Title: Untitled Sterek Halloween fic
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Relationship(s): Derek/Stiles future
Genre: AU, Supernatural, Crossover, Canon fuckery
Content Rating: Gen – at present
Warnings: Discussion of canon levels of violence
This isn’t the first Teen Wolf fic I’ve started, but it is the one I’ve written the most on. The others all look like they’re going to be rather long, where as this one should only be 10k – 15k. Probably. Don’t quote me on that.
Usual EAD rules apply
It was Lydia who found the spell, Lydia who arranged all the details, and Lydia who convinced the pack/s to assist with performing it.
Not that Stiles was under any illusions as to why Lydia had even been looking through books on Necromancy in the first place. Jackson had been killed while on a visit to some extended family in Texas, apparently the victim of a drive-by shooting. Given Jackson’s wolfy healing ability, that could only mean hunters. He’d been dead three months now, and since neither Chris nor Allison had been able to give Lydia any useful information, she intended to get answers straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
Stiles took a moment to mentally congratulate himself on having a reason to refer to Jackson as a horse. From horse’s mouth to horse’s ass was such a short leap, after all.
Anyway, Lydia had spent the last month or so feverishly looking for a way to get the information she wanted, and so when she came to him three weeks before Halloween with a spell that she had ‘just happened to find’, Stiles wasn’t fooled.
Still, as far as he could tell (and he had done exhaustive research before agreeing to take part) there was nothing in the spell that was in any way evil or likely to result in the zombie apocalypse. Probably. That he could see, anyway.
The spell required three anchors, and would call forth the spirits of three of the dead. The spirits couldn’t be summoned against their will, only those connected with – and who wished to converse with – one of the three anchors could or would appear.
And talking was the only thing they could do. None of the spirits would exist in any way physically, there would be no poltergeist like activity, no evil possession.
Of course, there was always the possibility that the spell could be cast and no-one at all would turn up. This was a documented result, and was either a sign that the spell had been screwed up somehow, or that the anchors in question had no spirits interested in paying a visit.
Given Lydia’s drive and tendency towards perfectionism, the spell she was overseeing was not going to be screwed up. And if Jackson knew what was good for his dead ass, he’d turn up and give her what she wanted.
According to the available lore, the chosen spell couldn’t be performed by supernatural beings, which is why Danny ended up being brought into things. As it happened, he’d already known a lot of what was going on. Not surprising, since none of the bitten wolves had been anything close to discreet. Apparently, he’d been happy enough on the outside of things, not really wanting to get involved. That hadn’t really changed, but he wanted answers for Jackson’s death as well, and so agreed to help them.
Stiles was just glad that it was Lydia who had the job of selling it to the pack. But Lydia was used to getting her own way, and having left it to almost the last minute – a calculated move, no doubt – no one had any time to raise any coherent objections.
“But why didn’t you ask Allison to be the third anchor?” Scott asked when Lydia had finished explaining that Danny would join her and Stiles in the circle to anchor the spell, because werewolves weren’t allowed.
Stiles felt like face-palming. Lydia had presented the spell as a way to ‘forge a beneficial connection to the spirit world,’ to ‘increase our spell casting prowess and widen our repertoire,’ and ‘to gain insight into the past that could help us in the future’. But surely everyone could see it for what it was, a thinly veiled attempt to contact Jackson? With that outcome in mind, Danny was a much better choice for anchor than Allison.
Not to mention that Stiles had no wish to see any of the dead Argents again, and had been relieved when he didn’t need to come up with a reason to exclude his best friend’s girlfriend.
Lydia raised one eyebrow in Scott’s direction. “We are a werewolf pack, McCall,” she said witheringly. “Asking advice from Hunters would be a bit counter-productive, don’t you think?”
“We’re two werewolf packs,” Scott insisted. “And it’s not like Danny’s family is going to have anything meaningful to contribute. At least there’s a possibility that Allison’s family might help.”
“Look, you don’t have to be there,” Derek interjected before Lydia could reply. “The Hale pack has already agreed to stand watch, so you and Allison can both give it a miss if you prefer.”
Lydia glared at Derek for interrupting her, but didn’t say anything.
“If Stiles is part of this ‘spell’, then we’ll be here.” Scott said mulishly.
“Look,” Stiles said, hoping to diffuse the tension that always rose when Derek and Scott were in the same place together. “I’ve done all the research, and there isn’t any need for all this extra protection. Lydia, Danny, and I will be safe inside the circle. Nothing in and nothing out until the spell is complete.”
“The spell is cast at midnight, right?” Scott said, ignoring Stiles and locking his gaze with Derek, who stared back impassively. “Fine. See you then. Come on Stiles.”
This time Stiles did facepalm. “Dude, we brought different cars, remember? And there are a couple of things I want to go over with Lydia while we’re in the same place, anyway.” When Scott looked as though he was going to stay, Stile hurriedly added “We should talk over the maths paper that’s due before the weekend. There are a couple of places where I’m unsure of my formula.”
Scott grimaced, but as Stiles had hoped, it was enough to get him to leave. Scott and maths did not get along. At least, not at the level that Stiles and Lydia spoke it.
Stiles endured Lydia’s unimpressed eyebrow and began babbling about the assignment until he saw Derek’s shoulders relax infinitesimally. “He out of earshot?” Stiles asked, slumping in his seat.
“Yes,” Derek answered. “As unsubtle as that was, it appears to have worked.”
“Of course it did,” Lydia sniffed. “Out with it, Stilinski, I don’t have all night.”
“I know we’ve probably all figured this out, but on the off chance I think it needs to be said,” Stiles said, running a hand over his face. “There is a high probability that Erica will be one of our three visitors. So we’re all going to need to be prepared.”
Derek’s eyes tightened, and Isaac and Boyd both made small whimpering noises. Stiles carefully didn’t look at them, but kept his gaze steady between Derek and Lydia. Lydia had lost none of her composure, and merely nodded.
“Derek, I know you and the others will want to talk to her, but she won’t be able to see anyone outside the circle,” Stiles continued. “I for one will be happy to pass on any questions or other words you might have, but our time isn’t limitless. So consider carefully, and let us know.”
Derek didn’t say anything, but his eyebrows asked exactly why Stiles had needed to get rid of Scott before passing that information on.
“Look,” Stiles said as he got to his feet and picked up his car keys. “I know we’ve had our differences, and there’s been a lot of friction. If it was up to me, Scott would join your pack and we could all be one happy family. But he can’t let his resentment go, and so it looks like I’ll be permanently stuck in the middle. He’s my brother, you know? But you don’t deserve the agro he’s constantly sending your way. When I can, I’ll try and keep things peaceful. This fighting serves no one.”
Without waiting for a reply, Stiles turned and left. When he got home he threw himself on his bed and stared at the ceiling.
It had been coming for months now, but he’d finally made his move, and stated his chosen stance out loud. Neither with Scott nor with Derek, but the buffer between them. It was going to be lonely, but Stiles had factored that into his decision.
The truth was he loved Scott, he always would, but he couldn’t trust Scott to look out for him the same way he had been looking out for Scott. There had been too many let downs, too many betrayals. Too many times Stiles was left twisting in the wind so that Scott could go off and play the hero for people he didn’t know, or even just hang off Allison’s apron strings.
And Allison… Stiles tried, he really did.
Okay, only for about ten minutes, but he did try. He tried to justify her actions, tried to find excuses for them. But in the end, he just couldn’t. On top of everything she’d already done, she and her father remained active hunters, which worried Stiles a great deal. Who knew what kind of information they were feeding their hunter buddies? It’s not like Scott was going to hold back anything he thought they might want to know. It was a huge vulnerability, and Stiles didn’t like feeling vulnerable.
Things had been quiet in Beacon Hills for several months now, but that only ratcheted up Stiles concern. He just didn’t think their luck was that good.
Tomorrow he’d have to placate Scott about agreeing to perform Lydia’s spell without consulting him. Not that Stiles felt in any way that Scott had a right to be angry, it would just be easier.
Stiles rolled over and buried his face in his pillow. God, why did life have to be so complicated?
By mid-morning the next day Stiles felt almost ready to do murder. He didn’t know if it was through Allison via Lydia or from Isaac, (Stiles was putting his money on Isaac), but Scott had found out about his declaration in record time. He’d clearly felt it was important, because he broke a date with Allison to come and talk with Stiles about it.
No, Stiles wasn’t bitter that Scott seemed to think that his best friend maybe siding with Derek warranted more concern than that same friend’s imminent death. Not at all.
“But why would you betray me like this?” Scott asked, eyes hurt.
“How am I betraying you?” Stiles replied, trying to be patient.
“You know how I feel about Derek! You know he’s just trying to get more power, that he doesn’t care about us. Why would you side with him?”
“I didn’t side with him,” Stiles said with an eyeroll, twirling in his chair. “I decided to sit your little territorial pissing contest out. For the record, I think that Derek does care about us. He’s certainly saved my life enough times.”
“He was just doing that to impress me,” Scott said dismissively. “He’s been trying to get me into his pack from the beginning, and he thought he could use you to get into my good books.”
Stiles gaped for a moment. “So, you’re saying that the only value I have to Derek and his pack is as a way to influence you?” he asked incredulously.
“Well, you’re human,” Scott explained. “Naturally you’re not as important as other werewolves. It’s different with me, of course. You’re like my brother, regardless of being human. That’s why you’re in my pack.”
Stiles felt a sudden hot rage engulf him. How dare Scott dismiss him and his many contributions solely because of his humanity? Scott, who moaned and complained about being a werewolf, blaming Derek for his every misfortune, while simultaneously making private deals with psychopaths as if he somehow had the right to make decisions about other peoples lives. And he had the nerve to say that Derek was the irresponsible one!
“I can’t talk with you right now,” Stiles said, falling back on the lessons his mother had given him all those years ago. “We can finish this later.”
“We need to talk about this now, Stiles,” Scott insisted.
“No. I really can’t talk to you right now.” Stiles was barely holding back his anger. “You need to leave right now. If you don’t go right now, I’ll use my ordinary human power and use my stockpile of Mountain Ash to make sure you never come here ever again.”
Scott had looked about to argue, but he closed his mouth and backed away slightly. Clenching his jaw, he gritted out “Fine.” and then left, stomping down the stairs and slamming the front door.
“Everything okay?” his dad said from the doorway.
“Even six months ago I thought me and Scott would be joined at the hip forever,” Stiles said, still struggling to calm down. “I thought we had this bond that could survive everything, that we’d always be there for each other.”
“He dropped you for his girlfriend?” John asked knowingly.
“If only that was all,” Stiles said, feeling the rage drain out of him with his fathers steady presence. “I was putting up with that just fine. It was always going to happen, he just doesn’t have the ability to compartmentalise enough to divide his attention. I get that. I get the whole sex thing.”
“I don’t want to know!” John said, recoiling slightly. “So long as you’re being safe.”
“What? No, not me!” Stiles snorted. “Virgin Stilinski flesh right here. No, I mean I get that he’d find sex so distracting he’d forget about me for a while. This isn’t that.”
“Then what is it?”
Stiles found himself wishing (again) that he could tell his dad everything. Could let him fix it the same way he used to, back while his mother was still alive.
But aside from it not being up to him to out the werewolf population of Beacon Hills (and the world!) it was just safer for him not to know.
Not safe of course, nowhere in a town with the kind of supernatural presence they had was truly safe, but safe because nothing that went bump in the night thought he was any kind of threat. The moment the Sheriff started carrying wolfsbane and other useful items to aid against the supernatural, he’d be on every nasty thing’s radar.
Stiles was not going to lose his father, not if he had anything to say in the matter.
“It’s just, apparently I can’t have opinions that differ from his,” Stiles sighed, choosing his words carefully. “There’s this person that I think is trustworthy, and Scott doesn’t. He won’t agree to disagree! I mean, personally I think Scott’s reasons are stupid and outdated, but I didn’t try to tell him that his opinion was invalid! It just seems that now he has a hot girlfriend and is a school sports star, he thinks that my only contribution is as a badly written side-kick to his main character.”
“I’ve been meaning to ask about that,” John said, eyebrows raising slightly. “How exactly did a chronic asthma sufferer turn into a lacrosse champion overnight?”
“Uh…” Stiles hadn’t been expecting that, and he felt his eyes go wide with panic even as his father sighed.
“No, don’t answer that.” John’s voice was weary, and he physically withdrew from the doorway. “As amusing as it would be to hear what you manage to come up with, I think we can forgo the creativity for the moment. I was actually wondering if you wanted to grab lunch out. It’s been awhile.”
“Sure,” Stiles agreed guiltily, “let me grab my shoes.”
He’d rather cope with his dad’s disappointment than have to bury him.
Stiles hoped like hell that Lydia got what she wanted from this spell. Turned out that either Scott was epically wrong, or Derek was playing some sort of long game. Which was frankly rather out of character.
As far as Stiles could tell, Derek was more of a reactor than a planner. Given that he had never expected to be an Alpha, and had always had strong family figures he could rely upon to do all the planning, this made perfect sense. Derek must have thrown himself into the role that life had birthed him to, and from several comments Peter had made, had done an exceptional job.
So Stiles was left to wonder just what Derek was up to with his changed behaviour.
“Isaac said you and Scott had a fight,” Derek said with no preamble, eyebrows set at glare point five (which was practically friendly for their neighbourhood brooder).
“Oh my god, is Isaac the town crier now or something?” Stiles demanded. “Why did no one tell me about this? I can just tell him what I want everyone to know, no need to have conversations or anything!”
“He said Scott was angry with you,” Derek continued, refusing to be diverted from what he had come to say.
“Yes, well, it turns out as a human I’m not capable of making informed decisions about my own life,” Stiles grumbled. “Since, thanks to you, he’s decided that he’s the Alpha of his own little pack he’s become as big of a dick as you were.”
Derek’s glare ramped up to one point five.
“Oh, don’t be like that Sourwolf. It’s perfectly understandable that there were some teething troubles while you were settling in as an Alpha. It was a big upheaval, and you were a gigantic ass. But things have settled down. The beta’s are calmer, you’re calmer, everyone’s calmer.”
“Scott’s circumstances have changed,” Derek said, brows receding slightly.
“Yes, everyone knows that I ‘cruelly and heartlessly abandoned my friend’,” Stile said, parroting the lecture he’d received from Scott’s on-again girlfriend. “Which, considering the source, is rather hypocritical. But for the record, if any one is actually listening, I haven’t abandoned Scott. I just choose not to align myself with him unquestioningly anymore. Quite frankly, he had plenty of chances. Being made into a werewolf didn’t seem to fix his decision making abilities, and I don’t see why I should do what he says just because he’s stronger or faster than me. Believe me, I tried it. It wasn’t working.
“If I had been wavering, which I’m not admitting to, then my resolve would have been firmed by the discovery that Scott sees me as some sort of optional extra. Not needed at all, kind of like a cute mascot that doesn’t actually do anything productive.”
“He actually said that?” Derek asked, sounding surprised.
“Not in as many words,” Stiles admitted. “But I’ve known Scott a long time. I can read between the lines. For a long time I ignored it, I thought that his Allison-thing was screwing his head up and that he’d come to his senses. But it’s not happening. And I have to look after my dad. If I can’t trust Scott to look after me, how can I trust him with my dad?
“I won’t abandon Scott. But it was a mistake to let him decide he was the leader of us. He’s not, and he never should have been. This is the only way that I can think of that might get him to stand back of his own accord. Hell knows he’s not taken any of my other hints.”
“Yeah well, Scott is stupid.” Derek said, making his way towards the window. Just before he got there, he turned back. “In case it wasn’t obvious, you’ll always be welcome in the Hale pack, in whatever capacity you choose.” Then he was out the window and gone before Stiles could pull his jaw back up and formulate actual words.
Early evening on the day the ritual was to take place, Stiles made sure he was as prepared as he could be. He followed every one of Lydia’s instructions to the letter, including the lemon juice rinse he put through his hair after washing it with the organic soap she had supplied.
His dad was working a double shift, so at least there were unlikely to be any issues from that direction. Stiles was ready and waiting when he got the text telling him his lift was there.
As he expected, Lydia already had everything set up in the ritual space she had chosen. It was a sheltered spot high up in the Reserve. A large tree had once stood there, and the canopy was open to the stars.
“Are you ready?” Lydia asked.
Stiles nodded, taking a deep breath and then blowing it out again. “Where’s Danny?”
“Over there somewhere,” Lydia gestured off to the right. “I know I can trust him not to stumble and fall over a tree root, wiping out all my careful preparations.”
Well, that was reason enough for a werewolf escort, Stiles supposed.
“In ten minutes we’re going to enter the circle and begin. So help me Stilinski, if you screw this up for me I’ll make your life such a hell that you will beg for death.”
Even a month ago Stiles would have been cowed by this threat, nodding and shrinking back and doing his best.
But his independent spark was still blazing bright it seemed.
“You’re going to kill my dad?” Stiles said to Lydia with his eyebrows up as high as they could go. “And you admitted it in front of witnesses before the fact? Nah, you’ve got nothing. Try just asking for what you want. The threats get kind of old when you never follow through.”
Lydia’s eyes widened. A smirk developed on her face, and she reached out to pat his arm, stopping at the last moment. “Good. I like this, Stilinski. You’ve got to stop taking so much crap from people. Now, where’s Danny got to? Danny! Get your ass over here, we’re about to start!”
Stiles was still in a rather upbeat mood when he, Lydia and Danny entered the circle. Out of the corner of his eye he could see Scott and Allison pull up in her father’s car. Then his attention was fully taken up by the requirements of the ritual.
Lydia (as the only female, and the one who wanted this ritual so badly) sat in the central position, with Danny on her right and Stiles to her left. Of course, their seating pattern looked more or less triangular (inevitable when there were three of them) but it was Lydia who performed the meat of the ritual.
She finished speaking, and the three of them dipped their fingers in the ceremonial oil and traced their chosen sigils over the other two. Lydia’s was an equilateral triangle, Danny’s a circle. The ends had to join together, or Stiles might have picked a stick just to fuck with everyone. As it was, he chose a lemniscate.
Then they sat back and waited.
According to all of Stiles research, this was the bit that could get long and boring. What the ritual did was open a pathway and send out a call to spirits connected with the anchors. Spirits had been documented (as much as these things could be considered documented) taking anywhere up to an hour to make their appearance. It was generally accepted that two hours was the maximum time allowed for, and if no one turned up by then you might as well go home.
Most notes indicated that the anchors stayed till sunrise regardless. Stiles could see why. If you went to all of the trouble of finding and performing the ritual, there was probably someone you wanted to see very badly. He’s pretty sure he wouldn’t let a dawdling spirit put him off either.
In any case, this wasn’t one of those times. No sooner had Stiles, Lydia and Danny taken their places and joined hands when mist began to coalesce in the centre of the circle.
It didn’t take Stile long to recognise the figure materialising. He gripped the hands he was holding tightly as the ghostly for of him mother moved towards him, smiling that wonderful smile that was his alone.
“Oh tygrysek, you’ve grown up so well,” Claudia Stilinksi said, ignoring the other inhabitants of the circle. “My little Gwiazdeczko. You make me proud every day.”
“Matka?” Stiles said shakily. He would be lying if he hadn’t considered this possibility when agreeing to the ritual. He’d been hoping, but it was still a huge shock to see it happen in front of him.
“There’s so much I missed out on,” Claudia said with a sigh. “Your father… oh tygrysek, he’s still in so much pain. You need to tell him.”
“What? No!” Stiles yelped. “He’ll get involved and then he’ll get himself killed!”
“He’ll get himself killed if you do nothing,” Claudia argued. “He needs something to fight for, something to fight against. As it is he’s on the road to apathy, and from there it’s a short trip to inattention and death. Tell him, tygrysek. Tell him and let him help you.”
“But-” Stiles began, before heaving a sigh. His mother was giving him That Look. He’d never won against it, and he’d once spent two whole weeks formulating arguments as to why it made sense to have dessert for breakfast.
“There’s so much I never told you,” Claudia murmured, her spectral form taking a seat on the grass in front of her son.
“Um,” Stiles said, risking a glance in Lydia’s direction. This wasn’t what she’d signed them all up for, after all.
Lydia just raised her eyebrow, but she smiled slightly too.
Claudia reached out insubstantial fingers to stroke Stiles cheek, and he could almost imagine he felt them, slightly cool and the tiniest bit damp.
“We didn’t think you would come into any gifts,” Claudia said, meeting his eyes. “I didn’t have very much, and since your father was from Outside we thought anything you received would be dormant. My Clan Leader came to evaluate you when you were three days old, and he said that your Light was dimmed.”
Stiles was reeling slightly. His mother seemed to know what she was talking about and she was talking like he knew as well.
“I should have guessed when you had difficulties concentrating,” she went on, “but by then I had accepted that you would remain muffled. In truth, I didn’t really care. You were perfect just as you were, my miracle child, a triumph of science and magic combined.”
Well, Stiles had known that his parents had a lot of difficulty getting pregnant with him, his father had told him that much. The illness that struck down his mother was something she had known about since childhood, and her chances of conceiving and carrying to term had been almost nil.
“There’s a box in the attic,” Claudia said, bringing Stiles attention back to her. “It won’t give you all the answers, but it will put you on the right path. You’ll also find some of the contact information for the Clan. It will be hard, but I know you can do it.”
“Am I supernatural then?” Stiles asked, finally getting his thoughts together.
“No, tygrysek, you’re preternatural,” Claudia said fondly. “So are your two friends here. How else could you expect this ritual to work?”
“All of my research indicated that the anchors needed to be human and couldn’t be supernatural,” Lydia said sharply. “What do you mean, I’m preternatural? What differentiates the two?”
“Preternaturals are creatures of balance,” Claudia said, moving to Stiles left so that she could converse with all of them.
Outside the circle, Stiles could see the Hale pack watching with a great deal of interest. Peter in particular looked… almost hungry? Peter better not be lusting after Stiles dead mother. For one, ew. Secondly, he didn’t put it past Peter to resurrect her and stick her under some kind of thrall if he really wanted to.
On the other side and standing quite separate from the rest, Scott and Allison were standing together. Allison was fully armed, as she usually was when the packs mingled.
“Like Deaton?” Lydia pressed.
“No, Deaton is supernatural. He may strive for balance, but that doesn’t make him a creature of it. The young man here… one of the Mahelani’s?” Claudia sniffed the air close to Danny. “Yes, the Clan that your family traditionally looks to is closely associated with water. You yourself feel more like earth to me, which is interesting.
“And you,” she said, turning to Lydia. “Fire, if the hair wasn’t enough to give it away. Fire and shadow, paired together as always. You, my dear, have your roots in the Scottish Highlands. You’ve wandered far, but then didn’t we all? Here in this new place, the elements at war since their caretakers were slain by the invaders.
“It’s so easy, when the elements are unbalanced for anyone exposed to the chaos to become chaotic themselves. So we work together, slow and sure, and try to bring a little order back.”
“Was your mother always this cryptic?” Lydia said with a roll of her eyes.
“Hey!” Stiles objected. “Just because you don’t speak the language, doesn’t make the information worthless. We can learn, okay?”
“I’m not sure how I feel about this,” Danny interjected, smiling apologetically at Claudia. “I don’t really want to get involved, I just want to find out the truth about Jackson.”
“Ah, you were hoping to speak to someone specific?” Claudia asked, her eyes managing to twinkle even though they were made of mist.
“A werewolf we know was killed,” Stiles explained. “The reports say it was a random driveby, but he was a werewolf. Lydia wanted some answers.”
“Ah, you suspect Hunters,” Claudia nodded. “You could well be right. A rising number of Hunters would be enough to make the balance become unsettled. You’re going to have to do something about that, the three of you. It’s distasteful, but they need to be pruned back hard, or they’ll strangle everything in the vicinity.”
“I thought Hunters were supposed to be the supernatural police?” Lydia asked, without sparing a glance in Allison’s direction.
Claudia laughed heartily. “Oh my god, where did you get that idea? If they were police they’d be called something like law-bringers. No, they’re Hunters. They – feed isn’t quite the right word, but lets use it for the moment. They feed off the death of supernatural creatures, and they’re born wanting that hit. Maybe it’s better to think of them like drug addicts. They’re born addicted, and while some try to manage and overcome their addiction, the majority choose to feed it. The more they feed, they less concerned they become about what they have to do to get that hit.”
“What?” Stiles was gobsmacked.
So was Lydia, if her silence was any indication.
Outside the circle things had gotten tense.
“I don’t know who that is, but that isn’t Mrs Stilinski!” Scott declared angrily. “Why are you even listening? That’s obviously an evil spirit impersonating Stiles’ mom! I knew we should never have let him do this!”
Derek said nothing, but his body language spoke of his preparation to fight. Boyd was at his back, and Isaac was looking worriedly between the two groups. Allison was looking cool as a cucumber, until you looked into her eyes. They were blazing, with what Stiles didn’t feel confident enough to guess. Quite frankly he was glad he was safe inside the circle. What was it Lydia had said? Nothing in, nothing out.
The really worrying thing was that everything his mother said resonated through him as truth. It all made so much more sense than the party line the Hunters had been feeding them.
“We were told that Hunters were needed to put down rouge supernaturals, such as werewolves who kill humans.” Lydia said in measured tones.
Claudia snorted. “Wolves police their own, like any successful closed society,” she said. “It’s also highly beneficial to have a stable pack nearby, because they take care of any other problems that might crop up too. Why do you think Stiles’ father and I chose to live in Beacon Hills? It wasn’t ’cause of the shopping.
“Hunters, on the other hand, are known for causing the problem they then come along to fix. ‘Why, hello you poor people who have been attacked by a feral werewolf! Let us nice Hunters fix that nasty problem for you. Of course, we’re not going to mention that it was us killing his entire pack, torturing him, and then setting him free so that we could hunt him across country for months that turned him feral in the first place! Why would you need irrelevant information like that? Just thank us and agree that we’re the good guys, doing you puny humans a favour.’”
“Puny humans?” Stiles asked, feeling sick. “Are Hunters not human?”
“As human as werewolves,” Claudia shrugged. “They’re not shapeshifters, but they started out by using dark rituals to alter themselves, to boost speed, stamina, ecetera. The crack addiction was a side effect, but not one they care enough about to stop performing the ritual. Which requires fresh supernatural blood, by the way.”
“They’re still performing the ritual?” Lydia asked, sliding a quick glance to where Allison stood beside Scott, who was looking furious.
“Over every baby born into a Hunter family, and every new recruit that formally affiliates with them,” Claudia confirmed.
“The more I hear about this, the more I just want to go home,” Danny muttered. “Are you telling me that there are Hunters here in Beacon Hills, and you lot have been associating with them under the impression that they’re the good guys?”
Stiles and Lydia both looked at each other helplessly. It had been logical, right? The furry, strong, monster looking things and the humans who policed them. Sure, they seemed to attract the bad eggs here in Beacon Hills, but surely that could all be laid at Gerard’s door.
But if Claudia was right – and what she said both sounded and felt right – then it was the Hunters that needed policing. Needed-
“Wait, you said we needed to prune them?” Stiles said, eyes going wide.
“It’s distasteful, but so is putting down a rabid dog,” Claudia said sympathetically.
“You’re telling us to hunt the Hunters?” Lydia looked sick.
“What? No!” Claudia smiled kindly. “Call for Justice.”
“Call for Justice,” Stiles muttered. “Why can I hear the capital letter there? All right, I”l bite. What is Justice, and how would we go about calling for it?”