Author's Note: To Ms. Isaac Lahey, Alicia Sellers, Revolution Fanatic, and Muppet girl lover: aw thanks! Welcome to the pack! (And by that I mean thanks for the first review!) To Marine: Thanks pup! Don't worry, you're good! No mistakes!
Also, this chapter is going to have more of Ami's wolf reactions to her Alpha and pack. I did a study on wolf behavior, so I'm using a little bit of this for werewolf body language type stuff. Enjoy!
Could people check out the poll on my profile? I'd really appreciate feedback for the next chapter!
"Come on, we should go back to the depot. The others will want to know you're okay before you go home," Derek muttered, letting me lean against his shoulder as we walked out. Scott leaned on him on the other side, stealing strength from the Alpha.
Stiles had already pulled the Jeep up to the front door when Derek led us out. Scott and I dragged ourselves into the backseat, and I completely ignored my seat beat in favor of curling up in the seat with my head in Scott's lap. He threaded his fingers through my hair as Derek slid into the passenger seat, and I didn't pay enough attention to hear him ask Stiles' why he knew where the Alpha was hiding out.
Isaac was waiting when Stiles killed the Jeep at the door of the depot. He moved aside for Derek, watched Scott and Stiles duck inside, and picked me up before me feet even touched the ground. Erica looked up from the air mattress where she and a healing Boyd were curled up together and reached out towards me as Isaac knelt beside the bigger Beta. "You guys okay?" I asked softly, resting my head on the huge boy's shoulder. My other hand was held by Erica, draping my arm across Boyd's upper chest, away from the bullet wounds. The last of my Betas doesn't hesitate to curl up at my back, sensing that I need the healing of the pack too.
"Well, that plan was an epic failure," Erica sighed, and I nodded, closing my eyes as a pixie started screaming at me.
She's standing on the lacrosse field, in her winter formal dress. Looking around, she can see that the stands are full, but the lacrosse players are all seated on the bench. She's the only one on the field. "We Love Lydia" signs are everywhere, and the students are cheering for her.
All but one dark haired girl in the midst of the stands. Huddling into her leather jacket, the girl looks around wildly, clearly freaking out. Then Lydia realizes it's Ami. And she's terrified of something behind Lydia.
So Lydia turns around, and her stomach churns in terror. There he is, in his trench coat and smirk. His claws are on her shoulders, his fangs buried in her neck, and she's crying, trying to crawl away.
Then she jolts awake. My eyes shot open and the pixie fell away from my mental fingers, fading from pink to gray. Panicking as I realized I couldn't reach Lydia now, I felt my heart beat speed up, and Isaac's arm tightened around my waist. All three Betas growled in their sleep, reacting to me, so I forced a soothing hum from my throat and looked around for Scott and Derek.
"I'm saying we need a new plan," Derek sighed as they crossed the depot to one of the unused cars. "Because next time one of us is going to be to hurt to heal," he added, and I flinched, tucking myself into Isaac's chest.
"I get it," Scott sighed. "We can't save Jackson," he conceded, and I lifted my head from Boyd's shoulder as my stomach sank.
"We can't seem to kill him either," Derek admitted his failure quietly, frustration rolling down his ribbon. "I've seen a lot of things, Scott, but I've never seen anything like this. And every new moon's just going to make him stronger."
"Then how do we stop him?" Scott asked, hating the way Derek had seemed to give up. He didn't like seeing the Alpha admit defeat, and neither did I. It was wrong, especially after how much Derek had fought this.
"I don't know. I don't even know if we can," the Alpha told him,
"Maybe we should just let the Argents handle it," the Beta suggested, leaning against a pole beside his mentor. It was nice to see the two of them cooperating, and Scott's trust of Derek was starting to grow. He didn't just trust Derek because I did anymore. Scott was opening up to Derek, accepting at least the experience of the Alpha, if not yet his leadership or the pack.
"I'm the one who turned him. It's my fault," Derek argued, guilt and the weight of his responsibility bearing down on me from his ribbon. So I slid free of the Betas and padded to the train car with my brothers, crawling into Derek's lap as I held his ribbon. His arm came around my waist, but he was focused on Scott.
"But you didn't turn him into this. This happened because of something in his past, right?" Scott argued, and Derek bowed his head.
"That's a legend in a book. It's not that simple," Derek snapped, and I nuzzled into the underside of his jaw reassuringly.
"What do you mean? What are you not telling me?" the teen demanded. Cocoa brown sadness. Why did he keep doing this to me?
"Why do you think I'm always keeping something from you?" the older wolf asked. I caught a flare of blue-gray longing, and I saw that Derek just wanted Scott to trust his lead. But Scott didn't work that way. He wanted to know why, wanted the details, and especially wanted to know the whole plan.
"Because you always are keeping something from me!" Scott reminded him, but he still wasn't angry. Now he was just resigned, realizing that by asking he'd pushed Derek back. The Alpha wasn't going to tell him anything now.
"Well maybe I do it to protect you," Derek told him, and I looked up at Scott. Unlike first semester, when Derek had protected Scott because I'd asked, now Derek genuinely wanted to keep Scott safe.
"Doesn't being part of your pack mean no more secrets?" Scott asked softly, looking up. Swirling in both his brown eyes and down his ribbon were a mix of pleading, longing, and hurt. I knew that if I'd known whatever it was Derek was keeping from us I would have given into that look.
"Go home, Scott. Sleep, heal. Make sure your friends are safe," Derek told him, resigned. Scott slumped, admitting to his tiredness as he realized he wasn't getting anywhere with the Alpha until tomorrow. "Because the full moon's coming. And with the way things are going, I have a feeling it's gonna be a rough one," my elder brother sighed.
"Go, Scott," I sighed, "You need to heal." He came over, keeping a careful eye on Derek, hugged me and slipped out of the depot with Stiles in tow. Once he was gone, the Alpha stood, taking me with him, and moved back to the car where his Betas slept. Isaac rolled over, looking up at us, and to my surprise, Derek didn't just set me down. He stretched out on his side, pulling me close as Boyd slept, healing, at his back. Isaac tangled his feet with mine and pressed our foreheads together, drifting off to sleep easily.
I didn't relax until a deep, quiet rumbling in Derek's chest soothed me enough to close my eyes. Behind him, Boyd relaxed, the lines of pain on his face fading until he slept easily. Isaac and Erica were sound asleep once more, but Derek and I did not sleep. "What is it?" he asked gently, just behind my ear.
"Allison's freaking out. She saw pictures Matt took of her, and he's stalking her. He wants her to go inside with him," I murmured, brushing my fingers across the blue and red ribbons.
"Is he hurting her?" he pressed softly, and I understood. If Scott found out, heard Allison's heart rate going up, anything, he'd kill Matt in a rage of werewolf possessiveness and protectiveness. Then everything would get ten times worse.
"No, she's leaving," I sighed, watching closely.
"Good, now go to sleep," he rumbled, and I reached up with the hand not already absently playing with Isaac's curls. Threading my fingers through Derek's hair, I felt him nudge the back of my neck with his nose as he tried to ease me into sleep. Eventually, it worked.
The weekend would have been normal had we all not been hyperaware of the full moon rapidly approaching. My phone ringing Monday morning startled all the Betas awake, and Derek growled in annoyance. Crawling out of the pack pile, I answered with a hushed, "Hello?"
"Why are you whispering?" Lydia asked, wide awake and sounding excited. I knew she'd already had three cups of coffee, at least, and rubbed my temple.
"My brother's asleep," I told her, turning my back to the depot.
"Get dressed. I'm picking you up in an hour to go shopping," she replied and I felt my shoulders sag in guilt as I glanced at the time and saw the date. Lydia's birthday was on Wednesday…the full moon.
"Ok, see you in an hour," I assured her, letting her say goodbye and hang up. Then I groaned and sank into a crouch, resting my elbows on my knees as I buried my face in my hands. "Why is it always on the full moon?" I asked, feeling Derek come up behind me.
He knelt beside me and pulled my hands from my face, holding them in his ever warm ones. "What's on the full moon?" he asked.
"Lydia's party," I told him, looking over at the air mattress as Erica and Isaac stirred.
"And why is that a problem?" he questioned, meeting my eyes.
"How am I supposed to tell her I can't come to her party because I have to help you with three new werewolves who are going to be overcome by the desire to hunt and kill?" I snapped, but he hardly reacted.
"You're not. You're going to the party to keep an eye on her, Allison, Scott, Stiles, and Jackson," he replied. I looked up at him, a bit surprised but relieved all the same. He drove me back to Scott's house, where I was able to change into fresh clothes and wait for Lydia.
Shopping with Lydia yielded mixed results. We left just before the mall closed with four bags of clothes and new accessories. When she pulled up at the house, she halted me to tell me, "I'll be over at three to drop off your outfit, and you are required to wear all of it. Your cropped jacket will go really well with it." I nodded, suddenly very worried she was going to have me wear heels to her party, but I knew I'd do it for her, even on a full moon. She blew me a kiss as she pulled away, and I had to smile as I slipped in the front door.
Wednesday morning found me uneasy and worried. I also had to dress practically, keeping in mind my promise not to wear heels on a full moon. That ended up being a blue long sleeved V-neck shirt, my leather jacket, washed out skinny jeans and lace up black boots. So when Derek called, summoning a pack meeting, I was already walking towards downtown and the depot.
Upon entering the depot, I brushed across the ribbons inside and found only Derek. "Are you allergic to shirts now?" I teased as I found him doing pushups in a gray wife beater tank top and jeans.
He looked up at me, and I was struck with how any girl, even some guys, would find him attractive. If I hadn't been raised as his little sister I probably would too. "How much do you weigh?" he asked, pausing his workout.
I felt my brow furrow at the question but answered honestly, "97 pounds last time I went in for a physical." As I shed my leather jacket I glanced over my shoulder, not bothering to ask why he wanted to know. My answer had already put him off asking me to sit on his back while he did pushups. Apparently my hundred pounds wasn't heavy enough.
"First off, it's probably more now that you're putting on muscle as a wolf. Second, I know you're small, but that's not healthy, Ami," he sighed.
"I'm healthy, Derek. You see me eat and exercise. It's not my fault literally no fat stays on my body," I replied, my temper flaring. I was thin enough that I'd been accused of being anorexic before, and I hated any suggestion that I was. The doctors had all assured both Derek's parents and Melissa that I was perfectly healthy, but being born two months early had left me slightly stunted. Immediately he was on his feet and crowding me, snarling in my face. Whatever bit of wolf inside me retreated without hesitation, and I backed away until my back hit a support pole, keeping my blue eyes averted from the burning red.
"Find your anchor, Ami. You can't afford to lose control at the party," the Alpha snarled, bracing one hand on either side of me, above my head. Tilting my head back and to the side, I left my throat as vulnerable as I could, knowing he was right. Derek bent his head and I felt his fangs pierce the skin on the back of my neck.
When he drew back, I was calm, and his eyes were green again. "Sorry, Alpha," I murmured, stretching up to nuzzle the underside of his jaw in a wolf-style apology. Then, feeling a bit playful, I swiped my tongue across his jaw and danced away, giggling. He rolled his eyes and wiped his face with one hand, then lunged after me. Squeaking, I ducked and spun away in a dance move I hadn't used since Scott's first full moon as a wolf.
Eventually he caught me from behind, spinning me around like he'd done when we were kids. Laughing as the depot whirled around me, I saw a blur of red and black. When I identified the coppery brown ribbon, I called, "Hi Boyd!"
Derek set me down, though he kept hold of my arm to keep me from stumbling. "Where are the others?" he asked the biggest of his Betas.
"Isaac's right behind me. Erica's on her way from the store," Boyd replied, tossing his own leather jacket aside. He settled for leaning beside the doorframe of the sleeping car, and I sat on a crate beside him. Moments later, Isaac's leather jacket was added to the pile and he ran his hand through my hair as he passed me. Derek carried a familiar trunk out onto the floor once Erica arrived, and I had to suppress a growl at the sight of it.
Glancing at me, Derek simply gave me a look as he flipped open the trunk. Isaac bent over, running his fingers across the triskele painted on the underside of the lid. "What is that?" he asked, turning to look at Derek.
"It's a triskele," Boyd told him, making the rest of us turn to look at him. Everyone's ribbons flared, each with a different emotion. Blue-gray surprise. I hadn't expected any of the Betas to know what it is. Cerulean blue impressed. And that's another reason for me to like him. Baby blue confusion. What the hell was a triskele? "The spirals mean different things; past, present, future," he explained, then saw Derek's raised eyebrow and added, "Father, mother, child."
"It's a Celtic symbol for progression. Different cultures gave it different meanings, like spirit-mind-body or life-death-rebirth. It's the Hale family symbol," I explained, getting up to stand behind Derek with my hand on his broad shoulder.
"Know what it means to me?" he asked Boyd, the words almost sounding like a challenge.
"Alpha-Beta-Omega?" the black Beta guessed, meeting his eyes before he glanced at me.
"That's right," Derek told him, nodding. Boyd had passed. "It's a spiral," he explained to Isaac, standing. I backed up as he moved, but he didn't want me to go far. "It reminds us that we can all rise to one or fall to another. Betas can become Alphas, but Alphas can also fall to Betas, or even Omegas."
"What, like Scott?" Isaac asked, meaning the Omega.
"Scott's with us," the Alpha told him, looking back down into the trunk.
Isaac looked around, and suddenly I knew the full moon was giving him the courage to challenge Derek's acceptance of Scott. "Really? Well, where is he now?" he asked.
"He's looking for Jackson," my brother told him, then added, "Don't worry, he's not going to have tonight easy. None of will, not even Ami." Leaning over, he lifted one of the harness sets from the trunk, saying, "There's a price you pay for this kind of power." Offering the restraints to Isaac, he explained, "You get the ability to heal, but tonight you're gonna want to kill anything you can find." I backed away when he lifted the headband out. I'd always hated that thing, it just looked cruel. Laura had worn it on a blue moon, but otherwise, I'd never seen it used.
"Good thing I had my period last week then," Erica remarked, and I choked on a laugh as the boys gave her mixed looks. Derek was amused, Boyd incredulous, and Isaac just plain uncomfortable.
Derek held up the head band and told her, smirking faintly, "Well this one's for you." She shifted on her feet, realizing suddenly that this was actually worse than she thought. Her confidence wavered, and she stared at the band with something like fear in her eyes.
Once Derek pulled the rest of the chains and harnesses from the trunk, he looked over his shoulder at me. I knew by the look in his eyes that it was time for me to leave. Nodding, I slid up to Isaac and wrapped my arms around him, squeezing him around the waist. "You'll be okay," I promised him, knowing I'd have my phone in my hand all night waiting for Derek to call me. He pressed his forehead against the top of my head, but didn't say anything.
He didn't have to. The fear of the restraints and the memories he was fighting to suppress were pretty clear on his ribbon. Erica didn't speak either as I hugged her, but I didn't give her the same promise. It was her and Boyd's first full moon. They were gonna be a little wilder than Isaac. Boyd was not a touchy person, but he let me hug him, having realized just how serious this was if Derek would rather I be at the party than here. When I slid my arms around Derek's waist, he nuzzled into my hair, surprising me. He wasn't normally affectionate in front of the Betas for the sake of keeping up his tough guy exterior.
I remembered how Derek hadn't always been this way. He'd been sweet and romantic, caring and affectionate before whatever had changed his eyes from gold to blue. He'd been a lot like Scott, and I knew the sweet, gentle older brother was still there somewhere. But he'd hidden it behind a cold, intimidating mask of strength. So what didn't surprise me was the whisper in my ear of, "I need you to be careful."
I leaned my forehead against his shoulder for a moment and promised, "I will." Then I fled the depot, yanking on my jacket as I ran back towards Scott's house. Within minutes of my arrival, Lydia pulled in, dressed somewhat like a school girl in a tied up blue shirt and black skirt. She handed me a Macy's bag and I noticed the three others in the backseat. "What are those for?" I asked.
"I'm going to Allison's so she can help me pick out my outfits," she replied, a smile on her face. "I know I usually ask you, but Allison's better at picking my styles," she teased, and I couldn't help but laugh. I never picked an outfit she actually wore. But I was also relieved. Not going to Allison's meant I didn't have to face Mrs. Argent after she tried to kill Scott and me.
"What time should I come over?" I asked, taking the rather heavy bag. There was definitely a pair of shoes in there.
"Party starts at ten," she reminded me, sliding back into the car.
"Scott and I will be there," I promised. "Happy birthday!"
"Thanks. And you have to wear all of that since it's my birthday," she replied, smiling slyly as she closed the door. I shook my head at her and watched her drive away, a little worried. There was something off about her.
When I finally opened the bag around five, I lifted out the dress with a sigh. Strapless, it had a white bodice with a sweetheart neckline and an empire waist with metallic threading. There was a black skirt that looked like it would reach mid-thigh under a sheer wrap-style pleated high low skirt. The tag said it was a Strapless Color-blocked High-Low Roberts Juniors Dress. A DV by Dolce Vita shoebox in the bag contained a pair of black Balla platform pumps, with an almost four-inch heel. "Well, I'm certainly not getting away from the Kanima in these things," I sighed, then laid out the whole outfit with my jacket and locket.
I could feel the moon rising as I showered. We had a couple more hours before the trouble started, so I went through the motions as calmly as I could. Blow drying my hair took almost an hour, but I still had plenty of time. The braided up-do also took an hour, and by the time I was done, Scott was back from lacrosse practice. Once he showered, dressed and came to stand in my doorway, he found me finishing up my makeup. "You okay?" he asked, glancing at the shade pulled down over my window. I nodded in the mirror and saw him scan the dress I was wearing. "Stay close tonight," he requested, and I saw a flare of protectiveness on his ribbon.
Though we'd almost died, one good thing had come out of the rave. Scott and I were closer, more protective of each other than we had been. For the past week Scott had been checking on me through texts and physical touch, often running his fingers through my hair or slipping his arm around my waist. I didn't mind at all; I'd been doing the same thing to him.
He sat on my bed, texting as I pulled on my shoes and jewelry. My locket rested just above the neckline and I slid in a pair of black and silver earrings. Stiles honked from the driveway as we pulled on our jackets, and I swiped my phone and Lydia's present off the counter on the way out the door.
Scott and I went to the front door first, leaving Stiles to manhandle Lydia's present out of the Jeep and up the walkway. Lydia opened the door with a smile, running her eyes over my outfit with a smile. "Come on in," she invited, stepping back while balancing a serving tray of punch cups. "I knew you'd look amazing in that," she told me, and I kissed her cheek as I slipped by.
"Presents in the dining room?" I called.
"Yes please," she replied, and I heard Scott wish her a happy birthday.
I bumped into Allison when I slipped out the sliding doors to the pool area, and I smiled at the sight of the pink Material Girl dress. "Is Scott here?" she asked, and I nodded, leading her up onto the patio where I knew my brother and Stiles were about to appear.
"Who are we missing, what haven't we thought of?" Stiles asked as we moved up the stairs towards them.
"Jackson's not here," she told my brother.
"Yeah, no one's here," Stiles observed, looking around the empty pool area.
"Maybe it's just early," Scott suggested, but I knew people should have been already despite the time.
"Or maybe nobody's coming because Lydia's turned into the town whack job," Stiles sniped with his usual scathing attitude. Scott couldn't argue with that, and I looked around until I spotted Lydia holding a tray of drinks on the other side of the pool. She was standing between balloon columns and I realized her mom had gone all out and left so Lydia could do whatever she wanted.
But Lydia was looking around, her ribbon pulsing with hurt and confusion, trying not to cry. There was no one there to celebrate the Queen's birthday, and Lydia had realized she was no longer the Queen.
"Well we have to do something because we've completely ignored Lydia for the past two weeks," Allison pointed out.
"She's completely ignored Stiles the past ten years," Scott replied, and I winced. The full moon was making him slightly less considerate of his friends.
Hurt and annoyance flashed down Stiles' ribbon, and he bit his tongue before saying, "I prefer to think of as me having not been on her radar."
"We don't owe her a party," Scott said, shaking his head at his best friend.
"What about the chance to get back to normal?" Allison asked.
"Normal?" Scott repeated.
"She wouldn't be the town whack job if it wasn't for us," she pointed out.
The boys sighed, realizing she was right, and Scott said, "I guess I could use my co-captain status to get the lacrosse team here."
"Yeah, I also know some people who could get this thing going, like really going," Stiles added, digging out his phone.
"Who?" Allison asked.
"I met them the other night. Let's just say they know how to party," he replied, and Scott walked away to make a few calls.
"I'll call Tony and get a DJ here," I told her, and she nodded appreciatively.
A little while later, when the drag queens led the newly arrived guests in, I looked at Stiles and laughed. They ran to the skinny boy and swept him into hugs as Scott greeted his teammates and their dates. Tony, the blonde bartender from Jungle, arrived with a DJ in tow, and I hugged him with a smile. "I owe you one," I told him, and he shook his head. He and his DJ/date hurried off to set up the music as Lydia passed a cup into Stiles' hands.
A burst of pain from Erica had me digging out my phone and calling Derek. Her screams echoed in my ears and I ran to the bathroom as I felt my control slip. Derek didn't answer, leaving me braced against the sink as my eyes flashed purple.