate, listless and disenchanted
Stiles knew the feeling
"Great, just great,"
"Calm down Stiles, we'll find something, I promise," Derek said sympathetically, sipping at his soda and watching Stiles eat his feelings by taking a massive bite out of what Derek was seriously hesitating to call a sandwich
The mountain of food stuffed between two thick slices of bread was sickening just to look at, and the dribbles of juice running down Stiles' jaws as he plowed into it were equally unattractive
He found it necessary to push his napkin forward, an unimpressed look on his face as Stiles slowly took it and started wiping at his mouth
"I hope so," he grumbled, mouth full, as Derek shook his head and took a delicate bite of his pasta
"Maybe we should consider going on one of the ghost tours, we could ask the tour guides or owners of some of the businesses there for interveiws after the tours," Lydia suggested, her attention absorbed into her phone as she typed away at it, no doubt researching tours in the area
"Maybe, but that just seems cheap, I don't know why we can't just find a decent ghost story in New Orleans," Stiles huffed with frustration
"You know, I might have an idea," came a voice, pulling the attention of the small group towards it
Standing before them was a young man, probably around the same age as everyone else in the group, with black hair, dark tan skin, and a beautifull smile
He was certainly attractive
"Sorry, I couldn't help overhearing that you were in the market for a good ghost story, I think I might know the place, have you ever heard of Moonscar Island?"
The group exchanged glances and all began shaking their heads, much to their mutual surprise
"I didn't think so, it isn't on any maps, the owners are pretty private, but Moonscar has some of the most unbelievable ghost stories... and there's a pretty good chance of managing to film encounters wile you're there too,"
"Really? Then how come we've never heard of it? Why hasn't TAPS or one of the other ghost hunting shows filmed there yet?" Stiles frowned
"Like I said, the owners are very private, but they've been thinking of airing their dirty laundry lately, they just need the right reporters, sounds like you're both looking to fill eachother's needs, it's like kismet,"
"It DOES sound pretty perfect..." Kira mused slowly
"Then why don't you come by for a day or two? I run the ferry that goes to and from the island, I leave at ten A.M. if you guys want to meet me down at the docks,"
"'How could we pass it up?" Scott beamed, though Stiles looked considerably less excited
"I'm Scott McCall by the way, and these are my freinds, Stiles, Derek, and Lydia, and my girlfreind Kira,"
"Nice to meet all of you, I'm Danny, do you have a name for your group? Like PenState or something?"
"Actually, we've been calling ourselves Mystery Inc since we were in highschool,"
"Mystery Inc huh? I like that," Danny nodded, smiling as he reached out to shake Scott's hand
"Well then, welcome to New Orleans, Mystery Inc,"
"I'm just saying, something doesn't feel right," Stiles sighed, staring out the window of the van and watching listlessly as they passed by tree.. after tree... after tree....
Why were there so many trees!?
"Look Stiles, either you want a good ghost story, or you don't, you can't have it both ways," Lydia huffed as she leaned against the back door of the van, clearly too busy going down some sort of check list to even bother looking up at them
"I do want a good story, I just don't think that this is the story we're looking for,"
"Well it's the only story we've got,"
Stiles wrinkled his nose, turning his attention to Derek as he fiddled with one of the cameras, gently poking him in the side
"You feel it too, don't you Der? Something about this isn't right,"
"I feel it," he confirmed, not looking up from his project
"But Lydia has a point Stiles, we're scraping the bottom of the barrel, if we want to make this work, we need to take what we can get, and right now, this is what we can get,"
Stiles was less than happy about that answer, his arms crossed and his nose wrinkled as he sank down against the wall of the van, biting the inside of his cheek when he felt it pull to a stop, Scott rolling down the window and leaning out to greet Danny
"Hey!! We're in the right spot aren't we?"
"You are, you can just drive up onto the boat if you don't want to leave your car," Danny replied, pausing for a moment, a small smirk on his lips- amused, as though it was taking everything in his power not to burst out laughing
It probably was
"That's um... an interesting paint job you've got there,"
Ughh.... Stiles knew sooner or later someone was going to comment on that, they always did
Green, blue, and orange with flowers everywhere...
Even Stiles hated it, he would have rather brought his trusty jeep, but there wasn't enough room for five people and a ton of camera equipment
"It uh.... we got a deal on it, haven't managed to get it painted yet," Scott explained shyly
"I get that, honestly, my first car was pretty ugly too, come on, we've got a long trip to the island," he said with a wave, heading onto the boat as Scott rolled up the window and started to drive after him
"I wouldn't call it 'ugly'," he muttered quietly to himself, nose wrinkling
Stiles wanted to laugh at that, at all the times Scott had insulted his precious jeep in one form or another, it was about time somebody started making comments about his van
"We need to decide when to tell them,"
Stiles glanced up from where he had been listlessly staring over the edge of the boat, head tilted and eyebrows raised
"Excuse me, come again?"
"About us, they deserve to know Stiles," Derek said with a quiet huff, leaning over the railing to peer down into the water along with him
"I know I know, I'm not.... it isn't like I'm hiding it or anything, it's just... we've gotta pick the right moment, ya' know?"
"I know, but please, don't wait too long, or I'm going to start thinking that you don't want a relationship with me at all,"
Stiles spun around quickly, a tense frown on his face
"Dude, are you serious!? After all these years of me pining after you, you really think-"
"Then don't make me feel like a mistress," Derek nearly snapped, his expression tense and firm, lips pressed into a hard line, eyes narrowed, Stiles was leaning against the rail of the ferry, about to fire back a response, when he happened to glance down and-.... SHREIK
"ALLIGATOR!! FREAKING ALLIGATOR!!!"
"Well yeah, you are in NOLA," Danny noted from a few feet away, laughing teasingly as Stiles jumped into Derek's arms, his own arms curled around the larger man's neck, his legs pulled to his chest as he stared down into the water at the gator that was swimming right beside their boat
Derek rolled his eyes, letting go of Stiles and huffing as his lover hit the floor of the boat
Stiles scrambled to his feet, about to confront Derek over the ill treatment, when suddenly he heard something else that drew his attention
"Hey!! Watch it!"
Turning his attention away, he noticed that they were no longer the only people in the water- well, so to speak
Next to the ferry was a large, old, fishing boat, practically falling apart, and manned by what appeared to be a man and a ... lizard...
Why the hell did the guy have what looked like a big monitor lizard!?
"Um, sorry..." Scott muttered, looking down at the water, where apparently he had dropped something or other
"You should be sorry, you just scared away Big Mona! I've been hunting that fish for the last seven years and I JUST had her!!"
Danny, who was standing next to Scott, merely rolled his eyes and clapped a hand over Scott's shoulder
"Jackson, do you really need to be here? Why don't you go back to the cave you were born in?"
Jackson growled, flipping Danny off and muttering something under his breath, but then ducked back into the little driving area
Well that was weird
"Sorry about him, he doesn't like, well... anyone," Danny mused with a small shrug
"Don't worry about it, trust me, in our line of work, we come across people like that all the time," Stiles mused as he glanced down at the water
"Well I'm glad you aren't too off-put, because you see that land up in the distance?"
Stiles glanced up, nodding as he followed to the large block of land where Danny was pointing
"That's our stop, we'll be there in about thirty minutes, so get ready for the ghosts, God knows they're probably ready for you,"
The island was .... interesting
It was covered in pepper plants, for one thing, and covered in cats, for another
Well, cats, and a couple of large dogs
It was actually rather unfortunate that they couldn't go straight to exploring, Stiles would have liked to see what other animals were hanging around, but sadly, they were quickly directed straight to the house
.. Or, rather, the enormous mansion that these people dared to call a house
It was probably twice the size of a normal house, if not bigger, and looked like a typical Old Southern Plantation
Stiles wasn't really sure what to expect of the owners who came out to greet them, but he knew one thing: He wasn't expecting who he ultimately saw
"So you must be Mystery Inc, I have to admit, I'm pretty impressed, you kids have a pretty long resume` for being so young,"
The woman was young, but clearly older than Stiles and the others, he would guess she was probably in her mid-thirties or so, maybe a little older, she was pretty though, with curly brown hair and dimples, tall and wearing leather
Yeah, she was pretty, but....
There was just something not quite right about her...
"How did you know about us?"
"Danny called me last night and told me we'd be having guests, like any responsible home owner I Googled you,"
Maybe even a little too legitimate
"I have to ask, how come you decided to go public with this after keeping it a secret for so long?"
"Good question, I've always hated the idea of the tourism that would come from publicizing our little ghost issue, but recently... the hauntings have gotten worse, they've gone from mostly harmless apparitions to becoming... malevolent and violent, my wife Kali woke up a few days ago with scratches on her back and arms, that's when I decided that I needed to try to get the ghosts exterminated, my privacy wasn't worth my wife being attacked, we already have tried three different preists but to no avail, we decided that getting professional ghost hunters was our next resort and that's around when Danny found you guys, your record is pretty spotless, we figured we'd try you guys before calling someone like TAPS,"
It sounded like a legitimate reason alright, but something about it was still striking him as odd...
"We appreciate it," Scott smiled, walking past Stiles and holding his hand out politely towards her
"I'm Scott McCall, by the way, you have my word, whatever mystery is around here, we're going to solve it,"
The woman smiled, reaching out and shaking Scott's hand
"Jennifer Blake, and I'll take your word for that, Mystery Inc,"
"I'll take your word for that Mystery Inc, who does she think she's kidding?"
Scott, apparently, she thought she was kidding Scott
And literally everyone else
Stiles was grumbling, annoyed beyond beleif as he fussed with his freaking "nice dress shirt", because apparently no one informed these people that it was no longer the Victorian era and people did not, in fact, still "dress for dinner"
Freaking rich people
Freaking .... all of this....
It was a nock on the door that ultimately relieved him of some of his irritation
"Y-Yeah, come in!"
He had never been more relieved to see Derek, and it had nothing to do with needing help getting his dress shirt even
"Hey Der, what's up?"
"I found something that I think you need to see," he replied quietly- and seriously, even more seriously than usual, wich definitely had Stiles' attention
He gave a quick nod, watching as Derek shut the door behind him and walked forward, holding out something small and wrapped up in napkins
"Ok, unless this is a Beignet..."
He doesn't finish his sentence though, immediately unwrapping.... whatever it is, and flinching back the second he sees what's laying beneath the cheap papper
"Holy crap Derek, you can't just bring somebody a voodoo doll, what's the matter with you!?"
"So that IS what this is then? It's a voodoo doll, you're sure?"
Another look down at the straw-made... thing is all it takes for Stiles to give a small, affirmative nod
"Yeah man, that's a voodoo doll if I've ever seen one, where in the hell did you find it?"
Derek was quiet, glancing over at the clock before turning his attention back to Stiles
"I'll show you, that isn't all I found,"
"You mean to tell me that you went on a pre-dinner exploration without me?! That is COLD Derek, that is cold and cruel,"
"It wasn't planned, I was just following an impulse," Derek huffed back
Stiles wanted to complain again, but found that he couldn't, not really, he was too busy following his lover through the trees and heavy forest
"More peppers? God, what is this place? A shrine to Tony Stark's wife?"
"As clever as that joke is, it's actually a pepper plantation, or ... atleast, it used to be,"
"Oh yeah? And how did you figure that out?"
"I did some digging wile we were on the boat and you were having an existential crisis, Moonscar Island has quite a history,"
"That.... how did you figure that out? I tried nine ways to Sunday to Google this place last night but nothing ever popped up except one or two false alarms,"
"Because for one thing, it isn't called Moonscar Island,"
Ok.... that was a little concerning
"What do you mean?" Stiles asked slowly
"I mean that you're right, Googling Moonscar Island won't get you much of anything, that's why I had to get creative, I noticed earlier that Danny's boat is called the Maelstrom, so I Googled that, incidentally, there was another ship that went around this area once called the Maelstrom, it was a pirate ship, piloted by one Morgan Moonscar, and do you know what happened to it?"
"No, but I have a feeling you're going to tell me,"
"It vanished on it's way to an unpopulated island- Moonstorm Island, and when I Googled Moonstorm instead of Moonscar, I got quite a few more results, turns out that Moonstorm has quite an interesting history, you know what happened after the pirates went missing? A group of settlers did too- a group of spice traders, and you know what they were known for trading, don't you?"
"Peppers?" Stiles guessed
"Bingo, and it's full of stories like that too, then all of a sudden everything just stops, no more Moonstorm, no more stories, nothing, I'm guessing that's around the time they started calling it Moonscar,"
Ok, Stiles was willing to admit, that sounded pretty bad
Really circumstantial, but still pretty bad
"Here, this is where I found those dolls,"
Stiles paused, nose wrinkling as Derek lead him towards the mouth of a very small cave
"Wait, dolls? Plural?"
Derek didn't answer, he didn't have to, the moment they arrived at the mouth of the cave, Stiles was able to see for himself
The cave definitely seemed to be playing host to some sort of ritual, with candles and pentagrams and all sorts of other things laying wait inside, and at the center, a large stone table, with several of those creepy little dolls lined up on top of it
"Well this is highly concerning...."
"I thought so too, that's why I wanted to bring you here,"
"Good idea, this might be the cause of the paranormal activity, if someone is practicing witchcraft- or worse, voodoo- then it's no wonder they're experiencing paranormal phenomena, that's like giving a five-year-old twenty pounds of candy and then being surprised when they have a sugar rush,"
"But you don't know yet if this is actively being used or if it's abandoned, do you?" Derek asked, slowly placing the voodoo doll he had taken back in line with the others
"I can't be sure, no, but considering the lack of dust, I'd say it can't be that out of practice,"
Derek only nodded, reaching out to take Stiles' hand and give it a small squeeze
"Come on, we'd better get going before we're missed, we can tell the others about this after dinner,"
"Yeah..." Stiles nodded slowly, squeezing Derek's hand back
"I couldn't agree more,"
"This gumbo is really out of this world, you made it Kali?"
"I did, you'll never find anything else like it, no matter how hard you search, that gumbo is made with local peppers that can't be found anywhere but on this island," she replied with a small smirk, taking a sip of her wine
"Really? How is that?" Lydia asked curiously, spoon pausing in her bowl
"A few hundred years ago when some spice traders came to the island they planted crops of peppers everywhere, I'm sure you've seen them, we had a botanist come here once and explain that something about the soil on the island gave the peppers a more... distinct taste than he'd ever found anywhere else, he thought the traders must have done something special when they planted the peppers but sadly we'll never know,"
"Because they died without telling their descendants about it?" Kira guessed
"No, because they didn't have any descendants, they disappeared suddenly about nine months after they came, or so we've been told," Jennifer corrected
"Just.... vanished?" Scott asked slowly
"So we've heard, you know about Roanoke don't you? About that group of puritans who tried to settle there in the beginning and then just... vanished? No clues left behind except for 'Croatoin' carved into a tree? It's just like that, but without any clues at all,"
"That's... some story," Lydia mused quietly, taking a bite of her gumbo
"We thought so too, we wondered if maybe that's where so many of these spirits are coming from, whatever happened to the settlers who vanished... I wonder if they're trying to tell us something, or maybe are out for revenge," Kali mused
"You should talk to Stiles about that, he's our resident expert on all things supernatural," Scott suggested
"Speaking of.... where is he and your other freind, the bearded one, anyway?" Jennifer asked slowly, stirring her spoon around in her bowl, head tilted
"Who knows? They're probably off having some torrent affair or something," Lydia commented with a shrug, taking another sip
Lydia glanced up from her soup, a sheerly judgemental expression on her face as she stared at Scott's utter bewilderment
"... Really? We've known them since highschool and you still haven't figured out that they're in love with eachother? Do you not listen at all when Stiles talks to you?"
"I- .. well... I mean... I kinda thought he was still caught up over you..."
"Scott, he hasn't blinked at me twice since junior year, we had one kiss, it didn't light any fireworks, stop being the last person invested in this non-existent relationship,"
Scott appeared crest-fallen, but atleast Jennifer and Kali seemed to be amused- Kali mostly
"Sounds like alot of teenage trouble," she commented with a smirk, biting into one of the biscuits on her plate
"You don't know the half of it," Lydia sighed back
"That's why Jennifer and I moved out here on our own- well, one of the reasons anyway, we've found it better fosters a relationship without the crappy opinions of other people,"
"That's... one way to look at it, I have to admit, being all alone on this island with the one you love, the scenery, the peace of it... it does sound kind of romantic," Kira admitted with a soft smile, taking a sip of her gumbo as well
"It has it's moments," Jennifer agreed
"I'm curious though, if Stiles is your supernatural expert, then what roles do the rest of you play?"
"Well, Lydia is our college-credited journalist, Scott is the cameraman and handles most of the video editing, filming, things like that, Derek takes the helm on research- particularly when it comes to digging up hard to find information- and I'm more or less along for the ride, I help out where I can," Kira explained
"Don't let her fool you, she's our resident people-person, she not only convinces people to talk to us in the first place, but she convinces them to keep talking to us after Stiles inevitably says or does something offensive,"
Lydia nudged Scott under the table, clearly not pleased with the comment
"Stiles and I usually conduct the interveiws, we can both be a little harsh at times, so Kira swoops in to lick any wounds, more or less,"
"I'm not sure if I'd phrase it quite like that..." Kira objected quietly
Fortunately, the conversation didn't get much further, what with the dining hall doors suddenly slamming open
"Speak of the devil," Lydia hummed under her breath as Derek and Stiles rushed in
"Where have you guys been? You missed the best gumbo I've ever had," Scott pouted
"Sorry, we got caught up investigating," Stiles huffed back, trying to look mildly less unappealing as he slouched down in one of the dining chairs and tried to straighten his jacket
"Is that what the kids are calling it these days?" Lydia mocked as she finished her soup, earning an irritated look from her freind
"Did you find anything interesting?" Scott asked curiously
"Possibly, we'll need everyone else's opinions ofcourse, but we really just wanted to stop in and explain our absence before heading back out, we have a few more things we wanted to look into in depth," Derek replied, taking a bit of a reluctant seat next to Stiles
"I'm sure it can wait until morning, the island really isn't safe at night," Jennifer commented as she poured two glasses of wine for her new guests
"Actually, the very reason we wanted to investigate now is because it's at night, we have a theory we'd like to test," Derek corrected, though he seemed to be bowled right over by Scott's next question
"What do you mean... the island isn't safe at night?"
"Well besides the ghosts, we do have some dangerous wildlife around here, alligators and snakes for example, plus some poisonous plants, just last week our gardener, Jordan, came in covered in Poison Ivy, and that's one of the least dangerous things about the island," Jennifer explained, turning her attention to Derek and Stiles
"Why don't you enjoy some wine and rest until tommorrow? You've had a long day,"
"Sorry, I don't drink, consequences of having an alcoholic father, and I'm really too worked up to rest," Stiles shrugged back
"I don't drink either, no tragic backstory, just not my personal preference," Derek agreed
Jennifer's face fell slightly, but Kali was quick to intervene
"Then atleast let us get you some food? I'm afraid the gumbo is all gone but I could make up a quick crawfish boil if you'd like, or really anything you're interested in,"
"Food is definitely something I could go for," Stiles agreed with a grin
"We can eat something like that in the van wile we investigate," Derek added with a nod
"Then please, allow me," Kali volunteered, smiling as she got up from the table
"Are you guys going to come out with us?" Stiles asked, turning his attention back to the others
"Actually... I'm feeling pretty beat, Jennifer is right, we've had a long day, can it wait until tommorrow?" Scott asked with a yawn
"I'm tired too," Kira agreed
"Same here, besides, I'm sure you two wouldn't mind having some more alone time together," Lydia added with a smirk
Stiles wrinkled his nose, staring at her cocky expression with irritation
He couldn't tell if she was just being her usual self about this or if she actually knew.....
"We'll see you three in the morning then," Derek offered, taking a biscuit from the basket on the table
"Yeah, you three get your beauty sleep, meanwile, Derek and I will do the hard work and be zombies in the morning wile you guys show up on camera and look all pretty and get all the credit,"
"Stiles, if it bothers you that much, you can just borrow some of my make up," Lydia teased as she stood up from the table
"I am heading back to my room though, see you in the morning,"
"We're going back too, see you guys later," Scott waved as he stood up, Kira right behind him and wishing them a goodnight as they left
And that just left the two of them alone with Jennifer
"You sure I can't convince you two to stay?" she asked with a polite smile
"Sorry, we really want to do this now wile our theories are fresh in our minds, you know what they say, I've got a theory-"
"I swear Stiles if you launch into that song one more time...."
"Hey, Once More With Feeling is a classic Buffy episode, you can't hate on me for that,"
"No but I can hate on you for singing that freaking song every single time anyone says the word 'theory',"
"Sorry, I... must be missing the joke," Jennifer said slowly
"Oh, there's this episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer where everybody gets stuck in a musical version of life, basically, and one of the songs is called 'I've Got A Theory' so ofcourse my nerdy self has to always bring it up at every opportune moment,"
"Ah," Jennifer nodded slowly, taking a biscuit from the basket for herself
"I'm afraid I'm not caught up on modern television, we don't get cable out here and Kali and I have lived on the island for ... oh.... going on a decade now,"
"Understandable," Derek nodded, biting into his biscuit
Stiles, on the other hand, was a little more perplexed
Buffy The Vampire Slayer was twenty years old, even the later episodes were far over a decade aged by now, and even if she hadn't been a fan of the show, surely she'd heard of it when it was airing, or atleast knew it existed, why did she call it "modern" then....?
Unfortunately, the conversation steered elsewhere, and he didn't get the chance to ask
"Look, all I'm saying is that it's weird, ok?"
"Last I checked, you were weird too, but you don't hear me holding that against you," Derek commented as he cracked open the can of coke he had brought with him
Kali had offered them coffee but they'd politely declined, they were trying to investigate a few small things, not be out all night, and when coffee got involved to keep them awake, there was always a tendency to stay out until sunrise
"Oh come on Derek! Who calls Buffy 'modern'!?"
"Anyone over eighty probably,"
"Exactly!! Don't you think that's WEIRD then, for someone in her thirties!?"
"Technically, we don't know that she's in her thirties," Derek commented as he took the lid off of the pot of crawfish Kali had made
"Derek!!" Stiles practically shreiked
Derek only sighed, eyes rolling as he offered Stiles his coke as a peace offering and then opened the picnic basket for the plate of biscuits and- at Stiles' insistence- jar of peppers that Kali and Jennifer had also been kind enough to give them
"Look, I admit, there's something strange going on, and it isn't just the ghosts, in fact, since being here, I haven't even heard one story about their supposed hauntings other than Kali getting scratched in her sleep, there IS something a little odd about the two of them, I'll admit that, but I don't think it has anything to do with their lack of pop culture knowledge, can we atleast agree there?"
Stiles didn't want to, he really didn't want to, but ultimately....
"Fine," he grumbled back, reaching into the pot and wincing a little
They were still too hot to touch....
"I'm interested in this gardener though, I wonder why we haven't seen him around yet," he mused, going for a biscuit instead
"That is a legitimately good question," Derek agreed, clearly not as put off by the heat of the pot as he stuck his hand down into it and pulled out one of the crawfish
"How do you eat those things anyway?" Stiles asked absently, opening the jar of peppers and grabbing one to put on his biscuit
"Ah... well, for starters, we really should have drained these better before putting them in the new pot, they're still a little soaked," Derek mused, grabbing a napkin from the large stack in the picnic basket and starting to dry off the crawfish
It was at that moment that Stiles took a bite of his pepper-biscuit and, predictably, regretted it
"HOLY MOTHER OF GOD HELP HELP!!"
Derek barely had time to look up before Stiles' flailing ended up batting him in the face, successfully nocking him over and into the back doors of the van, wich- because the van was old, cheap, and probably only going to truck along for another few months to begin with- nocked the doors wide open
"For the love of god Stiles, watch what you're doing!"
Sadly though, the circus didn't end there, before Derek could even try to stop him, Stiles- in his desperation to get the small bottle of milk that he had thought to bring along- nocked over the entire pot of crawfish
And because this is Derek's life, the pot rolled out of the van and onto the ground, barely leaving anything in the van for the two of them
"STILES!!!" he roared furiously, his teeth gritted, as he glared at the other
He hadn't eaten since breakfast- save for a biscuit or two- and it was well after eight o'clock now, needless to say he was starving, and there went dinner, right out of the van
To make matters worse, it looked like they had drawn the attention of several of the island's cats and a couple of dogs, who seemed more than happy to congregate and eat what the stupid humans had left for them
Derek inhaled deeply, slowly pinching his nose and rubbing his face
"We are going back to the house,"
"No! I should have known this was a bad idea, your maturity seems to only decrease with age, I should have known when you wouldn't tell the others about us-!"
"I'm not refusing to tell them, I just haven't done it yet! I mean, we've kinda been busy!!"
"It doesn't matter Stiles, if you really cared about having a relationship with me you would have made it a priority in the very beginning!"
"Oh are you serious!? Dude, we have had SO. MUCH. going on-"
"Yesterday was CALM, you could have chosen ANY time to tell everyone that we're together but you chose-!"
... Wait... what?
Confusion quickly took place of anger, and at Stiles' urging, he slowly looked down to see that several of the cats had collapsed
... What the hell....?
Jumping out of the van, he gently picked up one of the cats and laid his hand against the feline's belly, feeling the steady rise and fall of breathing
"Are they still alive?"
"Yeah, I.. think they're just sleeping,"
"Sleeping? Why would they-..... the fish...."
"The crawfish!! They're laced with something!"
"Why else would animals suddenly pass out after eating it!? Think about it, Scott, Lydia, and Kira were all tired after eating that gumbo too, and think about how Jennifer kept pushing us to eat something, they're poisoning us!"
"First of all, everyone else was just tired- and I don't blame them, second of all, if that were true then why do we both feel fine after eating the biscuits? Third-"
"It isn't in the biscuits because they couldn't control who got wich and they were eating them too, think about it Derek!! They both had full bowls of gumbo when we left, long after everyone else had finished, did you see them even take one bite!? And even if they didn't poison the gumbo directly, then the dishes must have had something in them, like that episode of Detective Conan, that's why she wanted us to drink the wine and why Kali kept pushing coffee!"
For a moment, Derek was quiet, staring at Stiles' frantic expression before glancing down at the increasingly large number of sleeping animals below them
"If you're right... then that means the others are in serious trouble,"
Without any further hesitation, Derek quickly shut the van doors and rushed to the driver's seat of the van, Stiles right behind him as he climbed into the passenger's side
"I bet you anything that's what the voodoo dolls are for, they're for us! They're gonna conduct some voodoo ritual!!"
"You know, normally I'd try to rein you in right about now, but I'm trying to focus on getting us out of here, don't take that as permission to run this off the rails though," Derek said hurriedly as he shoved the key into the ignition and turned the engine on
"Yeah, gottcha, no problem, let's just get back to that mansion!"
The engine roared to life, but just before Derek could drive off, there was a massive THUD on the roof of the car, and then something- or more accurately, someone- rolled down from the roof and onto the hood of the car
"Danny...?" Stiles breathed, eyebrows pinched
But when Danny looked up...
His face was distorted, his eyes blood red and his teeth long and sharp, ears pointed, claws sharp as he sank them into the hood of the van
The last thing she remembered was falling asleep next to Scott
She had just felt so sleepy for some reason... she couldn't really place why....
She tried snuggling closer to Scott as usually did, but strangely, found that she couldn't move
Confusion entered her mind, nose wrinkling and eyes squinting beneath their lids, before finally, she forced them open, lifting her head slowly and realizing with a startling shock that she wasn't in bed anymore
She was in some sort of.... underground dungeon or something, like a cave but with chains around her, and despite her trying to move, she seemed to be utterly locked in place
"Ah, looks like one of them is awake,"
Her heart jumped, and instinctively, Kira looked up at the person above her, but when she saw her face... she couldn't help but scream
"What the hell is going on!?"
"Well by the looks of things, either Danny is a werewolf or we're both crazy," Derek huffed in false calm
"Yeah I pretty much gathered that part, what I meant was WHY!?"
And then, as if things couldn't possibly get worse, a second THUD hit the roof of the van, making it even more obvious that their attempts to dislocate the werewolf by driving around erratically and swerving every chance they get was nothing more than a temporary distraction
The second creature easily lowered himself down from the roof, and much to Stiles' shock, it was-
Although not the ordinary Jackson they had met earlier that day
This one had scales going up one side of his body, and yellow eyes.... claws and sharp teeth and ... was that the beginnings of a tail...?
"And what the hell are you, some kind of were-lizzard?!" he huffed in aggravation
"Kanima, actually," he corrected, easily punching through the windsheild and making a move for Derek's shirt
"Gee, I stand corrected, thanks for the lesson," Stiles snapped in irritation, his attention turning quickly to Derek
"What are we going to do?"
"I have an idea, luckily, but you need to buckle your seatbelt,"
Not arguing, Stiles quickly buckled in, bracing himself as Derek sped up more and more and then suddenly slammed on the breaks, successfully flinging Jackson and Danny from the hood of the can and into the nearby lake
"To the mansion?" Stiles asked desperately
"To the mansion,"
"You'll never get away with this!"
"To be fair, you don't even know what we're trying to get away with," Kali mused, a smirk resting on her face as she watched her captives squirm
Three ghost busting idiots, and a gardener
"Maybe not, but we've been held captive by much scarier people than you and they never got away with it," Lydia pointed out in a hiss
"You're right, but they had one fatal flaw that we don't- they were human," Kali mused with a shrug as she inspected her long, sharp claws
"So if you aren't human, what are you then?" Scott asked slowly, his teeth gritted
"Well, I'm a werecat, and Jennifer is a witch, it's that simple,"
"Nothing about this is simple," Lydia hissed
"No you're right, it's actually pretty complicated, you see, hundreds of years ago, when this island was still undiscovered land, Jennifer and I came here from Europe with our families, we planned to settle down, to make this land out own, but on our very first Harvest Moon, Morgan Moonscar and his pirates came and destroyed our happiness, they slaughtered everyone we knew and loved, only Jenny and I managed to escape,"
"In our stress and greif," Jennifer said as she walked past, setting a small tray out beside the ritual fire that was burning in the center of the cave-dungeon-... place, just beneath the rays of moonlight shining in from the ceiling
"Kali and I prayed to the gods and goddesses for help, we prayed for revenge on the pirates, and our prayer was answered, I had already been training to be a druid, making me a full witch was no difficult stretch, the goddess who answered our prayer was known for taking the form of a cat, so that's the form she gave to Kali, we enacted our revenge on the pirates, each dying a slow and miserable death, but we realized after the fact that these powers were not only a blessing... they were a curse as well,"
"We've spent the last three hundred years on this island, every Harvest Moon we must drain the life force from others in order to stay alive," Kali added
"At first it was easy, spice traders, soldiers, all sorts tried to make this island their's but to no success, it's always been our's, eventually though, people stopped coming to the island on their own, we had to get creative in how to get our next victims here,"
"So you used Danny," Scott concluded with a frown
"He and his boyfreind wanted immortality, so we gave it to them, they chose what creatures they wanted to take the visage of, Danny chose a wolf, and Jackson chose a monitor lizard,"
"Wait, Jackson and Danny... I thought they hated eachother," Kira frowned
"Just a show they put on for visitors I'm afraid, it goes along well with earning your trust," Kali shrugged back
"Yes... and you can forget about a rescue mission, no doubt they've already found your nosy freinds passed out in their van, they're probably on their way here now," Jennifer added, walking over to the four captives and smirking at them
"I'm afraid I'll need some hair from each of you, in order to complete the ritual," she mused, leaning over to the gardener first and plucking a hair
"Ouch!" he winced, finally seeming to stir
"What the hell happened...?"
"A long, long story, if we survive this, I'll tell you," Lydia hissed from beside him, flinching when Jennifer yanked one of her hairs as well
Meanwile, unbeknownst to them, Derek and Stiles were standing right outside, listening to every word
"What do we do?" Stiles wispered
"I... have no idea...."
That wasn't a good sign, Derek always had a plan.... always.....
"Come on Derek, you've gotta have some sort of trick up your sleeve,"
"Don't you think if I did I would have said something by now!?" Derek hissed back
Stiles opened his mouth to speak, but Derek was quick to shush him
"If we aren't quiet they'll hear us, then we'll be next to lose our hair to some creepy dolls..."
Creepy dolls.... that was right, the voodoo dolls!!
"Derek, I have a plan, it's .... crazy but I need you to stick with me ok?"
"Ok...." Derek agreed hesitantly
"How do you feel about being bait?"
"So you aren't even a gardener?"
"Afraid not, I'm actually a detective, I came here to investigate the disappearances going on from this island and... it looks like I got caught up in it myself," Jordan said with a quiet sigh
"Happens to the best of it," Scott noted with an awkward grin
They didn't get much else said, however, before they heard something come from around the corner
"I am sick and tired of you always undermining all of my plans Stiles! Can't you ever just trust me!?"
Kali smirked, her eyes glinting as she turned away from assisting Jennifer with whatever magic they were currently cooking up
"That would be our last two sacrifices, once we have them, we can get this show on the road," she purred, snatching up the two blank voodoo dolls and heading around the corner
"I can't believe they'd be stupid enough to be fighting at a time like this..." Scott hissed with frustration
"Neither can I.... in fact.... I'm pretty sure I don't believe it," Lydia replied slowly
"What do you mean?"
"I'll..." she paused, glancing up at Jennifer
Although she seemed focused on her spell, Lydia didn't want to take any chances
"I'll tell you later," she finally concluded
Moments passed, though they felt like hours, and finally Jennifer heaved a sigh and glanced up
"What the hell is Kali doing?" she muttered to herself, nose wrinkling as she abandoned what she was doing for the moment and went around the corner to check on her wife
Moments later, however, there was a scream, the sound of someone's body hitting against stone, and then the sight of Stiles racing into the cave as though his life depended on it- and, in fairness, it pretty much did
Jennifer was right behind him however, her arms outstretched as she tried to catch him, but he was just a little bit faster, had just a little more of a headstart, and before she could get her hands on him, he hurriedly tossed the two voodoo dolls into the fire
Two screams echoed throughout the cave, and although Scott and the others couldn't see what happened to Kali, they had a pretty good guess, based on the way that Jennifer was going up in flames
There was a moment of silence, breif, though it may be, before Stiles glanced up at his freinds, hurriedly grabbing the other four voodoo dolls and untying the hair that Jennifer had wrapped around them
Just in case
"You guys ok?"
"We're fine thanks to you! What was all that?" Kira asked with a shaking breath
"Stiles' plan," Derek replied with a soft smile, brushing himself off as he rounded the corner, covered in bloody scratches but otherwise seeming to be ok
"He wanted to lure them out so that he could get their hair and make voodoo dolls of them, then destroy them, looks like his plan worked,"
Stiles gave a sweet, soft smile, walking closer and wrapping his arms around Derek, leaning up to give him a long, slow kiss- right in front of everyone
Screw the social dynamic
"Told you," Lydia hummed, clearing her throat a moment later to get their attention
"Now that you guys have officially outed yourselves to us, do you mind getting us out of here?"
Stiles huffed playfully, grinning as he took a step back
"Yeah yeah, I'm coming," he muttered, taking a step forward, only to hear a loud- "Watch out!!" coming from Scott
Unfortunately, it wasn't Stiles who he was talking to, and when he turned around, he found with horror that a dripping wet werewolf had just attacked his boyfreind, Danny's teeth plunged down into Derek's neck as he nocked him to the ground
"You killed my boyfreind..." he hissed, clearly furious as he drew back, his hand raising into the air
"Kanimas can't swim..... he drowned... because of you..."
Derek managed to shift around just in time to see the claws coming towards his throat, but not in enough time to react
Luckily, however, Stiles did have time to react, and without thinking anything further of it, he quickly grabbed the large, metal bowl of herbs that Jennifer had been mixing and slammed it against Danny's head, successfully nocking him out
For a moment, all was quiet, before Derek finally spoke
"Hit him again,"
"Well we're clearly in a horror movie here, horror movie rules dictate that there's always one last scare-"
Surely enough, Danny started to rise, and Stiles had to hit him again
"You're from Beacon Hills? No kidding, that's where we're from,"
"Really? You know I moved out here for adventure but... now I'm starting to miss the quiet, small town atmosphere, maybe I'll move back," Jordan mused with a laugh
"I definitely wouldn't object to that," Lydia smirked, leaning a little bit closer as she stared out over the water
Getting another ferry out to the island hadn't exactly been easy, particularly after trying to explain everything to the cops, but atleast they were able to pin everything on Danny and Jackson, since the remains of Kali and Jennifer had obviously gone up in flames
"I don't suppose we have enough footage for a good first episode do we?" Scott asked with a small frown
"Probably not, but... I think we can make due with a trip to the Winchester house, after this, ghosts are sounding like a vacation to me," Kira grinned, wrapping her arm around his waist
"Sounds like a plan," Scott agreed, leaning down to give her a soft kiss
"I still can't believe you're bringing that dog with us," Derek mused, looking down at the little puppy who Stiles had insisted on keeping
"Aw c'mon Derek, it's bad enough the other animals are having to go to shelters, I just couldn't let go of this little cutie pie, look at her!! She'll make a great mascot! You know TV shows love mascots,"
Derek sighed, but he had to agree that she was definitely cute, he couldn't really blame Stiles for his decision
"Fine, but you're going to have to think of a name that everyone can agree on,"
"Ok, how about Scooby?"
"Absolutely not, where did you even hear of a ridiculous name like that?"
Stiles mocked offense, huffing in irritation before reaching into the picnic basket he brought with him and pulling out one of the peppers
"Don't make me use this against you Hale,"
Derek, rolling his eyes, merely plucked the pepper from Stiles' hold and bit into it, much to the other's horror
He didn't even seem to have a reaction- the jerk
"Are you... really ok?" Derek asked seriously, leaning against the railing of the boat and staring down at his boyfreind
"Yeah, I mean... as ok as I can be, are you ok?"
Derek nodded slowly, setting the pepper stem back in the basket and gently rubbing at his neck, the bitemarks had faded almost immediately, for some odd reason, but he could still feel... something there, like a phantom pain, or ... something like that
"Yeah.... I'm ok,"
"Good then, that's good, I'm sure by the time we get back to our hotel room and settle down, have some decent dinner, we'll both be feeling pretty great," Stiles suggested with a smile, leaning up to kiss Derek's lips and immediately shreiking at the remains of pepper juice that had laid upon them
Derek rolled his eyes, nudging his boyfreind playfully as he stepped away
"I'll go get you some milk,"
"Not thank you!!"
He waited a beat, making sure that Derek was gone- atleast... mostly gone, far enough away that he couldn't see what Stiles was doing, before turning back to the water and heaving a quiet sigh, the dramatics no longer needed, as he held his hand out and watched solomly as a little flame appeared in his palm
"God.... who knew accidentally sacrificing a witch to a god via voodoo would imbue me with her powers?"
Now there's a TV show the network would buy