When Alphas Attack</b>
Ryan was sneaking back into the pool house, wondering if it was too late to call Brooke for a little post-patrol sex, when he smelled it. Smelled them. The Alpha Pack was near, and when he stopped and sniffed, he realized the smell came from the house and he moved quickly, silently, to open the door and slip inside. The smell was stronger inside, and now he could hear their footsteps, quiet but firm, as they paced the living room, and he could also hear ragged breathing from a human, and smell Sandy, Kirsten, and Seth were in the room with the Pack, the fear wafting off of them. Ryan felt his anger rising and moved forward, staying quick and silent until he was close enough to peer into the room and see that Sandy was hurt, an arm holding his ribs as Seth huddled by him and Kirsten stayed between them and the pack.
One part of him, the part that Jess had told to never trust hunters, the part that Volchak had told to always kill hunters, considered walking away. But he knew he couldn't, not from his family, not from the only people, outside of Jess and Brooke, who loved him. So when Sadie took a step towards Kirsten, Ryan surged forward to grab her by the arm and throw her away, moving to stand in defense of his family. "I don't think so," he growled, letting the change begin. Behind him, he heard Kirsten's startled gasp and Seth's shocked mumblings, but he ignored them, his focus on the wolves in front of him, and on the hope that Jess would know he was in trouble and come help.
"She's a hunter!" Sadie growled.
"She's my family," Ryan replied. "No one hurts my family."
"She'll gut you as soon as we're gone," Sadie said.
"Maybe, but I'm still not going to let you hurt them. Maybe I'll be dead by morning, maybe everything I've done in the past few months to protect myself, and to stop the you will be for nothing, but at least I'll know I'm still human enough to protect my family. That's more than I can say for you."
"Don't you dare..."
"You let him rip your aunt's throat out. You killed your cousin because he said so."
"Johnny was weak. He would have made a pathetic wolf."
"He was your blood."
"And this is my Pack."
"As the Alpha's whore," Ryan growled, gauging it perfectly so that when she lunged for him he could grab her and smash her head into the edge of the fireplace mantel, momentarily stunning her and allowing him to turn on a few of the others. He heard movement behind him, from the Cohens, but decided to trust that even if he was going to be dead by sunrise, Kirsten would have the sense to let him save Sandy and Seth first, and instead went after another member of the pack. As he got his target on the ground, bleeding and too injured to fight, he felt teeth latch onto his shoulder and threw back his head with a howl of pain just before feeling another jolt. The teeth suddenly released and Ryan spun to see Kirsten swinging a fireplace poker down on the back of the werewolf's neck with as much force as she could.
That left one more, plus Sadie who was bound to wake up soon, and Ryan was turning to take on the last wolf when Jess came charging out of the kitchen and grabbed the male, throwing him into the wall and then grabbing him again to repeat the action. Ryan spun on Sadie, who was conscious and backing away, snarling at him. "Run and live to fight another day," Ryan growled.
"Retreat!" Sadie ordered backing towards the door as the rest of the pack, sans the one Kirsten had just stabbed through the throat with the poker, fled the house.
For a moment, there was near silence, only Ryan and Jess' heavy breathing echoing in the still of the night, then Seth's voice rang out. "What the hell just happened?"
Ryan turned to his family, letting his features return to human. "I..." he began, aware of Jess standing behind him, alert but not hostile. "Kirsten..."
The woman moved forward and pulled him into her arms, smoothing his hair. "Oh, Ryan," she whispered.
"I'm sorry," Ryan replied, gripping the back of her shirt in a mix of relief and regret. "I wanted to tell you, but... I was scared... and then I found out your family..."
Kirsten pulled back to cradle his face in her hands. "You are my son, I would never hurt you," she said firmly.
"I just... I didn't know if I could really believe that enough," Ryan admitted. He glanced towards Jess. "He doesn't... we don't go after people. I promise. Any... hunting... is small animals, and not pets. We did not eat Dustin."
"Ew," Jess put in at the idea of it. "No way would I eat that mangy mutt, I have standards. That was the Alpha Pack."
"A pack of all Alphas?" Kirsten asked, sitting down heavily.
"Yeah," Ryan said.
"They wanted Ryan to join up, he wouldn't," Jess said. "Not his thing, attacking and killing people for fun. Not mine either, but... I'm not an Alpha, just a nuisance."
"What the hell is going on?" Sandy asked.
Kirsten sighed, scrubbing a hand over her face. "Werewolves," she said. "They're real. Those people that broke in, and Ryan and Jess, are werewolves."
"That's... no way," Seth said.
Ryan walked over to crouch in front of his friend and flashed his eyes red, letting the claws show and his facial features morph. A small part of him enjoyed the shock on Seth's face, but the disgust was like a knife to the gut and he quickly dropped it and stepped back. "It wasn't by choice," he said pointedly. "I didn't want it. I was bit, and suddenly I was... this. And I had to worry about my family killing me."
"Ryan, you're my son and I will not let anyone hurt you," Kirsten repeated.
"You really think you can convince Caleb to go along with that?" Jess asked, angry. "He hunts down and kills any and all werewolves, no matter what rules we live by. When I was a kid, he went after my family's pack, back in Connecticut. Me and my Uncle Luke were the only survivors, and I remember watching your father kill my grandfather, for nothing. The Danes Wolves protected Stars Hollow, and all we got in return was death from an outsider, and invasion from other things because I was too young and Luke couldn't do it alone."
"My father has always insisted that he didn't kill the peaceful packs."
"Well, he lied," Jess said, his tone turning more than a little bitter and defeated.
"Do you follow what Caleb told you he did?" Ryan asked, moving slightly in front of Jess. "Not killing peaceful packs?"
"I don't hunt," Kirsten said. "I didn't want that life for myself or Seth. So I... I have the training, and when dad insists I refresh it, but... I don't hunt. And if you're asking me if Jess is safe? Then yes, from me he is absolutely safe."
"Good," Ryan said.
"I'm sorry, I'm just... having a little trouble wrapping my head around this," Sandy said.
"Werewolves are real. Some are evil and eat people for fun. Some are nice and eat foxes and raccoons instead. We're the latter kind," Jess said.
"Shit," Jess muttered, going pale as Caleb walked in, several others with him trying, unsuccessfully, to hide their weapons.
"Dad, tell them to put the weapons down, the threat's gone," Kirsten said.
Caleb glanced suspiciously at Ryan and Jess. "I'm not so sure about that."
Ryan glanced at Jess, who gave him a 'your call' look, then stepped forward, arms held out to show he didn't mean any threat. "Yeah, Jess and I are Werewolves. Him by blood, me by bite, neither of us by choice. And we don't attack people. Hell, we just protected Kirsten, Sandy, and Seth from an Alpha pack, and if you were telling Kirsten the truth all these years about not going after peaceful packs, then you will have them put down their weapons."
Caleb hesitated, then nodded sharply to his people. "An Alpha pack?"
"All Alphas," Kirsten said. "They came after us, and Ryan and Jess intervened."
"You didn't do so bad yourself, Mrs, Cohen," Jess said, nodding towards the dead man on the floor, fireplace poker still through his throat.
"He was attacking one of my sons, forget hunter, I was acting as a mother," Kirsten said. "I swear to you, Dad, if one of your people goes after either Ryan or Jess, they will answer to me."
"I know of other hunters who have made agreements with peaceful packs. Safety in exchange for assistance against more violent ones."
"We can work with that," Ryan said.
"How big is your pack?" Caleb asked.
"Your looking at it," Ryan said, gesturing at himself and Jess. "Neither of us are about to force someone into this. And it's not exactly a typical conversation starter, either."
Caleb nodded. "So not so much of a pack as two loners."
"Ryan's an Alpha," Jess said sharply. "If he has even one Beta or Omega following him, then he has a pack, and I'm following him."
"Does that girlfriend of yours know what you are?" Caleb asked Ryan, ignoring Jess.
"Yeah, Brooke knows. She been helping when we get hurt, giving us a place to hole up until we heal so questions won't be asked," Ryan said. "Better to get in trouble for spending the night with my girlfriend than get killed for being a wolf," he added with a glance towards Kirsten.
"Which will not happen in this house," Kirsten repeated once more. "Seth, go into your father and I's bedroom," she ordered, handing him a key. "There's a blue trunk in the closet, hidden behind my dresses, inside is a first aid kit. Do not touch the weapons, Seth, just bring the first aid kit out so I can try to patch up Ryan and your dad."
"Okay, mom," Seth said.
"Jess, go out back, make sure the Alphas are gone," Ryan said.
"You got it," Jess said, shooting one more wary glance towards Caleb before going outside.
Ryan watched him go, waiting until he heard the click of the back door closing, then turned back to Caleb. "If your rules, as Kirsten said, have always been not to go after peaceful Packs, why did you go after the Danes Wolves?" he asked, almost enjoying the look of surprise on Caleb's face.
"How did you..."
"Jess is a Danes," Ryan said simply. "He and his uncle are the only ones you didn't kill. And their pack protected their town, they didn't use the people as prey."
Caleb looked away, not wanting to meet Kirsten's Gaze. "I didn't... I told Kirsten when she was little that I only hunted dangerous packs because she was horrified by the idea. But after... when i realized we had nearly wiped out a pack that didn't hunt people... I started living by those rules," he said. "I was misled about the Danes Pack. I was told by an old friend that they were extremely dangerous, and there were human children locked in the house..."
"They were locked in the house to protect them because they didn't inherit the wolf genes," Ryan said. "Jess' grandfather knew there were hunters in town, and he had his human grandchildren in the house to keep them safe in case the hunters got violent. Fat lot of good it did because all of Jess' cousins, wolf and human, were killed that night when you and the other hunters set the house on fire."
"I was told the human children had been freed already," Caleb argued.
"Leaving just the wolf children to die?" Ryan replied. "Like Jess' two year-old cousin April, she was a big threat, huh?"
"Ryan..." Kirsten began.
"No, I want answers of why he thought killing innocent children, even if they were werewolves, was okay," Ryan snapped. "It's murder. And I may trust Kirsten, but I will never trust you, Mr. Nichols. I may be willing to work with you, to protect Newport and my family, but I will not trust you with my life, because I am always going to be waiting for you to stick a knife in it."
"How do I know I can trust you?" Caleb countered.
"Because killing you would hurt Kirsten and Seth, and I have the morals to know that would be wrong."
Seth came back with the large first aid kit then, taking in the tension. "Here you go, mom..." he began.
"Take care of Ryan first," Sandy said.
"I'm already healing," Ryan countered, tearing his shirt a little more to get a look at the wound. "It'll take longer because it was an Alpha that bit me, normal wolf I'd already be healed, but the bleeding has stopped, I'll be fine in a few hours."
"He will be," Kirsten said, though clearly she wanted to check Ryan's shoulder herself. "Let em take a look at your ribs, then I'll check on Ryan."
Sandy reluctantly agreed, watching Ryan closely, but also turning to glare at Caleb several times.