“If we could clear out some of the natives,” Mycroft asked gently, moving to sit in the chair in the corner. “My news is for the visitors mostly and discretion is certainly advised.”
The Hales left though Derek was obviously reluctant in his own furiously-eyebrowed sort of way.
“You realize they’ll be able to hear us as long as they’re in the house,” Moony asked.
“Will they?” Mycroft gave the former professor a weird little smile that felt just as threatening as a wand to the temple.
Sirius cleared his throat. “You said something about a House Elf?”
“Yes, Lord Black. Two, in fact. Showed up in my office at the Bank and demanding I return their ‘Lady Miss Harry Potter’ to them.”
“Dobby?” Harry focused on him, unable to hide her shock. “And Winky? Are they okay?”
“Yes, of course. The bond of a house elf is quite durable, and your family magic continues to maintain them for now. Your familiar bond, however.” The man shook his head and Harry’s shoulders slumped.
“But Hedwig’s okay? Isn’t she?”
“She is in a fine fettle, in my office. Unfortunately, I would not be able to bring her to you. The trip would kill her.”
“But you could bring Dobby and Winky?”
Mycroft inclined his head. “I’m rather certain they would riot if I did not.”
Harry tipped her head and considered. “Is it healthy to bring them? Their lives will be drastically different here than they are currently in that reality. It’s not like they can go to the market for themselves or even be seen in public here. Will they be able to do any of their normal duties as surrounded by electronics as we will be for the rest of our lives? Is it fair to bring them when it will destroy the quality of their lives?”
“There is much we can do for them,” Mycroft assured her. “There are electronics in this world that are properly shielded, specifically so that magical people can use them. We’ll surround you with them and that should suffice. They might not be able to go to the market, but they could surely be trained to order groceries and the like online quite easily.”
“That sounds expensive,” Harry said worriedly. “And we have no money in this world.”
“We could publish your proof, that would earn you at least a million dollars. More after you accept the Field’s or Abel’s Medals bound to be heaped upon you for your accomplishment.”
“Proof?” Hermione asked. “A million—you solved a Millennium Problem?” her best friend demanded of her.
“She solved two, actually,” Mycroft corrected. “But only one of them currently exists in this reality.”
“You didn’t tell me?” Hermione gave her a wounded look that, yeah, she probably deserved.
“I didn’t tell anyone, Hermione. I was never going to. Can you imagine what Uncle Vernon would have done if I had published—or hinted that I wanted to publish—even one of them?”
Hermione’s shoulders slumped and she nodded. “He’d have taken all of the money and beaten you for stealing it or some such nonsense.”
“Probably to death,” Harry agreed. “Besides I kind of cheated? I mean, Mycroft was teaching me things like physics and arithmancy and I started working on it and it just popped in my head.”
“Cross-application of principles is not cheating,” Mycroft told her yet again. “It simply shows you fully understand the material.”
Harry rolled her eyes, as she did every time he tried to validate cheating. “Is a million dollars even enough? I mean, I’ll publish it with no problem if it will get us what we need—but is it enough? For even a house my elves can function in?”
Mycroft pursed his lips. “No, probably not.”
“There’s money in my vault, the exchange rate over there was something like £5 to a galleon. Would that be enough?”
“I have an idea,” Professor Snape offered and everyone focused on him. “Miss Potter said your people play with governments. However, the government in our magical world is specifically designed so you can’t involve yourselves in its process. My proposition is simple. Between their popularity, their wealth, and their pedigrees, Miss Potter and Lord Black hold two of the three most influential titles in our world. If they were to grant you those titles in our old world in exchange for resources in this new world?” He raised both eyebrows in question.
Mycroft leaned back to consider it. “We couldn’t hold them directly except in trust which wouldn’t do us any active good. But if you give them—in your Wills, as leaving the dimension with no intention to return would be considered death—to humans of our choosing who agree to do our bidding, such a thing could be priceless.”
“Meaning?” Sirius prompted.
“Meaning you’ll never have to worry about money again. We’ll guarantee it. We will set up extensive accounts for all of you and handle all of your investing. Though that rather requires a bit of paperwork which we will, of course, also provide.
“What names shall I put on everything? You understand your real names will cause quite a stir given the wild popularity of the books you are all featured in.”
“Lily always called me ‘Rhys’ when we were out playing muggle,” Sirius offered after a pause.
“R.J.,” Remus added and glanced at Snape.
“Alexander,” he huffed. “Miss Potter could likely maintain her name as she is female. The character based on her in this world is a boy.”
Harry shrugged at Mycroft’s look. “If anyone calls me on it, I’ll make a joke out of it.”
“The books are roughly 14 years old, so we are older than them,” Hermione agreed. “But I would at least change my last name.”
“Your choice?” Mycroft prompts.
Hermione pondered that for a moment. “My mother’s maiden name was Kingsley but that’s another character in the books so let’s cut it down to ‘King.’ Hermione Jean King. Professor Lupin looks enough like my father to be his little brother so he could be R.J. King, my uncle and guardian?”
“That’s fine with me if it’s fine with you,” Moony agreed when she looks questioningly at him.
She nodded once and that was settled.
“Harry?” Sirius squinted at her, like he was braced for a blow.
“Do you want to be my uncle too?” she offered. “Rhys B. Potter?”
He smiled, obviously relieved, and nodded. She couldn’t help but lean into him, the silly, silly mutt.
“Alexander S. Prince,” was Snape’s declaration. He refused to look at the rest of them.
“And your reason for being in the United States?” Mycroft prompted.
“Obviously, when my parents died recently, we needed to get out of London.” Hermione’s lip quivered just a bit and Harry took her hand. “Too many bad memories, too much bad luck.”
“But why Beacon Hills?” Harry asked. “What does it have in common with London?”
“Nothing, obviously,” Sirius answered delightedly. “That was rather the point. Or maybe we threw darts at a map. Most of us hit water. Except for our dear Harry here.”
Harry huffed and side-eyed her godfather. “I was aiming for India. But you lot spun me first and I hit California.”
“Which is when you decided to come support your friend Mr. Stilinski who is also going through a rough time,” Mycroft concluded. “I’m sure I can spin that in a way that will work for your actual visas.
“School should be starting soon. I will collect all materials you’ll need to help you prepare for this world and I’ll get you registered but I’ll need a hair from you both so I can gauge what classes to put you in,” Mycroft said to her and Hermione.
Harry shrugged and plucked an eyebrow lash. Mycroft raised one of his eyebrows and Hermione snorted at her but did the same, regardless. “A hair is a hair.”
Mycroft did not look impressed but took them and in a slightly different tone said. “We’re still going to publish your proof because that’ll be fun. For us, at least. In fact, the perfect man to review it is not far from here, down in Los Angeles, so we’ll take care of that today.”
They stood up and pulled with them a suitcase Harry would swear they hadn’t had when they came in. “These are the latest Starkphone. The Starkphone 5 is specifically shielded so that it cannot be interfered with or interfere with magic. All of the latest line of Stark products are shielded in this way, so you’ll rather need to get used to using them.” He pulled out five very thin roughly three by six-inch electronic devices and handed them out. “You’re already saved in each other’s contacts. I would suggest cases so that you can tell yours apart.”
“What kind of cases do you have?” Hermione asked as she taps a button and the screen lit up. “Do you have Gryffindor?”
“Of course,” Mycroft held up two different ones. One was black with the Gryffindor crest in red and gold on the back. The other was solid, textured red with the word ‘Gryffindor’ on a scroll-like banner across the rampant lion in gold on the back.
Hermione immediately took the crested cover and Sirius claimed the red one.
Snape asked for and received plain black while Remus got gently bullied into one that made his phone look like a chocolate bar with the word HERSHEY pressed into every one of the little raised rectangles.
“Do you have any Star Trek?” Harry asked and everyone one turned to stare at her. Reminding herself she no longer had to hide her muggle preferences, she raised her chin. “It seems most fitting. If anyone is boldly going, it’s us.”
Mycroft handed her one that has the golden Starfleet insignia on a field of stars. It had the engineering symbol—the little stylized rho—on it too. It was perfect.
He pulled out more items—more than could actually fit in the one little suitcase. “These are StarkPads. They have keyboard docking stations so that they can be used as laptops, which you girls will need for school. All of them are loaded with those documents we promised earlier to help you learn the history of your new world.
“You’ll of course also need to dress the part,” Mycroft continued, pulling out folders and handing them out. “These are the most common styles of fashion currently. If you would each pick your favorites, I’ll have wardrobes delivered with your official paperwork.”
Hermione flipped through the folder she was handed eagerly while Harry looked reluctantly over her shoulder.
Hermione, of course, made her choices with alacrity. “I like the trendy and the chic, please. With just a ton of shoes and accessories, if I can.”
“Punk and rock are fun,” Sirius decided. “But perhaps they aren’t very age appropriate? Maybe the classic with punk/rock touches?”
Mycroft nodded his agreement.
“Prep and casual,” were Moony’s picks and Snape was the predictable, “Prep-goth,” but at least he was honest about it.
They were all waiting for her and Harry huffed. “I don’t know! I like the boho and the vintage, but I couldn’t wear them all the time. I like the clean look of the classic and the attitude of the punk. The rock is a bit too much leather for me and the gothic is a little too heavy. I like the cowgirl because boots look like fun and of course blue jeans but like hell am I wearing a cowboy hat. The sexy is a straight no. Trendy just seems like too much effort. But casual looks the comfiest.”
“Sounds like you just enjoy a well put together outfit,” Sirius offered which wasn’t helpful but wasn’t exactly wrong either.
“I have a few ideas.” Mycroft agreed. “I’m sure Winky will figure it out.”
“When will they get here?” Harry asked.
“As soon as I have a house for you. You were correct earlier—it would be cruel to bring them to this world when they would just be useless and have nothing like the life they currently know.
“I assume you all wish to live together?”
Harry did a quick visual survey and found no dissent. “If we could. Not far from this house, if possible.”
“It will be done but it may take some time to manage without unsettling the natives. I’ll put you up in apartments downtown in the meantime. I can get you in the same building, but the Potters and the Kings will be separate households for a while.”
“We’ll need cars if we’re going to be traveling around town extensively.” Sirius added. “Perhaps driving instruction as well, for us and the girls?”
“I will add it to the list,” Mycroft promised. “You might want to be aware that once we bring over House Elves other magical species may follow. Such as unicorns and centaurs and the like. Dragons. Merpeople.”
“Is that a problem?” Harry quirked an eyebrow.
“Not as such, no. After the Avengers and the Chitauri Invasion, this world is fairly jaded when it comes to new, inexplicable things.”
“And you probably own all of the world governments.” Harry rolled her eyes. “So, you can make sure the world will properly handle new things.”
“Only thirty-three,” He corrected. “Out of one hundred and ninety or so. Thirty-four, soon. With you here, we cannot afford to play the games we’ve indulged in with the United States. Thirty-five, once we consolidate ourselves in Russia.”
Harry shrugged at everyone else’s surprised faces. “Well. As long as you’re having fun.”
“Always, my dear girl, always. Do you have any other questions at this time?”
“I feel it would be better for our current circumstances for me to remain as separate from them as possible.” Snape offered. Harry frowned at him and he explained. “Essentially, if I remain invisible while still being close enough to watch over you, you can draw attention and I can investigate, let’s say, inappropriate responses. Considering the situations we were brought here to deal with, having a hidden weapon is not unwise.”
Harry rolled her eyes. Once a Slytherin, always a Slytherin.
“How would I best do that in this world?”
“Your invisibility and tracking spells should still work as expected.” Mycroft said after a moment of consideration. “The war chest is not yours, but Miss Potter could grant you the use of it temporarily. That would no doubt give you many useful tools as well as provide you shelter anywhere you might find you might need it.”
They both turned to Harry and she frowned. “Fine, but only within Beacon County. If you go outside of that you have to take either Remus or Sirius with you. And you have to come to at least one family dinner a week. Because everyone needs human contact sometimes, even you.”
Snape sneered a bit but then huffed and nodded.
Harry yawned and started to lean back down on the bed but Mycroft’s eyes blazed and his face went hard. “What? What happened now?”
“Albus Dumbledore is at the Bank,” he answered tightly. “He is trying to steal from your vaults.
“Shouldn’t he be there to report us missing so you can lock them down or, something?” she asked.
“He should be,” Mycroft glared, and Harry yawned again.
“Alright, everyone out,” Sirius declared, standing. “Harry needs her rest.”
Silently, Snapes handed her two potions. She had been in the infirmary often enough to recognize nutrient and restorative potions by now, so she downed them without even a whimper of complaint.
“Paddy?” she asked, silently holding out her arms.
Her godfather willingly assumed his Grim from and curled in the bed with her, keeping her warm and helping her feel safe.
Mycroft pulled something about the size of a pineapple from one of his pockets and put it on the bedside table in front of Harry. It was an owl made out of several different shiny metals, complete with fully articulated wings and large flashlight-like eyes. “This is a Clockwork Owl. Her name is Athena. When you wish to write to me, simply place a letter in her mouth. She will drop it when I have received a copy.” Mycroft bent down to clasp Harry on a shoulder. “I’ll see myself out.” And with that, he vanished.
“Come along,” Remus tugged Hermione back toward to door with Snape following quietly behind. “I am so hungry I could eat hippogriff.”
By the time they made it down the stairs, the kitchen table was set and heaping with food. Stiles, still wet from his shower, was breaking into a steaming scone to lather it with butter. There were no Hales in sight, but they could hear Eliot moving around in the kitchen as they moved to sit down.
“So, you’re witches?” Stiles asked, just to clarify as he hoarded the jelly. Not everyone appreciated red currant jelly, alright? Red currant was to be treasured. “That guy, Mycroft, called Harry a witch.”
“Technically our race is ‘Maia.’ ‘Maiar’ is the plural,” Hermione—who looked nothing like the actress from the movie, by the way—said.
“What, like Gandalf?”
“Tolkien stole the word from us, actually,” the creepy guy with a deep voice—Snape—practically purred. “He—or perhaps someone within his creative group—must have been a squib from a family that hoped for reintegration for our kind with muggle society. The exact Secret is magically sealed in our world, but it is generally believed that his books were published as a way of testing the waters.”
“So that’s why the ending of The Hobbit is so magical,” Hermione said with dawning understanding.
Stiles snorted. “If you consider rocks fall, everyone dies magical.”
“No one dies at the end on The Hobbit!” she objected hotly. “Well, other than Smaug and the Pale Orc. I’m talking about Bilbo and Thorin getting married and all of their little dwobbits and— Wow, they even call the Cabbage Patch Baby process the Longbottom Method! How did I never notice that before?”
“Secret,” Snape repeated giving the word at least four extra syllables.
Stiles looked at his uncle to see him looking just as confused as he felt. “Your version of The Hobbit sounds very different from ours.”
Hermione opened her mouth to say something, but Uncle Eliot waved her off. “And the color thing? With the Maiar, in the books?”
“To those that can See such things our auras are colored. The colors indicate our gifts or preferences and the shade indicates our strength.”
“I read about that, but the book wasn’t terribly specific. It was just an introductory text,” Hermione said. “What are the colors?”
“Red indicates gifts of transfiguration. Orange is runic magic. Yellow is charms. Green, herbology. Blue is mind magic. Purple indicates potions and alchemy talents—such as my own. Pink is offensive/defensive magic—war magic, for lack of a better term. Brown is creatures—their care, understanding them, gifts of that nature. Healing is Gold. Elementals are silver.
“Generally speaking, the darker the color the more powerful the Maia.”
“So black isn’t evil?” Hermione pressed.
“It never was,” Remus said as he joined them at the table. “The Black family is named such because in almost every generation they produce a child with a black aura—the most powerful, most adaptive of magicals ever born.”
“It’s Harry for our generation,” Hermione guessed.
The werewolf inclined his head. “And Sirius in ours. Now that he’s healed, we have two of the most powerful magicals from our dimension upstairs taking a nap.”
Hermione laughs. “What color am I?”
Remus looked to Severus and raised both eyebrows. The man huffed and nodded.
“You’re young so this is inconclusive.” His eyes sort of roll up and became a misty white. “Right now, you are red and blue, in an interesting, curling stripe. There’s room for another color or two, though, so you have more gifts that you will likely mature into.”
“Does that mean Godric Gryffindor was a healer? With a gift in transfiguration?”
“We don’t have conclusive proof, but that’s the theory. Slytherin was an Elemental Herbologist and Ravenclaw a mind mage with gifts for creatures.” Remus hesitates but after a glance at Severus continues. “We know Hufflepuff preferred charms and was the first recorded Black because of Sirius’s family records.”
Severus couldn’t even say he was surprised. No one held a grudge like a Black, it was their most supremely Hufflepuff trait.
“What am I?” Stiles asked.
“You’re predominately pink, a war mage, but you shade to runic orange toward your feet. Rather like an early sunrise only with no blue.”
“What was Voldemort?” Hermione asked softly.
“It was rumored that he was, at one point, a black. However, if he was, he isn’t any longer. Likely because of the Dark Arts he has indulged in. After his resurrection he was…” Severus frowned, thinking about it. “Magenta, a very dark pink, but like shattered glass with black in the cracks.”
“Well, that’s terrifying,” Stiles said lightly as he bounced out of his chair. “I have that thing so I’m going to grab my jacket and go support Melissa with the stuff.” Before anyone could say anything, he thundered up the stairs. No less than two things crashed to the floor up there and then he thunders back down.
“You would think he was happy to be going to his best friend’s wake.” Hermione said, sounding dazed.
“Hardly,” Eliot Spencer snorted, finally taking a seat at the table. “Try nervous. And more than a little upset. He’ll settle when he gets there. Then I’ll go fetch him in a few hours and he’ll come home and crash, hard.
“In the meantime, tell me about this Animagus form.”
“Potter’s,” Spencer said firmly.
“We don’t exactly know what it is,” Remus answered evasively.
“Black has been calling her ‘kit’ rather than ‘pup’ for several months now,” Snape contributed over his mug of black coffee. “I assume that has something to do with her form.”
“What animals’ young are called kits?” Hermione asked. “Squirrels? But Harry said her form was magical and those aren’t magical. Foxes?”
“Beavers, ferrets, foxes, honey badgers,” Remus frowned.
Eliot picked up, “Martens, muskrats, rabbits, skunks. Most weasels, really.”
“Wolverine,” Snape declared firmly. “She’s a wolverine. A Grim animagus is estimated to have a nose ten times more powerful than a regular dog or wolf animagus—or, in our case, a werewolf—and wolverine animagi noses are estimated ten times more powerful than that.”
“Wolverines are a small creature that will take on something thirty times their size and win,” Remus nodded. “Sounds like Harry to me.”
“But wolverines aren’t magical,” Hermione objected.
“I don’t see how something that small could take on a grizzly bear and survive without being magical,” Spencer countered. “Like he said, that’s at least thirty times her size by weight. They don’t give up, they survive extreme conditions like it’s a walk in the park, scale mountains that goats won’t touch.”
“It fits,” Severus frowned. “Personality wise and with the abilities we’ve seen thus far. But that means the nutrient potions I’ve been giving her won’t cut it. Not for an Avatar of Winter.
“Excuse me,” he said absently as he stood and quickly moved back toward the stairs.
Spencer frowned after him. “She has special dietary needs? Should I get more meat? Eggs? What?”
“Wolverines are omnivorous,” Remus assured. “So, I would keep your selections as varied as they have been—but since we’ll be out of your hair in a day or two, it’s not much of a concern.”
The long-haired man snorted at him. “If you think you won’t be over here at least every day or two, you have no idea who Stiles is. And from the sound of it Potter might actually be worse.”
Melissa really didn’t want to have to tolerate people telling her how wonderful her son was more than necessary so she told everyone she knew that the wake would begin at eleven.
It wasn’t that she didn’t love her son. Or that she didn’t miss him.
She was just tired of the loss being ground into her skin and her mind. It was honestly worse now than it had been when John died two months ago because everyone knew the sheriff and now all those same people were pretending they knew her son.
It was going to drive her insane. She just—she needed space.
Still, when the doorbell rang at ten minutes after ten, she was almost relieved. Almost grateful for the presence of the one person she would be willing to actually sit through a day-long wake with—the only person that loved her son as much as she did.
And she was surprised by Stiles’s restraint. He was only fifty minutes early, that was impressive.
He had even knocked instead of just coming right in.
She opened the door. “Stiles, I told you—you’re not Stiles.”
Rafe shook his head. “No, I’m not.” Her ex-husband looked pale and exhausted. More disheveled than she had seen him in at least twelve years. “Are you going to let me in?”
“Why are you here?”
“Because my son died.” And, okay, that was fair. “You remember he was my son, too, don’t you?” But that was not.
She took a deep breath trying to decide if she wanted to rise to the bait but after a moment, she just shook her head and stepped back. “Go shower, you look like shit.” She then proceeded to ignore the fuck out of him as she laid out pictures and packed some more belongings until the front door opened about fifteen minutes later.
“Hey, Melissa.” Stiles sounded as subdued as she felt.
It was hard to meet his eyes where he was standing in the kitchen doorway, but she put the half-packed box in the empty pantry and did it anyway.
It wasn’t really a question, but she nodded anyway. “I can’t stay here, Stiles. I can’t.”
His mouth pulled tight, but he nodded. “What do we have to do?”
“I have veggie, fruit, and cheese plates the other nurses brought over this morning. We need to set those out. I have a bunch of pictures I still need to go through and set some up at the altar I made.
“And I want you to take Scott’s Xbox and games when you go. He would have wanted you to have them. It said so in his Will.” She couldn’t help the way her lip wibbled at that. Her eyes, the treasonous bastards, felt suspiciously hot and goopy.
“His Will?” he asked, reluctantly amused.
“Yeah, he must have wrote it not long after you met. ‘To Stiles I leave all my toys because he’s the best friend and he never laughs at me when I’m sick.’ In crayon. It’s the cutest thing.”
“He probably spelled Stiles wrong.”
“With a z,” she agreed and took a ragged breath.
Fuck. Fuck, not now. Not in front of Stiles. She needed to be strong for Stiles.
But then Stiles was there, being strong for her and wrapping her in his big warm arms and soothing her like she was the child as she cried.
“What a morbid kid,” he said amusedly as she started quieting down.
“You both were,” she informed him. “He just learned to hide it. You never cared to.”
He shrugged eloquently and let her go as she leaned away to wipe her face. “I’ll set up the food, you handle the pictures?”
“You got it.”
When Rafe came down from his shower in a respectable black trousers and button up, they put him on door duty.
A number of people started showing up pretty much right at eleven. Off duty nurses and doctors from the hospital. Neighbors, past and present. Teachers and students from both of the high schools in town and the junior high Scott had attended. Families that used Deaton—which is basically everyone with a pet in Beacon Hills since he was the only veterinarian in town.
The entire BHHS lacrosse team came together bearing a personalized version of Scott’s jersey and a card they had all signed.
Then, the last person she expected walked in with an impressed looking Rafe at his side.
“Melissa,” Rafe greeted her. “This is Interim Principal Gerard Argent.”
“We’ve met,” she assured him tightly. “If you’ll excuse me, I think I see Stiles sabotaging the air conditioning again.”
He wasn’t, actually, but the idea was brilliant and she kind of wished she had accepted when he had offered. The air conditioning was basically useless with the front door opening all the time anyway. Just turning it off would make people uncomfortable and if people are uncomfortable, they would leave, which would definitely be her preference.
Regardless, there were at least a dozen people standing around, sharing stories about Scott so it was easy to avoid Argent for a few hours. It was also amusing to see Stiles sniping at both him and Rafe in ways that weren’t quite rude but definitely weren’t kosher for the setting. Not that she blamed him.
Stiles wasn’t angry quite like she was, but she wasn’t sure he knew about—
“It’s a lovely display, Ms. McCall,” Scott’s murderer said as he cornered her in the kitchen. He set down an empty veggie tray and focused entirely on her. “I really am,” he quirked an eyebrow at her, “sorry for your loss.”
When she didn’t say anything, he moved closer.
“Because you know what this means, don’t you? Scott failed me. I told you what would happen if he failed me. Don’t you remember?”
“You murdered him and now you’re going to punish me for his supposed failure?” Melissa scoffed. “Isn’t that a little counterintuitive?”
Argent tutted at her. “I didn’t kill him, Melissa. I didn’t have a reason to. Not yet. I hadn’t yet called time on our little deal, but the fact remains that he didn’t get me what I asked for. Seems like a clear-cut case to me. Wouldn’t want either of you to think that I don’t keep my word.”
“You’re hardly going to kill me here with my FBI Agent ex-husband in the house.” She tilted her head up and looked him in the eye, making sure he could see her fury. “Consider your message delivered and go.”
He smirked at her and flashed red eyes—Alpha Eyes, Scott called them—as he turned and left.
As soon as he was out of the kitchen, Rafe was there, looking confused and furious.
She held up a hand, waiting for the distinctive sound of Argent’s stupid cowboy boots to make it through the front door. Then she waited another two minutes to make sure he was gone before lowering her hand.
“Did he just threaten you?” Rafe immediately sputtered. “Was he threatening Scott too? Before—? Scott was a good kid, what could he have—he was the Principal!”
“Yeah, he was threatening Scott before,” she gave in to the urge and walked right into Rafe’s arms, pretty much forcing him hold her like he used to.
“But, why?” he asked as he put his arms around her. “What could Scott possibly—? I don’t even know what to ask here.”
She sighed and leaned back to look him in the face, “What do you know about werewolves?”
“Werewolves?” he asked, louder than he probably should. Rather than push her away like she expected, he tightens his grip on her and shook his head in wordless denial. “Werewolves aren’t a thing, Mel.”
“They are totally a thing,” she disagreed. “With the hair and the teeth and the claws. Anger issues like you wouldn’t believe.”
He waited for the punchline. When she didn’t laugh it off, he shook his head some more. “Okay, assuming I believe you, what do werewolves have to do with anything?”
“Scott was one—a werewolf. Principal Argent is a werewolf hunter. I had no idea until he held me captive with—Scott called it a kanima? —and threatened us. They made a deal and he let us go but, obviously, Scott can’t hold up his end of it anymore.”
“What kind of deal?”
“He wants the Bite. Based on the prescriptions he has on file, I think he has cancer. Terminal cancer. Scott and the local Druid came up with a plan. They were going to make the Alpha Bite him, but they were going to substitute Argent’s pills with dummies full of mountain ash. Apparently, that would make his body reject the Bite.”
“And what happens when his body rejects the Bite?”
Rafe’s cop face fell immediately into place. “This so-called Druid came up with a plan and encouraged our son to murder someone?”
“It’s him or us, Rafe, what would you have us do?”
“Call me! Call the police? Leave?”
“Are you kidding? How can the police help against werewolves and werewolf hunters?”
“Stalking is a thing police deal with every day, Melissa. So is blackmail. If he’s a werewolf hunter then he’s murdered people, there’s bound to be evidence of it somewhere.” Rafe gave her a look that made her feel like a complete dumbass. “Cops can take his fingerprints. It’s basic operating procedure, literally step one, to look for matches with old crimes!
“If you had taken it to even the sheriff, that asshole could be in jail. Right now.”
She blinked at him, stunned. Was this all—could this have all been prevented? Without her violating the sanctity of the man’s medical records? Without Deaton coaching her son into premeditated murder? Without maliciously violating the Alpha’s body autonomy? Because, honestly, she couldn’t remember any talk of asking the Alpha to Bite Argent and that seemed like it was basically werewolf rape to her.
Suddenly, Rafe pulled her closer. “Shh, it’s okay. It’s okay, I’m here. Breathe. It sounds like no one in this situation was thinking clearly but it’s done. It over. What now?”
“I was going to leave,” she told him honestly. “Beacon Hills, California, the West Coast. I have a job offer in Maryland. They know about Scott and the move, so I have a month to get there.”
“That explains why your bathroom was so barren.”
“You used my bathroom?” Seriously, that was a serious violation of the rules of engagement. It always had been. Her bathroom was hers and sacred. Even when they were married, he had never been allowed—
“Well, I wasn’t going to use Scott’s,” he said dryly and okay, yeah. That was fair. “You go upstairs, I’ll tell all the guests you’re laying down. Whether you do or not, is up to you.”
And that was the Rafe she had loved, for years.
“Thank you. Thank you for coming. Thank you for being here.”
“Thank me when we get to Maryland.”
“I don’t like making the same mistake twice.”
Derek froze where he was stuffing the first new clothes he had had the courage to buy since coming back to Beacon Hill into the Stilinski dryer and looked up at the voice.
It was Harry Potter, decked out in a little black dress and black ankle boots. She was not even looking at him as she slid her wand up her sleeve, but she was still terrifying. All five feet nothing of her. Mostly because of the heavy magical aura he could practically taste from six feet away but also because of the look in her eyes every time they’re open. Wary, assessing. Patient and terrifying in a way he couldn’t readily define.
Like she was looking for just who needed their ass kicked and was more than willing to—not to mention capable of—deliver.
Just like his mom had been. Back before everything ended.
Derek swallowed hard and stood up straight. “Uh, that’s good.”
She nodded and looked at him directly. “But I’m not afraid to, if I have to. And I will, if you don’t fess up to Hermione.”
He looked away but refused to let his posture crumble.
“She needs you,” Harry told him. “You know that, don’t you?”
“She doesn’t need me,” he scoffed. “She has you.”
“Yes, she does have me, and she will always have me, but I can’t be everything for her. I can’t help her mourn an entire life lost.” He looked up at her sharply. “But you can.”
“But—you—” He huffed and looked away again. Words sucked.
“Yeah,” she nodded like he had said something actually deep and interesting. “I lost my reality too but—let me tell you something—I don’t give a shit.”
Derek blinked because, what?
“The only thing I left behind that I give a single damn about was my owl. You might have heard of her, her name’s Hedwig. Our familiar bond broke and I was worried about what that meant for her but, according to Mycroft, the damn chicken has managed to start a new bond with one of the two people left in that world worth knowing. I know for a fact that Luna will love her with everything she has. So, Hedwig’s taken care of. And I have no regrets.
“But Hermione does.
“Hermione had study buddies she enjoyed and causes she was entrenched in and family she loved and teachers she adored. She regrets so much. She misses so much.
“And I think the two of you have that at least in common.
“And, I mean, I’m making some guesses based on, you know, your lack of belongings and absolute disinterest in returning to New York but it looks like you’re starting a brand-new life, too. That’s two things in common.”
“And we’re mates,” he admitted and then immediately felt like he had swallowed something sideways.
“So, you admit it.” Derek couldn’t help but nod. “Then tell her.”
He opened his mouth to object, and she rolled her eyes. He shut up immediately. At least partially because he wasn’t even sure what he was objecting to.
“Be her friend, Derek,” Harry Potter told him before he had to ask. “Don’t be afraid of what she wants from you. She takes a long time to open up romantically. Seriously, it took her a solid year to accept a kiss on the cheek from Viktor Krum, she’s not going to pressure you for anything.”
Derek nodded, reluctantly soothed, and closed the dryer door.
Harry nodded right back at him and turned away.
“And Derek,” she looked over her shoulder at him and he stopped what he was doing again. “Don’t let you pressure yourself either. Okay? Just be friends.”
Honestly, Harry had always thought that graveside funeral services were a trite plot device used in television and movies to stir an emotional reaction. She really, honestly did. So, it was quite amusing to be attending one, now. Especially since she was living the alternate reality of a television show.
Or it would be amusing.
If it weren’t a million degrees out there with no conveniently placed shade tree. With everyone wearing black.
And then there was the smell.
Still, standing by Stiles’s chair provided her an excellent opportunity. Everyone interested in Scott McCall, good or bad, was there. Several teachers and school administrators. A ton of nurses. Some cops. The temporary sheriff, Tara Graeme. A metric ton of blue haired little old ladies.
And then across from her is a Veterinarian. He was kind of cute in that a-little-too-clean kind of way. And he smelled of nothing.
Not even the grass under his feet or the trees in the distance.
It was strange. And the only explanation she could come up with for it was magic. This was someone to watch.
At his side—well, a few people down but they are both standing ever so slightly forward of the crowd so, at that side—was an elderly gentleman. He smelled like wolf, like musk and fur and fury. He was also a picture-perfect copy of Gerard Argent from the show, so she could take a wild guess as to who he was and felt safe in doing so.
Gerard Argent was a werewolf. Wasn’t that something special?
She let go of her own wrist and allowed the scent blockers to retake effect on her nose. She had gotten what she could from her surroundings, there was no reason to further torture herself with five different brands of kitty litter, three types of gunpowder, six kinds of tobacco—both chewing and smoking—and on and on including, oh yeah, a corpse.
Seriously, was Voldemort in there? Because damn.
Finally, they lowered the kid into the ground. The ladies threw roses on the coffin and the men threw handfuls of dirt. It was terrible and sexist, but she was pretty sure the funeral service providers just hadn’t expected this many people today.
Stiles stood with Scott’s mom Melissa the entire time people came up to shake hands and give more condolences.
“I didn’t know Stiles had a girlfriend,” A craggy voice rumbled at her side.
She glanced up at the man that was probably Gerard Argent and frowned. “I didn’t know this was the appropriate social setting to discuss such trivialities.”
“What an interesting accent, come a long way for Scott McCall’s funeral?”
“I suppose you could say that.”
The man’s eyes narrowed, and his nostrils flared in what probably supposed to look like fury, but Harry knew was scenting behavior. Not that he would ever smell anything on her that she didn’t want him to. “The two of you must be very close to come all the way from-—”
“England, if you must know.”
“You must be very close to Scott McCall.”
“Only about a dozen feet or so.” When the man glared at her, she smiled. “Why the interest? Are you with Customs?”
“Just a nosey old man, my dear,” he said, suddenly genial, and nodded to Eliot as Stiles’s uncle stepped up to her side. “Make sure you sign the guest book!”
They watched him head for the line of cars. Then Eliot turned to her with a frown, “What was that all about?”
“I think he was trying to scent me. His nose flared a bunch of times, but I didn’t hear any sniffing.”
“Can’t imagine he’s been a werewolf long,” Eliot told her. “A man with his reputation? If it takes more than a week for that tidbit to land on Hardison’s lap, I’ll shave my head. And that’s if Argent were keeping it secret, which he doesn’t seem to be.”
“No, he really doesn’t. How many seventyish year-old men do you know that can walk around like that?”
“None,” he agreed and then took her arm. “Come on, it sounds like Stiles is about to need us.”
They wandered over to where Stiles and Melissa were practically forehead to forehead as they talked.
“—I just don’t think it’s appropriate for you or your uncle to bring a date to a funeral.”
“She’s not a date!” Stiles said with exasperation. This was clearly not the first time he had corrected her. “She’s,” he hesitated and gave a bit of a flail. “She’s back up.”
“Back up? To Scott? You have a spare best friend?” The woman’s eyes practically burned in fury.
And, oh, Stiles was pissed. “To fix this, Melissa! She and her people are our back up to help fix this! Beacon Hills.”
“Your back up.” Melissa stared at him for a moment. “I’m sorry, Stiles, but I—”
“No, that’s fine. Go. Run away.”
For a moment, she looked like she wanted to hit Stiles but then Harry and Eliot were there. Instead, she turned on her heel and made for the cars.
“What a bitch,” Harry concluded as she settled in to stand with Stiles while they watched people begin to pack away the folding chairs.
“She’s just angry,” he said like that excused her horrid behavior. “It’s easier to be angry than think. Especially when you’re worried something might be your fault.”
“You mean like Scott’s death?”
When Stiles didn’t answer, Eliot shrugged at her. “Anything that happens to a kid, is generally the parent’s fault. Maybe not directly in this case, but…” And he shrugged again.
“I overheard a conversation yesterday,” Stiles said softly as he hunched in on himself. “Between Melissa and Rafe.”
“Oh?” She waited for him to tell them since he had to want to, or he wouldn’t have brought it up.
After a few minutes, Stiles nodded. “She’s running away. Already got some job lined up on the east coast. I can’t blame her, would probably be the smart thing but I can’t. I just—” He shook his head. “She’s running away with Rafe.”
“Didn’t he used to beat her?”
“Ha! No, Melissa would have fed him his testicles. Did he beat her in the show?” He frowned when she nodded. “They were divorced before she and Scott ever moved to Beacon Hills. As far as I know it was because he put his job before their family. He was never home with all the traveling his team did and she got tired of it.”
Harry squinted at him. “But that’s not what’s bothering you, is it?”
“Melissa told Rafe that Scott made a plan with Deaton,” he admitted. “To double cross Gerard Argent and make the Alpha—I assume she meant Derek because Peter was probably still dead at the time and they didn’t know about Uncle Eliot—Bite him, whether he wanted to or not. And the thing is, I didn’t even know Gerard had threatened Scott and Melissa. Or that Melissa even knew about the werewolf thing.”
“You’re upset that he didn’t tell you?” she asked gently.
“Of course, I am! Why leave me out? After everything, why wouldn’t he trust me? We’re only supposed to double cross people together, it’s in our contract.”
“Do you actually have a written contract?”
“Of course,” he scoffed, and she laughed. He smiled softly at her and straightened up for the first time that day, really. “Thanks.”
“Absolutely. Now, what do you need?”
“I need, I don’t know, to do something? To, like, get focused and not do anything else for a while.”
“Mental engagement or physical engagement?”
“Both. Is both an option?” he prodded
“Of course, we have much to do. Mycroft came through with our paperwork and has arranged temporary flats for us. They’re unfurnished, so we need to go shopping.”
“Why are you guys moving out anyway? Just live with me for a few months, we can make it work.”
Harry hummed. “Alphas need their own territory. Your Uncle is doing well with three other alphas in his family territory right now but, long term, it will be a problem. Why do you think the Hales keep taking so many long runs? They’re trying to keep from losing control and stabilizing themselves as much as they can with neither set territories nor packs but immersing themselves in their family territory can only do so much.”
“So, Remus is moving into an apartment to make that his territory and taking Hermione with him makes her his pack?” Stiles guessed.
“Right. Of course, the others are more difficult to separate because Peter, Derek, and Eliot have all claimed you as pack—officially or unofficially, as the case may be.”
“What?” And then Stiles stopped to think about it. “I guess that makes sense. Maybe-mate, nephew, and life-saving buddy.”
“Um-hmm. Eliot said the rest of his pack is coming so when they get here—if you and Peter decide to pursue the mate thing—you can ask him to release you from his pack and then formally join Peter’s. That would make your house the heart of Peter’s territory though, so don’t do it if you don’t mean it.”
Stiles just nodded to show he was listening.
“That would leave Derek as the only one without a pack. There’s probably going to be a bit of tension between him and Remus over the Hermione question, but no one wants to rush that situation so Derek will probably need to Bite someone. Or bring someone in from a different territory if, say, he left anyone behind in New York that he could trust.”
“Why would he need to Bite someone? Why can’t you or Sirius be his pack?”
“Because I’m an alpha.” Harry smirked when Stiles choked. “I’m the alpha magical. Sirius is my second. Officially moving out at the same time as Remus, for the same reason, put us on equal footing. Mycroft also mentioned that he got the whole floor—all four flats—so there’s room for Derek and Peter to go too, if they decide they need that.
“To have five alphas in one town long term is going to take a lot of negotiations and a pretty rigid hierarchy. I’m going to come out on top because I’m the only one playing the long game, but it still has to be done. I already pretty well have Peter in my corner because of the family group the four of us going to form one day, so that should make things easier. And Derek wants something he erroneously considers mine, so that’s an advantage as well.”
Stiles looked questioningly at his Uncle.
“I’m going back to my official territory in Boston as soon as you go to college, so I really don’t care,” The man shrugged. “But she’s not wrong. Though, I’d like to know how she knows all this.”
“My honorary uncle is a werewolf and my godfather owned our world’s most extensive private library. Including a wizard-wolf’s personal journals about his life inside a pack. They’re an educational read and hilarious. Marius was a right sarcastic bastard all the way through.”
“Hermione and Derek said they were handling furniture shopping at breakfast,” Eliot threw out there.
Harry snickered. “Yeah, apparently Derek is really into architecture and design? I don’t think he meant interior design, but Hermione’s decided to take advantage anyway. Probably just an excuse to get out of the house.
“Pads and Moony are going to go car shopping. Pads is totally going to end up with a motorcycle.” Harry groaned, and Stiles patted her on the back comfortingly.
“And what are you going to do?”
“Well, we’ll need linens. And Mycroft sent along our wardrobes but didn’t send any underpants, thank Merlin. I love him but the idea of having my pants picked out by an old man gives me the willies.
“I thought, if you don’t mind, that I’d steal Peter and make him haul me around town.”
“So, you’re going to make Peter pick out your underwear?” Stiles laughed at her.
“Consider it a test,” Harry laughed with him. “Of his constitution.
“What do you think?”
“I think I’ll go with Remus and Sirius. I know car facts like whoa because of a paper I wrote last year for English and what I know that’s out of date, I can always update with google.”
“Then I suppose we should be homeward bound.”
“Of course, milady.”
Harry smacked him playfully for his cheek and then laughed as Uncle Eliot bowed and offered her his arm. She took it, letting him lead the three of them back to his truck. And home.
Shopping with Peter Hale was an experience.
Especially when he was using someone else’s American Express.
Hers was black and not even plastic but probably some weird sort of thin metal? Which was apparently some big deal? He was utterly gleeful as they wandered through the snooty linen shop that he had decided they absolutely had to go to in Beacon Pointe.
Thankfully, the store delivered, or they’d be toting around such a haul of loot that only a pack of werewolves could have managed it all. And that would get in the way of ice cream.
Thinking linens, she had thought bedsheets. She knew what size beds Derek and Hermione intended to purchase for them all, so she was set, right? No. Apparently ‘linens’ included a number of things she hadn’t thought of. Like curtains and towels. Kitchen towels. Throw rugs. Bathmats. Peter was entirely persuasive. And unfortunately correct, dammit.
She was still not convinced throw pillows counted as linens but since they didn’t know what color couches Hermione was buying, she was staying firm on that one.
“You know, usually that store doesn’t deliver,” Peter announced as he pointed at her with her spoon.
“But the lady offered.”
“She did. Did you hear the way she squeaked when she saw your card?”
“I did, but was that because of my name or the card? How is the special anyway?”
“I don’t know which but ask Mycroft for a list the benefits for that card. They’re actually pretty secret about it, but you’re a cardholder so you should get it. People actually have to be invited to use that card. There’s a bunch of criteria and an algorithm that they use to pick invitees.”
“Sounds ridiculous and dramatic.” She snorted.
“I think it sounds cool.”
“You would, you snob.” He just smirked at her and she rolled her eyes. “Hey, tell me something?”
“That red head that keeps glaring at you? Who is she?”
“Oh.” He sighed and focused on his bowl of three scoops. “That’s Lydia Martin.”
“Huh, I thought she’d be taller.”
Peter laughed at her. “She’s taller than you! By at least two inches.”
“In the eternal words of your people,” she points her spoon at him, “fuck you.”
“Why does she hate you?”
“I have no idea.” Peter rolled his eyes. “She resurrected me against my will, I’m the victim here.”
“What?” He opened his mouth to explain but she cut him off. “Start from the beginning, set honesty to stun.”
“Honesty on full.” He rolled his eyes as he corrected her mis-quote. “Beginning. You know I Bit Scott McCall? He was an easy target and it was a mistake, but I did do it.”
“Scott was my beta, we had a pack bond, but he refused to obey me. At one point, I followed him to a mall to—I don’t know—instill a bit of fear? To get him to come running for safety. Or to just punish him? I don’t know. That whole time is a big blur in my head, but I remember clearly seeing Stiles and realizing he was my mate.
“And just as quickly I realized he was neck deep in obsession with some red-haired twat that would never appreciate him like I could. She would never see his value. Never keep him safe like he deserved.”
“I’m guessing that pissed you off.” Not much of a guess since he was growling at the thought.
Peter took a series of deep breathes and nodded. “I was furious. I Bit her because, best case scenario, she’d reject the Bite and die. Worst case scenario, she’d turn and survive, and I would have a beta I could control. I could order her to leave him alone.”
“But neither of those things happened.” Harry finally looked directly at the other girl when her phone started ringing.
Lydia answered it already agitated and proceeded to down-right furious before she hung up and stormed off.
Harry raised an eyebrow at Peter who just shrugged.
“Apparently, her pet named Prada has a limp. The woman that called Lydia—I assume her mother—refused to take him to the vet for her and insisted Lydia come home and do it.”
“Sounds…” Harry frowned, “fair?”
“I think so.”
“So, you didn’t Bite her with the intention of being resurrected by her?”
“Is that what happened in your tv show?” he asks and rolled his eyes hard when she nodded. “I’m getting real tired of that show existing even in a different reality.
“No, I did not Bite her so she would resurrect me. Why would I? My family was dead, my pack had betrayed me, and my mate was in love with someone else. My only reason for living was revenge and I had accomplished that. I had literally nothing to live for.
“What’s next on our list?”
Harry had to swallow and nod because she could feel that—having nothing to live for. She was familiar with that feeling and it was kind of terrible. “Uh, Hermione and I need panties. Like an army of panties.”
“Our people don’t wear them. Why would we? Comfort and support charms are a thing, as Stiles would say.”
“But you’ll show your nipples,” he objected.
Harry frowned at him, “How? I’m not giving up shirts.”
“They’ll press against your shirt. Everyone will be able to see them. Or, you know, tell that they’re there.”
“You mean like yours are doing right now?” Harry raised an eyebrow. “Why is it okay for you but not me?”
He nodded in that ‘yeah, fair’ kind of way. “And you want a man to help you buy underwear?” He raises a single eyebrow at her.
“Well, since it’s you, I think it would be hilarious, actually.”
“Yeah, probably,” Peter smirked as he gathered up their trash so they could leave.
Deaton idly restocked his display of leashes and collars as he waited.
He was reasonably sure Julia gad shielded the Nemeton from him, rather than destroying it. She just didn’t have the brute power to destroy a Nemeton and create a power pole to replace it.
Of course, he didn’t have the power to break through the shield she set up. It was surprisingly well balanced for magic that had been cast by a woman and he was too far on the masculine end of the spectrum to counter her work in that regard.
He didn’t have to work alone.
Not that anyone would willingly volunteer for what he had in mind, but that’s hardly his problem.
His problem was what would happen if he were forced to renege on a deal with a nine-tailed fox. It would be painful and long lasting and in the end he would definitely die. And that was just not going to happen.
The bell above the door rang and he turned to see a familiar face. “Ah, Miss Martin. How can I help you today?”
“Hello, Dr. Deaton. I’m sorry I don’t have an appointment, but Prada has a bit of a limp. I was hoping you could help.”
He took the little Pomeranian from her, feeling his face stretch into a nearly foreign but definitely not feigned grin. He had known his seeking spell would work. “Which leg is it?”
“Front right.” She reached into the fur-covered poof and gently wiggled the leg at him.
He checked the foot in question and yes, there it was. The black barb with his Sigil on it. His seeking spells had worked hard and fast. “I think I see the problem. If you’ll come into the back with me? We’ll get everything all taken care of right away.”
“Hold the door!” A softly lyrical voice sang out and Harry couldn’t help but look back.
Scampering up the sidewalk leading up to their new block of flats were two women. One—the one in the front—was probably Harry’s age with wavy brown hair almost as long as hers and the most adorable dimples decorating her shy smile.
Behind her was a red head, taller than her mostly by dint of her gravity-defying hair. She looked like she was premeditating the murder of everyone in her vicinity, even with a semi-vacant smile on her face.
No wonder Sirius let them go ahead of him.
She glanced to her godfather who was next in the queue after the red-haired murderbot and found him checking out the woman’s ass. Harry huffed and rolled her eyes when Sirius grinned cheekily at her.
“Thanks,” Dimples smiled more widely at her as she reached to take the door from Harry.
Then their hands brushed in the middle of the glass.
Harry yanked her hand back in surprise and the girl’s eyes flashed Beta Gold. Then Harry immediately reached out for the girl again because whatever that feeling was, Harry wanted more of it.
Thankfully, the girl shouldered the duffle bag she had been carrying in her arms and reached out too.
For a handshake. Harry almost rolled her eyes, but it was better than nothing, so she took it.
“Allison, uh, Silva,” the girl introduced herself and this time Harry really did roll her eyes.
She had no stones to throw about people using aliases. Obviously, everyone that had come with her from her old world was using them, but the delivery of an alias had to be smoother than that. Otherwise, she might as well wear a sign announcing that she was lying.
Allison choked, “What? For real?”
“That is my real name, believe it or not,” she smirked, and the girl laughed.
“Allison!” Red-haired Murderbot interrupted them.
“Uh, mom, this is Harry. Harry Potter, she’s my—” The girl hesitated, tipping her head to one side, looking adorably confused.
“I believe fated mate is the preferred vernacular.” Harry turned to see Peter leaning against the wall next to the elevators. “I’ve never felt a bond recognition quite that strong before.”
Harry rolled her eyes at him. “Living up to your nickname, Creeperwolf.” The elevator behind him dinged open to show Stiles looking out interestedly. “How about we take this somewhere more private?” she asked, not letting go of Allison’s hand.
“Uh. Yeah, we totally should.” Allison agreed, looking at her mom.
The woman sighed, looking unimpressed with all of them. “We’re on level three.”
“We’re on level four,” Sirius said with a grin as he led them over. The second the doors closed behind them, Sirius offered her his hand. “I’m Sir Rhys Potter. It looks like our families will be spending a lot of time together.”
“Victoria Silva,” the woman said as she took his hand.
They both immediately froze, and Harry and Allison began to cackle. It was wildly inappropriate but Harry can’t help but feel that this was what instant karma looks like.
Looking at Peter’s smile, the man obviously agreed even as he offers his hand, “Peter Hale.”
Victoria’s eyes were so blue you could barely tell when they flashed Murder Blue at him, but they definitely did, and Peter flashed his Alpha Reds right back at the woman.
“I understood this was an empty territory,” Ms. Silva said in explanation. “That all of the Hales were dead.”
“Sorry to disappoint,” his smile grew more than a little mean, “Mrs. Argent.”
Allison tensed at Harry’s shoulder and there was a brief struggle where Victoria tried to take her hand back from Peter, but he didn’t allow it.
“How do you know that name?” Victoria demands.
“Oh, I researched your family quite thoroughly,” Peter said lazily. “Had to be very thorough, to properly avenge my family.”
Victoria’s shouldered drooped when Peter pushed her hand away. “Avenge?”
“You know—from when Kate trapped us in our pack home and burned us alive. Only two survivors left, you must be proud.”
“Kate and Gerard were excommunicated for a reason, Alpha Hale,” Allison offered.
Peter slowly turned furious eyes on her. “So, werewolves killing people that don’t deserve it get death but humans killing werewolves that don’t deserve it only get excommunicated? Because that’s fair? Or just?”
“Peter,” Harry chided him softly. He huffed and leaned back, allowing Stiles to take his hand. “They’re part of our pack now, Peter.”
Peter snorted but didn’t argue.
“Unless you’re going to kick mine and Sirius’s mates to the curb,” Harry allowed. “But your mate and I have vows between us, you know.”
Peter obviously didn’t like it, but he nodded even as he worked his jaw in fury.
“Perhaps we should meet up tomorrow,” Allison proposed. “Give everyone time to cool off before we talk everything out.”
“Pack meeting.” Harry agreed with a nod.
“We have to take you and Hermione up to the school to sign up for classes,” Stiles reminded her.
Allison flashed her wide, questioning eyes. “I have to sign up for classes tomorrow, too. Maybe we can all go together?”
“Fine with me,” Sirius agreed.
Victoria nodded. “Chris should be here by the time you’re done, so we can all be there.”
“Chris?” Sirius asked, for what Harry felt were rather obvious reasons.
“My…Allison’s father,” Victoria glanced at Sirius. “We didn’t include marriage documents in our new identities.”
“So, technically you’re single?”
“Technically,” Victoria agreed. “But I feel it would be better to talk to him before anything more is said or done.”
Sirius frowned but nodded.
Harry glanced at Allison who—Harry noted to herself—was still holding her hand.
“I’ve never even dated,” Allison confessed.
“Do you have a phone?” she asked without really thinking about it. “We could text or something?”
Allison grinned. “Yeah, I’d like that.”
“Got everything?” Rafe asked as she sat down in her living room one final time.
“You’re sure about this?”
“Yeah, I am,” Rafe nodded. “You wanted to slip out before he realized you were going and leave the smallest trail possible for him to follow. The movers I hired for the house stuff specialize in helping people escape bad situations. Your stuff will appear to be ‘lost’ in the cross-country shuffle and end up delivered to a storage yard in DC under a false name. You’ll be safe. I promise.”
Melissa stared at her ex-husband for a long time. Did she believe him? After all the broken promises? After all the no mores and next times of him picking his career over their family?
Strangely enough, she did.
She checked the doors one last time, turned off all the lights, and followed him into the garage. He backed his big FBI-issue SUV with its stupidly dark windows out of the drive and off they went.
When they crossed the Now Leaving Beacon Hills sign, she finally let herself start to relax.
Half an hour later, they were both comfortable enough to turn on the radio.
At the Sacramento 45 sign, he quipped a joke that she managed to laugh at. She was just so glad she wasn’t alone anymore.
At the Sacrament 15 sign, a shadow darted in front of their car, “Whoa!” Rafe declared intelligently as he slammed on the brakes.
They had barely skidded to a stop when her door was ripped open with a metallic scream. Standing there, holding her door, was a reptilian nightmare. This one seemed bigger than the one that had held her captive on the ceiling of Scott’s bedroom and all she can do was stare.
She could hear Rafe scrambling for something and then the metallic scream was repeated.
When she chanced a look, there was a second kanima standing in front of Rafe. This one was also not the one that held her before. Too tall, too skinny. He took three of Rafe’s bullets to the chest before he reached in and crushed Rafe’s gun.
Fingers, too, given the way Rafe screamed.
Fingers closed on the back of her neck, inch-long claws burying deep, and she was pulled from the SUV. Her body went limp, paralyzed—again—almost instantly as the kanima carried her to the front of the SUV.
She was then held, on her knees, in the light of Rafe’s high beams. A crunch later, Rafe was on his knees beside her.
They fled the wolves only to be executed by a pack of lizards. She couldn’t help but huff in fury.
“Nidhogg, Lindworm, good job.” The one holding her turned her just enough that could see Gerard fucking Argent standing at the tree line. “Jormungandr, you know what to do.”
A third kanima dropped from the trees. This one had fucking wings and the spiked head of a mace at the end of its tail.
It hissingly evaluated them both and approached Rafe first. The Skinny Lizard pulled him to his feet and silently lifted Rafe’s shirt. Wings hissed angrily and Skinny let it drop. Skinny tore Rafe’s left sleeve instead. This earned him a happy hiss as Wings leaned forward. His mouth opened wide enough to go around Rafe’s entire wrist and he bit down.
Rafe screamed until he passed out and only then did Wings release him.
Then he turned to her with Rafe’s blood still wet on his lips. Bulky Lizard raised her to standing height with one hand and lifted her shirt with the other. Wings hissed happily this time as he bent and bit her side.
And no. No, she refused shout. She wouldn’t do or be whatever Argent was trying to do here. No, she didn’t want this. She couldn’t accept it.
The world went gray from the lack of air and surplus of pain, but she didn’t scream. She didn’t.
But the world went black.
“Harry is not exactly a morning person,” Hermione explained apologetically as they met down in the parking lot bright and early the next morning. “Takes a bit for her brain to kick on.”
Allison took one look as her mate—who may or may not be asleep standing up—and shrugged. Then she scooped the smaller girl up.
Harry cuddled into her readily and Allison crawls into Stiles’s backseat still holding her. Sitting on Allison’s lap was made of awesome as far as Harry was concerned but then Allison hummed and shoved something under her nose.
The Allison smell—chocolate, cinnamon, something spicy, and werewolf—that she had been snuggling into instantly gained a layer of coffee and she couldn’t help the pleased noise she made. She had never had it before, but Uncle Vernon favored coffee in the mornings so at least she knew what it was.
And Allison’s brew smelled so much better than whatever Aunt Petunia used to buy that there was really nothing to think about as she latched onto the mouth hole and tilted her head back.
By the time they got to the school, Harry was aware enough to make note of the big red brick building with the words Beacon Hills High School on the front. They didn’t park at the front, though. They drove around to the side where there was already a handful of students waiting.
When they parked, she even managed to unbuckle her own belt—though she wasn’t quite sure when Allison had set her down—and climbed out after her werewolf.
As they walked up, they found a rather pretty man standing alone, and Harry couldn’t help but frown at him.
Stiles followed her gaze and called out, “Hey, Danny!”
“Hey Stiles.” He sounded…subdued? She didn’t know him at all, obviously, but it seemed to be out of character. “Have you seen Lydia?”
“No,” Stiles drawled, his eyes wide with concern. “Not since Scott’s funeral. I saw what the team did for Ms. McCall though, that was really thoughtful.”
Danny shrugged. “We figured if she couldn’t have him, she should at least have a piece of him. Are these new kids?”
“Oh, yup! Harry, her girlfriend Allison, and Hermione.”
“Harry and Hermione? Are you serious?”
“We’re even English,” Harry piped up helpfully and the guy smiled at her. It was tired and weak but still a smile.
“You’re brave coming here.” Before she could ask him anything about that, though, he shook his head and turned. “Come on, it should be starting soon.”
He led them through a pair of double doors. There were teens standing at the doors wearing fluorescent green shirts declaring them the Class of 2015 handing out pens and little booklets with several sheets of paper shoved inside.
They entered what Harry assumed was some sort of Gymnasium based on the patterns painted on the hardwood floor. She was fairly sure they were the lines for a basketball court, but she had never seen one this large before. Or one this shiny and new.
They were funneled quickly into seats in bleachers by more people wearing clothes by highlighter.
The noise was fairly extreme—from Harry’s experience at least. Everyone was talking to everyone else and they all had things to say to each other.
Then a thin woman with white streaked hair stepped up to the microphone stand in the middle of the maroon circle in the center of the court.
“Hello?” People quieted down quickly enough that Harry suspected magic. “Good morning, Juniors. My name is Noshiko Yukimura, I am your new principal. I am taking over Interim Principal Gerard Argent, permanently.
“It is my goal as your Principal to see you all safe, comfortable, and educated in the two years you have left in this institution.
“To that end, Interim Principal Argent’s dress code has been rescinded and the previous standard had been reinstated. The six-period Block schedule he had instituted has been replaced with an eight-period day more in line with the state standard. As this is not what you signed up for at the end of last year, there are sheets to choose your classes in each of your packets. If you managed to miss getting a packet on your way in, there will be more available at the doors once I release you.
“Every one of you will have an hour lunch—with an open campus so that you may leave for lunch as long as you do not abuse the privilege.”
“Finally, there is now an active zero-tolerance bullying and harassment policy. This applies to both students as well as members of the staff. My door is always open to you if you wish to directly report your difficulties. Any questions?”
There weren’t any. It didn’t surprise Harry at all. From Stiles’s stories, it sounded as though Principal Yukimura just undid all of the changes from Argent’s nightmare regime.
And maybe added the zero-tolerance thing, Harry didn’t really know enough to be sure.
“Very well, you have twenty minutes to review the course catalogue and then the counsellors will start calling your names so that you may finalize your selections. Please be sure to turn in your selections before you leave as this is the last day you may edit your schedules before the beginning of the school year.” She stepped back from the microphone, clearly releasing them from whatever spell she had cast because everyone started talking again.
Allison turned to them immediately. “Okay, what are we taking?”
Stiles and Hermione promptly opened their course catalogues. Hermione started to skim through the available and Stiles went straight for the selection papers. There were actually three copies of the selection papers, each in different colors—white, yellow, and purple. The purple had the word FINAL stamped across the top.
“I’ve heard the AP English 3 class is amazing, so we should all sign up for that.” Stiles told them. “What sciences have you guys taken? I’ve done Bio and Chem, so I need Physics.”
“I’ve done Chem and Physics, I need Bio,” Allison indicated her selection and then looked up to check in with Harry.
She and Hermione exchanged truly perplexed looks and shrugged. Harry leaned in to whisper, “Does four years of Potions count as Chemistry?”
Allison almost laughed but she had already known that her Harry was in fact that Harry. The Potter one. From Hogwarts. Though she didn’t know how her Harry had gotten to California, yet.
Still, she swallowed back the laugh. “I don’t think so?”
“Yeah,” Stiles drawled, squinting at them. “Go for Bio.”
Harry nodded and marked her selection. “What about history?”
“Are you even ready for that?” Stiles asked gently.
Harry sniffed, playfully offended. “I have been doing my assigned reading, you know.”
“Go with World History. Ask if you can get Mrs. Parks, she’s amazing.”
Harry nodded and marked her paper, including a note about Mrs. Parks and Allison did the same.
“Math?” She prompted.
Hermione huffed and Harry made a face. “I doubt I’ll have to take any but what are you going to sign up for?”
Harry nodded and selected the same though she put three question marks beside it.
“I’m in Cal this year,” Stiles told them.
Harry glanced at Hermione who shrugged and marked her paper. “We should probably switch though.”
Allison was totally missing something, and it was starting to make her angry, but she stopped to breathe. Of course, Hermione Granger—Hermione King, now—knew more about Harry Potter than she did. They only met yesterday, after all, and a single night full of texting had nothing on honest to god years of living together as dormmates.
A hand squeezed hers and she looked up to see Harry smiling gently at her. She couldn’t help but smile back.
“We can sign up for Art?” Harry offered though Allison knew she had no particular interests in that area.
“If you’re sure?”
Harry shot her an amused look and tilted her paper to show she had already made the selection. “Do you think it’s too late for me to learn to play like the cello? Or the violin?”
Allison thought about it. “Why don’t you ask the counsellor if you can sign up for Orchestra 1 when you go up? If they say no, we can always find someone in town for private lessons or something.”
“Do we have to sign up for some sort of Physical Education?” Hermione asked, clearly displeased by the prospect.
Stiles manfully stifled a snicker. “You have to have three PE credits to graduate, so I’m going to guess yes.”
Hermione sighs like it was being dragged out of her with claws.
“General PE?” Harry offered. “If we find something we like, we can do that sport class next year?”
“I’m on the Lacrosse Team,” Stiles said, then he frowned. Like he wasn’t sure he wanted to stay on the Lacrosse Team.
“Just because you have been, doesn’t mean you still have to be,” Harry told him gently.
Stiles nodded and then flailed a bit. “Wait, we need a language.”
“I’m already taking a language.” Harry looked at him like he had lost his damn mind. “It’s called English. It’s the first thing you made us sign up for. You wanted Advanced Placement.”
“A foreign language,” Stiles clarified.
Hermione laughed. “Don’t worry about her. Harry’s more of a Maths and Physics kind of girl.”
“If I need a language, I’ll use a translation spell,” Harry muttered low enough it was likely only Allison heard it.
“Potter, Harry!” was called out from the far side of the room and Allison looked around to realize a good third of their class was already gone. Those that remained, though, froze and Allison had to stifle a groan. She had never thought the mass craze that was Harry Potter would ever become her problem and yet, here she was.
“It’s Harriet, actually,” Harry announced as she stood with great aplomb and sailed across the room like a queen amongst peasants.
“Silva, Allison!” was called from one of the other tables and she walked over to where two people sit. One was a woman, laying out Allison’s school file. The other turned out to be some crazy coach whose hair made him look like he had never met a wall socket he didn’t want to poke.
Their conversation is quick and dirty—nothing Allison hadn’t done probably a hundred times by now with all the moving her family had done. It was just normally done in a small office with her and a counsellor, rather than her in a gym with the entire rest of her grade in attendance.
She finished and Stiles was with the same lady before Harry left her discussion with her counsellor and teacher team.
She was looking dazed, Allison didn’t know her well enough to guess what that meant.
“How’d it go?” she asked her mate promptly.
“Uh, good. Principal Yukimura came over. Apparently, they are really pleased to have me around. I don’t have to take any maths, but I can if I want to or, uh, I guess I can take private music lessons? There’s a deputy orchestra director that’s willing to take me on, she was the teacher working with my counselor.”
“Why don’t you have to take math?”
“Because I solved a Millennium Problem.” Harry said it so offhand it took Allison a moment to register it.
Harry shrugs, like it wasn’t a big deal. “I told them I’d take the music lessons. I hope that’s okay?”
“We don’t have to do everything together,” Allison immediately assured her mate. “In fact, it’s probably better if we don’t. You know, there’s nothing wrong with doing things apart sometimes. Having different friends and interests. You know?”
“Yeah, that was basically what I was thinking. I did ask to see if I could get as many classes with you three as I could though. Just in case.”
Allison slumped. She hadn’t thought of that. Though, of course she hadn’t. She had never gone into a school with friendships already growing before. She had always just taken whatever came as it came.
Might be that was why she had never left a school with a lasting friend either.
“What did you find?” The Argent Alpha asked the moment they entered his home office. The man was the picture of a super villain, sitting in repose in his study—complete with wingback chair.
All he needed was a white cat.
In the cat’s stead, he has one of his beta kanima heeling like a hound by his leg. It was an incredibly effective addition to the usual visual.
“The girl with green eyes with Stilinski is named Harry Potter,” Ethan immediately answered.
“And she can do magic,” Aiden added. “She mentioned using a translation spell when her group was talking about foreign languages.”
“Her group?” Argent prompted.
“The Stilinski kid, Harry Potter, Hermione King, and Allison Silva,” Ethan said.
“Silva smelled like a werewolf.” was Aiden’s hasty contribution.
“I assume King is magical as well?”
Both twins shrugged at their alpha. There was no way to tell for sure. Not from scent or speech or anything really.
“Very well,” the old man casually dismissed them with a wave of his hand. “You may eat. A single meal each, at least half vegetable.”
“Thank you, Alpha.” They both gave him clumsy little half-bows and backed out of the room.
Kate couldn’t help but sneer. “Why do you even keep them? We don’t need them.”
Her father gave her one of his patented patiently impatient looks. As a child, one glance with that look would have had her correcting her behavior quickly.
“I can spy within the school,” Kate told him. “I’ve done it for you before.” She very carefully didn’t add Remember the Hales? To the end of the sentence.
But with the way his eyes narrowed, he heard it anyway. “You’re dead, remember?”
Kate glared at her father for the reminder.
“And after your supposed death they plastered your face all over the front page and blamed you for the Hale Fire,” he continued. “They called you a serial killer. You have no money and no resources beyond my own. You have brought in no intelligence. The only person I don’t need right now, is you.”
Kate ground her teeth together, but she couldn’t actually argue with that. She was his best soldier, she always had been, but she couldn’t— She could get a new identity and reinsert herself in the town probably. Maybe. But new identities cost money and Gerard had control of all of hers.
She slammed out of the house. She needed to be far away from there. She stopped by her car but then she just froze. It was not her car, it was Gerard’s. Gerard had picked it. Gerard had bought it. It had Gerard’s gas in the tank.
She turned and took off at a run. She would prove herself—prove that she didn’t need him. Prove that she was powerful and capable in her own right.
She would show her father that she was not to be dismissed so casually and she would do it all by herself.
When she stopped running, she was down by Beacon Hills High. Of course her feet brought her there, it was the site of her earliest victories in this stupid little town.
She turned away. She couldn’t be seen at her hunting ground. Not then. Not while she was so unprepared.
She had just passed the gas station on the corner when her footsteps gained an echo and her nose detected the smell of wolf, fury, and the fire of an alpha. She ducked into an alley parking lot and waited.
A woman rounded the corner. Long fingernails, longer black hair, and barefoot.
“Well, if it isn’t Kali Steele.”
The woman in question whipped around with furious red eyes already aglow. “Kate Argent. I thought you were dead.”
“I’m many things.” She let her eyes glow green in return. She could feel her spots form on her skin as she shifted to her truly unique beta form. “Dead is not one of them.”
Kali roared and leapt for her even as her brow ridges grew and her facial hair retreated.
Kate jumped neatly out of her way and got a swipe in at her unprotected back. Kali managed to clock her on a back swing—closed fist, on the mouth hard enough that it sent Kate reeling.
“Your father took something from me.” Kali snarled and pressed her advantage. “I’m going to enjoy showing him how that feels.”
“The twins?” Kate taunts as they traded blows. “Quite eager little boot lickers, aren’t they? Bet they used to lick other things for you, too.”
Kali snarled, but Kate could smell her disgust. It was not quite the distraction she had been hoping for—but it could be the beginning of one, if she pressed.
“The big bastard then,” Kate sneered. “Figures you’d go for brawn over brains.”
Kali’s eyes blazed as she took a strong grip of Kate’s hair and started bludgeoning her head on every single one of the cars in the lot. The third one, thankfully, was low enough that Kate managed to grab the one knife she had in her boot.
A quick slice through her own hair and she was free before Kali registered what she had done.
She held up the knife in front of her, letting the Nordic Blue on the blade glitter warningly. “Couldn’t get the smart one to go for you, huh? Everyone knows you aren’t the brains of the operation. Never have been.”
“Fucking Argents,” Kali growled, watching the knife. “Can never fight fair, can you?”
Kate scoffed. A four-month-old shifter versus an experienced alpha? That was a fair fight?
“Pick on a blind man to get the Bite. Seduce little boys to murder their families. What would the Matriarchs say?
“Oh, wait,” Kali grinned. “They banished you, didn’t they?”
Now it was Kate’s turn to dart forward, already determined that this exchange would be their last.
It was messy. Kali grabbed her knife hand by the wrist and came damn close to disemboweling her with her off hand but Kate managed to drop the knife and catch it in her offhand before it can be taken from her. She slit the alpha’s arm open from wrist to elbow—cutting deeper and deeper as she went.
Kali sucked in a shocked breath and pulled back in shock.
Kate knew—from experience, now, as well as from her father’s experiments—that Nordic Blue burned on contact but that the pain of the cut was absolutely nothing compared to the pain of it in your blood. Though ingestion was definitely the worst way to encounter Nordic Blue.
When Kali was back far enough, Kate returned the favor and disemboweled Kali as rough and painfully as she could.
Kali staggered back, both hands going to her stomach.
She looked confused and Kate couldn’t help but smirk. She sheathed the knife—she could always make one of the twins clean both knife and sheath later—and gripped Kali’s neck in her off hand.
“Nighty-night time!” she sing-songed like she had so many times. Usually when she was working in a daycare to stalk her next pack for barbeque.
And she ripped out the she-wolf’s throat.
Power surged up her arm, her broken wrist and deep abdominal wound were healed almost instantly, and she let out a victorious scream.
Her father would not dare dismiss her now.
When the kids tumbled into the stereotypical small town house that his—that Victoria had directed him to, Allison was shaking. She was shaking so hard the whole couch the Alpha of the house directed them too was shaking right along with her and the tiny elf of a girl clinging to her hand.
“Ally?” Chris asked. “Ally, what happened?”
The kids had supposedly been at the school signing up for classes. That was it. Nothing special. Allison had done it a million times and never once had she reacted like this.
The other three alphas—and isn’t that strange? Four alphas existing peacefully within a single room?—crowded in. One took ahold of the boy in group of kids and pulled him close. The other two reached for one of the other girls. Chris wanted to crowd in himself to reassure his daughter but the sandy haired alpha, RJ, glared at him when he even thought about it.
“Kate,” Allison gasped. “It was Kate.”
“What?” more than half the room demanded.
“Allison, what’s going on?” he asked.
The little girl his daughter was clinging to snarled at him fit to make an alpha werewolf proud. “Give her a minute.
“Have all of these arseholes introduced themselves?” she diverted. “I swear they were raised by wolves.”
That earned her a few snarled objections, but she was clearly not impressed, and Chris got everyone’s names in the bargain. Grudging and rapid fire, but he still got them.
“I’m Chris Argent. Chris Silva on my current ID. What is going on?”
“From the beginning,” the girl—Harry Potter—instructed. “Peter, honesty on full.”
Peter Hale rolled his eyes but obeyed. “You are aware of the Hale House Fire?” he asked. “It killed most of the Hale Pack a little over six years ago now.”
When Chris and Victoria nodded, he continued. “I survived the Fire, mostly. I was in a coma with no alpha and no pack. Every day for five years it felt like I was being burned alive. I listened to my family die over and over again for five years.” The man took a deep breath. The boy—Stiles—leaned into him and Derek Hale put a hand on his shoulder. “Then I got a new nurse and I slowly started to get better.
“Her name, I would eventually learn, was Jennifer Winchester. The clan head, John, wouldn’t recognize her though. He would not accept her as his because she had magic. Just a little, just enough to kickstart my wolf healing, but still magic.
“Her plan—that she loved to rant about all the time—was to use me to draw out the Argents and kill all of them and that would somehow finally gain her John Winchester’s attention and approval—I assume after she took out the wolf that just so happened to have murdered all of the Argents.
“What she didn’t expect was that Kate and Gerard were not the first to respond to her bait. My niece, Laura, was. On a full moon in the end of December, I came across Laura in my woods. I didn’t recognize her—I couldn’t have, I was still too broken—and I killed the interloper.
“A few nights later, I found some kids in my woods and Bit one of them because I needed a beta for stability.”
“That was Scott McCall,” Stiles chipped in. “My best friend. We were looking for the top half of Laura’s body after my dad—the sheriff at the time—had already found the bottom.”
“A lot of things happened,” Derek added. “A lot of stupid, dramatic things.”
“Well, there was a lot of terror going on,” Stiles said defensively. “And so much confusion. And the fur and the fangs and the threats.”
Derek inclined his head and Peter continued, “I hunted down every single person involved in setting the fire and covering up my family’s deaths—Jennifer had helpfully provided a list. The last on the list of Kate Argent. I tore out her throat in the ruin of the family room in our burnt-out House. She’s dead.”
“Did any of you confirm the kill?” Chris asked gently.
“Well, my dad’s deputies took the body.” Stiles told him. “I would assume there was an autopsy. I mean, there was an investigation. And a funeral.”
Chris ran a hand over his face. He would not put it past his father to steal Kate’s body. Or bury an empty coffin just to fuck with people. He and Victoria exchanged a look. Clearly, they were on the same page and she huffed. “After Kate died?”
“We killed The Alpha,” Stiles admitted softly. “And Derek became the Hale Alpha.”
“Obviously not,” Victoria glared. The man, Peter, was sitting right there—clearly talking and breathing and an Alpha.
“I was resurrected,” he told her, almost soothing only not really because resurrection. “There was a girl I Bit. My first beta wasn’t cooperating, so I still needed a beta to stabilize my alpha spark. I tried again but she was, apparently, immune. I assume it was because she already was some sort of supernatural creature?”
Peter turned to ask the man in black in the corner, Severus. “Is there a creature that can bring people back from the dead in your world? Because I can’t think of any here.”
Snape hummed. “Witches can be Bitten and become werewolves. With the exceptions of an Animagus or an extremely powerful elemental. Did she ever smell like an animal?”
“She smelled a little like dog.”
“She has a puppy,” Stiles countered. “Prada. A pomeranian.”
“This would be deeper,” Snape shook his head. “Not a surface smell but part of the core of her. Like with Black and Harry.”
“At the core of her, she smelled like,” Peter hesitated because it sounded crazy even in his head.
“Grave dust,” Harry said for him. “I saw her at Scott’s funeral. She smelled like grave dust.”
Even though that was not a thing.
Peter Hale nodded, regardless.
“A Death Elemental?” Sirius Black offered.
“Seems likely,” Severus agreed. “The Bite could have triggered her awakening. Her Crisis. Very few Death Elementals survive their Crisis. Or if they do, they are normally rendered insane. The living are not meant to have domain over Death.”
“Is that why she’s been looking, I don’t know, crazy?” Stiles asked. “Stressed?”
“A simple necromantic ritual on a not-quite dead man would fulfill her Crisis nicely but Magic would have to lead her to do it. She would have been receiving visions to prepare her for it—possibly for months—but with no magical education or training, she would be ungrounded. That would lead to confusion, stress, madness.
“As I said, most Death Elementals go mad.”
“So, I did her a favor?” Peter asked. “By being only mostly dead.”
Snape tipped his head in what might or might not have been agreement.
Chris kind of wanted to learn that gesture. “Mostly dead? How could you be mostly dead?”
“From what we’ve found, he had three anchors to this life,” Snape told him. “The love bond to a possible mate, the pack bond with a possible beta, and a magical soul bond to Scott McCall.”
Stiles spluttered, “What?”
“Someone,” Black said cautiously. “Stole Peter’s True Alpha Spark—part of his soul—and magically implanted it in Scott. We haven’t figured out who, yet, but it had to be a magical adult in his life.”
“Like Deaton?” Stiles looked up at him. “The druid?”
“No true druid could have done such a thing,” Snape scoffed. “It is the most heinous of evil magics—to violate someone’s soul in such a way.”
“Still, we can always investigate,” Harry said and Snape inclined his head again. This time it was definitely agreement.
“Could there be something wrong with the Hale Family Spark?” Derek asked suddenly. “Peter Bit Lydia and it didn’t take. I Bit Jackson and it didn’t seem to take either.”
“Did he die after you Bit him?” Chris asked.
“Not for like two months. But he and his parents were murdered the night the Sheriff died, and the station burned down though Sheriff Graeme technically has him listed as a missing person.”
Chris and Victoria exchanged another look. Burning down entire buildings usually with people inside is absolutely a move from Gerard’s playbook. Especially if he or Kate are hiding something.
“Jackson’s the kanima,” Hermione asserted, speaking up for the first time.
Derek sighed. “Yes, there is a kanima. We know that. But we don’t know that it’s Jackson. Your little show’s been wrong about stuff before, right?”
“Have you bitten anyone else?” Hermione asked him sharply.
“No,” Derek admitted.
“Then who else could it be? Where else could it have come from?”
“I don’t know,” Derek shrugged. “Things have been quiet for a while, maybe its Master was just passing through?”
“And they just happened to murder a bunch of people while they were here? For no reason? With no connection?” Hermione asked doubtfully.
“There is a connection, actually,” Stiles piped up. “All the people that died were on the BHHS swim team. Like you said, from your show.”
“See?” Hermione waved a hand at Stiles.
“Wait, wait, wait.” Chris waved to get their attention. “What’s this show you keep talking about?”
“We hadn’t gotten there yet,” Peter informed him with a truly shit-eating grin.
“Okay, so. Crazy alpha, best friend Bitten, lots of fear, many deaths, alpha died,” Stiles recapped. “Crazy hunter grandpa, more fear. Crazy hunter grandpa became high school principal, everything was terrible. Kanima killing people. My dad died. Like a lot of people died.
“My uncle came to town, dad’s funeral. Alpha Pack, all the threats, some fighting. More people died. More fear. Peter came back from the dead, mostly not crazy. Scott died, alpha Peter redux. Got it?”
Chris blinked feeling dazed but nodded.
“We were in the woods last Friday morning, trying to put the pieces together” Stiles said. “I made a wish. For help and suddenly there were five people landing on the Nemeton.”
“We come from another dimension,” Harry picked up. “Where I was wishing for a place we could be a family.”
“So you are that Harry Potter,” Chris was kind of afraid to ask but he had too. His daughter was involved in this crazy.
“Yes.” Because of course his daughter would mate with Harry Potter. Why was he even surprised?
“Where in the timeline are you from?” Allison asked, her cheeks finally regaining some color from the shock that had started the meeting. “Are the books accurate?”
“As far as I can tell, they are.” Hermione said, looking uncomfortable. “Of course, only Harry can really say but I would point out that we weren’t as close to Ron as the books made it seem.
“We were in fifth year. It was the day after Harry had the vision that saved Arthur Weasley from Nagini in the Department of Mysteries. Unlike in the books, Harry and I stayed at Grimmauld Place while the Weasleys went to visit Mr. Weasley at Saint Mungo’s. That was when we got dragged here.”
Allison flipped over the one of Harry’s hands that she was holding and ran a gentle finger over the back of it. In red, puckered flesh are the words I must not tell lies clear as day.
“Can you do anything about this?” she asked Severus Snape, glancing up.
The man’s face was red with fury and growing redder when he nodded tightly and quit the room.
“Allison, can you talk about what happened?” Harry prompted gently, turning her hand so her scar was no longer visible to the room.
“We stopped by a gas station on the way here from school. I heard a roar and went to investigate. I found Kate. She was weird. Her skin was black but like an animal’s, like jaguar or a leopard or something. There was a pattern to it. Rosettes? She had glowing green eyes.” Allison took a deep breath. “She was fighting an alpha. She won. I saw her eyes go red before Harry found me and dragged me away.”
“So, Kate is alive.” Chris slumped.
“And the Bite took,” Victoria agreed. “I’ve never heard of a werejaguar.”
“Variations happen,” Eliot spoke up. “They’re rare, though. And usually a sign that not all is right upstairs. They’re dangerous. Unpredictable. Like the rules don’t quite fit them.
“Normally they’re put down after their first full moon, I’ve never known one to make alpha.”
“So, she’s first on our kill list,” Harry almost—no, no almost—she ordered. “After whoever fucked with Peter.”
“And whoever murdered my dad and Scott,” Stiles agreed and Harry nodded.
“Unless they are all the same person? What about the kanima?”
“If it’s still here,” Stiles rebutted.
“Kanima are snake based,” Hermione put in before Harry could do more than open her mouth. “So, if it’s still in Beacon Hills, all we have to do it wait. Snakes love Harry. They’ll find her, we won’t have to do a thing.”
“You’ll be driving all over town for the next three days with Driver’s ED,” Eliot said by way of agreement. “Maybe leave the windows down when you do. Speed things up.”
Harry rolled her eyes but nodded. “Now, how about some lunch?”
When he woke up it was dark outside, and Rafe had no idea where he was.
He looked around as much as he was able. There wasn’t that much but he could identify his location as some sort of screened in porch. There was a jacuzzi at one end, a patio table in the middle, and then himself and Melissa were laying on some sort of plastic mats at the other end. Two sets of doors, one screen door going from the porch outside, the other a pair of French doors going from the house to the porch.
He wasn’t bound in any way, which was disquieting. Neither of them were. He wanted to assume that the doors were locked but either way, not being bound meant their captors were confident that they wouldn’t be able to escape.
Remembering those giant lizard things Argent had had, it was probably safe for him to be so confident.
He checked the wrist that he remembered being bitten to see what kind of damage was done only to find the whole thing—the whole arm, from fingers to elbow—encased in a clear viscous liquid. He poked it and found it to be more of a jelly.
He couldn’t actually say what it was, but the limb didn’t hurt and the barrier only jiggled when he probed it with a finger.
Pushing carefully with his non-cocooned wrist, Rafe rolls toward Melissa. When he rolled again, he was more on her than beside her but he didn’t think he could have moved any differently, so he gave himself a break on the matter.
To his surprise, Melissa’s eyes were open and staring blindly at the ceiling. For a moment he was scared that she was dead but then she choked. Black goo flowed out of her mouth and was running down the sides of her face.
“Melissa?” he hissed.
She twitched. Her eyes flickered his way, but she couldn’t seem to focus. She was speaking but slowly, every word is a struggle. “Rafe. Bite. Kanima. Rafe. Bite. Kanima.” She exhaled and a tear rolled down the side of her face to join the goo. “Rafe.” She managed to focus on him and her eyes flew wide with fear. She choked again.
“Kanima,” was her last word. Fear, her last emotion.
He glanced back over his shoulder to see the non-winged people lizards standing there. They came for him and he tried to cling to his dead wife but they kicked her away body away. Careless. Like she was nothing.
As he was carried not very gently across the porch. He caught himself in the mirror. His eyes were gold and slit-pupiled. At least half of his face was covered with green scales.
He screamed but no one cared. No one came. No one stopped.
The lizard men climbed into the jacuzzi with him. It was empty of water but there was more of the clear jelly stuff lining the, well—lining the nest.
One of his captors scratched the back of his neck again and he went limp as they laid him down between them and curled up. Then the big one came—the one with wings. His alpha. His alpha stays half crouched above them. His wings covered the nest, providing them all shelter.
He had such a good alpha.
“If you’re from another dimension,” Allison delicately began, “how do you and Peter have vows between you? What kind of vows are they?”
“Stiles and I have vows between us,” Harry corrected.
“But since Peter and Stiles are fated mates, they might as well be between you and him,” Allison nodded. “What kind?”
“Friendship and mutual support, for the most part. But, I mean, the vows were to make sure I couldn’t be dragged home, which you have to realize a ridiculous number of powerful people from my world would do if they could, so the vows correspond with the wishes we made that brought us together.”
“You’re going to make a family with them,” Allison guessed with a frown.
“We’re going to make a family with them. I reserved the right to a mate of my choice, but what that will mean?” Harry shrugged. “Could be they just, I don’t know, donate sperm and we timeshare the results. Could be a full out poly relationship. Could be something in between. We’ll figure it out eventually, I’m sure. Unless that’s a deal breaker to you? I probably should have mentioned it before.”
“No, it’s okay.” Allison assured even as her mind spun on the issue, getting pretty much nowhere. “It’s not like you could have given me this explanation in the elevator yesterday. Or without this Pack meeting today. Well, you could have but it would have been really confusing. And nobody wants the NSA or SHIELD to know you’re from another dimension so having the conversation in person rather than over the phone was smart.” And then Allison stopped talking because she honestly didn’t know what to say.
Her parents had had an arranged marriage and she they had never kept that from her growing up. Her mother was a mainline Argent and her father was her mother’s fifth cousin. They had married to strengthen the bonds within the family. Her mother’s brother had had his match arranged to a Calavera matriarch to seal a treaty.
She had never expected a love match for herself but now that she had a love match actively cuddling against her and the possibility for more in the future? More for her to choose, more for her to shape.
She didn’t have the words for it.
“The heart has infinite capacity, you know,” Harry said softly. “For love and for hate. But love is such powerful magic and I rather greedily want all of it I can get.”
Allison couldn’t help the tears weighing on her eyes. Along with a stupidly massive percentage of the planet, she had read the Harry Potter books, or seen the movies, or both. She knew exactly why her mate would be greedy for all the love she could get.
And why she would consider wanting to be genuinely loved greedy.
“It’ll work out,” Allison promised earnestly. “It will all work out. I know it will.”
Chris watched his daughter whisper with her mate and realized he was pretty much the only person in the room that had no idea what they were saying. Well Hermione—Granger—King probably didn’t but she was half buried in The Deathly Hallows and likely didn’t care.
So, Chris stood and did what had been on his mind since his wife and daughter were Bitten nearly three months ago at the Matriarchs Annual Retreat.
He approached the Alpha—Peter Hale since that seemed to be the one his ladies had chosen for themselves—and informed him that “I want the Bite.”
The oldest living Hale raised both eyebrows at him. “You, a werewolf hunter, want the Bite?”
“I’m retired.” He looked significantly at his daughter and her mother before raising an eyebrow right back at… his alpha. “Where they go, I go, and they’ve clearly chosen you as their alpha.”
“More like they’ve chosen Harry and we’re something of a package deal.”
Chris frowned at the wolf, waiting for an explanation.
“Being a werewolf hunter doesn’t mean you really know werewolves.” Peter Hale rolled his eyes. “What we really are or how to be one. We’re more complicated than you think.”
Ah. “I wondered how four alphas could share a single house so peacefully. She’s above all of you in the hierarchy.”
“Wizards and werewolves are both might-makes-right societies, and she carried five people between dimensions,” Peter said by way of explanation. “For the record, anyone else would have died coming alone.”
“So, I need to ask her for the Bite.”
Peter shrugged. “I won’t Bite you without talking about it with her anyway since you would be in our immediate Pack, but I can’t see how she’d say no. Not to her mate’s father.”
They both looked up at Eliot Spencer stopped beside them. “I’d like to be involved in this conversation.”
“Why?” Chris drawled, noting Peter’s evil looking grin.
“It’s relevant to my interests. And yours. And completely her fault,” Spencer jerked his thumb backwards at Harry without looking.
Harry just laughed at him. She called from across the room, “I wasn’t even around when the first match was made! If any of us has match-making magic, it is Stiles. Blame him!”
Chris looked between the irritated Eliot, gleeful Peter, and the amused Harry and frowned. “Please feel free to state plainly whatever it is you’re trying to imply.”
“You are my mate,” Eliot huffed. “I would like the chance to court you and Bite you, as my mate.”
“Wait,” Allison interrupted. “The way you’re Bitten matters?”
“Of course,” Peter frowned at her. “Born wolves grow into their role within the Pack but Bitten ones are chosen for a specific purpose. Where the alpha Bites the beta tells the beta’s wolf what it’s role in the pack will be as it grows inside of you.”
“What are the options?” Hermione asked, for once looking up from her book.
“The side usually above the hips and below the ribs is a soldier—it’s the standard beta Bite. Wrist of the hand determines if you’ll be the alpha’s Left or Right Hand, depending. Neck is the Alpha’s Mate.”
“When you offered me the Bite, you went for my right wrist,” Stiles squinted at Peter from the kitchen doorway.
“We didn’t have any sort of established relationship,” Peter admitted with a faint flush. “It would have been wildly inappropriate to give you the Mate Bite as our relationship was at the time.”
“Sort of rapey?”
“Definitely rapey. But making you my Right Hand, my most trusted, my Second, could be a step in that direction without.” Peter waved his hand vaguely and Chris was reminded how young the kid really was. Seventeen when he went into a six-year coma of nonstop pain and torment. All of these kids were so young—and they had the fate of the whole town riding on them.
He glanced over at Eliot only to find the man looking speculatively at him and nodded.
Yeah, courting was a thing that could happen. Even if he ended up being just Eliot’s pack human, he would still be closely allied with his daughter and her mother and it gave him the chance for the kind of life he had never really thought about before. “Do you have any books?”
“You staged a fight with your mother?”
“Yes, Dr. Deaton,” Lydia agreed. Her eyes were vacant. She had about as much life and color to her as an animated corpse, but that was just his spell at work.
“You went to Beacon Pointe and maxed your credit cards?”
“Yes, Dr. Deaton.”
“Your mother is going to call,” the phone rang right on cue. “Scream at her for no less than five minutes and then hang up.”
He listened idly as she answered the phone with a sharp “What!”
“Lydia, you need to come home,” her mother said without preamble. “I know you’re upset but we need to talk.”
“I can’t believe anything you have to say.”
“Lydia, it’s not what you think.”
“Dr. Dunbar is married.”
“Yes, I know. It’s still not what you—”
“Were you cheating on Sheriff Stilinski, too?” Lydia interrupted. “You’re such a whore.”
“Lydia Marie Martin, you will come home and we will talk this out like adults—even if I’m the only one that is acting like one.”
“That’s too bad. I’m not coming home tonight. Maybe I’ll stay with daddy, at least he loves me.”
The older Ms. Martin sighed. “You can’t drive to Fresno this late, honey, come home.”
“Is he really my father? Do you even know who my father is?” Lydia cut in scathingly. “Is this why he left you? Because you’re a just whore?”
“I am not a whore! Stop calling me that, you don’t know anything—”
“I hate you.”
“I can’t believe you. I’m done talking to you.” And Lydia hung up.
“Throw it in the floor of the passenger seat.”
“Yes, Dr. Deaton,” she threw the phone with enough force to crack the screen.
“Now, when I say go, you will pull back onto the road, get up to the fastest speed you can and run directly into the power pole just past mile marker six. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Dr. Deaton.”
“Good, go.” And he released his astral projection, working the kinks in his shoulders as he sat inside his home meditation room.
All this to make sure no one suspected him, but prison was the last thing on his mind. His spell work would keep her safe enough and get her to the site for the ritual, then. Then he would finally keep his side of the deal and he would finally get to leave this stupid little town.
By the time he physically made it put to the ritual site, Miss Martin was leaning up against a tree. He threw the Black Oak a look. Cuddling the sacrifice? Not a good idea.
Vines reached out and took the girl’s wrists, pulling her to standing.
Better. But first he had to walk the circle.
The Circle was carved of power and runes and blood and will to focus the magic of the sacrifice on the Nemeton. Or rather, to focus the magic on the shield around the Nemeton.
When that was done, he returned to the sacrifice.
She was standing with her arms and legs spread eagle, vines worked like a Saint Andrew’s Cross. At his signal, a fifth creeper curled around the girl’s neck.
“Dr. Deaton?” she asked, finally starting to rouse from her spell-induced compliance. “Dr. Deaton, what—?”
That was when he struck.
His knife cut her throat, the vine strangled her, and the Oak bashed her head. He chanted to harness the power of her life and directed it to the shield.
The shield lit up on contact, flawlessly round and utterly opaque. His magic was kicked back with a vengeance but his magical circle caught, amplified it, and he directed the force of it back at the shield.
He could find no flaw in the shield but perhaps he could simply overwhelm the structure.
His second volley was again denied and returned. His circle caught it again and amplified it again.
He struggled to go a third time. It was too much power. His hands burned, his nerves tingled, and he could barely breathe, but he forced the magic to submit once again.
His vision went gray as the ward over the Nemeton withstood his blast once again. He staggered back against the Oak and dropped his circle with a thought.
One last surge of effort and he directed the magic up, into the sky.
Magic filled the clouds about Beacon Hills, but it was no longer directed. More importantly, it was no longer coming for him.
The last thing he saw was a lightning bolt hitting the ground on the far side of his circle as he sank into the Oak for a rest.
When the first lightning bolt hit the ground outside, Harry was up off the couch before she could think twice. “Sirius!”
Steps thundered down the stairs, Remus and Sirius spilled into the room, both clutching their wands and looking for a fight. Lightning struck again and Sirius almost dropped his wand in his haste to pull out his Run Kit. He pulled her Animagus potion from it and handed it to her.
It had gone clear since she made it. Well, mostly clear. Clear with white swirls and little blue bits floating suspended in the mix.
Since none of the original ingredients where those colors and Sirius didn’t seem bothered by the change, she assumed it was a function of the potion’s magical qualities. Though it could relate to the magical properties of her animagus form.
Harry took it and stepped out onto the Stilinski back porch. One last time, she declared, “Amato Animo Animato Animagus!” and threw back the potion.
It tasted like cold, a little like mint. Heavy, cold, wet air gathered around her and she closed her eyes.
When she opened them, the world was a lot bigger than it used to be.
She turned to see Allison staring at her, eyes wide. The girl knelt and reached out a cautious hand. Harry made a happy chittering noise and pounced her mate. She climbed and licked and nibbled her mate, sniffing her, so pleased to be together now, for the first time.
“Harry,” Sirius chided, gently pulling her off Allison.
She made a less happy chitter at him and the man laughed.
“Come on now, you know I need to check you.”
She did know, but that didn’t mean she was going to cooperate. He fussed with her, checking her legs and paws and fur and snout. He even squished her middle to make sure all her organs were there. Nothing was obviously missing or misshapen but it took him probably three times as long as it should with her wiggling but it was fun to make him work or it and she wasn’t the least bit ashamed.
“Alright! Alright, you little beast. Damn, devil bear. Go play. Stay in the yard and Allison can stay with you.”
She perked up, looking from Allison to Sirius and back again. Allison nodded and she scampered off to the edge of the porch.
Then lightning struck again.
She paused and looked questioningly back.
“It’s fine,” Remus wiggled his wand at her. “I’ve warded the yard.”
She yipped her thanks and bolted. Glancing back, she called out a taunt and her mate gave chase with a laugh.
Sirius stood back and watched—along with all the rest of their extended pack—as Harry took off through and around and over trees. She taunted and tackled and cuddled her mate to laughing as they ran.
It was an amazing thing to see, Harry being so free—Harry being so happy. “I wish Prongs could see this.”
Moony bumped his shoulder on one side and Victoria slipped under his arm on the other.
“There was no rain predicted tonight.” Snape said lowly from Victoria’s other side. “Or lightning.”
“No weather other than heat,” Remus agreed.
“Meaning what?” Victoria prompted.
“This,” Remus hesitated, “could be a magical occurrence.”
“Backlash,” Snape agreed. “A failed magical ritual.”
“What kind of ritual would do all this?” Stiles asked, flailing at the sky.
The three wizards are quiet.
“Don’t tell me you don’t feel it,” Sirius murmured, refusing to take his eyes off where Allison and Harry were wrestling. The werewolf didn’t seem to be holding back much at all, but Harry was clearly holding her own even as she minded her—frankly, terrifying—claws. “The heat and pressure in the middle of your back? Someone tried to break the ward on the Nemeton.”
Now he looked at Severus. He could see what they both knew in those black eyes.
Someone died tonight. Someone had been murdered to fail to break their ward.
“What? What do we do?” Stiles asked, clearly nervous.
“Remain confident,” Remus told him. “Hold on to your belief in our work. The magic will hold. The more firmly we believe that, the more powerful the ward will be.”
Stiles started nodding, using his whole upper body to do so. “Confident. I can do confident. I am so confident! All the confidence, right here. Because Remus Lupin and Severus Snape know what they’re doing, alright? And you put in Sirius Black too? Just, oh my god. All the confidence.”
“Alright, Confidence,” Peter snagged his mate and reeled him in with an arm around his neck. “I think it’s time we finish making dinner. That wolverine is going to need to eat.”