He immediately felt everything different.
Before he had left, the woods would still sing for him, albeit a very weak song, like they didn't bother about him anymore. Like he was an afterthought. Like the only thing that mattered was the Hale blood running through his veins but he himself was not to be obeyed, just observed.
But now, the woods were not only not singing for him - they were actively rejecting him.
He tried to go to the old Hale manor and see what was different. He was having problems just walking there - he didn't dare to become a full wolf in these woods that leered at him and mocked him and tried to trip him with roots in places where he was sure there shouldn't be any or animals running through his path like critters trying to eat his shoes. Not even growling at them deterred them - he was rejected from the very place that had seen him born, that had seen him grow up, that he had loved and it had loved him back.
Those same woods were calling him an abomination right now.
He had left on the Crone's orders, looking for some ingredients for her spells. A Fermat's curse is a work of wonder and has to be done right, otherwise you'd end up botching it and killing the host too early and we don't want that in this case had said the Crone. He already knew that, but he was sure she wanted him away while she confirmed who were the guardians because she didn't trust him. And very well she shouldn't - he wasn't even sure he trusted himself completely. Something about coming back from death addled your brains, and it definitely marred your soul.
It was alright. He was patient. He would let the witch have her sanctuary as long as he regained his territory.
As long as he was the Alpha Hale.
Furious at the woods now that a parcel of deer had sprang at him, he sniffed the air. The woods gave him no strange scent - they were hiding something. Someone. He would find who had invaded his home and rip them apart before he faced the Warrens again. They could wait a little. After all, from what he had heard they had overdone themselves a little bit last time - they needed to lay low unless they wanted the FBI on top of them. Or hunters like the Argents.
Maybe he should just sit back and let them all rip each other apart and just feast in their flesh.
He wondered how long before the FBI tried to contact him as the last Hale enforcer. Hopefully they wouldn't contact Derek - the pup had no idea of the role of the Hales as supernatural enforcers of California. If they came to him first he might keep them away enough to bring his plans to fruition.
Finally he got to the manor. And, yes, there was a car there - McCall's. So it was Scott who was taking the place of the Hales - but that was as the Guardian of the Nemeton. The woods would certainly not disobey the Hales that had bonded with them for so long that they recognized them as saplings of their own, as creatures that roamed in their wake like all the other animals instead of the humans that had come and ravaged them.
Again, he sniffed - the scent of his former beta was as familiar to him as any Hale's, and he could even recognize Melissa's perfume if she were in the middle of the hospital. Again, nothing.
Anger boiled in his veins. This was no longer an affront to him but to his family legacy.
He went and opened the door. Inside he found the woods already spread over the manor, like a hundred years had passed since the fire - not the mere seven that were about to be.
In the middle of it all a crouched Melissa McCall was looking at a sapling - a young oak, that would probably one day be magnificent.
He tried to sneak up on her. A branch didn't let him do so. She stood up and turned away from him, looking for refuge in the depths of the manor.
"Peter. What are you doing here?"
"This is still my house, Melissa."
She blinked at him. "No, it's not. It's... Derek's."
"Well, without Derek here I'm the last remaining Hale. You are in private property."
"Again, not yours."
There was something odd in the phrasing, in the way Melissa was talking to him. Like she was talking for someone else.
"What is going on, Melissa? Is... is there someone else in here?"
"You mean in my head, the way you invaded Lydia's?" Peter grimaced - they would never let him live that down. It was beyond their comprehension that he had just done everything to ensure his survival. He had no ill will against the girl, just undying admiration at what she could do - and what she still didn't know she could do. The most powerful member of the McCall pack was a little girl with strawberry blonde hair and she was his. He would claim her as soon as he was an alpha again. "No, Peter, I'm all alone. But I am pretty sure my son, my alphaalready felt my distress so I'd suggest you leave before he gets here and attacks you." As if on cue, her cellphone rang, and she made a flourish to get it out of her pocket. "Yeah, Scott. No, I'm not fine - I'm in the Hale manor and Peter found me. I don't know why I'm here - I just felt compelled to come. Yeah, honey, I'll wait for you."
Peter growled. What he needed the least right now was a confrontation with Scott. He was still an omega, and if he couldn't draw power from the woods like he had been doing all these months then he would be squashed by the teenager in no time.
"Don't growl at me, you monster. Get out of here."
His anger took over him. A little scratch, maybe, just to remind her who really was the alpha of this territory.
His claws came out. Her eyes opened wide.
She touched the trunk of a tree that had grown through the walls.
"I said GET OUT!"
But it was not she who had spoken. It had been the woods, through the voice of their new mistress. Their power boomed in her voice.
She was not alone.
Suddenly he felt small and insignificant. If the McCalls were the masters of the Preserve then there was truly nothing there for him anymore.
He ran, and ran and ran until he could feel himself in an area that was not theirs. And there he howled a promise of vengeance.
Nobody robbed Peter Hale of his birthright. Not even his family - he had shown Derek that.