Chapter One: Of Wolves and Men
"Could you say that again?"
The voice echoed through the back alley, bouncing off the cement walls on either side of the speaker and traveling back into the street adjacent to him. Past midnight, the majority of Beacon Hills had long ago tucked themselves in that Sunday, now Monday, the weekend having come and gone in a flash. Only a few neon lights lit up the downtown streets, their eerie glow reflecting in puddles and shop windows, but not reaching the depths of the alley corners.
So with only the company of his own footsteps, a young man in an old leather jacket and worn jeans guided himself through the darkness of his super-secret – or not so secret if you asked most or all of his friends – shortcut home through the alley next to the bakery.
"Sorry my connection is cutting ou-"
He stopped, suddenly, mid-sentence, pulling his cellphone from his ear and looking at the screen display, black letters flashing 'Call Disconnected'.
"Damn," he muttered in the silence. "Shitty ass phone…"
He grumbled to himself but kept on his path, stuffing the "shitty-ass" phone in his pocket as he did so.
The alley lead into another street – Granville to be exact – that would connect him almost immediately to Beacon Hills' biggest park, which eventually lead to the safety and warmth of his small apartment. He walked this way almost every night, though he had to admit usually it wasn't quite this late. But he'd have to blame the extra glass of whiskey at the bar and the pretty girl name Amber. Topaz? A jewel, for sure.
Although, if he had to be honest, his longtime girlfriend might prefer to blame him.
He turned left at the end of the alley, finally being bathed in the blue neon light from the Laundromat across the street, no longer completely hidden in shadow. He could even see his way to the park, a large slightly chipping sign reading "Beacon Hills National Park" in big wooden letters.
Thankfully, as he started his journey through the bricked path, the park had street lights that illuminated every twenty feet, making his heart settle back to an average pace. He even pulled out his phone once more to check the service, but it seemed his provider wasn't throwing him any bones tonight. Sighing, he turned a corner next to a large rose bush and nearly tripped right over a lump of black in his path.
He stopped mid curse though as a sound erupted from behind him, something moving around in the bushes.
"Who's there?" he yelled into the darkness, his hands shaking from fear. Another bush to his left shook and he backed up from the sound, towards the other side of the path.
As he moved, however, the moon seemed to peek out from under the clouds as its lights illuminated a spot between two street lights that had once been bathed in darkness. What he'd thought earlier was just a lump of dirt or forgotten bag, finally came into the moonlight and into focus before his eyes.
Before him - lying in a lump - was a grey wolf. Dead, or close to.
He opened his mouth as if to scream, but before he could a hand clamped over his mouth, pulling him away from the scene and into the shadows once more.
Her eyes began to slide closed as she turned the corner onto Fairway Drive, leaving Beacon Hills High behind her. The streetlights were just starting to pop on and with them Lydia's energy slipped away, pushing a yawn out of her throat.
"Mmm," she moaned into the empty car, stabbing at the fancy touch screen on her dash to play some music. The louder and more obnoxious the better to keep her awake.
Finally she settled on some strange upbeat top 40 that she swore she'd never heard before. She decided to blame the wolves for that one too. It seemed, after all, that they took up so much of her time that she rarely had time for the average teenage activities she'd once enjoyed so much. Admittedly, however, the after effects of last year's kanima-Jackson scandal did provide with some rather unexpected perks. The first being, of course, her new entirely decked out car courtesy of her worried parents, having perceived Lydia's sullen attitude as teenage depression instead of PTSD à la wolf. And after having her windshield crushed in by a crazy suicidal deer, it seemed like the only solution Mr. and Mrs. Martin could come up with.
She could also admit that having burst through a wall in Stiles' beat up Jeep to then encounter her ex-boyfriend turned lizard man, meant Lydia Martin was now very much in the loop. Definitely her favourite perk of the whole scenario. Neither Derek nor Scott – not even Stiles - could keep another secret from her. After all, she had saved all their asses.
But then again, she couldn't exactly blame her over exhaustion on extra credit work for chemistry lab.
Instead she could only blame it on her new rampant curiosity - or perhaps obsession would be more appropriate - on the alpha pack. Maybe she was only interested as a means to keep herself busy and push thoughts of a blue-eyed chiseled-chested ex-boyfriend out of her head, but she couldn't help but also think she might do some good in her research. And it was definitely more productive than sleeping her way through the new batch of freshmen.
What the wolves so evidently lacked was a strategy. They were all so focused on honing their emotions and increasing their pack numbers that they tended to forget to...well, think. Perhaps it was wolf hormones, or maybe you simply had to be an alpha male type to accept the bite, but Lydia figured they could use all the help she could give.
At least, it might save their asses again one day.
She yawned again as she turned another corner, nearly jumping the curb as she over steered in her exhausted state. She sighed in relief, however, as she spotted her destination just up ahead, knowing she wouldn't have to risk the lives of any road users much longer.
Pulling up into the driveway, Lydia flashed her headlights twice to let him know she was there before flipping off the engine and hopping out of the car.
She tried her best to look around her before she hurried to the door, as if she'd actually be able to spot someone watching her from the shadows, but knowing full well that in this city mere human vigilance was nothing compared to what went bump in the night.
"Lydia," someone whispered from the building, a slight sliver of light appearing before her. "Lydia."
"Hey," she whispered back, her hands stuffed in her pockets as she finally presented herself in front of the door, a slight grimace on her face. "Are you going to let me in or what? Because my outfit is seriously not suited for this weather."
"Yeah, yeah, just give me a sec, will ya?"
The sliver of light disappeared quickly and rattling noises sounded from the other side of the door. Finally, something seemed to slide out of place and the door swung open, the light practically blinding her as her eyes tried to adjust.
"Jesus," she hissed, a hand over her eyes. "Could you maybe try not to burn my eye sockets next time?"
"Whatever you say, your highness."
She ignored the dripping sarcasm and stepped past her host and into the building, letting him close the door before her with a click. Shaking off her coat - which she'd also have to thank her parent's misguided concern for - she heard the locks clack back into place.
"All right, then."
She threw her coat onto the receptionist's desk, which was covered in little figurines of dogs and cats, and followed him into the back room.
"Please, make yourself comfortable," joked Stiles, scratching his head as he flopped down into the swiveling office chair, throwing his feet onto the table in front of him.
However, what appeared to be a table strewn with newspapers and various photocopies, was actually what was used daily to treat the sick pets of Beacon Hills. Deaton had first offered the place to Stiles as a sanctuary to keep all his research from the prying eyes of his father, but as the months stretched on, it had pretty much become his secret office when the pet hospital was closed for the night.
"Ooh by the way," he said, a little excitement slipping through as he pressed and released his foot from the lever that rose and dropped the metal slab-made-table. "I finally got my hands on the Hale house article."
"Really?" she asked, running her fingers over the pages on the table, glancing at headlines and titles as she did. "You find anything?"
"Nah, not really. Mostly just junk the police department came up with to explain it all for the public."
"Hmm," she muttered, not satisfied. "Would it really matter anyways? Allison's crazy ass aunt is dead, right? What would the fire have to do with the alphas?"
"Maybe nothing at all," said Stiles, spinning around once in his chair. "Or, and this is my favorite new theory, it has everything to do with it."
"Get to the point, Stilinski."
He pouted, but continued anyways.
"Well, how do we know Peter and Derek are the only Hales still left out there?"
"Because they all died in the fire, Stiles," she rolled her eyes and continued to scan the papers in from of her. "But brilliant idea, really."
"No, wait. Think about it," he pressed, rising from his feet to push a piece of paper across the counter at her. The headline read 'Inferno Kills Eight'. "Not everyone was in that fire. There has to be more out there, right?"
"Well why couldn't they have all been in the fire? Who says that wasn't their entire family?"
He slapped down another newspaper section, though this one didn't seem to be a headline like the first. In small bolded black letters read 'Victoria Hale: 1964-2006', a black and white picture of a women in her fifties staring up at her.
"The obituaries?" she asked, scrunching her eyebrows at the tiny font below the name. "Derek's mom?"
"Aunt," Stiles corrected, taking the paper from her and pointing halfway down the passage. "It says here: 'The community of Beacon Hills gravely says goodbye to one of our finest citizens. Victoria Jane Hale leaves a legacy of leadership, responsibility, and compassion: all qualities we hope this next generation of Beacon citizens can look up to. She will be buried next to her husband, Robert, and leaves behind son, Jordan'."
"A son?" she asked, shaking her head down at the table as she tried to process this idea. "There's another Hale out there somewhere?"
"Well, not so much."
He shuffled through the papers on the table again, pushing past the newspapers until he finally found what he was looking for.
"Yesterday I was visiting my dad at the station, like I do every week," he began. "And usually I just sit and watch him work, re-tie the laces on my lacrosse stick or whatever. But the Sheriff made a mistake. He didn't-"
"-realize who he was-"
He jumped a little as he turned his face to look at her, having seemed to not even realize that he was pacing. Or that Lydia had been glaring at him for the past three minutes.
"Could you please, for the love of God, get to the damn point already."
"Oh, right. Okay."
He cleared his throat twice, smiled awkwardly, but continued on anyways.
"Right, so when my dad left the room I went and used his computer. You'd think it'd be difficult to hack into a police database, but I swear my dad is making it easy for me. Like who makes their password 'password'?" Lydia cleared her throat and raised her eyebrows at him, urging him to move on. "Yeah, yeah, I'm getting there. So I used the time to look up our little orphan Annie and found-"
"Wait," Lydia stopped him. "Did you just make an orphan joke?"
"Not the point, Martin!" He readjusted his jacket and made that face – the overly comic one that made Lydia just want to roll her eyes. Or laugh. Depending on the day really. "What I was getting at was that I found him on the database."
"What? You're saying he has a record?"
"No, that's not what I'm saying."
He paused for what seemed like dramatic effect, sliding her the page as he did so.
"He's not in the criminal database." She looked down at the sheet and realized what he was about to say just as he did. "He's a missing person, Lydia."
"What's wrong with you?"
Lydia didn't look up from her textbook as she waved off the question, the brunette peering at her best friend intently. The events from the evening before still weighed heavily on the redheads mind, and for some reason, she couldn't quite shake the idea that Beacon Hills was no longer a safe place to be. Had life been easier when no one told her anything? When they'd treated her like a bimbo that'd go screaming "Werewolves!" at the top of her lunges? Perhaps it had been, yet at the same time, she wondered if maybe, just maybe, she could help.
And then other times she wondered if maybe they'd all just gone completely insane.
"Don't give me that, Martin," scolded Allison. "You either tell me what's going on or you can stop mumbling to yourself."
"I wasn't-" Lydia started, and then stopped suddenly, when she realized she wasn't exactly sure if she'd been mumbling to herself or not. In fact, she couldn't even remember which paragraph she'd been reading. "Well, I didn't mean to mumble, anyways."
"You're acting like a nutjob, you know that, right?"
Lydia flinched at the word, but shrugged to seem nonchalant. The last thing she needed were people thinking she was off her rocker again.
"Just a little stressed about this assignment, is all," she responded, taking her purple highlighter and colouring a sentence at random to appear like she was actually doing something. "Like, what kind of sick individual assigns a ten page paper for the end of the week? She didn't even give us a freaking weekend, for God's sake."
"She assigned it last Friday, Lydia," replied Allison, blandly.
"Yeah, well who starts a paper a whole week before it's due?" she asked, not wanting to admit that she'd been slacking off a little too much since the semester had begun. "Losers. That's who."
"Right," said her friend slowly, turning away from the redhead with a slight shake of her head.
"I'm just sayin'," commented Lydia to the air.
The rest of the class flew by relatively quickly, Ms. Blake doing her rounds as she checked over each student's progress on the paper, making slight edits as she did so. Lydia got a special kick out of the teacher's comments on her paper – titled Beasts in Pop Culture – when the woman had simply smiled and said she'd picked "a really interesting and relevant topic to today's youth". If only she'd known exactly what kind of beasts really lived amongst the youth today.
Finally, however the bell had rung, signalling the end of the day and the beginning of her entirely free afternoon. Although Lydia had taken on a job as a barista at the local – and relatively popular – coffee house, she found without any extracurriculars most of her days stayed relatively free. Which meant she had taken on the hobby of scouring the internet for wolf-centered mythology or strange animal attacks in the area. And yet, even that, hadn't totally kept her satisfied.
Of course she always had her late night chats with Stiles, but she was finding her daylight hours a little lacking. After all, she barely made eye contact with the awkward boy during school, let alone talked to him when they weren't in the weirdly comforting confines of the pet hospital.
Which was why, after she'd told Allison she already had a ride, that she made her way out to the parking lot, her plan already in motion.
"Hey, Lydia," said Scott as she approached the blue beat up Jeep, staring at her like she was some foreign species. "Allison's not here-"
"Can I get a ride?" she interrupted, staring at Stiles, who was standing frozen halfway between opening the driver's door and throwing his bag in the back.
"Er… um…" he stumbled over his words as she stared at him, Scott throwing him looks off to the side. "Yeah… I mean, yeah. For sure."
He nearly fell over himself as he comically shut his own door and rushed to the other side of the jeep, opening the door and gesturing her into the seat.
"Thanks," she said stiffly, still keeping her face relatively blank.
"Wait, what about lacrosse practice," said Scott to a flustered Stiles, who didn't seem to be paying much attention as he flung himself into the driver's seat. "You said you'd come with me to-"
"Scott- Yeah- Lacrosse-Thursday… or something…"
And with that the Jeep revved to life and with a quick flash of a smile, Stiles had launched it out of the parking lot, leaving his best friend behind and bewildered.
His hand twitched on the wheel as they passed house after house, sweat starting to stick to his palms. The nervousness, he swore, permeated off of him in waves – most likely visible to the naked eye like heat coming off a barbecue. He wanted to seem casual and cool, like nothing in the world affected him. Like he would guess Jackson Whitemore acted, like he imagined every other guy who'd ever caught Lydia Martin's attention acted. And yet, with her arm a mere three inches from his, all he could think about was the fact he was breathing really heavy, and that certainly, she could smell the teenage hormones seeping through his clothes.
"You missed the turn," she spoke up, making him accidently plant his foot a little too hard on the accelerator.
"What?" he asked, as he slowed down back to the speed limit.
"I said, you missed the turn," she repeated, her face looking slightly annoyed.
"Huh? Oh, don't you live on Crestview?" he asked, ignoring the fact that he probably shouldn't have made it obvious that he knew where she lived.
"I never said I needed a ride home," she retorted, looking ahead and seemingly ignoring his perplexed look.
"Oh… errr… then where are you going?"
"We," she emphasized, finally looking over at him, "are going to your house."
That was all he needed to spin the car around – he'd thank Beacon Hills crummy Tourism Agency later that there wasn't a car in sight – and gun it back to his house, a dopey look plastered on his face.
AN- Hope you all liked it! This is my first Teen Wolf fic, so reviews are very much encouraged :) I started writing this after the first episode of season three, so some of this obviously isn't canon anymore, but I may or may not use canon ideas as they appear in the season in this story (virgin sacrifices perhaps?). Anyways, review, follow, favourite, etc! Love you all ;)