The quiet whispers of the brittle, mid-autumn leaves in the cool, night air was the first sound he heard upon awakening. The eerie sound of a branch scratching against the window shutters had him sitting up in bed, an odd feeling of wrongness settling deep in his gut. He'd learned long ago to always trust in his instincts and made to step out onto the cold floor, wanting to take stock of the house, knowing sleep would evade him for the remainder of the night if he were to refuse to heed its warnings.
A faint glimmering light drew his attention towards the corner of the room where his first born laid, quietly slumbering. He took a few steps in his son's direction when he felt the ground begin to shake. With a cry of alarm, he rushed forward, ready to scoop the baby into his arms, calling out to his still sleeping wife to take cover, positive an earthquake had just begun. Instead, he was met with his only child glowing as brightly as the full moon outside, and steadily getting brighter.
He cursed, completely bewildered, and turned to ask his wife for help, stopping immediately, for his lovely wife, though still appearing to be fast asleep, was now floating above their bed, her night dress hanging around her still form. He took a hesitant step back towards her when her eyes opened, shining the same brilliant light as their son. Her gaze turned and fell upon the crib, her frail, limp arm coming up to point towards their child. Her mouth opened, and in a disconnected voice unlike her own, she spilled words he could not comprehend at the moment, though would haunt him for many years to come.
A quick look around told him he was alone, and everything was as he expected, no sounds or sights out of place for this time of night. His fingers brushed against the cool stone and he hooked them under the wood of the window shutter, popping open the latch with a smooth slide of his dagger. His weapon sheathed, he hauled himself onto the ledge and then quietly through the small window of the humble, stone hut.
"Incense," he silently mouthed the word, rolling his eyes as the aroma invaded his nostrils, making it impossible for him to smell anything else. The humans were smart.
It was no matter, he had other senses he could rely on. Twitching his ears, he listened for any movement in the home, anything that would indicate a challenge. He breathed a sigh of relief when all he heard was the slow, rhythmic beat of his slumbering target's heart.
He watched the young man's face for any signs of stirring, simultaneously reaching one hand out for the armor of blankets draped across him, another for his blade, in case the boy gave him any trouble.
"I wouldn't do that," came a calm voice, immediately followed by the cool, burning sting of metal and wolfsbane on his neck, directly beside the gold chain he wore.
He froze, listening for any clue to confirm who he thought was behind him, but could hear only the slight, gentle sizzle of his own skin. He winced at the pain, but remained unmoving, still sure he could get himself out of the vulnerable situation. He wiggled the fingers closest to his weapon, testing his challenger's awareness. He regretted the action as another point took a bite out of the palm of his hand, duplicating the burn. He clenched his teeth, refusing to give the satisfaction of pulling his hand away.
"If you think this hurts, why don't you try that again, and I'll show you what the blade feels like against your internal organs."
His eyes widened in surprise as he felt another knife poke between his ribs. His thin, cotton tunic, the only protection he had against the wolfsbane, did nothing against the hard metal. The idea that two people were able to slip past him unnoticed was unlikely, but less so than the idea that his opponent had three arms, so he accepted the facts. There were two of them.
"Perhaps you'll find it agreeable to join me in the other room, where we can talk."
"Do I have a choice?" A smile cracked through the frozen expression of the intruder as he waited for his captor's response.
"Not my shoes," the young man on the bed snorted and twitched, sleep distorting his words, barely more audible than a mumble. "They're not your snack...they're mine."
"No," The calm voice spoke again, pointedly ignoring the dream fueled ramblings that filled the air.
"Then lead the way."
The point on his hand was removed, joining the other at his neck, giving him matching burns on each side, limiting his movements. The original blade dug deeper into his skin, and he took the hint to turn in the opposite direction. He didn't catch a glimpse of the ones who ambushed him, moving slowly enough that they kept behind him as he turned. They walked as one unit until they were safely alone, with the door closed behind them.
"Turn around," one of the sword weilders commanded, not lifting the weapon from its resting place. The intruder did as he was told, hissing against the pain as the sharp metal sliced easily through the surface of his flesh. "Name and title, if you have one. No lies."
"Peter Hale," he had no reason to hide the truth of his identity. "Enforcer for the Alpha, Talia Hale." Peter looked between the men in front of him, recognizing the one who spoke as John Stilinski. He noticed the chest plates of armor they wore, still wondering why he couldn't hear their heart beats.
John dropped his swords, followed hesitantly by the other, quiet, unfamiliar man.
"Do you think this was the best way to accomplish your task? Kidnapping?"
Peter opened his mouth to speak, an excuse primed on the tip of his tongue.
"Save it. You're here for Stiles."
Crossing his arms, Peter eyed the angry papa bear.
"Then get out of my wa-"
Quick as a flash, John pointed the sword back at Peter, cutting off his words. It dug dangerously into the vulnerable area under his jaw and Peter pointed his chin to the ceiling in an attempt to get away from the burn.
"Interesting piece of weaponry, don't you think? The metal is infused with wolfsbane during the forging process, making it particularly useful against your kind. Want to see?"
Ah, the wolfsbane. Likely they had used the same technique on the armor, and that's what hid their heart beats. Despite his predicament, and what this meant for future battles against the humans, Peter was relieved he wasn't losing his touch.
"You can't stop this." Peter raised his hands, showing his submission. "If you kill me, they'll just send someone else. We need him."
"I know. But he's my son. How do I know you can keep him safe?" John spoke with an intensity that betrayed his emotions.
"Can you keep him safe?" Peter prodded, sensing weakness in the other man. "You know about the prophecy, how long before the Argents find out, if they don't already know? What happens if they figure out Stiles is the only thing that gives their enemies a way to defeat them? Do you think they'll stop at anything to get to him? Do you think they'll risk leaving him alive? I am not just his BEST chance, I am his ONLY chance."
John lowered his sword again. As much as he didn't want to admit Peter was right, he couldn't deny the danger that Stiles was in.
"So then what took you so long?"
"What?" Peter questioned, absently scratching at his chest as the amulet he wore around his neck started to irritate him.
"I've been packed for weeks, I didn't think wolves to be the procrastinating type."
"Sir," the unfamiliar man finally spoke, addressing John directly. "I apologize, but I don't understand."
"Jordan, I didn't tell you because I knew you'd try to talk me out of it, but Peter's here to take Stiles back over the border with him, and I'm going with them."
Peter chuckled, even as he noticed the amulet grow hot under his shirt. He ignored it.
"You're not coming," Peter stated dryly.
"Yes, I am," John insisted. "You know Stiles is the only way to stop the war and I'm not letting him go without me."
"But, sir, what about your work here?"
"What about it? It's not enough to make a difference. I'll be a bigger help with Stiles."
"No you won't. Once we cross the border, Stiles will start training, and there's nothing else for you to teach him."
"I can teach him to figh-"
"Not the way he needs to. Not as a team with the pack that he'll fight beside, not in sync with the other creatures, taking advantage of their abilities, not with magic so powerful, he'll have to travel all over the world to find people qualified to train him. Ugh!" He punctuated his rant with a pained grunt, hissing through his teeth. "I'm going to reach my hand in my shirt," he explained, wary of the weapons still gripped in the humans' hands. "There's no trick, it's just jewelry, but it's burning me."
He didn't wait for a response, plunging his hand down the neck hole and retrieving the gold amulet from under his shirt. It had a faint, red glow to it that quickly faded when it touched the open air.
"Peter, what's going on?" A woman's voice spoke from the amulet before the humans could even question its existence, or its ability to burn the wearer. "You know I can't see or hear when you muffle me like that. I'm sensing some curious emotional fluctuations from you, and why aren't you with the Spark?"
"I'm a little busy at the moment, Lydia, I'm with his father. Don't you think the interrogation can wait?"
"What the hell is that?" John questioned. "Is there a woman in that thing?"
"Only the annoying parts, unfortunately. This is Lydia, she's a…what are you again?"
"A banshee, with Oracular properties," Lydia answered.
"Right, that. She's how I found Stiles. She…senses him…or whatever."
John looked between the amulet and Peter, trying to make sense of what they had just told him.
"With all do respect, sir," Jordan started, a nervous but determined edge to his voice. "But disembodied ladies aside, your place is here. I'm not really sure what's going on, but it sounds like Peter and the other wolves have everything under control. I'm sure Stiles could use an ally close to the Argents, someone he can trust. You'll make the biggest difference here."
John's hard stare bore into Jordan. He had a good point, but John was reluctant to give in.
"Besides," Jordan continued when nobody stopped him. "No offense, but who is Stiles to the Argents right now? The son of one of their generals? He means nothing to them. He'll just be some kid who ran away, or started an apprenticeship or something, they won't care, they'll leave him alone. But if you go with him, they'll look for you, and if they find you, they'll kill everyone you're with, including Stiles. You're protecting him by staying away. "
"Wait here with Peter, I need to talk to my son."
"Hurry back," Peter called after him. "We're losing the dark."