Title: A Train Car Named Desire
Warnings: Coarse Language; Fantasy Violence; Implied Sexual Content; Crossover.
Summary: The Ash has heard that a Dark Fae pack of alpha wolves is circling the Hale pack territory. He sends Dyson, Bo, and Kenzi to help Derek Hale, in order to keep Beacon Hills in the hands of Light Fae. Once they get there, Derek's milkshake brings all the girls to the yard. Or at least Kenzi. A Teen Wolf/Lost Girl crossover.
Setting: The story takes place about mid S2 for Lost Girl and end S2 for Teen Wolf, except Peter's not around because I didn't feel like dealing with his existence. Also Erica and Boyd never ran away because reasons, and Lydia and Danny have become part of the pack because Jackson. I played fast and loose with canon to make them mesh together, but so long as you know one you don't necessarily need to know the other for the story to make sense to you. Knowing Lost Girl probably helps though, as the story is told from Kenzi's POV.
Notes: Kenzi makes a lot of pop culture references because she totally would. Most of them are sourced within the text, but if you see anything that's familiar it's probably a direct quote/reference. Can you spot them all? XD
A Train Car Named Desire
Kenzi leaned against the window of the backseat, idly watching trees, trees, and more trees pass by. "Are we there yet?" she asked plaintively, trying to be as annoying as possible.
Dyson was driving, Bo riding shotgun. Because of course she was. Kenzi never got to ride shotgun when they took these cross country trips together.
This was the first such trip they'd taken, but really that just emphasized Kenzi's point.
"Beacon Hills is off the beaten path," Dyson said, his intense wolfman eyes meeting Kenzi's in the rear-view mirror. "It's been held by the Hale pack for generations."
"And they're Light Fae, but there's been trouble in recent years, and you've got the word that a pack of Dark Fae wolves is moving in to try to muscle in on the territory and that would be mega bad because eating people, we know." Kenzi rolled her eyes. "We got the whole spiel when The Ash asked Bo to be a possible mediator between the packs because of the unaligned thing. But that doesn't answer my question. Are. We. There. Yet?"
Kenzi made puppy eyes, Dyson sighing and Bo laughing because hell yeah, Kenzi is her favorite.
"We'll be there soon. I have to check in at the station, and then we have to take you by the school to be enrolled."
Kenzi pouted her lips at the reminder of their cover story. This was probably going to take a while, so Dyson, Bo, and Kenzi were posing as a fucked up little family that was… probably not too far off from what they actually were. Dyson was Bo's husband, and Kenzi was Bo's little teenaged sister whom she had raised after their parents died. And Kenzi had to go to high school. Again. For like the fourth time.
Seriously, one of these days she was going to stop being so goddamn cute, and someone else would have to be the high school student.
Actually no, it was physically impossible for her not to be cute.
"Tell me why I have to take high school chemistry yet again?"
Bo turned in her seat and made a face that was either commiserating or pleading. Kenzi wasn't sure. "Because the Hale pack is mostly made up of teenagers. You're going to keep an eye on them during school hours."
"Right. Okay then."
They went by the station, where Dyson checked in and introduced Sheriff Stilinski to his 'wife' and 'daughter' and Kenzi didn't have to fake her embarrassment and exasperation at the whole wholesome family man routine. She was kind of pissed actually, because as much as Bo said it wasn't a problem, Kenzi knew her boo and she knew that pretending Bo and Dyson were still something, that Dyson was still capable, tore Bo up inside. Stupid Norn. Gnorn? Was there a silent 'G'?
However it was spelled, it was dumb as fuck.
"Nice to meet you, Kenzi," the Sheriff was saying. "My son is in high school too. I'm sure he'd be happy to show you around. I'll call ahead and get the school to send him up to the office."
Once they were back in the car, Bo laughed. "The Sheriff totally wants you to date his son."
"Of course he does." Kenzi struck a pose, curving one hand over her hip and flipping her long black hair back over one shoulder. "Any Sheriff's son would be lucky to get some o' this."
Kenzi insisted on going into the high school by herself, because if she had to do high school again, she was not being the dorky kid whose parents followed her around. Well, she was bound to fall in with the hipster artsy kids anyway, since this was a long time assignment and she knew herself well enough to know she wouldn't be able to suppress her usual personality for that long, but it was the principle of the thing. It shouldn't matter much anyway – she didn't have to hang out with the werewolf kids to keep an eye on them after all. She was just supposed to call Dyson and Bo if anyone started getting fangy during school hours, or if the Dark wolves showed up to cause trouble.
To that end, she'd dressed pretty much how she usually did. A little younger of course – she was awesomely adorable, but even she couldn't pass for seventeen without a little help from pink lip gloss and jewelry from Hot Topic.
There was a boy with olive skin and short-short buzzed hair sitting in one of the office chairs. He looked up when she came in. "You the Sheriff's kid?" she asked, walking past him to hand her sheaf of forged documents to the office worker.
The boy stood up, and man, was he tall. Probably as tall as Dyson. "Stiles," he blurted, swallowing hard.
Kenzi laughed. "What the hell is a Stiles?"
"Language," chirped the office lady, handing Kenzi a map and a class schedule. Kenzi ignored her.
"Me. I'm a Stiles. I mean, I'm Stiles. It's a nickname. Trust me, my real name is worse." Stiles stood up, fidgeting with his bag. Kenzi decided he was cute and booped him on the nose, which made him blush and sputter.
"I can totally dig it. My real name is pretty hard to say, so just call me Kenzi."
He nodded, and then they were in the hall, loitering a bit as they made their way to wherever the hell Kenzi's first class was, Stiles explaining that she'd been given the same schedule as him so he could show her around.
"I think your dad did that on purpose," Kenzi told him. "I think I'm supposed to be your new girlfriend."
Stiles choked on whatever he was about to say. "Wh-what? You met my dad? When?!"
Kenzi snorted, and pulled out her cover story. "My dad is the new deputy that just transferred in. We were at the station this morning, and your dad got all gung ho about contacting the school to make you my own personal escort. Which I think means he has actually given you to me, so. I will expect things. Saved seats. Books carried. Rides, if you have wheels."
Stiles laughed, a little bit too loudly for the quiet hallway, but hell it wasn't like Kenzi was actually afraid of getting in trouble, so whatever. "Least I can do after you've been forced into this arranged marriage, really. But you do have to pay my bride price."
Kenzi nodded philosophically, "I'll arrange for a head of cattle."
At lunch Stiles led Kenzi over to a table that was surprisingly eclectic. There were two cheerleader types, a goth biker chick, two quiet rebel looking dudes, an indisputable douchy jock, a preppy guy, and another dorky dork like Stiles.
"Guys, this is Kenzi. She just moved here. Her dad's one of the new deputies. Kenzi, this is Allison, Lydia, Danny, Jackson, Boyd, Erica, Isaac, and Scott."
Everyone but Allison, Lydia, and Danny gave Kenzi the evil eye.
"Ooookay," Kenzi said. "I can sit somewhere else if you're going to be all trying to murder me with your glares, sheesh."
She started to take her tray elsewhere, but Stiles put a staying hand on her arm. "What's up guys?"
More blank staring.
Then Lydia sighed and pushed Jackson over, making room. "Sit. Everyone stop being rude."
Kenzi sat, offering Lydia a small smile. "So you're Head Bitch in Charge?"
Erica – the biker chick – snorted, but Lydia paid her no mind. "Oh, I'm going to like you," she said.
Kenzi batted her eyes. "Everyone does in the end. I'm irresistible."
After school the guys had lacrosse practice, and Lydia insisted that Kenzi go with the girls to watch. Apparently they were all dating someone on the team. So Kenzi went with, and once they were in the stands, pretended she needed to go back and pick up a textbook she'd forgotten. When she was out of sight of the girls, she doubled back, hid under the bleachers, and waited.
"Scott says she smells like a wolf." That was Allison's voice.
"She does." That was Erica. "But it's not her. She's human. But she smells like she's been around a wolf, and a… something else. Something not human."
"The alpha pack?" Lydia asked.
"No. Doesn't smell like an alpha."
"You can tell that?"
"Alphas smell different."
"Maybe she doesn't know? I mean, my family…"
"Yeah. It's possible." Erica sounded grudging. "Derek called a pack meeting tonight."
Huh. Kenzi'd known that weirdness at lunch was something. Seems like she'd already made friends with the Hale pack by accident. Sometimes she was so awesome, she just couldn't explain herself.
When enough time had passed and any potentially eavesdropping detecting senses were focused on the guys playing lacrosse, Kenzi slipped back into the stands. It occurred to her that she could just tell them why she was here, but really… she wanted to see their faces at the meeting tonight.
It was just as hilarious as she predicted.
They'd driven out to some abandoned old house in the middle of the woods in Dyson's shiny new squad car, Dyson leading the way, followed by Bo, and then Kenzi. They had to go in wolfy pack order or something, and for the purposes of interacting with the Hale pack, Dyson was Big Daddy, Bo was Mommy Wolf, and Kenzi had an awful suspicion that she was a puppy.
Stiles gaped, his arms flailing around. "You. What. Kenzi. What." The rest of the Hale pack teens were equally shocked, though not as expressive.
Dyson turned back to look at her, one eyebrow raised. "Meet the Sheriff's son," Kenzi told him, throwing out some jazz hands. "Admit it, Dyson. I am just too good at this. Found the pack without even trying. I even sat with them at lunch."
Dyson put his exasperated why-do-I-put-up-with-you-human face on, even though he totally loved it, and Bo grinned.
Then a new figure emerged from the shadows of the creepy house, and Kenzi temporarily forgot how to breathe. Wearing weathered jeans and a skin tight grey shirt that showed off sinfully sculpted arms, the man Kenzi assumed was the Hale Papa Wolf was like something out of a wet dream. Chiseled cheekbones, scruffy stubble, thick black hair, and piercing blue eyes completed the panty-dropping picture.
"Woof," Kenzi said under her breath, perfectly aware that all the wolfy fae present could probably hear her anyway, and not caring. "Someone's been eating his puppy chow."
The Hale teens tittered, and Papa Wolf scowled, and dammit that somehow just made him hotter.
"I'll say," Bo whispered, shooting Kenzi a conspiring look. Her eyes did the hungry succubus thing.
Kenzi swatted her arm. "Hey, no. No!" She shook her finger in Bo's face. "I call dibs. You have gotten every werewolf we've ever met. You, lady, are a werewolf hog. You hog all the werewolves! This one's mine. It's my turn."
"Kenzi!" Dyson said, his voice strangled with what Kenzi chose to believe was laughter.
"What?" Kenzi threw up her hands. "It's true. Bo bogarts all the wolves."
Some of the Hale teens looked confused. Others were trying not to laugh. Papa Wolf himself was giving her a bit of a wide-eyed stare, his eyebrows climbing up his forehead.
She blew him a kiss.
"Gross," Scott groaned.
"Please forgive Kenzi, Alpha Hale," Dyson said. "It's difficult to teach some humans manners, even when it would keep them alive to learn them."
Papa Hale's lips twitched. He looked at Stiles, saying, "I know."
"Hey!" Stiles protested, looking around his pack. When no one came to his defense, he crossed his arms.
"Stay strong, my man," Kenzi told him. "Mouthy humans are the best humans."
"Kenzi!" Dyson protested again.
"What? You know it's true. Isn't that right, Papa Wolf?" She directed that last question at Alpha Hale (she was guessing he was the 'Derek' she'd heard mentioned before, since he was the only person here she hadn't been introduced to). Derek frowned and wrinkled his brow, but Kenzi wasn't deterred. She was eighty percent convinced that being a huge grump when first introduced to a super cute human was part of the werewolf bro code.
"The Ash sent me to mediate between you and the Dark wolves," Bo jumped in, since Dyson kept beating around the bush with all his werewolf manners.
"The Ash?" Stiles asked. "Dark wolves? You mean the alpha pack?"
Dyson nodded. "We're here to help you. We'll fight at your side if it comes to it, but our ultimate purpose is to prevent a war between the Light and the Dark. I'm also supposed to tell you that the Dark wolves are acting without the authority of their Morrigan. The Dark Court officially doesn't support them in their bid to take over the Hale territory."
"I'm confused," Scott announced, but Dyson's attention was on Derek, who was doing a really intense stare thing.
"Where was The Ash when my sister was murdered? When my pack was – " Derek cut himself off, his eyes glowing a holy hell red. That was interesting. Dyson's were yellow when he did the glowy thing.
Dyson turned his head to the side and tilted his chin back, exposing his throat to Derek. Alpha Hale. Oh. Ooooooooh. Was being an alpha more than a rank? Was it like, a different kind of werewolf? Dyson was totally submitting – Kenzi talked a lot, but she'd paid attention when Trick was teaching her all the little wolf sign things that might come in handy on this particular mission, thank you very much.
Derek's eyes returned to their less threatening color, and then he cocked his head, considering them.
"I'll trust that you are who you say you are," Derek said at last, his words coming slowly. "But your human will stay with me. If you betray me, I'll rip out her throat. With my teeth."
"No," Bo said at once, taking a step in front of Kenzi.
"Chill, chica," Kenzi interrupted before anyone could get carried away. She bumped her hip against Bo's. "I'll be fine." She stepped around Bo and Dyson, standing in between the Hale pack and the envoy from The Ash. "We're totally who we say we are, and we're not going to betray the Hale pack, so there won't be any throat ripping. Besides," she waved a hand dismissively, "I've almost been fed to half a dozen lesser fae. I'm not afraid of the Big Bad Wolf."
Dyson pressed his lips into a thin white line, but he looked to Bo for a final decision. Bo opened her mouth, made eye contact with Kenzi, shut it, and nodded. Score!
"Do I have your word that Kenzi will come to no harm while she is in your care, Alpha Hale?" Dyson asked in a stilted formal voice.
"As long as you do not betray me, I will protect her," Derek answered just as formally.
"Sweet," Kenzi said, crossing the rest of the way to the Hale pack and promptly hanging off of one of Derek's massive muscly arms. "You and me are going to have tons of fun, Daddy Wolf."
"Oh my God," Scott burst out. "Can you stop? Aren't you like, seventeen?"
Derek was holding his arm stiffly and looking at her like she was some kind of growth that had just sprung up. Kenzi looked up at him. "Twenty-four, actually. I'm only playing teenager for our cover story."
It seemed like something in Derek's face relaxed, but then Kenzi blinked and it was gone.
"But he's Derek," Scott protested weakly.
"Yes, he is," Kenzi purred, leaning more heavily on Derek's arm.
Derek drove a car that made Kenzi want to hump things.
"Dude, your car makes me want to hump things."
What? She was a truthful person.
Derek gave her a constipated look. She rolled her eyes at him. "Whatever, take the compliment." Then she was opening the door and sliding into the leather seat, moaning with appreciation.
They went by the apartment Dyson had rented first and grabbed Kenzi's duffle of stuff. Bo made her promise a hundred times to text often that she was still alive, and warned that the cavalry would be riding in if more than twelve hours passed without a text. Sweet, sweet Bo. Had to love her. Then Kenzi was back in the hump-worthy car.
"Come on tall, dark, and broody. Let's see where you live."
Derek scowled and put the Camaro in drive.
"You don't talk much, huh?"
"Not to you."
Kenzi snorted. "Harsh. I'm so broken up about it. Can we turn on the radio?"
Kenzi turned the radio on anyway, and Derek didn't do a damn thing about it, because that's right. Well, he growled and did his whole red eye thing, but Kenzi was so over it, so she didn't pay it any attention.
"You aren't afraid of me," Derek said after a few minutes of Kenzi humming along to the Goo Goo Dolls, because they were the shit.
"Not at the moment, no," Kenzi agreed.
Kenzi shrugged, and Derek got all bitch face. Since it seemed to really matter to the guy, Kenzi elaborated. "You just promised to keep me from harm so long as Bo and Dyson don't screw you over, which I know they're not going to do, and you seem the type to keep your word, so you obviously aren't going to actually hurt me. And I'm used to the whole growly grumpy wolf routine, eye flashing and all, though admittedly your eyes are much more impressive than Dyson's. I'm sure if you actually slip into a homicidal rage I'll respond with an appropriate level of terror and screaming, but until then I'm just going to lust after you and your cheekbones."
Derek made a sound that was caught somewhere between a warning growl and a confused whine, and Kenzi gave herself a point.
"You don't need to do that."
"Do what?" Kenzi asked, innocently poking Derek in the side of the face. "Seriously, how are these even real?"
He snapped at her hand in an attempt to be menacing, but Kenzi just giggled at him, partly because it would piss him off and partly because he seriously was just a grumpy puppy.
"Let me rephrase: Don't do that."
She flipped her hair and turned to look out the window. "You're sexy. Deal with it."
It turned out that Daddy Wolf and three of his puppies lived in an abandoned train station. Kenzi poked around, duffle over her shoulder, trying to pick the best place to claim as her corner. Derek had left her to the tender mercies of Isaac as soon as they entered the station, disappearing into one of the train cars.
"Sorry it's not more…" Isaac shrugged, peering at her from beneath his fringe.
"It's chill, bro," Kenzi reassured him. "Back home, me and Bo squat in an old as shit building. Saves on rent." She made one last circuit of the platform area, and then decided that the train car next to Derek's would be her bedroom. He was the baddest mofo in town, so if anything skeezy showed up, it would pay to be close to him. Also, he was hot.
Pulling open the door with a screech of metal on metal, she surveyed the train seats that would be her bed for the night. "Place could use a little fixing up, though," Kenzi said to Isaac. "Tomorrow after school I'll take you and the other two dumpster diving on the rich side of down. Rich people throw out awesome shit all the time. And hey, if we stop at the hardware store and get some tools, I'll show you how to steal electricity." She gave him a winning smile.
Erica appeared out of nowhere. "You can steal electricity?"
Kenzi jumped, letting out a Russian expletive and putting a hand over her heart. "Oh my God, make some noise next time! For my blood pressure. Jesus Christ, I need a drink." She shook herself, taking a calming breath. "But yeah, I've found there are very few things I can't steal."
Erica looked like she might be on the verge of an approving facial expression, so Kenzi called it a night, lest the werewolves be overwhelmed by her awesomeness.
Kenzi woke up at two in the morning freezing her ass off, with a crick in her neck. She contemplated trying to go back to sleep for about fifteen minutes, and then decided screw that. Stumbling a bit in the dark, and tripping on the strap of her duffle, she wrenched her train car door open and shuffled over to the door to Derek's train car. His door opened more smoothly, and Kenzi took one step forward before she felt the edge of a mattress, with actual blankets and shit.
Kenzi wasted no time in crawling in.
Derek was like a fucking furnace, and Kenzi heaved a happy sigh.
"Kenzi. What are you doing?"
Kenzi blinked, suddenly sleepy now that she was warm. "I was cold, and my train seat sucked. I'm sleeping with you the rest of the night."
Kenzi blew a raspberry. "Don't get your tail in a twist, Derek. It's just for one night. I'll get my own mattress and a hot water bottle or something later. But in the meantime, you promised to protect me, and that includes not letting me freeze to death."
With that she rolled over, turning her back to him, and gathered up the blanket around her chin, snuggling in. Derek growled at her.
She kicked him in the shin.
"Be quiet, dude. I have to pretend to be a high school student in the morning. I need my sleep, or I swear to God I will kill someone."
Derek gave a huff that might have been a laugh.
"It's not funny. It's fifty shades of hell, is what it is."
"Yes, Derek?" she simpered.
"Go to sleep."
"That's the plan."
Yeah, she was totally growing on him.
Morning came too soon, and found Kenzi blearily brushing her teeth and hair at the same time and filling her backpack up with random shit. Boyd and Isaac were already ready, and Erica was hogging the only uncracked mirror in the train station's bathroom, putting on her makeup. Derek was still lounging in his bed.
Kenzi went over and prodded him in the butt with her foot until he twisted to glare at her.
"I want a breakfast burrito," she told him around a mouthful of toothpaste. "And I want a ride to school in the Camaro."
Derek glared harder, like that would make her go away.
She shrugged at him. "Hey dude, you're the one who demanded my company. Now you have to keep me fed and happy, and take me for walks."
Tired of waiting for Erica to vacate the bathroom, she swallowed the toothpaste.
Derek sighed and shucked off the blankets, revealing that he was shirtless and also a Greek God. Kenzi's mouth dropped open. "Dude, you're unreal. You move your head and your whole body flexes. It's kind of mesmerizing actually."
Derek turned, bending over to fetch a shirt, and it was a hard fought battle, but Kenzi did not wolf whistle. Even though it would have been very appropriate and hilarious, because werewolves. "Nice ink," she told Derek instead, admiring his tattoo. "I've got one on my ankle. Anti-possession sigil. It's a long story."
Derek gave her a long look, and then said, "It's the Hale symbol." His voice was even gruffer than usual. Kenzi nodded to him, taking that in. She sensed a deeply personal story there, and didn't pry. She'd been dealing with fae with mysterious pasts long enough now to know when she should push, and when she should leave something alone. Most of the time.
A good thirty percent of the time.
Derek took them all to breakfast, and then dropped them off for school in the Camaro, and promised to pick them up after lacrosse practice when Kenzi whined about it and threatened to get a ride from Stiles. "See you later, Daddy Wolf," she told Derek when he looked at her over his douchebag sunglasses, blowing him another kiss. He shook his head and drove off, leaving Kenzi standing in the parking lot with the puppies.
She was halfway to the building her first class was in before she noticed that the puppies had closed ranks around her, but none of them were actually walking in front of her, and Boyd at least definitely had to be shortening his stride to manage that. "What are you guys doing?" she asked.
Isaac glanced across her to look at Erica, and Erica glanced back at Boyd.
"Out with it, I've got to be on time for chemistry!"
Isaac hunched his shoulders. "You smell like alpha. And you're nice," he added, almost like he wasn't allowed to say it.
Erica shook her head, flinging her hair around her face. "What Isaac means is that you smell like you spent the night in Derek's bed and we've seen him defer to you, and he told us to protect you. It's like… you're our alpha female now." She nodded, satisfied with that explanation.
Kenzi tilted her head. "So what, it's like a wolfy thing? I smell like Big Daddy and he got me a burrito, so now the wolf instincts are all saying I'm your new mom?"
"Something like that," Isaac muttered.
Kenzi nodded, "Works for me."
"What, that's it?" Erica demanded. "You aren't going to freak out?"
"Nope. You guys are all a million times stronger than me and have super senses, and your instincts are telling you to protect me and shit. Sounds like a good deal. Especially since I'm more used to things trying to kill me."
Isaac looked so surprised that Kenzi couldn't resist pat-patting him on the head, ruffling his sandy blond curls between her fingers.
Things were peaceful until Kenzi had a class with Scott. As soon as she walked in the room, his head snapped around, and then he got confused, like he was expecting someone else. His expression quickly changed from confused to horrified as he not-so-subtly sniffed at the air, and then… yeah, again with the glaring. She could feel him burning a hole in the back of her head all through class, and knew the confrontation was coming when the pack sat down for lunch.
"Why do you smell like Derek?" Scott demanded as soon as Kenzi put her tray down.
"A little louder, McCall," Jackson butt in, "I don't think the hunters heard you."
Scott shifted his glare to Jackson for a few seconds, and then returned to staring at Kenzi.
Kenzi nonchalantly started eating her tater tots. "Hunters?" she prodded.
Scott glanced at Allison, frowning and taking her hand. "I asked first," he said stubbornly, flashing yellow eyes at Kenzi. Erica, Boyd, and Isaac scooted their chairs closer to Kenzi, flashing their own eyes at Scott.
"Whoa there, let's everybody simmer down. And also get a few things straight." She looked from face to face, smiling and winking at Stiles because he was her home skillet, but giving everyone else her best serious business expression. Lowering her voice, she said, "I've got seven years on all of you. I'm a master thief with ties to the Russian mob who is BFFs with a succubus and solves supernatural crimes for a living. You're not going to intimidate me or get me to submit or whatever, because werewolves? Not even remotely the scariest thing I've dealt with. So let's just everybody chillax, and we can all be bros." She smiled, looking them all in the face again. "Okay. Cool. Now then, I smell like Derek because I slept in his bed last night. It is cold as shit in that train station, and dude has a pretty good comforter and gives off heat like a small sun. Question answered. Someone going to tell me about hunters?"
Kenzi pulled out a binder and a pen. "I think you need to tell me everything. From the very beginning."
She started taking notes.
She texted Bo during lacrosse, and gave her the combination to Kenzi's locker so Bo could get the notebook where Kenzi had written the whole crazy summary of recent events in Beacon Hills. She felt kind of bad for Derek now. Who knew that creepy house in the woods was where his family had lived? And it was all burnt to shit with them inside and there were hunters, and a kanima and just all kinds of fucked up stuff. He probably needed a hug like nobody's business.
But Kenzi sure as hell wasn't going to say a thing about it to him. She'd been angry and hurt once, and she knew the worst thing of all was anything that felt like pity.
Derek rolled up in the Camaro just as lacrosse practice was ending. Kenzi favored him with a wide smile and bounced over to the car, calling behind her, "Get in, losers, we're going shopping."
Then she told Derek to take them somewhere they could rent a truck.
By the time their dumpster diving excursion was over, they had three decent mattresses, a sofa, one of those patio dining tables complete with chairs, and a perfectly serviceable pool table that that was a little bit wobbly – a problem easily fixed by the simple expedient of wedging a book under one of the table legs. They bought a mini-fridge, since Kenzi firmly believed in milk doing a body good, and Kenzi got to work teaching Isaac and Boyd how to splice into the electricity grid. She pretended not to notice that Derek hovered in the background, watching her work with a quiet intensity.
"There," she said, once the fridge was plugged in and the wolves had moved around all the furniture to her satisfaction. "This place will be swank in no time. Tomorrow we'll see what we can do about cleaning up the bathrooms." She pointed to the corner where they'd piled the mattresses. "You take those, puppies, this is your house and all. I can bunk with Derek until we find another one."
Derek raised an eyebrow at her, and Kenzi just raised one right back, daring him to say anything.
He didn't, because that's right.
Boyd went to take back the rental truck, and Kenzi dispatched Erica to get food, any kind of food. She was starving.
Then she collapsed on to Derek's bed, wallowing in the covers and throwing an arm over her eyes.
"Ugh, I've been up since six. It's inhumane."
The mattress sank down. Kenzi peeked to see Derek hovering over her, a crease between his brows. "What's up, Grumpy Wolf?"
"Why are you doing this?"
She flicked the end of his nose. "Your lair sucks. And I'm going to be staying here until we finish this whole thing with the other pack trying to horn in on your turf, and that could take months. If I'm staying here that long, this place has to start sucking a lot less. And dude, your puppies are first time squatters. They don't know the tricks of the trade yet. Someone has to show them the ropes, and you're obviously not going to do it."
Derek frowned harder.
"Your face is going to get stuck like that."
A muscle in Derek's jaw twitched, a tendon standing out in his neck as he clenched his teeth. Kenzi patted his face, enjoying the feel of his stubble against her hand. He pulled away from her touch.
"Anyway, how was your day? What do you do all day when the puppies are in school, and I'm being forced to read The Scarlet Letter for the millionth time?"
Derek stared at her, but it was a less angry stare, so that was something.
"What?" she asked.
"No one asks how my day was. Or what I do."
"Oh. Is it a secret?"
"Okay then. Do you want to tell me about it?"
Derek shrugged. "Worked out. Ran the boundary lines. Checked on the pack. Read."
"Oh. What are you reading? If you say The Scarlet Letter, I will not be amused."
He fixed her with a suspicious stare. Pretty much all of Derek's expressions were stares. "Why do you care?"
Kenzi made a face. "Because you're the most interesting thing in the train station. If you don't want to entertain me by talking, we could always make out instead." She puckered her lips, making kissy noises at him.
"Just saying, oh Hunky Wolfman of Mine."
Derek went stiff. "I'm not yours."
Kenzi scoffed. Fae were so weird about owning other people and being owned in turn. Like saying 'mine' changed something fundamental. It was just as word. "Sure, Derek, whatever you say. Now, either keep telling me about your day and what you're reading, or pucker up, because I require you to entertain me until Erica gets back with the food. Otherwise I might die of boredom, and that would mess up the whole Protect Kenzi thing you've got going on."
Derek sighed and rolled his eyes at her, but he told her about the book he was reading. It was called Ender's Game.
It was nice, lying there with her eyes closed, listening to Derek answer her questions about the book. He had a sexy voice. Like ear chocolate. And the more Kenzi heard about the story and the character named Ender and his love for his sister, and his own self-loathing, and how he was only good at destruction, the more Kenzi felt like she was actually learning about Derek.
Dude had issues, but hey, so did they all.
When Erica got back, she was accompanied by the smell of Chinese food, and Kenzi immediately bolted out of bed. "Erica, Erica, Erica. Home girl. You are tonight's favorite werewolf!" She loaded up a plate with shrimp and fried rice. "Now who wants to learn me some trigonometry? It's been years since I needed to do math that involves letters."
Isaac volunteered with a shy smile.
Later, lying in Derek's train car, Derek asked, "Why are you doing your homework?"
Kenzi could hear a page turn. It was pitch dark in the train car, but Derek could evidently still see well enough to read. Kenzi rolled onto her back, wrapping herself up in a blanket burrito and stealing the better pillow out from under Derek's arm. "A few reasons. So I don't look like a dumbass. So the teachers don't mark me as a problem kid and start calling Bo and Dyson and trying to have meetings about me. The whole point is to be incognito, after all. And it's a good way to get your puppies to study without ordering them to do it. Teaching's the best way to learn, and all that jazz."
When it went on long enough that Kenzi figured Derek was done with the conversation, she closed her eyes.
"Why do you care?"
"Wha?" Kenzi muttered, pulled back from the edge of sleep.
The mattress shifted under Derek's weight, and Kenzi heard his book hit the floor. "Why do you care about them doing their homework?"
Kenzi snuffled into her pillow, trying to put two thoughts together. "It's just kind of what I do, dude. Bo and Dyson fight the bad guys, I steal shit, provide distractions, and help fae kids believe in themselves and avoid all the mistakes I made at their age. It's like. My function on Team Succubus."
More silence. Kenzi started to drift off again.
"Did you finish high school? The first time, I mean."
Starting to get annoyed at being continually denied sleep, Kenzi let out an angry grunt and said, "Nah. Ran away when I was sixteen. Got a GED though. It's just not in my name."
Derek shifted again. "I never finished either."
Kenzi reached out blindly and pat-patted the nearest part of Derek. It felt like one of his pecs. Nice. "It's cool, you can join in homework time tomorrow."
Derek huffed. "Go to sleep, Kenzi."
Kenzi woke up feeling warm and cozy and kind of turned on. At some point in the night, Derek had rolled over and made her his little spoon, his arms wrapped around her, his face buried in her hair. And there was something hot and hard pressed into her ass. Not that she was complaining. She was totally down with wherever this situation might go.
Wiggling a bit, she stretched, pressing her ass tighter against Derek. He made a low sound against her neck, a sort of half moan, half growl, and Kenzi shivered. She was starting to think all those hours she'd had to listen to Dyson and Bo go at it might have conditioned her to associate growling with sexy times.
Then Derek tensed up and pulled away from her. She clutched at the arm that was around her waist, keeping him from making a full retreat. "Hey."
Derek wouldn't look at her.
"It's fine, Derek," she reassured him. "I'm not going to slap you or anything. You're hot, and I like you. You want to take this further? I'm not going to complain. In fact, I will probably brag. But you want to chalk this up to two people as sexy as ourselves sharing a bed and just forget about it, that's cool too. I talk a big game, but I'm not going to like, jump you."
Slowly, Derek relaxed. Well, sort of. He was still tense, but he was no longer coiled to spring away like some kind of gazelle. When Kenzi turned all the way to look at him, he had a lost little boy expression on his face that actually physically pained her. Taking pity on him, and mindful of morning breath, Kenzi leaned in and gave him a peck on the cheek, and then got out of bed.
"Come on, Big Daddy. You have to take me and the puppies to school. Then you can spend the rest of the day deciding if you want some o' this." She winked at him. "If you do, you can take me out later."
With that, she sauntered over to the mini-fridge to have cold Chinese for breakfast.
Derek dropped them off in the parking lot, and today when Kenzi blew him a kiss, he blushed. It was faint, but it was there.
"Well that's pretty much the most adorable thing ever," Kenzi commented to Erica.
Erica laughed, and Derek scowled, peeling out of the parking lot.
"How the hell are you even still alive?" a voice called.
Kenzi turned to see Stiles and Scott approaching from the direction of Stiles' jeep. "I've done things like, a fraction as bad as that, and he just slams me into things," Stiles complained.
Kenzi smiled at him, and looped her arm through his. The puppies closed ranks around the pair of them, forcing Scott to either join the werewolf bodyguard cage or walk by himself. He growled lowly, but Isaac jostled him and he shut up after that.
"He probably sees you as a brother, my man," Kenzi explained to Stiles. "And as siblings everywhere know, it is perfectly acceptable to smack around your brother. If he really wanted to hurt you, you'd have broken bones. I had werewolf strength once, and I kept breaking shit." Isaac gave her a curious look, but Kenzi waved her hand to let him know she'd tell him the story later. (It was a good story. She'd switched bodies with Dyson and been all sexy and grr.) "Me, on the other hand?" She shook out her hair, putting her nose in the air. "I am a delicate princess of a human Derek's sworn to protect. Also," she put her free hand on her hip, "he wants to get all up on this."
"It's true," Boyd opined with an air of wisdom. "The whole train station smells like lust."
Scott made a gagging noise, and Stiles looked slightly pained and maybe a little disappointed. "I don't see what's so gross about it," Kenzi frowned.
"It's just. It's Derek," Scott said, like that explained everything.
"Is it because he's your Wolf Daddy?" Maybe thinking about your alpha having sex was like thinking about your parents doing it. At least for Scott.
Scott's eyes flashed, "He is not my Wolf Daddy. I'm not in his pack."
Taken aback, Kenzi raised a brow. "Really?"
Scott nodded, a mulish cast to his jaw. "Stiles and Allison are my pack."
Kenzi squeezed Stiles' arm, giving him a look. He shrugged at her, avoiding her gaze. Kenzi let out a breath. "Bummer man. I really liked you guys."
Then Kenzi pulled away from Stiles and gestured to the puppies to follow her, reaching into her bag for her phone with the same motion. "I need to text Bo. Isaac, can you tell me who actually is part of the Hale pack? We assumed you all were since there's no internal turf war going on."
"Wait," Stiles stopped her. "Why's it matter?"
Kenzi shrugged, keeping her face carefully blank. "We're only here to help the Hale pack. Anyone who isn't loyal to Derek can't be part of the negotiations, because we can't guarantee to the Dark Fae that you'll stick with whatever deal Bo strikes."
Scott didn't even seem to be paying attention anymore, but Stiles' eyes were riveted on Kenzi's face. "Dude, I totally get the whole unaligned thing. Believe me, I do. Bo is unaligned. She refuses to swear to either The Ash or The Morrigan, and we do jobs for both. But the thing about being unaligned? You better be strong enough to stand on your own, or charming enough to get people to stand with you even if you're going to blow them off afterwards. Just something to think about."
She didn't say And you're just kids, because well. She knew how well that would go.
Lunch was a tense affair. Scott threw a fit until Allison and Stiles sat with him at a different table, only to glare daggers at the rest of them from across the lunch room.
"Dramatic much?" Kenzi said, taking a seat next to Lydia.
"Definitely," Danny agreed.
"Okay, so just checking before I text Bo: Jackson, Danny, and Lydia, you guys are officially part of the Hale pack, right? Like, loyal to Derek, will adhere to any bargain his pack enters into?"
Jackson started to open his mouth, but Lydia answered, very firmly, "Yes," before he could get any words out.
"Cool." Kenzi typed into her phone, silently cursing her autocorrect. "Why don't you guys ever hang with the rest of us then? Do pack bonding shit?"
Jackson got downright surly. "Derek never asked."
Kenzi snorted. "If you're waiting for Derek to ask, you're going to wait forever, dude. Derek doesn't know how to talk to people."
"You've only known him for like three days."
"Yep," Kenzi agreed with a smile. "But I know people. It's a gift."
Jackson just hunkered down in his chair, his nose twitching. Kenzi squinted at him. "What? Am I giving off Mommy Wolf vibes again?"
"Yes," Isaac said softly, butting his head against Kenzi's shoulder. Ohhh he was just precious. Precious baby wolf Isaac. Kenzi caught him in a one armed hug and gave him a squeeze.
"Well that settles it, then. As Mommy Wolf, I hereby order all of you to hang out, have pizza, and play a board game or whatever the hell it is you kids do nowadays. Tonight. At the station. And while you're doing that, Mommy is going to make Daddy take her out."
"The station?" Lydia said in a voice that adequately conveyed all of the adjectives she didn't say. The filthy dirty gross station.
Kenzi held up a hand. "Don't be a snob. Don't. I will totally pull a Mean Girls and push you in front of a bus, don't think I won't."
Kenzi skipped watching lacrosse practice that afternoon. Instead, she got Derek's cell number from Erica and texted him, demanding he come get her. He didn't disappoint, rolling up in the Camaro with his douchebag sunglasses firmly in place.
"I should have Dyson add you to the people allowed to check me out of school," she said as she slid into the passenger seat, tossing her backpack into the back. "That'll be a lot less sketchy than you randomly kidnapping someone everyone thinks is a teenage girl if you ever need to come get me during the day."
"Why would I need to come get you during the day?"
Kenzi shrugged. "Just thinking out loud, trying to plan ahead, bro."
Derek put the car in drive, and headed out of the parking lot. "Why're you skipping lacrosse?"
Kenzi smirked. "Maybe I wanted some alone time with my favorite alpha."
"Oh relax. I'm not going to eat you. I just needed to talk to you without any puppies around to overhear."
Derek nodded. "What?"
Kenzi rolled her eyes, but she was getting used to the whole bad social skills wrapped up in a whole lot of muscle that was Derek Hale, so she said, "Dyson and Bo are still trying to make contact with the Dark wolves. They keep running when Bo approaches, because they can tell Bo is badass, I guess. Anyway, that's what's going on there. Also, Scott says he and Stiles and Allison aren't part of your pack, and I need to know what you think about that, because if they really aren't part of your pack, that means that Bo can't negotiate on their behalf when she and Dyson do finally catch up to the Dark wolves."
"Scott is… stubborn."
"That's an understatement. And he betrayed you once before, with the whole thing with the hunters and the kanima, right?"
Derek's eyebrows did some kind of complicated interpretive dance. "How did you know that?"
"I got the low down yesterday. But that's not important – the point is that you don't want Scott dead or gone, or you'd have already killed him or run him out of town, am I right?"
Another long silence while Derek struggled to string a sentence together. It was sort of nice. Gave Kenzi time for self-reflection.
"Scott is just a kid," Derek said at last.
"And kids make mistakes?" Kenzi watched Derek carefully out of the corner of her eye. She couldn't see his eyes behind his sunglasses, but his knuckles were white on the steering wheel.
"Okay. So. You don't necessarily trust Scott, and he's an idiot, but you don't really want him hurt either. I can work with that."
Kenzi texted Bo.
"One last thing," she said as she fought with autocorrect. "Jackson, Lydia, and Danny are coming over to play with the puppies tonight. We're going to get them pizza, and then you are taking me out for dinner and a movie."
Derek didn't seem to know what to do with that, so Kenzi rubbed his thigh soothingly. And a little bit sexily, but mostly soothingly. "It'll be okay, Grumpy Wolf. The kids will have a good time, they can't really mess up the station, and we'll go out a few towns over so that no one who thinks I'm a teenager will see us together. We'll see Man of Steel because I want to and Bo doesn't like superhero movies, and then we'll go to a bar and have greasy bar food and a few drinks. Afterwards, you will make out with me against a wall in a dimly lit alley, and then we'll go home and cuddle and go to sleep."
"Kenzi," Derek's voice was broken by a growl.
Kenzi squeezed his thigh, shushing him. "It's all already decided. You don't have to worry about a thing. I've got you."
They wound up having sushi and sake after the movie, but otherwise Kenzi's plan unfolded exactly as she said.
Derek was hesitant and gentle when it came to making out, and really determined not to take things beyond kissing and a little groping. Kenzi was surprised, having expected him to be all growling and grabby because werewolf, but she chalked it up to a combination of his traumatic childhood and fears that he would break the fragile little human.
He was sweet, really. Kenzi even got the feeling that he wanted to hold hands on the way back to the Camaro, but couldn't bring himself to erode his tough guy image that much. So Kenzi hung on his arm, because he was strong and he smelled good, and it was nice, dammit.
Things continued in that vein for a while. Kenzi fell into a routine: Get up, disentangle self from Derek. Have breakfast, go to school. Deal with Scott being an idiot, but forgive him for it because he's just trying to do the right thing and he can't help it that he's a dumbass teenage boy. Appeal to Stiles to get Scott in line. Text Bo about the status of the Hale pack and get an update on the alpha pack in return. Spend time with Derek while the puppies were at lacrosse and help him work through his top secret GED study book. Preside over homework time. Go out with Derek on the weekends and get increasingly sexually frustrated, but be too classy to mention it. Go to bed and wind up being Derek's little spoon because they never had gotten around to finding Kenzi her own mattress.
Before Kenzi knew it, it was October, Jackson and Lydia were crowned King and Queen of the Homecoming Court, and Halloween was just around the corner.
"Come on, Derek. All you have to do is add dog tags to what you usually wear and spike your hair, and you're a dead ringer for Wolverine. I'll go as Rogue. It'll be fun. Erica can be Mystique, Boyd can be Cyclops, and Isaac can be, I don't know, Nightcrawler or something. It'll be fun."
"I am not going to a high school costume party."
Kenzi let out a high pitched screech of exasperation, because she knew it hurt Derek's ears. "It's not a high school party. It's the Halloween bash downtown. Lots of adults will be there. Come on. You know it'll make the puppies happy if you go. They get all twitterpated when you pay attention to them."
Derek's lips twitched in one of his almost-smiles. "Twitterpated?"
"I watched Bambi with Isaac last night, what do you want from me?"
Derek's mood abruptly shifted, his face going to his default I-hate-the-world expression. Kenzi didn't get it, but she was used to Derek being mercurial after three months of living up his ass, so she wasn't fazed.
"I don't know what Jackson and Lydia are going as, but Stiles told me that he and Scott and Allison are doing Batman, Robin, and Wonder Woman. So. Superheroes all around. Though the X-Men could totally kick the Justice League's ass, so our costumes are better anyway. Dyson and Bo will be there as Deputy-and-Wife, so I'll probably have to go over and let them pretend to give me a curfew at some point."
"Fine." Derek picked up the dog tags Kenzi had swiped from a sporting goods store and put on a chain, and stomped out of the train car. Kenzi wasn't sure what had crawled up his butt and died, but a win was a win, so she wasn't too worried about it. Sometimes Derek just got weird, and it was best to ignore his weirdness until he was over it, because he sure as hell wouldn't talk about it.
Things were going well at the Halloween festival. Kenzi was having a great time. Derek bought her a caramel apple and won her a goldfish at the Ping Pong Toss which Kenzi gifted to the closest small child, and she won him a stuffed dog at the dart game because Kenzi was good at throwing sharp things. The toy dog went to another small child, Kenzi giving it away on Derek's behalf because it would probably look sketchy for him to approach a kid with a stuffed animal.
But then everything went to hell. Because of course it did. Nothing ever went to hell on nights when Kenzi was bored. Nope, it was always when she had plans.
It started with hunters. A suave silver fox DILF of a guy saw Kenzi walking with Derek and appeared out of nowhere to talk to them, a creeptastic smile on his face.
"Derek Hale. I didn't expect to see you here. Who's your friend?"
Derek froze into that predatory stillness the werewolves could do, and that put Kenzi on alert. So she batted her eyes, giggled, and shoved at Derek's chest, doing her best to act like an airheaded teenager. "I'm Kenzi Wood. Derek got stuck babysitting me because my dad wouldn't let me walk around the festival without an adult like I'm still a kid or something, and Derek's kind of lame, but at least he's not as lame as dad."
Mr. Silver Fox Creepy Smile took a step forward, and Derek stepped up to meet him, putting himself between Kenzi and the man.
"Mr. Argent," Derek started to say, and shit, shit that was the name of those whacked out hunters. And Allison, but mostly the whacked out hunters!
"There's my dad now!" Kenzi barked out in a slightly manic tone. "Deputy Dyson Wood," she emphasized the name hoping that the mention of law enforcement would get Argent to back down, and on the off chance that Dyson's werewolfy hearing would pick it up. "That's my dad. We just moved here from, uh… New York, my dad was in the NYPD, and Derek and his sister used to live next to us and Derek babysat me when I was like twelve even though I totally was old enough that I didn't need a babysitter, and I mean, yeah there was that time with the microwave and the pizza dish, but it was only the one time, and no one had ever told me not to put metal in the microwave…"
Dyson and Bo emerged from the crowd then, and Kenzi shut her mouth. Oh thank God.
Dyson came forward to clap Derek on the shoulder. "Derek. Thanks for staying with Kenzi. She giving you any trouble?"
"Da-ad," Kenzi whined, the picture of teenage embarrassment. Bo smiled, all sexy mom concern, and told Kenzi she looked so beautiful in her costume, if only she would wear her hair back to stop hiding her pretty face.
Bo might have been having too much fun.
And Kenzi thought that was going to be that, crisis averted, she really did. But then Argent held up his cellphone and snapped a picture of Dyson, because of course he did, and when he looked down at the image Kenzi knew he would be seeing the telltale haze that surrounded the eyes of any wolf who had their picture taken.
It seemed like the idea of a werewolf police officer was a little too much for the hunter to stomach. He started to say something, but then Bo stepped forward and discreetly touched his hand, her face going all sex soft and her skin flushing with power. Argent's eyes glazed.
"It's all okay. You don't need to tell anyone about this. We aren't here to hurt anyone. We want only peace, and you'll leave us alone."
"Yes. Yes. I love you," Argent said.
And Kenzi thought that was going to be that, crisis averted, she really did. And then some other hunter that they couldn't even see realized what Bo was doing and shot her in the shoulder.
Because of course they did.
It was instant chaos. Bo's shoulder exploded in a splatter of blood that slashed across Dyson's face and soaked his uniform shirt. People screamed and ran, parents looked for their children, there was crying and trampling and the sound of another gunshot. Derek growled and pulled Kenzi into his arms, holding her to his chest, and she had a moment to think how they would look cool and in character, since they were dressed as Rogue and Wolverine, but then her brain got back on track and Dyson was throwing Bo over his shoulder, screaming in Kenzi's face that he had to take her to heal, and she was nodding to him.
"Where is he taking her?" Derek's voice rumbled in her ear.
"She'll heal, but she has to have sex to do it. He'll take her to the nearest place he can find and you know… sex her up. Succubus thing." Kenzi spoke at normal volume. Derek would be able to hear her.
Nearby, a kid screamed for his mommy, and maybe Kenzi had developed some wolfy instincts of her own, or maybe she'd been taking her own Mommy Wolf jokes too seriously, but it was like her spine had been touched by a live wire. She jumped, grabbing at the lapels of Derek's jacket. "The puppies! Derek!"
He looked down at her, eyes intense, and then away to the left, clearly torn.
"Go! Go!" Kenzi squeezed his shoulders. "Go get them, all of them, and make sure they're alright. I'll stay here and wait for Bo and Dyson and meet you back at the car. I'll be fine. Just plain human, no one's after me."
Derek grit his teeth, but finally he nodded, pulling her close and stroking a hand down her hair and kissing her forehead in a tender gesture. She kissed his neck because it was the closest thing she could reach, and then he was gone.
Kenzi stood there, heart pounding, having the eye opening realization that she was invested in Derek and his puppies in a much more than casual way, and thinking to herself, That wasn't exactly good, but hey, it could have been worse.
And then things got worse.
Because of course they did.
Taking advantage of the chaos of the disrupted festival and all of Kenzi's fae friends being otherwise occupied, one of the wolves from the alpha pack walked right up to her and flashed red eyes. Kenzi sighed.
"If I come quietly, will you not knock me out? I always have headaches after that."
The alpha wolf knocked her out.
When Kenzi woke up, she was in a cheap motel room. She was also handcuffed to the radiator. Her head hurt, and her mouth was dry, and her breath tasted stale. She'd drooled a little. She wiped her face with the sleeve of her non-handcuffed arm.
There were two members of the alpha pack in the room with her. One was a petite brunette woman, the same one who'd knocked her out at the festival. The other was a tall man with sharp cheekbones. He looked Native American.
"Did you really have to knock me out?" Kenzi complained, picking up with the last thing she remembered saying to the alpha chick. "I would have just calmly come with you, if it meant no lump on my noggin."
The alphas stared at her. Kenzi stared back. Then she got bored.
"Why take me anyway? I'm really cute, but kidnapping is taking it a little far, don't you think? You could have just stalked me on Facebook. Much less creepy."
The woman snorted at her. "You're Derek Hale's mate and part of the party sent by The Ash. Now that we have you, Hale will surrender the territory, and the succubus will gladly witness the transfer and give The Ash's blessing."
"And you won't have to fight and hope that you can hold the territory without any help from the Dark Court, since they have totally disowned you on this one. Your Morrigan is uber pissed, by the way. I had to hear about it from our Morrigan for a whole twenty minutes. Shit, that is actually a pretty smart plan. One problem though…"
The woman, whom Kenzi was officially naming Irene because The Woman, narrowed her eyes and stalked forward all threatening and whatnot. "What?" she spit – literal spit, it hit Kenzi in the forehead.
"Not Derek's mate." Kenzi shrugged her shoulders. "We haven't even done it. Mostly I'm his hostage, to keep Bo and Dyson in line. They betray him, he kills me."
Kenzi had been hoping that would take the wind out of Irene's sails. It didn't. Instead, her shoulders shook as she threw her head back and laughed. "How naïve you are!"
Ugh, apparently Irene was one of those fae who still talked like it was Ye Olden Times.
"Pray tell," Kenzi deadpanned. "In what way am I naïve, good wolf?"
Irene got a little fangy, and licked at her chops in a doglike way that was yeah, actually super scary. Awesome. "Mate doesn't mean sex. He could never touch you, and you'd still be his. He's chosen you. His mark is all over you. I can read it on your skin."
Irene kept rambling on, doing the required villainous monologue thing, but Kenzi wasn't listening. She was remembering being in Dyson's body, remembering the aching emptiness where his love for Bo had once been. His inability to ever feel that again, for anyone at all. His explanation.
A wolf may only choose one mate in a lifetime. I gave that love to Bo, and the Norn took it away.
And the alphas thought Derek had chosen Kenzi. Given her his forever-can-only-choose-once love. But that was… They hadn't even done it! Derek was weird about it, kept saying he didn't want to lose his head, didn't want things to get complicated. Well, actually no, he didn't straight out say anything, Kenzi just interpreted the pauses between his disjointed sentences to divine what he meant. He seemed almost afraid of sex, like it would change everything, or ruin it, maybe…
Maybe it would. Was wolfy mating like a… have sex and they're suddenly married thing? Except no, that didn't make sense because Bo and Dyson… Or were the rules different because Bo was a succubus?
"Are you listening?" Irene snapped.
"Nope," Kenzi answered honestly.
That was when Irene knocked Kenzi out again.
The second time Kenzi woke up, she was alone in the room. She was still handcuffed to the radiator, and now her ears were ringing and her lower back hurt. Someone had left a bottle of water on the floor next to her. Kenzi rinsed out her mouth and spat on the carpet, then took a few swigs of water. That helped the headache a bit. She was probably dehydrated.
She pulled off her Rogue wig, silently grateful that she'd opted for that instead of dying the signature white streaks in her hair. The wig meant that she had plenty of bobby pins, and having bobby pins meant that it was only a matter of time before she was out of the handcuffs.
After she'd freed herself, she spent a few minutes regrouping and rubbing circulation into her wrist. She didn't want to make too much noise because for all she knew there was a werewolf guarding her door that would super-hear anything she did. But she wasn't willing to just sit around and wait to be rescued, because who knew what trouble everyone else was in. Bo would be healed by now, but the hunters could have gotten to Derek and the puppies, and that was just a world of No.
So Kenzi moved to the bathroom first, and was disappointed that it didn't have a window she could climb out of. It'd been a longshot anyway, because in what motel do bathrooms have windows, but she was disappointed all the same. She did really really have to pee though, so the toilet was nice.
They'd taken her phone, but there was a landline in the room. Kenzi tried it, but there was no dial tone.
That left nothing for it but to open the door. Worst case scenario she'd be knocked out again and wake up shackled with something more secure than a pair of handcuffs. Kenzi hid a handful of bobby pins in her bra and slotted some along the waistband of her panties just in case they made the connection and tried to take the ones left in her hair. Then she grabbed up the water bottle and opened the door.
Huh. No one in sight.
Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, Kenzi set off immediately for the parking lot. She'd hotwire a car and get the hell out of dodge.
Except she never got a chance. Apparently Native American Alpha Dude Bro was taking a smoke break or getting a soda or something, because he came around the corner and saw her, immediately letting out a howl.
No matter how futile it was, Kenzi took off running, and screamed her head off. "Bo! Dyson! Derek! Anybody! Someone with fae powers get over here!" she yelled at the top of her voice once she remembered how to words. Hey, wording was hard when you were being chased by a reject from the cast of Twilight. It was like Team Edward and Team Jacob had merged together to become her red eyed werewolf nightmare.
Dammit, she wished she had a sword on her. From now on, she wasn't going anywhere without at least a knife. And not a dinky little pocket knife either. A Crocodile Dundee-sized knife.
Taking a sharp left, she ducked between two motel buildings and hid between a pair of air conditioning units. Because that made sense. Air conditioners would totally hide her from werewolf senses.
Team Jacward stopped at the mouth of the little alley between the buildings and dragged his claws down over the bricks, trying to be all intimidating and badass. Kenzi wasn't going to lie, it was completely working. He was intimidating and badass, and not at all hilarious, even when she imagined him professing his love to Bella Swan.
Oh God, was imprinting real? Was that what Dyson meant when he talked about only having one mate ever and did that mean that Derek had imprinted on Kenzi? Was she motherfucking Renesmee now?
So she read the books. Shut up.
"Focus, Kenz," she admonished herself, just mouthing the words. It made her feel stealthier, even though Jacward could probably hear her breathing and her heartbeat and smell her and like. Maybe he could even see through walls, shit, she didn't know.
And then, miracle of miracles, Kenzi heard a werewolf howl. A familiar werewolf howl. It was the howl that Derek used on the puppies, the one that Kenzi had always figured was a cross between 'Cut that shit out! Don't make me turn this forest around!' and 'Come here, bitches.'
It was answered by another wolf-voice Kenzi recognized. That was Dyson's 'Hang onto your butts, I'm on my way' howl.
Kenzi had head canon that Dyson liked Jurassic Park. A lot of his wolf noises translated to the phrase 'Hang onto your butts.' One day she would actually ask him if he liked the movies. If he did anything but geek out, she would be majorly disappointed in the universe.
Kenzi peeked over the air conditioner unit to see how Jacward was taking these developments just in time to see Bo step out of nowhere and suck his life out of his mouth, her eyes glowing silvery blue. Jacward's body fell with a muted thump.
Kenzi jumped up and down and clapped. "Whoo! Go Team Good Guys!"
Bo gave her a bone crushing hug, and Kenzi not so subtly prodded at Bo's shoulder, to make sure it'd healed up right.
It was a few minutes later that Derek and Dyson burst onto the scene, both of them in wolf form. Derek bowled Kenzi over right there in the motel parking lot, sniffing her from head to foot before licking her neck. Dyson kept his distance, probably out of deference to Derek, but he gave Kenzi happy puppy eyes while she patted and scratched at Derek's wolf ears, assuring him over and over that she was fine.
Not long after that, Stiles' jeep screeched up, and all of the Hale pack teens piled out, including Stiles, Scott, and Alison. It was kind of hilarious, considering they were all still wearing their Halloween costumes. Kenzi found herself in a puppy pile underneath Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Cyclops, Mystique, and Nightcrawler, with Jackson, Lydia, and Danny evening things out as Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Iron Man.
Kenzi couldn't resist. "My heroes," she said.
Stiles laughed until he peed himself a little. They bumped fists.
"Alpha pack?" Kenzi asked once the laughter had died down.
Bo's eyes glittered. "All dead. I got tired of their bullshit right around the time they kidnapped you. Nobody messes with my Kenzi."
"I am the Kenziest of Kenzis," Kenzi smiled.
Bo smiled back, her eyes cutting toward the big black wolf that was still lying half on Kenzi for all the world like a devoted dog. "Derek took out two of them by himself."
Kenzi looked down at the head in her lap. "Dude, Derek. Mad skills, bro." She dropped a kiss on his nose and gave him belly scritches, which he pretended to hate but secretly loved like burning.
That night at the train station, Derek held her close, his face almost constantly buried in her neck, one hand splayed across her hip and the other tangled in her hair. Kenzi didn't try to pretend she hadn't been scared.
"I want better for you," Derek told her. "You deserve to not be in danger."
Kenzi raised a brow at him, and then moved so that she could put her ear to his chest and listen to his heartbeat. "Been in danger my whole life, Der-bear. And it sucks, yeah, but it's my choice to make. And I choose to stick with the people I care about, and maybe make a difference." And this part was hard to say without turning it into a joke, but Kenzi thought maybe Derek needed to hear it. "I need to help people. I like to help people. Before Bo… I wasn't a good person, before. I wasn't bad either, just. Not good. I can't change the past, but the future? I'm all over that shit, buying Girl Scout cookies and helping old ladies cross the street. You name it."
Derek kissed her then, starting out slow and sweet, and building into something scorching hot, a clench of teeth and tongue and pure want. Derek pulled her closer and held her harder, and fuck yeah, this was what Kenzi had always thought it could be like between them, but something had always held Derek back.
Whatever that something was, it was gone. Derek had always been so careful, so careful to keep himself fully human, not to shift, not to scare her. But now? His fingernails curved into wicked claws and ripped her clothes off, his fangs grazed her lips, and his eyes burned a steady red that made Kenzi hot all over because she was the one bringing out the wolf in the man. He pinned her arms over her head, and Kenzi let him, let him dominate her for the moment.
And then she got some leverage and flipped them over with a twist of her hips, because she was a top and she was going to ride Derek all the way home, and he was going to love it.
When Kenzi went to raid the mini-fridge for breakfast-like food, Erica, Isaac, and Boyd were lying in wait. Erica smirked and called her 'Mommy,' Boyd stood around looking content with his universe, and Isaac did that thing he did where he stood really close so that you would hug him. When Kenzi gave in to the unsubtle hint, Isaac breathed in deep and grinned, like Kenzi finally getting laid was cause for a national holiday. Which it was, but it was still weird.
"So," Erica said after they'd finished teasing Kenzi. From the way Boyd and Isaac were watching her, Kenzi had a feeling that Erica had been appointed as the puppies' official spokesperson. "The alpha pack is gone. That means The Ash will be expecting you guys back soon."
Something in Kenzi's chest gave a painful squeeze-flutter. It was like her heart threw up.
It was too early for this shit.
"Yep," Kenzi agreed, staring into the depths of the mini-fridge. The answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything was in there. She just knew it.
Erica opened her mouth, but whatever she was going to say next would be forever lost to the annals of time, because Derek slammed his train car door open and stomped out of the station without saying a word to anyone.
He wasn't wearing any shoes. Or a shirt.
"Ooookay," Kenzi said after they heard the Camaro start up and screech away. Ignoring the puppies, she went back into her – their – train car, and called Bo to talk about a potential Time Share Kenzi plan. Because Bo was Kenzi's sister, and Kenzi didn't want to leave her and would always be there for her boo. But Derek… Derek mattered too.
And he was tied to Beacon Hills.
"I think I might be in love with Derek," Kenzi said when Bo picked up the phone.
"God, you suck. Put Dyson on. I have embarrassing werewolf questions."
Kenzi spent the rest of the morning getting her shit together and making a plan. She spent the afternoon getting Zen about it. By the time Derek stalked back into the train station (somehow having acquired shoes and shirt while he was gone), she was ready to lay it on him in a masterful, queenly way.
And then Derek fucked it all up, because of course he did.
"Come with me," he demanded before Kenzi had even opened her mouth to start leading up to the Big Confession of Feelings, followed by the Explanation of How This Will Work. (Derek did better with their relationship overall if Kenzi just informed him of what he was supposed to do. He seemed relieved to have instructions, honestly.)
She almost fought with him, but there was a weird kind of intensity to his expression, even for him, so Kenzi went, sliding into the passenger seat of the Camaro without a word.
They wound up in the rich people part of town, where Kenzi had taken Derek and the puppies dumpster diving. Out there, the houses were far enough apart for the illusion of seclusion, but still close enough together that your neighbors would probably notice if you were being axe murdered or something. Lydia's house was close by.
Derek pulled into the driveway of a sprawling split level ranch style house with a pool around back that was designed to look like a natural pond. There was a For Sale sign in the yard, with a red 'Sold' bar tacked over it at a diagonal.
Derek got out of the car and stood on the massive lawn, his hands clenching and unclenching. Kenzi got out of the car too, and watched him.
"Derek?" she prodded.
"I bought this house today," Derek blurted, not looking at her. "I bought it for you."
Kenzi's brain tried to process that comment, rebooted, and still came back with 'huh?'
"Why?" seemed to be the only thing she was capable of saying.
"Because… you'd have been happy at the train station. Because you never wanted me to be more than I am – was, but you still believed I could be. More."
Derek sighed, and Kenzi pressed her lips shut. Derek trying to use his words was a Very Big Deal, and Kenzi was going to shut the hell up until he was done.
Derek crossed his arms, the muscles in his back bunching. He might have stolen that shirt from Stiles, because it seemed like he was going to burst out of the seams any minute. "I'm kind of rich. The insurance money from… you know. I just never spent it, because I didn't want anything. But now I want things. I want you to stay. And I want to live in this house with you and the pack. I want you to be my mate, and I want to give you the Bite. I want to stop hiding, from the hunters and from… I never thought I could feel this way again. I thought I'd given this away." Softer, almost like he didn't mean to do it, he repeated, "I want things now."
It was so awkward, and so heartfelt that Kenzi had tears in her eyes. She went to Derek and put her hand on his bicep, a light touch. He looked down at her, meeting her gaze at last, his expression raw. "Will you stay?"
She nodded, standing on tiptoe to kiss him. "Yeah, I'll stay. Taking the Bite I'll have to think about, and the mate thing I think we should take one day at a time, but the staying? I'm all over that, Wolf Daddy."