The primary scene is being run by teenagers. No, seriously, teenagers.
There are adult sentinels on the property and they are all taking orders from a high school jock. [Sentinel. White, male. 17 to 18 years old. Blonde hair, blue eyes. Approximately 5 foot 9 inches, 150 pounds.] He looks like he should be leading a huddle under Friday Night Lights, not discussing perimeters and patrols with all gravity due the situation.
Marshalling a mass of mundane minions is a small guide. [White, female. 17 to 18 years old. 5 foot 6 inches – in heels. Estimated 5 foot 3 inches and 105 pounds. Strawberry blonde hair, green eyes.] It’s possibly weirder than Captain running the show that she’s made herself the scene mom. Or the volunteers’ mom? Either way, Ms. Bossy is having her minions fetch and distribute food and water. She’s pushing guard-volunteers to take breaks. She’s assigning people watch shifts for the next day and forcing people to go home and sleep through sheer force of personality.
There are still children on the scene, only like three, but still. Considering what happened today it’s more than a little shocking. Hopefully, their parents are just hospitalized, not dead.
The kids are under the care of another guide. [Pacific Islander, male. 17 to 18 years old. 6 foot, maybe 6 foot 2 – and 165 pounds.] Jailbait had them all quiet and comfortable in their own tent, separate but not too far from the command tent, and then Jerkoff showed up and started shouting.
Special Agent in Charge Jerkoff, to be exact, got there about 20 minutes before Don and Ian and the first thing he did was try to clear the scene. Of sentinels. Of guides. Of anyone not in a uniform and quite a few actually in uniform.
Hours late to the scene and all SAC Jerkoff wants is to throw his weight around.
Seriously, what the fuck is this guy thinking? The FBI should have been on the ground as soon as a sentinel reported the suspicion of foul play AKA the smell of napalm. Even if the locals didn’t call for help (which they did according to Sheriff Stilinski), the area field office should have gotten themselves involved on the suspicion of a hate crime.
They should not have waited for an engraved fucking invitation from the Alpha Pair of the United States.
The locals are so pissed off it truly boggles Don’s mind that Jerkoff can’t feel it. That he hasn’t run away in terror. That he isn’t bleeding.
Everyone stops when Don and Ian step fully into the command tent. They’re all frozen. SAC Jerkoff’s mouth is still open and his fingers are still jabbing Captain in the chest. Captain still has his top lip pulled back, baring his teeth in an angry grimace.
Ian breaks the silence. “Good job, kid,” and jerks his head towards the tent flap.
Captain shoulder checks Jerkoff and follows Ian out.
Don holds Jerkoff’s gaze as the tent empties, all the volunteers following Captain outside. Don waits Jerkoff out as the man starts to bluster, as pacing quickly gives way to shifting and finally silence.
“What is wrong with you?” Don purposely speaks softly. Not trying to hide the conversation from the sentinels outside, at this point that wouldn’t be even remotely possible, but to make the man go still and listen. And, according to Charlie, he’s scary as hell when he talks soft and calmly. “Do you realize what your office has done to this community? Not just to Beacon Hills but to the nation’s entire Sentinel/Guide Community? Maybe even the world’s?
“Your office’s failure to adequately respond to this emergency has shown us that the FBI doesn’t give two fucks about us. Then you compound your error by getting in the face of the person doing your job and further alienate people that have already taken a serious hit today.”
“The locals followed procedure. I discussed it with Sheriff Stilinski personally. I don’t know and I honestly don’t care why but you didn’t. You can justify it to the review board. For now, control of the scene was ceded due to your negligence so you’re going to take your people and get the fuck out.”
Emma Marie Hale is a total badass. Like, seriously, Colby James Granger is in awe of her.
Formerly the third, now the oldest Hale kid is a force to be reckoned with.
She’s lost both of her parents, all her father’s siblings, her older sister and older brother all in one day. She’s lost huge chunks of her family’s physical history and legacy. Several cross sections of her family’s contribution to the community literally went up in flames and what is she doing?
She’s organizing relief for other affected families. She’s fielding phone calls from the entire planet. She’s coordinating sentinel forces pouring into her territory on behalf of her Pride and Blair fucking Sandburg. She’s handling hotel reservations and other accommodations for what might be a quarter of the United States’ Sentinel/Guide population.
Colby has lost track but he is fairly certain she’s in the middle of plans for a memorial service for after the holidays, once everyone’s bonded and/or out of the hospital.
She’s also handling announcements for said bondings to the rest of the S-n-G community at large.
Somewhere in all of that, a community New Years’ Eve party was the born.
And she whipped up a floor plan for all three levels of the House, including sentinel-reported positions of everyone in the house, on a white board. It’s frighteningly accurate. Not a single sentinel capable of speaking to them has contradicted it yet.
Of course, the best source of confirmation would be Laura Hale since she has sentinel-senses, knew all the players and was on site before the incident started, but she is in the middle of bonding. Bonding with the local high school Chemistry/Physics teacher, which is apparently the most giggle-worthy thing to happen to this town since ever.
Second choice would be Derek Hale but Ellison put a big ‘do not bother under pain of death’ sign on the guy. Something horrible must have happened to him.
Colby’s wince is not entirely internal.
Something even more horrible than the most horrible thing to happen to a sentinel and his family in this country for longer than it’s been a country must have happened to the guy.
Colby finds his guide on the hospital roof alternating between staring into space and jotting a few things down. Colby is fairly certain they don’t have enough confirmed variables for Charlie to work any ‘voodoo’ so only god knows what is happening on his guide’s ever present clipboard.
P versus nP.
Noting his empathic read of the traumatized.
Scripturally emoting his current lack of chalk dust pollution.
They’ve been talking about surrogacy recently and Colby is fairly certain Charlie wants to name their first child Pythagoras. Which is absolutely horrible and not something Colby should be thinking about right now.
The raised eyebrow and tiny grin Charlie gives him over his shoulder makes the thought feel a lot less inappropriate. Makes it feel like the perfect thing to be thinking of right now. Pythagoras Eppes-Granger kind of has a bit of a ring to it.
Charlie sighs heavily once Colby settles on the ground next to him. “This pregnant woman.”
On second thought, they would end up calling him ‘Pi’ and -take it from a guy whose first name is also a kind of cheese– middle school would be a very special kind of hell for their as yet unborn child. “Yeah?”
“She bothers me. She’s on the first floor. She should have been able to get out on her own. At least three sentinels went for the rescue. What happened with her, Colbs? Why didn’t they get her out?”
It’s the question that’s been bothering Colby for a while now. One of them anyway.
It just makes no sense.
Only one of the sentinels in the house wasn’t bonded. The rest of sentinels in the house were still really young for bondeds. The oldest one was a few months shy of 50. Getting her out of the house shouldn’t have been a problem. Even if it required physical force.
“It’s too soon to guess. We don’t have any real evidence ye-”
“Granger.” It sounds like profanity when Charlie says it that way.
“I’m serious, Charlie! We don’t the evidence to draw any kind of conclusions. We need complete physical and empathic exams on her and the guide they got out with her. Preferably more than one. We need to walk the scene and collect the physical evidence.”
“Maybe she was cut off by the fire?” Charlie tries to throw it out there like they can change what they both think seems to have happened.”Maybe she was injured? Maybe the stairs collapsed and were impassable?”
“Maybe everyone in the house broke their legs at the same time? Maybe they were all rendered unconscious? There’s no way to make this less horrible, Charlie.” Colby pulls the smaller man under his arm and lets his cheek rest on the curliest hair in the known universe. “The truth is we don’t know anything yet. Other than that Don and Ian should be here soon and hopefully we can pack it in for the night. Maybe we’ll get lucky and get to watch someone bully Emma into taking a break.”
“Five bucks on Blair.”
Sheriff John Stilinski has always wanted to meet Blair Sandburg. His wife had idolized the man. Bought every single one of his books, as they came out. Even the textbooks. She could go on for hours about how Blair Sandburg revolutionized the way the world looks at guides and worked so closely with U.S. lawmakers to pave the way for a better future for their son.
The Ellisons are an old name. Almost as old as the Hales or the Sheppards but for their money, not their sentinels or guides. So when the heir-apparent came online as a sentinel and ran as fast as he could for the nearest Army Recruiter that would look at him twice, it had been a bit of a scandal.
A scandal that ended in tons of good press for Ellison Enterprises, the U.S. Army and a number of pro-sentinel politicians.
Most mundanes outside of their immediate Cascade, Washington territory only see Blair and Ellison on television. Either when Blair is lecturing or through some paparazzi super telephoto, a-satellite-might-be-closer lens. It is considered an honor by many to see the Alpha Pair of the United States in person at all.
A day like today is too high a price to pay for the honor. Way, way too high.
“The FBI team you requested landed an hour ago. The Hale scene is still too hot for any kind of processing but Eppes-Edgerton insisted on checking the security deployment. Sinclair, Reeves, and Eppes-Granger are already at the hospital, if you would like to join them now.”
Ellison nods gruffly as he maneuvers his guide into the back seat of the Sheriff Department SUV. “That would be best.”
“And the Sheppards?” Sandburg asks.
“On a private plane as of forty-five minutes ago. They’ll be here before midnight.” John gestures for the Deputy behind the wheel to drive and turns as much as his seatbelt allows. “My son, Stiles, bonded today. He’s only 17. I need to know,” John does need to know but this is Blair Sandburg… Who is definitely not more important to John than his son.”I need to know if it will hurt him.”
“I would have to meet and scan him before I can responsibly answer that question.” Blair is just as forthright as he seems. Good. “But I can give you some general information, if you think that will help. Who did he bond with?”
Blair chokes in surprise. “Your son is a Wolf Guide? When did he come online? How old?”
“And you hid him?” The Sheriff nods his answer. “Wise. Most consider Wolf Guides sacred. The Center here in the United States wouldn’t have taken him from you or anything but foreign alphas? The press? If it had gotten out, the amount of security you would have needed just to keep him safe?” Sandburg shakes head. “As of the last update I received, the only Hales that have secluded to imprint and bond are Laura and Peter, so I am going to go ahead and assume Stiles and Derek have a only formed a preliminary mental bond and that no formal imprints have yet been completed. At this point, the most dangerous thing we could do to Stiles or Derek would be to physically separate them.”
“We haven’t.” John surprises even himself with how sharp his own feelings on that subject are.
Alright, so maybe he isn’t as okay with the whole group shower thing as he thought but Stiles had been right. It was just like showering after gym class. Derek didn’t touch Stiles once the clothes started coming off. Derek didn’t crowd Stiles. Derek just made sure everyone else kept his or her distance. With a powerful ‘don’t fuck with me’ aura and the occasional growl. Naked.
Kira showering with three boys was strange. Really, really strange. But Sun and Melissa had watched for any funny business, too, and if they didn’t have a problem with it, how could he?
“They just need to be together. To know they’re safe. Even after pairs formalize their imprint, the bond will be touchy for the first year. Longer if a pair doesn’t choose to pursue a sexual bond or if, like in this case, that option has to be delayed.” Blair gives a smile that could not be qualified as happy and shakes his head as he starts thumbing through something on his phone. “I know many think that the federal age of consent shouldn’t apply to sentinels and guides. That the government has no business dictating terms for people that are ‘committing to a soulbond’.”
The Sheriff shares a glance with his Deputy. Is this guy expecting John to argue against his only son having to wait to have sex with an older man? Having to wait to jump into what equates to his marriage bed? Because if so, one of them is confused. And it ain’t John.
“The problem with this stance is twofold. Because, of course, every time we pursue legislation that only affects the Sentinel/Guide population we are going to alienate someone and we segregate ourselves a little bit more from the Tribe.”
“Additionally, the Center’s Age Rules are reinforced but not actually caused by the federal standard, and are primarily to make sure both halves of the proposed pair have decently well-developed personalities. Not just so they can both provide legal consent. Bonding too young can cause intense co-dependence, so much worse than your usual bonded pair – to the point of mental atrophy, professional uselessness and physical danger to others. All potential from both halves of the pair is completely lost.”
Now, John is confused. Vaguely fascinated but completely confused. And that’s saying something because the Sheriff of Beacon Hills County can follow Stiles-babble. Professionally.
“Example: 1872, Italy. A pair bonded at 12 and 11; Sentinel and Guide, respectively. Full bond but so far as I know platonic. As they grew older the guide became completely passive, afraid and eventually unable to form even the simplest opinion with a literal mental block against being better than his sentinel at anything. The sentinel, on the other hand, grew unreasonably aggressive. Hated everything. Confronted anyone that looked at his guide too long or in a way he didn’t like to the point of physical violence and, on one occasion, death.”
The silence in the car cuts John really deep until Parrish snorts and then starts laughing.
“You know that that won’t be a problem here, boss. Stiles has an opinion about everything. Usually a strong and vaguely ridiculous one that couldn’t be removed surgically, and Derek? Derek’s been hip deep in teaching sentinels control since before he came online at 14. Other boys go to summer camp, he went to sentinel camp. He ran it and he’s been running training activities for the Pride’s younger sentinels basically solo for over a year now.”