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Much Ado, Like You Do

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The Beacon Hills Herald.

June 3, 2012.

The Rotkappchen Festival is a month-long festival. It is a celebration in honor of the woman known as Rotkappchen, one of the first magic wielding humans, who became the mate of the werewolf, Halebourne.

It was started in 1946 by Alpha Selena Hale when the Hale Pack was in severe decline.

The Festival is held the first month of summer and is one of the largest in the United States. Though Alpha Anthony Stark-Rogers's Beltane, in New York, is the closest second. It is in fact where Beacon Hills own Alpha Talia Hale met her mate, Sheriff John Stilinski four years ago.

And coming up third, in Texas is Alpha Kouri Arashi's Searching Ceremony.

The Chosen or Reds as they are more commonly known as are humans with the undertones of Were/Shifters in their scents. But they can also be humans with magic like Witches, Druids, or Sparks. Kitsune, Banshee, Dragons or other Supernaturals that a Were, or Shifter finds compatible.

The Reds are also encouraged to wear the color red, as an article of clothing. It is so that all will know the Reds on sight. Hair ornaments are a popular trend this year for the female chosen as are bandanas for the males.

All participants must be seventeen years old or older to participate in any of the festivals four main elements.

There are four main elements to the Festival are as stated:

The Meeting : It's a meet and greets gathering on the first week of the Festival. It's held at the Reddington Youth Center. It is where the Reds and Were/shifters can meet in a relaxed social setting and get to know each other.

The Courtship: This is when the Were/Shifters would court their chosen Red with dates and gifts. Usually, it starts at the end of the first week, up until the middle of the festival. It is based on the story that Halebourne offered gifts to Rotkappchen during his courtship of her in which he gave her a cloak, a dagger, and a conversation.

The Chase: Is held on the last week of the festival in the Beacon Hills Nature Preserve, the Reds run and hide from the Were/Shifters. The Were/Shifters chase or hunt down the Reds they were courting. The more complicated the hunt or chase is? The more kudos go to the Were/Shifter who has courted the Red in question. The more difficult pursuit is always the most prized one. Although it has been known that a Were/Shifter during the Chase have ended up mated to a completely different Red than the one the Were/Shifter was initially courting.

The Marriage/Mating Ceremony : Is the legal ratification of the Were/Shifters bonding or mating with their Red by, Justice of the Peace Maria Harris with Alpha Talia Hale and Sheriff John Stilinski as witnesses.

And remember those Were/Shifters and Reds who do not find mates this year? That there is always the Winter Solstice hosted by Lady Morgana Lafayette and her brother Alpha Arthur Penn in England in two months.

Samuel Emerson tossed the newspaper aside onto the bench next to him. He glanced around the busy street with a wary eye. Samuel was sure they had left most of their troubles behind them in England and again in Los Angeles, sometimes he still couldn’t shake the feeling that the other shoe was going to drop. That they were still being hunted, even if it was only by memories of the past. Shaking the mud from themselves hadn’t been as easy as Samuel had hoped it would be for them.

“What do you think?” Samuel asked he and his brother, Beckett, had been in town less than a month long enough to get a feel for the small town that was a melting pot for the supernatural. Samuel liked the feeling of Beacon Hills; he loved that he wouldn’t have to hide what he was here. After the death of their father, Warren, at the hands of a mafia affiliated loan shark. Barely escaping their landlord, Roman, who had turned out to be a hunter and not just a creepy asshole. After shooting Roman, who Samuel was sure, hadn’t wanted to kill him but wanted Samuel in his bed, it ended in a blood bath that almost got Beckett killed.

They stole what was left of the counterfeit money from Beckett’s mafia want-to-be girlfriend and disappeared. They had pulled themselves out of the mud of that life and were in the process of remaking themselves. It had been a slow with a lot of backsliding, mostly by Beckett. Getting rid of the counterfeiting money plates was the first thing they did, Samuel had dropped them off at a police station on the way out of Los Angeles. Though not without a lot of whining on Beckett’s part. They had slowly spent or traded out the fake money for the real thing until it was gone.

Coming to this town had mostly been an accident, they had gotten lost on a back road, Halo, named after his favorite comic book character, the purple 1973 Chevrolet Nova, that had been the means of their escape, radiator blew and… they found themselves in Beacon Hills. Samuel knew they had enough money to last them for the next couple of years if they were careful with it. Beckett was not allowed near their stash as he had proved, (Buying a Bentley of all things when they didn’t even have any food?) that he didn’t make the soundest choices.

Samuel had fallen in love with Beacon Hills and the small-town mentality. He liked that everyone knew everyone and cared about their neighbors like they were family. He still did some street performing, but had gotten a job at the local theater, and had small part in the last play they had put on. Samuel was hoping to get a bigger part in the next one he auditioned for, the theater was going to be doing one of Shakespeare’s plays. If that didn’t work out there was the Triskele Garage that Samuel had rebuilt Halo’s engine by himself.

The newspaper article had been informative and explained why Beacon Hills was decked out in red. Every business on Main Street had a red sign, or banner or some window display that had some red in it. The town bakery, Baked Bagged End, had Red Velvet Cake, Cherry Cheesecake and Strawberry Shortcake in the window all at the same time! The Comic/Book Store, which was called precisely that, had Flash, the Scarlet Witch, Cardinal Cornet, Daredevil, Deadpool and Spiderman comics on display. Samuel wondered what their selection of Phantom Halo comics were like he’d have to wander in and check them out, he hadn’t had the time yet. The Expresso Pump, the local coffee shop had red table cloths on all the tables. And the Blue Moon Diner was giving away free cherry pie with every meal! That had been something that Beckett took advantage of; the cherry pie was his favorite.

“I think this is an opportunity,” Beckett said, pacing back and forth in front of the bench.

Samuel watched him amused, “Really?” Samuel said, perking up. “Are you thinking about taking a mate, then?”

“What? No, of course not!” Beckett said, with a small glare at Samuel. “With this festival? People being distracted by finding a mate? They are asking to be fleeced of their money.” Samuel sighed he should have known. Every time he dragged Beck from the mud, his brother dived…right…back…in. “But you,” Beck turned to look at him, “little brother, are at the age where you need a mate.”

“Excuse you?” Samuel muttered, “I’m only nineteen, you are almost twenty-three, of the two of us? It’s you who would benefit from a mate.” Someone else who could keep Beckett and his larcenist ways out of trouble, would be nice.

Beckett sighed, whispering, “Puck,” the nickname Samuel had picked up during his time as a street performer, because of the Shakespeare monologues, their father had all but beat into him, that Samuel would perform to make money while Beckett would work the crowd pickpocketing from them. “We were always so worried where our next meal was coming from because of Dad, that bringing a mate into that was unthinkable. We are more settled now. We deserve nice things, Sam. You deserve nice things!”

“And a mate is a nice thing?”

“So, I’ve heard. If nothing else? This festival would allow you to meet people your age and make some friends. Those comic books won’t keep you warm at night.” Beckett told him.

Samuel glared, “Neither will money, Beck!”

“No, but money makes life easier!”

There wasn’t much Samuel could say to that. It was the truth. Samuel sighed, “When you get caught? I’m not bailing you out of jail this time, Beck.”

His brother nodded, “That’s fair.” Beckett grinned, “Let’s go get you signed up at the Youth Center.”

***

Stiles stood in front of the cell, watching its occupant with a blank gaze. It wasn't the person he had initially come to see, but Stiles had recently learned that Lydia had died. Though he didn't believe the directors of Eichen House when they told him how she had died.

" Stiles, if you had one opportunity to change everything, would you? This is the only way left. You must decide if this is the course of action you wish to take. You'll need the full moon for this," Peter said, pacing his prison cell, his hair was unkempt and wildly mussed up. Eichen House had been the only place for Peter after... well after. Derek had died. After Peter had tried to kill Chris Argent after..."You're right, you know; the banshee didn't kill herself. There was a foul stench in the air the night she died. Of wolfsbane, gun oil, and feline..."

Kate Argent, it always came back to that murderous bitch.

"Of course, there was," Stiles muttered staring at the papers in his hands, "This looks like some crappy spell you could get off the internet."

"Yes," Peter said, waving a hand around at his barren cell from behind the Plexiglas, with air holes in it, "Because I obviously have WIFI access in my new abode," He came up and leaned his forearm on the glass, "Your lack of faith in me is hurtful, Stiles. When have I ever steered you wrong?"

Stiles gave him the evil eye, "You really want me to answer that?" Stiles shook the papers at Peter, "Will this work?"

Peter nodded, "But you have to be careful. Do one step wrong or get interrupted? And you could end up in the stone age or an alternate reality or both, really." At Stiles bland look, Peter sighed, "The pack is dead, Stiles. Only care about your survival. Besides, what do you really have to lose at this point?"

What Stiles hated the most was that the werewolf, was right? Stiles slammed his fist into the glass by Peter's head, causing the werewolf to jerk back in surprise, then he saw the spidery crack the boy’s fist had left behind in the glass.

"The Huntress going to come for you, Peter. You're a sitting duck here," Stiles reached into the pocket of his jeans and dropped an MP3 player that had a recording of Lydia's scream on it, into the slot where Peter normal got his food tray, "When you get out of here? Kill Her. For Derek, for our pack." Stiles told him before turning and walking away down the long corridor, the lights flickering as he passed them.

Stiles Stilinski slowly blinked open his eyes; it had been a while since he’s had that dream. He sleepily smacked at the annoying thing kept poking him in the side. When that hadn’t worked, he let out a low growl. Stiles heard a giggle and kittenish noise back, prying his sleep crusted eyes opened he saw a little boy sitting on the bed next to him. The boy couldn't have been any older than four years old, looking at Stiles with wide brown eyes and a wild mess of almost black hair. Stiles growled again more playfully this time, and the boy clapped his hands as he shifted into a beta wolf form. Glowing yellow eyes, mutton chops, and no eyebrows it was the most adorable thing ever.

I want one, Stiles thought but asked the child, like he did every time the boy woke him, "What is your name, pup?"

"Kon!" he said, throwing up his arms, "rad!"

"Kon, huh?" Stiles said, poking the little boy in the stomach, making the kid laugh," Are you rad, little guy?"

"Me rad!" he shouted.

"Konrad Hale!" A male voice hissed from outside of the bedroom. "Hide and Seek time is over. It's time for breakfast," the door to Stiles room opened, and a teenage boy, a little younger than Stiles suck his head into the room. He gave Stiles a lopsided but wolfish grin; he had chocolate brown hair and matching eyes.

"Ander!" Kon said brightly.

The boy sighed and stepping into the room, "It's Lander, kiddo?"

"Said that?" the toddler asked, confused, causing Stiles to snicker.

Lander walked up to the bed, mock glaring at Stiles and tickled the boy, making Konrad laugh loudly, "You always forget the 'L,'" then to Stiles, "breakfast will be ready in twenty minutes," his expression turned sad, "Derek’s going to court her at the Festival.”

Stiles could the unspoken We ‘re disappointed you and Derek didn’t work out.

Stiles thought, me too.

When Stile arrived last year during the Rotkappchen Festival in this reality after doing a spell that was supposed to send him back in time, yet, failed to do that. Last time he would ever trust Peter Hale, any version of Peter Hale, when it came to magic, Peter couldn’t be trusted to know his shit.

Derek courting him during the festival, the relationship they had shared with each other for the last year, everyone thought they were on the course to bond in a permeant way. Then four months ago Derek met Dawn Summers, who had just taken over as head librarian at the Beacon Hills Public Library. It was over so fast between him and Derek, Stiles still isn’t sure what it happened.

Derek was happy with Dawn in a way that he hadn’t been with Stiles. Stiles had no doubts that Derek had cared for Stiles and deeply at that, but Stiles knew Derek always compared himself to the Derek that had died in Stiles original reality. Driving both himself and Stiles crazy doing so because no matter how many times Stiles told Derek that his relationship with the other Derek had never been a romantic one, Derek never truly believed that. Derek’s disbelief had led to more than one fight because of it

Stiles sat up in the bed, the covers slipping down his chest. Lander told him. "Cool, tattoo." Stiles looked down at his chest over his heart where a black panther snarl at the world with glowing gold eyes as a purple and blue aura surrounding it. Stiles rubbed at the tattoo absently; it had appeared during the time with the Dread Doctors in his old reality. Stiles still wasn't sure what it meant, if it meant anything at all.

Lander picked Kon up, "Breakfast should be soon. So, if you want to shower.”

Stiles had gotten in late; the Nemeton had been attacked by Sprites. Stiles hated Sprites. They had ended up tearing up the clothes he had been wearing.

"Oh, well, I'll tell everyone you are awake." Lander said, throwing Kon up in the air making the boy laugh again, "Except for Derek. He’s a dumbass." Lander left Kon in tow.

Stiles sighed and got out of bed. While it was great that the Hales didn’t blame Stiles for the break up between him and Derek, Stiles was getting tired of the way some of them were badmouthing Derek. It hadn’t been Derek’s fault that he had found his real mate and that it hadn’t been Stiles. He was slowly becoming more okay with this fact. Stiles hadn’t had any real choice concerning he lived in the Hale House and had seen Derek every day since the break-up, of which Stiles had been a mature adult about it. Though the trees in the Preserve might have a different opinion. Because Stiles had vented his spleen to and on the trees in the forest which was how he met the Spirit of the Nemeton. It hadn’t been happy with the destruction of the trees in its forest.

Stiles showered quickly and got dressed. Stiles put on his red hoodie over the light blue long-sleeved Henley shirt and a dark pair of jeans that were a little big on him, but the ornate metal belt fixed that. He hadn't gone anywhere without the sword-belt since he stole it from the Sheriffs station’s evidence room after Noshiko Yukimura had sent the Skinwalkers after her daughter in his old reality. The sword had saved Stiles life more than once since he had been in this reality; he was keeping it close.

Stiles ran a hand through his overly long hair; it almost came to his shoulders, I should get it cut, he thought before leaving the room, he walked down the hall. He leaned on the railing and looked down at the foyer. Stiles could see that the room was full of brightly wrapped packages, flowers, gift bags, and baskets. Stiles walked down the stairs just as John Stilinski closed the front door. His adopted father looked at the package in his hand then walked it over to one of the smaller piles of gifts that were arranged around the room.

"What the hell is all of this?" Stiles asked. Though he knew perfectly well what they were, he didn’t want to think about what it meant.

John grimaced, "Courting Gifts. They started to arrive early this morning. For all the Hales of mate-able age. This," holding up the package, " happens to be for Malia. I don't think she's even going to look for a mate this festival, but Gloriana is hopeful for her step-daughter."

"How long was your Malia an actual coyote?" Stiles asked, curious if anything that happened to his Malia had happened to their Malia. Strangely it was something that had never been brought up before and Stiles wondered if he should bring it up now?

"About three days. From what I was told. It wasn't surprising what that Coyote did to Malia's adopted father after the accident. The man never should have been behind the wheel after drinking. Malia's adopted mother and sister died in it. Coyote isn't one who let's harm come to her/his children. I'm just glad Talia and Peter found the girl as soon as they did. I can't imagine how Malia would be if it had been for longer." John told him.

"I can," Stiles whispered, remembering that his Malia had spent almost eight years of her life as a full shifted coyote because of guilt.

John didn't like the sad look Stiles got, so he changed the subject by pointing to the biggest pile of gifts in the foyer, "Those are for you."

"What? Why? What? B-but- I'm not a Hale!" Stiles exclaimed, glaring at the grin, John got at Stiles reaction.

A snort of disbelief came from the doorway where Peter was leaning against it, "You may as well be. My dear brother-in-law claimed you as his cub. Besides, people saw you protecting the town's beloved Sheriff and saved his step-daughter from a mad-Wendigo last year. They saw the interest Derek had in you when he courted you and the relationship you shared with each other. Then the Nemeton choose you as its Guardian. People notice things like that, el zorro.”

Stiles made a face at the nickname that Peter called him fox in Spanish. It didn’t help that he’d put on a mask and a black cape one time and had a sword. (It had been for a dare, okay!) Before Stiles could respond to Peter, Stiles saw Derek, barefoot dressed in pale jeans washed so many times they looked white and a gray wife beater, he yawned widely, and tripped over thin air, almost braining himself on the mahogany banister. Like he had every morning that since Stiles had known this Derek Hale.

"What is all of this stuff?" Derek asked, sleepily, when he got to the bottom of the stairs.

"Why, Nephew, you act as if you've never seen a courting gift before," Peter said, as to be a pointer to the slightly smaller pile next to the ones John had shown Stiles, "Those are for you." Peter didn't bother to hide his glee.

Derek rubbed at his eyes, looking like he was hoping he didn't see what he was, "What? No! Why? I thought the Were or Shifter was supposed to do the Courting? Besides I’m asking Dawn to do the Chase with me,” he blinked and blushed when he saw Stiles.

Stiles just ignored the werewolf, ignoring Derek it had been the only thing Stiles could do since Derek tore out his heart and stomped on it. Yeah, Stiles wasn’t over it, almost but not yet.

Peter sighed as if he thought Derek was very stupid, which knowing Peter? He most likely did think Derek was as ridiculous as the younger wolf acted, "Derek, you know that the Chosen or Reds court the Were or Shifters as much as they are Courted. Most of these gifts, if I were to guess? Are to get your attention, useless gesture that it is, so that you will Court one of them."

Lander appeared just behind Peter, "Aunt Glory said to get your asses to the table if you want to eat. My sisters and cousin will be taking you shopping, Stiles. Something about you needing a look in order to find a mate at the festival," he paused, making a face, "Lydia’s going as well." Before going back into the kitchen.

Stiles grabbed Derek by the arm and tried to drag him back up the stairs.

"What are you doing?" Derek asked eyeing Stiles because, this was the first time Stiles had touched Derek that didn’t include life-saving as a circumstance, since the break-up.

"I'm taking you up on your offer from last year? To hide under your bed, you are coming with to play guard dog-wolf. I'll even let you hide with me." For a moment, Derek looked like he was considering before shaking his head and snorted, "No," as he shoved off Stiles hand off his arm, then pushed past Peter going into the kitchen.

"Shopping hurts me, Derek!" Stiles shouted after him.

"Somehow, I think you will survive!" Stiles’ Ex yelled back.

Stiles grumbled, "I’m surrounded by assholes," when he noticed John and Peter laughing at him.

 

 

Chapter Text

Samuel lost Beckett as they weaved through the crowd that seemed to thin out the closer, he got to the public library. Everyone was treating the festival as a reason to party, and they were in a good mood. When someone grabbed him by the arm, it took all Samuel had not to react and claw the person touching him, though he couldn’t stop his claws from popping out at the perceived threat. The last thing Samuel needed was to be sitting next to his brother in the county lockup when the cops caught Beckett for stealing.

"Where do you think you're going, young man?" A husky female voice said. Samuel looked over his shoulder at the woman who spoke. The woman was a frighteningly beautiful young brunette woman, her curly hair was wind-blown. Giving her a wild feral look, it was long almost waist length and her eyes, flashed a glowing gold at the sight of Samuel’s claws for a moment, before returning to brown with hints of gold and green in them, everything about her screamed power and confidence, walking the line between sultry and slutty. This woman knew the power bright red lipstick had. Samuel thought, Beckett could never meet her because she was his brother’s type, Beckett wouldn’t even care that she was a werewolf.

"The Reddington Youth Center?” Samuel asked, unsure what she wanted from him.

The woman shook her head, "For the Meeting? It’s starting soon. And Youth Center is back that way," she said, pointing over her shoulder with her thumb. She raised an eyebrow, and wow, just wow, she had excellent eyebrow game. It was a game Samuel could also play and only raised his in reply.

“It’s rare for a feline shifter to look for a mate,” the woman said, curiously.

Samuel shrugged, “My brother thinks it would be good for me to at least make friends even if I don’t find a mate.”

“And where is your brother? Because you barely look old enough to go to the Meeting.”

“Most likely doing something illegal,” Samuel muttered, before saying louder, “I’m nineteen.”

“Sure, you are,” the woman said, grinning, “make sure you have your I.D. Because they will ask you for it, babyface.”

Samuel scowled at her before walking away. It was one that would be cleared up when he got to the Center. Samuel hated looking so young, for many reasons. Things like being mistaken for being much more youthful than he was, and it also attracted the wrong sort of people to him that like that, he looked so young.

Samuel just hoped that this Youth Center had a computer room and hopefully with WIFI. He needed to catch up on reading Phantom Halo fan fiction.

***

If there was a last place in the universe that Laura Hale wanted to be at right this moment, the Reddington Youth Center for the registration of teens and young adults for The Meeting, was it. She had left the Hale House this morning to looks of pity from her mother, she was twenty-four and still hadn’t found a mate. Laura was the luckiest of her family, with a past relationship with an Enforcer that ended in a close friendship. Why everyone thought Xander Harris looked like an older version of her younger brother, Lander, had been a mystery to her, bumping into the baby-faced kid with excellent eyebrow game had been amusing.

The Expresso Pump, running out of her favorite flavor of coffee had caused a moment of panic. Coffee was the drink of the god's, though Stiles had told Laura more than once. She’d had such high hopes. Still, hot chocolate would be sweet, Laura thought. She walked up to the counter, behind it were two young male baristas. One had blonde hair and wore a pair of thick black rimmed glasses, and the other had hair dyed a dark purple. There was one other customer, a young man, around Laura’s age, who was glaring up at the menu board as if it had mortally offended him.

"Bueller?" The blonde asked in a monotone voice while holding out a cup; Laura noticed his name tag said, Draco on it, with a blank-eyed stare. Laura knew not to be worried but wasn't sure if she should be amused.

The purple haired guy’s name tag said, Harry, only rolled his eyes and muttered, "I need better co-workers."

Laura sighed, classics were classics no matter what decade you were in, but she knew the kid was quoting from the remake and not the nineteen-eighties original movie. The remake which, had come out last year, had a female in the starring role. Not that it was a bad thing. It was one of the few gender role reversals that worked. With a girl conning the principal and getting her boyfriend out of school for the day with her male best friend?

Awesome. And the fact that it was made with the newer takes one's gender and sexuality in mind? Wonderful. The twist ending with the threesome though, Laura was unsure if that worked. But it was better than the old love triangle, angle, so many movies still did.

Laura stepped up to the counter, giving the young man a side-eyed glance because he was growling under his breath. He moved bumping into Laura, he looked up, and she was caught in sky bright eyes, that had a haunted look to them, that reminded her of the look that Stiles would get sometimes.

“Sorry,” he whispered in a crisp, purring, British accent. He had dark, neatly cut brown hair and needed a shave that only made him more handsome.

"No problem, two hot chocolates, please." Laura requested.

The purple haired barista, Harry, asked, "Would you like reduced fat, low fat, skim or whole milk?"

Laura yanked her gaze away from the man and back to the barista, "Whole milk."

"Milk chocolate, white chocolate, or dark chocolate?"

"Dark."

"For flavors, we have an assortment: mint, peppermint, orange, lemongrass and pumpkin and-"

"You don't put those last two flavors in chocolate!" The young man, hissed at Harry, looking upset at the very idea. Laura could only agree. She wasn't a big fan of flavored chocolate.

"No flavors," Laura said, irritation leaking into his voice.

"Bueller?" Draco said, blinking confusedly when he wasn't answered.

Laura gave the guy a concerned look, "Is he okay?"

"Dray?" the purple haired barista, asked, "He's fine. He needs to stop," he shot a glare at the blond," smoking so much weed before coming to work!"

"Bueller?" the blonde said again this time winking at Laura when Harry couldn't see him do it — causing the young man next to Laura to snicker.

"Oil or cream?"

"What?" Laura asked, jerking her attention back to the barista.

Harry sighed, he held up a spray can of Redding Whip cream with one hand, "Cream or," he held up a blue and white container of Cool Whip, "oil?"

"No, you heathen! Marshmallows only!" Exclaimed the man next to Laura. He looked horrified by the very thought of...Laura watched as he visibly shuddered, and she had to agree, anyone who put whip cream in hot chocolate was wrong.

"Big, standard, minis, or fluff?"

"Minis," Laura said, through clenched teeth.

"Small, medium, large, or ex-large?"

Was he joking? Laura wondered, "Whatever size that will cost less than ten bucks for both of them!" She snarled.

"Small it is," Harry sniffed, "Cheapskate," he muttered before going to make the drinks.

The man next to her let out a frustrated sigh, "I've been in this country for a few years, but when did it get that bad?"

"Two thousand and two, when Starbucks became the gold standard for coffee shops," Laura muttered, then she asked, “When did you move to America?”

“Six years ago. My father thought the change would be good for my brother and me after our mother…left.” He said, sadly.

“I’m sorry…”

He shook his head but said nothing else. Harry came back carrying two cups before she could say anything, and set them on the counter.

"Two small hot dark hot chocolates, no flavors with mini marshmallows," the barista gave Laura a look, "I’ve been owned this coffee shop for almost five years. I can make anything sort of coffee, latte, or tea. It too much to ask that you make my job more interesting. Hot Chocolate is so boring. That will be nine dollars and ninety-five cents."

Laura reasoned into her purse for her wallet and…found nothing. She looked again, and the man next to her, dug a ten-dollar bill from his pocket and slapped it on the counter, "Keep the change," he told Harry with a mocking smile, “from one fellow English to another.”

"Wow, big tipper, uh?" Harry huffed.

He growled as he picked up the cups turning, he held out one of them to Laura, "For you, milady."

Laura blinked, "Really?"

He nodded, "You looked disappointed when they told you they were out of mocha flavored coffee. And you can never go wrong with chocolate."

"Well, you're not wrong," she said, taking the cup from him, "though I was taught not to take things from strangers."

He grinned and held out a hand, "Beck. Well, now I'm not a stranger..."

Laura could feel her cheeks heat up, "Oh, right! Laura," she told him taking his hand. "Do you want to join me?" Laura motioned to one of the empty tables in the coffee shop.

Beck's eyes widened, "I would like to, but I have to get to work-" he said walking towards the door, Beck paused and looked over his shoulder and gave Laura a small wave before walking out of the door.

Laura watched him go with a slight smile.

“You know when he bumped into you, he stole your wallet, right?” Harry said, wiping down the top of the counter.

What?”

“Yeah, and he paid for your drinks with your money,” Draco smirked, looking much more clear-eyed. “Phantom Cats like beautiful and shiny things…”

The Hale luck is strong with me, Laura thought with a groan. Of course, the first person she had found interesting in the last year would turn out to be a god damned pickpocket.

 

Chapter Text

Samuel got lost twice in town it had taken him an hour to find the Reddington Youth Center. He looked around the lobby, teenagers and twenty-somethings were milling around talking to each other. There were a few groups of older adults as well, mostly the parents of said teens and twenty-somethings, though a few were also here for sign-ups for the Meeting.

A sharp whistle cut through the air, and the loud crowd quieted down as a pretty woman with a shade of strawberry blonde hair that was a shade away from being a dark pink. She was carrying a clipboard, “My name is Glorianna Reddington-Hale, registration for the Meeting is starting. Seventeen-year-olds to twenty-year-old please line up at the table at the left side of the room. Twenty-one to twenty-nine-year-old at the right side of the room, Thirty to forty-five, please go into the room next door and line up at the table on the left side of the room, Forty-six and above, in the next room and line up at the table on the right side of the room. Parents of the participants, please wait outside of the Youth Center, please and thank you. It will help us get your registration done promptly. Thank you again for your cooperation,” she said, then walked through the doorway to the next room.

Samuel walked over to the line that had formed in front of the table at the left side of the room. He watched as almost everyone in line pulls out a cellphone the only reason Samuel hadn’t because he didn’t have one. Instead, he began going over the Shakespeare monologues he knew not realizing when he started speaking out loud, “This can be no trick: the conference was sadly borne. They have the truth of this from Hero. They seem to pity the lady: it seems her affections have their full bent. Love me!”

The other teenagers and young adult near Samuel began to look up from their phones at the sound of his accent.

“Why, it must be requited. I hear how I am censured: they say I will bear myself proudly if I perceive the love come from her; they say too that she will rather die than give any sign of affection.” Samuel smirked, winking at a handsome Korean boy with red and orange streaks in his jet-black hair, he had the notes of a Kumiho in his scent. Male Kumiho were so rare and snapped up by Kitsunes because they were of a similar species. The Kumiho grinned brightly back at Samuel and winked back playfully.

“I did never think to marry: I must not seem proud: happy are they that hear their distractions and can put them to mending.” Samuel said noticing the glare he was getting from a beta werewolf, his face looked stuck in a permeant piss-off expression, Samuel turned to him and motioned, “They say the lady is fair;” at the wolf, causing others in the crowd to giggle and the werewolf to glower darker.

“‘Tis a truth, I can bear them witness; and virtuous; ‘tis so, I cannot reprove it: and wise, but for loving me; by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her.” Samuel batted his eyes at the wolf, in mock infatuation, making the wolf roll his eyes.

The line had been moving steadily as Samuel had been speaking; he was about three people away from the table.

“I may chance have some odd quirks,” Samuel in a self-deprecating tone, “and remnants of wit broken on me, because I have railed so long against marriage: but doth not the appetite alters?” Samuel pause taking a breath, and his mind went blank; he couldn’t remember the next line…no, keep going! Don’t stop; keep their attention! Don’t lose the crowds attention!

Shall quips and sentences and these paper bullets of the brain awe a mane from the career of his humor? No, the world must be peopled. When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.”

Samuel was the next to go up to the table, and he saw the frighteningly beautiful brunette he’d met earlier that day, he pointed at her, “Here comes Beatrice. By this day! She’s a fair lady?” Samuel asked the crowd and got affirmed answers from them, “I do spy some marks of love in her.” The crowd applauded when he finished.

“Nice monologue, Shakespeare.” She said, making Samuel flinch at being called that. It was what Roman always mockingly called him, “Nice to see you here, babyface, need to see I.D.”

Samuel sighed and dug out his wallet from his front pocket; it was easier to steal a wallet from a person’s back pocket, he knew. He got out his I.D. and handed it to the woman.

“Samuel Newton Isaac Emerson?” The woman grinned, “Did you ever go by, Newt?”

Samuel sighed nodding, because, yeah, he had until his father put a stop to it.

“I’m Laura Hale, please read all the rules if you have any questions about the Meeting, the Courtship, the Chase, or the Marriage/Mating Ceremony, please call the number on the paper,” Laura handed him a paper that had some writing on it, “because there are so many people, we rotate the days that you come to the Meeting. Your days will be Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Good luck finding a mate at the Festival.”

Samuel nodded and thanked her, then asked, “Are their computers for public use?”

Laura nodded and told Samuel where he could find them. He thanked her again and walked away, weaving through the crowd until he left the room.

Time to check out the WIFI, he had comics to catch up on.

***

Getting laughed at by Jordan Parrish at the Sheriff’s station, when Laura reported Beck for pick-pocking her, was not how she wanted to end the day after spending it listening to hopeful teens and twenty-somethings talk about how they were going to meet ‘the one.’

Laura also learned that she wasn’t the first person to report the pick-pocket. Beck was a cash-only thief, all the purse and wallets turned up a local lost and found or in federal mailboxes, with I.D.’s, driver’s licenses and credit/debit cards. The reason they hadn’t caught the man was that the few people that had seen him gave different descriptions of the thief. The bright spot of her day was listening to Babyface’s Much Ado About Nothing’s monologue. It had been entertaining and crowd-pleasing, Samuel knew how to work a crowd. Laura had noticed his British accent was strong during the speech than when it had been speaking to her.

Laura walked into the Hale House, kicking off her shoes, and throwing her purse down in a nearby chair. She walked into the family room and saw Stiles, dead to the world, asleep on the black denim roman lounge. Even after a year of knowing Stiles and him dating Derek, was still one of the biggest mysteries in Beacon Hills. A powerful Spark with Kitsune traits that had jumped realities because of a time travel spell gone wrong. And that was the simple explanation their mother, Talia, had given them the night that the boy had saved John Stilinski and Cora’s life.

Unlike most of her family, Laura was glad that Stiles and Derek's relationship had ended. Because it hadn’t been a healthy one for them, Derek had been so consumed about the relationship Stiles shared with the Derek from his original reality, that he never believed it when Stiles explained it hadn’t been a romantic one, Derek never noticed when he gave up having a relationship with Stiles.

And Stiles…

Stiles had been so fixed on making Derek happy and protecting the Hale pack that, Stiles stopped seeing most of the people he had known as being real. Laura understood some of the reasons why most of the people Stiles had recognized had been killed by hunters and that had been one of the reasons behind the time traveling spell. Stiles wanted to save them. Instead, he ended up with different versions of the people he once knew.

Laura gave the sleeping boy a thoughtful look; he needed a mate. One who wasn’t Hale Pack or anyone Stiles had known in his old reality. Stiles needed a fresh start. Laura decided that she would drag him to the Meetings all week if she had too. Being one of the people in charge of the Meeting had to be good for something, right?

“Ah, Laura,” Laura spun around and put a finger to her lips, glaring at her Uncle Adam.

“When did you get back? I saw Gally at the registration.” She hissed and grabbed the older wolf leading him away from the family room.

“This morning.” Adam grinned, “Talia said to tell you that all of your courting gifts are in your room and to go through them.”

Laura nodded.

“And that we are having guests tonight. The Argents,” Adam made a face at the family name of the Enforcers, “and the McCalls.”

“Great,” Laura muttered, “That means that Martin and Whittemore will be here too.”

Laura turned and headed towards the stairs.

“When you get done going through your gifts, go help Peter,” Adam said.

“Yes, uncle.”

 

Chapter Text

Stiles woke on the black denim roman lounge, with a heavy sigh. He hated shopping for well, anything that couldn't be online. Internet shopping was a thing for a reason. Stiles had just returned from the shopping trip from hell with the younger Hale women and a snobby banshee. Stiles had almost forgotten how Lydia Martin could be, if,

A: She didn't like you,

B: thought you were stupid and not worth her time.

Somehow Stiles wasn't in these categories. No matter how much he wished, he was when it came to Lydia. He wondered if it had something to do with the fact that the Sheriff had claimed him as a family? Or that Cora was Lydia's best friend in this reality?

Lydia had thanked him for saving Cora from Donovan! It had been weird and uncomfortable.

Stiles narrowed his eyes as he looked up at the ceiling. He wasn't sure if he liked this Lydia and Cora, even after all this time here. He knew it was unfair to compare them with their alternates from his reality but...they were...mean. Stiles knew this because poor Jared Greenburg had crossed their path at the mall. It hadn't been pretty. Stiles was sure Greenburg was going to be traumatized for life. Malia was not as wild or as untamed as the one from his old reality, and she had better people skills, but you could tell the coyote in her was just beneath her skin.

Stiles shook the thoughts of Malia away. He couldn't think about her, or his dad, or even his Derek. Without rage and grief that tried to overwhelm him. It was so hard to be around them. To see them and know, to really know they weren't the people Stiles had known. It wasn't fair! But Stiles could and would come to accept them as they were because only a fool would give up the second chance he had been given, even if it weren’t the second chance he had been initially looking for, Stiles was anything but a fool.

Stiles had found though it was easier to be around those he hadn't known in his reality, like Laura Hale. She hadn’t gone on the shopping trip because she was helping with registrations at the Youth Center for the Rotkappchen Festival. She was just made of awesome, and he wanted to grow up to be just like her. Laura was blunt to the point of cruel, witty, and snarky, but she had an underlining sweetness that was so at odds with the rest of her personality.

Stiles could have done without her teasing him about Derek. Stiles was sure his attraction to Derek. Stiles had eyes; you know! The Derek of his old reality had been just as good looking. Not that Stiles had ever said or done anything to let his Derek know that, was known by all of the Hales. But Laura was the only one with the gall to say anything about it back then. Stiles frowned; Laura had also implied that he had a thing for anyone with the Hale name, which was untrue. Or it was until she had wrapped herself around him and well, he's an eighteen-year-old boy, okay! Things came up!

Stiles rubbed a hand over his face and closed his eyes. He didn't want to have to think anymore; it was causing his head to ache. Stiles' eyes snapped open when someone touched his shoulder. Without thinking, Stiles grabbed the male wrist and twisted it up, causing the owner of it to yelp pain. Stiles looked wildly around the room as he remembered he was in the family room of the Hale house. He looked up and the man whose wrist he had in a hurtful grip. The man, no, the werewolf was very handsome, boarding on pretty even. He resembled Damon and Derek quite a bit but was older. Around Talia or Peter's age. He had glowing gold eyes, that once the glow stopped were a bright blue and had dark almost black hair plus the Hale eyebrows.

"Could you let go?" the wolf asked, "You're hurting me." It is said with something close to amazement. He smiled, "And not in the way I like to be hurt."

Stiles narrowed his eyes at the werewolf. The line had been strangely charming and not as smarmy like it should have been. Stiles let go of the man's wrist. "I don't like to be touched by people I don't know. You weren't here last night or this morning. Who are you?"

"Oh, right! I'm Adam Hale, Talia's younger brother. I and my son arrived earlier this morning you were out with Cora and Malia; We’ve been in France for the last year." Adam said with a smile, that made his resemblance to Peter all the clearer, "Talia told what you did for my niece and her mate. She sent me in here to get you. You have to go through your courting gifts."

Stiles sighed; it hadn't sounded like a lie. Though why Talia had thought it was wise to send a stranger to get Stiles was...well, stupid. Touching Stiles unexpectedly, the Hales had learned the hard way was dangerous. Mostly because he more than one weapon on him at all times and was not afraid to throw a punch. Stiles could have hurt Adam.

"Right," Stiles said as he ran a hand through his hair, mussing it up, "can't I just throw them away?"

"Sadly, no," Adam said with a slight smile as Stiles stood and followed Adam to the dining room where Stiles saw Derek, Malia, and Damon going through piles of gifts. Stiles walked over to the table that was piled high with gifts and sat down. Derek glared at a gift box before tossing it into a large plastic container.

Adam brought over a pile of gifts. Derek leaned over to Stiles, "You know the drill, throw away anything you don't want or find objectionable. They can be donated except for the food unless you are allergic to it."

Well, that' simple enough, Stiles thought. "Do I have to let the people whose gifts I keep court me?" He hadn’t had this problem last year; he’d had Derek, and that had kept a lot of this from happening.

Adam laughed, airily, "Of course not. Courtship Gifts are...like phone numbers. People give them to you but don't expect you to call them."

"That just seems rude," Stiles muttered.

"No one could be courted by everyone who gives you a gift," Damon said snapping off the lid to a gift box, "though it is good manners to at less met one or two of the people who did send you something. But you don't have too. And thank you cards are always a good thing to send the givers as well. Let’s them know that while you like a gift, you're just not interested in being courted by them in a polite manner."

"This whole courtship thing is so complicated." Stiles groaned pulling a gift bag that had his name on it to him.

Derek snorted, "Not really, no response to a gift is also taken as a no."

Malia snickered, "Derek never keeps anything but the food and never sends any thank you cards."

"You know that's not completely true," Damon said, with a laugh, "he keeps the leather jackets he gets."

Stiles rolled his eyes, "Of course he does." He looked down in gift bag, "Sweet! Reese's Peanut Butter Cups! "

It wasn't long before Stiles had the gifts sorted into five piles.

Flowers and food. If Stiles had been the romantic type, the chocolates and roses would have won him over hands down. The flowers would be donated to the hospital or nursing home for long-term patients — some of the food to the homeless shelter.

Too expensive. Who sends someone the keys to a Porsche? Or diamond studded cuff links? Really?

"It's to show that they can support and take care of you," Malia said, tossing out a ruby necklace with a grimace.

"Can I keep the Porsche?" Stiles asked, keys clenched in his hand.

"Sadly no," Malia said, "not unless you want to be courted by," she reached over and grabbed the card, "Adrian Harris?"

Stiles made an 'eww' face, "No," he said before putting the keys back into the box they arrived in and tossing it on the table.

Donate. Were mostly items Stiles having no use for like...a toaster? Just why?

"It's to show that they are interested in a home with you." Damon said, with a smirk, "I think you would look good barefoot and pregnant."

Derek waited until Stiles was looking at another gift before baring his fangs at his brother. While he and Stiles may not be together anymore didn’t mean he wasn’t still protective of the younger boy. Derek, more than anyone knew how Stiles had suffered in his old reality.

Keep. Stiles kept all the weapons he got. Which was a lot, he received ornately decorated daggers, a set of throwing stars, a set of stakes that had a rowan wood, rosewood, oak, and pine as well as a silver stake, bronze, and gold. There was also a bullwhip. Which, cool now he could be Indiana Jones, just like he always wanted! And a couple more swords.

"You already have a magical katana, why would you want a normal sword?" Derek asked

"Sharp and shiny, Derek! It's sharp, and I like shiny things!" Stiles retorted.

Dear gods, burn! Which was mostly the sex toys or previously worn underwear.

"In ancient times, scent was an important way to tell if someone was your mate and be able to track them," Adam told Stiles as he threw away a bra.

"And sex toys?"

Adam shrugged, "Some people are just adventurous."

"It's gross," Stiles said throwing a package of, thankfully unopened anal beads into the tub of gifts being throw away. If Stiles wanted sex toys, he would buy his own, he thought with a shudder.

Toss, a can opener.

Toss, a dirt devil vacuum.

Keep, Phantom Halo comic number 87Phantom Halo meets the Mystic Fox’, score!

Oh, shiny, shiny again, a battle-axe, sweet! Eww-eww burn, burn so soon! A previously used dildo?! So, so, gross!

An herb box with herbs in it. Herbs? Stiles wondered then took a closer look at the gift,

"Why is Alan Deaton sending me a Courting gift!" Stiles exclaimed, horrified, after reading the card. Once Adam explained with much laughing that not all courting was about romantic or sexual pairings but could also be about professional courtships for job offers. Stiles breathed a sigh of relief as he helped Derek and Malia clear the table. Adam pulled out a beautiful red and gold table cloth, from a cabinet and Malia helped him put in on the table. Derek went over to a different cabinet filled with glassware and opened it.

When Stiles heard Peter yell out, "NO, YOU FOOLS," he knew he had to see what that was about and made his way towards the kitchen where Stiles saw Peter glaring at four people he didn't know.

Gloriana was glared at them and her husband before snapping, "Get back to work!"

Then the four broke into motion like a well-oiled machine, there was chopping, dicing, stirring, along with simmering and basking of food. Laura walked by carrying a stack of plates.

"Grab the silverware, would you?" Laura asked him. Stiles grabbed the tray from the counter Laura had nodded too and followed her back into the dining room. The table had placemats and glassware set on it.

"What is going on? Who were those people?" Stiles asked.

Laura sighed, "We're having guests for dinner," and began to arrange the plates onto the table, "Peter brings in those from his restaurant that are interested in private catering and cooking professionally and teaches them about serving and cooking in someone else's home.

Laura nodded, "Along with Hale's Kitchen and co-owning the Blue Moon Diner. He's thinking about opening up a coffee/sandwich shop in town. But he wants Bella Baggins and the Baked Bagged End to be a part of the small culinary empire he’s creating in Beacon Hills.”

Stiles wondered if his Peter had been a chief too? But realized it was a useless line of thought and asked, "Guests?" As he helped Laura by laying down the silverware next to the plates.

"Melissa McCall and her son, Scott. Melissa is an old friend of Adam's, where Scott McCall goes so the Whittemore brat follows." Laura muttered.

"Surely he wouldn't just crash your mom's dinner?" Stiles asked, the Jackson of his reality was a douche, but he had been one with manners. Even if Jackson couldn't tell his parents, he loved them like a normal kid.

"He won't have too. Mom invited him. Which means we have to keep Cora happy by inviting Lydia. Which will cause..."

"World War three?" Stiles asked he had heard on the shopping trip about the epic break up between the Banshee and Kandima heir that happened the year before he came to this reality.

Laura laughed, "More like the Cold War. They are both so chillingly polite to each other you would never guess they knew each other let alone dated. No, those two won't be the problem..." sighing, at Stiles inquiring look said, "The Argents will also be here." Sounding thrilled about having the Enforcer family here.

Stiles paused in setting down a fork, "Please tell me that was a joke because it wasn't funny."

"No joke."

"Why would you...are you..." Stiles couldn't even finish the sentence rage filling his head. Why would Talia let the Argents into her home? Yes, he knew they were the primary Enforcers in town, yes Allison was still a Disney princess, but there were reasons that Stiles had avoided them for the past year. Stiles remembered that the events that caused him such pain hadn't happened here. That the reasons to not trust the Argents, these Argents had never happened even if Talia Hale knew better than anyone why Stiles would not be happy about them being here.

"Mom trusts Chris, "Laura said the name with a small soft, sad, sigh.

It caused a warning bell in Stiles mind, but he couldn't understand why. Instead, he asked, "Well if it's not the Cold War, we have to worry about what is it?"

Laura snickered, "Watching Scott McCall moon over Allison Argent while the girl remains oblivious and Whittemore seethes in jealousy is always fun. Whittemore as has made his intentions known to everyone but Scott."

Stiles remembered how the two boys had interacted at the Youth Center last year and the few times he had been in the company of the two other boys and Stiles was unconvinced that Scott didn't know. Scott might not be the brightest, but he was far from stupid.

"Can I go to bed without dinner?" Stiles asked, "I promise I won't think of it as a punishment."

"No, can't have the guest of honor going hungry."

Say what now? "Say what now?" Stiles muttered. Laura said nothing but kept placing the plates on the table. "No. Seriously? Why?" Still, Laura said nothing. "Laura!"

***

"...Hanging from the roof of my porch, Jackson!"

Stiles heard what sounded like Melissa McCall's voice, as he walked down me of the double staircase. He was coming down after taking a shower and changing his clothes, into some of the new ones that had been bought earlier that day on the shopping trip. Stiles had chosen dark jeans and a long gray sleeve slightly V-necked shirt and his ornate metal belt that could turn into a sword. It was the only weapon he had that could be hidden in plain sight since it looked like a belt. Stiles walked into the living room to see, Melissa McCall, wearing a dark royal blue velvet dress that came to her knees and had long sleeves. Scott was wearing jeans and a dark blue dress shirt and Jackson wearing brown dress pants, a white dress shirt with a brown and red vee-neck sweater vest over it.

"You hit me with a baseball bat! Scott has never played baseball!" Jackson exclaimed. Scott started to open his mouth. Jackson snarled out, "Catch or fetch do not count!" Without looking at Scott, who shut his mouth with a quick snap. Jackson frowned, "Why do you have a baseball bat if you don't play?"

Melissa raised an eyebrow, and said mock sweetly, "In case a predator gets on my roof to perv on my son."

"Mom!" Scott exclaimed as Jackson's face turned beet red. Stiles couldn't help the short laugh that escaped him; it was nice to see Melissa's sense of humor was the same as the one he had known even if that Melissa hadn't liked him very much.

"Oh, mom!" Scott said, brightly at the sight of Stiles, "this is Stiles. He was the one I was telling you about I’m glad you finally get to meet!" His eyes cut to Jackson, and he asked, "Why were you acting like a jealous stalker on my roof." Jackson rolled his eyes at the statement but didn't deny it.

“Because he is a jealous stalker.” Stiles said, flatly, ignoring the glare Jackson send him.

Melissa gave Stiles a hard once overtaking in his merit. Stiles found it hard not to fidget under it. "While I don't normally condone violence," she ignored Jackson's snort and continued to speak to Stiles, "Thank you. Those Carver boys have been bullying Scott ever since they arrived in Beacon Hills. And none of us can figure out why."

"Maybe one of them likes Scott," Stiles said with a smile. Scott made a gagging sound and Jackson looked murderous. Werewolf mating rituals are weird. Stiles leaned in close to Melissa, "Watch out for dead animals on your porch in the coming weeks."

Melissa frowned, "Is that something werewolves do?"

Stiles at first thought that Melissa was asking him but noticed that she was looking over his shoulder. Stiles turned to see Talia Hale leaning on the door frame, laughing.

"Only if we are very serious about the one, we’re are courting," Talia told Melissa snickering.

"Really?" Stiles asked because he had asked his Peter about that one and got a non-answer from the zombie wolf.

Talia giggled some more before she said to Melissa, "Why don't we go into the dining room." When the doorbell rung, she looked over at Stiles, "Could please go answer that? It should be the Argents."

"How do you know?" Stiles asked. Talia raised an eyebrow again. “Right," Stiles muttered, "were-wolfen senses. I'll go get the door." He walked out of the living room into the foyer as Talia lead her quests to the dining room.

Stiles opened the front door to Chris Argent, holding a large package in his hands. His wife, Victoria wearing a high collared silk black dress that went passed her calves she was standing next to Chris with a pinched look on her face as if she would rather be anywhere else. Allison was wearing a short, red and white low-cut dress, her black curls falling around her shoulders she stood next to her mother and grinned at him brightly, "Stiles! You're here!"

"Allison...uhm, yes?" Stiles said, confused by her happy greeting of him. The last time he had seen Allison was a few months ago when he had no choice but to kill a feral omega that had been murdering and eating hikers in the Preserve. Allison had been one of the Enforcers called in to help the Hales deal with the omega.

"I can give you your courting gift!" Allison said bouncing and Stiles had to look away because, well, certain parts of her bounced along with her in that dress. He didn't remember his Allison being so bubbly? But this Allison still had her mother so... it finally computed in his head what she had just said.

Courting Gift? What? "Courting Gift? What?"

Allison turned to Chris, "Daddy, give him the gift!" Chris put the large package on a table near the door.

Stiles frowned, "But you’re a Red, like me, are you supposed to send a gift to another Chosen?"

Allison shrugged, "Chosen or Reds court each other as much as they are courted by the Supernaturals. Besides, you’re a Kitsune, right?"

"A Spark with Kitsune traits actually," Stiles muttered, at least that’s what he and Noshiko Yukimura had figured out. That he wasn’t a full Kitsune but had many of the abilities of one, "Are you supposed to give the gift in person?"

"You do if you want to show a serious intent for the person you want to court," Chris said, sounding unhappy.

Why would Allison want to court him of all people, Stiles wondered? His Allison never showed any interest in him like that. Why would this Allison want too? Stiles had only spoken to her for a couple of times over the last year, before now. And of course, neither of Allison parents looked happy about this at all. Stiles opened the box and pulled out a folded-up piece of metal.

"It's a--" Allison started to say, with a couple of quick movements of Stiles' hands, had unfolded an archery bow, in them, "a collapsible archery bow with arrows. There are also some practice arrows as well as-"

"Are these arrowheads made of glass?" Stiles asked, putting down the bow to look at the arrows.

Allison nodded, "You can fill them with Mt. Ash, Wolfsbane, or whatever you need when fighting the Supernatural. You should always be able to protect yourself and others."

Stiles nodded; it was a thoughtful gift from someone from a family like Allison's. "It's a lovely weapon, Allison, thank you. " Stiles told her re-collapsing the bow and putting back in the box, "But we should join the Hales and the other guests.”