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Talking to Trees

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Stiles drummed his fingers on the kitchen table in the Den. Anna was tucked into bed at the Sheriff's home, with Julie and her husband on guard duty. It would be a while before she would be allowed at the Den.

"Do we have any more information?" Stiles asked Peter. "About Anna? Her pack? Anything?"

"It took a while, but I think I have an idea," Peter said. "It seems they also had a Nemeton."

"Fuck."

"Exactly. Which makes me think that someone killed off the Marley pack to have access to the Nemeton," Peter said.

"Since Anna has no pack bonds, and she's not an Alpha, that supports the guess that a 'wolf took at least the Alpha out," Stiles said. "I didn't get a lot from her, but I'm thinking the Alpha was relatively strong, especially if he had a Nemeton in his lands. So it had to be someone who already had extra power, looking for more."

"I'm thinking that someone is emulating our old friend Deucalion, and collecting Alpha sparks to power themselves," Peter said.

"Would a Nemeton align itself with someone like that?" Stiles asked, thinking of the chaos that combination could create.

Peter shrugged. "You're the magic expert, sweetheart. You tell me."

"Hey!"

Peter leaned in for a soft kiss. "Well?"

Stiles rolled his eyes. "Okay, let me see what I can figure out. Let me know if anyone comes through with any more information?"

"Always," Peter promised.

Peter passed a message to Julie that they were working on Anna's problem but they needed the day to collect information. Instead of being at the Stilinski residence in the morning, they'd be there the day after. That would also give Anna a day of rest, since she had been exhausted from her travels.

It took half the day, but Stiles finally figured out that their Nemeton would be the best source of information.

"Come out with me?" Stiles invited.

"Let me get Derek to watch the kids," Peter said. "Since Julie's at your dad's, we need someone here."

"I'm thinking we should do it at moon-rise," Stiles said. "That's just after dusk tonight. So if Derek can spend the night, that would be best."

"I'll let him know."

As it was getting dark, Peter and Stiles set off to the Nemeton. While it readily hid itself from most people, Stiles and Peter had made commitments to it. That meant they could always find it.

The area around the Nemeton looked inviting and healthy. There was no sign of the decay they had found when they first committed to the Nemeton. The trees around the Nemeton rustled in welcome.

Peter stood guard as Stiles moved close to the Nemeton and placed his hands on the tree. He sat on the ground next to the tree and leaned in to be able to touch it.

The afternoon had given Stiles time to consider his approach. He framed a welcome and a thought of appreciation.

The bark under his hands warmed gently.

Stiles thought about other Nemetons and about the tree somewhere in Virginia.

There was a sense of... sadness, Stiles decided. He tried to tease out more information. He thought of Anna and there was a sense of... relief? happiness? Stiles wasn't sure. But a definite positive reaction to the thought that Anna was still alive.

But then a warning of danger. Not locally, but elsewhere.

Stiles acknowledged that and then the tree went silent. Stiles sat with the tree for a while longer, meditating and sharing a bit of his magic with the tree.

He waited until they got back to the Den, so he could share with both Peter and Derek.

"Well, I got something more than I thought I'd get," Stiles admitted. "There is something wrong with the Nemeton in Virginia, but I can't tell if something or someone has approached it or it's just aware of the loss of the local Alpha. It did recognize Anna, interestingly enough, and was happy that she was safe. But then a sense of danger. Not here, but elsewhere."

"That is more than I would have expected," Peter agreed. "Let me pass that along..." He held up a hand as Stiles started to speak. "Yes, I'll be careful. And I'll emphasize they need to keep anything about Anna as need-to-know."

"What do you need me to do?" Derek asked.

"Keep a general eye out, I would think," Peter replied. "Right now, we don't know a lot but I also don't want to bring in too many more people until we have a chance to talk to Anna in the morning. But extra patrols and traveling in pairs would be appropriate."

"I think I've done what I can for now," Stiles said with a yawn. "I'm calling it a night."