Beacon Hills was boringly average in almost every sense of the word. It was a tidy, safe little town located in the northern part of California, but it didn't really stand out in any way, besides the fact that it was secluded. To the normal residents of Beacon Hills, the town was a cozy place to call home. It didn't occur to them that there were odd, even dangerous, things that lurked in the shadows at nighttime. They didn't know anything about the supernatural creatures living among them.

And honestly, it was better that way.

The only people that had supernatural ties were the Hales, and they were a private sort of family, quietly polite but always very reserved. In a sense, it was very right of them to be. The Hales were werewolves, the only local pack around, and they kept to themselves for fear of their secret being discovered.

Joseph Hale and his younger brother, Peter, had lived in Beacon Hills since they were children. Their parents had stumbled upon the town by accident, but they had taken a liking to it almost immediately. They wanted their family to stay far away from the outside world in order to form a strong and secure pack. The elder Hales were wise for this, and their sons stayed in the town where they were born, wanting to honor their parents wishes.

However, Joe Hale couldn't follow the most sacred rule that his parents had set- stay away from humans. He had been fascinated by the way they lived. But he had been even more fascinated by a human girl by the name of Talia Leven. She was beautiful, dark-haired and dark eyed, and she had stolen his heart after only a year. Joe had told her everything, much to his parents displeasure. They didn't understand their oldest son's interest in the human girl, and neither did Peter. He often questioned Joe about the girl, afraid that she would one day hurt him.

Talia had known this, and she knew that if she ever wanted to accepted into the Hale family, she had to do the only thing that would make their relationship right- she had to receive the bite to become a werewolf. Joe had agreed to the suggestion whole-heartedly, and after they were married, they started a family.

Joe and Talia had five children: Laura, Derek, Seraphina, Collin, and Libby. Laura was the oldest at age eighteen, and she was wild and beautiful and dangerous. She had long, dark tresses and captivating golden-green eyes that she had inherited from her father. Laura was a charmer; she had a different boy following her around every day, but she never showed much interest in them, or at least, not as much interest as they showed in her. As a senior at Beacon Hills High, Laura had a surprising knack for schoolwork. She could party all night long with the football team, but if she had a test the next morning, she would ace it without a doubt. And though Laura didn't care much for humans, she cared for her family with all of her heart; she was very careful to keep the Hale family secret…although that was the only thing she was careful with.

Derek was their second child, and he was very different than his sister. It was true that they looked the same, with thick dark hair and greenish-gold eyes, but Derek made it known that he was not at all like Laura. He was thoughtful and quiet, but he was quick to laugh and easy to please. He didn't mind humans. In fact, the sixteen year old boy was smitten with one. Her name was Kate Argent, a girl who was new to the area, and Derek had fallen madly in love with her almost immediately. His relationship with Kate was a hard one, however, because of their age difference. Kate was twenty-two, and technically, it was illegal for them to date, but they didn't let that stop them. Derek was very cautious when his parents asked about the girl he was seeing. He always gave them vague answers, steering clear of prying conversations. Derek also didn't mention how he had trusted Kate with their secret, knowing that she would never tell a soul.

The middle child was eleven year old Seraphina, and much like Derek, she was quiet and calm, constantly observing the world around her. She was very in touch with other people's emotions- sometimes she even claimed that she could taste them, much to her parents' amusement. Seraphina was often seen with her nose tucked firmly in a book, and though she laughed and played with her siblings, she was easily the most reserved in the group. She had a special fondness for Kate, though, who Derek had introduced her to only a few days after they started dating. Kate called her 'squirt' and ruffled her short, dark waves playfully every time she came over. Seraphina liked the way Kate walked- it was graceful and effortless, which amused the young Hale girl because Kate was only a human. Seraphina's green eyes were wide and trusting when they were focused on the Argent woman, and she thought of Kate as another sister.

The fourth Hale child was Collin, who differed from his siblings in many ways. For starters, he was loud and constantly had to be moving. Eight year old Collin had a passion for pranking people, and he normally gave everyone around him a hard time. His mischievous nature sometimes annoyed the others, but to Laura, it was endearing. "He's just being a kid," she would laugh when Derek found his basketball gear on the roof or Libby discovered that her dolls had mysteriously been thrown in the toilet. Collin took Laura's indifference as invitation to continue his reign of terror, and Mr. and Mrs. Hale had little to say about it, either. Collin was a free spirit, they said, too willful to be tamed. His unruly blonde hair and gray-blue eyes were an anomaly themselves, and they were further proof that Collin would not settle being 'average' in any way.

Libby was the smallest and the youngest Hale, and she took advantage of that every chance she had. With her round face, wide green-yellow eyes, springy caramel-colored ringlets, and bright, cherubic smile, she resembled an angel much more than she did a werewolf. She wasn't timid in the slightest; when it came to talking, Libby was the center of attention. The six year old had a very loud voice for such a small girl. And she had a personality to match it. Libby was bossy and somewhat of a tattle-tale; the other children often rolled their eyes when Libby started whining about not getting her way. She also had a tendency to blurt important things out at the most inconvenient moments, and that was part of the reason why the Hales home-schooled their children until they reached high school. They didn't want to risk the werewolf secret being blown wide open, and they knew with Libby around humans, it was always a possibility.

In all, the Hales were very hard-working citizens: Joe worked for a local construction company and Talia was a waitress at the local diner. Even Laura had a part-time job at the movie store downtown. Though having jobs was just to draw attention away from the fortune that let run the Hale Manor- the house Joe and Peter's parents had left to them-with ease. The house was enormous, and even with five children running about, it wasn't nearly full. Joe took that into stride, and he invited Peter, who had been living in a small apartment on the other side of town, to move in with them. Peter insisted on home-schooling Libby, Collin, and Seraphina as payment, and quickly accepted the offer to moved into the basement of the large house.

Shortly after Peter moved in, Talia received an alarming call from her baby sister, Amelia. Amelia's husband had abandoned her and her two children, leaving them with no money in their bank account and no where to stay. Talia quickly suggested that Amelia and her two children, eight year old twins Zoe and Zach, move into the Hale house. Amelia, distraught, had declined the offer at first, but after a few days, she broke down and agreed. The Leven children were soon living right alongside the Hale kids, and though Zoe and Zach were humans, they were accepted into the pack almost immediately. Talia had told Amelia about what she had become the day after she and Joe had been married, so Amelia had no problem with the strange customs that the Hales had; she watched as the Hale kids romped in the yard with their claws extended, batting playful at each other. She even taught Zoe and Zach how to fight, and had them practice with their cousins regularly.

Deep in the woods, the Hale house was a perfect place for the Hale and Leven children to grow up away from the prying eyes of the world. They were as safe as could be, guarded by Joe and Talia, their alphas, and the rest of the adults. They never could have imagined that one person, a person who they had considered a friend, would rip everything away from them. Kate Argent had never seemed like a threat; she was sarcastic and witty, but she wasn't cruel or callous. The Hales thought she had a good heart; Kate would often be found reading to Libby under the shady weeping willow in the back yard or letting Seraphina messily braid her dirty blond hair down her back. She was the love of Derek's life, though he was six years younger than her. Derek never would have guessed that the girl he kissed, the girl he sometimes held in his arms late at night, the girl he loved, was a Hunter. No one knew that Kate was a killer who despised werewolves. No one knew that her father, Gerard, had sent her to scope out local areas and make sure the werewolves there weren't causing any trouble. No one could have possibly known that Kate had assembled a group of humans that were willing to murder for profit, or that she had decided burning filthy werewolves was an acceptable excuse for breaking the Hunters' Code.

The day of the fire dawned bright and sunny. Derek and Laura departed for school, groaning when their mother insisted that they walk. "It's a beautiful morning," Talia scolded. "And I might want the car today. We're probably going to take the kids to the park." The older Hales grumbled as they left, but Laura couldn't help but roll her eyes and blow her mother a kiss on the way out the door. Derek muttered a goodbye, but he was down the steps before Talia could catch up to him. She had shrugged the issue off- Derek could be moody at times, and she had learned to accept that. After all, she didn't want anything to ruin the day she had planned out for her family. It was bound to be a good day; both she, Joe, and Amelia had the day off, much to everyone's delight. Talia made pancakes for the kids, and then decided she would take a well- deserved nap before they went anywhere.

The day was perfect. Or at least, for a while it was.

The sun was drifting down over the horizon when Kate stepped out of her truck, which she had parked only a few feet away. No one heard her coming as she slipped stealthily through the woods, the misfits she had recruited following closely behind her. The Hales didn't notice when Kate began to pour gas on their back porch, smirking as it drenched the wood. She pulled a match from her pocket and lit it without a second thought. She didn't care that there were humans inside the Hale house; she had watched in secret disgust as Zoe and Zach frolicked with the filthy creatures they called their cousins. As far as Kate was concerned, they were as much a part of the pack as any of the other mutts, and that meant that they, too, had to die. There was no emotion on Kate's face when she threw the match on the porch and watched it ignite.

The fire burned fast and bright. Kate's lackeys busted in window after window, pouring in gasoline and throwing in matches to help the flames. Kate could hear screams from inside, bloody, heart-wrenching screams, but she didn't feel any remorse in the hollow void that was her heart. She only felt a deep sense of satisfaction, knowing that she was ridding the world of dangerous creatures.

Darkness was just starting to settle over Beacon Hills when the smoke began to rise into the sky. Kate was nervous about staying too long- she knew there weren't any neighbors for miles, but someone was bound to see the smoke eventually. She just wanted to stay long enough to make sure the wolves died. She would deal with Laura and Derek at a later date; Kate wanted to rub Derek's stupidity in his face, but she didn't want to be caught, so she would lie low for a while until the buzz about the arson became a distant memory.

Or that was the plan, at least, until Kate turned around and came face to face with something she wasn't expecting.

There, not even ten feet away, Kate spotted a person through the smoke. They were covered in soot and ash, but Kate knew who it was without a doubt; she knew that mop of loose curls anywhere, even though the ends of the girl's hair were smoldering-Seraphina. The child stared at Kate with wide, horrified eyes, holding her side tightly with her hands. How she managed to escape, Kate didn't know. A snarl found its way to her lips as she turned back to the two goons behind her, ordering them to kill the girl.

"What girl?" one of them questioned anxiously. Annoyed, Kate turned around and pointed to the spot where Seraphina was standing… only to find it empty. Kate blinked, startled, and peered around the area, looking for any trace of the injured wolf pup. But she was gone, as though perhaps she hadn't even been there in the first place. Kate shook her head, angry that her eyes were playing tricks on her. Seraphina had adored Kate, and so maybe it was guilt eating her insides for murdering the girl. She couldn't have actually have seen her- there was no way Seraphina could have escaped with every exit blocked. There was no way she was still alive.

In the distance, Kate heard sirens blaring. She jerked around and ran for her truck, forgetting about her hallucination for the moment. Her accomplices jumped into the back, and together they peeled out of the leaf-strewn driveway, kicking up gravel as they went. Kate dropped off the men at the edge of town, but she didn't stick around. She drove out of Beacon Hills like a bat out of hell, and no one stopped her. She was free to go wherever she pleased, and with that in mind, she eased up behind the steering wheel.

Kate didn't know that in the woods miles away from her, fire trucks and paramedics were pulling up alongside the Hale house, trying to get the fire under control. She didn't know that in a few hours, Derek and Laura Hale would arrive at the charred skeleton of what used to be their home, and a police officer named Sheriff Stilinski would hold onto both of the children as they screamed and cried and tried to throw themselves at the wreckage, searching for their family. She didn't know-no one knew- that deep in the woods, running in the opposite direction that Kate was driving, there was a little girl.

She was wearing ragged clothes, her dark hair was in knots, and her side was badly burned, but she kept running. She ran even as blood dripped into her eyes, even as her wounds were starting to heal themselves, even though she was leaving the only place she had ever known. She ran with all the strength she had left in her body, and when she finally stopped, she was in a different state, lying on someone's porch. That was when it hit her, all at once. She saw Kate's face bathed in the glow of the fire, a packet of matches in her hand. She heard the screams of her family, felt their terror suffocating her. She felt the sorrow and pain crush her, destroy her, in that very minute, because she knew she could never go back. If she did, Kate would be there, waiting to finish the job that she had already started. The little girl knew that some things could not be undone, and this was one of them. She knew with all her heart-the broken and bleeding mess that it was- that Seraphina Hale had died in that fire along with her family. And when she accepted that, there was no more screaming or fire or heat. There was only darkness, and it swallowed her whole, giving her the peace she needed to survive.