A/N: This is an expanded drabble from Tales of Another Life chapter 5 as requested by SuperNatural1985. This is AU since I am having the DP kids meet up with WotO characters pre-13. This just seemed something that a teenager would be more open to than a twenty something. I hope you enjoy and review!
Disclaimer: I don't own Women of Otherworld or Darkest Powers.
It was one thing that they all had to sit down for an explanation of rules and expectations for the trip like they were all grubby five year olds. It was another thing when most of the pointed looks were directed at him. 'Don't touch things that don't belong to you', 'don't go wandering off by yourself', 'and don't go into rooms where the doors are closed'. Each statement, each time, was a pointed look at him.
It was like Dad thought of him as some sort of spontaneous trouble maker that would instantly wreck everything.
It was made worse when everyone else kept looking at him, especially Derek. Yes, Derek had quite a bit riding on this weekend, they all did. Simon didn't think ending up as a pelt for Stonehaven was a high priority item on his bucket list.
Derek especially didn't like that response either.
The car was slowing down. They would be arriving soon, he hoped. They had already spent hours getting here, first by helicopter and then by plane. Simon thought one of the perks of living under a Cabal's thumb would at least involve private travel. Nope. They took the helicopter out to the nearest airport and then it was tiny coach seats.
He had tried his best to keep his attention occupied on the plane. Chloe spent most of the time asleep, Derek should have been asleep but there was no convincing him that it really would be better for everyone if he was unconscious. Tori spent most of the time occupied on her laptop, quickly typing away at something that she refused to let him look at. Even Dad had his own laptop out, typing away at some brief he needed to have ready by next week.
The flight was too bumpy to draw. And even if it wasn't, there simply wasn't enough room for him to be able to adequately situate himself. He probably should have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD years ago but Dad never followed through with the multiple teacher suggestions. They didn't know how that would affect his abilities. Dad had reasoned he had already been experimented on enough as it was.
That was the crux of why they were here. It was the reason for all of this. Sean had finally decided that they were old enough to meet some of the other supernaturals that weren't under Nast employment. If this weekend went well, more of the Council would be brought in and then they would have a real choice about their futures.
Once the car stopped, Simon instantly grabbed the handle. Derek grabbed his arm, nodding towards Dad.
"Best behavior guys - remember that."
Simon rolled his eyes.
"Somehow I think Sean managed to neglect how ... creepy this place is," Tori said, leaning against the dresser. Derek had already been pulled away to talk werewolf stuff, leaving Tori, Chloe and himself to fend for themselves.
"Says the girl that doesn't see dead people," Chloe snorted.
"Uh, you're seeing dead people?"
"Well, not right now. Kit gave me a list of rooms I needed to avoid. It's ... pretty lengthy."
"That's totally reassuring," Tori snorted.
Simon sighed. This was a less than promising start.
Once Derek was finished with his whatever, he came to retrieve Chloe. That left Simon with Tori but even she ditched him once Dad said that more of the Pack had arrived and asked if they wanted to meet any of them.
Simon should have gone downstairs. He supposed it was kind of rude for him not too but he just needed to do something and sitting around for introductions wasn't going to scratch that itch.
He decided to wander the house. If he found someone he'd be more than happy to talk to them but he needed to do something.
Simon wandered the halls. The house wasn't as big as he expected it would be. He thought it was supposed to be this massive place but it was only a little bit larger than the house back at Badger Lake.
There looked to be a few unused rooms but they proved to be locked when he tried opening them.
If they didn't have anything to hide, what was with the locked doors? Wasn't this weekend supposed to be an open house of sorts? Locked doors went against that idea. He didn't think he heard any snuffled cries for help behind the doors.
Locked doors only opened up more questions. If they were something boring, like bedrooms, why lock them? Well, it could be that they were secretly slobs and hoped to keep that to themselves for a while. He wasn't exactly Mr. Tidy either, so he was quite familiar with strategically hiding messes behind closed doors.
He had been in better moods. He still felt the pent up energy inside him. He needed to do something. He retraced his steps back to his room and managed to miss his room entirely when contemplating what he was going to try to work on. Something new? One of his half-finished pieces? Quarter finished?
His attention was snapped back when he walked by a painting that was mounted on the wall. It was unlike anything he had ever seen.
It was a wolf staring at him.
He studied it closer; taking note of the use of lines, how there never was any pure pitch black areas, only some parts that were shaded darker than others. The usage of color was something he hadn't seen before. The careful blending of colors, one rolling right into the next.
Simon took a step back, taking all of it in, not just the subject. He then noticed the trees and the lake, the moon and the moonlight beaming down. It was inspiring.
He cast a look down the hall and then back to the painting.
It surely wasn't of one of them, right? A sort of portrait? How would that even work? It seemed doubtful that they would invite someone to come and paint them. It could have been that they invited the artist here to watch at night? Or was it even simpler? Did they take a photograph and then send that off for commission? That seemed perfectly logically – that was even assuming that it was of them and not just a regular wolf. There wasn't any indication that it was. There wasn't any sort of marker he could use in the painting as a point of reference. Trees were trees, the lake was the lake. Not exactly the most standard of measurements.
He stared at it some more, making a mental note to come back to look at it again. He also was now aware that he would need to pay attention to the walls here. If they had a painting like that, it was likely not by accident. Perhaps someone was an art collector. Perhaps someone liked the ironic nature of werewolves having wolves painting displayed. Whatever the reason, it was something to be admired and he would keep an eye out for more.
Simon pulled himself away. Perhaps he could use that as a source of some kind of inspiration to finish one of his drawings. He put that thought on hold once he saw that past the painting a door was ajar.
Well, he had set out to explore. He wasn't going against the rules. The room was open. He wasn't going where he wasn't.
He let himself in.
He had come into this weekend with certain expectations. He knew that Stonehaven wasn't going to be the most welcoming of places. He knew that Chloe was likely to see residuals and that hopefully they wouldn't become ones themselves. He even expected there to be some sort of display of other werewolves they killed, depicted in some sort of agony or horror, a testament to their fighting skills.
He did not expect an art studio.
He slowly walked around the space, taking it all in. There were paints strewn here and there, abandoned dirty brushes alongside half-finished sketches. Most of the sketches appeared to be wolves or forests.
Was it possible that the painting in the hall was done by someone here?
"See anything you like," a voice sounded behind him.
Simon spun around to see … Jeremy, was it? He vaguely remembered how Dad detailed who all was going to be there and how it would be a good idea to have some idea of who they were before showing up on their doorstep.
"I, uh, yes?"
"Really," maybe Jeremy walked closer, studying him carefully. "What do you like?"
"The lines," Simon blurted out, "and the colors. The lines and the colors," Simon repeated, hopefully sounding a little surer of himself.
The man snickered.
"This room is normally locked. Was it locked?"
"No, it was open, so I thought it was okay to come in," Simon stumbled. He usually wasn't like this. He was usually able to charm his way with people, teenagers or adults. It clearly didn't transfer over to dealing with werewolves, despite his experience with his own brother, and even then …
"Well, typically this room is closed off. You say you liked the lines and colors? How do?"
"The lines are fluid and the colors, well, the blending is really nice."
The man studied him for a moment before taking a seat. "Sit," he instructed. Simon sat. "Simon, right," he asked and Simon nodded.
He stood up and grabbed one of the half-finished drawings and presented it to Simon.
"What do you see?"
Simon carefully took it from him and studied it. He saw lines but no clear picture emerged.
Taking his silence as an answer, Jeremy continued, "If this was a piece of yours, where would you take it from here?"
"I …" Simon trailed off. His brain was abuzz with trying to figure out what exactly was going on here. Was this some sort of test? "I'd start off one the left side and connect everything," he finally answered. "Then it gives the rest of the area focus and a set perspective."
"And what about the color?"
"The perspective will determine what shades and hues you'll be using for that too."
Simon looked at him, hoping that his answer was satisfactory. If that painting in the hall was his he was hopelessly outclassed.
"That is one way to go about it, now what about this one?"
Simon left the studio, his brain feeling foggy. He wasn't sure how long he and the man had been in there, he wasn't even sure if he mentally had the name right because he sure as hell wasn't going to interrupt the session to ask his name. That would be a bit embarrassing and Dad would definitely think that it would be insulting.
Despite the fog, he knew that he had picked up some tips and tricks. He would have to try them out while they were here.
"Where the hell have you been?"
"Around," Simon replied. Tori was bored and was trying to make sure everyone knew it.
"We figured that, but where," Chloe asked. Once Simon came back the girls pounced on him, eager to know what he had been up to the past few hours.
"Around," Simon shrugged. "I found an art studio so I hung out in there for a while."
"An art studio? This place barely has wifi and it has an art studio," Tori exclaimed.
"I think Derek said something about Jeremy being an artist of some sort," Chloe said softly. Simon let go of some anxiety he wasn't aware he had been holding on to. So it had been Jeremy that he had talked to. At least he had that part straight in his head.
"Ugh," Tori groaned. "I am about to lose my mind to absolute boredom at this rate."
Simon agreed for appearances sake. He didn't want news about his 'lesson' running about.
Saturday evening proved to be an interesting affair. Simon vaguely remembered how it was when Derek first came home. He was quiet, polite, and never made a mess at dinner. A month later he was eating whatever he could whenever he could.
Dinner became a free for all sport until Dad managed to gain back some control over the situation.
The twins had a similar approach to eating. Simon guessed they were about seven or eight – he was never good at guessing ages – but they could put food away like nobody's business. Despite their rambunctious attitude towards food, the adult Pack members never corrected them. Simon thought it might have been some sort of carryover from their werewolf side – the kids need to eat whatever they could, so whatever way they were eating as fine as long as they had enough. It made sense in his head at least.
He was eying a serving of spaghetti when Logan clamored for more. Kate echoed behind him, not to be outdone by her brother. If he and Tori had been raised together, would they have had a relationship like that?
"You have a chance to practice what we've talked about?"
The voices at the table dropped. Simon looked around, trying to figure out what was going on.
Jeremy repeated himself. Simon felt his cheeks heat up as everyone waited for his response.
"Some of it, yeah."
Tori's eyes danced from Simon and Jeremy. "Was that what you were doing when you sneaked off yesterday by yourself?"
"He doesn't have to account himself to us," Chloe piped in.
Tori tilted her head, eying the younger girl.
"Simon," Kit interjected, "likes to draw." That seemed to appease the other adults enough that they returned to their abandoned conversations.
"I'd like to see what you've done – if you don't mind showing me, that is – after we're finished."
"You can't think of them as simply the edges of a person or a thing, you have to think of the mood it conveys."
Simon listened, his attention taut.
"Now – you see how you've drawn this girl but she's simply there. Think about how we move and hold our bodies in certain ways to show our moods, our fears, our current state of being."
Simon looked at his drawing. It wasn't amongst his best but it was something that he judged to be pretty typical quality, maybe even slightly better considering the quick turnaround time.
"She is supposed to be our perspective, our filter that we're seeing the rest of the picture through. What is she feeling?"
Simon had indeed drawn a girl, but it wasn't someone he imagined or a fleeting image that he saw in a magazine or movie. No, this was a girl that he saw constantly, one that he saw in his dreams even though he hated it. One that he had so many conflicting emotions about, one that he thought might lead to something more, one that he wanted to, but for once, it was he that was left broken hearted. He had thought about changing something, anything, about the drawing once he realized who he was drawing but this was something that had to be honest. Jeremy wasn't just any teacher that simply went by a gut feeling or the visual appeal, no, he would see the intent and to mask that would be a lie.
He didn't want to lie. It would be nice not to have to lie to somebody about her for once.
Simon listened as Jeremy talked about the lines and how even the heaviness or lightness of the lines could convey different meanings.
"I would like to have one more little session like this before you leave tomorrow. This time, I'd like you to draw something specific. Could you do that?"
"Sure, I guess."
"I'd like you to draw a self-portrait."
Simon found himself wanting to find any excuse not to see Jeremy. To come down with a sudden case of West Nile virus, the plague, rabies – anything to get out of having to show him this.
He had tried. He had. He wasn't sure what was more embarrassing, the fact that he had tried or that he was embarrassed at what had come out.
Jeremy didn't say anything when he first looked at it. It was a rough sketch, no coloring involved, only shading and lines, the meat and bones, so to speak.
"I didn't have the easiest time growing up," Jeremy started. "It wasn't the best time of my life, but I had the support of my grandfather. The times … well, times have greatly improved," he said slowly, carefully measuring his words.
Simon wasn't sure what he was getting at.
"How many sorcerers do you think are out there?"
"Have you given that any thought?"
"Some, I guess," he admitted.
"What about your family? What about your father's side?"
Simon shrugged. "Dad doesn't really talk about them."
Jeremy remained quiet and went back to looking at Simon's drawing. "Do you wish he did?"
"Sometimes, you know, but it's whatever."
Jeremy frowned a little but quickly wiped it away.
"Think about it and if it interests you, you should ask him about it. Family history is important. Heritage is important. It is important to remember where we come from."
Simon shifted uneasily. This has taken a turn for the heavy and he wasn't prepared for it at all.
Home sweet home. Well, of sorts. Simon had a few apartments and homes that he missed – and more that he didn't – but he wasn't sure what to make of the house at Badger Lake. It was easily the nicest house he had ever lived in.
But it wasn't for free. He knew that the Sean would one day come for payment. He said that they would have a choice about employment, just like the Edison Group said that they were trying to help.
Simon had remained quiet on the trip back. His mind was still trying to process everything that had happened. He looked over the drawings and saw that Jeremy had slipped some notes about them as well as a letter.
He hadn't opened it.
Derek wasn't exactly furious about it but he was far from happy about it either. It had somehow slipped his mind that Jeremy was the alpha and thus the time spent was Simon was time spent away from Derek, the intended subject of the weekend.
Simon brushed him off though, saying that art transcended ranks and ages and that Derek had plenty of other werewolves to occupy his time.
Jeremy had brought up some things that Simon hadn't thought about in a long time. When he was younger, he'd ask about grandparents occasionally – when a friend mentioned theirs, when grandparents day came at school, when filling out an endless amount of forms asking for emergency contacts – but he hadn't in years now. He had accepted the various answers Dad gave over the years without realizing it.
He put his notebook away on his desk and sat heavily on his bed.
He knew that he was going to ask Dad about them. This time, however, he wouldn't be placated. He would know what the real story was.
He left Jeremy's letter in the notebook. He wasn't ready to see what was inside. He didn't know if it was more information about art or something else entirely.
He just knew that he wasn't ready to open it.
He would be. Perhaps after his talk with Dad or perhaps maybe not until another visit to Stonehaven, if that ever happened, was looming on the horizon.
It would come, but he wanted to be sure of himself before he invited more questions.