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Derek is miles from where he first ran into the group of unknown Hunters, when he feels the arrow pierce his side. The force knocks him off his feet and has him rolling down into a ravine which is both good and bad: Good because the Hunters end up running right past where he's lying, trying to not pass out. And bad because rolling down the incline has the shaft of the arrow breaking off.

As he lies there, he tries to reach around and dig it out, he can't heal until it's gone, but he can't quite reach it. His vision begins to go dark and he knows he's about to pass out and there isn't anything he can do about it.

He's not sure how long he's been unconscious when the wet nose of a curious deer startles him awake. The arrow makes its presence known with a dull throb that beats in time with his heart. It's distracting so he decides to use it to keep himself from passing out again.

Pushing the deer's head away when it starts nosing at his wound, he painfully climbs to his feet, biting back a pained groan. Once on his feet, he looks around, trying to figure out which direction he needs go in order to get help.

Deaton's clinic is too far, he can feel the blood dripping down his left hip and knows he needs to get the fucking arrow out sooner rather than later. But he is fairly close to the Stilinski house. So, with faltering steps, he heads in that direction.

Stiles is having a rather nice dream about Lydia when it's interrupted by the sound of something sharp tapping on glass. With a frown, he rolls over, pulling his pillow over his head in an effort to drown it out. But the sound just gets louder and now he hears a vaguely familiar voice calling his name.

"Stiles." Tap tap. "Stiles." Tap tap.

With a huge sigh of frustration, he throws the pillow across the room and tosses back his covers so he can roll from the bed. He stomps to the window and yanks the curtains aside, giving a startled yelp at the sight of Derek Hale barely holding on to the corner of the house as he leans over from the edge of the back porch roof.

"Derek?" Stiles pushes up the window and leans out. "Do you have any idea what time it is?"

"Judging... by the faint... glow in the east... I'd say... it's nearly... dawn." Derek's panting by the end of his little speech.

"Dude, what's wrong? Why are you here?"

Derek opens his mouth but before he can speak, he nearly falls off the roof as a wave of dizziness hits him.

"Whoa!" Stiles reaches out and, using a fistful of Derek's shirt and one hand wrapped around an arm, hauls him inside the room.

Derek crumbles at Stiles' feet with a groan. "Hunters." The word is softly spoken, but Stiles hears it just the same and quickly closes the window, pulling the curtains shut once more, before turning on his bedside lamp.

"What happened?" Stiles kneels next to where Derek is curled in a ball.

"Hunters," Derek says again. "Shot... in the back."

"What!?" Stiles rolls Derek over as gently as he can. "Shit!" he says when he sees the large blood stain on the back of Derek's white t-shirt. "Wait here," he says, getting to his feet and walking quickly from the room.

Derek sarcastically mumbles that he really can't go anywhere anyways then loses the battle with consciousness again.

In the bathroom, Stiles digs out the extra large first aid kit from under the bathroom sink and grabs an old towel from the linen cabinet.

Flipping on the overhead light when he re-enters his room, Stiles find Derek exactly as he left him causing him to frown. He knows that as long as the arrow is still in Derek, he won't heal but the last time Stiles saw Derek this weak after being injured was when Kate Argent shot him with a wolfsbane bullet.

Spreading the towel on the floor a few feet from where Derek's curled against the wall, Stiles gently shakes him. "Derek, c'mon. I need you to lie on this towel."

Derek wakes just enough to crawl over to the towel. He lies down on his stomach with his head pillowed on his folded arms. It's a real struggle to not pass out again but he knows he needs to stay conscious in case Stiles needs to ask him anything.

"Shirt off." Stiles tugs the hem of his shirt up his back.

Derek pushes up to his hands and knees, dropping his head so that Stiles can remove his shirt. As soon as the cloth drops to the floor, he slumps back down with a pained grunt.

Opening the first aid kit, Stiles pulls on a pair of gloves and pokes at the small hole that is weeping blood. "Where's the rest of the arrow?"

"Broke off... fell."

"Wait, you fell?"

"Yes... Sometimes-" Derek pauses to pant through another wave of pain. "-the force... is enough… off... feet." Despite Derek's haltering speech, Stiles understands exactly what he's trying to say.

"Okay." Stiles pulls out some alcohol wipes and cleans off the dried blood. "I'm gonna need something to cut you open with."

"Knife... pocket." Derek rolls slightly to his right side, allowing Stiles to reach into his left front pocket and pull out a small pocket knife.

"What's a Werewolf doing with a pocket knife?"

"Sometimes... better... claws." Derek shifts his hips, whining low in his throat as a spike of pain races up his side. "...like... be prepared."

"Were you a Boy Scout, Derek?" Stiles laughingly asks.

"Maybe." The tone of Derek's voice discourages any further comments on the subject.

Stiles uses an alcohol wipe to make sure the knife is as clean as can be, not that Derek is in any danger of getting an infection. After poking at the wound a bit more, Stiles decides he'll be able to cut the arrow out better from Derek's other side. So he steps over Derek's body to kneel at his right hip.

"Here," he says, putting a roll of gauze in Derek's mouth. "Bite this. Don't want to risk you waking my dad."

Derek growls his opinion of that but obediently bites down.

Just before Stiles puts the point of the knife to Derek's skin he leans up so he can see Derek's face. "Now would be a really good time for you to pass out again," he says sitting back on his heels.

Derek relaxes his muscles a bit but just before he falls into the darkness that is tugging incessantly at him, Stiles says, "Wait, this would be easier if we pulled your jeans down a bit."

Stiles makes quick work of undoing Derek's fly when Derek lifts his hip, then tugs both his jeans and boxerbriefs halfway down his ass.

With a deep breath, Stiles presses the point of the knife against the skin of Derek's left flank, just below where he can feel the point of the arrowhead, catching the dripping blood with the gauze pads in his left hand. Going slowly, he takes his time pulling the knife through Derek's flesh until he has an open cut the length of the arrow that is embedded in Derek's side. As gently as he can, he works it free, anger flaring when he sees that Derek wouldn't have been able to remove it by himself due to the barbs lining the arrowhead.

"Fucking Hunters," Stiles mutters, fighting the urge to snap the shaft in his hand.

Derek jerks, a gasp escaping as he spits the gauze from his mouth. "Get... your dad… Stiles."

"What?"

"They're... here. Get him. Now." Derek tries to make his voice forceful like when he was the Alpha but he's too weak. Luckily Stiles hears the urgency anyway and jumps up, running from the room while pulling the gloves off.

"Dad!" Stiles enters the room at the end of the hall, hurrying over to his father's sleeping form. "Dad, wake up!"

Stiles has learned over the years to not actually touch his dad when waking him from sleep, but to stand at the foot of the bed and shake the mattress.

John jerks awake and if he had his gun close to hand, he'd be pointing it at Stiles right now. "Stiles? What's wrong?"

"It's Derek." Turning, Stiles makes a 'follow me' gesture with his hand.

"What?" Despite not being totally awake, John gets out of bed and follows his son down the hall to his bedroom.

Stiles enters his room first, walking over to where Derek is still lying on the floor on his stomach, noticing that while he was gone, Derek pulled his pants back up but obviously left them undone.

"God, Derek!" John is instantly awake at the sight of the Werewolf lying on his son's bedroom floor. "Can you tell me what happened, son?" He drops to his knees and lightly touches Derek's shoulder.

"No.. time." Derek lifts himself up onto his elbows. Already he can feel his strength returning but it's not enough to defend himself and these two Humans he considers Pack. Not yet, at least. "Three, no two - one just walked around the corner of the house - in the backyard. At least three-" Derek has to stop to catch his breath. He may not be in pain any longer but his body is still injured. "-in the front with one extremely close to the house. He might be on the front porch." His arms are shaking with the effort to keep his upper body raised so he can talk to John.

"So, at least five?"

Derek nods. "Yeah."

John pats Derek on the shoulder. "Okay. You stay here with Stiles and rest." Derek nods again and lets himself flop back down onto the floor, his breath coming in big gulping pants.

"Dad," Stiles begins when John gets to his feet.

"Stay here, Stiles. And turn off all the lights."

Stiles frowns at his dad. "But I have black out curtains."

"I don't care. I said turn the lights off." He points a finger in Stiles' face and turns to exit the room.

Back in his room, John takes his badge from the gun safe on the shelf in his closet, clipping it to the waistband of his sweats under the hem of his shirt. Then he pulls out his gun, checking the magazine and the chamber before making sure the safety is on and tucking it at the small of his back.

Picking up his phone, he calls dispatch. "Beacon County Sheriff's Department. This is Dorothy. How may I assist you?"

"Dorothy, it's the sheriff."

"Sheriff! What's wrong?"

"My son just woke me to tell me he heard something outside. When I looked, it appears that there are at least five men prowling around my house. Who are the three closest units?"

"Let's see..." He can hear Dorothy tapping on the keys of her computer. "Parrish, Miller, and Smith."

"Good. Have Parrish call me on his cell. I don't want my orders going out over the radio in case these men have a scanner."

"Will do, Sheriff." And with that, she ends the call.

John goes back into Stiles' room, not even remotely surprised to find the bedside lamp still on. "I said turn off all lights, Stiles."

"I know, Dad. Thought you might want to see what I cut out of Derek." He points at the bloody arrow lying on the towel at Derek's lift hip.

John crouches down and uses a gauze pad to pick it up and examine it. "Fucking Hunters," he mutters angrily.

"That's what I said."

"There's no way you would have been able to get this out on your own even if the shaft hadn't broken off," John says to Derek who just grunts a reply.

Before John can say anything else, his phone rings. Without even looking at the caller ID, John swipes his thumb across the screen. "Stilinski," he says gruffly.

"Dispatch said you called, Mom?" Parrish laughingly responds.

When it became obvious that there needed to be a code to get Parrish to call him without tipping off anyone with a scanner, it was decided to have dispatch say his mother called.

"Yeah. I have a healing Wolf lying on the floor of my son's bedroom and at least five Hunters prowling around my house. I need you to tell Miller and Smith to head to my neighborhood with lights but no sirens and when they're close they need to turn off their lights and wait at either end of my street. I want them to follow these bastards when they leave."

"Which Wolf?"

"Derek."

"Shit."

"Yeah. Stiles dug an arrow out of him. Nasty piece of equipment. It has backwards barbs that prevent the target from removing it on their own."

"Fucking Hunters," Parrish snarls into the phone.

"Yeah, that seems to be the consensus." John rubs one hand down his face and gets to his feet. "When you're close to my street call so I can go stand on the porch and confront these assholes. I then want you to drive by like you're just conducting a patrol of the streets but pull into the drive when you see me on the porch."

"Yes, sir. Anything else?"

"Since I have no idea who these Hunters are, no."

"Okay. I'll call Miller and Smith now."

"Oh, Parrish? Be careful."

"Will do, Sheriff." And with that, he hangs up.

John stands at the top of the stairs, waiting for Parrish to call again.

"Dad?"

John turns and sees that Stiles has, finally, turned off the lights. "Please, son." He walks over to where Stiles is standing in the door to his room. "Please, for once in your life, just do as I say and stay in your room." He places one hand on Stiles' chest with the intention of pushing him back a step.

Stiles places one hand over his father's where it lies on his chest, over his heart. "I just wanted to say that I love you and to be careful."

John smiles fondly at his son. "C'mere." He puts his phone in a pocket so he can wrap that hand around the back of Stiles' neck and tug him close for a hug. "Love you, too." John buries his nose in his son's hair. He may not be a Wolf but he can still find comfort in his son's scent. "You do what Derek says. If these bastards get inside…" He pulls back to stare at Stiles.

Stiles nods. "I will."

John's phone rings at that moment so he pulls Stiles close again to press a kiss to his forehead before fishing it out of his pocket while blinking back tears. "Stilinski."

"I'm turning on to your street now, Sheriff. Miller is at the east end and Smith is behind me and will watch the west end."

"Excellent." He uses his thumb to end the call before jogging down the stairs, not even trying to be quiet.

In the foyer, he makes a show of pulling the curtain back on the window next to the door before flipping on the porch light and opening the door.

"Can I help you two gentlemen?" he asks, stepping out on the porch and pulling the door mostly closed behind him.

The older, and closest, of the two turns and gives him a brilliant smile. "Yes, sir! I'm James Adams, US Marshal." He pulls a Marshal's badge from his belt and hands it over.

John takes the badge and frowns down at it. Most civilians wouldn't know a real badge from a fake one but since he's law enforcement, he know this is not a fake badge. That means that at least this man is a US Marshal. With a mental shrug John figures it makes since. The Argents are arms dealers so why wouldn't some Hunters be LEOs?

"Is there something I should know?" John asks, letting his voice shake like he's scared. "I have a family…" He waves at the house behind him.

"Oh, well…" Adams rubs one hand along the back of his neck. "See… we were transporting a criminal through your town and when we stopped to eat, he slipped away." When John lets his eyes get huge, Adams hastily continues. "Oh, he's not dangerous. His crimes are of the white collar kind." Leaning in, he lowers his voice. "To be honest, I don't see why he's going to jail. He stole from some very rich people who can totally afford to lose a few millions. But-" He shrugs as if to say 'what can you do?' "-I just do as I'm told."

Before John can say anything, a third man walks around the corner of the house and whispers in the ear of the second man who then approaches Adams and whispers in his ear.

Adams looks sharply at John. "You said you have a family?" John nods. "Is there anyone in the room at the back corner of the house where the porch roof ends?"

John frowns because that's Stiles' room. "Why?"

"My men found blood smears on the post and on the window sill."

"It's my son's room."

"Did you check on him before coming out here?"

"Didn't need to. He woke me because he heard your men prowling in our backyard."

"We were just-" Adams starts but is interrupted by John turning to watch Parrish slowing to turn into the drive.

Getting out of the car and leaving the door open, Parrish places his hands on his hips, the thumb of his right hand caressing the snap on his holster. "Everything okay here, Sheriff?"

Adams' head whips back around and his eyes narrow on John's face. With a smirk, he lifts the hem of his shirt to display his badge.

"I'm guessing you were trying to keep it quiet that you you lost a criminal on your watch, right Adams? And that's why I didn't receive an alert about an escaped criminal in my county?"

"Yes, sir. Is there any way I can get you to not put out a BOLO?"

"You have a warrant for this guy?"

"No, sir. We're just transporting him."

"Then you have orders explaining that?"

"Not on me, no."

John nods as if he understands. "I will keep this quiet." Adams' face lights up, until John says, "For tonight." He raises his eyebrows in a way that the whole Pack knows he means what he's about to say and will except no arguments. "But you must be in my office no later than 10 tomorrow morning with your orders in hand. If you are even one minute late, I will call your superior and tell him about this. Especially how you were prowling around a family home in the predawn hours, scaring the daylights out of them."

"Yes, sir." Adams' voice is tinged with fury but John doesn't care. This man shot someone he considers a friend and probably would have killed him if Derek hadn't been able to get to the house when he did.

"Good, now get the hell off my property."

Adams turns and begins walking away, motioning for his men to follow. John continues to stand on the porch until he can't see them any longer.

Parrish leans into his SUV and thumbs his radio, checking in with Miller and Smith. Then, with a nod of his head, he turns to John. "Miller and Smith say they didn't go that way."

John's lips thin as he clenches his jaw. "Must have headed back into the woods." He runs one hand through his hair. "Just gotta hope they show tomorrow."

"Want me to be there?"Parrish asks, climbing into his SUV.

"No. I'll call Chris. He needs to know that Hunters are moving in, again."

Parrish nods. "'night, Sheriff."

"'night, Parrish." And with a wave, John turns to re-enter his house.

Back upstairs, he finds Stiles sitting in his desk chair just inside his bedroom door. "What?" Stiles asks when John shakes his head at him. "I'm still in my room."

"Always with the splitting of hairs, son, that's all."

Stiles just grins at him before jumping up and returning the chair to its proper place.

And that's when John notices that Derek is no longer lying on the floor. A quick look around finds him tucked into Stiles' bed. "Is he…" John waves at Derek's prone form.

Stiles looks around and then grins. "Oh, yeah. Healing from a wound like that takes a lot of energy. He's just sleeping. He'll be fine in the morning."

John nods. "Well, tell him he's welcome to stay. I don't think those Hunters will linger but it's better to be safe than sorry."

Stiles nods, getting his sleeping bag and a pillow from the closet. "I'll let him know."

"Okay. 'night, son."

"'night, Dad."

Father and son share a hug and then John exits the room, hoping he can get a few more hours of sleep before he has to be up.
= = = = = = = = = = =
Derek wakes with a jerk and the scent of cooking bacon filling his nose. He's confused for a few seconds because he lives alone and he knows he didn't have company last night. And then he remembers the Hunters, getting shot with a barbed arrow, and going to Stiles for help. He rolls from the bed and begins looking for his shirt. What he finds instead is a dull gray one with some faded lettering on it under his belt and a note explaining the shirt is John's, he's welcome to keep it, and he's invited to join them for breakfast.

Threading his belt through the loops on his jeans, he heads to the bathroom with the shirt tossed over his shoulder and his boots in one hand. The business of emptying his bladder taking care of, he shoves his feet into his boots, then jogs down the stairs while tugging on the shirt.

In the kitchen he finds John manning the stove and Stiles setting the table.

"Morning!" Stiles beams at him. "Feeling better?"

Derek bites his lips to stop the smile tugging at the corners. How could he possibly find Stiles amusing? The kid has been annoying him for two years now. "Yeah," he answers, pulling out a chair and sitting down.

"How do ya like your eggs?" John asks turning slightly to watch him pour himself a glass of orange juice.

"However works best for you." Derek shrugs and takes a sip of his juice.

A light tap to the back of his head has him hunching his shoulders and turning shocked eyes on John. "I asked how you want your eggs."

Derek blinks at him before turning to frown at Stiles when he can't contain his giggles any longer. With a sigh, Derek gives in. "Sunny side up, please."

"See?" John beams at him. "That wasn't so hard, now was it?"

Derek rolls his eyes. "No, sir." The heat of a blush creeps up his neck when John laughs at the exasperated tone of his voice.

Soon enough, the eggs have been cooked and John and Stiles set plates with bacon and toast in the middle of the table before placing three plates with eggs cooked three different ways at the three place settings.

"I'm afraid I was unconscious for your confrontation with the Hunters." Derek takes a bite of his perfectly cooked eggs. "What happened?"

"At least one of them is a US Marshal." John forks a bite of his own eggs into his mouth.

Derek blinks at him. "That complicates things, doesn't it?"

John nods. "It does at that. But I've told them to be at the station by 10 with their 'orders' for transporting a criminal through Beacon County."

"Think they actually have any?" Stiles asks around a mouthful of crispy bacon.

"I think they will by the time they arrive at the station." John places several slices of bacon on his plate.

When Stiles doesn't say anything, Derek can't help but ask, "You're allowing him to eat bacon?" because everyone in Beacon County knows that Stiles has his father on a very strict diet.

John chuckles. "It's turkey bacon." Derek doesn't need the wink John throws his way to tell him the older man's lying through his teeth.

A quick look at the small conspiratorial smile on Stiles' face tells him that not only does Stiles know it's not turkey bacon but that he allows his father this small rebellion once in a while. With a shake of his head, he wonders why he keeps trying to figure out why Humans in general, and this one in particular, do the things they do.

"Do you think the orders will be real?" Stiles returns the conversation to the topic of the Hunters.

"No. Which is why I plan on making a copy. If they don't leave promptly, or they come back, I'll forward the forged paperwork to their superiors."

Stile nods his understanding. "Is he a real US Marshal?"

"His badge is real. When I get to the station, I'm going to look him up and see just where he's supposed to be."

"Want me to be there?" Derek keeps his eyes on where he's spreading the yolk of his eggs around his plate with a slice of toast.

When John's hand lands on his shoulder he startles a bit and raises his eyes to find father and son smiling fondly at him. "As generous as that offer is, I don't want to risk them recognizing you. Considering we have no idea who they are. I'll call Chris and have him stop by."

It stings, a little, not being allowed to assist when this is all because of him but he knows that John's right. He's not sure just how good a look they got of him in the low light of their flashlight before he turned tail and took off running. And if they saw enough to be able to recognize him, well, it'd just cause even more problems and John's already doing more than he should to keep his secret.

"Speaking of-" John looks at his watch. "-I should probably get going." He takes a final gulp of his coffee, then leans on the table and looks Derek in the eye. "I know I don't have the right to tell you what to do, but I'd feel better if you stayed here until I'm positive they've left." Derek nods his head in agreement. "And maybe have Scott tell the rest of the Pack to stay home today, too."

"I can do that." Derek pulls his phone out of his pocket and starts typing a mass text as John gets to his feet.

Derek looks up just as John ruffles Stiles' hair on his way out of the kitchen and it has a lump forming in his throat at the memory of his own father doing that to him.

While John and Stiles have started treating him like he's more than just Pack, it still hurts to watch the interaction between father and son knowing he'll never have that with his own father again. But on the other side, it's nice to feel like he has a home, a family that's more than Pack, again. And he really likes feeling like he belongs somewhere, which is something he hasn't felt since before the fire.
= = = = = = = = = = =
At the station, John pulls up the website he needs and types in the badge number he memorized the night before. The dossier it pulls up matches with the man he found on his porch. So either James Adams is who he says he is, or he has someone who can build a cover to rival those of undercover agencies like the CIA.

And it says he's stationed in northern Oregon. So he is a ways from home. But he could be on vacation. Of course if he is, he really shouldn't be flashing his badge.

At 10 on the dot, Vanessa opens the door to John's office. "Sheriff, a Marshal Adams is here to see you."

He doesn't even look up from the report he's reading. "Thanks, Vanessa. Show him in, please." John hears the door close but continues to read the report open on his desk.

After several minutes of silence, Adams clears his throat and says, "Sheriff?"

John finishes the report he's reading, then looks up. "Marshal Adams. How good of you to come in." He sits back in his chair and motions at the chairs in front of his desk. "Please have a seat."

"I don't really-" Adams starts, only to have John speak over him. "I said have a seat."

And while John didn't raise his voice, he did put on what Stiles calls his 'dad voice'. It has Adams' lips thinning but he does do as requested and sits down. "Really, Sheriff," he huffs. "I have-"

Once again John doesn't let him finish. "And I really don't care." He laces his fingers together over his stomach. "Do you have orders stating that you were transporting a criminal through my county?"

Adams glares at him but reaches into his inner jacket pocket and pulls out a folded piece of paper which he hands to John. Trying, and failing, to keep the smug smile off his face, John takes the paper and opens it, quickly scanning the words printed on it.

"Tell me," John says conversationally, while keeping his eyes trained on the paper in his hands. "Did you manage to recapture him?"

Now it's Adams' turn to smile smugly. "Yes, we did."

John nods, glad that Derek is safely locked inside his house. "Good to hear." He stands and begins to exit his office.

"Wait," Adams jumps to his feet, reaching out to put one hand on John's arm. "Where are you going with my orders?"

"To make a copy. I keep a hard copy of all the orders I receive from various agencies letting me know that one of their officers will be passing through my county. Especially when those orders are for the transporting of a criminal smart enough to escape custody during a meal break." And with that, he walks out of his office, headed for the copier in the file room at the end of the hall.

Once out of sight of the man whose face he finds himself wanting to pummel, he pulls his phone from his pocket and calls Derek.

"Sheriff?" Derek's voice sounds slightly annoyed; almost as if his call is interrupting something.

"The Marshal just arrived with what are most likely forged orders. He says he caught the criminal who escaped. I need you to check on everyone and make sure no one's unaccounted for."

"Will do."

"Once you know, text Chris. I'm calling him next and I'll tell him to wait for your text.

"Got it. Need anything else?"

"Just for you and Stiles to stay safe."

"We'll do our best." And with that he hangs up.

Shaking his head, John then calls Chris. "Argent."

"Chris, it's John."

"What can I do for you, Sheriff?"

"I was visited late last night by at least five Hunters."

"Oh?"

"Yeah, they were chasing Derek. Shot him in the back with an arrow."

"Ouch. What else?"

"One of them is a US Marshal. His story was that he was transporting a white collar criminal who slipped their custody during a meal break. He then showed up here with 'orders' confirming his story."

"Did he say if the recaught the guy?"

"He says they did. I have Derek and Stiles checking on the Pack as we speak. Derek will let you know. Once he does, come busting in and let me know without giving away that we know they're Hunters."

"Got it. Anything else I need to know?"

"Not at this time."

"Alrighty, then. See ya, soon."

"Yeah." Running one hand down his face, John heads back to his office.

"Sorry it took so long," he says to the disgruntled man sitting in his office. "Copier was out of toner."

"Whatever," Adams says, standing and hold one hand out for the paper he gave John earlier. "Am I free to go now?" He tucks the paper back into his inside jacket pocket.

"Not quite yet. I have a few questions."

With a barely suppressed growl, Adams lowers himself back into his chair. "Like what?"

"Like why wasn't I notified you would be traveling through my county? Every other agency always lets me know beforehand."

Adams shrugs. "Don't know, Sheriff. That would be above my pay grade."

"Hm. Okay. How about telling me how this guy slipped your custody?"

Adams winces and heaves a frustrated breath. "We removed his cuffs so he could eat. When he asked to use the bathroom, one of my men went with him. But since it was a single stall bathroom, he waited outside. He hit my man over the head with the lid off the toilet and slipped out the back door."

John presses his lips together and nods. The whole thing sounds plausible but John knows it's so much bullshit. "Do you normally use assault rifles when tracking down white collar criminals?"

"Assault rifles?" Adams' eyes go wide. "I can assure you, Sheriff-"

"Bullshit," John talks over him. "My son knows what an assault rifle looks like. The men you had in my backyard had assault rifles."

Before Adams can even form a reply, Chris comes bustling in the door. "Sorry I'm late, Sheriff. I-" He stops talking when he sees the man sitting in one of the chairs in front of John's desk. "James?" His eyebrows climb his forehead in surprise. "What are you doing here?" He moves to shake the other man's hand.

"Could ask you the same thing." Adams tilts his head. "But I'm getting scolded by the good sheriff here for losing a criminal I was transporting and for not alerting him before entering his county."

Chris' lips twitch in an attempt to not smile. "Oh, you know." He waves one hand. "The sheriff sometimes purchases weapons from me."

Adams' brows lower in a frown. "I thought that you had retired after Allison died."

"No, just scaled back." He sits in the other chair. "Did you say you lost a criminal you were transporting?" This time he can't hide the smile.

"Just for a few hours."

John clears his throat. "So why were you late, Argent?"

Chris turns to face John, one brow lifted at the use of his last name. "Oh, I was just doing some last minute inventory and lost track of time."

"And?" John tilts his head, eyebrows up as he waits for word of the Pack.

"Everything is accounted for and in its proper place."

John smiles and nods. When he turns to face Adams again his smile is not so nice. In fact, Stiles would say it rivals Derek's for most deadly.

"I'm positive that these-" He holds up his copy of the 'orders' Adams produced. "-are fake, I'd like to ask why you and your men were wandering around my town with assault rifles and crossbows at the crack of dawn."

To give Adams his due, he has one hell of a poker face. "I'm sure I don't know what you mean, Sheriff."

Pulling open the center drawer on his desk, John takes out the evidence bag with the arrow that Stiles removed from Derek and tosses it on the desk where it slides to a stop mere inches from the edge closest to where Adams is sitting.

"My son dug that-" He nods to the bag. "-out of one of his best friends. It was his blood trail you followed last night."

Adams' face blanches. "We shot a Human kid?" he asks, his voice little more than a whisper.

"No. This particular friend is a Werewolf. But the fact remains that he was shot in. The. Back. And with those barbs, there was no way he could have removed it himself."

"Your son is friends with a Werewolf?"

"Several, actually. He even dated a Werecoyote last year."

"You really should discourage that."

"Did you miss the part where John said that we know the Pack is safe?" Chris asks, pulling Adams' attention.

Adams blinks at Chris. "Chris? Please don't tell me that after everyone you've lost to Weres that you're on their side."

"The Pack that runs this territory is not like that. The Alpha is against violence of any kind unless absolutely necessary."

Adams just shakes his head. "They'll turn on you eventually. It's in their nature."

"Not this one." John sits back in his chair. "Scott's a True Alpha."

Adams' eyes open wide in surprise. "I had heard rumors. How'd Hale lose his spark to this Scott?"

John shrugs. "Can't say. Unless only one Alpha can run a territory at a time and a True Alpha takes precedence over an Alpha who had killed for the spark."

Chris shakes his head. "Couple of years ago there was a Pack of only Alphas. Derek must have given it up for some reason."

"Derek?" Adams latches onto Chris' use of Derek's first name. "Know him well, do you?"

"Well enough to know that despite his Alpha's wishes, if he encounters you again, he will not hesitate to pay you back for that arrow in his side."

Adams laughs and actually slaps his knee. "You telling me one of my men shot the legendary Derek Hale as he was running from five Hunters?"

Chris and John share a look. "Yeah, five heavily armed Hunters. It's called survival instinct. And there are his Alpha's orders to not engage unless necessary." Chris states, his voice tinged with barely controlled fury.

"So this Scott's a wuss? What kind of Beta follows an Alpha that's a pacifist?"

"The kind that knows there is a better way and who has grown tired of watching the people he loves die." John can't believe this guy.

"But they're all monsters. You know what I'm talking about, Chris." Adams turns to address Chris. "They killed your daughter, your wife, your father, and your sister. So how can you sit there and defend them?"

Chris sighs. "Victoria, Gerard, and Kate brought their deaths on themselves. And Kate got no less than she deserved." He leans forward, elbows on his knees as he stares intently into Adams' eyes. "She burned down the man's house with his whole Pack inside. There were Humans and babies in there. So tell me, are Humans and babies monsters?"

"If the Humans side with Weres, then yes. As for babies, if they're Weres, then yes."

"You know very well, James, that you can't tell if a child will be a Were until they're nearing puberty. The youngest member of that Pack was six days old. Six. Fucking. Days. Old. And Kate used him in order to murder nearly a hundred people. If I had known at the time, I would have turned her in for raping Derek at least, if not for the murder of an entire family."

Adams scoffs and sits back in his chair. "They weren't people, Chris."

John sighs and massages his temple with two fingers. "I can see we're getting absolutely nowhere fast. So to end this exercise in frustration, I'm going to skip to the end." He leans forward and crosses his arms on top of his desk. "You and your men will leave Beacon County within the next hour and you will not return. This territory is protected by Argent Arms and the McCall Pack. If you or any of the men who are currently with you ever step foot in this county again, I will contact your superiors with this-" He holds up his copy of the fake orders."-and will not stand up for you with Scott." The look he levels on Adams has been known to make even Derek pay attention, even when he was the Alpha. "Have I made myself clear?"

"Crystal," Adams admits grudgingly.

"Good, now get out of my county." He points at the door and Adams gets up and walks out.

"Think he'll do as you said?"

John shrugs. "All I really care about at this time, is that the whole Pack is safe and that he leaves. I don't want to think about what might have happened if him and his men had come across any of the other members of the Pack instead of Derek."

"Especially any of the younger ones. I doubt they'd have thought to go to Stiles for assistance."

"They might have. Deaton's been making noise about training Stiles for when he retires."

"How does Stiles feel about that? Particularly since he wants to join the FBI?"

John shrugs again. "No one's truly discussed it yet. I get the feeling Deaton's waiting for something but damned if I know what it might be."

"For what it's worth, I think Stiles will make an excellent emissary. Maybe he should become one of your deputies?"

John chuckles and shakes his head. "He doesn't follow my orders as my son. You really think he'll follow them as a deputy?"

Chris shrugs and quirks one brow. "It's just a thought. Besides, he just might surprise you."

"Fair enough. If it comes up, I'll put the bug in his ear." He reaches for his radio and thumbs the button. Once he's sure the line is clear, he gives the order for all units to be on the look out for the Marshals leaving the county and to report back once they have.

And if he fails to tell Derek he can return to the loft once word comes in that the Marshals are gone - with the express purpose of allowing him and Stiles to have more time alone - then who's to know?