I gag and spit out the water in my mouth. The taste of gasoline still lingers, despite it being hours after the attack at the school. I sigh and close my eyes, remembering how I had attacked two security guards, granted they had tried to set me on fire, but I had attacked them before they had a chance. Did that make me the bad guy?
You didn't kill anyone, I consciously reminded myself. You didn't kill anyone.
No, I hadn't, but what if I had? Would I be killing innocent people? They were trying to kill me in order to collect on the twenty-five million dollar reward that hung over my head, did that make them innocent? Did that make my reactions self-defense?
"Are you okay?"
My eyes snap open and I turn to see Liam standing in the kitchen doorframe. I take a deep breath and shrug, throwing out the rest of my water and watching it swirl down the drain.
"I don't know," I answer.
"Scott didn't seem mad at you," Liam says.
"I'm mad at my actions," I interrupt. "I'm scared of my actions. This is not me. I'm not a fighter. I normally run when it comes to danger." I shake my head. "Whatever's happening to me, it's happening because of what's inside of me."
"You mean your wolf?"
"No. Not my wolf, my other half."
Liam looks confused, and I don't blame him.
Before I have a chance to explain, Scott appears behind Liam. "Kira found Brett," he says. "They're fine but we've got to go."
"More assassins?" Liam asks turning the Alpha.
"Maybe a lot more," Scott nods. He walks by Liam, grabs a set of keys from the island countertop, and heads towards the back door.
I push away from the kitchen sink and follow him.
"Different than the ones who just tried to set us on fire?" Liam asks.
"I think so, yeah," Scott answers. He opens the door and then pauses.
I hear it too, the sound of an accelerated heartbeat.
Scott looks over my head at Liam. He closes the door and walks back to his bitten beta. "How about I take you home?" he asks.
"I'm not like you," Liam admits.
"Not yet," Scott assures him.
"I don't mean I'm not strong or I'm never gonna learn how to be in control," says Liam. "I mean everything else. You and your friends try to protect everyone. Have you been doing this the whole time? I mean, how are you all still alive?"
I cast my gaze down. The answer to this question is simple.
"Not all of us are," Scott answers.
There is a split pause.
I look up to see Liam staring at Scott, a look of uncertainty crosses his face.
"Let me at least take you home," Scott insists.
Liam meets my gaze, sighs, and then nods.
I turn away as Scott returns to my side. His hand catches my elbow and he leads me out of the door. Liam following behind in our wake.
With Liam safe at home, Scott and I head to the animal clinic. Along the way Scott receives a text message from Melissa, explaining that Stiles was at the hospital having been attacked at Eichen with Lydia, in the wake of the text I had called Stiles to check in, and he had revealed who the Benefactor's identity - Meredith Walker.
"But... she helped us," I said, glancing at Scott as Stiles hung up. "Why help us if she's the one distributing our names?"
Scott shook his head. "Hopefully Lydia and the Sheriff can figure out why," he says, parking outside the clinic. It has stopped raining, but the ground is still wet and covered in small pools of water. I jump over one and run to the doors, pulling them open and darting into the waiting room.
Kira stands at the door leading to the back room. She looks up as I enter. "Fia," she smiles.
I run into her embrace and hug her tightly. Ever since her mother had been attacked and airlifted to another hospital, I haven't seen or heard from her.
"I'm so glad you're back," I say, pulling out of her embrace.
"I've missed you too," Kira says.
The door behind us opens again and Scott walks in. Kira looks up, meeting his gaze, and untangles herself from around me. She meets Scott in one stride, pushing herself up onto her toes and kissing him.
I wrinkle my nose and turn away.
Deciding to give them a minute, I wander into the back room. There is more than one heartbeat coming from there, indicating there is more than one person. Did Kira find Brett or Brett and someone else?
Stopping in the doorway, my eyes widen as they sweep throughout the room. Several pairs of eyes look up at me from all corners of the room.
"Uh, Scott?" I call. "Come here..."
Scott and Kira join me in the doorframe.
"Satomi, this is who I was telling you about," Kira says.
An older woman, one I recognise, turns and looks up at us from beneath her hood. She smiles and nods. "I know who Scott McCall is," she says.
"I know you," I blurt out. "You know Derek. You saved Scott and the others with the rinshi mushrooms."
Satomi chuckles. "I think you mean reishi mushrooms," she corrects.
"But yes," Satomi adds. "And you're the Immortal Wolf."
I force an awkward smile and nod. "Sofia," I say.
"Sofia," Satomi nods. "Spanish."
I nod, somewhat confused.
"Are we safe here?"
I look to the kid that had spoken. She stands at my height, with short blonde hair and dark blue eyes. She stands beside a taller boy, he shares the same features, eye colour, and hair colour as she. I can only assume they are related.
"We're going to need help," Scott says.
I glance over my shoulder to see him talking to Kira.
"A lot of help."
"What about Chris?" I ask, earning his attention. "I'm sure he wouldn't mind if we used the Argent Arms International warehouse. It'd be big enough for us all to hide out. We could call Derek for backup, he's working with Braeden, right? She's a mercenary, isn't this kind of what she does?"
"For the right price," Scott says.
"We have to try," said Kira, backing me up.
Scott looks between us and nods. "We should leave as soon as possible," he insists. "If we stay here too long, we run the risk of them finding us before we have a chance to escape."
I nod and look back at the she-wolf behind me. I can smell her fear. She meets my gaze, holds it for a second, and then looks away.
"Yeah?" I ask, turning to Scott.
"I'm going to call Stiles, ask him to come get you."
"Because I don't want you getting hurt."
I fold my arms and pout as Scott leaves the clinic.
Kira wraps an arm around my shoulders.
"Malia's wrong," I say, leaning my head on her shoulder. "I'll always be the burden."
"Aw, come on, Fi, you're not a burden," Kira says, squeezing me. "You're the Alpha's little sister. Of course, he's going to be overprotective."
I huff and close my eyes.
"You're Scott McCall's sister?"
I look up as Lori Rohr, the young she-wolf of Satomi's pack, slides down the wall next to me. She's my age and joined Satomi's pack after her family had been killed in a fire. Her brother was Brett Talbot, the beta werewolf that Scott had saved from Garret and Violet.
"Unofficial," I say.
Lori looks confused.
"My real parents are dead," I explain. "So are my adopted parents. Scott and Stiles found me a couple of years ago in the woods, they took me in and have treated me like a sister. Scott's mother, Melissa, says she's going to file for custody when she gets a chance."
"Satomi called you an Immortal."
"What is that?"
"Your guess is as good as mine," I shrug.
"It's a hybrid," says an older man. He looks to be in his mid-late forties. He has a beard and soft brown eyes. He squats in front of us, staring at me. "You don't realise how rare you are, do you?"
I shake my head. "I know a former hunter. He told me once what an Immortal is, but..." I hesitate. "I'm not sure if I believe him."
"Because they aren't real... they can't..."
The man chuckles and braces himself against the floor with his hand. "You're a werewolf, and you don't believe in creatures of the night," he says. "Your innocence is unreal."
"I believe in creatures of the night!" I protest. "But I don't believe in bloodsuckers."
"They are a different breed, I'll admit, but they are very real," he assures me. "Although, I am curious as to how you became one. Were you born? Your father would have to be one for that to happen, and he'd have to be pretty powerful. Novice bloodsuckers don't have the capacity to breed."
I cock my head to the side and blink. "I wouldn't know," I tell him. "My parents died when I was very young."
"Your mother would've died in childbirth," the man nodded. "Bloodsucker born children are known to kill their mothers during birth."
I squeeze my eyes closed and cover my ears with my hands. "Stop it..." I whisper. "Please, stop it."
A hand touches mine. It's soft, caring.
I open my eyes to see it is the man, still. He smiles sadly and gently tugs my hands from my ears.
"I'm sorry," he apologises. "I didn't mean to upset you. I thought you wanted to know."
"I do," I admit. "But I don't like knowing that I'm the reason people are dead." I heave a breath. "She only comes out when I am scared or anxious, and when it happens, I black out. Is that normal?"
The man looks confused. He then shakes his head. "Truthfully, no," he says. "Born hybrids are aware of both halves of themselves. If your other half is still hidden then something else happened to you... something unnatural."
"Like what?" I ask.
"I don't know," he admits.
I sigh and look at my hands. If I'm not a natural born hybrid... what the hell am I?
"What are you still doing here?"
I turn away from Lori, Brett, and the man, Carlos, to see Derek striding towards me. "You're here," I say.
"I have experience," Derek says, flashing his blue eyes at me.
"How am I suppose to learn control if you and Scott won't let me do anything?" I ask. "Every time there is trouble, you ship me off somewhere safe. If I'm not at the hospital, I'm at the animal clinic, and if I'm not at the animal clinic, I'm at the sheriff's station. How am I suppose to learn to cope without you if you don't teach me?"
Derek sighs and grabs my shoulders. "There is a time and place to learn, Fia," he says, desperation in his eyes. "But it's not here, and not now."
I sigh and lower my gaze. "Stiles and Malia are coming to pick me up," I say. "I'm going with them to the lake house."
"Good. Hopefully, when this is all over, we'll start teaching you, alright?"
"If we survive that long."
Derek draws me into his arms and holds me tightly. I bury my face into his jumper and clench my eyes shut, inhaling his aroma. He's not on the Deadpool anymore, meaning he isn't a werewolf at all, but despite that, he still makes me feel safe.
Scott strides towards us and I pull away from Derek.
"Stiles and Malia are here," Scott says, holding out his hand.
I take it and step away from Derek, pausing to look back at Lori. I offer her a smile and then walk away with my Alpha. Scott leads me to the doors of the building, sitting in the jeep, waiting for me, are Stiles and Malia. The werecoyote jumps out as I run towards them, climbing into the backseat with a single bounce.
As the jeep pulls out of the parking lot, I glance through the back windscreen to wave at Scott. He returns the gesture and then he disappears from sight.
"So, did you guys make up?" I ask, turning in my seat. I slide down and buckle myself in, staring from Stiles to Malia with an excited look. While I was disappointed that I couldn't stay with Scott and Derek, I was also happy to be with Stiles and Malia, especially since I haven't seen them together since the Chemist tried to kill them.
Malia chuckles and Stiles playfully glares at me through the rearview mirror.
I grin innocently back at him.
I groan and press the balls of my hands to my eyes. I'm sitting on the floor of the lake house with Malia and Stiles, listening intently to the record player in Lorraine Martin's study. The needle scratched annoyingly over the vinyl record but no sound escaped the speakers.
"What are we doing?" Stiles asks, standing up. "This room wasn't even made for us. No, we need someone like Lydia or Meredith. We're just sitting here listening to a stupid record player play a record that doesn't play anything."
"Meanwhile our friends are being shot at by hunters," I mutter, checking my phone again. The last message from Scott sat open on the screen. It didn't say much, except that they were attacking. They being the hunter assassins.
"Come on," Stiles says, reaching over and switching the record player off. He stormed out, and I started to rise when Malia inhaled.
"What?" I ask, looking at her.
"I still hear it," Malia says.
I pause and focus my hearing. Faint rhythmic noises filter out from the speakers. "Stiles…?" I call, uncertain.
"Yes?" Stiles asks, walking back into the room.
"I can still hear it," Malia says.
"But it's not on," Stiles points out.
"Then it's something else," says Malia, standing up. "Something spinning."
"I hear it too," I nod.
Stiles hesitates and walks back to us. "Uh…" he considers the record player and carefully nudges it out, looking behind it at the cord feeding into the wall. He pulls the whole record player out, takes the cord in hand and tugs it, hard.
The wall breaks.
Stiles pauses and glances back at us.
Malia shrugs and Stiles continues to pull the cord free. The wall crumbles all completely, revealing cracks like a jigsaw.
Malia steps forward and clutches a cube of dry plaster in her hand. She tugs back, pulling the plaster away from the wall. It caves in like cardboard.
Stiles does the same to the other side.
Between them, they manage to create a hole, wide enough and large enough for us to see behind. Instead of a record player, three large monitors stand in a parallel line, each one containing two red lights and one green, while two large wheels spin inside them.
"What is this?" I ask.
"The Deadpool," Stiles answers.
Suddenly, Malia lunged forward, her fist clenched and aiming straight for the pillars.
"No, No," Stiles says, grabbing her wrist and pulling her back. "You can't just smash it to pieces. Okay? If this thing's being used to disseminate the list, then it's probably going to keep going until everyone's dead."
"Then how do we stop it?" I ask
"It needs some kind of prompt or command or something, right?" Stiles asks.
Malia stepped forward, and Stiles moved to grab her. "What about a key?" she asks, pointing at a small slot on the front of the middle pillar.
"Do you see a key?" Stiles asks.
I look around the room. There isn't much in here. No drawers, no chest, nowhere to hide or hang a set of keys, or a single key. "What about Lydia?" I ask. "It's her Lakehouse, wouldn't she know?"
"Worth a try," says Stiles, fishing his phone out from his pocket. He video called Lydia and explained the situation, before showing her the pillars. "You see it?" he asks. "There's got to be a way to turn it off, right?"
"I don't know," Lydia replies. "I don't know anything about computers from the 1970s."
"Neither do we," Malia says, appearing over Stiles' shoulder.
"Okay, where's the monitor?" Lydia asks.
"There is no monitor," Stiles explains. "There are buttons, knobs, spindles, but no monitor."
"Wait, turn the phone back. Point it at the carpet," says Lydia.
I frown and look to Stiles.
"The what?" Stiles asks, confused.
"The floor! Just show me the floor!" Lydia snaps.
Stiles shrugs and turns his phone back to the floor, showing the white carpet beneath our feet.
"Where's the stain?" Lydia murmurs.
"What stain?" I question.
"There should be red blotches, a wine stain," Lydia explains.
"There's nothing," Stiles confirms.
"That doesn't make sense. I gave the $500 I was supposed to use to hire cleaners to Brunski," Lydia says.
"Lydia, what the hell does wine have to do with anything?" Stiles asks.
"Red wine doesn't just disappear," Lydia says. "Unless it wasn't wine."
"What? What do you mean?"
Malia and I exchange confused looks from behind Stiles. Lydia was rambling about something that we had no idea about.
"The ashes weren't ashes. The study isn't a study. The record player isn't a record player," Lydia lists. "So… so maybe the wine wasn't wine."
"Then what was it?" I ask.
"Stiles, you have to find the wine," says Lydia, quickly. "Find the bottle. There could be something about it."
"What kind? What's it called?"
"It's a 1982 Cotes du Rhone."
Stiles hangs up the phone and rushes out, leaving Malia and me alone. I bit my lower lip and look to her. I have no idea what is happening, and by the look on her face, neither does she.
"When this is all over," Malia says, looking at me fully. "You and I are going to have a chat."
"Something's bothering you. I can smell your anxiety, it's almost as bad as Stiles'."
I blush and look down. Am I really that bad?
"I think there's something inside," Stiles says bursting back into the study ten minutes later. He holds a wine bottle in his hands. He shakes it and a small rattle echoes. "Do you have a wine opener or -" he cuts off as Malia seizes the bottle and smashes it on the floor.
My eyes widen and I look to Stiles.
Rummaging around inside the broken glass, Malia finds a small key. She pinches it between her fingers and stands up, presenting it to Stiles.
Stepping around us, Stiles approaches the pillars and slides the key into the slot. He hesitates, glancing back at the pair of us, and then turns the key.
As the wheels start to slow down, my phone buzzes in my pocket. I fish it out and check the screen. It's black, save for little white letters. I sigh in relief and show my phone to Stiles and Malia.
In block letters at the bottom of the screen are the words: THE BENEFACTOR: ALL CONTRACTS TERMINATED.
We did it.
We stopped the Deadpool.