A month past by slowly and the Beacon Hills friends continued to keep track of their ghost sightings. While she appeared more clearly in her visits to them, it was clear she was still struggling with staying long enough for them to be able to talk to her without arousing unwanted attention.
In the times that Scott had seen her more recently, he’d been with Stiles. His friend wasted no time in trying to ask her questions but to the young wolf, she seemed distracted as she looked around. He was more often than not quiet in her presence, not wanting to frighten her. His eyes drifted down to her wrist where she bore the Triskelion mark and found her rubbing it agitatedly.
Derek and Peter are at the loft,” he said, interrupting Stiles’ endless questions. “If you’re looking for them, that’s where you’ll find them.”
The girl and Stiles both looked at him confused. Nodding to her wrist, he smiled slightly. He was about to ask how she got her mark, but she disappeared, making him sigh.
“Why did you tell her to go to them?” Stiles asked.
Scott shook his head. “I don’t know. I think it has to do with the Triskelion. She’s been rubbing it like it has been on her mind.”
“But – they’ll just corrupt her!”
He raised an eyebrow to his friend and shook his head. “I think you need to lay off the movies. Let’s go get something to eat.”
Derek felt conflicted about the mysterious girl. Everything he’d heard about her from the younger wolves and their friends had him confused with the one that he encountered.
Scott had described an often scared girl, unsure of the people she was clearly trying to seek out. He, however, saw someone much like his young friend who had put herself in danger for someone she did not know. He wasn’t quite sure how to handle that. Especially after learning that she seemed to be potentially in some kind trouble herself.
He had taken to his exercises as he worked through his thoughts. In the middle of his routine, he had paused amid a pull up as he felt as if something was watching him.
Slowly, he lowered himself down before he turned to look behind him. He was surprised to find the same girl present. As his eyes looked her over, he could see that she wasn’t as translucent as the first time he saw her, but he could also clearly see the bruises that the others mentioned.
She backed up skittishly as she looked around as if to escape, causing Derek to try to think fast. He held up his hands to show he meant no harm as he attempted to catch her eye again. “I want to thank you,” he quickly said before she had the chance to disappear on him.
The girl peered back at him through a veil of hair that had fallen and covered her face. He knew she was working to figure out what he meant. To know what his intentions where. It was an expression he’d been on the receiving end many times before.
For that night in the woods. Do you remember? You stopped that wolf from attacking my sister and me?” he explained carefully, wondering why she appeared so confused. Narrowing his eyes slightly, he tilted his head curiously. “Do you know what you did to him?”
Derek watched the emotions flicker over her face, jumping from one to another so fast that he wasn’t sure it was even possible. There was the obvious confusion, before recognition, followed by even more confusion. What he didn’t understand was the guilt that was at the end. He had to wonder just how long she’d been capable of this ability but to question her about it while she seemed traumatized would do neither of them any good. Blinking, he took in a deep breath.
“I’m Derek,” he said eventually, hoping she might reciprocate, but she only remained silent. “Okay then…” he trailed off as he ran his hand over the back of his neck, watching her. She was rubbing at her wrist where his friends had said that she wore the mark of the Triskelion. “Do you know how you came to have that mark on you?”
She looked down to her wrist and begun to trace the swirls with her finger as her brows furrowed in thought. Her head shook no, then yes, then back to no in a way that amused him. He couldn’t help but to smile slightly at her. “Do you know what it means?”
Her eyes flashed up to his, a silent pleading in them for answers. Unfortunately, she also appeared to be filled with sudden fear as she looked around in a panic. “Hey! It’s o–” he started to reassure her, but she had disappeared before he could finish. “–kay.”
He stared at where she had stood, lost in thought about how much, or how little, he learned about her during that visit. He had been so focused on his thoughts that he failed to hear his uncle return, who caught him by surprise.
“I see her presence has graced you,” Peter remarked as he noticed the fading marks of her Triskelion. “Let me guess. She got spooked and took off before anything could be said.”
Derek pursed his lips, contemplating whether he should admit how much truly did happen. “I wouldn’t go that far. I couldn’t get to say much before she disappeared on me. Something scared her.”
Peter looked thoughtful at that. “Huh. Trust issues?”
“I think so,” Derek nodded after a minute of consideration. “She may not want to talk yet if she’s even capable, but she seems willing to listen.”
“Looks like she’s curious of your tattoo. Seems that you’re the golden boy for this one. Earn her confidence to find out more about her,” he told him.
He scowled at his uncle, displeased with being ordered in such a way. “Just what are you trying to get out of this? What’s your angle?”
Peter held his hands up with a smirk as he back up to the staircase. “No, angle. Just trying to be helpful.”
Derek stared at him until the man disappeared upstairs, not believing a word he said but unable to comment. It wasn’t something he hadn’t already intended to do already but for different reasons.
Despite the alpha pack leader being out of the way, Beacon Hills had continued to deal with the fall out of his followers. One in particular wanting Derek’s blood to flow. While dodging Kali’s attempts at killing him, he was determined to help their new friend. Only he had no idea where to begin.
That was how he found himself standing outside the veterinary clinic with a scowl on his face and his hands shoved into his jacket pockets as he debated whether to enter or not. Sighing, curiosity got the better of him and pulled the door open, being met with a waiting room full of people with their pets. “Huh,” he let out. He was not accustomed to seeing this; it was usually dead quiet and even wondered from time to time if Deaton had been a real veterinarian.
Deaton came to the gate and blinked when he saw Derek. “Take a seat, Derek, I will be with you shortly,” he said as he turned to the first patient in the waiting room. “I have patients to see.”
The wolf’s eyes darted around with slight agitation as he absorbed all the sounds and distractions. Nodding briefly, he moved to sit as far away from the others uncomfortably. The doctor waited for his patient and its owner to pass by him as he curiously looked over his former charge. For the man to make a voluntary visit such as this, he was certain that it concerned a frequent visitor to their town of the recent months.
It took an hour and a half to clear the waiting room, and Deaton was surprised that Derek was still there. While he knew the Alpha could be known for his silence and more for impatience, he was also known for being not that patient. “Derek, please, come in,” he said as he opened the gate and smiled at him. “I am sorry you had to wait.”
He only shrugged a shoulder silently, standing to make his way over. His eyes flickered over the barrier that he opened for him before looking up at the man. Taking a cautious step forward, he crossed the threshold as he avoided making contact with the counter at all. When he entered the exam room, he looked around expecting to see someone else. “No, Scott?”
Deaton looked at the clock before returning his gaze upon Derek with a kind smile. “I’d hazard a guess that he’s in school right now. Lacrosse training, perhaps.”
That earned only a nod in response as he walked around the room, looking at the equipment and medications set out with curiosity. He reached out to press a random button on one of the machines that were on the counter and reared back when it let out a loud, sharp alarm. Quickly, he searched for the power control on it to silence it as it was irritating on his ears when Deaton reached over and calmly pulled the machine’s plug from the wall.
“What can I do for you, Derek?” Deaton asked as he put the plug on the machine and turned to face him. The werewolf had been sitting too patiently in the waiting room for a very long time, and it was obvious that something was on his mind. The trick was to pull it out of him, even though Deaton had his suspicions for the wolf’s impromptu visit.
Derek let out a breath, backing away as he scratched the back of his neck. “Does Triskelions hold any significance elsewhere? Or at least the one that my family used growing up?”
He had not expected that question and sucked in a breath as he searched his mind for the answer. “The Triskelion holds a significance in many cultures. It comes in many forms and shapes. For the obvious reasons, since World War Two, people avoid the four-legged Triskelions. For your family, it signifies the Alpha, Beta, and Omega; a focus point to learn your youngsters to control their shift. Others might see it as something entirely different. Some Christians use it as a visual representation of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
The wolf had been pacing the length of the floor as he listened, pausing at the opposite end of the exam table. His mind understood what the Druid was saying, but he was still finding it difficult to connect why that girl would still have one so close his family.
“The Triskelion used in your family comes from the Asian culture. Several generations ago, one of the more adventurous members of your family traveled around the world and encountered Buddhism where he was taught that it was easier to learn to control something when you focused on an object. A reminder to focus, study and meditate upon your troubles,” Deaton continued as he leaned against the counter, eyeing the wolf.”
Derek frowned as he looked up at him. “How would a similar mark come to be on a girl who is not a wolf or part of the family. Who knows nothing about us?”
“As I said, many cultures use the symbol. It’s even on country flags.”
“I understand that, but I doubt they would be nearly identical. Each group would have their distinct look to theirs, wouldn’t it?” he asked as he stared at him, almost pleading for clarification. “This girl – if you didn’t see this Triskelion, you would have thought it to be the same.”
Deaton slowly nodded. “What do you think she is? Do you have a theory?”
“I don’t. Peter does. He said something about an Ikiryō. She was in my loft a couple weeks ago,” he quietly admitted as he looked away to stare at the wall.
The Druid continued to observe the young man, wondering what was truly at the root of his confliction. “Have you not spoken to anyone else about her visit to you?”
Derek’s lip pulled back in a sneer. “Peter knows about it, otherwise no. I don’t know. She seemed terrified of something. The others keep talking to each other about her and when she comes to them.”
“It’s not respectful to disclose what she may yet not want to be revealed. I understand your reluctance to discuss what occurred when she chose to come to you,” he smiled. “As far as her being an Ikiryō, it is entirely possible. I have not heard of one occurring in many years but then again, they were not my chosen specialty, as you know.”
“Do you know someone who might?”
Deaton shook his head. “I’m sorry but no. I can do some research and find out what I can. I do know that they are can separate their spirit self from their physical being, but more often than not, it is usually when they are close to a death state. For as often as this girl has been appearing, I truly fear for her well being.”
“This may sound a bit… crude, but as intriguing as this situation is, maybe we should ignore this situation? We have enough on our hands as it is and yes, she saved my life and…” He let out a breath and shook his head. “We should help her. Find a way.”
“It would be difficult to learn what sort of trouble she may be in if she is unwilling to communicate with anyone. I had only seen her briefly before she vanished myself, assuming Stiles’ theory of her weaknesses.”
“I’ll try to get her to talk. She’s seen my tattoo. Maybe she’ll learn to trust that.”
Deaton raised an eyebrow. “It would be unwise to assume such an action though I see where you would think that. Just proceed cautiously. That is all I can advise Derek. She is not one of these wolves. She would not respond to the command of the alpha.”
Derek huffed. “I know how act human, Deaton.”
“I know you do. If you wish for assistance in speaking with the girl, you are more than welcome to call me if she is willing. I believe no matter what, it will be a rough road ahead should you do decide to assist her.”
The wolf shrugged as he pushed himself away from the wall he had been leaning against. “Thank you for your time.”
“Anytime. You do know you are always welcome – despite the mountain ash.”
Derek nodded as he quietly followed the veterinarian out of his office and through the barrier before heading outside again. He took a deep breath and made his way back to his loft, contemplating the words the man had spoken.
He was never more surprised to find the mysterious girl in the loft with his uncle. She was at the window, leaning against it as she looked out at view ignoring them. “How long has she been here?”
Peter didn’t turn to face him as he answered. “Maybe ten minutes. I tried asking her name but she doesn’t speak,” he murmured.
Leave us,” Derek firmly said as he pulled his jacket off and made his way closer but keeping a respectable distance. He could hear the door close behind Peter, the sound making the girl jump and a tear roll down her ghostly face. The bruises over her body that he could see, even though she attempted to conceal them by her posture against the window, were far worse than before.
He said nothing as he nodded to her, turning to look out the window. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see that she would occasionally cast his inquisitive looks. He would sometimes raise an eyebrow questioningly, but she would only look away, and he would look back out the window as if their encounter was routine between them.
Derek had to admit, the silence was comfortable and not awkward at all. He wasn’t going to push for information, although he was itching to ask one simple question, maybe she’d answer that one. “Just out of curiosity,” he said as he kept his eyes out of the window. “Are you a mute?”
The girl looked over at him, her eyes narrowed as she tried to place how he could come up with such a ridiculous question. Huffing out a breath, she shook her head. “No,” she muttered. “What kind of stupid the question is that?”
“I dunno, I had a different question in mind, but I don’t want to scare you off.”
The angry expression that had been on her face fell away to the one that had been there most of the visit. “I don’t want to talk about that…”
I figured that,” he smiled kindly at her. “Just know that you’re safe here and if you do need help—”
A frighteningly haunted look returned to her face at that moment. “I am never safe no matter where I go…” She whispered before disappearing.
Derek looked around a sliver of hope that she might just be somewhere else in the loft hiding. However, she was nowhere to be seen. Unable to keep his temper under control, his frustration got the better of him. He ran his fist into the wall, not willing to admit just how much he was concerned about the girl’s safety. “Damnit!”