- au clair de la lune - 月亮代表我的心 - řekni mu, stříbrný měsíčku - the inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circled orb -
The moon flickered through her stages like a flipbook - full, waning, new, waxing, full again, repeating the cycle three more times before coming to a stop. An enormous, red moon - the harvest moon - filled the sky, blotting out the stars with her brightness.
Moon, stars, and sky vanished. Strange things took their place - an unfamiliar forest, quiet and still; a dead body, the throat torn out and bloody; the forest again, but something waits out in the woods; a woman, older but what people call well-aged, with only fine creases at the corners of her eyes to indicate her age; standing over the bloody corpse, a hand shoved in its chest; the woman's eyes flash red and her teeth sharpen to fangs; something with the same red eyes waits in the forest for you; pulling your hand out of the corpse's chest, a still warm heart clenched in your fist; running through the woods on all fours after her, baying and hearing others echo the sound; eating the heart, the taste of metal sharp on your tongue; a dozen other heartless corpses, and one body untouched but for a bite across its side; bounding through the trees, up to the crest of a hill, howling with your brothers and sisters as you stare out at the distant peaks of mountains, peaks you know, you've seen in books, on TV, they're famous - and then nothing.
You will come to me.
It was the woman's voice, though you couldn't say how you knew it. Her voice was warm, soothing, but utterly commanding. You couldn't disobey her if you wanted to. Not if you tried.
Not that you wanted to try. You wanted to give in, to surrender to that voice, to obey -
Allison's shout worked like a splash of cold water, snapping Scott out of the trance. He gasped for breath and had to cover his eyes and ears for a moment to adjust to the sudden influx of light and sound. He sat up slowly, suddenly conscious of his nudity. Allison leaned in to cup his face in her hands; her eyes were red, and her eyelashes clumped together in that cute way that happened when they went to sad movies. "What happened?" he asked when she pulled back from a desperate, worried kiss.
"You just stopped - " Allison stopped, cleared her throat. When she spoke again her voice was less choked up. "You stopped... moving. At first I thought you were messing with me, but then your eyes started twitching and you didn't stop when it started scaring me. It was like you couldn't hear me, or feel me or anything." She gestured at the phone sitting on Scott's desk. "I called Stiles - the same thing happened to the others."
"I'm sorry I scared you," Scott said, stroking his thumbs along the curve of her cheekbones, wiping away the cold streaks tears had left behind. "I don't know what happened - it was like there was a lady talking to me, showing me things. The moon, a forest... a dead body." He shuddered. "A lot of dead bodies, actually. It was really creepy."
"What do you think it means?"
"I don't know." He glanced at her phone. "Maybe Stiles could - "
Someone rapped loudly at Scott's window, startling them. Allison shrieked, cutting off when she realized who was there.
"Stiles definitely could," Stiles said, crawling through the window. "Cover your shame, Scott, and fast. We gotta go back with Derek ASAP."
Pulling on the shirt Allison handed him, Scott asked, "He knows what's going on?"
"From the look on his face when he snapped back to himself? I'd say yes," Stiles said. "And it's nothing good." He twitched and fidgeted as Scott got dressed, edgy in a way that came with too much Adderall or adrenaline in his system. "Come on, you've had so much practice lately you'd think you could get your pants on faster than that!" The second Scott's fly was zipped Stiles was pulling the two of them down the stairs and out to Derek's Camero.
Derek was lying in the passenger seat, typing something on Stiles's phone and looking nothing short of shaken. Stiles was right, this couldn't be anything good.
"What's going on?" Allison asked, sliding into the back seat. Stiles pulled away from the curb with a squeal of rubber.
"I'll explain later," Derek snapped, focused on the phone. "Once everyone's there." He stayed silent for the rest of the trip except for annoyed grunts when Stiles handled his car too roughly. They pulled up in front of one of Derek's older hideouts to find the rest of the pack waiting anxiously.
"What - " Isaac started, but Derek cut him off with a sharp jerk of his head.
Scott looked around. "Who else are we waiting for?"
A few minutes later, a Porsche pulled up with Jackson and Lydia inside. Everyone looked to Derek, but his expectant, waiting posture didn't change.
"Seriously? Who else could we be waiting for?" Stiles asked, just as a familiar SUV lumbered around a bend in the road.
"My dad?" Allison hissed.
"I said everyone," Derek said in a hushed undertone, "and I meant it. This is serious, and not just happening to us."
Chris Argent and half a dozen hunters stepped out of the car, guns held casually at their sides. He paused when he saw Allison standing with the rest of the pack, but let his gaze slide past her to Derek without commenting on her presence. "Well, this is highly unusual," he said at last. "An alpha calling up hunters to - oh, how did you put it?" He pulled out his phone and read from it, "To "ask for help." You know, I'm reading it again right now and I still can't believe it."
"Cut the crap, Argent," Derek snapped. "We don't have time for it."
"Yes, we, because this could affect everyone. Not just us, not just this pack, every pack. And not all werewolves are as considerate of human life as me." Stiles snorted at this, but faltered under the glares the others shot at him. He crossed his arms and tried to control his fidgeting, which hadn't slowed down since they arrived. "Now," Derek continued, "I need to know: how much do you know about the Alpha?"
"You mean yourself?" Argent asked, but his sarcastic tone didn't fit the discomforted look on his face.
Derek sighed. "No. I'm an alpha, this is the Alpha, the first werewolf."
"Those are just legends," Argent protested.
"I thought so too," Derek said, shaking his head, "but she just sent us a message."
"That's what that vision was?" Jackson burst out. "A message?"
"What did it say?" Argent asked.
Everybody spoke up at once. "It was awful." "The taste of blood - " "I could've sworn the heart was still beating in my hand!" "So many bodies - " "The forest gave me the creeps, with all those howling wolves." "That woman scared me, the way her voice - "
"It was an order to feed," Derek said, forceful enough to make the others quiet down. "And to turn others, as many as possible."
"Because she wants us to build her an army," Scott realized. "And to go to that forest in five months, on the harvest moon."
"He's right," Derek said, impressed that he'd made the connection. "She's preparing for war."
"Against who?" Stiles asked, eyes jumping from Derek to the hunters. "Hunters? Other... creatures? You've got a bestiary full of spooky things, does every one of them have an Alpha?"
"I don't know, but," Derek and Argent said at the same time. They hesitated for a moment, before Derek conceded and Argent went on to explain, "But I do know of another family of hunters, the Campbells, who've been looking for Alphas. They think it could explain some of the recent... uncharacteristic behavior. I can get in contact with them, see if they have a better idea of what's going on." He gestured for Derek to continue.
"I don't know who the Alpha's planning to fight," Derek said, "but I'm not about to let my pack be turned into her playthings."
Scott frowned. "Can we even prevent that, though? I mean, when she was talking... I felt like I wanted to do everything she asked. Like I couldn't go against her if I wanted to. How can we fight that?"
"I don't know," Derek admitted, "but just because it'll be hard doesn't mean we shouldn't try. Not unless you all want to be mindless, bloodthirsty monsters." When he got no response to that, he turned back to Argent. "But he's right, we might not be able to. So I'm asking you, if we go wild, or feral, however she's intending to change us, to stop us before we hurt someone."
"A werewolf asking me to put him down." Argent snorted. "Now I've seen everything."
"Only if we lose control," Derek snapped. "Normally I'd take care of it myself, but I can't guarantee that I'll be any more in control than the rest of them."
Argent considered this for a long moment. "Alright. And I'll let you know if my discussion with the Campbells turns up anything enlightening."
Derek's eyebrows raised involuntarily, surprised. "I'd appreciate that."
The hunters seemed to take this as the end of the conversation, and drove off without another word. Jackson, after a moment spent looking uncomfortably from one wolf to another, climbed back into his Porsche and honked at Lydia until she got in as well.
"What are we gonna do?" Boyd asked.
"For now, just keep working on your anchor," Derek said. "I'll let you know when I know more." He forced Stiles to return his keys and stormed off to his car, Stiles protesting in his wake that he'd been a perfectly good driver. Scott and Allison followed them at a distance after watching the rest of the pack head their separate ways.
"We're going to be okay, though. Right?" Allison asked, lacing her fingers through Scott's. "I don't want to have to hurt you, Scott."
He squeezed her hand. "You're my anchor, Allison. So long as you're there, I'll be fine." Allison's voice had pulled him out of that trance the vision put him in. It could probably pull him out again. Probably. He said none of this, staring up at the sliver of crescent moon in the sky and remembering that warm, soothing... enchanting voice.