Malia’s first weekend with her dad. Dads? Dad and Uncle Chris? Peter and Chris. Her first weekend with Peter and Chris had been dramatic to the point of actual pain.
First off, an all day funeral. Ouch.
Following that, an attack on her cousin and new brother. What is wrong with these people?
Then the packages of personal stuff they’d packed before driving out had arrived in the mail from her moms. That had been kinda cool, actually, because it resulted in a ton of shopping to flesh out her and Marcus’s wardrobes and decorate their new rooms.
Then, Sunday tipped right back to dramatic because the four of them had to pack up Chris’s house. Taking stuff to his only son in the No Sex Dorms had been pretty painful to Chris. Almost as painful as leaving his daughter’s things boxed and set aside in what should have been her bedroom. She’s only sequestered with her sentinel, so they couldn’t just ask her what she wanted done with her stuff, but at least it’s not like they are never going to see her again.
Now, it’s Monday, Malia’s first day of school in Cali-fucking-fornia. Who knew January could be, well, cold?
Their dads left the school once she and Marcus got their schedules. Marcus, her doofus younger brother, has just abandoned her to find out more about the school basketball team and she can feel Jackson Whittemore in the back of her mind, building himself up for something.
“Hi.” The blond jock of all trades sounds strangely nervous. “I don’t know if you remember me.”
He has the dignity to flush but still holds out his hand. “I’m Jackson Whittemore.”
She shakes her head. An unbonded guide shaking hands with an unbonded sentinel is generally a bad idea. Empathic transfer is strengthened by touch and if both parties happen to be a match, spontaneous bonds can form.
He just nods, accepting her decline to shake gracefully and shoving both of his hands in his pockets.
“I wanted to apologize for my behavior this weekend. I have been thoroughly informed that I am an ass.” This self-deprecating grin thing he has going is stupidly attractive. It’s not even fair. “I was hoping I could make it up to you by showing you around.” It’s a good offer. Probably the best she’s going to get. She nods. His happiness explodes across his face and he holds out one hand. “Your schedule?”
They have their first two classes of the day, lunch and the class right after lunch together. Jackson proves himself to be informative and funny.
He hovers a bit, but she doesn’t really pay it any mind. It’s probably just a watching out for the new kid thing, right?
The Pride takes over an outside table at lunch. It’s strange to see a grown man sitting and eating lunch even with a bunch of seniors but Derek Hale does not hold her attention in the least. His guide, though. His guide is gorgeous with big brown eyes, flailing limbs and a very strange sense of humor.
She’s quite taken with him and she owns that. Even if a guide isn’t supposed to be interested in another guide, especially bonded one, he is very attractive. It’s not like her attraction is going anywhere. She knows this. Stiles knows this. Derek knows this.
Jackson obviously does not know this. The younger sentinel at the table starts growling under his breath at the Alpha Guide until Derek calls him on it, loudly.
Not completely sure of the cause of the problem but unwilling to be involved in a inner Pride conflict, Malia flees.
Jackson follows. He’s twitchy, unhappy and invading much more of her personal space than she thought was possible to do without actually touching her. Anytime someone walks too close to their side of the hallway or one of the friends she’s managed to make in the two classes she had without him waves, he either growls or inches closer.
After the second incredibly unsubtle U-turn someone makes away from her, she snaps. “What?”
“I. You. We.” The so-called ‘smoothest motherfucker in the school’ is stuttering. At her. Huh. He huffs. “You’re mine. I’m yours. I know it and I don’t want other people getting too close to you.”
She snorts. He has a crush on her and is assuming it’s something else. Well, they can end this right now. “Let’s see, then.”
He blushes and slides his bright blue soul-cover down so that it’s wrapped around his palm rather than his wrist.
No. No way. It’s not possible. Her coyote stares up at her from his wrist with a single canine brow raised mockingly.
“Your spirit guide is an Amazon Tree Boa?”
He nods, watching her face intently.
“I can’t do this. I can’t do this. Not right now.” She can feel his sadness like rain on her face. She can also feel his desire to see her wrist but she knows that wouldn’t be wise and he doesn’t press.
“Can we just be friends? At least for a while?”
Still dismayed but putting up a good front, Jackson nods and moves to open the door to their next class. “So, friend, have you ever heard of lacrosse?”
“I’m Ms. Simons and I will taking over Mr. Harris’s classes for the rest of the year. The notes he’s left me indicate-”
It’s more than a little disturbing to Derek when they entire class erupts in applause. Not because they are happy to have a substitute and therefore an easier class. Not even because they are glad his sister and her guide have gotten the opportunity to train to be alphas-in-waiting with Gage and Svetlana, but because they are genuinely relieved that his sister’s guide is gone from their lives.
He is especially disturbed by the fist pumping and chest bumping going on with Stiles and Scott.
“You do realize he’s bonded to my sister and is pretty much your brother-in-law now, right?”
His guide is so horrified that it’s almost cute. “You mean I have to deal with him forever?”
Scott and Kira, no, pretty much the entire class finds Stiles’s reaction hysterical. Only he, Scott and Kira bother trying not to laugh.
“It won’t be that bad,” Scott tries to reassure Stiles. “He’s online now and you’re his alpha.”
Stiles rolls his eyes and dramatically buries his head in his arms. “That just makes it worse!”
Her sentinel has got to be the hottest person she has ever seen. He’s long, pale and lean with a thick mop of perfect curls atop his head. Like a perfect man statue done in ivory and gold.
Her sentinel looks especially good mouthing and sucking his way up her inner calf.
“I want you to tell me what Sandburg whispered to you while I was talking to Ellison the other day.”
Her sentinel’s timing is the worst.
Allison pulls her leg out of his hands and scoots over on the bed, patting it for him to join her. He crashes down beside her and rolls up on one side to look her in the face.
“He wanted to give me a heads up, to warn me since he knew I was going to be out of touch for a while about some stuff that is going to happen with my family.” Fuck, it’s hard to say.
He just nods and waits.
“Which one is Helena again?”
“The blonde one.” Okay that’s not really specific. “The older unbonded guide that came into town with Charlotte and Heather? She’s Charlotte’s mom. Her grandmother was sister to Gerard’s mom.”
Isaac decisively nods his understanding.
“Helena clued Sandburg-Ellison in on why Gerard was banished. Apparently, he was involved in his mother’s murder, but they had no physical evidence connecting anyone other than his father to it and she was a family favorite so all mental evidence was dismissed due to prejudice.”
“Gerard’s mother being the sister of the current Argent Alpha’s mom.”
Allison gives him the same nod back. “Since they didn’t have the evidence to try him, they kicked him out. Out of the country, out of the Pride, out of the family, all of it.”
“And now they think he had something to do with why Kate went so,” she makes the typical swirly gesture with one finger for crazy. She can feel his amusement but he doesn’t grin or do anything inappropriate for which she is grateful. “But they can’t prove it. Obviously ‘we know he did it!’ isn’t admissible in court, so they’re going to interview him and probably ask for an empathic scan.”
“And they are taking care of it. Gerard will either be banished from the Tribe on this continent as a whole or – I don’t even know but I will probably never see my grandfather again.” She chokes, tearing up. “For that I’m grateful, and that’s the worst part. I hate what we know he did to dad. What he and mom did to dad and, really, to Peter too. And if I never see him again, I’ll be glad.”
Isaac pulls her into his arms and rocks her gently. Eventually she manages to pull away from him and ask, “What about you? What did Ellison tell you?”
He rolled onto his back, taking her with him. “I told you about my parent’s deaths.”
He feels her nod against his chest.
“Obviously, I was wrong about Camden dying. He got home first, like I knew. What I didn’t know is that he came online right there in our kitchen, freaked out and ran straight to the Alpha. Camden literally hunted Blair down on the streets in our hometown. It was when Blair got the situation out of Camden that he sent Blake-Asan to my house.”
“That’s why they showed up?”
He nodded. It was something that he’d never understood before, but he had never actually felt the need to question their arrival or their timing. He had just figured it was sentinel magic. “Because of how he came online Camden was fragile. Part of that was because he couldn’t move past failing me, even though he really, really didn’t, so they decided on a permanent separation. An adoption and a name change and never look back.”
Her sentinel is quiet for a long time. There is more coming, she can feel it. After several false starts he finally manages, “I would like that, too, actually.”
“A permanent separation?” Fuck, she was just starting to like Beacon Hills but if that’s what he-
“A name change. Leave that wife beater’s name behind. Let it die with him.” Isaac gave a big sigh. “What do you think?”
“Parrish? Or Argent?”
“Argent. I didn’t even think of Parrish. I mean, I guess I could as long as- ”
“No, no. Argent is good. You might need to go Parrish first if you really want to leave Lahey behind so that our pairing name will be Argent-Parrish, instead of Argent-Lahey. Or you could take one of your moms’ names? Argent-Blake has a cool sound to it. Argent-Asan isn’t bad either. Or what was your biological mom’s maiden name?”
Isaac just nods and begins nibbling on her neck, ready to leave the subject for later. “I’ll think about it.”
Get laser hair treatments, they said.
It will be good for your sentinel, they said.
It is completely painless, they said.
Dirty rotten fucking liars, Stiles says back. For multiple values of pain, it is not painless.
For Stiles’s inability to sit still, it is not painless.
For Stiles’s dignity, it is not painless.
For Stiles’s skin, generally and as a whole, it is. Not. Painless.
It’s not his first treatment and it will not be his last. It is his funniest treatment so far, though. What with Derek sitting in the corner, covering his eyes and fighting (but failing) to not growl under his breath the entire time.
Getting them right after school when he has to go back to school the next day is an additional unexpected step towards extreme masochism that boggles his mind more than a little bit.
“Is this the strongest stuff we can get?” Stiles asks Derek as his sentinel applies Aloe Vera gel across his shoulders. It has lidocaine and menthol. It’s cooling!
Derek chuckled. “I asked the same thing when I was getting my treatments.”
Stiles is sincerely tempted to make a ‘when I was your age’ joke but that would seriously come back to bite him on the ass later. And not even in a fun way.
“Erica convinced me that A&D Ointment is the best thing for this kind of thing.”
“A&D? You mean Diaper Rash Ointment?” Derek blushed, a nice, solid red from his neck to his the roots of his hair and nodded. “What happened?”
“Well, I didn’t get very far. My dad found me.” Stiles couldn’t help laughing at Derek’s chagrined tone. Or that might be because of Derek’s hands running up the backs of his arms. “I can promise you it stinks and it doesn’t spread well. Great for tattoos, though.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” Not that a tattoo is happening because needles, but you never know. “What about that stuff they put on me before I left? We should get some of that.”
“I think that’s prescription but we can call-” Derek’s words cut off as if by a knife when Stiles goes to unbutton his pants, his entire being focused on the of movement Stiles’s hands.
It’s stupidly amazing to know that his sentinel wants him like that. Stiles barely has his top button popped and Derek is out the bathroom door, promising to make that phone call right now.
Stiles just sighs, feeling satisfied, frustrated and guilty all at the same time.
Not even two minutes later the door opens again to a blushing Scott pushing a robe-draped Kira into the dorm’s big group bathroom and saying something that not even Stiles could follow before turning around and running like someone set his tail on fire.
They share a look of fond exasperation for a moment before Stiles wiggles his bottle of gel at her. “I’ll do you if you do me?”
She nods decisively. “We should always get treated together.”