Melissa McCall visited frequently to check up on the Hales’ newest charge in the absence of the local supernatural doctor, even if he was a veterinarian by practice. As a mother, she had become concerned about the girl and what she may have left behind. She had reluctantly called up the other parents that were involved in the crazy, supernatural mess like her in hopes of coming up with some plan.
Pulling up to the Argent house, she quickly made her way to the front door where Chris had already been waiting. He nodded as he lead her inside where Sheriff Stilinski and Dr. Deaton had already been waiting. “Melissa,” the sheriff greeted.
She smiled slightly, and the trio were quick to get their pleasantries out of the way. Sitting down, she looked to the both of them with a serious expression. “I have some concerns about this new girl that the kids have gotten themselves involved in. I must say that I’m relieved that you are back Doctor,” she said to Deaton.
He bowed his head respectfully with a smile. “It was unfortunate the length of time I was away, but it was about our new friend. Derek had paid me a visit with his concerns some time before their rescue, and I’ve been looking to some possibilities about the girl.”
“So is she an Ikiryō or not?” Argent questioned as he stood with his arms crossed in thought.
Deaton hesitated before answering. “In all likelihood, I believe she is that and more. The very fact that she had such a large number of these vampires wanting her had me deeply concerned.”
“Do we even know who she is? She sounds as if she would be a threat to our children,” Melissa said emotionally. “Yes, I feel for the girl, but I don’t know…”
Sheriff Stilinski rubbed the back of his neck uncomfortably as he was still very new to the game. “We can see from where she came. See if she has a family?” he suggested. “Surely they would want her home.”
“She’s believed dead,” Chris announced so quietly, one might not have heard him. “Scott and Allison explained what happened and I looked into missing person cases. They were holding her for nearly a year before her mother declared her dead. The family of the boy she was dating at the time believes it too from reports.”
The knowledge that the vampires that held her had gone as far as covering up her disappearance troubled Deaton. He held an ominous look in his eye as he looked around at the others. “It would be a very bad idea to let anything happen to this girl. She must be protected. The Wolves are more than capable of that.”
“But why? I don’t understand. What’s so important about her?” Melissa asked, deeply confused.
Sighing, Deaton leaned back and shook his head. “I hadn’t been able to find much information on Ikiryōs. However, I did manage to get in contact with another emissary who does know a great deal. She said she would come to Beacon Hills as soon as she can. She wasn’t willing to say much over the phone but did admit that it would be catastrophic if one were to be changed into that particular breed of vampire. Especially now that her abilities have manifested.”
The immediate correlation was understood by Argent as he stood straighter, and his face paled. “Hell…Well, I can get her some identification that would pass simple inspection as long as no one goes digging further. It would at least give her a little bit of life here,” he offered.
“I am sure she would appreciate the gesture. Still, I would need to see her. You said she hasn’t woken yet?” Deaton asked Melissa, who was beginning to become overwhelmed by what she was hearing.
“Uh, no. I don’t think it would be much longer, though. She started responding to painful stimuli, so I think she’s close. Derek hasn’t left her side for long whenever I went to check on her.”
“Derek? Hale?” Chris asked, raising an eyebrow.
Deaton attempted to suppress a smile at hearing that. “I do not suspect the Hales to be any threat to her. I truly believe that she may be linked to them in some way due to her mark, but again, I am hoping that the emissary coming would be able to shed more light on much more.”
“So what do we do? Sit and wait? I can’t do anything,” Stilinski asked.
Chris nodded. “Yes and you certainly can. You can keep an eye out for any APBs matching her name and description. We keep her as off the radar as possible until we know more about the threat out there. It’s not over. Far from it, unfortunately. Vampires are obsessive in nature. There is no way that coven would have let her go so willingly. Especially if they knew what she was or the potential.”
“And that would mean what?”
Deaton said nothing. He pulled in an uneasy breath and stood to leave. “It would mean something terrifying.”
Four and half days had passed before Derek saw changes in Bella. She had begun moving in her sleep, shifting slightly and moving her arm or leg. His eyes would dart to each movement, cataloging as he anticipated more. Soon she let out small whimpers, indicating the discomfort and pain she felt, and he felt useless as he resisted taking it from her.
When she finally began to open her eyes, she remained silent and still in the bed. Her arm stretched out to feel the fabric of the comforter and sheets that she was wrapped up in and could not help but wonder where she was. Her bed in her prison was never that comfortable. Turning her head, she took in a familiar frame standing at the window looking out.
Her thoughts began to process quickly, trying to remember whatever she could. She remembered being forcefully woken, being thrown from her bed by Edward. He had enough of her unresponsive periods and decided to move forward with attempting to change her. Her slow beating heart started to speed up as the pain and memories of that night filtered through her mind.
Derek turned to look over his shoulder at her. He heard her beginning to wake and offered her those precious moments to herself to gather her bearings. At seeing the rising panic on her face, though, he wasn’t sure it was the best idea. “Are you in pain?” he quietly asked as he slowly approached the bed.
She swallowed through the dryness in her throat from her being unconscious for so long without food or drink. “I’m fine,” she answered, her voice hoarse from the combination of disuse and screaming from before. Recognizing that feeling, Bella easily recalled the screams she let out as Edward tossed her around like a rag doll for hours, his last-ditch effort to force her compliance.
He could see she was having difficulties. With exactly what, he didn’t know. Reaching over to the bedside table, he grabbed the glass of water he had set for her in hopes of her waking soon and helped her take a sip. “Easy. You were banged up pretty bad when we found you,” he murmured as she tried to drink for herself.
Bella flashed him a ‘go to hell’ expression but said nothing as her arms ached terribly. She watched him and his every move as he went to put the glass back and sat in the chair positioned next to the bed. She was unable to stop the thought as it came, wondering just how long he’d been watching her. “Please tell me you haven’t been watching me sleep,” she said, her voice controlled in her ire.
There was a small smile that ghosted his lips as he looked back to her. “All night? No. I do need to sleep myself,” he answered her. He appraised her thoughtfully as she continued to stare at him from her prone position in his bed. “I will admit to it the first night we got you here. And to holding your hand, but it was a necessity to ease your pain.”
They fell into silence as each party stared at one another, studying the other. Derek raised an eyebrow as her discomfort increased. “So…um, who’s bed, am I taking up? I need to go home…”
He sighed and held his hand out for hers. “I’m not going to bite,” he said at her hesitation. Bella slowly slid her arm with a grimace of pain across the covers until she found his. He gently held her small hand in his, and her brows furrowed at the level of ease she felt. The pain and aches tapered back. “We learned some things, Bella, while fighting those vampires. They did whatever they could to convince your mother that you are dead. By all accounts, legally, you are considered dead now. If you want to stay hidden from them and your family safe, you can’t go back.”
“I can’t stay here,” she stammered as she stared at their hands in disbelief. The small relief of pain helped enough to allow her to sit up on the bed, even if she was afraid to let go. “Everyone here would be in danger because of me. I have to go—”
“We are more than capable of fighting. You are safe here, and they don’t know where you are,” Derek interrupted. His head cocked to the side as he looked at her curiously. “And you’re in my bed. The loft is mine. You’re welcome to stay.”
She yanked her hand out of his, backing away. “No. No…”
He sighed and sat back in the chair. “I won’t force you, but you aren’t in any shape to go anywhere right now. We’ve been waiting for someone to get back to town that can look you over without having to take you to the hospital in case you do one of your…” He trailed off, waving his fingers in the air to indicate her separation state.
Bella shook her head as she curled up, even against the amount of pain and injuries her body endured. She rolled onto her side until her back was to Derek and cried.
Not knowing what else to do for her, he stood and started for the stairs to give her some time now that she was finally awake. “I’ll be downstairs if you need anything,” he muttered without turning around.
She knew he meant well and that she was unfair. From what she could remember, with everything she’d been through, he’d been more than patient with her and as honest as he could be. Wiping the tears from her face, she struggled to sit up in the bed, sharp bursts of pain shooting through her limbs from the beatings she received reminding her of Edward’s lasting impression.
Eyeing the distance from the bed to the stairs, her bottom lip quivered as she held in the whimper that wanted to escape. The knowledge that the amount of energy she would need to make it there…she was determined to get better and make it on her own.
Once downstairs, Derek looked around feeling defeated. He hadn’t expected Bella to react as fearful of him as did. If he were honest with himself, it certainly wasn’t the first meeting that he hoped for.
Peter had heard enough of the conversation that he returned to understand the man’s frustration. At the glare, he received from his nephew, he wisely kept his mouth shut but smiled towards the stairs as he made his way to the table. “I went out and got some food,” he shared as he began to pull out cartons of the bags he had held.
Making his way over, Derek shook his head. He wanted to do more for her. He was tempted to bring her something to eat, but a creek from the steps caused the two wolves to look up. Derek dropped the utensils he had picked up and darted to the steps as Bella slowly, and painfully attempted to make her way down. “You should be in bed resting.”
“I should be dead or a walking popsicle and I’m not,” she snapped before shaking her head. “Sorry…”
“No, no. It’s quite alright Princess. Let it out,” Peter grinned. “Hell, if you want a dummy to lay a few punches on, I’m sure Derek wouldn’t mind volunteering.”
Her eyes narrowed on him before looking over to Derek, who rolled his own. He held his hand out to help her as he took in how tightly she was holding onto the banister. Her knuckles were white as snow, and a thin layer of sweat covered her forehead and neck. For her to be standing and attempting to move around as she was, he couldn’t understand how she was able to tolerate the pain she must have been enduring.
Bella’s eyes fell to his outstretched hand apprehensively. She was slow to accept his gesture as she knew he was offering more than just helping down the stairs. He had kept a firm hold of her as he helped her down the remaining stairs before crossing the floor to the table.
Clearing his throat, he waved towards Peter. “This is my uncle, Peter,” he introduced.
She looked up at him, her eyes studying the man closely. “I remember you,” she murmured. “Hm…”
The men exchanged a curious look at her response. “Hm? That’s all? What are you hming about?” Peter questioned, feeling offended.
Bella only looked back at him before turning to stare out the window. She started to take slow deep breaths, trying to prepare herself to let go of Derek, who continued to hold her hand to help take away her pain. The mere thought of anticipating that agony she would endure after wasn’t all that pleasing. “How long am I supposed to stay here?” she asked.
“Well I think that all depends on you Princess,” Peter replied as he plated some food and set it in front of her. “Eat up. I was able to hear your stomach growling before you even hit the steps.”
Derek gently squeezed her hand. “We aren’t going to keep you a prisoner here. If you want to leave, it’s your choice. We won’t be able to help you if you do.”
The conflict remained on her face, however, frustrating him. Before he could say something stupid that might push away the small gesture she had made by willingly coming to them, Peter continued. “We should get you checked out. Make sure those glitter freaks didn’t leave any permanent physical damage. I wonder if Deaton is back yet?”
Without letting go of her hand, Derek pulled out his phone to message him. “Who is Deaton?” Bella asked, looking between the two of them with uncertainty.
“He’s a doctor…” Peter slowly said. “He’s not quite like others, though.”
“He works as a vet, but he’s also a Druid. It’s safe to talk to him about what happened,” Derek explained quietly.
She continued to stare at them in confusion but also begun to pick at the food that had been given her. “What’s a – Druid? I’m still having a hard time keeping up with what I’m able to do.”
“Druids are emissaries. Advisors to werewolf packs,” Derek answered. “He had been out of town looking into information about your abilities for you.”
“I don’t know him. I didn’t ask this,” Bella denied, shaking her head and tried to pull her hand away from him.
He smiled at her as he held on. “No, you didn’t. I did. When you came around in the beginning, weren’t you looking for answers to something?”
Her breath hitched as she froze briefly, glancing back and forth between the two wolves as they stared at her. No matter how kind they treated her, she didn’t know if she could trust them. As intimidating both men were, she did realize that she didn’t feel threatened by either one. “Yes,” she whispered with a shaky breath.
Derek nodded as he turned her hand over, exposing her wrist and her Triskelion. “It is a lot like my family’s version. Although the edges of yours appears frayed.”
“Each leg or branch tends to stand for something. It varies depending on the group,” Peter added. “Alpha, Beta, and Omega.”
She looked unsure at the reference. “I don’t see how Greek letters would relate to me.”
“It’s the positions of wolves in a pack. There is the leader, an Alpha wolf. The others that follow him or her are Betas. Wolves that are without a pack or ostracized are considered Omegas. They often don’t last long,” Peter elaborated. “I was an Alpha until asshole here killed me.”
Derek rolled his eyes, growling lowly in warning. “Peter isn’t quite giving you all the facts of our history. He neglects to say that he also killed my sister, who was the Alpha before him so that he could take the position. Then he did some not so – nice things around town. I killed him to save others. There are only two ways to become an Alpha. To kill one to assume the power, or very rarely, a wolf has it in them to become one based on their integrity. They are called True Alphas.”
Bella sat there for several minutes, trying to absorb what she was hearing. She didn’t know what to make of it, even though she had seen some of it played out in her separated state. “I think I woke up a few marbles short of crazy,” she muttered.
“Perhaps. But then again you’d fit right in with the rest of the others around here,” Peter shrugged.
She raised an eyebrow at him. Shaking her head, she turned to find Derek eyeing her. “What?”
“What do you remember? From your visits here,” he clarified. His question sparked curiosity in his uncle making him pause in his meal and focus on the two.
“Um…a lot of it is pretty vague,” she slowly replied, careful as she chose her words. Her face pinched with pain though it wasn’t from anything physical at the moment. Derek’s ability had been helping her cope with her injuries in that aspect. It was something much deeper.
He could feel her trying to pull away again. Letting out a sigh, Derek reached out to pull her chin up to look him in the eye. “I know you don’t trust us right now. It’s understandable considering what you went through but if or when you want to talk about it, we’ll listen.”
“There’re no guarantees that what we say would be what you want to hear, though,” Peter added. “Romeo here will most likely piss you off knowing him.”
Bella’s lips pulled back slightly as she found herself amused by the teasing of his nephew and Derek’s irritation by it. Even if it was subtle, she also knew it was at her expense. She shook her head, risking a peek at the man determined to put her at ease. He was glaring at his uncle, his eyes glowing red. It stirred up a flutter of conflicting feelings in her. She remembered her desire to aid him when he fought with another wolf, but her experience with red eyed beings were never good.
Flashes of a vampire were coming for her, chasing her through her old ballet studio. Another throwing her around her room. Both finding a sick pleasure in sinking their teeth into her flesh. All she could do was sit there, frozen in her terror of her memories.