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The Pack scrambled out of her way when she stormed into the loft, fury, sweat, blood, and something headier in her scent that had all not wanting to be in her warpath. Max Stilinski was normally happy, was normally smiling, and the only times she’d ever been seen frowning or glaring was when she had been possessed by the Nogitsune or when they had been tormented by Theo and his merry band of Chimera’s and sociopathic Dread Doctors. 

 

Now, however, at twenty two, Max Stilinski had her hair grown out and had tempered out somewhat. That didn’t mean she wasn’t prone to using the lessons Chris Argent and her Father had been giving her when shit got physical. She, clearly, was coming from her latest lesson with Braeden, if the black steel toed boots, tight fitting pants, and sweat soaked gray tank was anything to go by. Erica sidestepped her the moment she got too close and made sure to say a short prayer for Derek or Peter - the only two on the upper floor (Max’s current path of destruction) - and promptly moved all the breakables away from the vicinity. 

 

“Max? To what do I -!” and then Peter was launched over the fucking banister from the second floor. His groan was quickly replaced with a rumbled growl, eyes and fangs flashing in challenge to one of the few humans in the pack as she landed. “A little pissed, are we?”

 

“You,” she growled out, knuckles popping from their white knuckled grip. “are the biggest fucking idiot I’ve ever fucking met!” Peter and Max often traded snarky comments and witty flirtations, but nothing ever as serious or with as much vitriol. Something, clearly, was off, but no one wanted to really get in between Max and her intended target, especially not Scott - who was currently enjoying the fact that his best friend/sister was about to hand Peter his ass .

 

“You’ll have to refresh my memory, sweetheart. What is it, exactly that I’ve done this time?” and with a huff he swatted her punch out of the way and backed away from her kick. 

 

“You,” she ground out and connected one kick to his thigh, “sprouted bullshit,” he grabbed a hold of both of her wrists and rose her in an attempt to get her to dangle like a kitten. “to Braeden-” she continued on, bringing her lower half up so her legs wound around his neck, “about bullshit you are stupid enough to believe!” and then she was curling and springing outward, drawing them both to the floor, choking him with her thighs - which he’d definitely make a comment about later, not when they were actually effective in her attempt to knock him out. 


“What-” when he went to pry her legs off of his neck she twisted, hooked her knee around his elbow, and drew it around his neck as well, choking him out again . “What bullshit?”

 

“Good form,” Braeden complimented from the doorway, drawing Max’s attention just enough so he could launch her off of him. Max, however, had a fast recovery - as Chris was unfortunate enough to experience during their sparring matches - and rolled with it. With a reversal of his hold on her one arm she flipped him using her body weight and sat atop his back with one palm shoved immediately underneath his shoulder blade, uncomfortable and - if he were to move - would dislocate or break. 

 

“You think I’m lusting after Derek?” she hissed, leaning low and digging her fingers into his tendons when he shifted. “After Derek?!” he was not thinking about how nice her weight felt against him, nor about how sexy it was that she was honestly fighting him with intent to hurt him and was succeeding . No, no he was not thinking of that, he was trying to remember just what he had said. “You couldn’t just tell me you were uninterested, no, you had to go and shove off my courting attempts for Derek?!

 

“What.” and with his dumbfounded exclamation she promptly dislocated his shoulder with a snarl. 

 

“You know what, Peter Ian Hale?” a shiver wracked through his spine at the use of his full name from her lips, giving the ‘were’s in the room a healthy dose of his arousal. “Fuck you - actually, no , I won’t be fucking you!” and with a magnificently precise knee slammed into the base of his spine his body became numb. She rose and pointed angrily at an amused Derek on the top stair case. “I am not interested in you, sexually or romantically, so just fucking finish your courting with Braeden before I literally decide to shave your eyebrows off!” with a pivot she took the jacket Braeden held out to her and stomped off, murmuring all the while about stupid werewolves and stupid men. 

 

“You told her Max’s courting gifts were for me ?” Derek questioned, mirth dancing in his eyes even as he looked at his slowly recovering uncle. “Blueprints for another house the Hale pack could use, her tracking down every member of Hale pack that was still alive after the fire and making sure they were okay, and the five course meal she made of your favorite meals?” 

 

What. But, the blueprints were for the Alpha of Hale pack, which was Derek. Her tracking down the last eight members of the previous Hale pack - and their children - had been her general curiosity! The five course meal she had made for the pack, that they were his favorites was a coincidence!

 

Right?

 

“She was showing she could provide shelter, her maternal and protective instincts, and then that she could provide as well as her knowledge of her intended mate.” Isaac recited from his notebook, grinning impishly when Allison nudged him with her hip. “She wanted my help with the cooking.” he offered as an answer, wincing when Peter’s shoulder popped back in place. 

 

It wasn’t like he’d never thought about it, he was always thinking about courting Maczysz Stilinski - he learned Polish for fucks sake - but he never thought it’d be a possibility . He’d known the tart for six years, time in which they traded barbs, tried to kill one another - she currently had the only success - and had a score of four to seven on saving one another's life, in favor of Peter. 

 

“Scott,” Lydia reminded, “you owe me fifteen.” with a groan the True Alpha slapped fifteen dollars into her hand. “We were betting if she was actually courting you. She didn’t have to do it the werewolf way,” Lydia cheesed, unimpressed frown trained right on the glaring Beta. “She thought it would mean more if she did though. Poor her for falling for you.” she sounded as sympathetic as she looked, which was not at all. 

 

“The moment you recover you might want to chase after her,” Braeden mused as she saddled up next to Derek, “She’s ready to settle down and Deucalion has been waiting to see how her courting went before he tried his own.” that drew a snarl from Peter. He’d be damned before he let him even try for Max. Now that he knew it was a possibility, now that he knew the fierce and intelligent woman that was Maczysz Stilinski was actually interested in him he’d be damned if he missed another opportunity. 

 

The moment feeling returned to his limbs he shot off, stumbling against the doorframe only to push off of it with a growl. Her scent was still fresh-

 

until he got to the parking lot and then it vanished. It was no surprise she wasn’t answering her phone, nor was it that their home phone wasn’t being answered either - he was fairly certain Jeorek was working another double - but what was surprising, and impressive, was that he couldn’t actually use the gps on her phone to find her. 

 

So he searched, going to each of her hideouts that he knew of - and some that she wasn’t aware he knew of them - until he was suitably incensed that he hadn’t actually found her in the five hours he’d been looking for her. Finally, with a growl, he called her one last time before he decided to camp out in her home and wait for her to arrive. 

 

“What do you want, Hale?” that cold association hurt a little, but the fact that she had answered made up for it and left nothing but his frustrated rage. 

 

Where are you? ” a shuffling of covers and a radio in the background suggested she was at an apartment or home. There was no way the little tart managed to sneak by him and hide at her house, not when he couldn’t smell her or see her. 


“Is the pack in danger?” At his frustrated growl she sighed, “No? Then there’s no reason for you to be calling me, which you’ve made clear. Goodbye.” and with a click she hung up. Didn’t matter, he was outside of her house now, coat billowing past him and his car alerting him to the open door as he marched up to her porch. Now he could hear her upstairs, now he wasted no time by leaping up to her roof and vaulting himself up by her window. “The fuck?” and with one forced entry he was crawling into her room and staring at her. 

 

“You never told me you intended to court me, Maczysz.” the usual arousal the use of her full name brought was replaced by frustration and hurt. 

 

“That would ruin the purpose of the courting gifts,” with a sniff she crossed her arms over her abdomen, crinkling the baggy T-shirt and stained sweatpants. “Or are you just trying to get me back for denying your mating bite the first time you offered it to me? Is this your way of trying to get even?” his… mating bite? 

 

Oh, in the garage. She had been the only one he had offered it to - admittedly he couldn’t remember much of the time before he died and came back - but had his wolf - his driving force at the time - offered her a mating bite? Did it know then that she would become one of the ties that bound his tattered mindscape together?

 

“Are you going to settle with Deucalion?” he diverted instead, trying to calm himself so he didn’t do something stupid. It wasn’t exactly easy when he was in her den, surrounded by her scent and varied emotions. 

 

“Maybe!” she shot back, heart speeding up. “So what if I do, huh? You want to be in my life but not in my life?!” she advanced on him and shoved him, tears lining her lashes even as her muscles tightened. “I can get on just fine without you!” His snarl and immediate action had her pinned to the wall, one clawed hand gripping both of her wrists while the other held her abdomen tight against the wall. 

 

“You know what I heard just then?” he growled, not at all liking that she could even say she could live her life without him. He would not be left behind, not again, not by someone he genuinely cared for. “You lied .” he knew his eyes were beta blue, knew that his anger was driving him to react stupid. “You don’t plan on settling with Deucalion and you can’t drop me, just like how I can’t drop you.” to put emphasis on that he tightened his hold on her wrists and rose her a little higher against the wall. 

 

You denied my courting gifts and pushed them onto your nephew .” She hissed at him, champagne gold eyes darkening with her own fury. One of the things about Max that had drawn Peter to her was her scent. Ozone and sandalwood. Vanilla when she was happy, fresh rain on a forest when she was aroused. Burned cinnamon when she was furious or angry and amber when she was bleeding on her period. He couldn’t help but bury his nose against her neck when her rain filled the tiny space of her room, nor the rumble of approval that rolled through him when she almost went slack in his grip. 

 

“You never shown genuine interest in me as a prospect, of course I thought they were courting gifts for my nephew - whom you’ve spent quite a lot of time with.” he groused when he pulled back, quite liking that her glare came back even with her eyes looking like molten pots of gold. 

 

“Yes, coming up with a blueprint which I know nothing about .” she pushed defiantly against his hold with an angry frown. “You clearly didn’t even look it over!” he hadn’t, he had been too furious that she was courting his nephew to even try and give the plans any thought. “Really you’re such a - there was a whole library section !” oh? “I created new runes with Allison so she could properly place them around the Preserve and keep anyone who intended to hurt any of us, out!” another defiant push, “You’re such a fucking -” she exhaled long and slow out her nose to calm herself down. “Let me go.” 

 

It was because she was so defiant, so utterly enraged about his lack of reaction to her courting gifts that had him rethinking every interaction they’d ever had to see what he had missed. “You stopped your father from sending me to Eichen once we found out about the Dead pool.” he mused, releasing her gradually. “You were the only one to remember me when the Ghost Riders came-” because she loved him. Not just a regular love either, Jeorek had loved Max and had still forgotten her. No, she loved him, was tied to him, bonded to him

 

They didn’t need courting gifts, he and his animal already saw her as a more than worthy mate. Saw her as someone he would adore growing old with, someone who would see him covered in blood and not care if it all wasn’t his

 

“Meet me in a week, Maczysz.” he started once she was released and he was a good distance from her. “One week from today at this time on the overpass looking over the city limits.” and before she could tell him if she would or wouldn’t - they both knew she would despite how pissed she was - he was back out her window. 

 

A week. She could wait a week. 

 

With her current training schedule a week flew by with her usual hanging out with Scott and co despite the lack of pack drama. When the time came and she approached the clearing of the overpass she almost screamed in frustration. The universe was fucking with her, clearly , because Peter had set up the most amazing picnic type area that had been ruined . She wasn’t late and the blood - Peter’s blood - was still fresh, along with two sets of tracks and tire marks. 

 

Finding her prey was relatively easy, especially in her rage-fueled energy, thanks to the tracks being so fresh. Hunters, it seemed, and not just any hunters but Calaveras. Good, she was hoping to repay them for the torture Scott had experienced because of them. Sure, going in half-cocked with three pistols against unknown odds was ridiculously stupid. 

 

Max never was one to go by the status quo, though, so that was exactly what she did. Kicked in that mother fucking door and shot two that were guarding the door and a third that was currently walking away from them. Fucking warehouses with their wide open plans bullshit. She was definitely going to hear shit from Scott about all the deaths later, especially since she wasn’t giving anyone the benefit of the doubt and just outright killing them - they’d taken Peter and ruined her apparent date night, the fuckers were going to die. 

 

A quick look at the half-built windows told her that two more were coming down the hallways, rushing with guns aimed - silencers would’ve been helpful but fuck it. So, without waiting ( Hesitation gets you killed, your enemy won’t hesitate and any window you gain from surprise will be lost when you hesitate. Thanks Braeden.) she slid into a crouch and stepped out into the hallway, guns aimed and firing once, twice, four times and they were both dead. Odds were Araya Calavera or whatever sorry henchmen she had ordered to capture Peter was in the center of the warehouse so of course that’s where Max headed. 

 

“Go!” she heard Araya’s echo, “Who came for you, wolf ?” she spat but was quickly silenced when one of her hunters fell with a shot through the skull and the other flew back through the double doors he had just left. 

 

“You,” Max growled as she brought her last pistol out and shot the last remaining one in the skull, eyes focused solely on the bloody and smiling Peter tied to a chair with mountain ash encircling him. “Ruined date night.” Araya Calavera made the mistake of hesitating, not having expected a human , and as such got a bullet to her thigh and one to her knee for it. 

 

She did not stop in her advance to Peter, did not stop marching even with a gun in her hand and blood - others’ not hers his wolf assured him - speckled across her bare arms. When she got within a foot of him she dragged her booted foot across the mountain ash circle and fisted his shirt, drawing a pained groan from him even though they were now inches apart. 

 

“You are going to marry me,” she told him angrily, “you are going to marry me, mate me, and then we’re going to settle down and you’re going to give me five kids.” his blood sang at that, his wolf howled. “You are going to - shut up -” another shot to Araya’s skull, silencing her pained groans forever. “You are going to heal and when you’re healed you’re going to fuck me within an inch of insanity.” she brought him closer, fully aware of the way his body reacted to her words, to her demands . “ Got it?!

 

“Of course,” he purred, “the moment you get the wolfsbane out of my system-!” his breath sucker punched from his gun when she fired her gun off to the side twice more and stuck the heated barrel into the gunshot in his stomach, burning the wolfsbane and skin so it could properly heal. Peter never thought a woman sticking a gun against him could be sexy, not until Maczysz was looming over him all fire, battle lust, and blood, demanding that he fuck her full with his pups and keep her as his. He’d have her right there if he had enough strength to actually do that, despite how unhygienic it was. “What about more than five kids, sweetheart?” he mumbled as he broke the handcuffs apart, grimacing immediately at the ruined silk shirt he had worn for the evening. 

 

“I want five kids at least , Peter.” and oh how he loved this woman, how perfect she was for him, how destined they were. When she swung around in front of him again he pulled her against him and crashed their lips together, teeth and tongue warring and exploring depths they’d never been able to before. 

 

“Let’s build that house,” he murmured against her lips when they finally pulled away, beta blues flashing with promise and intent. “Build the house, fuck you on every surface, fill you up with my pups again and again-” she smothered his lips with her own again, rain practically choking him with its intensity.


They made it as far as her jeep before he was pulling her into the back seat, determined to get a head start on filling her up with their future children. Max was a force to be reckoned with, Peter was a master manipulator and planner, if the two stayed on as the pack’s Enforcers - Max gave Allison the Emissary position - and word got around to not cross or mess with Maczysz and Peter Hale or Hale pack then Beacon Hills was all the safer.