AN: This was inspired by the love Jurassic Park/Teen Wolf AU gifset by scttmccall on tumblr.
Matt smirked at the man across from him, arms folded over his chest as he leaned back into his chair. "You know I'm starting to think this deal is a little one sided. I mean I'm getting a bit of cash out of it, but if I get caught, whose ass is on the line? Mine. That's right. I think you need to do something to keep me on board." He waved a miniscule memory card in front of the other man's face. "I mean, I'm sure there are plenty of other places that would pay top dollar to see just what kind of research WMGG is doing. In fact, I'm positive there are. See," He popped a few chips into his mouth, chewing easily. "I'm the one with the leverage here. So from now on I'll be calling the shots. I brought something for you, something I think you're going to be real interested in." He pulled a sealed envelope from his backpack, casually handing it across the table.
The man leafed through the photographs, mouth pulling down into a severe frown. "Where did you get these?" He asked voice low with barely restrained anger.
Matt chuckled. "Doesn't matter where I got them, does it? All that matters is that those aren't the only copies, and a good friend of mine has several others stored away in case anything unfortunate happens to me. Despite what you might think, I'm not actually an idiot. When you hired me, I made sure to study up on you. Friends in high places and all that."
"You had the job at WMGG before I even approached you." The man mused, realization dawning on his face as he set one particular photograph atop the others. "You were set either way."
"The one thing you learn when you work as a journalist is to look at life from every possible angle." Matt explained, tapping his fingers on the table. "So I'm going to ask you just this once: what are you willing to do to sweeten this deal? All it's going to take is a click of a button, and Whittemore will know just what you've been doing at the Island. It'll all come out, and if you don't think he'll get the best lawyer money can buy to get your ass behind bars, you've got another thing coming."
"I don't like being manipulated, Mr Daehler. If you can do what you've promised, and collect the embryo's, I'll grant you whatever you like. Name your price." He tipped his head in a nod, eyelids drooping until they were only half lidded. He had the distinct feeling that he wouldn't particularly enjoy whatever would come out of Matt's mouth next. He also knew that no matter what it was, he wouldn't refuse. The things he could do with that DNA at his fingertips...
"I want her."
The man looked down at the photo on the top of the pile, humming softly. "Then you'll have her Mr Daehler. But first, you do your part."
Scott lifted his head at the far away sound of a chopper. He was more than used to the heightened hearing he had by this point in time but certain noises never failed to draw his attention. He saw the look his best friend was sending him and gave a little shake of his head. "It's nothing, don't worry about it." He said, ducking back down to his work. His hands were unerringly steady as he moved the soft bristled brush across delicate bone, slowly but surely uncovering the remains of a long lost monster.
Scott had decided to into paleontology out of a desire for solitude after a teenager an accident he'd suffered as a teenager, one that had left him feeling stuck. Stiles, his best friend and partner in crime – a paleobotanist, who he'd know since he was four – was the only person aside from his mother who was aware of his condition. Point in fact; Stiles had been the one to discover Scott's condition, helping him through it as they researched tirelessly on what could be ailing him. After they'd finally begun making sense of what had happened to him, Scott had felt an overwhelming sense of loss.
With what he could do, then, how could he ever leave? He'd wanted to maybe continue Lacrosse professionally, but there was no way he would ever pass a blood test. There was no telling what would show up and the problems it would cause were...phenomenal. He'd toyed with the idea of following his part time job as a vet tech at the local animal shelter, but after the accident, most animals wouldn't approach him. His presence sent the cats and smaller mammals into a flurry of panic, to the point where his boss had had to let him go.
Stiles had helped him through the depression that followed, and helped him keep control when he was inches away from losing everything. They had done everything together after that, growing even closer than they had after Scott's dad left and Stiles' mom passed away. Their friendship was strengthened further, and to this day, Scott would get misty eyed whenever he thought of Stiles' hey man, you still got me on the Lacrosse field the summer before they went into grade eleven.
It had been during one of Scott's many "woe is me" speeches that Stiles had flipped on the Discovery channel to distract him. They had settled in to watch a documentary on a famous paleontologist and Scott had off handedly expressed a desire to do something like that – after all, there was no chance of him hurting something that was already dead, at least not a way he'd feel guilty over. If he broke a fossil he'd be upset, but it was better than accidentally murdering someone. If they could find the funds for their own dig...
Stiles had jumped into the research portion of it and during their first year of University, the shorter haired boy had managed to land them a summer internship at WMGG, the Whittemore-Martin Genetics Group. It had been a grueling summer of work, full of sweat and blood. They hadn't met the renowned but secretive Whittemore-Martins even once instead working under their head of tech, Danny Mahealani – who was a totally great guy.
They had returned to WMGG every summer until graduation. Danny had apparently put in a good word for them and the second they'd been awarded their PhD's in their respective fields, they'd received a letter offering a fifty thousand dollar dig sponsorship, and a subcontract under WMGG's dig specialists. They'd gotten so drunk they could hardly see then packed up and shipped out as soon as they had the necessary permits to start a site in New Mexico.
Scott and Stiles, the Dynamic Duo, had managed to build a name for themselves the last three years and kept their crew to the bare minimum.
Scott dragged himself from his thoughts when Stiles' fist connected none too gently with the back of his head. His brow furrowed, and he tilted his face towards his friend, prepared to use the puppy eyes. But Stiles wasn't hitting him to be a jerk – he looked concerned and was waving a tarp rapidly in the air, trying desperately to get it over their halfway uncovered specimen.
His mind rejoined his body quickly after that. The chopper was circling overhead, kicking up dust and dirt and nearly ripping one of the crews tents clear off the ground. Stiles was screaming at him to cover the fossil, frantically hammering spikes into the edges of the stained green tarp on his side, one leg stretched awkwardly to the left in an attempt to keep the other corner down. Scott's enhanced body worked faster than Stiles' average one. The fossil was saved from any further covering – the damned chopper had undone a fair bit of their work.
Furious, Scott clenched his fists and forced himself to his feet as the air ridden beast swiveled away, landing high upon the hill. "What the Hell was that?" He shouted in Stiles' direction, already heading towards the trailer. Who the heck would do something like that? Their site was a no-fly zone for a reason and air control would have told any craft of that fact. He was contemplating radioing into town as Stiles caught up to him.
When they finally reached their trailer, the pilot of the helicopter refused to talk to them. Stiles banged his fist angrily on the door, shouting through the glass for the moron to tell him what was going on, but the woman just waved a hand and gestured vaguely in the direction of the trailer –
The trailer, whose door was hanging open. Scott shook his head and stormed up the three metal steps, listening as Stiles slammed the door shut behind them. "What are you doing? Do you have any idea what kind of damage you could have done?" He raged at the man who – who had just made himself at home. He was dressed in a tailored, charcoal grey suit, all long limbs and sharp cheekbones. He was almost pretty.
He was also swirling a glass of the whiskey they'd been saving, perched on a broken barstool with a condescending smirk on his face. He raised an eyebrow at the Duo as he raised the glass to his mouth, shifting his weight so the stool didn't topple.
"Who the Hell do you think you are?" Stiles shot out as he grabbed the still uncapped bottle, dragging it back across the small counter. "What gives you the right to-"
"Jackson Whittemore." He said smoothly. "Owner of WMGG? I'm the biggest donor to your little group?" He offered, sipping again at the glass. He watched as the Duo stared at him, apparently dumbfounded, and waited for any further questions. When nothing came, he shrugged his shoulders and propped an elbow on their dust smeared cabinet, making a mental note to get the jacket dry cleaned as soon as he was back home. "I have a proposition for you two. One that I think you'll both find...satisfying."
"Oh yeah? And what's that?" Stiles hissed back at him, uncaring over the fact that he was finally meeting the man that had almost single handedly provided their careers. Jackson's other eyebrow lifted to join the first and his smirk turned nastier.
"I need two consultants and while you're not the most qualified in either of your fields, I know firsthand how hard you work. My wife requested you personally on Danny's referral, and what Lydia wants, Lydia gets." He pulled a chequebook from one of the jacket pockets. "Of course that isn't to say you won't be compensated for your work. We only need you for four days, but we're willing and able to add an extra twenty five thousand onto the fifty we grant you annually. If the results of your consultation are the ones we're looking for, we're prepared to make that twenty five into another fifty. You understand what I'm saying?"
"You're saying that if we go work with you for four days we could potentially double our group's sponsorship from you." Stiles muttered in a deadpan, elbow biting into Scott's ribs when his friend just stared at Jackson, slack jawed.
"But we're...we're in the middle of a-" Stiles elbowed Scott again, making a slicing gesture across his throat, signaling for Scott to shut up.
"Dude." He breathed, his lips hardly moving. He couldn't even hear himself talking yet he knew Scott would get it loud and clear. "We can have someone else finish the dig. Do you know how much new equipment we'll be able to buy with an extra fifty G's? Four days won't kill us Scott. And your monthly is already gone. It'll be fine. We need this." His voice was faintly pleading, and Scott knew just how much that money would help. They'd broken a few scanners, and most everything they owned was second hand or self repaired. The extra cash would make them – it wouldn't break them to be without it, but...it wouldn't break them to leave their dig in the capable hands of their pupils for four days either.
Scott pulled his mouth into a crooked smile as he wiped his grimy hands on his grimier jeans, reaching out to Jackson for a shake. "It sounds great Mr Whittemore. When do we leave?"
Jackson took Scott's hand for a brief moment before downing the rest of his glass and rising. "I have a private helicopter that will pick you up in two days. You'd better start packing. Make sure to dress lightly – it's going to be warm." He excused himself with a lazy, two fingered salute, and they listened as the chopper took once more to the sky.
As they spent their lives dealing with the remnants of the long forgotten neither of them thought to ask what they'd be consulting about. Just as neither of them would have been able to come up with what would transpire only days later, in their wildest dreams.
Derek Hale sat across from the woman, completely at ease. She was a pretty thing – strawberry blond hair, slim waist, sharp eyes. They were the sort of eyes that bred deceit, smooth in color and swimming with an intelligence that could be deadly to lesser men. Derek was not a lesser man. He casually tilted his bottle of water at her before drinking deeply, his own gaze never once leaving her face.
He took note of the slow, secret curve of her mouth as she tried to hide a smile. "You're a very difficult man to get hold of, Derek. I was beginning to think that I'd do the impossible and finally fail at something in life." She twirled a lock of hair around a manicured finger, before releasing it. It sprang back into a gentle curl, resting against the side of her face. She began a steady rap tap tap against the table, crossing her legs in an effort to draw his attention.
His attention was drawn, and then released. A piece of Lydia Martin was not worth the price he'd have to pay for it. "Something I can help you with?" He asked instead, tone casual as he leaned back and crossed his arms. It was cooler here, his worn leather jacket a comfort, helping to keep the heat inside. "I don't suspect you're the kind of woman that pays courtesy calls. You never have before."
Once long ago, Derek had taken a loan from WMGG to finance a hunt in Africa.
That had been after his parents' death. They'd left behind a good deal of money, and when he'd finished his zoology and animal behaviors courses – graduating top of his class for his thesis on wolves – Laura, his sister, had been willing to use it to invest in his hunt. He'd turned down the offer with the explanation that he'd wanted to do it on his own. And he had.
Derek had borrowed the money and paid it back within the year, interest free. His cash had come from an extensive study on the pack dynamics of the African wild dog – an animal that was as enigmatic as it was vicious. It was there that he'd met two kids on an internship with an elephant program. Erica and Boyd now worked solely for him, and there was absolutely no reason for Lydia to be shoving her pretty little nose back into his business.
He'd given Jackson everything he could, many years ago.
"We have another proposition." Lydia said coolly, the coy sexiness gone. Now there was only the smooth talking business woman who was more lethal that her husband, every bit the renowned geneticist that she'd worked to become. Lydia Martin was top in her field, having been the first to successfully clone a human organ, from nothing more than a simple lab mouse.
A wolf in sheep's clothing he heard in Laura's voice, all dry amusement and sarcasm. He merely lifted a brow and settled the bottle back onto the table. "If I recall correctly, the last proposition you gave me wasn't exactly a choice. So what did you come here to threaten me with this time?" And really, that was the funny thing. That Derek at six feet tall with all his muscle and sharp wit, could be threatened by the slim woman sitting across from him. Everyone had their secrets, though. It was just a case of misfortune that Lydia – and by extension, Jackson – knew his.
"I'm not here to threaten you Derek. There really is a deal on the table now. I'm offering you the chance of a lifetime. WMGG has recently come into possession of some extraordinary animals that people would very well die to see. As a favor for all that you've done for us, Jackson and I would like to extend first rights to you and your team. That is to say, we'd like you to come for a few days to study the animals. We have our own behavioural analysis unit of experts, but when it comes to big, deadly animals...well needless to say, you're the person we trust the most." The left side of her mouth lifted into a smirk as her eyes spat daggers. "After all, you are at the top of the food chain aren't you?
"Not interested." He replied smoothly, signalling for a waiter to come over. He'd only had the water and a bagel, and was tempted to foot Lydia with his meager bill, but knew the woman would only come back to bite him in the ass if he did that. "Ask someone else."
"You know it's rude to not listen to someone fully, before you jump to conclusions? We're going to pay you for your work, you know." She slid a folder across the table, and he spared but a glance at the name Erica Reyes before he bit back a growl. "It would be lovely if her past went away, wouldn't it Derek? It's so hard to do exhibits outside the continent when the best of your staff isn't allowed to leave legally. We've already had Danny prepare the necessary paperwork. Your word is worth a lot, Derek. If you were willing to come for the pilot opening and endorse our research, our resort, well, we'd be willing to scratch your back for you."
"If I do this, her record goes away?" He asked, watching Lydia as she nodded. "I'm not going anywhere without them." He told her, dropping his voice to a soft rumble. "My team and I don't do exhibits or studies unless we're together."
"Naturally." She sniffed, handing the waiter a large bill and telling him to keep the change. She stood and smoothed her designer dress back down, flicking her hair over her shoulder. "I'll have the details of the pickup point emailed to you as soon as possible. Be prepared to leave in two days. There's already a spot for each of your employees. I know how mutts like to run together." She gave him a final wave before she slipped from the dank, crowded cafe.
Outside she called Danny to let him know the information was a go.
She spared a final glance at Derek. He was standing outside the cafe as well, cloaked in the shadows. Hazel eyes were pinned on her as the hulking man stood stock still, mindless of the people jostling around him. He only had eyes for her; in a different time or place, Lydia would have been enthralled to have that much power focused on her. In the here and now, she knew that no good would come of it. The sooner she finished wringing everything she could from Derek Hale, the better. They'd been involved with him and his kind for far too long, and the day when she could wash her hands of him for once and for all would be a marvelous day indeed.
The pilot of the helicopter was a sharp angled, cold eyed redhead who went by the name Victoria Argent. When Derek and his team of animal behavioural analysts pulled into the lot in the black Camaro, the woman was standing outside the chopper, waiting for them. She had the black head piece on and was dressed in a plain dark green romper, the bottoms of the pants tucked neatly into heavy boots. He had the distinct feeling that they were steel toed. "Mr Hale?" She asked him in a no nonsense tone, shaking his hand once. She had a firm grip and calloused palms, hands that spoke of hard work. He wondered what else she did for the Whittemore-Martin power couple, besides tote their unwilling partners around. "If you would please get in and buckle up, we have a long ride ahead of us and still one more stop." Her smile was almost sweet.
Derek saw right through it. "Right." He said, dry, jerking his chin at Erica and Boyd. They each picked up their bag – singular, with only the bare necessities – and clambered into the spacious aircraft. He followed after, letting Erica sit in the middle so she could easily talk to both of them over the rumbling.
This trip would be the very first time since meeting in Africa that Erica would be leaving US soil. She was both excited and nervous. It had been a long time for her.
He had of course warned both of them to stay as far away from the WMGG owners as they could. They'd more than likely see each other, since Jackson loved to stroke his ego in front of a crowd, but they weren't to talk to them, or to be caught alone with them. He told them that Jackson was dangerous and Erica, in her usual way, firmly told him that Jackson and Lydia both looked like snakes. It had caused a pang of discomfort for the youngest living Hale, and they'd dropped the topic.
Boyd pulled his headphones on as they started out, and Erica stole Derek's tablet from him which was fine. He'd expected as much, and had brought a well loved book along for the ride. He briefly thought that he should have asked what sort of predator they'd be studying, and then shrugged it off. If Lydia wanted to be vague and he was unable to give her as good a recommendation as she wanted, that was her problem. He'd find another way to deal with Erica.
They sat in near silence until the chopper landed down around three hours later. He glanced at the door when Victoria opened it, then blinked in surprise at the two that piled in. They couldn't be any older than Erica or Boyd.
The one with the longer hair was faintly tanned, shoved into baggy jeans, a skin tight black tee shirt, and a brown lambskin leather jacket which looked downright buttery. The kid tossed him a wave before sliding into the seat across from Boyd, pressing his nose into the window like an over eager puppy.
"Dude I told you I wanted a window seat, I get plane sick. And no, this isn't a plane but it flies and you're an asshole, I hate you. So not your friend anymore bro." The second boy was paler, lightly muscled. His brown hair was cropped close to his head, and he dressed in a ridiculous amount of layers, covered from the neck down. He dropped into the spot across from Derek - a window seat - pursed his lips, and offered the man a nod. "I don't want to sit this far away from you Scott."
"You're so needy." The dark one, Scott, said. He tossed a playful grin at his friend and then stretched a leg out so their ankles were brushing. "Come on Stiles it isn't that bad. You got your medication right? We'll just listen to some music and you can nap!"
"What the Hell is a Stiles?" Erica asked.
Stiles, in return, let his mouth fall open into an 'o' shape as he stared at the blond, eyes seemingly trying to bulge out of his head. "I'm a Stiles." He replied, trying for suave and failing. "And what're you?" There was a deal of bite into the words, and Derek bit down on the urge to smile. Not many people were willing to get on Erica's bad side – most of them wanted to get into her bed side. Still, there was a faint arousal around the kid, so perhaps sarcasm was a defense mechanism.
Or a really bad way of flirting.
Erica barked out a laugh and lifted both her feet to rest them on the chair between the boys. "I'm Erica. I study animal behaviour patterns. This is my boss, Derek, and my partner Boyd." She gestured to each of her men as she introduced them.
Stiles buckled in then leaned forward to shake her hand. "Stiles Stilinski, paleobotanist, Batman aficionado extraordinaire. This is Scott, my heterosexual life partner. Same age, single and looking, not as hot as me. Paleontologist – has a weird obsession with eggs. Kind of creepy."
"Dude!" Scott punched his friend in the shoulder despite the way he was grinning widely. It was clear to everyone present that these two were close. "WMGG is one of our biggest donors, we did our internships with them and they sort of took us on once we graduated. Jackson asked us to come and do a consultation for whatever it is he's working on." He explained. "If things go the way he wants he'll be doubling the money they put into our program, so it's kind of a big deal. But now I'm really confused. Why are you guys going to be there if you study animals?"
"Don't know." Derek interrupted, before Erica could start talking. "They just told us they'd come into possession of some rare animals and that they wanted us to take a look and sign off an endorsement."
"What kind of animals do you study?" Stiles looked genuinely curious, which was interesting. From the lanky stature to bright, flashy dress code – red plaid over a nearly neon blue shirt, not the kind of attire that proves ones stealth – it seemed as though he'd be more interested in videogames than wilderness. Then again, the boy studied extinct plants for a living. That had to count for something.
"Predators." Boyd was the one who spoke up then, headphones around his neck. "We stuck with canines for a while, but we've done bit of work with big cats."
Scott furrowed his brow, clearly confused. "What kind of big animals could they have?" He obviously hadn't asked what sort of consultation he was going to be doing if the 'whatever project they're working on' comment could be taken at face value. "We don't study living things, we study dead things."
"Could be some sort of reptile." Stiles explained away. His hands were curled around his buckle, grip tight enough that his knuckles had turned white. His heart was nearly racing out of his chest; skipping a beat every few moments as the chopper finally spun into motion and began to lift from the ground. It was rough for a few minutes, a steady pattern of rise, drop, rise, drop until Victoria got the thing evened out and they hit clear skies. "I mean we study dinosaurs and extinct plants, but they could be trying to open some sort of exhibit. I read about a monk temple that takes in Bengal tigers? It'd be good publicity to have some sort of resort or reserve for dangerous reptiles, which is where you and I would come in. Comparing them to their ancestors, and I mean, I study extinct plants yeah, but I know my everyday horticulture too." He was a rambling mess, forehead beaded with sweat as he stared straight out the window.
"Just breathe man, I got you. I won't let anything happen Stiles." Scott was keeping his voice oddly low, and the trio watched as the darker haired boy leaned across Erica's leg. He curled a tanned hand over his friend's neck, twisting him around until he could press their foreheads together. "Come on dude; don't have a panic attack on me now. Just breathe with me." He was speaking in a coo, eyes drifting shut as he inhaled slowly through his nose, releasing on a deep exhale after holding a few seconds.
After several tense minutes Stiles slapped a palm over Scott's shoulder and pulled away. He didn't look as though the incident had embarrassed him at all, which was – interesting. It wasn't unusual for them, it seemed. Derek relaxed once the two across from him settled back into their seats.
What had been silence before was now filled with a steady stream of gentle chatter, as the younger foursome tried to decipher just what they'd gotten themselves into by agreeing to the WMGG's owner's conditions.
"Buckle your seatbelts kids. We'll be landing in fifteen." Victoria called over the PA, voice smooth as ice. True to her word, the chopper jerked violently only moments after, making a steady decline towards the ground. Stiles didn't seem to panic again simply closing his eyes and tilting his head towards the ceiling, heart rate and breathing even. The promise of solid ground seemed more soothing that his friend could have been.
Erica wiggled lightly in excitement when the metal craft jumped around them, signalling their landing. When the propellers were finally done spinning, they could make out the harsh beat of a waterfall nearby. Victoria opened the door and stepped aside to let them exit.
Jackson and Lydia were waiting for them, dressed immaculately in designer outfits as they stood off to the side of the pristine cement landing circle. Aside from the chopper they'd arrived in, there was no sign of manmade life. Derek felt tense muscles uncoil at the sight of endless forest.
It was a rainforest to be sure. In the distance they could hear the siren call of tropical birds, cheering merrily as they bustled through the foliage. The waterfall was closer than they thought, droplets landing on their bare skin every few seconds. The entire place smelled damp and clean, like fresh soil and moss. Like wilderness. Stiles turned in a full circle three times, eyes trying to drink everything in. It was breathtaking.
They were high upon a cliff with a jagged rocky trail leading down the side. It had a steep drop on the right, which faced out towards the ocean, and the left was bordered by a rock face that looked so natural, one would think it belonged there.
"We'd like to take you in to the main building before we begin the tour." Lydia crooned, voice sugary sweet as she smiled at the group. "There's cars waiting at the bottom of the hill, but we assumed after such a long trip you'd like to stretch your legs and get some fresh air. The flight here can be a little tedious at times, we know."
"Do you fly back and forth often?" Stiles asked. He already had his bag over his shoulder and was bounding towards the WMGG's CEO's without a second thought. He didn't appear to have much of a sense of personal boundaries. "How often?"
"We tend to ferry in." Lydia replied, lips pursed as she peered up at Stiles. She'd only ever seen him once before, on his very first internship. He hadn't seen her. She'd merely been by the dig to check on an amber deposit Danny had said they'd found. She'd come in, and she'd left, as was her way. Her research was more important to her than supervising what the diggers did. "And not often. We have everything we need here on the Island, and anything else, we get shipped to us. It's a very meticulous process that requires a lot of planning, and I'm due to check on the latest orders when we get in. If you don't mind Mr Stilinski, I'd like to get going now. This way everyone, follow me. And watch your step. A tumble might not end well."
Scott peered over the edge of the cliff and grimaced to himself. No, a fall would most certainly end in sudden death. For the first time in a long time he had the sense of being trapped. He shrugged it off when Stiles grinned at him and slung an arm over his shoulder, and pushed the strange smells out of his mind. It didn't matter what they would be consulting with. It was worth it.
They were met at the base of the cliff by two safari Jeeps and a man who carried himself like a soldier. Jackson introduced him as Chris Argent, and not a single one of the consultants would have been able to guess that their pilot, Victoria, was married. The couple hardly so much as spared a glance at one another, instead moving to each take charge of a vehicle.
Both Stiles and Derek silently worried about the two guns strapped discreetly strapped to the male Argent. They were hardly detectable to the naked eye – one was strapped under the shoulder of his bulging camouflage jacket, and the other tucked into a holster high upon his hip – but if you spent enough time enough time with cops, as was Stiles' case, you tended to pick up on these sorts of things. Stiles could tell from only looking at him that he was a right handed gunman. He had the feeling that Chris was a pretty damn good one, too.
In Derek's case when one spent half their life dodging bullets, one very quickly learned who to watch out for. It would appear, he mused as he absently slid into the Jeep after Stiles, that avoiding the Argents wouldn't be possible for the next four days. He would have to keep his guard up. Lydia didn't make mistakes. She had to know about the guns, and there had to be a purpose for them aside from animal control.
People didn't tend to use easily concealed weapons for animal control – tranqs wouldn't fit. They were the kinds of guns that were meant to kill, not stun.
Stiles chattered an endless stream of questions as they rumbled down the road. He was sitting beside Lydia and across from Derek, who had placed himself beside Scott. The interior of the Jeeps had four seats facing towards each other, making it easier to talk. A glance out the windows told them that there was still nothing around for miles in either direction, save for a vast expanse of jungle and the occasional babbling river. The skies were quietly greying over with wispy rain clouds but it didn't appear to be anything to worry over.
Lydia seemed willing to answer most anything Stiles asked now that they were in motion, as it wasn't putting her behind schedule. "I think when you see what type of work we're doing here, you and Mr McCall especially will be impressed. I'm hoping that you can give me feedback on the botanical decor. I know next to nothing about plants and I haven't had the time to do the necessary research as of yet."
Scott was trying to hide a smirk, so Derek shot him a questioning look. The younger man shook his head and Derek realized what was going on – Stiles was absolutely enthralled with Lydia, eyes focused solely on her as they discussed the merit of edible flowers.
Derek felt a wave of irritation roll over him. He let it come, not bothering to fight it. It rolled over his shoulders and off him again like a dog shedding water. It wasn't his business if these gullible kids wanted to play monopoly with the WMGG. It wouldn't be his neck on the line if Lydia – who was very much a snake, as Erica had said previously – wasn't pleased with them in the end.
"He's an idiot." Derek told Scott quietly as he tried to force himself to relax into his seat, knowing the rest of their party was distracted. "She's going to suck him dry, wring him for all he's worth, then leave him hanging."
Scott's face pulled into an adorable little frown complete with worry lines creasing his forehead. "Dude." He hissed, "I don't want to think about my best friend having sex!"
Derek stared at the puppy faced moron. "I don't – I'm not –" He growled in frustration as he jerked Scott closer to him with a hand around the back of the boy's neck. He ignored the way Scott went rigid under his grip. "I'm saying she's just using you. The both of you. He might like it now but he won't later. Watch his back and don't let him get too caught up. Lydia Martin isn't the kind of person who has friends. She has toys, and she has a possessive husband with enough money to make any problem disappear. You get me?"
Realization dawned across Scott's face and Derek was content that he'd broken through the wall of stupidity. Until the other man spoke again. "Oh yeah, I forgot she was married." He released Scott only to smack a hand onto his own forehead, eyes closing against the beginnings of a migraine. Lydia and Stiles seemed none the wiser about what had just transpired.
What he would not give to have an intelligent conversation for once in his life.
He jerked suddenly, sneaker clad foot slamming into Stiles' shin. He muttered an apology as the short haired man yelped loudly, and turned to glance sharply over his shoulder. He stared out the back window, able to see the other Jeep clearly, suddenly feeling like the world's biggest fool.
Despite all the warnings he'd given, Derek had been so distracted he'd let Boyd and Erica get into the other Jeep with Jackson. He grit his teeth against a flash of anger and lifted a hand to rub lightly at the bridge of his nose, ears straining to hear what was going on behind him.
The other vehicle was silent. He didn't know whether to be relieved or very, very worried.
He didn't have much time to think it over as the next soft hill they rolled over ended with a metal gate. They stopped long enough for the gates to swing slowly inwards before continuing on. He noted the barbed wire ornately lining the top of the fence, and the low hum that spoke of live electricity. He narrowed his eyes questioningly at Lydia but the woman simply ignored him as they pulled to a stop in front of a ridiculously out of place building. It was several stories tall and snow white, full of red curtained windows with high arches.
The entire interior was white stone walls and marble floors, polished to the point that they glittered like diamonds under the ornate chandeliers overhead. The walls were splattered generously with life sized murals of dinosaurs. Derek stood with his team as Scott urgently began commenting on the authenticity of the pelvis on a stunningly detailed parasaurolophus portrait to Stiles.
"These are toxic." The short haired boy said suddenly, hard worked pianist fingers dancing playfully across the leaves of one of the lush ferns decorating the foyer. "I mean I don't think any of us are going to go around chomping on plants, but some people react to it by touch and you said you wanted this to be a family friendly place. Kids put everything in their mouths, right?" The comment was directed at Lydia as he broke a drooping leaf from the plant, digging his thumbnail into the jagged cut which was steadily oozing a foul smelling sap.
"As I told you, I know next to nothing about plants. Everything inside the main building was picked by one of caretakers."
"I'll have them replaced right away." The group of consultants turned to face the newcomer. She was wearing jeans and work boots, along with an oddly flattering, generic green uniform top. Her hair, rich and dark, was piled onto her head in a sloppy ponytail. Loose strands brushed over her cheeks and tickled at her slim neck. "Allison Argent. I'll be your guide for the time that you're here." She had a sweet, honest smile unlike her mother. "Why don't I show you all to your rooms so you can get changed? There's enough time before dinner to take you on a quick run. It's a bit muggy, so dress light." She dropped a kiss onto her father's cheek, and then gestured for them to follow.
Their single bedrooms were larger than the entirety of the trailer that Scott and Stiles lived in. Stiles almost immediately slipped away from his room, and into Scott's. His friend tossed him a knowing grin as Stiles dropped his bag onto a dresser.
"Did you see her Stiles? She's gorgeous. Talk about love at first sight." Scott's voice held a note of longing as his eyes fogged over and he flopped onto the bed. "And she just smells so good."
"Think they call that lust, bro." Stiles said in a sympathetic tone as he fell onto the bed beside Scott, stretching out along the king sized mattress. "Did you see Lydia though? I can't believe I'm finally meeting her. I've had a boner for her brain for like, six years. She is way hotter than I thought she'd be. Oh man. Did you ever get around to reading her paper on how she cloned a human brain?" At Scott's blank look, he barreled on "Do you know how helpful that would be during a zombie apocalypse? I mean the studies they're doing on tumours and Alzheimer's and stuff is amazing too but...zombies."
"Don't think you're her type." Scott teased. "Not anal enough."
Stiles waggled his eyebrows and tacked his friend, catching him off guard and pinning him to the bed. He bent to try and lick Scott's cheek, but a palm over his face held him at bay as Scott groaned gross at him. "Awe come on Scott; let me show you how anal I am. I love anal!" He cackled, giddy from the excitement of a vacation after so many years of working his butt off.
"You two idiots done?"
They turned to stare at Derek. The man was standing in their doorway, broad shoulders filtering out the bright lights of the hall. He had a way of overwhelming a room without ever really trying to, the sort of presence that demanded attention even if he didn't want it. "How long have you been standing there you big creep?" Stiles squawked in a voice slightly higher pitched than usual.
"Just long enough to hear how much you love anal." Derek replied, the faint look of disbelief fading only to be replaced with a wicked, full toothed grin. "Which is a lot, apparently. I thought you two said you were heterosexual partners," His tone was faintly playful, "I didn't think you meant it like that."
"Ew!" Scott cried, shoving a prone Stiles off of him and back onto the mattress. "He's like my brother. What are you even doing here; don't you have your own shit to do?"
"Argent asked me to come get you. Everybody else is already waiting in the lobby, and you two were taking forever." He explained, smile fading. Stiles was a bit sad to see the disappearance of the oddly endearing bunny teeth.
At the thought of Allison, Scott perked right up. He rolled off the bed, bounced onto his feet, and moved to his bag to begin getting changed. Stiles followed him soon after, both younger men uncaring as they stripped down to their boxers and dug around for lighter clothes.
Derek shook his head and left them to it, uncomfortable with the idea of Boyd and Erica being away from him especially when there were guns floating around. They'd already told him that Jackson had been eerily quiet on the ride to the mega-mansion. The entire situation had a tense ball of unease settling low in his belly as he made his way to the group huddled near the front doors. The owners of WMGG and the Argent parents were nowhere in sight.
They set out as soon as everyone was in the lobby.
"Stop the car." Stiles breathed out not half an hour later. They all glanced at him, Allison with a knowing smile on her face. She had just been explaining that the mansion functioned as a hotel and laboratory, and that most of the actual park attractions were further away from the main building. They'd taken a light grey truck as opposed to either of the Jeeps. "Allison stop the car." He sounded breathless then, heart racing a mile a minute. His eyes rolled a little and Scott frowned in concern, silently willing his friend to not faint while wondering just what his problem was.
"I don't have the proper-"
Stiles wasn't listening. He grabbed onto the handle, seatbelt already off, and Allison cursed the fact that not a single one of the dozen vehicles they had on the Island had child safety locks. She slammed the breaks as Stiles flung his door open, the truck just barely stopped before he was stumbling out onto the gravel road.
"Stiles!" Scott shouted, slipping out after him. He grabbed his arm, but Stiles' hand found his chin, and turned his head to the side.
Scott's heart clenched and he sincerely wondered if he was having an asthma attack. He hadn't had them since before the accident, nearly ten years ago. "I – you." He stuttered, feeling Allison come up behind his shoulder. His legs began to feel weak and he slowly let himself collapse, rough gravel biting into his knees. He would have been embarrassed but Stiles was sliding down beside him – lashes wet with tears of awe as the brachiosaurus lumbered across the clearing straight ahead of them. "That's a – that's a."
"Brachiosaur." Stiles whispered, leaning in until his cheek was pressed flush to Scott's. "It's a brachiosaur. Scott it's a dinosaur." His voice cracked and shook on the word, fingers digging into Scott's shirt.
Derek's stomach felt as though it were dropping out. He stared at the beast that ambled along. It was close to three stories tall, with a deep set rib cage. Its neck, similar to a giraffes, was held lower as its small head turned back and forth. Eventually it raised its neck to bay, a deep rumbling sound loud enough the ground under their feet seemed to tremble. He could smell the mingling scent of excitement and fear rolling off everyone save for Allison, who merely watched with a serene look on her face.
"What the fuck did they do?" Derek whispered.
Allison crouched behind the boys still crumpled on the ground, voice gentle as she touched the back of Scott's head. "Welcome to Jurassic Park."