Tossing and turning in bed, Isaac was having a rough night. He’d been waking up constantly all night, and as a result, his sleep quality was very low. He hadn’t slept for longer than half an hour in one go, and it was taking its toll. He was getting frustrated. This wasn’t the first time he’d suffered with bad dreams either. He’d had them each and every night since returning to the world he knows and loves, following the encounter with Father Time. He didn’t want to experience anything like that again, and even the mere thought of going through it all over again terrified him. He was shaking and shivering in his bed as if he were lying in an igloo with no duvet. Nobody knew about his situation either, he didn’t want to confide in Malia, particularly when she’s got more important matters on her mind – notably rekindling some kind of connection with Peter, her father. They were all going for dinner that night, and it made Isaac even more nervous. What if he made a fool of himself and ruined it? Peter was a difficult man to impress, even if they knew each other already. He rolled over and faced the window, staring through the open curtains. He knew he wouldn’t be sleeping any time soon…
The ringing of the school bell was not a pleasant sound for Liam. He hadn’t missed it at all over the Christmas holidays, and would much rather be spending the morning lounging around in bed. Company from Nolan would’ve made it even better. At least they shared first lesson – maths. Not Liam’s absolute favourite lesson, but any lesson where he’s sat with his friends was made automatically better. As he walked through the corridor, past the many lockers that clouded the walls, he picked up a copy of the school’s first newsletter. He knew the head journalist – Frankie Hartman. They were in a couple of classes together and he was a great lacrosse player, but Liam didn’t know him all that well. He didn’t look at the newsletter when he picked it up, intending on reading it later, and strolled into Miss Padhi’s classroom. Nolan, Mason and Corey were already there, and Liam slotted into his place between Nolan and Mason. He slung his bag onto the table and discarded the newsletter next to it. Nolan couldn’t help catching a glance as he noticed the headline.
“What is this?” he asked, noticing the short and snappy headline.
“’Time’s Up’” Liam read, picking it up as he sat down on his chair.
“Haven’t you heard yet?” Mason commented.
“Heard what?” Liam queried, confused. Mason pointed at the article, hinting for Liam to read it. So he did just that. His eyes skimmed over the article, which was essentially a retelling of Father Time’s arrival at the animal clinic before Christmas, with photos of his presence as well as exposing many of their names. Liam couldn’t believe what he was reading. He glanced around the room and saw at least ten other copies of the newsletter on people’s desks. He was getting disturbed glances back at him. Suddenly, he felt incredibly small in such a huge classroom. Liam felt lightheaded, dizzy and sick.
“Boys, do you need a moment outside?” Miss Padhi asked. She had a copy of the newsletter on her desk too. Thankfully, she was well aware of the situation. Supernaturals in Beacon Hills came as a huge surprise to her and she still wasn’t fully at grips with the situation, but she cared for her students and Liam obviously needed time out. He nodded in response, and all four boys filtered out of the room. Once outside the door, they took a deep breath.
“What the hell is this?” Liam let rip, yelling in rage.
“He planned it all along” Corey noted, “He threatened us earlier. I didn’t think he’d do this though.”
“We’ve got to tell Scott” Mason added.
It had been a relaxing holiday for Scott. After the Father Time debacle, things settled down once more. Regression to the mean, as Deaton had taught him. Things weren’t so good before Christmas. Not only had he lost some of his friends to an alternate plane, but he and Maddie were over for good. Despite their intentions to stay close, they hadn’t seen each other since the New Year’s Eve party. Not even a text from Maddie in that time. Although, it’s worth noting that Scott hadn’t sent a text either, so he was just as much to blame. Now his focus had returned to college. He was heading back that night, and had a lot of packing to do as always. He’d barely bothered unpacking when he arrived back, but somehow all of his clothes managed to end up sprawled across his bedroom floor, much to Melissa’s disapproval. As he picked up a t-shirt from beside his bed, he noticed the photo on his bedside table. It was a selfie he’d taken with Maddie just before he left for college the first time.
“How times change” he commented to himself. However sad he felt when looking at it, he couldn’t bring himself to change the photo. Interrupting Scott’s train of thought was the harsh vibrating jolts of his mobile phone in his pocket. Sliding it out with ease, Scott saw Liam’s name on the flashing screen and slid his finger across the screen to answer the call immediately.
“Scott, it’s an emergency” Liam began, barely gasping for breath.
“Woah, slow down, what’s the problem?” Scott remained calm and collected.
“It’s out. Our secret’s been published in the school newsletter. It can’t be long until it spreads” Liam detailed. Scott’s eyes widened in horror, and immediately he abandoned any hope of packing for the time being and stormed out of his bedroom.
Head pounding like she’d been knocked our stone cold, Maddie woke up in the room adjacent to Isaac. She was lying on her right side, in a comfortable position, but had a terrible headache, and couldn’t remember many details about the night before.
I am never drinking alcohol again, she thought to herself. She knew she wouldn’t keep to this, however. Parties and booze were just too irresistible. It felt like a hangover – a sensation she hadn’t felt before, but a feeling she’d heard described by peers over the years. As a werecoyote, her body should’ve healed too quickly for alcohol to have any impact on her. Why did she have this feeling right now? Lying on her side, she heaved her body over to face the other direction, readjusting herself. To her surprise, she noticed she wasn’t alone in bed. Gazing open-eyed at her was the lad she remembered snogging from the New Year’s Eve party.
“Oh hi” she slurred.
“Hey” he responded, his cute Mexican accent almost being a cure for her painful headache. All of a sudden, it dawned on her. Maddie didn’t know his name. She didn’t even remember bumping into him last night. The only memory she had was dancing with him on New Year’s Eve. Embarrassed, she knew she had to ask him.
“Forgive me, hangover and all that, but what’s your name?” Maddie queried, blushing. Her dad would be ashamed if he saw her in this moment.
“Francisco” he smiled, “And you’re Maddie. Don’t worry, you had a lot to drink last night.”
Tell me about it, Maddie thought. She was shocked at how little of the night she could recall. Alcohol had no effect on her whatsoever, and no matter how much she drank, she normally could remember every single second, but this time, she couldn’t remember what happened beyond her arrival at the club down town. Not even the tiniest detail. Nevertheless, she turned back over and reached for her bra from the floor next to the bed, protecting her modesty with the duvet.
“I was thinking we could get a little apartment a few streets over for when we’re back from college, you know, a place for just us. Nothing too big or expensive, but it’d be ours” Stiles was thinking aloud. He was sat at his dining table, opposite Lydia who was scrolling through her phone, barely listening.
“There’s no way we could afford it” she shrugged it off, “Neither of us have a job, and our loans can only take us so far.”
“I’ll get a job, just you watch” Stiles was keen for this to happen.
“I’d love to see that” Lydia responded, teasing him, “You’re exhausted at college as it is.” Even Stiles couldn’t argue with that. He knew she was right. Thankfully, almost as if on cue, his dad entered the room, dressed in his sheriff uniform ready for work.
“Dad, how much would it take to rent a flat in Beacon Hills?” Stiles interrogated, hoping his dad would offer a practical solution.
“More than you could afford” Stilinski responded. Lydia smirked, pleased she was proved right.
“What about my savings?” Stiles continued, prodding for a solution.
“What savings?” Stilinski rebutted.
“Come on dad, I saw the account, you’ve got over a grand saved, it’s a start, right?”
“I think you’d be better off focusing on your studies, kid” Stilinski closed the interview, “Anyway, I need to get to work. Lydia, you’ve got full responsibility to kick my son’s ass if he’s annoying.”
“Noted” Lydia responded, enjoying the power.
“Hey, I am still here you know” Stiles contended. Lydia and Stilinski shared a smirk, before Stilinski left for work. As he left, a panicked Scott entered the room.
“Hey Scotty boy, to what do we owe this pleasure?” Stiles perked back up upon the arrival of his best mate.
“I’m afraid it’s not a social call” Scott responded, sounding panicked, “Take a look at this.” He handed Stiles the school newsletter. He glanced over it, skim-reading, but it was enough to understand the situation as clear as crystal. Stiles’ good mood turned sour once again, as Scott’s panic became contagious.
Stood opposite the greasy spoon restaurant at the opposite end of Beacon Hills, Malia was anxious. Although she had Isaac by her side, she was not used to family gatherings and the idea of one terrified her. If you could even call it a family gathering. Peter was due to arrive soon. She hadn’t seen him since he assisted them against the Ghost Riders, and she didn’t really miss him. He obviously felt similar, as not even a Christmas card came her way. What’s more is that Peter has quite the track record. A murderer, a power-hungry psycho and a backstabber. Despite all this though, he was still her dad, and Malia felt she owed him the chance to meet her boyfriend properly. However, Isaac wasn’t being much of a calming influence. Despite numerous layers to shelter his skin from the harsh slaps of the winter winds, Isaac was shivering like crazy.
“Are you nervous?” she questioned, intrigued.
“No, why would I be? I’ve been in Peter’s presence on a number of occasions” Isaac responded as if he were hiding something.
“Something’s up” Malia identified, “Your heartbeat is abnormally high.” Isaac opened his mouth to respond, but before he had the chance to speak, a familiar tone filled their ears.
“Well if it isn’t my two favourite teenagers” Peter smiled a smug grin as he emerged from the shadows of the alleyway adjacent, “Might I say Malia, you are looking gorgeous tonight.” Malia growled defensively.
“And here’s a face I haven’t laid eyes upon in way too long. Good to see you Mr. Lahey” Peter had his charm-ometer turned up to eleven. Isaac nodded in acknowledgement but didn’t want to respond.
“So, are we gonna stand out here all night?” Peter commented, looking up at the restaurant sign, “Phil’s Burger Bar. Couldn’t we have gone somewhere more upmarket?”
“Sure. When you prove to me you’re worth the extra charges” Malia retorted, barging past him into the restaurant.
The volume of the canteen was as loud as ever, as Liam’s increasingly large group of friends all perched around their usual bench inside. Liam was on the end, with Nolan and Cody to his left, and Mason, Corey and Becky opposite. Slightly further down the long bench, Daan had abandoned the group to sit with his stunning new girlfriend. Her long dark hair flowed down her back, and her beautiful green eyes shone brightly in the light.
“Who even is she? I’ve never seen her before” Nolan wondered.
“Her name is Jodie. They met on New Year’s Day at the comic book store” Cody informed.
“Almost sounds too good to be true” Mason noted, “A girl into comic books. I mean, not to stereotype, but they aren’t all that common. The testosterone levels in that store are off the scale.”
“And you’d know” Corey jested.
“I mean, she is pretty!” Liam observed, as Daan went in for at least their fifth kiss this lunch break. Nolan glared at him with a raised eyebrow.
“Just saying, don’t worry” Liam clarified, as Nolan smiled a cheeky smile.
“I’m glad you’re all in high spirits” Becky interrupted, “I’m having the day from hell.”
“Yeah, I think we’ve all had better days” Corey stated.
“Hold up” Becky mentioned, “five o’clock.” She spoke for the benefit of those on the opposite side of the desk to her. Liam spun his head around to see Frankie casually strolling by, without a worry in the world. Liam’s eyes glowed yellow as he felt his inner wolf raging merely at the sight of him. Nolan instantly sprung to action, placing a gentle hand on Liam’s shoulder – he knew it always comforted him. Sure enough, it gave Liam a reality check, and he ensured he was back in control.
“Why don’t we go talk to him?” Nolan suggested. Liam nodded – they had to at least understand his motivations.
Having followed Stilinski to the sheriff station, Scott, Stiles and Lydia were hugely concerned about the article. Firstly, they had to get the bigger picture. How far had the article spread? Scott prayed it hadn’t spread beyond the high school, but in the age of social media and smartphones, he knew that wasn’t likely. Stilinski flicked the switch on the television and tapped in the number of the news channel. Nothing unusual was being reported. Even though Frankie had photo proof of Father Time, one school kid is hardly a verifiable source. That meant it could be contained. A slight relief for Scott.
“This kid, what’s his name?” Stilinski queried.
“Frankie Hartman” Stiles explained, “He’s a senior, Liam knows him from the lacrosse team.” Stilinski tapped his name into his computer.
“No records. He’s totally clean. Nothing about his parents either. Pretty normal life, younger sister started at Beacon Hills High last September, nothing on her either. We’ve got no grounds to bring him in here” Stilinski dealt professionally as always.
“Doesn’t mean we can’t reprimand him ourselves” Lydia added as she took a seat. Her head was beginning to hurt again. She’d had headaches on and off for the past couple of weeks, but in true Lydia Martin style, she carried on as normal.
“Liam’s on it already, I just got a text” Scott mentioned, “He said he’d keep us updated.” Stiles glanced over to see Lydia resting with her hand against her head, obviously exhausted.
“Hey, what’s up?” he questioned.
“Nothing, I’m just tired” she lied, trying to stop Stiles worrying.
“You’re obviously not tired Lydia, I know you inside out and I can tell when you’re lying” Stiles caught her out. Lydia knew she had to come clean.
“Ever since the séance, I’ve not felt right” Lydia confessed.
“Have you had any premonitions?” Scott queried.
“None” Lydia responded, “Which isn’t unusual, they’re inconsistent, but I’ve had a near-constant headache and I feel lousy.”
“Maybe we need to get you checked out” Scott suggested.
“By who? There’s no supernatural doctor” Stiles was concerned.
“I wouldn’t be so sure” Scott was much more optimistic.
“Aren’t you gonna answer that?” Argent complained. He was getting irritated by the constant sound of Maddie’s phone buzzing. Working from home was a luxury that he only experienced from time-to-time, so having company was not something he needed or wanted. Maddie was sprawled across the sofa, her legs across Francisco’s lap as he sat at the opposite end. She glanced at her phone; even with the brightness reduced to its minimum, the light emitted still hurt her head. Paracetamol wasn’t helping either. On the phone screen, she saw three missed calls from Scott.
“I’ll pass” Maddie retorted in response. She sat herself up, swinging her leg around to her front and chucking the nearby blanket over her for extra comfort.
“Who was calling?” Francisco questioned, being nosey.
“Scott” Maddie confessed, “My ex.”
“Wow, he sounds pushy” Francisco deduced, as the phone buzzed again.
“He’s not” Maddie defended, “We’re…. we’re still friends. It’s difficult though, you know?”
“Are you sure he’s not calling for a good reason?” Argent tried to hint that the call may be supernatural related.
“Scott can cope without me” Maddie responded, “I’m more comfortable here.” She leaned in to kiss Francisco, enjoying his company still. She meant what she said about Scott. As much as she still cared for him deeply, she wasn’t quite ready to be in his presence again. For now, she wanted to give herself distance, and Francisco was the perfect distraction. Francisco grinned as Maddie laid her head on his lap, tucking an empty row of tablets out of her eyeline…
Isaac stared at the menu in front of him. He saw the words on the page, but he wasn’t really reading them. He couldn’t concentrate.
“Isaac?” Malia tried jogging him. He wasn’t listening. Malia repeated, “Isaac?”
“Huh?” he responded, snapping back into the room.
“It’s time to order” Malia nudged.
“I’m not hungry” Isaac answered. He wasn’t lying, his appetite was notably smaller since returning back to his usual life.
“You’ll be pleased to hear that I most definitely am hungry” Peter butted in. As always, the attention had to be on him. Malia opted to ignore.
“You’ve been acting strange all day, please tell me what’s up” Malia spoke directly to Isaac.
“Excuse me for interrupting” Peter began, suddenly sounding less smug than usual.
“Shut it” Malia cut him off before looking back at Isaac.
“I’ve not felt right in a while. Like I’m having some kind of withdrawal symptoms” Isaac opened up.
“Why didn’t you say?” Malia as concerned. She placed her hand on his cheek, and her veins, filled with her black coyote blood, came closer to her skin as the pain Isaac was feeling filtered out of him.
“Not to take away from this lovely, heart-wrenching moment” Peter persisted.
“What?” Malia snapped.
“Do you know her?” Peter pointed to the booth behind. A young girl with jet black wavy hair wearing a beanie hat was staring directly at the group of them.
“Yeah, that’s Sydney, she goes to the high school” Malia detailed, giving an awkward attempt at a friendly smile to Sydney.
“I can smell her fear” Peter noted, “It wreaks.” Malia paused for a second. She looked all around her. Sydney was not the only person staring at them. People she’d never seen before were glaring over at them, and Malia knew why. She had the same sense of smell as her father. The fear was unavoidable.
“We’d better go” Malia tried her best to remain calm as she helped heave Isaac up, but inside, she was panicking. She hurried out of the restaurant, with Peter and Isaac following.
“Same time next week?” Peter commented as the door slammed shut behind them.
Cautiously, Liam led Nolan over to join Frankie in the lunch hall. Frankie, as always, was sitting with Lawrie – his best friend.
“Look who it is” Frankie commented as he saw the duo approaching.
“We need to talk. Outside. Now” Liam was blunt in his delivery.
“Anything you want to say, you can say it here” Frankie was just as firm in response. Liam didn’t want to cause a commotion, so he joined them at the bench, perched next to Lawrie. Nolan sat opposite, to Frankie’s right.
“Well go on then, I haven’t got all day” Frankie rudely remarked.
“That article” Liam began.
“What about it?” Frankie was not playing around.
“You have to publish a notice saying it’s a joke. What you saw…there’s a reason it’s not public knowledge” Liam pleaded his case.
“Freedom of the press” Frankie simply stated. He’d planned his responses well in advance.
“My mom doesn’t even know about me yet” Nolan added emotionally. The idea of her finding out that her son is werewolf through an article out of his control terrified him. However, he wasn’t in the right frame of mind to speak to his mum at that point. She was difficult at the best of times.
“It’s alright Nolan, I’ve saved you the hassle, now can you leave us alone? I need to eat” Frankie concluded the chat. Liam refused to move.
“I’d do what he says if I were you” Lawrie backed up his friend.
“You’ve not heard the last of this” Liam threatened as he stood up. Nolan followed him once again, as they both focused their hearing on Frankie’s cackling. His nonchalance made every inch of Liam’s body absolutely furious.
Shining her torch brightly into Lydia’s eye, Melissa was making keen observations. She was the only person in the hospital who was qualified to make judgements about supernatural cases, so was always Scott’s first port of call.
“How have you been sleeping?” Melissa queried.
“Not great” Lydia responded, “I’ve had about two hours.”
“A night?” Melissa clarified.
“In two weeks” Lydia corrected. Melissa was taken aback, as was Stiles, who had no idea this was going on.
“Stiles, do you remember when you were sleep-deprived a little while ago?” Melissa turned her attention to Stiles briefly.
“Sure, you put me to sleep, although I was being possessed by a Nogitsune at the time which probably didn’t help” Stiles rambled.
“I’ll give you a shot of Midazolam, we use it to help patients relax before surgery” Melissa explained to Lydia, “A good night’s sleep should help.” She stood up and signalled to Scott to join her outside. Closing the door gently behind him, Scott was worried about what Melissa was about to tell him.
“Is she going to be okay?” he nervously asked.
“She’ll be just fine. She’s been through a traumatic experience. If I were you, I’d check in on Isaac and Daan too” Melissa explained. Scott nodded as he reached to take his phone out of his pocket.
“Actually, I should say, I’ll check in on them” she continued, “You’ll be on your way back to college, as originally planned, young man. Go and finish your packing and get yourself gone. I’ll keep these two under control.” Scott opened his mouth to protest.
“Nuh uh” Melissa immediately cut him off, “No excuses.” Scott gave his mum a peck on the cheek and dashed off back home.
Back in the hospital room, Stiles had his hand on Lydia’s cheek. She was lying down on the hospital bed, with Stiles perched on the edge next to her.
“You should’ve told me. I can’t protect you if you don’t tell me anything” he said, feeling emotional.
“I can look after myself. I didn’t want you worrying” Lydia justified.
“We look after each other, Lydia. I worry about you daily, it’s my job” Stiles admitted.
“I’m too headstrong for my own good” Lydia admitted in a rare moment of vulnerability, “Always been my problem.”
“Yup. It’s one of the many reasons why I love you” Stiles smiled. The sight of Stiles’ smile always put Lydia at ease. He was her calming influence day-in, day-out, and Stiles knew deep down that she was truly trying to protect him by keeping him in the dark. He appreciated the sentiment, even if it were flawed.
After an hour had passed, Scott felt he had everything ready to go. He chucked the last of his bags into Stiles’ old jeep, and climbed into the driver’s seat, gently shutting the duct-tape supported door behind him. As he twisted the key in the wheezy ignition and the lights flashed on, Scott was startled by a familiar and not very friendly face in front of him. He could recognise the older but extremely lethal man before his eyes any day. Gerard Argent approached the window and knocked three times – ordering Scott to wind it down, without muttering a word. Scott obeyed, reluctantly.
“Going somewhere, Scott?” Gerard antagonised, his voice alone sending shivers through Scott’s body. Blocking his way in front was a young girl he’d never seen before, but by the look on her face, she was with Gerard. Scott subtly looked in the mirror to check behind him – it was a brick wall, no chance of escape. He had to endure whatever Gerard wanted…
In the depths of the forest that night, two teenagers were making out. Their passion was unwitnessed, as it was a quiet night and nobody else was around. It was the only place they could get any privacy, and they were making the most of it. The lad was eager for the girl’s body. His on-trend quaffed curls were being ruffled by her gentle hands. Similarly, his hands were placed carefully in her dark wavy locks, keeping them out of her face as they kissed. Strangely, he felt himself becoming drenched by water. His hair was flopping onto his forehead as the curls became much less defined. She however kept kissing him, as if nothing strange were going on, but he pushed her back for a second.
“Is it raining?” he asked, confused. He held his hand out in front of his body. Not a speck of rain touched it. However, what caught his eye was the water trickling down from the girl’s hands, like they were a tap. Freaked out, he began to run, but with one smooth move, the girl shot her hand out and the ground became soaking wet as a large puddle formed beneath their feet. The young lad’s feet slipped on the wet mud and he crashed down onto the slippery, disgusting ground, ruining the clothes he’d selected carefully for the date. She approached him as he laid helpless on the floor, and before he could get himself back up, she put her hand over his mouth. Water dripped from around her hand as she restricted his breathing, his mouth filling up with water. The overflow trickled into his nose, losing any hope of catching air. After ten seconds, he fell back onto the floor. This time – completely lifeless.