Stiles skimmed his fingers over the books on Deaton's bookshelves. Many of them were old, dusty, and bound in leathers of various shades of brown and black. The titles were written in everything from Ancient Latin to Modern Chinese to Old Navajo. He could only read several of them, and he made a mental note to start learning more languages so that he could understand the tomes.
Behind him, Deaton crushed herbs using an old stone mortar and pestle. The quiet and repetitive grind that resulted from the motions was oddly soothing. The sharp smells of various dried plants tucked into jars and occasionally hanging from the ceiling permeated the air, made stronger by the various plants the vet/druid/emissary was crushing.
Stiles's attention returned to the books. From the few titles he could make out, the pages before him covered all sorts of supernatural topics. Apparently there was everything from werewolves to dragons to chimeras in the world. Who knew all this stuff really existed? He had to wonder briefly how they all stayed hidden so well, because had he not been thrown into all of it headfirst he would never have believed in their existence.
Reaching the end of the bookcase, Stiles had just taken a step to move on to the next one when his fingers caught on one of the spines. He stopped to see what had halted his progress. It wasn't hard to pick out. The book in question stuck out like a sore thumb. Compared to the decorated light brown shades of leather around it, the plain black journal didn't really fit in. Curious, Stiles pulled it from the shelf.
The side facing him was the same plain black leather as the spine, and though it showed fewer signs of wear, it looked old. Like, several hundred years old. He flipped it over in an attempt to find some sort of title or identifying mark, and froze.
On the other side was a capital 'R' written in calligraphy. It was a bright scarlet, and took up most of the cover's center. A thought drifting through Stiles's mind whispered morbidly that it looked like the color of blood. He soon forgot that when he noticed the next detail. Instead of a blank leather oval in the center of the R's loop, there was a wolf's pawprint.
It didn't look like a normal wolf print, either. Stiles had been 'running with the wolves' long enough to tell the difference between a were's tracks and an ordinary wolf's. The pawprint on the cover of the journal was exactly like the ones Alphas left behind when they were in wolf form.
A growing ache in Stiles's chest alerted him to the fact that he'd stopped breathing when he'd looked at the cover of the strange book. He sucked in a breath, but must have made more noise than he'd thought, because Deaton turned to look at him with concern.
"Stiles, are you alright?" he asked. Stiles's mouth opened and closed several times before he was able to rip his gaze away from the symbol on the cover to look at the vet. Even though he was no longer looking at it, the mark still pulsed behind his eyes, and he blinked hard several times in an attempt to clear his vision. The letter faded, but the outline was still etched wherever he looked. He swallowed heavily as he held up the journal.
"What is this?" Stiles repressed a wince at the resulting croak of his voice. He sounded like he'd been gargling with glass instead of water. It didn't escape Deaton's notice – he could tell by the look in his eyes – but the vet held off questioning him for the moment as he turned his attention to the book. A twinkle of interest entered his eyes as he returned his gaze to Stiles.
"Ah yes, that one. I was told that it was the journal of a human packmate – a packmate to werewolves that is. I haven't gotten around to reading it myself, but perhaps you might find it an interesting read, seeing as you have found yourself in a similar position. You are welcome to borrow it if you would like."
Stiles knew something was slightly off by the intrigued and mildly excited feeling he was getting off of the man. Despite the fact that an excited Deaton rather creeped him out, his attention was mostly on the winded feeling he still had, the R that he was still seeing, and the strange feeling that he had to read this book – that the journal was meant for him.
"Thanks," he responded, vaguely aware that his voice was rather distant sounding. His eyes were already locked onto the journal again. "Hey Deaton, I just remembered that I have something I need to do, so I'm going to head home now. Thanks for the book. See you later."
He figured the vet responded, but he was already moving out of the room, his fingers locked around the journal. The entire drive back to his house, he drove one handed, the other latched onto the small black book. Every stopsign and stoplight he encountered reminded him of the R on the cover with its red coloring.
By the time Stiles was climbing the stairs to his room, it hadn't escaped his notice that he had already become obsessed with the thing in the short amount of time that he'd known it even existed. The fact rather alarmed him, but a single glance at the book brought a slight fog to his mind that eased his worry, and – shouldn't that alarm him, too?
He avoided looking at the book as best he could while contemplating whether or not he should hightail it to Deaton's and demand the thing be burned. Something in him was crying out at that idea, and wasn't that disturbing that he'd already become attached to the damn thing? Still, it was Deaton himself who had both recommended and given the book to him, so he supposed it should be relatively safe.
Stiles finally gave in and looked at the book again. It looked innocent enough. Then again, so did Scott until he wolfed out. Still. He bit his lip, then stood and crossed the room to where he'd tossed (okay, gently placed) it when he'd gotten home. It couldn't hurt to start reading it. If he began to feel like his fingers were falling off or like he should go and hunt someone down or hoard the thing like Gollum's precious, he would stop reading it and burn the book himself.
The moment he opened the cover, a tightness in his chest he hadn't even been aware of loosened, and he let out a breath of relief. The writing inside definitely looked as old as the cover did, and appeared to be written by hand with ink. The paper was yellowed with age, but smelled like the forest when the motion of opening he journal sent a waft of air towards Stiles. He stopped examining it when he realized he was stalling, and began reading.
I do not particularly want to write this at all, for if it is found and read by unfriendly eyes it will be the death of everyone I love. However, our Guide claims that it is a part of our shared history, and of my own legacy, so I should write this to ensure that our story shall not be lost and rubbed away by the sands of time. He is the one who has given me this journal to record everything in.
To further prevent possible death, I will not write in full names, instead using only titles or letters to stand in their places. As for myself, I choose to be remembered as V. Whether or not I will be remembered at all is still to be discovered, but if I am, this shall be my chosen identity.
To begin to tell our tale, I must first tell of how I came to be a part of it at all. I have often wondered what might have happened had I left home only moments later or earlier, or if I had not stopped in curiosity on my journey. I can only imagine that much would be different, and that I would not be her now, writing this. However, by whatever twist of fate, I am here and recording our shared stories.
My story begins in early spring. The snow had melted only a fortnight ago, but the trees and flowers had already begun to bloom. The winter had been harsh that year, and our village –
The window slamming open had Stiles nearly falling off the bed, and snapping the book shut, flipping the cover over so that the large R on the cover was hidden. The reaction was instinctual, and he would probably analyze it later, but at the moment he was more concerned with who was coming into his bedroom through the window at nearly eleven at night.
A familiar form slid in, and Stiles breathed out a sigh of relief. It was just Scott. He should really think about getting a better lock on his window, and then actually using the lock he currently had as well as the one he was going to get tomorrow first thing after school. Scott looked up, and at least had the decency to look sheepish.
"Sorry. I keep forgetting that you don't have werewolf hearing." He caught sight of the journal in Stiles's hands and looked interested. "What's that? Is there a creature you're researching that I haven't heard about yet?" Stiles looked down at the unassuming black book.
"No, no, everything's fine. This is just something Deaton recommended I read, so I borrowed it from him. What's up?" He asked, pulling open the drawer to his nightstand, and placing the journal inside, attempting to bring his attention away from it and back to his friend. Scott brightened, already forgetting the book.
"Oh, right. Well, I realized that we haven't seen each other in the past couple of days, so I figured I'd spend the night here if you were free, and we could go hang out with the pack tomorrow for designated 'bonding time'. It was Erica's idea." Scott tacked on his last sentence at Stiles's raised eyebrows, and his friend laughed.
"Sure. I'm not really doing anything right now. You feel like playing a round, or are you afraid I'll beat you again?" He tossed a videogame controller at Scott, and laughed at the resulting scandalized expression on his face as he settled onto the floor. Scott sat down beside him as he gave his retort.
"Hey! I only lost that time because the pizza man arrived right when I needed to concentrate most." Stiles raised his eyebrows mockingly as he started up the game.
"Uh huh, sure. That's totally what it was." Their conversation dissolved into a playful back-and-forth banter they were both familiar with. They checked out for the next several hours playing game after game, until Stiles glanced at the clock and realized that it was half past one in the morning.
"Hey, dude. If we're planning to meet the pack tomorrow, we should probably hit the sack." Scott glanced at the clock and blinked in surprise before nodding. He stood to get the sleeping bag that had taken up permanent residence in Stiles's closet for occasions when they actually went to sleep of their own accord and didn't just pass out where they were and spread it out next to Stiles's bed.
Several minutes later, they were both in bed, lying in a comfortable silence broken only by the sound of their breathing. As usual, Scott fell asleep first, and Stiles listened to his even breathing. He suddenly remembered the book from earlier, and his gaze slid from the ceiling to his nightstand. Why did it affect him so much? Did it effect everyone that way, or was it just him? He'd have to ask Deaton at some point.
He could feel his eyelids getting heavier as his body began to shut down. Internally though, his mind was racing, attempting to piece together what little he knew of the journal, thinking about the pack 'bonding' happening tomorrow, and Deaton's mysterious look earlier. Most of all he thought about how glad he was that this was his life now, no matter how insane it was or how weird it got. He was so busy thinking about everything, that he didn't even realize that his last thought before he fell asleep was that he wanted to keep reading the journal.