- Character Bashing
- Dark Themes
- Discussion-Child Abuse
- Discussion-Domestic Abuse
- Discussion-Sexual Abuse
- Hate Crimes
- Fix It
Section Five: Pack’s Information Session
Stiles walked into the pack meeting frowning. The day had been gloomy and overcast and by next to last class of the day, the skies had opened and it had poured down with rain. School was actually on lockdown at the end of the day because of it. Students were permitted to go where they wished in the building or walk off campus if they wished. But anyone depending on the school buses or their own cars couldn’t leave. The rain was coming down so hard that visibility was less than twenty feet.
According to a text from his dad, Stiles informed his friends that there had been over twenty car accidents since noon and that one of them was an ambulance transporting injured from another. And three of the accidents included on scene fatalities with a dozen more people in serious or critical condition at the hospital. All of this information, without names just like the text, had been released to the media already. And it was released to the school, which was the reason for the lockdown-esque situation.
Stiles had used the extra hour and a half to work with some of the rest of the pack on further research into the Argents. Lydia had grabbed Jackson and corralled Allison into the media room to watch the TV they had set up showing the regional news. It was something Lydia would have done anyway but by taking Allison with her she insured Scott couldn’t be overcome by his hormones and self-centeredness and do something stupid. So, Stiles knew that Scott had headed to the gym to run laps and use the climbing wall.
But the weather had kept Stiles from going to find the Nemeton. Again. By the time the rain had slowed down, though it was still raining out, it was nearly dinner time and then he had to leave for the full pack meeting.
Stiles took a seat near Peter’s preferred spot, but not directly next to him. Those were spots reserved for his Right Hand – Stiles’ dad Noah – and his Left Hand – Hayley’s mom Janet, a former Marine and now a werewolf. But by hierarchy, Stiles’s spot, as emissary-in-training and emissary-now-partly – which was only followed in the more formal meeting like this – was directly to the left of Janet. And that is where he took his seat, in a comfy armchair.
Within ten minutes the rest of the pack had filtered in and taken their seat, including those who were only considered pack-adjacent, due to their status as family of pack members but not in the pack themselves. It had nothing to do with whether they had accepted the Bite or were human rather than some form of supernatural. Three of the original members of Peter’s pack were fully human. One of them definitely wanted the Bite when they were of age, one of them was thinking about it, and the third wanted to remain human unless the Bite was necessary to save their life.
Pack-adjacent rather than Pack was simply a matter of how active those people were in the pack and how the person felt about being in the pack. Most of the pack-adjacent simply had no desire to be in the pack. They didn’t want that connection or responsibility. Two felt they were too busy to properly be considered pack, as they didn’t have the time to participate in the vast majority of pack meetings, bondings, trainings, and activities. And one, FBI Agent Rafael McCall, Scott’s father, was based out of Los Angeles since the divorce and so could only justify being in town very sporadically. He wasn’t even going to be here for this meeting, though he was video calling from LA.
Stiles really couldn’t say that he liked Rafe McCall. The guy was overbearing and kind of an ass. It was easy to see where Scott got some of his worst traits from. And he had anger issues. Before Scott was bitten, Rafe would sometimes hit Melissa, his wife and Scott’s mom, when they were arguing. Not full on beating but a slap or a backhand to the face or a push to the chest or back, causing her to fall. It was always because he was drunk. He never touched Scott, though. But once, a few weeks after Peter became Alpha, Rafe shoved Melissa at the top of the steps and she fell into Scott. If he hadn’t had his wolfy reflexes, Scott would have fallen down the entire flight of steps, possibly breaking bones, if he survived the fall.
It was the wakeup that Rafe and Melissa needed though. Rafe stopped drinking and Melissa kicked him out of the house. They were divorced within a year, though they did give it another try before the end.
So, Stiles kind of hated Rafe McCall. But he had to admit, the guy stepped up when it came to his job. He worked tirelessly with Stiles’ dad and Peter to solve the Hale fire. And he led the charge on Kate Argent when they found her identity. Granted, his ‘discovery’ of a prolific serial killer got him a major promotion. But still, he hadn’t known that would happen.
When everyone was present and seated, and Rafe was on the laptop screen and it was positioned to see the whole room, Peter took his seat and cleared his throat. “The past week has brought to light several separate issues that the entire pack needs to be aware of. And decisions need to be made regarding several of these issues. The first thing I will start with is the best news of the lot to my mind. Stiles was out at the memorial yesterday and while there he ran into someone new in town. It was my nephew, Derek Hale.
“Before you all jump to conclusions, Derek is not an Alpha and has never been an Alpha. He was making his way home after basketball practice the night of the fire when he was incapacitated by the snapping of the pack bonds as our family died. He was only just on his feet again and on his way towards the house to find out what happened when he was intercepted. By the ‘Asshole Alpha’ as we have referred to them for six years. Who I can now state with certainty was my eldest niece, Laura.”
Several members of the pack began asking questions over one another, yelling. After a minute when they didn’t calm themselves down, Peter yelled, a hint of Alpha command in his tone, “Enough!”
The pack subsided immediately and Peter raised his hands to hold back further outbursts. “We have known for years that the Alpha who bit the children was almost certainly a member of my family who was overwhelmed with the power of the spark that night. Laura was one of those on the list of likely suspects as she was my sister’s heir and her remains were not identified in the remains of the house. She was high on the list as her likely, though not at that time definitive, location at the time of the deaths and subsequent biting would have potentially put her near the school’s playground.
“And now, Derek confirmed for me that some of the suppositions supporting her being the alpha were correct. According to Derek, Laura was running late on her way home from college due to a major accident which tied up traffic on the highway. Derek told me that Laura told him that when she began to feel the pack bonds breaking, she was in town but not near the house and she pulled her car over and got out. Derek had no idea she had lost control and bit children. She never told him. In fact, she explained that the new bonds he felt until Stiles’ protection went up were just echoes of those he had lost.”
Gregory Boyd, Vernon Boyd’s older brother and a werewolf as of three years before, spoke up. “Is she in town? Does she have some way to control the kids, since she was the one that bit them?”
Peter shook his head. “Laura is not in town. From what Derek has said, there it is highly unlikely she will ever return. And she has no control over anyone that she bit. Since the night that she willingly left town, allowing Stiles’ magic to cut off the fledgling bonds that her bites had created, Laura had only one bond – to Derek. And frankly, based on what he has told me about his life for the past six years and my knowledge of Laura’s character before the fire, I believe that if she had happened to come across Derek as she hurried out of town, he would have been abandoned by her just as the children, Cora, and I were. Frankly, Derek probably would have been a lot better off if she had left him here. What happens between my nephew and I is for the future, unless someone can give me a legitimate reason why he should have no possible place in this pack. My pack.”
Scott opened his big mouth and promptly shoved his foot in to the knee. “He’s the reason your family died in the fire. Why would we want him around us so he could do it again? He’s obviously evil.”
Stiles face-palmed and waited for the explosions. The first came from Lydia and was both succinct and loud. “Hypocrite!”
Stiles’ dad added his two cents. “We don’t blame the victim of a crime for what the criminal does, Scott.”
Rafe shook his head on the computer screen. “Do you even understand what Kate Argent did, Scott?”
Scott nodded. “Yeah. She and Derek had sex and he told her stuff about the pack and the Hale’s house and then they got some arsonists and mountain ash and some chemical acid stuff and burned the house down.”
Stiles sighed, loudly and obviously. “Scotty, Derek wasn’t at the house. Derek didn’t burn anything down. Derek didn’t just have sex with some random hunter woman, she targeted him, an underage boy. He was fifteen, Scott!”
“Whatever.” Scott rolled his eyes. “He shouldn’t be welcome here. He’s a werewolf and should have known she was a hunter. He probably did and is just lying about it to protect himself.”
Peter narrowed his eyes. “No, Scott. Derek was younger than you are now when he met the woman who was later revealed to be Kate Argent. She posed as his substitute teacher under a fake name. And the only information that she possessed that wasn’t available elsewhere, and even this is debatable, is that the family reunion was that night and so he couldn’t meet her. And arguably, she could have discovered that information through simple surveillance.
“Kate Argent had no need to seduce a child to get insider information. She did it because she is a sociopath and psychopath who wanted to hurt him. Derek didn’t even realize that the woman he had feelings for was the one who was responsible for the fire until he saw her picture on the national news when the warrant went out a few weeks ago. And, Scott, your delusions and idiotic, deliberate misunderstandings are moot at any rate as I asked for legitimate objections. But I do thank you for the opening to segue into our next order of business.”
Scott scowled. “Huh?”
Peter grinned with too many teeth. “For those who didn’t know, on the first day of classes, one of the new students in the high school was discovered to be an Argent. Research was done by myself, Noah, Rafe, Stiles, Danny, and Matt into her and her family and their connections. The girl’s name is Allison Argent and she is legitimately a high school junior. However, her father is Christopher Argent, brother of Kate and son of Gerard. Her mother is Victoria Argent née Lansing, the stepdaughter of the current head of the American Hunter’s Council. Until July, they were active hunters who moved around so much due to the need to follow their ‘prey’ that their daughter has attended twenty-seven schools in the past twelve years since she began kindergarten. Several of the pack had approached Allison in a friendly way before discovering her last name and connections. Yesterday afternoon, the younger members of the pack conducted a surveillance and interrogation session with her. I will let Stiles explain more as he helped coordinate it.”
Stiles sat forward. “We borrowed equipment from the sheriff’s department to set up hidden cameras and microphones around the courtyard off the lunchroom, manned by Danny, Matt, and NAME in the A/V room. Most of the high school werewolves were positioned around the area to listen and smell. I was close enough to hear but not interact. Lydia and Scott invited Allison to eat lunch with them and after some time, when everyone was ready, I sent a pre-arranged text to Lydia as the signal to begin. She used it to segue the conversation to pop culture supernatural via Harry Potter. Through my watching Allison’s micro-expressions, the weres keeping an ear on her heartbeat, tone and chemosignals, and the electronic surveillance which was later reviewed by Peter, Rafe, my dad, and others, we verified that Allison Argent does know that the supernatural exists. We don’t know when she learned this information or how much she knows. We do know that she is very conflicted about the matter. To me, and based upon various research I did, psychology, and the fact that she doesn’t have direct contact with wolfsbane or mountain ash, or hasn’t for months, at least, I speculate that her parents only told her when her aunt’s face and crimes hit the news in an attempt to justify the actions of the psychopathic witch. But, obviously, we didn’t question her directly, so I can’t say for certain.”
Peter nodded. “Thank you, Stiles, and the entire high school pack for your good work. Most of you handled yourselves exceptionally well. Scott, you are lucky Stiles didn’t have a good line to you without being obvious about it or you’d still have welts from the magic he would have used to get you to stop your – romantic overtures.”
Melissa McCall, Scott’s mother frowned. “What are you talking about?”
Peter smiled grimly. “As Lydia earlier yelled, Scott is more than a bit hypocritical. From nearly the moment he laid eyes on young Miss Argent, he was smitten. His goal has been to convince his alpha that he should be allowed to date her. An Argent. Daughter of two hunting lines, next in line to be matriarch of the American branch of the Argent Clan. Granddaughter of one of the worst hunters in all senses of the word in recent decades, outstripped only by his daughter, the murderer of my family.
“During the interrogation yesterday, he turned what was a hypothetical, potential party over a month away into a definite pack gathering which she was welcome and encouraged to be at. It was one step shy of asking her for a date, which he had specifically told not to do. The only reason I have not punished him is that his actions led to some of the most definitive signals of the girl’s knowledge and feelings about the supernatural. However, if he had endangered this pack by revealing himself and/or Lydia to a hunter’s child, I would have had no choice in what I had to do. And banishment would have been the most lenient of my ways forward.”
Melissa nodded and glared at her son. Matt Daehler cleared his throat. “I have to admit, Allison Argent is gorgeous. And aren’t we already guaranteed that she and her family have no ill intentions and can’t hurt the Pack? I mean, the magical barrier is still there. And they are human.”
Stiles blew out a breath. “We know that they can’t cause direct harm to a member of the pack or anyone we consider under our protection. We know they can’t act with malice aforethought. But the spell I cast that night wasn’t deliberate. It was wish magic and we still don’t quite understand all of the parameters. And it has never been tested against a hunter who was living within the county. Kate Argent was gone long before I even reached the hospital that night. If the Argents don’t consider werewolves as more than dumb beasts? Even though werewolves are fully sentient and sapient and human, how much the perpetrator’s mindset influences the magic control. We know that farmers and such can kill chickens, cows, pigs, whatever, within the county. We know that the vet can euthanize sick animals. We even know that hunting with a lowercase h is possible of bear and birds and deer in the public part of the woods that aren’t part of the Preserve. So, I don’t want to test it.”
Stiles’ dad nodded. “Plus, we know that heat of the moment injuries and deaths can still occur. And if there was a heat of the moment fight with someone who had a gun loaded with wolfsbane bullets…”
Peter nodded. “Exactly. So, we need to meet with the adult Argents and find out their intentions and why they are here in Beacon Hills, all things considered. If necessary, we can get them worked up enough so that the magic urges them to leave town. I won’t bully them to force it but if there is anything off about their reasoning, I can infuriate hunters like few others can.”
Stiles raised his hand. “I offer myself as tribute! I can infuriate even better than you and as I am more human in their eyes, whether they know I have magic or not, I am not an animal at any time, then the magic would work better as their intentions wouldn’t be as ambiguous if against me. Plus, in this situation, I am the pack’s emissary.”
Peter nodded. “Agreed. But you will be the only teenager present, other than, potentially Miss Argent. If they don’t know the identities of the pack, I won’t make it easy for them to learn them.”
The teens nodded, even Scott, though Stiles could tell it was reluctant on his part. He decided to keep an eye on his best friend. Try to talk him down off the ledge he seemed to be climbing out on.
Peter turned to the laptop. “What’s the latest news on Kate Argent, Rafe?”
Rafe shook his head and made a noise with his lips. “No reliable sign so far. But there have been reports from known hunter contacts about her reaching out for help. But she’s been turned away. We may try to set up a sting, get one of them to tell her they will help and be there when she comes in. But we are following all leads first. And she could get help elsewhere first. The hunters have a huge network on this continent.”
Peter nodded. “Keep us posted. Does anyone have anything else?”
At the silence, Peter smiled. “Things will work out. We have overcome lots of obstacles and we’ll get past this, too. Now, get out of here. I made desserts. There’s white chocolate strawberry cheesecake, fudge-dipped mint cookies, tiramisu, and brownie trifle in the dining room.”
The pack nearly stampeded in their rush to get to the decadent desserts.