Author's Note: Thanks to flowering birdies, Marine 76, and Ash B Bramble for reviewing chapter 9! Just a heads up, this chapter is long…
Chapter 10-Heart Monitor
The quietness of the parking garage was getting to me as I followed Scott out onto the third floor. He was easily, if awkwardly, carrying a majority of the grocery bags, leaving me to carry the bread bag. Then he stopped short, and swore, "Damn it."
"We're not on this floor, are we?" I teased, limping rapidly after him. After two days of bed rest, I could walk, but sitting in a chair had nearly reduced me to tears. It didn't help that I'd over-exerted my back hiding from Kate, and then fallen again in the school parking lot. He shook his head and we made our way up to the fourth floor, where we walked down to the first corner. The eeriness of the quiet became even more apparent when Scott dug the keys out of his pocket and hit the alarm.
Scott sighed, looking up as the alarm sounded through the concrete ceiling. I shrugged and bent to pick up the bag of bread I'd set down when the bottle of half-and-half creamer rolled out of the bag. Scott lunged for it, but it rolled under an SUV in front of him. I went to limp around the back of the truck when the bottle rolled back, slashed by four perfect claw marks. "Oh my god," I gasped, leaping away from the SUV as Scott took off. We both knew I couldn't run, and that the Alpha wanted Scott, so I dove behind a car as the Alpha roared.
I waited, holding my breath, as the Alpha gave chase, and then picked up the grocery bags and limped as fast as I could along the up ramp to the fifth floor. Several floors below me, car alarms blared, and I urged my shrieking back to shut up so I could run. Dropping the bags by the back of our car, I kept walking, taking cover behind another car further up the floor.
"What the hell was that?" Scott snapped.
"I said I was gonna teach you, didn't say when," Derek's voice made me peak out from behind the truck I was crouched by, and I sighed in relief.
"You scarred the crap out of me," Scott accused.
"Not yet," the older wolf replied, looking over at the teen beside him. As they walked, I noticed something that made my heart ache. Scott's outfit was exactly like what Derek had worn at the age of sixteen. My adoptive brother was even the same height Derek had been at sixteen. But the worst part was; Scott's eyes had the same steady warmth and caring that Derek's gaze had once held. I prayed that the emotions that made Scott's brown eyes so adorable wouldn't be crushed out of him by grief like it had been for Derek. Scott was just like Derek; when Derek had been younger and innocent.
"Ok, but I was fast, right?" Scott asked.
"Not fast enough," Derek told him flatly.
"But the car alarm thing, that was smart, right?" Scott's right on the end of each question made me realize something else. He wanted so badly to get this right, to please Derek. Like Derek had been when our older brother Eric had been teaching him how to fight hunters.
"Until your phone rang," Derek's reply made me drop my head into my hands. Derek had caught Scott. Because his phone had rang, signaling his position like light in the dark.
"Yeah, but that was-I mean-would you just stop!" Scott yelled. "Please? What happened the other night, Stiles' dad getting hurt, Ami getting hurt again; that was my fault! I should have been there to do something. I need you to teach me how to control this!"
"Look, I am what I am because of birth. You were bitten. Teaching someone who was bitten takes time! I don't even know if I can teach you," Derek replied. In those four sentences, I think he made Scott trust him enough to be patient, because Derek had just revealed a lot of how he really felt from behind his cold mask.
"What do I have to do?" Scott asked.
"You have to get rid of distractions. See this? This is why I caught you. You want me to teach you, get rid of her," Derek's voice was weird. Not harsh, but not kind. More…understanding.
"What just because of her family?" Scott challenged. "Wait, wait, whoa!" Scott yelled, and something shattered against the cement.
"You getting angry? That's your first lesson. You wanna learn how to control this, how to shift; you do it through anger, by tapping into a primal animal rage. But you can't do that with her around," Derek's voice was loud, perfectly audible. He was losing patience now.
"I can get angry," Scott told him, his voice way lower. Way angrier.
"Not angry enough! This is the only way that I can teach you. Now, can you stay away from her? At least until after the full moon?"
"If that's what it takes," Scott sighed.
"Do you want to live?" Derek demanded. "Do you want to protect your friends, yes or no?"
"Yes!" Scott insisted. "If you can teach me, I can stay away from her," he decided. Satisfied, they continued until they reached Scott's car, where they found the grocery bags. "Ami?"
Scott's voice was worried, and I leaned around the truck's tire. I waved tiredly, and called, "Over here." The two appeared a minute later, and Scott lifted me up gently.
"Would you mind taking her home? I have to stop at Stiles' house and check on his dad," Scott asked Derek.
The taller wolf nodded, and once Scott piled the bags in the car and pulled out, he turned to me. His eyes softened, and he swept me up like a princess being swept off her feet by her knight in shining armor. Except my knight was a werewolf; his shining armor a dark leather jacket. "I should be really mad at you for making me run because now I hurt everywhere," I murmured to him.
"I was hoping he'd get protective enough of you to shift," he sighed, "I really didn't want to chase you." He was carrying me up to the roof lot, where I saw the Camaro glittering under the lights like some shiny animal.
"Scott and I haven't been very good siblings to each other lately," I explained softly, curling up in the passenger seat once he'd put me in the car. On the drive back from the store, I somehow managed to make small talk with Derek about school. He didn't need to know I hadn't been in three days. Mom was working another late shift, so I didn't have to answer any questions when Derek carried me into the house. Derek waited in Scott's room while I showered, and once I was dressed, I joined him. I ended up falling asleep curled up on Scott's bed, Derek sitting in the chair next to me while we waited for Scott to come home.
When I woke up in the morning, I was still in Scott's bed, but Scott was lying next to me. A dream about standing in the center of a red spiral with Laura was slipping away, and I felt the need to wear another teal outfit. I decided on a teal tank top under a white blazer and dark wash skinny jeans. A pair of teal ballet flats and a teal ribbon to hold my hair back completed the look. I took a few pain killers for my back, but I was pleasantly surprised to realize it didn't hurt nearly as bad as I'd expected. "Remember, stay away from Allison," I told Scott on the way out the door. He nodded and I started my walk down the road to the corner where Derek picked me up.
"The Alpha drew a spiral on Scott's car window last night," Derek told me, "And he knows I buried Laura under one."
"Did you tell him about the meaning? I had a dream about Laura and me standing in a spiral last night," I murmured once I got over my surprise.
"Which is why you're in teal today," he finished. I nodded, blushing, and kissed his cheek before I got out of the car. "No, I didn't tell him," I heard him call as I closed the door.
To my surprise, Stiles intercepted me after first period. "When do you have free period?" he asked.
"Third period, right before out chemistry class," I told him.
"Good. Meet Scott and me in the café. We have to teach him so he doesn't have to go to Derek," he ordered as he started to walk away. I rolled my eyes, but joined Danny for French with a smile on my face.
When I walked into the café, the first thing I saw was Allison and Lydia. "Hey," I called, walking over.
"Hey, can you look at this for me? Tell me what you think it looks like?" Allison requested, holding out a book.
I took it, seeing the smoky image on the page. As I looked at it, my gaze was drawn to the red eyes, and I felt myself go pale. I thrust it back at her, blinking rapidly, and said, "It looks like a wolf, but wolves don't walk upright, so bear maybe?"
"What does it look like to you?" Allison turned to Lydia, holding up the book.
Lydia instantly went pale, her eyes locked on the figure's red eyes. Allison called her name three times before I shut the book, snapping Lydia out of her memory of what I guessed was the attack on the video store. "It looks like a big wolf," the strawberry blonde shrugged. "See you in history," she chirped, standing with a smile. I knew she was running before Allison saw how shaken she was, and looked around for Stiles and Scott.
Stiles saw me and grabbed his book out of Scott's hand. He motioned for me to follow, and I was going to excuse myself when Allison caught sight of Scott fleeing. Shaking my head, I followed Stiles to the locker rooms. "Grab your sneakers and a sweatshirt," he told me. I nodded, heading into the girls' room. I changed into socks and my running sneakers and swapped my blazer for a zip-up sweatshirt I kept for gym. When I rejoined Stiles in the hallway, he was carrying his lacrosse gear and Scott was there. I went with them to the lacrosse field. "Now, put this on," Stiles ordered, handing a black belt to Scott.
"Isn't this one of the heart rate monitors for the track team?" Scott asked, and I leaned over the bench to take a look.
"Yea," Stiles confirmed. "I borrowed it."
"Stolen?" Scott and I chorused.
"Temporarily misappropriated," he corrected, exasperated. "Coach uses it to monitor his heart rate with his phone while he jogs. So you're gonna wear it for the rest of the day."
"Is that Coach's phone?" Scott asked.
"That I stole," Stiles said flatly.
"Why?" Scott questioned.
"Alright, well you're heart rate goes up when you go wolf, right? When you're playing lacrosse, when you're with Allison, whenever you get angry. Maybe learning to control it is tied to controlling your heart rate," the seated boy explained.
"Like the Incredible Hulk?" Scott realized. Now I had to roll my eyes.
"Kinda like the Incredible Hulk," Stiles agreed.
"No, I'm like the Incredible Hulk," Scott said with glee. He'd loved the Hulk when he was younger.
"Would you shut up and put the strap on? And you take this," Stiles replied, tossing me Scott's old lacrosse stick. It was the perfect size for me, since Scott had used it in middle school.
"What are we doing?" I asked suspiciously.
"Watch," Stiles said. He taped Scott's hands together behind his back, and tossed a few lacrosse balls onto the grass. I picked one up experimentally, tossing it up and down a few times. It had been a while since I'd played lacrosse. Growing up with the Hales meant I'd learned pretty early in life, but I'd stopped playing when I'd gone to high school.
"This isn't exactly how I wanted to spend my free period," Scott complained.
"Alright, ready?" Stiles asked.
"No," Scott looked at me like I was crazy and I grinned mischievously.
"Remember, don't get angry," Stiles ordered. He leaned down, turning on the heart rate monitor, and I jumped up and down a few times, testing my back.
"I'm starting to think this isn't such a good idea," Scott told us as Stiles positioned me.
"Just stand there and don't get mad," I told him. Turning to Stiles, I whispered, "What do I do, just throw them at him?"
"You played right?" he asked. When I nodded, he gestured to Scott, and I shrugged. Aiming for my brother's chest, I threw, and the ball thumped into his stomach with a smack. "There ya go!" Stiles cheered, throwing the next one a bit lower. Scott doubled over, and Stiles grinned at me. Even as a bench-warmer the kid threw harder than I could. I scowled and started aiming for places that would hurt.
"Okay, that one kinda hurt," Scott said, slightly bend forward.
"Quiet, remember you're supposed to be thinking about your heart rate, alright; about staying calm," Stiles told him.
"If you have to, use a mantra, a kind of chant. Focus on the sound of your own heart beat," I added.
"Stay calm, staying calm," Scott muttered, dodging one of my higher throws. He starting bouncing up and down, saying, "Staying totally clam, there's no balls flying at my face." He grunted when a particularly hard throw hit him.
Then movement in my peripherals caught my eye, and I looked over to the bleachers to see Jackson watching, laughing. Then he seemed to realize that the little one with a long ponytail hidden under a hood was me, and his eyes widened. I made a shooing motion, but he ignored me with a sneer. "Son of a bitch!" Scott snapped, and I winced. That one had hit pretty low.
"You know, I think my aim is actually improving," Stiles mused.
"I wonder why," my brother retorted.
"Stiles, no sarcasm. It's making him angrier," I realized, glancing at the phone.
"Don't get angry," Stiles reminded Scott.
We threw a few more times, and then I picked up a feeling. "Stiles, hold on," I cautioned as Scott said, "Stop, wait, wait," but Stiles hit him, hard, right in the diaphragm, and Scott went down on his knees.
"Shit," I gasped, as Stiles picked up the phone.
"Scott?" the other boy asked. In response, my brother ripped free of the duck tape.
"Breathe, Scotty," I murmured, moving close enough to kneel before him. The beeps on the phone slowed, and I sighed. "Just breathe. Like me; listen to my heart," I urged him.
"Scott, you started to change," Stiles said, leaning over me from behind.
"Anger, but it was more than that. It was like, the angrier I got, the stronger I felt," my brother explained.
"That's the primal, animal rage Derek was telling you about," I told him.
"So it is anger, Derek's right," Stiles realized.
Then I saw the light bulb go off in Scott's head. "I can't be around Allison," he realized.
"Just because she makes you happy?" Stiles asked, incredulous.
I shook my head, my hand on Scott's shoulder as he said, "No, because she makes me weak."
The day just got worse in economics. With Coach teaching, I knew it would. I was sitting in the corner of the room, in Coach's soft computer chair, because apparently hurling lacrosse balls at my werewolf brother had been too much for my back. I ignored the little, ridiculously awkward situation between Scott and Allison, and glared at the girl who'd stolen my seat beside Danny. "Let's settle down," Coach suggested. "Let's start with a quick summary of last night's reading," he told everyone. Hands went up, mine included, and Coach snapped, "Greenburg, put your hand down. Everybody knows you did the reading. How about McCall?" I opened my mouth to answer, but he gesturing at Scott, he said, "Not McCall two. This one."
I groaned as I listened to Scott fumble, and glared around the room when people laughed. They fell silent the instant they realized I was angry, knowing that Danny, Jackson, or even Lydia was perfectly capable of ripping them a new one for me. And they'd all do it differently. Then Coach's heart monitor started beeping, and my head shot up. Stiles looked up at me worriedly, and I gulped. I was about to start murmuring to him when Allison took his hand.
Instantly the beeping slowed dramatically, and I sighed. Then I spoke, summarizing the entire textbook. And managed to shut Coach up completely. "Feel better about our generation now, Coach?" I asked in a falsely sweet voice. The class laughed, and Coach glared at me. I glared right back, my chin high. He wasn't picking on my brother on my watch.
Then I saw back, smirking, waiting for the class to end. In the hall after class, I sent a text to Derek saying, "We have a problem. Scott found his anchor. It's Allison."
If I thought Stiles' training was done during our free period, I was so wrong. When I glanced out the window on my way to the parking lot after school, and saw Scott on the ground, being beaten up with Stiles standing nearby, an actual growl slipped free. Mr. Harris, of all teachers, heard, and looked at me curiously. So I pointed out the window, and the Chemistry teacher went out the nearest door. I watched him give the boys detention, and then hurried out the side door as Derek pulled up.
"Scott's a lovey-dovey fool and Stiles is an idiot," I sighed. He looked over, an amused smirk on his face, before I saw the confliction in his eyes. "What's wrong? You look upset" I murmured.
"Do you mind if we go see Peter? I need to see if he'll respond. I really need his help," he said.
"I hope you don't mind, but I've been visiting most weekends depending on my Sunday shift," I admitted. He nodded sadly and we sat in thoughtful silence the rest of the ride. When we walked up to the care center, Derek took my hand, and I moved as close to his side as I could.
As he sat down on Uncle Peter's bed, I moved around to sit beside him, still holding his hand. He turned Peter's wheelchair, keeping his free hand on the arm of the chair, so I reached out to take one of the man's hands. "I need your help," Derek started. "If you can hear me, I need you to give me a sign. Blink, raise a finger anything, just something to point me in the right direction, okay?" I think when he paused; we both searched our uncle's face for some kind of reaction, but to no avail. Derek looked down, the words sticking in his throat as he continued, "Someone killed Laura." I had to squeeze his hand when I heard him say it, because it felt like a kick in the gut.
"Your niece, Laura? Whoever he is, he's an Alpha now. But he's one without a pack, which means he's not as strong. I can take him, but I have to find him first." Here I tightened my hold on Peter's hand, wishing his once mischievous blue eyes would just blink.
"Look, if you know something, can you give me a sign. Is it one of us? Did someone else make it out of the fire?" Derek demanded.
"Derek, easy," I soothed, nudging him.
"Just give me anything," Derek pleaded with Peter, leaning forward. "Blink, raise a finger, anything!" Then, grabbing the arms of the chair, he shook the chair, crying, "Say something!" The pain in his voice was obvious, and I knew I'd probably end up sleeping wherever he was tonight.
"Let him go!" a sharp voice ordered. Derek straightened as I jumped to my feet, and we turned to see a pale, red-headed nurse at the door. "You think after six years of this yelling at him will get a response?"
"You got a better method?" Derek challenged.
"Patience," she said in a gentler tone. "He'll respond if you give him the time."
He looked down at Peter and said, "I don't have any more time." He pulled me out the door, and I whispered an excuse us to the young woman. When we walked out of the care clinic, I pulled up the fur-lined hood of my jacket. The temperature had dropped dramatically, and flurries were falling from the gray sky overhead. As I went to open my door, a piece of paper under the windshield wipers caught my eye, and I went to reach for it. But of course, Derek grabbed it faster. He unfolded it, looked at it, and then looked up to search the area.
"Derek?" I asked as snow fell around my face. He didn't reply, instead getting into the Camaro and staring it. I scrambled in and my door had just closed when he sped out of the parking lot. "Where are we going?" I asked.
"You'll see," he told me shortly. I narrowed my eyes at him but settled for playing with the radio until I found a song I actually liked. And just when it got to the good part, Derek pulled into the animal clinic and cut the engine. "Let's go," he ordered, getting out.
"Derek, it's closed," I protested. But he didn't even acknowledge the fact that there was indeed a closed sign on the door.
"Scott, you're late again. I hope this isn't getting to be a habit," Dr. Deaton said.
"He got detention, sir. He'll be here any minute," I spoke up. I was trying to both save Scott's idiotic ass and warn Derek.
Deaton looked up, smiling as he recognized my voice, and saw not me, but Derek, who was standing in front of me. "Can I help you?" he asked.
"Hope so," Derek told him. Something was very much up if his tone was anything to go by. "I want to know about the animal you found with the spiral in its side," he continued.
"Excuse me? What animal?" Deaton asked, crossing his arms. But his tone wasn't strong, and I didn't like the feeling in my stomach.
"Three months ago; the deer," Derek replied, opening the piece of paper from his windshield. "You remember this?" he asked, holding it up.
"Ah, yes," the vet replied, pointing at the paper. "It's just a deer," he added. "And I didn't find it; they called me because they wanted to know if I'd seen anything like it." That weird smile, like he was trying to stay calm, was still on his face.
"What you tell them?" my brother demanded.
"I told them no," Deaton assured him. He swallowed, and Derek lowered the paper.
"Did you hear that?" Derek asked, moving closer so he could stand at the edge of the table.
"Hear what?" the older man responded, moving so the table was between them.
"The sound of your heartbeat rising," Derek said simply.
"Calm down," I murmured, moving to stand between them at the table. I touched his arm, and Deaton shot me a look like I was out of my mind.
"Excuse me?" Scott's boss asked.
"It's the sound of you lying," Derek said through clenched teeth. Then he grabbed Deaton by his jacket front and yanked him up onto his side on the table.
"Derek!" I gasped, jumping out of the way.
"Get out," he snapped at me. I drew back, starting to feel a little fear. I knew my heart rate was accelerating, but I ducked into the dog kennels regardless. Instantly, a black lab with a wrapped paw moved to the edge of his kennel to stick his nose through the gate, whimpering. I shushed him in the voice I'd been using on Derek a lot as I sat next to him
"What are you doing?!" Scott yelled, and I peeked up through the window. My jaw dropped in horror when I saw Derek holding up Deaton, who was seated and bound to his desk chair.
I went to open the door and found it locked, and hit the window with the flat of my hand. "Derek, let me out!" I cried as Deaton yelled for Scott to run. Derek punched Deaton, knocking him out cold, and Scott tried to push the older Beta back.
"Stop! Stop!" Scott ordered.
"Look, when he's conscious, he can keep himself from healing, but unconscious, he can't!" Derek snapped.
"Are you out of your mind?" Scott demanded. "What are you talking about?"
"You wanna know what the spiral means, Scott? It's our sign for a vendetta, for revenge. It means he won't stop killing until he's satisfied," Derek was mad, and I shrank back from the door.
"You think he's the Alpha?" Scott realized.
"We're about to find out," the older wolf told him, pulling his arm back to strike.
But Scott caught Derek's arm in a clawed hand and growled. He shoved Derek's arm away, and lifted his hand to look at it. But I was looking at Derek's face and seeing something like surprise. The short haired wolf backed up a few steps, but I couldn't look away. Scott's wolf melted away and he said, "Hit him again and then you'll see me get angry."
Derek let me out of the kennel, and I went straight to Scott. Catching him by the chin as he took out a big cotton ball, I pressed two fingers to his throat. His pulse was strong, steady, and normal. Flashing him a grin, I kissed his cheek and went to feed the cats on his request. They were uneasy, like they knew there was two, maybe three werewolves standing in the other room. Then I realized they probably did know.
When I got back, Scott was gone, and Derek was pacing the waiting room. I went into the examining room, but I didn't want to stand there or pace. So I managed to clean the blood off the vet's face with a wet cotton ball. Afterwards I cleaned up the rest of the room. Derek eventually came in, taped the man's mouth shut with duck tape, cut him free of the chair, and rebound his hands. Then he threw Scott's boss over his shoulder and carried him out to the Camaro, where he dumped the unconscious man into the backseat.
The beat up blue Jeep was already parked in the lot when we pulled into the school. Stiles took out bolt cutters and a flashlight from the back as Derek parked behind the Jeep. "Where's my boss?" Scott demanded as I climbed out of the passenger seat.
"He's in the back," Derek sighed, annoyed.
The boys bent over to look in the back window, and Stiles retorted, "Oh, well he looks comfortable."
"Come on," Scott said, hitting Stiles shoulder to get the kid's attention as he walked away.
"Wait, hey, what are you doing?" Derek asked as they headed up the walkway.
"You said I was linked with the Alpha," Scott explained. We both heard him add, "I'm gonna see if you're right."
"What do you think he's trying to do?" I asked, leaning against the back of the Jeep. I knew better than to sit on the Camaro. Derek shook his head with a shrug, and I sighed. Then through the intercom speakers came a horrible wailing sound.
I cringed, thinking it was some kind of cat or maybe a dying dog. "He's got to be kidding me," Derek muttered. I quirked an eyebrow at him, and he explained, "That was your brother attempting to howl." I snorted, covering my hand as I tried not to burst out laughing, and Derek rolled his eyes at me.
Then a deep, guttural, resounding howl shook the school. "Oh my god!" I gasped, throwing myself into Derek's arms. Derek looked around, pulling me with him as he moved around the Jeep to look at the school. The sound brought back the memory of the night Scott had been bitten, and suddenly I was overwhelmed with memories.
"I'm gonna kill both of you!" Derek snapped as I clung to his arm. My heart rate was rapidly accelerating, and I knew it wasn't slowing down anytime soon. "What the hell was that? What are you trying to do, attract the entire state to the school?"
"Derek," I gasped softly. Something was really, really, really wrong.
"Sorry. I didn't know it would be that loud," Scott replied.
"Derek, we need to leave," I murmured. I could feel the blood draining from my face as my stomach churned.
"Yeah, it was loud, and it was awesome!" Stiles sing-songed.
"Shut up," Derek ordered. We'd both heard the sound, but neither of us knew what it was, or could place it.
"Don't be such a sour-wolf," Stiles replied.
I swayed as Scott hit Stiles to shut him up. "What did you do with him?"
"What?" Derek asked, turning around. I turned too, but the fog rolling up in my eyes prevented me from seeing that the door to the Camaro was wide open, and Deaton was gone. "I didn't do anything."
"He's here!" I gasped, my voice barely audible as the voice buried in the back of my head suddenly roared. I fell to my knees as Derek suddenly went tense and convulsed. He was lifted away from me, and blood spattered the pavement, splashing on my hands and arms. Somewhere through the screams in my head, I could hear Stiles and Scott fleeing and the Alpha roaring above me. Something grazed my back, and later I would realize it was Derek's foot as he was thrown against the school wall.
With one arm wrapped around my stomach and my head buried in the crook of my other elbow, I curled up in an agonized ball on the pavement. I couldn't see the Alpha bend over me, sniffing at me. I couldn't hear him rumble a growl when he caught scent of the Wolfsbane in my locket. I couldn't feel him reach out with one massive clawed hand and rip the chain from my neck. I couldn't even scream.