Code Breaker

Artemis ran for her life. She hadn't stopped running since she'd been exposed.

Thanks to Jackson, the Argents knew she was a werewolf. They'd proved it by nearly crushing her with two cars. Chris had seen her wolf out when she'd avoided the cars by jumping up just in time and landing on the two car hoods. Alison had yelled at her to run, and she'd followed her friend's orders. Artemis had jumped up onto the roof of the one of the cars and taken off into the night.

Eventually she tripped and fell on a tree root. She took a moment to catch her breath and calm herself down. She was exposed and there was a good chance that the Argents were close to figuring out the Alpha's identity as well. She was dead unless she did something about it.

I've got to find Derek. She needed to save him from Kate and she needed his help if she was to ever escape from Peter. But where she'd look, she had no idea.

Slowly, she stood up and then ran back to her house to change out of her dress. After gathering what she needed, she took off, not knowing if she would ever come back.

XXX

Chris Argent was in a foul mood.

Sweet innocent Artemis Moon was a werewolf. Artemis Moon, the girl who'd become his own daughter's best friend, worked so much to help her mother, was so kind and helpful, and who risked her own life to protect the students in the school from the Alpha, was a werewolf. Worse, she was a Beta wolf and in league with Derek Hale. Was she also involved in the Alpha's crimes? She didn't seem to be the type, but did he know as much about her as he'd thought?

In his anger, he ended up breaking a vase. Fortunately, it was one he'd been meaning toss out for weeks, so no harm done.

"Feel better?" said Kate, sarcastically.

"Don't push me, Kate!" he barked. Kate was another reason why he was angry. "Don't think I don't know what you've been doing to Alison! You've been leaving her clues for weeks, starting with that necklace! She knows because you wanted her to!" Chris had wanted to give Alison a few more years of a normal life before letting her know the truth of the family secret and now that plan had burnt up like straw.

"She knows because she needs to know!" snapped Kate.

"Why did you come here?" demanded Chris. "You hate this town. I had an entire network of names I could've called a lot closer than you, but you called!" He'd never understood why Kate had come. He hadn't asked her to. She'd come of her own accord. "And why did you come? Who exactly are you helping?"

"Oh, come on, Chris!" protested Kate, angrily. "I'm here to catch the Alpha! Remember, the werewolf that's been killing people at random?"

"It's not random. Tyhurst said that Sheriff Stillinski can connect almost every murder back to the Hale Fire," said Chris, as he cleaned up the vase.

Kate actually looked a little frightened, but she covered it up quickly. "Well, that's all the more reason for her to know, because they've always blamed us for that fire. It has to be Derek or some other relative trying to protect the Alpha and you know they're going to pick us as their last targets."

"Which is why you're going to take Alison to Washington and stay there until I call," said Chris.

"I'm not going anywhere!" said Alison, loudly, as she entered the room. She looked angry and quite determined. "I'm not leaving with Aunt Kate and especially not while Artemis's life is danger."

"Alison—" began Chris.

"Dad, just listen to me," interrupted Alison. "Aunt Kate dropped hints, but I found out the truth a long time ago. Artemis told me she was a werewolf and she told me a lot more than just that. If you want to catch the Alpha, then you're going to have to listen to what I have to say, alone. I'll tell you, but no one else."

Kate looked as if she was about to protest, but one look from Chris silenced her. Looking quite annoyed, Kate stormed out of the house, leaving Chris and Alison alone.

"You wanted to talk, so talk to me," said Chris.

"Only if you promise me you'll listen and stick to the code and you won't go after Artemis or Derek. They've done nothing wrong," said Alison. She knew her father to be a man who stuck to his word, and she wanted his promise now before she told him what she knew about the werewolves.

"I give you my word," said Chris. He sat down on the couch. "Sit and talk to me."

Alison sat down beside her father, took a deep breath and then told him everything.

XXX

Meanwhile, as Jackson was taking Lydia to the hospital, Stiles was being dragged around by Peter to a parking garage. Peter had threatened to be 'persuasive,' if Stiles didn't obey him. Once they were out of Stiles' jeep, Peter took out a seat of keys and began opening the trunk of an expensive-looking grey car.

"Whose car is this?" asked Stiles.

"It belonged to my nurse," said Peter. When he opened the trunk, Stiles found out why Peter had used past tense in reference to the nurse. Peter ignored the horrified look on Stiles' face as he took out a bag containing a laptop and slammed the trunk shut. He then got to work.

"So, you're also a Mac guy. Does that go for all werewolves or is it just a personal preference?" asked Stiles, sarcastically.

"Just turn it on and get connected, Stilinski," said Peter, impatiently.

Stiles sighed and shook his head. "You're really killing the whole werewolf mystique here." After a few minutes, he came up to a page asking for Derek's username and password. "I don't know Derek's username and password for certain, but I can take a shot at it." He had a pretty good idea about what they might be.

Both Derek's username and password were exactly the same thing: Huntress of the Moon, which didn't really surprise either of them.

"Guess I don't need to ask what's going to happen when you find Derek. You're going to kill people, aren't you?" said Stiles, as he furiously typed.

"Only the responsible ones," said Peter, sternly.

"Then leave Artemis the heck alone! Quit getting her involved in this crap. She wants nothing to do with it or you," snapped Stiles.

Peter sighed dramatically. "Do you know why wolves hunt in packs? It's because their favored prey are too large to be brought down by one wolf alone. I need Derek and Artemis. I need both of them to finish what I started."

"She's not going to help you and neither will Derek if she has anything to say about it," said Stiles, coldly.

"She doesn't have a say in this," said Peter. "Whether she likes it or not, she'll do what I ask to protect her loved ones. And you'll do as I say, because it'll help protect Artemis."

Stiles had to admit Peter was right. Artemis would follow through Peter's insane plans if she thought it'd protect the people she cared about. It was the same reason he was obeying Peter's wishes. "So, just out of curiosity, why did you turn Artemis?"

"There was no reason not to turn her. She has so much potential and besides, I thought my nephew was lonely," said Peter.

Stiles made a face. "You're telling me you turned Artemis into a werewolf to give Derek a she-wolf to date? Dude, seriously…"

"My nephew does care for her. Why else would he be so protective her? And Artemis's devotion and loyalty to him only proves that she returns his affections," said Peter, as though Stiles hadn't spoken. "Not to mention, their little link only further proves my suspicions about them."

"What suspicions?" demanded Stiles.

"None of your concern. Now, we must find my nephew," said Peter.

A few moments later, the location of Derek's phone appeared on the screen and the information surprised Stiles.

"Seriously? That's where that witch is keeping him?" said Stiles. "At the old burnt down Hale house? Seriously."

Peter frowned and then shook his head. "He's not at it, you idiot. He's under it. I know exactly where that is. And if my suspicions are right, I'm not the only one. Artemis should know by now."

"How?"

Peter didn't answer him. "You're free to go, Mr. Stinlinski. I have an appointment to keep and I'd hate to be late. But before I go, I want you to know that I'm not the bad guy here. I never would've done any of this if Kate hadn't decided to do what she did. And because I like you, I'm going to make you an offer. It didn't have to be Artemis I chose as my first pack wolf. It could've easily been you. So, how would you like to have what she does—power beyond your wildest dreams? All it takes is one little bite."

Stiles froze. He'd never thought of it before. It could've been him that'd been bitten that night instead of Artemis. Now he had a chance to have what she did. He wouldn't have to live in her shadow while she achieved things he'd never be able to. The offer was tempting, but he shook his head. "No. I don't want it. I don't want to be like you."

Peter just smirked. "Even if I couldn't hear your heartbeat, I'd still know you were lying to me, Stilinski." He got into his car and drove off, leaving Stiles alone.

XXX

At the hospital, Lydia was recovering.

She was hurt pretty bad, but she was recovering. It was counted up as another animal attack. From his father, Stiles learned that they were after Kate, only they didn't know her name, only that they were looking for the woman wearing the incriminating pendant Mr. Harris had spoken of. Stiles felt relieved, but when he saw Jackson, his temper flared.

"You've got a lot of nerve showing up here, you creep," said Stiles, angrily.

"Don't act like this wasn't my fault!" growled Jackson.

"If you hadn't dumped her and just stayed at the dance, none of this would've happened!" yelled Stiles. "She was only out there because she was looking for you, you dipstick! You don't even deserve her and yet for some reason, she's head over heels about you!"

Before Jackson could respond, Stiles' phone went off, signaling a missed called. He found a message from Artemis and looked pale after listening to it.

"That was Artemis. She's going after Derek and the Alpha. She knows where he is now," said Stiles. "I've got to go." He'd deal with Jackson later.

"Wait, I'm coming with you," said Jackson, grabbing Stiles' arm.

Stiles just yanked himself free and started walking to the exit. "No, you're not. Just because you feel guilty all of a sudden, doesn't make what you did okay. After what you did, I've got half a mind to tell the Alpha to come after you and I think he wouldn't hesitate to do it."

"Oh, come on!" protested Jackson. "Seriously, you'd do that?"

"Dude, I'm so ticked at you right now, I'd throw you to the wolves. The only reason Derek didn't kill you was because Artemis didn't want him to. I'm starting to think that was a bad idea," said Stiles, angrily. He didn't actually mean it, but when one's angry, one often speaks without thinking. "She saved your butt and you repaid her by turning her over to the freaking hunters and now she's a dead woman!"

"Look, I'm sorry. It was an accident, all right?" said Jackson.

"Boys," said Chris, startling them and making them stop in their tracks.

Stiles swallowed painfully as he saw that Chris had three other men with him along with Alison. They were all armed with either guns or crossbows. Oh, crap.

"I hate to interrupt your little talk, but where's Artemis Moon?" asked Chris. "I need to find her. Where is she?"

"Neither of us has seen her since the dance," said Stiles, as Jackson nodded. Neither of them were exactly trusting of Alison's relatives.

"It's okay, Stiles. He's not going to kill her. We're trying to help," said Alison. "Just tell us where Artemis is and what she's doing."

"I'll ask again. Where's Artemis Moon?" asked Chris, sternly.

"I told you, we haven't seen her since the dance," said Stiles, impatiently.

"Did she contact you?" asked Alison.

"She called Stiles earlier. Something about trying to find Derek and stopping the Alpha," said Jackson, as Stiles glared at him. "We're going after her."

"Not without backup you're not," said Chris, firmly. "Come on."

"And if we do come, what're you going to do to Kate? She started all of this when she broke your hunters code," said Stiles. He was not going if they weren't going to deal with Kate as well as Peter. All of this had happened because of her.

"She'll be punished. That's all you need to know," said Chris. "Now, you can either come with us or stay here. It's your choice."

Needless to say, Stiles and Jackson went with the Argents.

XXX

Meanwhile, Artemis was desperately searching for Derek. She climbed onto the top of a large rock and gazed upon the magnificent view of Beacon Hills, trying to imagine where he might be. She needed to find him and fast, before it was too late.

Derek, where are you?

She tried to settle her nerves. She had to keep calm and stay focused. She was no good to Derek otherwise. She closed her eyes as she shifted and was about to howl, when suddenly, several memories hit her. She saw Derek and Kate somewhere underground where he was being cruelly interrogated by Kate and her goon before she saw a tunnel entrance under Derek's property.

When she jerked her head, the flashes stopped, but the memories remained in her mind. Relieved that she now knew where to look, Artemis took off in search of Derek. She found the tunnel, and followed it until she came to a room and peered through the crack in the door.

She saw Derek chained to the wall with a set of wires taped to his stomach. He looked like heck, from the paleness of his skin, the dark circles under his eyes, how weak he was. He was out cold until he was cruelly awoken by a punch to the face by a baldheaded man, who seemed to be just like Kate—cold and ruthless.

The man shined a light onto Derek after waking him up, but Derek just glared at him.

"Ready to have some more fun?" he asked. "To be honest, my knuckles are kind of hurting. So, I've brought some help. But I need to warn you, I used to play in college." He picked up a large baseball bat, and was about to strike, when suddenly, Artemis fired a tranquilizer dart at him, which made him collapse.

Artemis then thrust open the door and entered the room. She ran over to Derek, cupping his face in her hands. "Hey, big guy. Miss me?"

"Huntress," he said, sounding both relieved and exhausted. "You're alive. Artemis…"

"Shh," she interrupted. "I'm right here. Don't talk for a moment. Just save your strength. I'm going to get you out of here." She was smiling, but inside she was on the verge of a panic attack. Gads, Derek. What on earth have they done to you? "Everything's going to be okay, I promise."

She unlocked his shackles and got him down. Being weary from lack of food, proper sleep and torture, Derek just collapsed into her arms. She lowered him to the ground and then leaned him against her as she helped him to drink the bottle of water and eat the hamburger she'd brought, which seemed to help him regain his strength. After a few moments, he appeared to be all right, but he'd still need a bit of rest to fully recover.

"How did you find me?" he asked, when he started to put his shirt and jacket back on and grabbed his things, including the watch.

"I have no idea how, but I saw flashes of this place," she admitted. "I saw Kate and her goon hurting you and then I saw the tunnel entrance. It's not the first time something like that's happened. Sometimes I see flashes of things only you know of. It's been occurring since I was bitten. Any ideas as to why or how?"

Derek's eyes widened. "It's been happening to you to? Have you been sensing me and feeling my emotions?"

"Yeah. How's that possible?" asked Artemis. She was surprised to learn that Derek had been experiencing the same things she had. Why had all of this been happening to them?

"I'll tell you later," he said.

Artemis decided not to press further. "Right, well, we've got to get out of here now. I have bad news. Peter attacked Lydia, the Argents know about me since Jackson let it slip tonight, Peter's going after Alison and her family, and I found out that not only was Kate the only one of the Argents involved with the fire, but Peter lied about Laura's death," she said.

Derek frowned. "What're you talking about? What do you mean, he lied?" he demanded, his tone dangerously calm.

Artemis pulled out of a picture of a deer with a spiral on its fur from her pocket. "This is what brought Laura back to Beacon Hills, right? My boss told me three months ago, someone came to the clinic asking for a copy of this picture. Peter's nurse was the one who asked about it. They brought your sister here so that Peter could kill her and become the Alpha." She paused for a moment to let the information sink in. "I want to run away with you right now, but if we don't stop Peter, we'll never be free. Please, Derek, help me. I can't do this without you."

Derek looked furious before snatching the photo out of her hands and crumpling it in his fist. "I'll help you. Just help me out of here; I'm still a bit out of it."

Artemis didn't hesitate as she slung Derek's arm over her shoulder and allowed him to lean on her as they out of the tunnel and onto Derek's property. They'd just gotten up the small hill when Derek pulled away and placed his hand against a tree as he leaned against it.

"Stop, stop," he said. "Something doesn't feel right. This was way too easy."

"Easy?" she said, incredulously. "You call all of this easy? You're complicated, you know that? We got out. Quit worrying."

But she spoke too soon, as Derek was then shot in the chest and leg by two arrows that were fired by Kate, who looked quite smug as she prepared to fire again.

"Artemis, your eyes!" yelled Derek.

Before she had time to react, the arrow hit the tree and a bright flash went off, which ruined Artemis's vision. She was on the ground, trying to clear her vision, when Derek, who'd gotten rid of the arrows he'd been hit with, got up and pulled her away.

Unfortunately, Derek hadn't fully healed and was still weak. He soon collapsed from his wounds. "Artemis, go! Get away from here!"

Though Artemis's vision still hadn't cleared, she was still stubborn and could make out Derek's form on the ground. Quickly, she crawled over to him and protectively covered him with her body. "No. I won't leave without you. Not again. If you die, I die."

"Dang it, Artemis!" said Derek, angrily. "Why're you always trying to save me?"

"Because you're worth saving and because I love you!" she confessed. Her secret was out. Now he knew how she felt about him.

Despite the fact that her vision still hadn't completely clear, she could just make out Derek's shocked face. "You-you love me?" he whispered.

"Yes," she said, as a few tears escaped her. "I love you, Derek. I love you so much."

"Artemis, I—"

"Enough with the cheesy love talk, already!" interrupted Kate. "You're going to make me puke." She aimed her gun at them as Artemis defiantly glared at her. "It's a shame I have to end you both. You really do make a sweet pair of star-crossed lovers, just like Romeo and Juliet."

Derek and Artemis tightly wrapped their arms around each other. Artemis's head was under Derek's chin as she closed her eyes and braced herself for the killing blow, when suddenly; Chris Argent's voice rang out, "KATE!"

Artemis looked up and saw Chris and Alison standing before them, armed and prepared to fire.

"I know what you did, Kate," said Chris. "Put the gun down."

Kate rolled her eyes as she faced Chris, but didn't put her gun down. "I did what I was told to."

"No one asked you to murder innocent people!" growled Alison.

"There were children in that house, ones who were human. Most of the wolves there hadn't ever killed anyone in their life," said Chris. "Look at what you're doing now! You're holding a gun to a young girl; with no proof she's ever taken a human life and who's only trying to protect someone she loves from you. And Derek Hale has only ever acted in self-defense. He's done nothing wrong. We go by the code. Nous chassons ceux qui nous chassent."

"'We hunt those who hunt us,'" said Alison, aiming her crossbow at Kate. "That's the code we live by. We don't hurt or kill innocents. Or is that too much for you to understand?"

Chris aimed his gun at Kate when she disobeyed him yet again. "Put the gun down, Kate." He let off a warning shot, when she didn't respond. "Or I'll put you down."

For a moment, there was only silence as Artemis glanced nervously between her friends and her enemy, and then the door to the house swung open. Those who were armed aimed their weapons at the door while Artemis and Derek got up and prepared to shift. The Alpha was coming.

Suddenly, Peter emerged from the house in his wolf form. He ran across the grounds quicker than anyone could blink. He knocked down everyone except for Kate. Then he disappeared and reappeared just as quickly. He grabbed Kate's hand that was holding her gun, disarmed her, damaged her wrist and then flung her onto the porch by the throat before dragging her inside.

Without thinking, Artemis ran inside and was followed by Alison. They found Peter in the burned living room, holding his claws to Kate's throat.

"Your niece is so beautiful, Kate," said Peter. "She looks like you. But she's probably not as damaged. So, I'm going to give you a chance to save her."

"Don't do this," said Alison, softly. "Please, don't."

"Peter, listen to me," said Artemis, trying to fix the situation. "You have every right to despise Kate for what you did to you and your family, I won't deny that. She's evil and a cow. But you don't have to do this. She's the police department's prime suspect for the fire and they're looking for her. We can turn her in. With the evidence against her, she'll be punished."

Peter just laughed. "You mean thrown in jail and eventually release. That's not good enough for me. What would you do if you were in my position, Artemis? If you'd lost the life you'd built and the people you loved, if they were ripped away from you because you were different, what would you do?"

"I know I wouldn't do what you're doing," said Artemis, calmly. There was a difference between wanting someone dead and actually doing the deed. She'd wanted revenge when she thought Derek was killed, but she hadn't taken it. "Ask yourself this: how does what you're going to do, what you've done, make you any different from her? Do you want to be better than her or just become more like her?"

"I'm nothing like her!" roared Peter. He tightened his grip on Kate before hissing in her ear, "You've got one chance, Kate. Apologize. Say that you're sorry for decimating my family, for leaving me burned and broken for six years. Say it, and I'll let you and your precious niece live."

"I'm sorry," gasped Kate.

Artemis inwardly winced as she could hear Kate's heartbeat and knew that Kate was lying. Kate was anything but sorry. She didn't regret what she'd done. Peter could obviously tell that too and quickly killed her before Alison or Artemis could stop him.

Peter sighed and looked like a load had been taken off his shoulders. "I don't know about you, Alison, but that apology didn't sound very sincere." He started to approach her, but then Artemis shifted and stood protectively in front of her as Derek entered the room, fully shifted as well.

"Alison, run," growled Artemis.

Alison ran as Artemis and Derek launched into a fight with Peter.

They attacked him from both sides, but he just flung them away and gave them a patronizing look. Peter flung Derek up into the ceiling and then into the piano. Artemis leapt onto his back, but he just flung her painfully down before he tossed her into the wall. Derek did a backwards flip-kick, hitting Peter's chin, but it barely fazed him, as he punched Derek twice before throwing him onto Artemis. Derek leapt at him again, only to be thrown into the wall and knocked out.

Furious, Artemis launched herself at Peter, only to be trapped in a headlock and painfully kicked in the stomach, damaging her ribs, and then thrown into the wall again. But Artemis managed to get out of his grip and pin him to the wall and pounded on his back several times. Then Peter briefly shifted before he started to choke her, only to be flung away by Derek, who stood protectively in front of her.

"Keep your filthy paws off her," he growled. "You're not family, Peter. You lost that right when you killed Laura. If you kill Artemis, you'll have to kill me too."

Peter just snarled before he fully shifted. His clothes tore, his skin became dark grey with spiky black fur, his eyes turned red, claws and fangs appeared and then he was more beast than human, just like Derek had once said. He then flung both Derek and Artemis out the window. When he came outside, he picked them up and snarled at them.

They managed to get away by kicking him hard in the chest and doing a flip backwards, which sent him flying onto the porch. He was about to attack again when Stiles and Jackson appeared in Jackson's Porsche. Stiles threw a vial, containing a Molotov cocktail at Peter, only to look dismayed when Peter caught the vial in his wrist.

"Alison, fire at the vial!" yelled Artemis.

Alison obeyed and shot an arrow at the vial and Peter's arm lit on fire. He became fully immersed in flames when Jackson tossed another cocktail at him. After a few moments, the flames died down and he collapsed onto his back. He was a mess, but he was alive. It would take more than a bit of fire to take down an Alpha.

Artemis was breathing hard as she and Derek resumed their human appearances. She was still a little frightened about all that had happened. Derek helped her to stand up before they approached Peter. Derek kept an arm around Artemis, and didn't take his eyes off Peter.

"Peter, they say that if the Beta kills the Alpha that turned her, she'll become human again," said Derek. "Is it true? Will Artemis be cured if she kills you?"

"I don't know," hissed Peter. He wasn't lying.

"It doesn't matter," said Artemis, surprising them all.

"Doesn't matter?" repeated Stiles, looking incredulous. "Artemis, are you kidding me? You've been after the cure ever since this all started! How can it not matter?"

"It doesn't matter because I don't care anymore," said Artemis. "Has any of this been easy? No. But it hasn't been all that bad. I've made my peace with who and what I am. And how do we know that my killing him won't just make me the Alpha instead of curing me? How do we know that my killing him won't just make me like him? I don't want that. I'm not going to do it. I won't."

"You may be right, but we can't just let him go free," said Chris, as he approached them. "You're both part of his pack. He's got control over you and he nearly killed you both and my daughter."

"So, what do we do?" asked Alison.

"The only thing we can do: I'll become the Alpha," said Derek. "I have years of experience and control. I can handle it. It's the only way we'll be free of him and I'll be able to help Artemis more."

Artemis looked over at Alison and Chris, who shared a silent conversation before they nodded.

"So be it," said Chris. He handed Derek his gun. "Do it."

And with that, Derek did what he had to and became the Alpha. He was the new pack leader and Artemis was part of his pack. Things would be better now.

Once that was over, Artemis turned to Chris.

"Mr. Argent, I'm sorry for—"

But she was cut off when Chris held up his hand. "One, I told you to call me Chris. And two, you have nothing to be sorry for. Alison told me everything. I'm sorry for what I put you through. I want you to know that I stand by the code. You're unlike other werewolves. I won't hunt you or Derek as long as we both agree to stand by the code."

Artemis smiled as she shook his hand. "We're agreed."

"I still don't trust you, but for Artemis's sake, I agree too," said Derek.

Chris just nodded. "Fair enough. But know this, not every hunter is like me and after what's just happened, trouble is on the horizon. So, watch your backs."

"We will," said Artemis.

"Derek?" said Jackson, catching their attention. "I believe you owe me something."

Derek narrowed his eyes and they briefly flashed red with anger. "Excuse me? I owe you?"

"I helped save you. You got what you wanted. Now, it's time for me to get what I want," said Jackson, looking terrified. "Turn me."

Derek snorted. "Jackson, do you know why the Alpha turns people?"

"No," said Jackson, looking confused.

"The Alpha turns humans because of one of three reasons. One, they want a stronger pack and think that person will make them stronger. Two, they need a goon. Or three, they've found their true mate. You don't qualify for any of those. You only want the power, not the consequences, which include having to control your anger and the shifting on the full moon. You want to become a werewolf because you want to please someone. And let's not forget that you didn't back off from Artemis or keep your fat mouth shut like I asked you to," snarled Derek. "So, the answer's no. I'm not turning you and that's final. If you get turned, it won't be by my hand."

Jackson looked as if he wanted to protest, but one look from Chris shut him up.

XXX

For the next few hours, they tied up loose ends.

They buried Peter and left Kate her necklace and allowed her to be discovered. Jackson was sent home, while Stiles, Artemis, and Derek went elsewhere.

Later that night, Artemis, Derek and Stiles paid a visit to Lydia to see if she would become a werewolf. Their visit turned up something baffling. Lydia was going to make a full recovery, but the wounds that she sustained from Peter were not fully healed, not like Artemis's had been. Lydia wasn't a werewolf, but no one knew what she was, only that they'd have to keep an eye on her for now.

Kate's body was found by the police, and she was publicly declared the culprit of the Hale fire. The sheriff couldn't deny the evidence, especially since Kate was wearing her family heirloom necklace which had been something the key witness had claimed she was wearing. There was going to be a bit of trouble, but it was nothing they couldn't handle.

Having decided to move on with his life, Derek bought his own place and found a quiet job online that wouldn't get him noticed by hunters. It seemed all would be well for the time being.

The following night, Artemis found herself being dragged away somewhere by Alison.

"Alison, why can't you just tell me what's all this about?" asked Artemis.

Alison had made Artemis get all dolled up for something she wouldn't tell Artemis about. Artemis had her hair pinned back and curled, her make-up was light but it brought out her features, she wore Derek's necklace, an elegant white dress with silver embroidery and matching high-heels. Now Alison was driving Artemis somewhere.

"It's a surprise, that's why. Close your eyes," said Alison, as she pulled over. She led Artemis out of the car and into somewhere quite warm. "Okay, open your eyes."

When Artemis opened her eyes, she was stunned to see that she was in a beautiful gazebo that was lit up with countless tiny lights. In one area, there was a stereo and Derek was there in the center of the room. He was dressed in black slacks, fine black leather shoes, a black suit jacket, and a slightly opened white shirt and he was smiling.

"Derek?" she said, surprised. "What's all this?"

"I seem to recall that you asked me to the Winter Formal, but I couldn't attend. So, I want to make it up to you," said Derek. He held out his hand. "Care to dance?"

Artemis smiled and felt excited. "I'd love to," she said, as she took his hand.

Derek smiled back as he took her hand and they started to dance together as a romantic song played on the stereo. It was a magical and beautiful moment.

"Derek, what were you going to say earlier, about how I'd seen your memories?" asked Artemis.

"Oh, that," said Derek. He took a deep breath. "Artemis, everything that's happened between us since you were bitten: feeling each other's presence, keeping each other anchored, my protectiveness of you, you seeing what I saw, it took me a while to realize what it meant. I didn't know until you told me you saw my memories. You and I, we're mates. You're my mate, Huntress."

Artemis was stunned and for a moment, she couldn't speak. "We-we're mates? How?"

"Because I love you," he whispered. "I think I've always loved you and just didn't know it before. And we only love like that once in our lifetimes. I love you."

Artemis felt happy tears sting her eyes as she smiled. He loved her. "I love you too," she said.

Derek's arms slid around her waist as Artemis wrapped her arms around his neck and they shared an intense passionate kiss expressing the depth of their love for one another. For one moment, all was right in the world. For one moment, they were just two people in love. For one moment, everything was perfect. And for just one moment that was all that really mattered.