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Nothing Gold (or Red) Can Stay

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“Dr. Raeken, you have visitors at the nurses’ station.  Dr. Raeken, you have visitors at the nurses’ station,” the voice rang out over the intercom.

When Theo got to the aforementioned location, he smiled when he saw the visitors.  “Hey, you two,” he greeted his children.  “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

His son, Tate, held up a bag of takeout.  “You told Dad that you were going to be working late tonight, so he sent us down here to bring you dinner.”

“Your father is too good to me,” the chimera chuckled, taking the food and peering inside.  The scent of Indian spices assaulted his senses in a good way.  “But you know that I can smell you’re hiding something … even over the Rogan Josh.  Spill.”

Talia, his daughter (and Tate’s fraternal twin), smirked.  “I told you it wouldn’t work.  Trying to play the dutiful offspring didn’t cut it, so let’s try some good old-fashioned honesty.  Can we go to a party this weekend?”

Tate rolled his eyes.  “I thought surely the ginger and cinnamon, if not the cloves, would buy us some time to work up to asking.”

“Does your father even know you’re here?” Theo asked.

Talia nodded.  “He told us to ask you.”

Theo rolled his eyes in a way so reminiscent of his son’s gesture only a moment before that it was like looking in a mirror.  “So, I get to play the bad guy?” he asked.  “I haven’t played that role in years.”

Both teenagers wisely kept quiet, and the chimera finally sighed.  “When is it?”

“Tonight.  It starts at nine,” Tate offered helpfully.

“It starts at nine?” Theo repeated incredulously.  “I’m not liking the sound of this so far.”

Talia cut in quickly.  “Pop, it’s not a school night.”

“I’m aware.  I’m also aware that if the party is starting that late, there’s no way you’re going to be home by midnight.  You remember midnight, don’t you?  As in your curfew?” Theo reminded them rhetorically.

This time, it was Talia that rolled her eyes.  “We’ll be fine.  We can take care of ourselves.  Werecoyotes, remember?”

Answering a question with a question was his usual shtick.  Tate’s personality tended to default to their other father, whereas Talia was often Theo made over.  He supposed he deserved it.  “That doesn’t mean invulnerable,” he said coolly in a protective parental tone.  They knew better than to talk, so finally, he relented.  “Okay, but you two are designated drivers.  Anyone that can get drunk stays out from behind the wheel.”

Both children assaulted him in a tight embrace, and he had laughed.  After a moment, Talia pulled back.  “Designated drivers?” she repeated.  “Does that mean …?”

Fishing the keys from his pocket, Theo held them up on one finger.  “My truck doesn’t get a scratch on it … and it comes home with a full tank of gas.  Do I make myself clear?” he asked as his daughter snatched the ring away, agreeing emphatically.  “And quit asking so innocently.  I know you have the Jeep and Tate has his motorcycle, but I have a sneaking suspicion your Dad has already ponied up something a bit more reliable.”

“You two know each other too well,” Tate grinned.

“Get out of here,” Theo snickered.  “Text us the address and let us know when you get there and when you leave.  Do I know the parents?  Do I know other kids who will be there?”

Talia set him at ease.  “It’s at the lake house.  Noah’s throwing the party.”

“The twins will be there,” Tate added.

Theo glanced at his daughter.  “Are you and your cousins going to get along?”

“We’re fine,” his son assured him.

“I’m not asking you.  You and Davi have never been the problem.  The rivalry between Dani and someone who isn’t you on the other hand ….”

Talia was exasperated.  “It’s not my fault she called me a cheating bitch in front of her Devenford Prep asshat friends.  She basically implied that I was cheating and using my abilities to beat her in lacrosse.”

“And were you?”

She snorted in derision.  “I do not need heightened reflexes to kick her ass on the field.  She’s just insecure.”

Her father was reportedly much the same at her age, Theo thought to himself.  “Keep it that way.  Coach Dunbar has been giving me a cold shoulder since before you two were born.  I don’t want to give him fuel to throw on that fire.  Do your best—do your human best—and have fun at the party.”

They ran away down the hall.  “Love you, Pop.”

He couldn’t help but beam from ear-to-ear.  “Love you guys, too.” He turned his attention back to his iPad so he could continue charting, pausing to look up and call out.  “And go see your grandmother.  She’s in her office.” Neither one of them responded, but an uptick in both heartrates—above and beyond the excitement of the party—told him that they had heard him.  They loved Melissa, so he had little doubt that they were already barreling down the stairwell towards the emergency room.

Theo was distracted enough that he didn’t notice someone behind him until they spoke.  “I swear those two are so cut from the same cloth that if I didn’t know better, I would say both of them belonged to both fathers.”

The chimera turned to see Dr. Geyer eyeing him with a very knowing eyebrow.  Theo almost leered at him suspiciously before finally shaking his head.  “They’re both very clearly their mother’s children,” Theo replied.  “The rest is just an argument for nurture versus nature.”

“You’re the expert,” the hospital’s Chief of Staff acknowledged.

“And that, too, is an argument—perhaps against—nature versus nurture, given my twisted upbringing,” Theo acknowledged.  The dark-skinned man had been clued into everything back when the Anuk-Ite’s influence had exposed them all.  When the creature’s influence ended, some people forgot, some chose willful ignorance, and a select few—like Geyer—remembered everything.  “I’m just a pediatric cardiologist with a hobby.”

Geyer shook his head.  “You’re an outstanding pediatric cardiothoracic surgeon, but you’re also a published and board-certified clinical geneticist.  You’ve earned the bragging rights.  If you’re not going to shout it to the rooftops, at least don’t knock yourself.  You don’t have anything you still need to atone for.”

“I appreciate that, but your son clearly disagrees,” the younger man pointed out.  “I nearly drove a wedge between my Alpha and his wife, and our infidelity cost her life.”

Geyer was quick to disagree.  “Malia chose to bring those two beautiful kids into the world, knowing what, as a werecoyote, it would mean.  Don’t belittle that sacrifice by even suggesting that she would have it any other way.  You made a mistake, and you moved on.  Clearly, Scott did as well.  I’m assuming he forgave you.  He did marry you, after all.”

Theo smiled.  “He did, but that’s a testament to his character—not mine.  You know better than most what it meant for him to treat my child as his own.”

“And you his,” Dr. Geyer said, again with an undercurrent of certainty that made the hairs on the back of Theo’s neck stand up.  “The only person who holds your past against you these days is you.”

The chimera chortled.  “You can’t seriously believe that.  Stiles won’t even be in the same room with me, and Liam ….”

Geyer cut him off.  “My stepson’s issues have nothing to do with you, at least not in the way you think.”

“What do you mean?” Theo asked, thoroughly confused.

“I’m not entirely certain, but let’s just say I have my suspicions.  It’s not my place to say, but it doesn’t matter now,” Geyer digressed.  “I’m given to understand that you and Stiles have never seen eye-to-eye, and with some people, that will never change.  But everyone else?  I mean, you technically killed your now-husband, and your now-mother-in-law loves you to death.”

Theo all-but-guffawed.  “To death is probably very apt.  She tolerates me.  She loves her grandkids.”

David was clearly exasperated.  “You don’t give yourself enough credit.  The best people I know, to borrow from Winston Churchill, are the ones who went through Hell.  You did that quite literally.  The villain that went into the ground isn’t the hero that came out.  Everyone—Stiles included, if he could get his head out of his ass long enough—knows it … except maybe you.”

It took every bit of restraint he had for the chimera to maintain his mask of composure.  He wasn’t averse to a show of emotions, but his shift had just started.  If he lost it now, he’d be inside of his own head for the rest of the night, and that wasn’t fair to his patients.  “Thank you, David,” he settled on.

“You’re more than welcome, Theo.  I’ll see you next week.”


Theo started to yawn, so he looked down at his watch.  It read 12:38 am.  He walked back to the breakroom to grab his bribe from the refrigerator.  Sitting down on the couch in the doctor’s lounge, he pulled one knee against his chest and dialed his cell phone.  Switching it to speaker mode, he grabbed a bite, hastily swallowing it when Scott answered faster than expected.

“Hey, you,” came the greeting, and Theo could hear the smile in the other man’s voice.  He could see those dimples in his mind’s eye all-too-clearly.  His Alpha was not only his husband but his best friend, and in rare moments, the chimera imagined the reverse was true, although that had a lot to do with the distance that their marriage had created between the veterinarian and his FBI agent “brother.”

“Hey, yourself,” Theo warmed.  While not a true werewolf, his connection with Scott was enough that he could feel strong emotions through their pack bond.  It settled him.  “The kids make it home yet?”

“Not yet,” the True Alpha told him.  “Apparently, someone told them they needed to play designated driver, and since the party wasn’t over yet but filled with a bunch of drunk and horny high schoolers, they asked if they could stay until they could either get everyone home or any stragglers agreed to stay at the lake house.”

Theo chuckled.  “Definitely their father’s child.  They’ve got to look out for everyone.”

“As a reminder, you’re the one that told them to be responsible for everyone.  I told them they could stay a while longer, at least until Noah and Davi can manage.  Noah’s too smart to drink, given how it interacts with his antipsychotics, and Davi can’t get drunk any more than our kids can.”

The chimera smiled.  “First off, call him Dave.  He has currently decided Davi makes him sound immature,” he laughed.  “Secondly, thanks for reminding me.  I need to check the computer and make sure his last levels within range.”

“First off, they will always be Davi and Dani to me, but the fact that you know this is why you’re the better uncle ….”

“Better, maybe, but you’re still their favorite.  You’re everyone’s favorite,” Theo interrupted playfully, and he could feel a flush of embarrassment despite their distance.  “Now quit blushing.”

“Secondly,” Scott continued with playful attempt at irritation.  “Noah’s doing fine.  You’re not his psychiatrist.  Don’t do anything to get you brought up on a HIPAA violation.”

Theo’s own amusement was now replaced by regret.  “You mean don’t do anything that will piss Stiles off,” he translated.  “I won’t.  Lydia gave me written consent to access his records, and so long as Stiles doesn’t know about it, he can’t tell me to stop.  He’s a good kid who’s important to our kids—and you.  Lydia’s a friend, and she just wants another set of eyes on him.  All I’m doing is checking lab work and offering unsolicited advice if I see something.”

“Thanks,” Scott offered softly.  “I wish he understood, but even if he doesn’t, I’m not going to stop watching out for him or his son.  I just wish we could smell mental illness and its episodes.  It’s hard for them to see Noah go through this.”

“I know,” Theo assured him.  “And just as a reminder, I’m not crazy about Stiles still not liking me, but I’m not a dick… anymore.  He lost his mother to mental illness.  I can’t imagine what having to sit by, helpless, and watch your child go through that must be like.  If it was Tate or Talia, I would be beside myself.”

“You and me both,” Scott concurred.  “Thankfully, werecoyotes.  Worrying about childhood schizophrenia, not to mention other childhood illnesses, was never something we had to even consider.”

Theo could feel the sympathy.  “Childhood schizophrenia is something else,” he corrected.  “He’s got hebephrenic schizophrenia with affective features and a dissociative fugue states that didn’t start until he was thirteen.  Childhood schizophrenia would have probably started earlier.”

Dead silence on the other end, and the chimera winced.  “Sorry.  Too many progress notes tonight.  Didn’t mean to slip back into clinical mode.”

“It’s fine,” Scott told him, and Theo could feel the mirth.  “You’re a doctor, Theo.  It’s a part of you that I love that I wouldn’t change even if I could.  Otherwise, I wouldn’t have helped you through college and med school.  Besides, it’s kind of sexy.”

Theo outright laughed.  “Don’t think I don’t know how much of a sacrifice that was, and I don’t just mean the money.  You had a veterinary practice to run and still had to do ninety percent of the childcare.  I swear once these loans are paid off, I will make it up to you … and you only like me for my ass.” The distinct sound of liquid through the nose and an accompanying “ow” from behind him meant he had clearly been overheard by someone other than Scott.

“You made someone shoot coffee out of their nose again, didn’t you?”

“Maybe,” Theo grinned.

“Liar.  I can hear you smirking from here, and the only ass I love is you.  Keep your body parts to yourself,” Scott chuckled.  “And I wish you hadn’t taken out so many loans.  I had the money.”

Theo shook his head, realizing how silly it was, since he wasn’t using FaceTime.  “I couldn’t have asked that of you.  Besides, I needed to do this on my own.”

“Which is why you refused Derek and Jackson’s help?” Scott asked.  “You didn’t think I knew about that, did you?  Both are loaded beyond measure, and Peter left me the lion’s share of his wealth since Jackson had plenty of money already.”

“I should have known you’d find out,” Theo admitted.  “Derek is like your big brother, and Jackson has a big mouth.”

“She was their family.”

Theo physically hurt.  “She was your family, too.  I cost them a cousin and a sister, but I cost you a wife.  I cost Peter a daughter and his life.”

“No.  You gave her a child.  You gave me a child.  You know what that bond is like more than anyone.  Peter died of a broken heart.  He got to see his grandchildren, and he was smiling when he left this world.”

The chimera said nothing.  Broken heart syndrome was a very real thing, but it was temporary and rarely fatal … among humans.  There was a deeper connection between werewolves, which Malia still was, even if her mother’s werecoyote bloodline was dominant.  Melissa and Geyer had both been stunned to have to write takotsubo cardiomyopathy as a cause of death for a werewolf, certainly one as prone to being hard to kill as Peter Hale.  Honestly?  It, along with his own history with Tara and the Dread Doctors, was a contributing factor in Theo’s decision to pursue cardiology.

“Get out of your head.”

Those five words made Theo smile.  Scott knew him far too well, which was hardly shocking.  He remained quiet, however, for a little while longer.  “Do you ever regret it?  Marrying me so we could raise our children together without the paternity questions.  It was quite a scandal in our small little town, after all.  You could have found happiness with someone else, without the whispers speculating about our nonexistent sex life that I know you hear just as often as I do.”

“Not in the slightest,” Scott responded, and the lack of hesitation confirmed it to be true.  “I had and lost three great loves in my life.  Allison.  Kira.  Malia.  I didn’t imagine I could ever love anyone or anything half as much as any of them.  I was so wrong, though.  I found three new ones that were even stronger: our son, our daughter, and our family—which very much includes you.  That’s all the love I’ll ever need.  Besides, it’s not our problem if people want to fantasize about the two of us getting it on.  Face it, we don’t just look good for our age, we’re hot.”

Theo laughed, despite himself.  “I hate you.”

Scott laughed.  “No, you don’t.  You love me, and you know it.”

“I thought I was the egomaniac in this relationship,” the chimera grinned.

“That hasn’t been you in decades.  You’re a respected doctor and an amazing father, and our lack of sharing a bed for anything other than sleep aside, you’re a fantastic husband.”

The True Alpha’s words flooded over him as the bond confirmed it.  “Can I just say ‘ditto’, so I don’t die of embarrassment?”

“Sure,” Scott told him.  “I don’t want to tell our kids that I killed their father.”

“Speaking of our kids, I get the feeling Geyer knows more than he should.  You never told Melissa, did you?  Do you think she could have told him?”

“We didn’t even tell our kids.  I would tell them before I told Mom.  They’re both equally our kids—and both equally her grandkids—that’s the figural extent that anyone besides me or you know.”

Theo nodded, again, embarrassed that he had done so … again.  “If you ever want to tell her—or anyone—I’ll support your decision.”

“I know,” the werewolf promised.  “But they’re werecoyote teenagers.  They’re outsiders enough.  They don’t need to feel like freaks, too.  People can gossip and remain blissfully ignorant, so long as ….”

Scott got quiet, and Theo could feel a slight sense of something amiss.  “Scott?  What’s wrong?”

After a moment, Scott finally spoke.  “I thought I heard something outside.  Hang on while I go take a look,” the Alpha told him, not because he wasn’t carrying his cell with him, but because he was obviously focusing his senses on whatever he was listening for.

After a moment, the silence on the other end was broken.  Theo heard a gunshot.  “SCOTT!” he shouted into the phone, throwing himself forward clumsily as he rushed towards the parking lot.  He didn’t stop to tell anyone he was going.  He wasn’t thinking that clearly.  The only thing he could think was that he needed to get to the man on the phone.

He ran to the parking lot before remembering that the kids had his truck.  He didn’t stop to contemplate his options.  Instead, he simply ran.  He ran as fast as he possibly could—faster than he had ever run.  Ripping off his clothes with every step, he felt bones break and mend, muscles snap and knit themselves back together.  As the pain of claws and extra hair pushed through his flesh unnaturally, his teeth lengthened into fangs and his vision shifted to a part of the electromagnetic spectrum no human eyes could see.  Dropping to all fours, he ran faster still.  His wolf form was faster than his coyote form by a few miles per hour, but in this moment, every edge counted.  He needed to get to Scott.

He was halfway there when he heard the singularly most devastating sound he’d ever heard.  He not only heard it, but he felt it ….

… Miles away, Lydia had screamed.


Theo didn’t stop, but he whimpered with an emotional pain far worse than any physical torture he’d ever suffered at the hands of the Dread Doctors or anyone else.  He could still feel Scott, but the connection was weak.  It was fading.  The alarm and urgency rippled through the pack bonds.  Theo could feel panic from Ethan and Jackson all the way in London.  He could feel it from Derek, who was visiting Cora in South America. He’d only met her once—during Malia and Peter’s funeral—which was the same time he met Isaac, who was currently on the verge of a breakdown somewhere in France.  Hayden had left Beacon Hills years ago and never returned, but Theo could feel her as well.  He couldn’t pinpoint her location, because fear turned to rage.  Across town was a very angry Liam Dunbar.

Walking upright once more, Theo’s bare feet stepped on broken glass.  As the shards dug into his flesh, he didn’t notice.  All he could do was stare in disbelief at remnants of their home.  Broken and filled with bullet holes, the house itself had been reduced to little more than ash.  Completely oblivious to his nudity, he walked in to find an equally naked Jordan Parrish cradling an injured Scott McCall.

“I came as soon as Lydia called me,” the Hellhound told him.  “When I got here, the house was already aflame, but I was able to absorb it before it reached him.  Unfortunately, fire isn’t our problem.”

The harbinger of death motioned to numerous bullet holes riddling Scott’s body.  Even if he hadn’t seen the telltale signs at the edges of the wounds, Theo knew the scent of yellow wolfsbane.  Kneeling next to the amortal guardian of the Nemeton, Theo took his husband and friend into his arms.  The Alpha opened his eyes and tried to give the chimera a bloody smile.  “Sorry to interrupt your shift.”

“What happ….” Theo couldn’t even muster the words as tears fell down his face as choked the very air from his lungs.  He didn’t care how it happened.  He had to fix it.  Grabbing Scott’s arm, he began leeching the pain so quickly it threatened to overwhelm him, streaks so numerous and intense that his entire arm was black.  “Don’t worry.  I’ve got you.”

Scott breathed a little easier, and he focused his gaze more clearly.  “No more.  That nearly killed you,” the Alpha managed, even lacing his words with the crimson power of his eyes.

“Better you than me,” Theo wept.

“No,” Scott corrected.  He reached over to give the former Deputy-now-Sheriff’s hand a reassuring squeeze.  “It was Monroe.  She hadn’t made a move in so many years that I thought we were safe—from her, at least.  Parrish, I need you to go get our kids.  They’re at the lake house.  Get them all to safety.  Take them to Chris.  He and Mom will keep them out of harm’s way.”

The Hellhound’s eyes were glazed over, but he nodded obediently.  Not a werewolf, and certainly not a Beta, he nonetheless respected the man who was dying before him.  As Jordan did as he was instructed, far more inured to death as a soldier and Hellhound than the rest, he could still be heard sobbing when as far away as his police cruiser.

Scott grabbed weakly at the cell phone that was just out of reach.  Theo stared at him incredulously.  “What are you….”

“Siri, call Liam,” the Alpha choked out.  Theo understood, but he couldn’t even look at his friend as he put the phone to his husband’s ear.

“SCOTT!” Liam literally roared.

“Liam, I need you to do something for me,” Scott said weakly.

His words robbed the Beta of his fury.  He cried into the phone in understanding.  He knew Scott was telling him goodbye.  “Scott, no.  Please!” he begged.

“Liam, I need you to go to Chris’.  Jordan’s gone to get the kids and get them to safety.  It was Monroe.  I can’t let her get to them.  You can’t let her get to them.  This is the most important thing that I could ever ask of anyone.  I’m trusting you with the most important thing in my world.”

Scott hung up, not giving Liam a chance to speak further.  He smiled weakly at Theo.  “He needs something important to do; otherwise, his anger will be like a nuclear missile.  As it is, he’s going to want to go after Monroe, but this will buy a little time.”

“Can you stop being an Alpha for one minute so I can get you patched up?” Theo croaked.

Scott shook his head.  “You’re a doctor, Theo.  You know better.  Jordan burned away what he could, but too much has made it into my system.”

Theo almost screamed.  “What do you want me to do?  Do you think I can just sit here and watch you die?”

“You have to,” Scott told him.  “But not before you do something for me.”

“Anything,” Theo agreed quickly.

Scott’s voice, barely above a whisper, “Come closer.”

Theo obeyed, and as soon as he did, Scott buried his fangs deep into his husband’s neck.  The chimera recoiled, scrambling away from the werewolf in horror.  “What the Hell?”

“Liam would protect my children with his life, but he’s not their father and he’s not an Alpha,” Scott told him.

“Well, I’m only one of those things,” Theo reminded him bitterly, his despair palpable.

Scott smiled.  “Not for long.  I need you to do something you did once long ago for the same reason but under very different circumstances.”

When Theo saw the look in those eyes, everything fell into place, and he let out an agonizing roar.  “No,” he protested in agony.  “You can’t ask that of me.  Not that.  Not me.”

“You’re the only one I trust with what matters most in my life.  I need to know that my family—my children and you—are safe.  My Alpha spark is still fighting, trying to hold on, but it’s a losing battle and we both know it,” Scott told him gently.  “As my body fails, I can use that last little bit to speed up your transformation so that it’s not lost.  You’re not a werewolf yet, so I can’t just will it to you.  You have to take my power, or it will die with me.”

The True Alpha took Theo’s hand in his.  “I know what I’m asking of you.  I trust you with the very best of me, and I need you to live so you will be the very best of me.” He placed his own hand over the exposed flesh over Theo’s heart.  “I need you to forgive yourself so you will be the very best of you.  Keep being the father, the doctor, and the man that you already are.”

Guiding the chimera’s hand over his own heart, Scott smiled.  “We may not have married under the most traditional circumstances, but I promised you my heart.  I meant it then, and I mean it now.  I love you, and I need you to live.  I need all of you to live.”

Theo couldn’t even look at him.  He couldn’t speak.  He couldn’t breathe.  Scott called his name, lacing his voice with command.  Theo managed to lift his eyes to meet his, and he could feel the power forcing him to do what he was willing every cell of his body to resist.  Ultimately, he couldn’t, and his claws reticently pushed their way into the werewolf’s flesh and into his heart.

Scott’s breathing stuttered, but he never stopped smiling at Theo.  He never averted his eyes for even a split second.  Theo felt a part of himself die as those red eyes turned to gold.  At that moment, he felt a change within him.  Gasping for air, he knew his own eyes had begun turning blue, and as the color—and life—drained from his husband’s eyes, he felt a rush of power that overtook him, and he passed out, his human hand still pressed against Scott’s chest.


Theo was finally awakened by a wail almost worthy of Lydia.  Lydia was standing next to him, but it wasn’t her keening that roused him.  Melissa McCall fell to her knees on his other side.  He felt like a stranger in his own skin, his body the same outwardly but very different internally.  The power he once craved now felt like a stain on his very soul.  His eyes burned a brilliant crimson as he stared at the grieving mother.  “I’m so sorry,” he stammered.  “I… I…”

His mother-in-law turned his face towards her, and he braced himself for whatever barrage she was about to launch against him.  Verbal, physical, whatever.  He was ready for anything.  He deserved whatever pain she wanted to inflict ….

… Instead, she pulled him into a tight hug, holding him tightly as she buried her face against his neck.  Lydia wrapped a blanket from her car around him before joining in the embrace over the body of their fallen loved one.


In the days that followed, there were no further attacks on the pack.  Beacon Hills was quiet as the grave.  Theo wished to Hell there had been.  He was less motivated by the vengeance that consumed Liam as much as he prayed for the death that he felt he deserved.  As he stood in the bathroom, staring at his reflection in the mirror, the former chimera-turned-werewolf wanted to gouge his red eyes out.  He settled for punching the glass, shattering the image as pieces scattered far and wide.


Meanwhile, across town, unnoticed by the mourning pack whose world had shaken, a young man knocked on the door to an empty loft apartment.  “Uncle Derek!  I need your help!” he called out, the fear evident in the timbre of his voice even as his eyes flashed red. "Mom is dead, and I don't know what to do."