Derek burst into the veterinary clinic with Bella in his arms, gritting his teeth as the mountain ash gate blocked him. Stiles was quick to push it open in his panic and guilt over the situation to allow the man through.
Pushing his way to the exam room, he pushed passed the concerned looking doctor. “What happened?” Deaton asked as he quickly followed the wolf’s steps as he laid the girl on the table.
“I don’t know. She just seemed to panic all of a sudden and collapsed,” Derek answered as the man started to look her over. It was hard for him to step away as he had grown attached to the girl. It hurt deeply to have gotten her out of that house with the vampires only to die while being given a new life.
“Clinically, Bella is dead,” Deaton said after a few minutes, shaking his head. “How long has she been down?” he asked, bending over to try to hear and feel if there was any air movement coming from her mouth.
Scott watched from the doorway with the others that had followed. “Maybe ten minutes?” he spoke.
He nodded in response as his hands felt over her arms, noting the change in their temperature. “How very strange…” he murmured as he turned his head to look down into her eyes. He gently pulled her eyelids back, finding her pupils changing to the exposure of light. Something that a dead body was incapable of doing. “She’s not dead, but everything about her indicates as much. She still has brain activity.”
“Wait – what?” Stiles stammered as he tried to piece together what was being said. “She’s dead, but she’s not?”
The door to the clinic opened, catching the attention of the group who quickly scattered around the room. Deaton looked up from Bella, moving to stand in front of her protectively, unsure of who was coming in when the office was closed.
The woman passed by the gate and headed straight for the exam room, pausing as she looked around. “Well…I wasn’t expecting such a welcoming party,” she said before her eyes fell on one man. “Deaton.”
He narrowed his eyes, slow to piece together her voice to their conversations over the phone. “You are Jessica?”
She smiled and turned to look at the wolves around the room, making her way over to the table and ignoring the warning growl that Derek was letting out. “You are correct Doc. She’s not dead. She separated herself,” she said as her eyes lingered on the Triskelion on her wrist. “I apologize for my late arrival, but I had to take a little trip to Yunnan to speak with someone first.”
“Yunnan? What did you have to go to the middle of nowhere China that couldn’t be handled over a phone call?” Lydia questioned as she glared at the woman suspiciously.
‘Jessica’ smiled at her as she bent over to study the girl on the table. “She’s a pretty thing. Don’t you think?” she smiled up at the growling wolf. “Oh, who am I kidding. Of course you think she’s gorgeous. The girl isn’t dead but she’s as close to is as she can get. I didn’t expect her to be this far in however. She is going to need another dose of the monk’s tea.”
She grabbed a piece of paper from the counter and scribbled out a list and shoved it into the nearest person’s hands. “Get these items so that it can be ready before she awakes. She’s going to hate that concoction, but it will keep her alive if she is going to be taking frequent trips like this.”
“What is this Jessica?” Deaton asked as he moved to eye the ingredients.
“It’s something the Buddhist monk gave me for her. When you told me about her mark, I got suspicious and went to visit the only other living Ikiryō that I knew of. The little bastard had a wealth of information ready for me,” she said with a mischievous smile. “That tea she will need to drink time to time. It will keep her from dying, but like now, give the illusion that she is dead. It’s a self-defense mechanism of what she is.”
Derek did not like hearing that she felt the need to ‘die’ to get away from them. He rubbed his hand over his face frustrated and ready to throw things in a fit. It was when Scott spoke that he paused.
“So if she was in this state when those vampires tried to turn her, would it have failed? From what Peter explained about them, the human has to be alive for the change to work,” he pointed out.
“She was bitten?” Jessica asked, looking back to Deaton. “When?”
“I don’t know. Only she can answer but we did learn that she had lost her sense of time the way they kept her from everything she knew,” he replied.
“Huh…yeah, it would cause the walking popsicles a problem certainly. She is dead for all intents and purposes in this state. Anyone have any idea where she is now?” she asked, looking around but her eyes settled on Derek.
He snarled at her, not pleased with her singling him out. “How would I know? I’m here with her body. What’s your game?” he growled at her.
“No game,” she grinned as she pulled herself to sit on the counter. “Is there anywhere that she feels safe? Anyone she would go to?”
“Derek,” Scott answered, too wondering where she was going with this line of thought. “Before, she came to him more than she did to the rest of us.”
“Well, obviously she’s not here. Who else is there?”
Derek frowned as he narrowed his eyes on Bella, running a finger over her cheek in thought. Recalling their conversation from earlier that morning, he pulled out his phone and dialed the only person that he could think of her going to.
“Derek…” Peter’s voice came over the phone.
“Is she with you?” he asked.
There was silence on the other end before he answered. “You mean Princess? Yeah. She’s a bit distraught, and I’m trying to calm her down. What happened?”
The Alpha wolf let out a sigh as he nodded to everyone. “She was given the papers for a new life and freaked out I guess. Any chance you can convince her to get back into her body? We’re all concerned here.”
“I’ll ask her, but that’s her decision. If she needed a break, who are we to stop her? Maybe she realized I’m the better Hale?” Peter had teased before he hung up.
Derek tightened his hand around the phone, coming close to crushing it before Deaton appeared at his side and attempted to pull it from his hand. “She will come back. She can’t stay outside of her body forever,” he tried to sooth the agitated wolf.
“Why would she go to Peter?” Lydia asked, disturbed by the thought.
Jessica only smiled from her perch. She enjoyed watching the odd group of friends. “Why wouldn’t she? She trusts him. He hasn’t done anything to her and in a way she is linked to the Hales.”
“How is that?” Scott asked, somehow feeling he already knew the answer.
The Druid woman raised an eyebrow. “The Triskelion. There is a reason that Buddha jackass marked her with a symbol so close to theirs. She’s not you every day Ikiryō. Don’t get me wrong. She certainly is one. That’s no doubt, but whereas they stay local, this one attracts the supernatural. He set her on the path to find them specifically.”
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?!” Derek demanded as he charged for her but was quickly held back but the others. “Tell me what you know about her!”
Jessica leveled her eyes on him. “You aren’t prepared to hear what I have to say about that. I suggest you calm yourself down. I will share what I know with the girl once she awakes and when she is ready to hear it. You can take her home in the meanwhile. She’ll find her way back when she wants.”
“Come on Derek. Let’s just get her back,” Scott murmured, trying to pull him away but he wasn’t budging.
He shook his head. “No. I’m waiting here with her until she wakes in case something is wrong then I’m taking her to finish her day.”
“Are you sure about that?”
Derek nodded and shoved his way around him to return to Bella’s side, holding vigil over her. He hoped that his uncle wasn’t fucking things over worse than they were.
Peter had picked up Bella’s prescriptions before heading over to his family’s old house. The county had tried to stake claims on the land but what his nephew didn’t know was that he had been working on saving it. He had recently received the confirmation that he had won his case, only if he begun construction on the house or have it demolished.
He kicked a piece of wood from his path as he walked through the house, shuddering from the memory when he had been trapped there in the original fire. Sighing, he hadn’t had a clue of the first place to start. All he did know was that he wanted to keep some of the original house as it was their home.
He had believed he was alone until he turned around and yelled out, his eyes glowing blue. “What the fu- What are you doing here Bella?” he started before quickly calming and looking at her. “What’s wrong?”
She hugged herself as she shook her head, tears falling over her cheeks. “I don’t know. Why did they do what they did Peter? I’m nobody to them,” she cried.
Peter stared at her, unsure of how to handle the crying girl. Of all the ghostly visits she had made before they rescued her, this was the strongest image of her he’d ever seen. Reaching out, his hand went right through her hair and sighed. “I don’t know what is going on Princess. What did they do to upset you? Was it Derek? You know I can kick his ass for you. Alpha or not…” he smiled, trying to get her to settle down.
It had only upset her even more. Not understanding what he said or could do to fix it, he looked at her pleadingly. “I don’t know how to help you, Princess. Please work with me here,” he nearly begged.
His phone rang as she continued to cry, and he stepped away to answer it. Hearing it was his nephew, he sighed. “Derek…”
Peter quickly learned what was upsetting the girl and hung up, trying to figure out how to work with the information now. “Princess,” he started, before stopping. “Can you come over here so we can sit and talk about this?”
Bella followed obediently and sat on the couch quietly. He narrowed his eyes, not liking the particular way she responded as she had been resistent to anything asked of her that she didn’t want to do. Even something that simple since she woke. “Princess, you should know that even though a lot of people around here don’t know you very well or at all, each one of them who know about you, care. Now will you tell me what is upsetting you?”
She shook her head and turned to lay across the old couch with her head on his lap. He blinked in surprise at her movement, disappointed that he was unable to comfort her any further as his attempt to touch her failed. “Ah, Princess. As much as I enjoy the moment, I really wish I could do more for you right now,” he muttered as his hand lingered over her shoulder, unsure of where to settled it as it would just go through her.
“You’re doing exactly what I need right now Peter. Thank you,” she murmured as she finally began to calm down. He frowned as he could hear how tired she was in her voice. Sighing, he just sat there, waiting for her to make her move but it wasn’t long before her astral self fell asleep on him and disappeared. Looking around to see if she was around, he grabbed his coat before running out of the house to make it back to town to find out what the hell was going on.
It was about an hour before Bella drew in a gasping breath, causing a few of the teens to jump in surprise. Derek was already at her side as her eyes shot open, and she struggled to catch her breath. When she was able to focus in on his face, she very nearly began to cry all over again like she had with Peter.
“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” she whispered to him as he helped to sit her up. She surprised him as she wrapped her arms around him. Her eyes took in everyone as she peeked over his shoulder and trembled. “Can we leave?” she mumbled into his jacket.
He held her, unable to move but the moment she asked him to leave, he was ready to grant her wish. “Yeah,” he said as he lifted her easily in his arms again. Walking out as they ignored the protests, he went straight to his car. “Anywhere you’d like to go?” he asked as he set her on her feet once he opened the door for her.
“Anywhere away from them,” she answered as she saw a couple of them coming out of the doors.
Her response confused him, but he nodded. Closing the door after her, he looked back to Scott and Stiles, who had come out and waved them off. He was clearly just as confused as everyone else but if Bella was resistant to being around anyone, there was no way he would find out what was her problem if they were around.
Derek was quick to get as much distance between the clinic and them before he looked over at her. He struggled to find something to say as she appeared just as distracted as before, finding the envelope from Argent still in the car that he had tucked between the seats. He eyed her as she pulled out the passport and driver’s license, looking them over more.
“You okay?” he eventually asked.
“Isabella Argent. Why would he give me his name if he never met me?” Bella asked. “I don’t understand. And no offense Derek, but your friends are assholes. They talk too much shit.”
He raised an eyebrow, amused at her. “As to why Argent did what he did, only he can answer that for you. We can go there and ask him if you want. As far as the others, I warned you that Peter and I fucked up a lot. They have their reasons for their feelings.”
“Peter isn’t nearly as evil as they make him out to be,” she muttered as she tugged on her hair. “I think the Alpha power just got to his head.”
Nodding slowly, Derek didn’t quite share the same sentiment having known the man as long as he did, but her steadfast defense of him and his uncle left him feeling unsure. Turning the corner, he headed for the hunter’s house. “I hope you are right Bella,” he rubbed his eyes.
She stared back at him for a minute before turning back to the documents in her hands. Waking in her body and seeing how he was looking back at her, Bella couldn’t help but feel even more guilty about what she had done. “I’m sorry,” she whispered.
He frowned at her words. “What for?”
“I didn’t mean to worry you. I – it was all just so overwhelming. I was so angry at them about Peter then that girl went and gave me these. I never asked for it, but they did it for me anyway. I just needed to get away from them and with you holding me the way you were, I couldn’t get free to leave. I did the only thing I could,” she admitted as her tears began to fall again.
Pulling over quickly, Derek reached over and wiped them away. “Don’t worry about needing an escape. I understand now what happened but maybe next time, give me a warning? I thought you were dead,” he replied. “Don’t do that again.”
Bella fervently nodded. “Okay,” he continued once he was satisfied that they were somewhat on the same page again. “While you were on your – trip, Deaton’s contact about you arrived. She was the one shared that you weren’t actually gone from us.”
She didn’t know what to say to that. Her first day out and she was hit with the teenagers that both rescued her and held deep seeded apathy. For one of the two that she’d quickly come to trust, only then to be practically be handed the opportunity for a new life. A new life with the person’s name. Now her friend was telling her that there was another stranger she would have to deal with. “I can’t…”
“So we’ll wait,” Derek assured her. He tucked her hair behind her ear, gently smiling as she looked back at him. “Come on. We’re close enough to Argent that we can walk the rest of the way.”
Bella sighed and pulled away to get out of the car. She looked around as she waited for Derek to join her before he led her to a nearby house, where the front door opened before they even approached it. She moved closer to Derek’s side as she looked up at the man, still undecided if he were a threat or not.
“Bella. Derek. Come on in,” the man said with a friendly smile. He backed away, giving her some space as she was lead inside to the living room. As he looked at her, and the wolf’s clear protective stance as he provided her with some separation between himself and her. “I had a feeling that you two might be coming after Allison called. Scott explained everything that he knew about the rescue. How are you doing? Would you like something to drink? Derek?”
The wolf shook his head as he looked at the girl. She hesitated as she kept an eye on him. Chris was careful as he addressed her, knowing that she would be rather defensive and suspicious considering her history. “Well I’m in the mood for some lemonade,” he said. “I’ll be right back.”
She turned to look up at Derek as he smiled back at her. “You’re doing fine,” he assured her, sensing her anxiety slowly rising. “We’re okay here.”
“If you’re wrong…” she started to mutter but Chris returned with a pitcher of lemonade and a few glasses. She kept an eye on him as he set them on the coffee table and poured himself a glass before moving to an armchair.
Chris took a long sip as he never broke eye contact with her. Releasing a satisfied breath, he held his glass up in a mock toast. “Allison may not cook worth a damn, but she does make a mean lemonade. Have a seat,” he waved to the couch.
Derek tugged on her arm for her to join him, remaining silent in hopes that she would be brave enough to ask what she needed. The silence between the three was awkward as neither person were willing to have the first say about the reason for the visit. Eventually, Bella moved to pour herself a glass of the lemonade, taking a small sip herself.
Holding the glass in her hand, she stared down into the drink as she tried to gather her thoughts. She did not know what to say or how to feel. There was a mixture of turbulent emotions within her; gratitude and guilt being up at the forefront. “Why did you give me your name on the IDs?” she blurted out.
The man bowed his head, acknowledging her question. “I can see where you want to know and why, considering we had never met before. I don’t know what everyone – especially Derek – has told you about myself and my family. He has his reasons to feel certain ways towards us, and I will admit they are valid considering what had happened. We both learned the truth, and I hope that we have gotten past it. I know Derek isn’t a – bad man. He has made questionable decisions. I will admit that I have done the same too, only I hadn’t begun to look back on my actions until my family and I moved to Beacon Hills.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Bella asked, wondering why he was going on about the events before her arrival.
“I’m telling you this because I would like us to get to know one another. You want to know why I gave you my name. In our world, the Argent family are well known for our skills in hunting the supernatural. It will give you a small amount of protection in that sense, especially knowing how Cold Ones can be. I doubt we have seen the last of them. Scott said a few got away?”
Bella quickly turned to Derek in fear. “Who got away?”
He studied her, confused as he thought back to that night. “The one Peter’s friend called Penny Top and the one able to use electricity in her touch I know. I was focused on getting to you while everyone else dealt with them.”
“Edward and Kate,” she murmured, shivering as she thought about him still being somewhere in the world. “I wouldn’t doubt that Alice took off during the fight too.”
“Do they have gifts?” Chris asked as he leaned forward in his seat.
“Edward is a mind reader. Alice can see the future. Do you know who didn’t make it?” she questioned as she looked back and forth between the men.
“There was a big guy that the Twins took down in the beginning and a motherly looking one that I ripped the head off of,” Derek said as he scratched the corner of his eye, unsure of how she still felt about some of them.
She nodded as she pieced it together. “Emmett and Esme. If Kate was there, then I’m sure the rest of the Denali’s were around. Why did they want me so much? Edward tried to change me, and it didn’t work.”
Chris grimaced and shook his head. “We shouldn’t speculate until we do some more research. I’m still looking into things for you. But going back to your first question; besides being a hunter, if anyone asks, we’re family. Allison knows the story I set up if someone were to start to question your sudden appearance. You’re her older sister, my daughter, who was away at school. Now before you start to have an issue, I’m not going to ask you to move in with us or anything. You trust Derek. I see that. And I know he will protect you. Just know that not everyone here is an enemy. We want to be your friend.”
Bella looked out the window as she considered it. She knew it was her best option, and it would set her up where she would be protected from Alice’s visions if she were to look for Bella Swan. “I think I can manage to call you Dad if I have to in public. I just…”
“Nothing. If you need me, feel free to call. Derek has my number that he can give you,” Chris smiled at her.
Derek stood as he nodded his thanks to him. “We should go get you your clothes before the stores close.”
“Yeah. Right. Of course,” she murmured, overwhelmed with emotion. At least this time, she didn’t feel the need to flee. “Thank you Mr. Argent.”
“Chris is fine, Bella. Stay safe,” he said as he guided them to the door. “Keep close,” he warned, concern never leaving as he watched the girl. He had a bad feeling when it came to her and the vampires. He just needed to know why.