Sabbatical Interrupted

Title: Sabbatical Interrupted
Author: Kylia
Fandom: Teen Wolf
Genre: AU, Future-Fic
Relationship(s): Stiles/Peter, Noah/Chris implied
Content Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Discussions of death
Word Count: 8,100
Summary: Stiles and Peter’s well-earned sabbatical is interrupted when they are called in to investigate a case.


Story

1

“What am I looking at?” Peter Hale asked as soon as the line connected.

There was a huff on the other end of the line. “Are you, or are you not the expert in these types of…items and situations?”

Peter returned his gaze to the photo. There was no item or object…aside from the dead body. “Let me rephrase. Why am I looking at a photograph of a crime scene…using what might be a Falrica tip, but the rest of the wounds are inconsistent. And why am I looking at it while I’m on sabbatical? The whole reason I went on sabbatical while I finished my dissertation was so the Council would stop calling me, Marcus.”

As usual, Marcus Claymore ignored everything that he didn’t want to deal with. “The crime scene was fifteen miles outside of Beacon County. It won’t take you long to look into it.”

Peter sighed. This was why he went on sabbatical. Every time something weird happened, the Council got twitchy and wanted an expert. When the something weird involved anything older than 3 decades, he was the first call they made. “The marks on the arms indicate some sort of ritual or magic was involved. It’s hard to tell from this photograph, but are those runes?   Who’s your magical consultant?”

“There’s an expert doing a lecture series on your campus, as a matter of fact.  Strange coincidence, doin’t you thing.  Very serendipitous. I doubt you’ve crossed paths.” Marcus rushed out as if he wanted to get all the information out before Peter changed his mind.  Peter raised an eyebrow at his phone, more at the fact that Marcus even knew the word serendipitous well enough to use in a sentence more so than any suspicions he might have about the coincidental nature of the timing.

Peter looked up  as Stiles exited the bathroom, a cloud of steam and a small portal following behind him. The portal was small enough that whoever was on the other side could probably only see his face, which was no doubt by design since the mage was still entirely naked. Peter also couldn’t hear anything from the portal, so Stiles must have had some sort of sound masking up.

“Who is this expert, exactly?”  Peter asked with a raised eyebrow in Stiles direction.

“He’s giving a lecture series to the students of the Mythology and Folklore department,” Marcus answered as if he hadn’t lost Peter’s full attention, “An..M. G. Stilinski.”

“We’ve met,” Peter admitted vaguely, returning his focused to the crime scene photo. “I audited one of the lectures, on the Ancient World’s approach to magic and how the belief systems of the past affect how ancient artifacts work today.”

Marcus hummed as if he cared one wit about either of their academic pursuits. “You’ll work with him, then?”

“If I must.” Peter looked up again and saw that Stiles was painting symbols in the air with his fingers. He rolled his eyes at Peter’s tone as he picked his phone up off a nearby table and then returned his focus to the portal.

“I sent the file to Stilinski with a request he contacts you once he makes arranges with the local sheriff’s department.” Marcus finished.

“And why is this M.G. Stilinski making arrangements with the sheriff for the Council?  Isn’t that your job?”

“He has connections,” Marcus admitted, somewhat reluctantly. “I offered to make the arrangements, but was told he would handle it.”

Peter tried not to snort, at least not while Marcus was on the phone.  He wasn’t sure who Marcus contacted and gave him Stiles information, but whoever it was, was clearly someone with a higher clearance than Marcus himself, if they had enough visibility on Stiles’ council file to see that the local sheriff was Stiles’ dad.

Stiles had finished his portal call and had been scrolling through his phone. He finally approached the bed and handed his phone over. Peter looked down at the photograph of the dead body of a jogger. Her chest was caved in. He could tell her heart was missing only because he’d seen the image before, along with the report submitted by the medical examiner.

The woman’s eyes were hollow and charred, runes carved in the thin skin underneath them.

“Is this incident related to the murdered jogger from last week?” Peter asked Marcus, keeping his eyes on the photo, examining the edges of the scene, and comparing it to the picture Marcus had sent him this morning.

There was a hesitation on the line that drew Peter’s attention back to Marcus. “They are.”

“No,” Marcus disagreed, “What, uh, what makes you think the two cases are related?”

“I didn’t,” Peter lied, and he did it much better than Marcus, “not until you just lied to me.”

Marcus sighed. “Okay. It’s possible…only possible, Peter, the two cases are connected. A local magic-user told us that the jogger’s death was self-inflicted.”

Peter stared at the phots on Stiles phone as Stiles reacted to that. Self-inflicted? Not likely.  Peter felt the flare of power, but the mage’s ward contained it. “Self-inflicted?” He asked as he reached a hand towards Stiles.

“Just,” Marcus huffed again. “Take a look at this scene and tell me what you find, okay?” He paused again, his tone cautious, “Just…try not to provoke this guy. His Council file is heavily redacted. Worse than yours. I have no idea what kind of magic user he is or where he trained…I probably wouldn’t even have seen this redacted file if you both weren’t in the same place right now.”

Peter snorted. “I’ll make no promises.” He hung up before Marcus could get more spun up and start whining.

“So, are we really doing this?”  Peter asked, knowing they were, but wanting to hear how Stiles sounded more than anything.

“We’re going to look at the body before the medical examiner cuts him open, then I want to look at the scene. Then, I’ll look at the older victim.  Then…after that, we’ll see.”

*

2

Peter watched as Stiles etched some runes around the body.

“I thought you were on sabbatical.” Noah Stilinski said as he returned to the room, closing the door behind him.

“So, did we.” Peter motioned towards the mage, “And yet here we are.”

Noah snorted as he watched his son. “Aren’t there local council folks to look into these deaths?”

“We are the local Council folks looking into these deaths.” Peter motioned from himself to the mage and back again.

“Someone removed the magical signature from the body.” Stiles interrupted before Peter could get into a snarky rant about the Council with his father.

“Is that the same as the other body you already looked at?” Noah asked, knowing better than to get in between his son and the wolf.

“Yep.” Stiles flicked the runes away. “and the three others that were already autopsied that I looked at too.”

“Does the autopsy effect the magical signature?”  Noah asked.

“It will leave an impression…a sort of resonance…left behind of anyone whose come in contact with the body and hasn’t made an effort to cleanse that contact, but otherwise, no.”

“Are these random deaths?” Noah asked, looking through his notepad at all the bodies Stiles had asked to see and how they may have been connected.

Stiles shrugged slightly. “The people? Maybe, depending on what purpose they fulfilled, if any to the killer and their motives. Any random person who wandered into the trap might have been sufficient.”

“Trap?” Noah raised an eyebrow.

“Yep.” Stiles reactivated one of the runes, and a whole netting of lines appeared above the body in criss-crossing lines. Every so often, a specific rune would stand out amongst the netting, like an anchor point. “Like I said, Daddio, the people may or may not be random, but this…what was done to erase the magic…that took planning. That…required a ritual circle, perhaps a build-up of power beforehand.”

“So, not spur of the moment,” Peter murmured.

“No, and they were counting on the fact that no one would detect the magical bleed-off nor connect the different methods of death.”

“How did you?” Noah asked.

Stiles looked over at Peter for a second before turning back to the body and the net of criss-crossing lines. “This runic array? I invented it. Not for what it was used for, obviously, but it’s definitely my work.” He poked at it sharply until the whole thing collapsed and then turned and strode out of the room.

Noah watched him go and then turned to Peter, not even sure what to say. He was still a simple man. As much as he lived in the sphere of the supernatural, Noah didn’t understand magic, not like Claudia and Stiles did. He didn’t understand packs or pack structure, not like Peter or even Chris did. Runes were way beyond anything he understood beyond knowing they were tools Stiles used.

“If the pattern holds, there shouldn’t be another incident for six days. So that will give us plenty of time to deal with it.” Peter told the older man.

“Do you know who it is?” Noah asked, narrowing his eyes.

Peter turned away from the door Stiles had left open when he’d walked away. “Given what we know now, only a few people it could be. Not many have access to Stiles work, even uncompleted arrays like might have been used here.  Only one person I know capable of this sort of crime would have had that access.” Peter answered as he moved to follow Stiles. He reached out and clasped Noah on the shoulder in silent support. “We’ll be in touch.”

“Peter,” Noah called just as Peter reached the door, “Take care of my son.”

“Always.”

*

Peter found Stiles waiting in the car. He was sitting in the passenger seat, staring out the window.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Peter asked after he’d turned the car in the direction he knew was their destination.

“There’s nothing to talk about.” Stiles huffed. After a moment, he drew a symbol on the glass. “I created that array in high school. All of my runic notebooks and any of the stuff I don’t have at home are stored with my mom’s old magic stuff in the attic of the house my dad moved to when he moved here after she died.”

“He brought her stuff with him?” Peter kept his eyes on the road as he asked.  Claudia’s death was an emotional landmine for the Stilinski’s and what it meant for their relationship.

“The first three years after she died were the worst.”  Stiles admitted after a weighted silence.  “He…couldn’t really look at me if he was sober, but if he wasn’t, the things he admitted to…things he probably never would have said otherwise.”  Stiles blew out a breath.  “You know Kazia trained me after my mom died, but I never really talk about how she pretty much took me in right after.  My dad was…destroyed when my mom died.  I mean, now, as an adult, I can get it, sort of.  I mean, I get the part where his world ended when she died, because if something happened to you, I’d…”

“You’d Burn the world, not wither away, sweetheart.”  Peter interrupted softly.

“Yeah, okay.”  Stiles agreed.  He knew himself well enough to know he was aggressive, and in grief, that kind of grief, who knows what he’d do?  “Anyway, but the way she died, he saw it as a magical death, and so for a long time, he was angry and afraid, and it was just…awful.  Anytime we’d talk on the phone, it wasn’t a good time for either of us. After just a few minutes, my emotions were so out of control, it took two days get get me settled again.  My aunt started to moderate everything.”  Stiles paused, tapping on the window in a steady pattern.  “When the accident first happened, he didn’t want anything to do with my mom’s stuff, but he didn’t want to let it go either.  For a long time it was stored in the attic.”

Peter continued to drive.  He could feel Stiles energy start to settle from the melancholy of those early years after his mother’s death.

“When I was fifteen I spent the summer here.  It was the first summer away from Aunt Kazia and her lessons since my mom died, and the first time my dad and I had really been alone for any length of time.  We went through the attic together, shared our memories of mom, with distance and time.”  Stiles looked over at Peter.  “That’s when I met Melissa and Scott for the first time.”

Peter raised an eyebrow.  “And the Argents?”

“Yes, but later.  My dad was friends with Melissa, through her job at the hospital.” Stiles hesitated for a moment.

“So you met Scott that summer?” Peter pressed.  They’d talked abut Stiles past but Stiles had told Peter more about Claudia and the deep well of magic she came from than his father’s home town.  It was Peter’s home town too, but he had left long before Noah had returned.

Most of what Peter knew about Noah came from Noah himself. Noah visited them regularly.

It wasn’t until he’d gone on sabbatical from the council and returned to UCBH to finish his dissertation and Stiles made the decision to join him by taking a guest lecture position that they’d returned to California.

“Yeah. He wasn’t a wolf then, but that probably made things more awkward.”

Peter hummed as he thought about that. “You were always magical and he was just what…an asthmatic with dreams of popularity?”

Stiles snorted.”Not exactly. Asthmatic, yes, but at that point my focus was my magic and even though I had come to see my dad, we still didn’t have a lot to talk about. It kind of bled all over everything. I spent a lot of time alone…working on my own stuff.”

“Runes?” Peter asked.

“Yeah. Lots of random stuff that didn’t go anywhere ended up in notebooks in the attic that summer.”

“In the attic with your mom’s stuff?” Peter pressed.

Stiles nodded.”Yeah. I…a lot of it was useless. Some of it might have worked to a point, but not for what I was aiming for, so so I stored it…safe with the rest of mom’s stuff.”

Peter let that sit for a few minutes while he drove the last few miles to the house. He’d never been to this house before. Never had a reason to.

“Noah moved out two years ago?”

“Yeah, when he moved in with Chris, but he didn’t sell. There wasn’t a real need at the time, and the market wasn’t great, so he just closed it up.”

“Until Melissa asked Noah to allow Scott to use it for Pack functions?” Peter asked.

“Yeah. He said he didn’t see the harm.”

“And the attic full of your mom’s stuff? Your stuff?” Peter pressed.

“Dad told them the attic was off-limits because mom’s stuff was up there.”

“Are you trying to convince yourself or me, sweetheart?”

Stiles didn’t answer. He just continued to stare out the window and traced the symbols he’d drawn, and allowed them to flash and spark against his skin.

“We’ll be there in five minutes.”

“I want to look in the attic first, to see what’s been disturbed.”

“Of course, sweetheart.” Peter paused, “If you get proof?”

“It depends on who’d been in my stuff.” Stiles admitted, “If there’s proof only he has been in my notebooks, he’s dead. If I need to investigate, I might need a little more subtlety.”

*

The house was empty when they arrived, but that wasn’t unusual. As far as Noah had told them, it was used infrequently. Once every couple of months for Scott’s pack to get together on a weekend when everyone was free. A few times year on a holiday or a birthday or a similar get-together.

Most of the pack lived in dorms or small apartments; a couple still lived with their parents. None of them had a space ample enough for a get-together. Melissa’s house was off-limits for pack functions as she preferred to stay out of pack matters.

“How long did you stay here?” Peter asked as he looked through the rooms.  He couldn’t smell Stiles anywhere in the house at all.  Though it had been a couple of years since even Noah had called this place home.

“Just the one summer.  I had planned to come back for Hanukkah that year but…my dad said he had to work.”

Peter turned at the note of bitterness in Stiles scent.  “You didn’t believe him?”

“At the time, I thought he was just avoiding the holiday.  My dad isn’t a religious guy. My mom liked her traditions though.”  Stiles shrugged, “It wasn’t until later I found out it wasn’t about my mom at all.”  Stiles turned to face Peter.  “The Argents return to Beacon Hills had drawn Deucalion and Ennis.  They were hoping to draw Gerard here.”

“That’s when Scott was bit.”  Peter nodded.

Stiles made his way towards the attic.  He paused just before the ladder.  “You were never tempted to come back?”  He asked.  “When. you heard about the Argents return?”

“No.”  Peter shook his head.  “I promised Talia I would protect what was left of the pack.  Laura and Derek and especially Cora were in no condition to manage on their own.  I made a promise to Talia as she lay dying, to protect her children when she couldn’t.  I kept that promise.”

Stiles’ lips twitched because he knew what a promise meant to Peter.  He also knew that while it was true Peter had not returned to Beacon Hills during those events, it was also true that Kate Argent died in Beacon Hills that year, and whatever vendetta had existed between Gerard and Deucalion and Ennis, none of them ever left Beacon Hills alive either.  Coincidence or Karma?

Chris Argent was still in town, and he hadn’t lost any sleep over any of those deaths. Stiles had never asked his stepfather, but he’d guess the man would prefer to believe it was karma.

“Do you need any help?”  Peter called up, bringing Stiles back to the present.

“No.  I need working room.”  Stiles called down.  He heard Peter grunt and then move around the house, no doubt checking the grounds for recent occupation.  He tuned the wolf out as he got to work.

*

Stiles came downstairs after an hour with a box and a scowl.

“Well?”  Peter asked though he was pretty sure he knew what his mate had found.

“Only one person has been up there aside from me in at least eight months.  They weren’t subtle and they didn’t bother trying to clean up after themselves.”

“Well, the attic is storage, and it might be known that your dad doesn’t go in there much.”

“At all.”  Stiles corrected.  “According to the scans I ran, my dad hasn’t been up there since that summer when we went through moms stuff together.”

Peter reached out.  “I’m sure it’s not because he’s forgotten her.”

Stiles sighed.  “Oh, I know.  His memories of her are in other things.  Not her…magical legacy.  That was something she shared with me not him.  He never understood it.  Not when she was alive.  He’s come to terms with it, now, because it’s part of my life, more than it was hers even.  But, he’s moved on, and that’s fine.  She would have wanted that for him. He doesn’t need to be faced with the part of her life that some part of him still feels took her away.”  He scowled, his eyes flashing dangerously.

“What pisses me off, is some little troll taking advantage of my dad’s generosity in letting the pack…a pack he’s not a part of, use this house, and taking further advantage of the fact that my dad never goes into the attic because of all the memories of my mom.  I don’t like it.  He had his grubby little paws on some early ideas that didn’t pan out. Ideas, that could be used for some pretty unsavory purposes.  Maybe it wasn’t smart of me to leave that stuff up there, unprotected, but I was in high school still figuring things out, and didn’t think anyone would go through my mom’s stuff, except me.”

“What now?”  Peter asked, to get Stiles back on track.

“I’d rather catch him in the act than play silly games.”  Stiles admitted.

Peter grinned.  “Well, if he stays true to his schedule, we may get a chance to do that very soon.

*

3

Stiles set off a whisper of of power and watched as the whisps of orange smoke fluttered around the makeshift map before there was a flash in one particular area and the whole thing lit up like a house at Christmas.

“There.”  Stiles pointed unnecessarily.  “He’s laid a trap for a victim.”

Peter smirked.  “Well, let’s not keep him waiting.”

Stiles opened a portal and waited for Peter to go through before following and sending out waves of power to check the area.  He set down his new runic array, to make sure whatever happened next was recorded for the council.  As angry as Stiles was about this…misappropriation of his magic, this wasn’t about revenge, this was about justice.

Peter moved quietly through the forrest and motioned towards the area where his magic had told him the stolen runes were lit up like a bonfire.

There was a fox caught up in the trap, struggling to get free, without much luck.  He was in his human form, but his eyes kept flashing orange in their frustration.  Stiles could see the silhouette of his animal form, like an aura.

“If you sit still for a second, I can cut you loose.”

“Is this your trap?” The fox snarled.

Stiles quirked his lips but didn’t pause as he moved his magic through the runic array.  “If it was, why would I be trying to set you free?”

“I don’t know…maybe you want me to trust you…think you’re my savior.”

“You think this is how I pick up guys?” Stiles asked as he erased the rune holding the lock in place.

The fox frowned.  “That sounds stupid when you say it like that.”

“Not only stupid, but I’m married.”  Stiles admitted as he stepped back.  “You can go.”

“People cheat.” The fox pointed out stubbornly.

Stiles could feel Peter’s amusement even though he knew the wolf was keeping far enough away that the fox couldn’t sense him from inside the trap.  “Perhaps, but not only is that not my style, it wouldn’t be worth the trouble.”

The fox frowned in confusion as he stood.  Once he stepped away from the trap his eyes immediately sought out the trees.  “There’s a wolf out there.”

“Yup.”

The fox stared for a moment and Stiles knew the moment that Peter flashed his eyes.  “An Alpha.”

“Yup.”

“He..uh…he with you?”

“Yup.”  Stiles grinned, his own eyes flashing like fire.

“That’s your husband…your mate?”  The fox asked, his voice trembling a little.

“Yup.”  Stiles turned away from the fox and sought Peter in the trees.  “As I said, you can go.”

The fox ran.  Stiles waited until he was sure the thing was gone before he pulled his golem out of his pack to work.  He made sure the golem resembled a fox, though not specifically the one that had ran.  He poured some borrowed energy to give it that something extra and then reset the trap and turned the runic array back on.

Once complete he joined Peter in the trees to wait.

*

They didn’t have to wait very long.  Their prey was expecting to find his prey trussed up in his trap, ready for him. Peter guessed he waited a few hours to wear the fox down. If it had been the actual fox in that trap, he might have been easy pickings.  These traps weren’t designed for predators.  That fox wasn’t a killer.  The other victims had been human, so they would have been at a disadvantage.  The fact that this one wasn’t just meant the guy was getting bolder.

Once he was practically on top of the golem, close enough to disarm the runic array he had stolen from Stiles, his mage released his own runic array, over the top of the whole area, it settled and with a subtle activation the whole thing lit up like a laser grid in a high-tech heist movie.

There was a brief spark and a grunt and then the smell of burning flesh. Stiles nudged Peter’s shoulder in apology before he moved forward. “I’d keep still if I were you.” Stiles voice was soft, but carried through the trees.

The chimera was crouched awkwardly over the golem.  He scowled at them.  “Who are you?”

“Really?  You don’t know?”  Stiles turned towards Peter.  “You’d think if a guy is going to plagiarize, he’d do his research.”

“Youth today.” Peter shook his head sadly.

Stiles took a step closer. “Theo Raeken, part wolf, part coyote, you have been very naughty.” He took another step, walking right into the grid.  Theo’s eyes widened as the net slid over his skin like he wasn’t even there.  “Now, I’m not Jolly old saint Nick, but I do deal with Naughty people who end up on my list…and you not only made it on my list, but you stole my work and used it to kill people.  I take that very personally.”

“I don’t even know who you are.  I think you have me confused with someone else.  I’m not who you think I am.” Theo stuttered.

Peter stepped out of the trees so Theo could get a good look at him instead of  just the vague shadow under the trees.  He flashed his eyes and then shook his head sadly.  “Tut, tut. Don’t start lying now.”

Theo narrowed his eyes at Peter but didn’t say anything further.

“Good boy.” Stiles approved,  “Now, you may not know who I am, but you did steal my work and then use it to trap and kill people.”

“I haven’t stolen anything.”  Theo said with a stubborn jut on his chin.

“Wow, is that whole moral superiority thing a McCall Pack trait?” Stiles asked with a tilt of his head towards his mate.

Theo frowned harder and blinked at him.  “Who are you again?”

“I’m sorry.  Did we not introduce ourselves properly?  I’m Mage Mieczyslaw Gwozdek Stilinski, and this is Alpha Peter Hale.”

“Stilinski?”  Theo frowned harder.  “Any relationship to the Sheriff?”

Stiles grinned but it was anything but pleasant.  “As a matter of fact, yes.”  He leaned even closer to Theo, the runic array passing through his skin a flash of color before fading away. “But that is not the part of my name that should really concern you.”

Stiles watched as Theo thought and it only took him a moment.  He wasn’t an idiot, just immoral and a sociopath.  “Now you got it?”

“You, uh…you wrote the journals in the sheriff’s house.”

“I did.”  Stiles stepped back, “And now here I am, minding my own business, on sabbatical no less, and I get called in, to clean up a mess you made with my work.  How pissed off do you think that makes me?”

Theo’s face was starting to do that confused frown thing that Stiles had seen Scott McCall do frequently during his one summer here.  Maybe the whole stupidity thing was catching.

“Called in by who?”  Theo asked carefully.  “Sabbatical…from what?  Who, uh are you again, exactly?”

Stiles rolled his eyes and turned to Peter.  “Didn’t we just go over this?  Is he soft in the head?”

Peter chuckled.  “I think he wants to know  who called us in and on whose radar his little murder spree has pinged. He probably doesn’t know precisely whose stuff he was pilfering and I doubt Noah spends much time with the McCall pack and I seriously doubt anyone else would have mentioned you.  You were only here for one summer after all.”

Stiles nodded and turned back to Theo.  “Very well.  “Sheriff Stilinski is my father, and that attic was off-limits to your pack.  I know you were informed of this because Melissa McCall told my father she personally told the whole sorry lot of you.  Unless, of course, you want to call your Alpha’s mother a liar?”

Theo shook his head briefly and then winced as the array flared orange in warning.

“Now, where were we?  Ah, we were called in by the Preternatural Council.  The one that governs pretty much everyone.  We’re assigned to the Northeast branch of the US because that’s where our pack lands are.”

“There’s a werewolf council?”  Theo asked.

Stiles could see he was getting nervous.  He was starting to sweat and he was straining his muscles in an effort not to move and singe himself again.

“Not just werewolves.  The council governs everything.  Kitsune, Fae, Seelie, waterfolk, Magic users of all types, shifters of all breeds, vampires, Succubus and Incubi, Harpies, banshee, Wendigo, demons of all sorts…you name it, they’re covered.”

“What…uh, what are you going to do to me?”  Theo finally asked.

Stiles took one final step forward until he was almost touching the other man and then he pressed his index finger into Theo’s forehead.  Theo let out a short screech and then went limp, the runic array collapsed around him.

Peter came over and picked him up while Stiles began to pick up all of the tools of his casting and then cleared the area of any magic.

“Let’s get him back and see what’s rattling around in his head to we can decide what to do with him.”

*

4

“Marcus, I’ve said all I’m going to about it.  I’m just calling to update you on the situation.  There will be no more incidents.  You can inform the council of that and that Mage Gwozdek will be making the decision of what to do based on the information we get from him in interrogation.”  He paused and looked over at Stiles who was finishing putting his circle in place for when they woke Theo.  “Unless, of course, you would like us to contact the council directly?”

There was a palpable silence on the other end before a sigh.  “That won’t be necessary, Peter.  I will inform them of your actions, but if they disagree…you are on your own.  Both of you.”

“We usually are.”  He said curtly and hung up.

“I hate that guy.”  Stiles said as he stepped out of the circle, “Why haven’t you eaten him yet?”

Peter laughed and placed a hand on Stiles hip, “You know I try not to eat people.  They’re bad for the indigestion.”

Stiles hummed and etched a few more runes into the air.  “Okay.  It’s ready.  Let’s place him inside and get this started.  I’d prefer to be done with this tonight and leave whatever notifications need to be made to tomorrow.”

“Whatever you want sweetheart.”

Stiles snorted and stepped back out of Peter’s reach and waited while Peter left to get the still unconscious chimera from the other room where he had been placed on a bed, trapped in another locking array.

Stiles was renowned the world over for his groundbreaking work in runes and how he used them to do things no magic user had ever thought of before.  He was consulted with for a number of reasons for the council, usually for things they they didn’t want ever getting out, which was one of the reasons his file was redacted so heavily except to the higher levels.

Once Peter had placed Theo in the chair in the center of the circle Peter stepped behind the chair so he could hold their prisoner still while Stiles drew some runes on his skin to keep him immobile.  Once complete, Stiles released his magic, woke Theo and Stiles stepped out of the circle.  Peter kept his hands on Theo’s shoulders, regardless of the runework as he stood behind him.

“Here’s what’s going to happen.”  Stiles began, not wasting any time for the chimera to get his bearings .  “My Alpha is going to go digging inside your head to find out what you’ve been up to.  I recommend you don’t fight it, but that’s your choice.  It won’t matter in the long run.  He’s very good.  Whatever he sees in there will determine your fate.”

Stiles was watching closely so he knew the moment Theo tried to move, to get up and fight.  The panicked expression in his eyes should have given him some small measure of thrill.  It didn’t.  He was very irritated by this mongrel. “As you can see, you’re not going anywhere.”  Stiles looked up at Peter, “Shall we begin?”

“We shall.”  Peter took one hand away from Theo’s shoulder and let his claws grow.  He thrust them into the back of Theo’s neck without even a pause.  Theo whimpered but neither of them paid any attention.

Stiles stepped into the circle and wrapped a hand around the wrist Peter was using to forge the connection and he was thrust into Theo’s mind as well.

Stiles stepped back after one-hundred and thirty seconds and left the circle.  He went into the room he used as a makeshift office and picked up the phone.

“Lisbeth Reyes.” a crisp voice answered on the third ring.

“I’ve got a situation in Beacon County.”

“Aren’t you on Sabbatical?”

“Yes.”  Stiles sighed. “There were a couple murders near the campus, so Marcus Claymore called Peter and someone sent me the information as a local Magical expert.”

“Claymore is a level three.  He wouldn’t have access to any pertinent information about you, or anything significant about Peter.”  Lisbeth snorted.

“No, just enough to be bothersome.  He warned Peter not to irritate me because my file was so heavily redacted.  I could have told him Peter irritates twice before breakfast on a daily basis and we’re both still breathing.”

“What’s the situation?”

“A chimera, wolf and coyote.  He’s a member of a local pack I’m familiar with through my father.  I met the alpha a few times a few years back, before he was bitten, so we’re not exactly friends or anything.  Our parents do know each other quite well though, so there’s that.”

“Sexually?”  Lisbeth asked.  “Isn’t Noah shacking up with that hunter?”

“Chris Argent?  Yes.  No, my father and the Alpha’s mother, Melissa McCall mostly know each other professionally.  She’s a nurse in emergency at the local hospital.”

“Okay, so this chimera has been killing people.”

“Using runic arrays he stole from my father’s attic to cover up the crimes.  And, Peter just took a walk through his head, and Beacon County isn’t the only place he’s done it.”

“Are you telling me he’s a serial killer?” Lisbeth asked.

“Honestly I’m not sure he is.  He kills for different reasons and sometimes because it’s easier, and perhaps because it’s fun, but I don’t believe he’s driven to it.”

“Hmm. Do you know when he started?”

“That’s the problematic part. His sister was his first victim.”

“Mieczyslaw.” Lisbeth sighed.

“I have no other option.”  Stiles huffed.  “You know if it was anyone else out here, who caught this case, they wouldn’t be encumbered by the same restrictions, but I have a duty.  Familial homicide has to go to them first.  If they choose to do nothing than we can decide based on the rest on his crimes, but because this one was first, it goes to them.”

“If anyone else was on this case, would he have been caught?”  Lisbeth asked archly.

Stiles remained silent because he didn’t want to think about that.  If Marcus Claymore wasn’t such a tool and had called someone else?  Probably not.

Lisbeth cursed under her breath.  “Fine.  I just…I hate goddesses. Them most of all.”

Stiles ignored her bitching. “I’ll let you know what the decision is.”

“Good luck.”

Stiles hung up the phone and turned around to see Peter leaning against the doorway.

“How’d she take it?”

“About as well as can be expected.  Is he still conscious?”

“No.”  Peter grinned ferally, “I might have been a little rough at the end there.”

“It’s just as well, I wouldn’t want him to have a heart attack before the Wściekłe can really get a good look.”

“No, that would be tragic.”  Peter agreed.

Stiles snorted. “Go on then.  You’ll only distract me.”

“Will I?” Peter smirked.  “But I’m just standing here.”

“Yes, and you’re all distracting in your…”  He waved his arm to encompass all of Peter’s everything, “So go.”

Instead, Peter took the two steps until he reached Stiles and kissed him. When they broke apart he smirked.  “I’ll go, but only because I want this trash out of here so we can get back to what is supposed to be a vacation from Council business.”

Stiles waited for his wolf to leave then dropped to the floor and sunk into a meditative trance.  For this he didn’t need runes or circles or any kind of special magic.  He’d been calling on his ancestors since before his mother died.

There was a breeze and then the familiar scents of jasmine, honeysuckle, and petrichor filled his nose.  Sweet and cloying in turns.

“Mieczyslaw, it has been some time since you’ve summoned us like this.”  Teodozja’s lilting voice spoke first.

Stiles kept his eyes closed but he could hear the movement as the three women moved around.

“You have a call for judgement?”  Reclawa asked, her voice a little sharper than her sisters.

“Show us, so we may get business over with and move on to something more befitting family.” Bronislawa cut through, as she always seemed to be the more moderate of the three.

“He’s in the other room.  He’s killed many, but his first was his sister, Tara.”

“We shall look into the heart and decide.” Teodozja stated and moved out of the room, her sisters following in her wake.

*

Peter stepped aside as the three formidable women entered the room. Their gazes swept over him briefly before focusing entirely on the chimera. Peter was not ashamed to admit that vanity aside, he also had a healthy respect for beings with more power than him, the Wściekłe definitely qualified.  It was a part of Stiles magical life he’d learned early on and become accustomed to, but it wasn’t always comfortable, even if he found the power his mage wielded quite the aphrodisiac.

Reclawa was the first to reach Theo.  She stared at him solemnly for a long moment while her sisters joined her.  “Awake, for judgement.” Her voice was strong and sure.

Theo twitched once before his eyes opened.  He looked confused at first and then terrified.

“Child, my sisters and I have been summoned to judge you for your crimes.”  Bronisawa placed a hand on his cheek.

Theo started to say something but no words would form.

“Nothing untrue can be said here, child.”  Teodozja explained softly.

The three women then linked hands around Theo and there was a bright flash of light that blinded Peter and Stiles.  When it had died down, they were alone in the room.

“That was anti-climactic.” Peter said, “But I’ll take it.”

“We still have to talk to McCall tomorrow.  I’m sure you’ll get your fill of drama there.  Unless he’s changed since he became a wolf.”

*

Noah Stilinski approached the house warily.  He looked to his son and and son-in-law.  “Do you need me to stay?”

“Probably best if you don’t.”  Peter offered.  “But, Mrs. McCall will appreciate your presence as proof that our purpose here is above board, but I’m not sure if her son will care, and things might get heated.”

Noah sighed.  He looked at Stiles.  “You never did see eye to eye with him that summer.”

Stiles shrugged.  “If we had met when we were younger, or at different points in our lives, maybe but…at that point, we were going different places.”

“Yeah.  You were always your mother’s son.”

“He’s a bit of his father in him too.”  Peter pointed out.  “No one can work a crime scene like he can, magic or not.”

Noah smiled softly.  “Okay.  So, you got it from both of us, that’s good.”  He looked at the house again.  “Come on, let’s get this over with.”

Noah stepped forward and rang the bell.  He waited for a moment and wasn’t surprised when Melissa McCall opened the door.  He had called ahead and asked her to have Scott over.  The woman tried to stay out of what she termed supernatural shenanigans, but sometimes it couldn’t be helped.

“Can we come in?”

Melissa looked over Noah’s shoulder and if she was surprised to see Stiles and someone else she didn’t know, she didn’t show it.

“Melissa, you remember my son, Stiles.  He works for the Preternatural Council.  This is his partner Peter Hale.  They were asked to look into a matter nearby.  It turned out to involve a member of Scott’s pack.  They’ve come to talk to Scott about the situation.”

Melissa’s eyes widened and she backed up.  “Yes, of course, come in.”  She looked at Peter closely.  “Hale?  Didn’t your family…”

“Yes.” Peter cut her off. “We lived here for generations until the Argents came and slaughtered us.  I left with my sisters only surviving children and raised them, as she asked me to.”  His eyes glittered coldly, begging her to continue down that line of inquiry.

“Mrs. McCall, is Scott here?”  Stiles asked softly, drawing her attention.

“Uh, no, but I asked him to come so he should be here soon.”

“Thank you.  We appreciate it.”

Melissa escorted them into the living room and had just offered them coffee when the front door banged open and a set of heavy footsteps entered the house.  A second, softer set followed behind.

“Mom!”

“In the living room.” Melissa called.  “We have guests.”

Peter raised an eyebrow at Stiles.  Alpha McCall should have sensed another Alpha long before he entered the house, but he wasn’t here to cause problems and he’d let Stiles lead since he had actual experience with these people.

“Sheriff!”  Scott McCall stuttered to a stop once he entered the room.  There was a woman behind him but she hovered in the doorway, unsure when her Alpha turned to the newcomers. “Stiles?”

“Alpha McCall.”  Stiles came forward. “Though we’ve met before, I’m known in official circles as Mage Mieczyslaw Gwozdek, from the Preternatural Council.  I’m here on official business.  Regarding your pack member Theodore Raeken.”

Scott blinked at him in confusion and then looked from his mother to the sheriff and back.  Finally he turned back to Stiles.  “What?  What about Theo?”

“As my father was explaining before you arrived, I work for the Preternatural Council.  This is my partner Peter Hale.” They made a habit of blurring the line of the their relationship when on cases together. “We were asked to consult on a series of cases involving kidnapping and murder.”

There was a soft gasp from the doorway, from the woman with McCall, “Is Theo okay?” She asked softly.

Stiles and Peter exchanged a glance before Stiles lips twitched.  “Miss Yukimura, correct?”

She bobbed her head up and down once and smiled unsurely.

“I’ve met your parents once or twice.” He smiled politely.

“You have?” She asked in surprise.

“Your mother consults on occassion.  She’s very…knowledable.”

The girl nodded in confused agreement.  “Is Theo alright?”

Stiles exchanged another look with Peter. “Mr. Raeken was not a victim. I am sorry to inform you he was the killer.”

“No!”  Scott burst out.

“No?”  Stiles echoed.

“You can’t do whatever you’ve done!” McCall bit out.

“No. I can’t do whatever I’ve done.”  Stiles repeated softly. “You don’t have any idea what Mr. Raeken has done, nor what my response was, so your reaction is a little  aggressive for the circumstances.”

“He doesn’t deserve whatever you’ve done to him.”

“How to do you know we’ve done anything to him?”

“He’s not here now, is he?”  Scott challenged.

“No, he’s not.”  Peter interrupted.  “Tell me, what do you do to people who commit multiple premeditated murders? You don’t let the victims of those crimes get justice?”

“That’s not for you to decide.”  Scott snarled.

“And we didn’t decide.”  Stiles interrupted smoothly, placing a hand on Peter wrist.  “We investigated and interrogated.”

“Was there a trial or tribunal or something?”  Miss Yukimura asked.

“This case had two instances of extenuating circumstances which made it unique.  One, Mr. Raeken’s method of trapping, and later dealing with the evidence of his crimes, involved the theft of items stolen from the attic of my father’s house.  An area, I’m told, you were informed was off-limits. This made the situation personal.”

“Which means you shouldn’t have been deciding his fate.”  Scott growled belligerently.

“Second,”  Stiles continued as if he hadn’t heard Scott, “Mr. Raeken’s first murder was that of his own sister, Tara.  That type of murder, that of family, falls under the Wściekłe.  Should they choose not to do anything, then other judgement can be made based on his other crimes.  However, the Wściekłe made judgement and took him.  He may at some point, have a shot at redemption, or not.  It’s hard to say.”

“You just let…whoever they are take him?  How do you even know he did any of this?”

Stiles had been turning around to leave but at this he turned back and looked at Peter for a brief second.  Peter nodded once and they approached Scott together.  Before anyone knew what they were about to do or had breath to utter a protest, Peter had his claws in Scott’s neck and Stiles was sharing his vision in blood and fire.  It only took a second before Scott had collapsed and started heaving.

Peter and Stiles let him go and stepped away.  “Thank you all for your time.  We’ll see ourselves out.”

Melissa bent over her son to make sure he was alright before turning to Noah, “What the hell was that?”

“Mel, I’m sorry about that, but, Scott wasn’t listening and I’m afraid that neither Stiles nor Peter are very patient when it comes to dealing with this sort of thing.  Victims and their families, yes, but Theo Raeken was not a victim.  This whole situation frustrated Stiles. Raeken used Stiles private work to kill people.  Work that should have been safe in my attic, where I was assured, no one would go.”

Melissa looked away.  “I told Scott and the entire pack when you allowed them the use of the house that the attic was off limits.  I…I don’t know what happened.”

Noah sighed.  “Raeken happened.  He got nosey and went digging and found something he decided would be useful for his own purposes.”

“What did they do to Scott?”  She asked worriedly.

“They just shared what they found in Theo’d head when they interrogated him, so Scott would understand there wasn’t a mistake made.”

Melissa nodded, though she looked a little ill. “What’s happened to him?  To Theo?”  Melissa asked softly.

Noah shrugged.  “Hard to say.  The Wściekłe judged him and took him.  He could be paying for those crimes forever or he could find redemption and return to the mortal world.  Their ways are not our ways.”

“Who are they?”

“Goddesses.  Ancient and powerful.  Their remit is justice, retribution and vengeance, and they have a particular interest in murder amongst family.  My wife was descended from their line so they took a particular interest Stiles when he began his magical training.”

Melissa looked wide eyed at Noah like she wasn’t sure what to say.  Noah shrugged.  “Just explain to Scott that Theo was judged fairly, and if he deserves redemption he’ll get it, if not…”

Melissa nodded as Noah left the house.

*

Peter and Stiles were three blocks away before the mage spoke, “Do you think the university would notice if we called in dead for the rest of the semester?”

Peter laughed.  “I’m pretty sure all those students who signed up just to hear you speak would be pretty upset.”

“Yeah, I was afraid of that.”  He leaned against Peter, “But no more Council work.”

“Agreed, sweetheart.”

*

Translations

Gwozdek – Derived from either archaic Polish gwozd meaning “forest” or gwóźdź meaning “nail”.

Kazia – Aunt

Wściekłe:

     Bronislawa – Protection, glory

     Teodozja – ‘giving to a god’

     Reclawa – from Ratislav- War/Battle, glory

Cast

Art

Art by g_love99

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