They walked into a world from another era.
What should have been hard flooring beneath their feet was uneven, compacted dirt, and everything looked to be made of wood and fabric. The door closed behind them, and Allison turned to watch. Something moved that she couldn't see, and it creaked like winter branches. She stepped closer. It was difficult to tell in the low light, but the door looked red and streaked. Whatever covered it splashed onto the wall nearby, spreading like an amoeba over the surface. She took out her phone to try the flashlight now that they were inside and gasped at what she saw. Thin rivulets of red and blue spidered through the patches. She leaned in closer, staring, and nearly dropped her phone when she saw some of it move. The blue contracted. Red pulsed.
Arteries and veins.
"Oh my God," she mouthed silently and moved the light over the rest of the door. White bone jutted from knobs of red flesh around the entryway. And as she looked up, a single, lidless eye rotated at her, then her father, then back, shifting around in its small mound of exposed muscle.
Her stomach clenched with the urge to scream, then vomit. She spun around to keep from looking at, and felt embarrassingly thankful when her father wrapped an arm around her shoulder.
She took a moment to swallow down bile and slowly put her phone away. Chris watched her compose herself without saying anything and let her go when she looked ready.
"It's alive," she said quietly, looking straight ahead, further into the market.
Her father nodded. "Looks that way." His voice had more gravel than usual, and Allison realized that he was steeling himself for this place as much as she was.
Allison started forward, one hand resting on the handle of her favorite knife with casual preparation. The agora skotadi smelled like fertile dirt, formaldehyde, and lavender. The shops had a permanence in their construction: wooden walls, windows, some with front doors and porches. But their arrangement had the random flamboyance of a farmer's market, of hopeful shopkeepers eager for the best spot to sell their wares. Allison glanced up, not sure what she expected to see. It wasn't an abyss dotted with glowing orbs that rose and fell on a breeze all their own. Her gaze flicked to the shops, and what had seemed at first like lanterns hung on the posts she now as one of these orbs, suspended by nothing. Their light shone out like the moon's, silver and cool.
The whole place buzzed with a dark power that Allison could feel in that thing around her heart. She felt it as a lump in her throat, a tightness in her stomach, and a pull of arousal. Nothing good happened here. She could almost feel the death in all the stillness, and it made her heart race.
Signs hung over each establishment, but they were written in Greek, lending no particular help in deciding where to start.
Allison glanced at her father, but he shrugged tightly. "It's been a long time." He moved to stand just behind her elbow. "Trust your instincts."
She couldn't be sure how good an idea that would be, given the dangerous emotions flowing through her system. Things hadn't been right since the nemeton, but they hadn't been this wrong either. She pressed her lips into a thin line and started circling to the right, inspecting the sign and storefront. It could have been a bakery, for all the cute country porch and well-lit interior. She couldn't see anyone inside. She couldn't, in fact, see anyone anywhere.
"Should there be more people here?" she asked her father quietly.
"Not if it's only just appeared. And not if no one has sent out word."
Allison cut him a look. "Meaning hunters."
He gave one slow nod in reply and then kept his eye on the next store down the winding street. Allison might have wanted to ask more, like how often hunters frequented this place, what they purchased, and why no one thought it should be stopped, but he was pointedly looking away, and she could take the hint. Maybe later. Maybe when not inside the hornets' nest.
They moved to the next store, and something about it drew Allison's attention. It looked like an old bookstore. No steps to climb to go in, no front porch for lingering travelers. It had a large glass storefront made of many small panes, all of which distorted what lay inside. Through it she could only see silver, gold, and ripples of green. The door had a large metal symbol embedded in it. Not a Greek letter. Not any letter she was familiar with. She stared at it, and the longer she looked the more it felt like cold ooze slid down her spine. She started to taste blood on her tongue and took it as the best and worst kind of sign. Without looking at her father, she reached for the brass knob and went inside.
If the agora had smelled of lavender and death, the small shop smelled of cloves and blood. Orderly rows of bottles lined three walls of the cramped space. Dozens of large glass jars filled heavy, sturdy tables. Everything looked well dusted, well-kept, and very old. A moment after they stepped inside, a man came out of the back room looking incongruously proper in a vest and shirtsleeves. Dark hair, darker eyes. He looked freshly shaved and a bit too perfectly handsome—the sort of handsome that only manifested on actors and singers, people destined for adoration. He tipped his head in Allison's direction and gave her an evaluating look. Without taking her eyes off him, she lifted her head in reply.
"May I help you?" he said in a sonorous voice, disarmingly warm. Of course a hekalus would have a voice that pinned you to the floor, that made you beg for more. And suddenly she knew just how to play this.
Allison ran her gaze over him, lingering at his eyes, then turned slowly to the array of bottles. "Maybe," she said, and gave the items nearest to her a closer examination.
Some of the bottles held what looked like twigs. She turned a few and read the hand-scrawled labels. Fairy sinew, eich uisge tendon. Chris stood by the door doing his best to act like a thoughtless grunt, while Allison took small steps that brought her further inside. Between shelves, the contents of the bottles abruptly changed from what she supposed were ingredients to actual concoctions. She leaned in close and stared at a clear liquid with red bubbles suspended inside.
The hekalus appeared at her side. "Ahh. Beautiful, yes?"
She turned to look at him and waited for him to go on. He grinned. "Kanima venom with dragon blood," he said. "Leaves the user paralyzed, conscious, sensate, and”—he lifted an eyebrow suggestively—“potent." He smiled around the word, savoring it, and heat filled his gaze.
Oh. Oh . . . That kind of shop.
"Interesting," she said, straightening.
"Expensive," the shopkeeper replied.
Allison arched an eyebrow at him and smiled dangerously. "You don't think I can pay?"
The hekalus looked slightly abashed. "I didn't mean to imply—"
"Yes, you did," Allison cut him off and stepped into his space, studying his face. "Whatever we don't have on hand, we could pay in trade."
"Trade," he repeated the word like he doubted that very much.
She lifted her eyebrows invitingly and stepped back just a bit.
"Miss," he drew a frown together in apology, "we don't work with just anyone."
Allison turned toward one of the glass jars and ran her finger around the rim. She had one card to play. "Hmm. I guess she was wrong," she said somewhat to herself, loud enough for the hekalus to hear. Then she looked over at him, her expression suddenly cold. "How disappointing."
The hekalus tipped his head and narrowed his eyes. "Guess who was wrong?"
"I came here on a recommendation," Allison said dismissively and shrugged. "It's nothing."
She turned to leave, but the shopkeeper stepped into her path. "Please. Indulge me, Miss . . ."
"Argent," she said, and looked into his eyes, beautiful and dark. The black cord whipped tight, and Allison had to fight against gasping.
The hekalus breathed her name and took a step back to get a better look at her. "Do you . . . know a Kate Argent?" he asked.
A slow smile spread on Allison's lips. "My aunt," she replied moving closer to him, touching a few of the glass jars.
"Ahh." Something dangerous and appreciate lit in his eyes. Glee danced across his features.
Allison stopped just short of pressing herself against him. "She taught me everything I know," she whispered, watching him watch her lips, and then turned away to examine a bottle with a silver liquid inside.
"You aunt is a very . . . special woman," the hekalus said. Allison made a sound of agreement. "With very particular tastes." He was fishing. Allison latched onto the bait.
"Do you have anything . . . fresh?" she asked, and set the bottle of silver liquid down.
The hekalus glanced around the small shop. "I'm not sure I know what you—" He stopped when Allison's hand touched his bicep and started again taking an entirely different tack. "You . . . share her proclivities?"
She brought her lips close to his ear. "Like I said . . . everything I know." Images of Derek chained to the dungeon wall flashed through her mind. And of Kate, watching him, smiling, flushing when he wrenched in pain. She'd enjoyed it in a way Allison hadn't fully realized.
Another thrill shot through her body when the hekalus put his hand on her forearm. He pulled back enough to look her in the eyes. "We do have a recent acquisition," he admitted.
Allison lifted her eyebrows encouragingly.
"But I would have to talk to Zosimus before I could—"
"Of course," Allison said and drew her finger lightly down his cheek. His eyes flashed and darkened, and Allison drew back.
"If you'd like me to ask him now . . ."
She smiled slowly. "We have a little more shopping to do. And then we can stop back?"
The hekalus smoothed down the front of his vest. "That would be excellent, miss."
Allison tipped her head and turned to her father. He nodded and opened the door, still playing the obedient grunt. When the door shut securely behind them, Allison felt her father step up close.
"How'd you know that would work?" he said lowly.
She paused to glance over her shoulder. "You didn't see her. When she tortured him. And she knew just how—” She frowned a little. “It wasn’t the first time. And—" And how to tell her own father that part of her kept telling her that she'd like it too. Having that power, that control.
Allison blinked and shrugged. "You said follow my instincts. So I did." She turned toward her father's scowling face and waited for him to say something. To question her choice of tactics or too clear understanding of her aunt's desires. He sighed through his nose and looked worried, but that was all. She wasn't his little girl anymore. Couldn't be. But she trusted that he was still standing guard over the line that Kate wasn’t able to come back from.
They moved from shop to shop until Allison found someone selling non-lethal potions with varying effects. A small blonde hekalus in a tank top and yoga pants sold her a bottle and dropper of sleep serum, just as good for inducing astral projection states as it was disabling a werewolf. Allison wondered what the liquid was made of out—or who—but she pushed it to the back of her mind to focus on the task at hand. Whatever compunction she might feel over actually doing business with these things, she had family to save, and maybe the chance to take a few of these murderers down alongside.
They paid in wolfsbane and US dollars. Allison thought it strange that ancient magicians would care about American currency, but maybe, like hunters, they too had been keeping up with the times and did more with their days than just slaughter people's friends.
"You ready?" Chris asked.
It was a stupidly simple plan. Fake a fight that had him dragging her to the door, use the opportunity to unleash the serum, and then let Allison prevail. She hardly needed practice to call up that sort of anger.
She nodded back at him, a barely perceptible gesture, and then started back toward the sex shop.
"I'm not letting you do this!" Chris shouted, and darted forward, snatching her wrist in his hand.
Allison spun and let all her resentment gather in her voice. "Let go of me!"
"Not this! Anything but this. I will not let my daughter—" He started to pull her up the main causeway back toward the door.
"Let me? It's not your decision!" She hauled back on her arm, forcing him to put his weight into moving them.
"My child. My decision!"
"I'm an adult!"
"No!" Chris rounded on her and shoved a finger in her face. "You're a teenager! You have no idea what you're getting yourself into." He resumed his march toward the door.
"And you have no idea what I've already done!" Allison cried, angry tears gathering in her eyes. A few hekaloi popped their heads out of their shops to witness their shouting match.
Her father stopped and turned to look at her, sorrow and anger warring on his face. He didn't know how much they were acting. She didn't either.
"I'm getting you out of here," he said.
Allison wrenched her arm out of his grip. "I make my own decisions."
He lunged and grabbed the other wrist. "Not today."
And in a few more steps they were there, under the watch of the unblinking eye. Allison threw her back against the door, holding it closed. She worked the bottle and dropper out of her pocket and checked for the inside of the door handle, which was covered in the sacrificial blood. Once she had its location, she raised her eyes to her father's and kept them there.
"I thought Argents raised their women to lead," she said.
His face hardened. "We do." He shifted his body to block view of the door handle from any of the prying eyes.
"Doubting you did a good job?" Allison asked, and squeezed a full dropper of serum onto the same path the blood would have taken. If Peter’s information had been correct, it would flow down to the heart of the door. The yoga hekalus had claimed the serum was fast-acting, fast enough to be of use to a hunter in grave danger.
Chris pressed his eyes shut and dropped his head to his chest for a second. They weren't, Allison felt sure, acting anymore.
"No," her father's voice came out soft.
She drew herself up and recapped the bottle, staring at him. "Then you have to trust me."
He lifted his eyes to look at her, locking gazes for a moment before saying anything. "You . . . in there—" Pain and worry choked off his words.
Allison's lips pressed into a hard line. "You. Have to. Trust. Me." She stared him down, and he dropped his head back to look up as though seeking divine guidance.
He was checking on the gatekeeping eye.
He took a few long, steady breaths and flicked his gaze down to Allison without moving his head. When he smiled with just his eyes, she knew it had worked. A quick glance of her own told her that the eye was no longer rolling like it had been when they'd first entered.
Chris sighed heavily and took a step back. "I don't like it," he said, his tone going to gravel.
Allison pushed her way around him. "I know," she whispered, without stopping, and headed straight for the shop.
The urge to hit something had been steadily growing. As much as he didn't want it to, the tension started to bleed over into the others, and soon the Argents' apartment was a silent, seething cage. Peter had even given up watching his show because he found himself focusing on Scott's pacing and his unusually strong desire toward violence. The more he kept it under wraps, the worse it got, until Isaac finally suggested he go into the cellar and beat on a punching bag for a while. He even offered to help.
Scott swung with a human fist and felt his whole body jolt with the impact. Energy dissipated out of him through the strike, and a small bit of his anger fled with it. Isaac grunted and leaned more of his weight against the bag, preparing for the next blow. Scott tried the other arm. His punch connected with another satisfying thud.
He hit again.
Each time his muscles sang with strength, joyous at being used, and he let loose a little more.
For a few minutes, he gave up trying to control the fury and let it guide his hands. The tight piano wire of tension holding him together unwound enough that he could voice his rage, and he roared with a human voice as his fists hit, hit, hit.
The exertion left him sweating and panting, and he would have stayed in the blissed out state of body awareness if Isaac hadn't called out to him, maybe a few times, with words that eventually resolved into, "Your phone."
Scott dropped his arms and bent over to rest his hands on his knees. "What?"
Isaac leaned out from behind the punching bag. "Are you gonna answer it?"
He jerked when he felt his phone buzz in his pocket and quickly dug it out with slippery, shaking fingers.
"Scott." Dr. Deaton's voice. "That research I said I'd do? I think I have what you need. Send me the address and I'll be right over."
All the air rushed from Scott's lungs in a repetition of thank yous, and he hung up so he could send the text.
Isaac peered at him with a politely curious look that suggested he hadn’t overheard the whole conversation, and Scott managed to give him a tired smile. "My boss. He's coming over with something that can help."
"Good," Isaac replied with a grin, "because we were pretty much out of ideas."
Scott slipped his phone back in his pocket and started for the stairs. He motioned for Isaac to go ahead of him. "Hey, Isaac?" Scott called lightly as they ascended.
Isaac glanced back over his shoulder.
Scott gave him his most genuine, embarrassed-by-how-much-he-meant-it smile. "Thanks."
All eyes turned their way as they came into the dining room, and Scott announced that Deaton was coming over with . . . something, but he had no idea what.
Peter dropped his head back against the couch and closed his eyes. "Are your plans always this thorough?" No one replied, but a second later he jumped in surprise when something hit him in the chest and picked up a lemon from his lap. He cast a withering glare around the room, but everyone's blank expressions and steady heartbeats gave him nothing to work with. He set the lemon aside with a sarcastic twist of his lips and went back to pretending not to care.
Isaac dropped himself onto the love seat and burned the side of Scott's face with a stare until Scott relented and came to sit next to him. Aiden ground his teeth and alternated between shaking his head at his brother and distracting himself with Lydia. The Sheriff got a call from the station but told his new deputy to take point on the domestic disturbance, assuring him that experience was the best teacher. He wandered back into the dining room and blew out a breath.
Scott perked and popped up from his seat. "He's here." He vibrated with anxiety and had to hold himself in place to keep from whipping open the door and waiting like a creep while his boss walked down the hallway from the elevator. He stood on the other side of the door and waited for the first knock before opening it.
Dr. Deaton gave him a small perfunctory nod before coming in. The whole room stood to greet him, though no one said a word, too grim and hopeless to have much of anything to say. Scott followed him in and stood at his side, barely breathing.
"What did you find?" Scott asked.
Deaton heaved a sigh. "I need you to understand, this isn't my area of expertise."
The Sheriff made a small sarcastic sound, and Deaton graced him with an aborted, guilty smile and then shifted his gaze back to Scott. "As I said before, blood magic is nothing like the druidic magic that I'm familiar with. I contacted an . . . associate for some advice."
He considered his answer for a moment. "A muti practitioner. Muti . . . deals with viscera, usually zoological, but not always. It isn't the same as heka, but the closest I could do on short notice."
Deaton took out a small bottle and studied it in his hand.
"What's that?" Lydia asked, lifting her heels to peer over.
Deaton pressed his lips together for a second and then answered. "Eyedrops. Whoever uses this"—he held the bottle up between his thumb and forefinger—"should be able to see magical energies."
"Should be?" Scott squeaked.
Deaton gave him an apologetic look. "I'm sorry Scott. It's the best I can do."
Lydia drew an audible breath. "You think it'll reveal the medallions," she breathed.
Deaton nodded slowly. "More specifically the magical energy powering the medallion, but yes, that's the idea."
"So we could see it," the Sheriff said.
"Someone could," Deaton corrected. "There's only enough for one user. And"—he stressed—"there are side effects."
Scott straightened his spine. "Like what?"
Scott's eyes widened. "What?"
"Give it to me." The Sheriff stepped forward and held out his hand.
"What?" Scott said again, this time at Stiles's dad. "No!"
"Scott," John said sharply, "he's my son."
"You'll be blind!"
"He's my son." He moved his fingers impatiently, gesturing for the bottle. "Scott, I'd do it if it were permanent."
Deaton handed over the bottle with a solemn nod. "Seeing the target is only half the equation. You'll have to be able to hit it, too."
John smirked. "One tour as a Gulf War sniper. If I can see it, I can hit it."
Again that slow, solemn nod. "Unfortunately, bullets won't do you much good." Deaton reached into his pocket and drew out a small tin. "But I think I have something that will."
He handed the box to John. The Sheriff opened it and frowned down at the powder inside.
"What am I supposed to do with this?"
"Smells like sawdust," Scott said, leaning to peer into the box.
Dr. Deaton smirked. "That's cause it is. Specifically fir dust." He let a silence fall, and the Sheriff lifted his eyebrows at him.
"I'm . . . sorry. I still don't follow. How do I shoot dust?"
"You don't," Lydia said, letting her crossed arms fall open. "You shoot something coated with it. Like an arrow."
"An arrow?" John replied incredulously. "I can't shoot a bow."
"What about a crossbow?" Isaac asked, drawing the Sheriff's attention. "That's . . . like a rifle. Or the little ones, like pistols."
John shrugged slowly at him. "Never used one. I'd have to try."
"The Argents have a whole arsenal," Scott said.
"And a shooting range." Isaac stepped toward John. "I can show you."
John followed Isaac down the stairs into the basement. The boy's shoulders tensed, and he touched the wall on the way down, like he needed to balance. The Sheriff waited, watching, as Isaac punched a few numbers on a keypad next to a dull metal door. He wondered why a werewolf would have the combination to a hunter's gun room and then wondered if Scott had it also. He couldn't imagine what it must have been like for Chris to find out his daughter ran with wolves—with the things they hunted. Except his son had admitted that once to hanging out with a murder suspect who it turned out was a great cook, so maybe that was close.
Isaac flicked on a switch in the room and both walls lit up revealing rows of neatly hung weapons. The Sheriff couldn't keep from whistling. He knew Chris was an arms dealer. But there was still some space between knowing and knowing.
"I don't really know the models or anything," Isaac said. "So I'm not sure what's better."
John shrugged as he turned in a slow circle. "I'm not sure I'd know the difference."
Isaac lifted a full-size crossbow off the wall and handed it to him. It didn't weigh as much as a rifle, but the bow made it wide and cumbersome. He put it to his shoulder and sighted at the wall. He tried to imagine having to run or fight with something like this in his hands.
"You're making a face," Isaac told him.
He glanced at him. "Am I? What kind of face?"
The boy smirked. "The kind that says this sucks."
John snorted in amusement and lowered the weapon. Isaac held out one of the pistol-sized kind instead, and they switched. Now this . . . this felt balanced. A good weight in the grip, but less than his service weapon. It felt like an extension of his body, and that was a very good sign. As he sighted toward the wall again, Isaac let out a small laugh and opened up a drawer. When John glanced over at him, he rattled a handful of bolts in his direction.
"Ready to try?"
Isaac led him back out of the gun room and to another door off the cellar. This one didn't have a lock, but it was solid and well-sealed. So well-sealed that it gasped like an air lock when Isaac opened it and moved through.
The firing range.
John watched him closely as he pulled a target up, replaced it, and sent it back down the range, and he could see the boy he'd seen that day in the graveyard. He could see it in the way he held his shoulders, slightly defensive, or counseled his movements into something precise and cautious. He'd known. God, he'd known—the moment he saw the black eye he'd known, and then the body language between them, all wrong.
"All set," Isaac said quietly and stepped away from the bench.
John started to set up for a test fire, but the crossbow wavered slightly in his hand, and he stopped.
"Sheriff?" Isaac asked after a second.
It came on him suddenly, a red wall of guilt that it took a moment to swallow down. He'd thought about it since. Knew that Jackson had known and hadn't cared.
No one had cared.
"I'm so sorry," he said with a rough voice, and found the strength to look Isaac in the eye.
The boy frowned, and his whole body contracted. His eyes flicked to the crossbow in John's hand and back before widening. He inched back, perhaps not even knowing that he'd done it.
Fear. All fear.
John tracked the gaze and frowned in reply before—
Oh . . .
He schooled his expression and very carefully set the loaded crossbow on the bench aimed down range.
The tension in Isaac's stance melted and he frowned, now out of confusion. "Wh-What do you mean?"
The Sheriff drew a deep breath and found his gaze slowly sliding toward the floor. "I mean . . . It's my job to protect the people in this town. And I . . ." He forced himself to look up, shaking his head. "I failed . . . I failed you. We all did. The whole—the whole system. But—" He stopped because he didn't know how to put it into words, but the pressure of what he wanted to say built anyway and it made his voice warble when he tried to power through. "I should have kept you safe. You deserved that much, and I'm just—I'm sorry. Even though it doesn't change anything, I'm sorry."
Isaac stared at him, barely breathing, and his eyes went glassy with tears. "You didn't know," he said brokenly.
"Exactly. I didn't know. Not until that day. But I should have, and I'm sorry."
Isaac sucked a breath and looked away, wiping the end of his sleeve across his cheek.
"You know," John cleared his throat and talked at the ground. "Scott was over our house a lot when he was little. And, um . . . After his dad left, he came over a little bit more. Practically had his own room. And, uh . . . I always tried to let him know that if he ever needed anything. You know? If he didn't think he could go to his mom, or, hell, I don't know, just, if he ever needed anything, I was there." He shrugged. "I don't know if it helped—"
"I'm sure it did." Isaac's whisper brought John's ramble to a halt, and for a moment they just looked at one another.
The ache in John's chest eased when Isaac nodded a little and cracked a smile. He grinned back at him, just a small lift at the corner of his mouth. "I hope so."
Isaac wiped at his other cheek with his sleeve, and John turned away to give him some privacy. He cleared his throat again, then picked the crossbow up off the bench.
"Think you'll hit anything?" Isaac asked.
The Sheriff lifted his shoulders. "Only one way to know."
He settled himself and started through the routine he'd developed back in training to slow his heartbeat and sharpen his focus. Isaac made an impressed sound, and John let the first bolt fly.
The others had been busy. Isaac and Sheriff Stilinski returned to the dining room to find Ethan and Aiden each with a purse slung across their chests, carefully loading the bag with fire bomb bottles. Lydia and Scott wrapped each bottle in a washcloth before handing it over. They all stopped when they noticed Isaac and John watching.
"So?" Scott asked, his eyebrows skittering up.
Isaac smirked at him. "So I wouldn't piss him off." He held up a box of crossbow bolts. Scott waved him over to the dining room table, largely clear of their molotov collection. "Are we sure this is gonna work?" Isaac asked as he set the box down.
Scott gave his boss a long look and then passed the bottle in his hands to Ethan. "I'm sure it's all we've got."
Isaac pressed his lips together was a sarcastic twist. "Comforting."
Deaton crossed his arms over his chest and sighed. "If I had more time, I could be more sure. Check with some additional sources, run some tests." He shrugged helplessly.
The twins removed the purses Lydia had liberated from Allison's closet and put on new ones, settling the bottles so they'd be stable and within easy reach when someone was actually carrying the bag. They had four ammunition sacks by the time the table was cleared.
Isaac disappeared into the kitchen and came back with some paper plates and a bottle of Elmer's glue. They set up a small assembly line to coat the bolts with fir dust and let them dry. For a while, no one spoke, too absorbed in their work or own thoughts to have much to say. But Scott could feel his boss watching him, pointedly not saying whatever he was thinking of saying. He decided to wait him out and eventually it came.
"Scott." That concerned, calming voice full of warning and misgivings.
Scott glanced up from rolling a gluey bolt tip through the box of dust. "Don't tell me not to try."
"You're something extremely rare."
Scott handed the bolt to Aiden and didn't take another. "We're all extremely rare. They're not making another Stiles, or another Derek."
"I know that. But—"
"Being a true alpha doesn't make me any more valuable!"
Deaton frowned. "It does to them."
"Well, it doesn't to me!" Scott snatched the next bolt out of the Sheriff's hand and plunged it into the sawdust. "We're going. And this is going to work." He didn't look at Aiden; he could feel his grimace and resistance well enough as it was.
Ethan cleared his throat. "Have you thought about what we're going to do when we get there?"
"Actually," the Sheriff spoke up. "I have an idea about that." Attention swiveled in his direction. "But you're probably not going to like it."
Scott grimaced. "There's nothing about any of this I like."