“Wait,” Derek said, holding up his hands. “Wait, wait, wait. You thought I was a criminal. Like a real criminal and part of a gang and maybe a murderer but definitely a drug runner. And you were still willing to be my boyfriend?”

“I told you it was love at first sight,” Stiles said. He immediately facepalmed. After a moment, he tentatively peeked between his fingers to try to gauge Derek’s reaction.

Derek wondered if he looked even half as stunned as he felt. When their eyes met, Derek blurted out, “Marry me.”

Stiles looked thunderstruck. Derek was so worried that he’d broken him, he almost missed Stiles’s quiet answer.




“Where are you going?” Cora asked through a mouthful of cereal.

“To the Seelie Court with Stiles,” Derek said, rifling through his drawers.

“Didn’t mom say to stay away from the Fair Folk because they’re dangerous?”

“Yes. But Stiles won’t listen so I have to go with him.”

“Dibs on your room if you die,” Cora said with an obnoxious slurp.

“Get blown, you fucktrumpet.”

“Wow, you really need to stop stealing insults from Stiles.”

Derek’s ears turned red. “Whatever. If I don’t die and my chips are gone when I get back, I’m gonna rip your tongue out of your mouth,” he said, ready to leave.

“If you want your chips, take them with you," Cora replied, brows arched. "Otherwise, I can’t be held responsible."

Derek swiped her bowl as he passed her and drank the last of her cereal milk before shoving it back in her hands.

“I hope you get killed in a really lame way,” she snarled at him.

“Bye, Cora,” Derek said, rolling his eyes. “Don’t tell mom I went to do something stupid with the boy she doesn’t approve of.”

“Fine!” Cora called, “I’ll tell Peter!”



Derek was trying to focus, he really was. Yet every time he managed to pay Laura even a bit of attention, Stiles would catch his eye and smirk at him. That mischievous, challenging look in his eyes made Derek want to pin him up against a wall and ruin him.

Stiles licked his bottom lip. Even knowing he was doing it on purpose did nothing to help Derek drag his gaze away.

“Stiles!” Laura snapped suddenly. They both jerked and looked at her. “Stop teasing my brother so you can both focus!”

Stiles gave her the same wide-eyed look he’d been giving Derek whenever the other man glared at him for being distracting. “I’m not doing anything,” he said.

Laura snorted. “Those innocent bambi eyes might work on him, but they don’t work on me. You’re not as cute as you think you are.”

“I’m goddamn adorable,” Stiles said, affronted.

“You’re a goddamn nuisance is what you are,” Laura retorted.

“Pretty sure those two things aren’t mutually exclusive,” Stiles smirked.

“Maybe we should get back on task,” Boyd said.



Allison grinned at him and watched his whole face go slack, mouth falling open a little. When he continued to just stare at her, her smile faded a little.

“Everything okay?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said too loudly, then winced. “You just… I… You… I didn’t…” he stammered.

His friend leaned around his shoulder to speak to her. “Those dimples hit him like a punch to the gut, man,” the other boy said, grinning mischievously. “He can’t talk because he thinks you’re beautiful."

“Stiles!” the first boy yelped, elbowing him sharply in the stomach.

“Ow, dude! What?” Stiles said, backing away a little. “It’s not like you were going to come up with anything coherent any time soon.”

The boy glared at him and turned back to Allison, who was making a heroic effort to suppress her giggles.

“Sorry,” he said, “My mom’s a nurse and she hates it when patients hit on her. She told me never to do that to a girl while she’s working, so I’m not trying to… Not that I wouldn’t want… I mean, I wouldn’t want… But I would want…”

Allison had gotten lost in the woulds and wouldn’ts so she was glad when Stiles took it upon himself to translate. He draped an arm around his friend’s shoulder and clapped a hand to his mouth.

“He thinks you’re pretty and he would like to ask for your number, but he doesn’t want to ask while you’re working because he wouldn’t like to make you uncomfortable.” He glanced sideways at his friend and said, “Scott, we’ve been friends for over a dozen years. You should know better than to think licking my hand will work.”

This was the most hilarious thing to happen to Allison in weeks and she couldn’t help it when her giggles spill over. Stiles grinned at her, and Scott stared at her with wide eyes.

She handed Stiles their bag, but kept their receipt for herself. She flipped it over and uncapped the pen next to the register, writing down her number. Scott was pretty cute and he seemed like a good guy despite needing an interpreter. Why not?

The girl flashed her dimples as she folded the receipt and leaned forward to tuck it into the pocket of Scott’s hoodie. Stiles was practically vibrating with glee, while Scott just looked stunned.

“Thank you for shopping at Michael’s, Stiles and Scott. See you later,” she said.

“See you later, Allison,” Stiles said, shooting her that mischievous grin before dragging an astounded Scott away from the counter and out the door.

Allison had a split second of surprise and fear, wondering how he knew her name, before she remembered her name tag. She wondered if Scott would text her and had a mental image of him and Stiles discussing the best way to start a conversation. She grinned, thinking maybe this new town wouldn’t be so bad after all.



“Derek, just tell us what happened,” Laura said impatiently. “Were you two making out?”

Derek’s eyes widened like the thought had never occurred to him.

“What? No!” Then he seemed to think that making out was a better cover than whatever had really happened and said, “Yes?”

“Oh my god, just spill!”

Derek exhaled sharply and closed his eyes. When he opened them, he shot the ground the fiercest glare the doctor had ever seen and said gruffly, “We were having a tickle fight.”


And then Laura emitted a strangled high-pitched whine.

She turned quickly and walked away, but they could still hear her burst into laughter when she was around the corner.



“Why the fuck are we using so much receipt paper recently?” Anya snarled.

It was a rhetorical question, but Raven was sitting in the back office on her break and actually had an answer.

“Bellamy and Clarke.”

Anya turned to her. “What?”

“We’ve been using hella receipt paper because of Bellamy and Clarke.”

When there was nothing but silence, Raven looked up from her phone to see Anya giving her a blank, somewhat angry stare which meant she was confused.

Raven sighed. “Bellamy’s a writer and Clarke is an artist and they lowkey flirt with each other using receipt paper. He’ll write something and she’ll draw something for it. She’ll draw something and he’ll write something for it. They’ve been doing it for a couple weeks now."

“What the fuck,” Anya growled. “Can’t they just bang like normal people.”

Raven snorted. “Do either of those two strike you as normal?”

Anya huffed angrily. Because, no, those idiots were not normal. That level of obliviousness and denial had to be a disease, surely. Anya hoped to god it wasn’t contagious. She said as much to Raven who cackled for a full five minutes.



“Are you seeing someone?” Finn asked. He dreaded the answer, but he had to know.

Clarke scoffed. “No, I’m not seeing anyone. And yet, I still don’t want to get back together with you. I would much rather you weren’t even talking to me.”

She was still staring straight ahead, refusing to look at him. She was so beautiful it hurt to look at her. He was about to plead his case again when someone else interrupted.

“Hey, princess. I hope you weren’t waiting long,” a deep voice said warmly.

Finn turned to see a man with crazy hair and deep eyes looking directly at Clarke. She slipped off her stool and into his open arms easy as breathing. He pressed a lingering kiss to the top of her head and rocked her side to side a little.

They pulled back, but only slightly. Clarke looked up at him and his brow furrowed in concern. He cupped Clarke’s cheek, brushed a thumb under her eye. And that was when Finn realized that despite the fact that Clarke looked as gorgeous as ever, she also looked kind of exhausted.

Finn was irritated that it had escaped his attention, that he had only noticed because of the other man.

“Let’s go back to my place,” the man said.

“I thought we were grabbing drinks,” Clarke frowned.

“We were. Before I realized you were lying about how tired you are. Plus, it’s not like I don’t have alcohol at my apartment. We can drink there. And then you can crash when you start falling asleep.”

“Oh, it’s just a given that I’ll fall asleep, huh,” Clarke snarked. Her soft tone belied her mocking words.

“Yeah, because you seem exhausted and red wine makes you sleepy anyway.”

Finn looked at them. The way her arms had slid up around his neck. The way his hands rested casually on her hips. The way they seemed to have forgotten there was anyone around besides each other.

Clarke said she wasn’t seeing anyone, and he doubted she would try to spare his feelings at all, but even if she wasn’t dating this man, there was clearly something between them.

Clarke leaned into him even more. “That actually sounds really nice. We could watch that documentary you’ve been desperate to see.”

He immediately brightened. “It’s supposed to be really accurate,” he said excitedly.

“Nerd,” Clarke accused, with a laugh so fond it made Finn’s heart ache.

“Whatever,” the man scoffed, “Let’s get out of here. Wine and a thorough overview of the Byzantine Empire awaits us.”

“Like you don’t already know basically everything that’s going to be in it already,” Clarke rolled her eyes as she gathered her things.

“There’s always more to learn from the past,” the man said in a prim tone that made Clarke laugh. Again.

She was about to walk away. Finn had the impression that she’d honestly forgotten he was even there. All it took was this freckled man and Finn ceased to exist.

“Clarke,” he said desperately.

They both stopped, but the man was the only one who turned around. He looked Finn up and down before glancing down at Clarke.

“Friend of yours?” the man asked.

Clarke looked up at him, but he couldn’t see the expression on her face because she was still mostly turned away. Finally, she turned to face him again.

“Bellamy, this is Finn. Finn, this is Bellamy,” Clarke said.

The man, Bellamy, nodded. “Hey,” he said casually.

It registered that Bellamy had no idea who Finn was to Clarke. Finn wouldn’t have expected someone he’d never met to recognize him on sight, but it appeared even his name didn’t ring a bell. Which could only mean Clarke didn’t talk about him.

He would like to think it was because what had happened between them was too painful to discuss. (He would never wish for Clarke to be in pain. Never. Except hurt was better than indifference.)

Finn's hopes were dashed when he looked to Clarke. Her expression was blank aside from the icy amusement in her gaze.

Like it was hilarious to watch him realize how little he mattered to her anymore. Like it was funny to see him understand she was done with him and he’d never have another chance with her ever again.

“Are you two done?” Bellamy asked.

Finn’s eyes snapped to him. “What?”

“Are you two done talking?” Bellamy asked more slowly, an eyebrow raised high. His tone implied he thought Finn was an idiot.

“Yes,” Clarke said firmly. Bellamy glanced at her, then looked back at Finn.

“Yeah,” Finn said sadly. “I guess we are.”


Bellamy watched him walk away, shoulders slumped and head down like he was the main character in some emo movie.

“God, what a fucking douchebag,” Bellamy snorted. Clarke laughed.

“And you pretended not to know who he was because…?” she asked leadingly.

“Because he needed to understand that he has no place in your life anymore. He’s irrelevant.”

Clarke's soft laughter was the only reward he needed. She smiled up at him.

"Raven's going to laugh herself sick."

"After she gets pissed that he had the audacity," Bellamy replied. He wrapped an arm around her shoulders, and she settled into his side as they moved toward the exit. "C'mon. Fermented grape juice and the bad decisions of very dead people are waiting for us."

"Oh, well, when you put it like that," Clarke replied, still visibly amused.



Harry turned to Eggsy.

“Well done, Eggsy.”

The young agent tilted his head, waiting for criticism. Percival knew he wouldn’t receive any. Eggsy had been perfect on this mission. He was ready to go solo.

Harry smiled at Eggsy, knowing the simple fact that he wasn’t saying more would clue the young man in.

Eggsy’s eyes widened. “Well done?” he asked slowly, disbelievingly. ‘That’s it?’ his expression begged to know.

“Well done,” Harry repeated. “You handled your mission perfectly.”

Eggsy’s mouth fell open as if he couldn’t believe it. He smiled suddenly and a breathless laugh escaped him. He was so happy, he was beaming.

“I want you to know, my dear boy, that I’m extremely proud of you. I always knew you would make it here some day.”

Eggsy's happiness ratcheted up to an incandescent glow that had Percival halfway to shielding his face with his arm before he realized what he was doing.

“Thank you, Harry,” Eggsy said fervently.

“Oh, Eggsy,” Harry said. The warmth in his gaze matched his fond smile. “You’re quite welcome. I’d happily do it all over again for you.”

Eggsy’s breath hitched. His cheeks flushed a captivating pink as he stared at Harry with the kind of adoration one read about in storybooks, but hardly expected to see in real life.

“I wonder if they even remember that you’re still in the room,” Merlin murmured into his ear.

It took everything in Percival not to release a horribly inelegant snort. Merlin knew as well as he did that as far as Eggsy and Harry were concerned, they were the only two people in the world right now. He busied himself with calculating how long the lovesick idiots would stare ardently into each other’s eyes. At five minutes, he was a bit incredulous. At nine, he was simply exasperated.

“I think you’re actually going to have to interrupt them,” Merlin said.

Percival pursed his lips and cleared his throat. Both men jerked out of their amorous haze, looking acutely embarrassed. Harry straightened his tie and Eggsy adjusted his glasses. Percival shook his head at spies with such obvious nervous ticks.

“Right, well. Percival, I trust you’ll get that drive to Merlin as soon as possible. Eggsy, get some rest. Your next mission will be solo.”

Percival and Eggsy stood. Percival nodded to Harry and started toward the office door. Eggsy, however, stepped closer to Harry’s desk.

“Harry,” he said shyly, “I was wondering if you maybe wanted to get a bite. You know, to celebrate. I understand if you’re too busy. I know you have a lot of…”

“Dear boy, I will always have time for you. Especially to celebrate your accomplishments. How do you feel about…”

Percival was out of earshot before he could hear the rest of the oblivious agents’ dinner plans.

“Honestly,” he muttered.

“Tell me about it,” Merlin replied.

“How do you deal with that all the time?” he asked. Because there was no doubt that Merlin interacted with them both apart and together far more than Percival ever had to. Quite frankly, if he had to deal with such a nauseating mixture of unresolved sexual tension and unrestrained pining on any sort of regular basis, he would shoot himself or them.

Both? Probably both.

“It certainly is an exercise in patience,” the Scotsman sighed.

“No wonder Roxy calls you St. Merlin,” the agent said, shaking his head.

“She calls me what?”

“St. Merlin,” Percival repeated, though he knew Merlin had heard him the first time. “I assume for putting up with those two.”



“Merlin!” Gwen exclaimed, “What’s wrong? Is your mum alright?”

They all turned to look and Merlin was standing in the door to the common room, looking ready to burst into tears.

“She’s fine,” he sniffed, “But she told me my cat died.”

“Oh, dude, that sucks,” Elena said.

“Yeah,” Merlin said, a bit wetly. “It’s dumb. But it’s just, my best friend said that he couldn’t believe I was leaving him, that he would just waste away without me. And now it’s… He’s just a cat, right? But I’ve had him since I was seven and…”

The trembling of his jaw and the sheen in his eyes became a bit more pronounced.

There were soothing murmurs from all their friends, until Arthur released a sigh of pure frustration.

“Merlin, you absolute moron.” He ignored the fury in the gazes that turned on him and stood, walking over to Merlin with a quick stride. “You hated that cat.”

Merlin looked up at him with a sad pout. “I did not.”

Arthur rolled his eyes and dragged Merlin over to the chair he’d been sitting in. He sat himself, and with a quick yank, Merlin was sprawled over his lap.

“Yes, you did. You said he was a twat of a cat that shouldn’t be trusted and only you would bring home the most vicious monster in the whole animal shelter. Though, that part is quite true. You have a habit of picking up hideous strays. Like Gwaine, for example.”

Merlin curled up in Arthur’s lap and the sound that escaped him could have been a chuckle or a sniffle.

“Like you,” Merlin retorted.

“You are quite mistaken,” Arthur said haughtily, “You are the hideous stray I deigned to adopt. And you should tell Will that his stupid little joke killed your cat and demand recompense.”

Merlin turned his face into Arthur’s neck.

“It’s Will’s fault?” he asked in a small voice.

“Of course it’s Will’s fault, Merlin. Kilgarrah wouldn’t have wasted away for missing you. He would scratch you as soon as look at you and never ate his wet food if you were the one who put it out, even though he liked it better than the dry food by miles.”

Merlin pressed closer to Arthur. “He was such a weird dumb cat,” Merlin said. There was definitely a bit of laughter in his voice now.

“The point is, you weren’t his favorite. He barely liked you. This only happened at all because Will was being a wanker about you going away for school.”

Merlin sighed, seeming to relax completely against his friend. “And because he was old,” he said softly.

Arthur ran a hand down Merlin’s back. “Yes. That too,” he said gently, and then more firmly, “But mostly because of Will. Of course, I’ll be helping you design your repayment plan. You can milk this for weeks.”

As Arthur went on listing all the things Merlin could demand from Will for the murder of his childhood pet, the rest of their friends looked on. Elena and Gwen could hardly stop themselves from cooing at the two. Lance, Leon, and Percival were amused and indulgent. And Gwaine… he finally got it.



“Santiago-Peralta sounds better!” Amy insisted.

Desperately, Jake said, “Yeah, but Peralta-Santiago is alphabetical.”

Amy’s lips parted and she stared at him. She inhaled slowly. “The fact that you know me so well is definitely one of the reasons I’m marrying you, but at this exact moment, I’m infuriated by it.”

She grabbed his tie and yanked him close for a hot, messy kiss that made his head spin. When she pulled away, she tightened it until he choked a bit with a mean little smile that made his heart race.

“I’m so in love with you,” he breathed.

Amy’s smile widened into something warm and pleased, before she sighed. “Fine. Peralta-Santiago it is.”



He had her pinned. He looked directly into her eyes and she read everything.

Your skills are spectacular and I’d rather not kill you on that alone, but you tried to hurt something I love and I can’t let that stand.

Part of her brain was contemplating how a man she’d pegged as a stone-cold killer (and since he was about to kill her, she was pretty sure she’d pegged him right) could be so goddamn expressive.

The other part of her brain was wondering what it was he loved that she’d tried to harm.

“Mr. Reese,” a familiar voice said, “She’s not an enemy.”

There was a pause, in which her uncle’s voice almost overrode all of the man’s obvious training. Uncle Harry had said it was safe, and apparently the man, like Root, knew that Uncle Harry couldn’t be anything but correct in most cases.

Most cases.

He held steady, and growled, “She tried to kill you. If she’s not an enemy, who the hell is she?”

“She’s my niece,” Uncle Harry said dryly, and with a hint of a smile, Root thought. “Trying to kill me is how she says hello.”

“You know me so well, Uncle Harry,” Root purred, “That’s why you’re my favorite.”

Mr. Reese gave her a flat look that informed her he did not have a problem shooting her and would do so without compunction if she made a wrong move because Uncle Harold wouldn’t fire him unless he actually killed her.

How? Root thought again. Those eyes. No wonder he’d caught Uncle Harry’s attention. He did tend to collect all the rarest editions for himself.



Magnus was on Alec's lap. One of Alec's hands had slipped under Magnus's shirt, while the other was buried deeply in his hair, clutching it tightly as he pulled Magnus's head back in order to bite at his neck.

“Fuck, Alexander,” Magnus moaned.

A high-pitched sound of distress jerked their attention away from each other. In an instant, Alec had a seraph blade in his hand while Magnus had a fireball in his. It only took a moment for them to recognize their son.

“Oh, darling, you're home,” Magnus said.

Raphael just continued to stare in disbelief. “On the couch?” he managed to demand in a strangled tone.

“We thought you would be out late today,” Alec said.

“That's not an excuse for defiling our couch!” Raphael exclaimed.

“We'd hardly managed to defile it yet, sweetheart,” Magnus said.

“Wait,” a new voice said, “Your dads were about to bone on your couch?”

Alec and Magnus looked at each other and then at Rafe in complete surprise.

“You brought guests?” Magnus asked.

"Yes, and thank the angel I thought to be afraid of this exact situation.”

"Well, if you thought you might encounter this then I have no idea why you seemed so surprised, sweetheart.” Magnus said.

"Dude, are your dads naked in there?” yet another voice asked.

That finally got Alec to blush.

"We're not naked,” Magnus said. He stood from Alec's lap, ignoring his son’s blatantly judgemental glare at how long it had taken. "Come in.”

Both his son and his boyfriend gave him scandalized looks, but Magnus simply smirked. With a snap of his fingers, he was presentable. Alec, however, he left rumpled and kiss-swollen, which earned him a pair of supremely unimpressed looks. Magnus snickered as Rafe got shoved aside by his friends. Rafe looked between his parents and his friends.

"Dad, at least button your shirt,” he moaned, highly disturbed by some of the glazed expressions he was seeing.

Alec blushed, but shrugged. "Can't. Your papa ripped it open. The buttons are all over the floor.”

There was a moment of silence.

"That's hot,” one of the girls breathed.

"Oh my god,” Rafe lamented.

“Dude, your dads are fine as fuck. No wonder you’re so good looking.”

“I’m adopted and that's literally not how genetics work, but go off, I guess,” Rafe said.



At first, he thinks he’s on a hunt.

There’s a gun in his hand. He feels like he’s searching for something. This house is creepy as fuck and perfect for a haunting. All of that equals a hunt.

It isn’t until he finds Sam in the third room he checks that he realizes what he was really looking for. They must have gotten separated or something.

He’s so relieved that Sam is okay. He moves toward his brother, but Sam steps away from him, glaring furiously. Dean pauses, wondering what the problem is. He takes another step forward and Sam takes another step back.

“Always were too stupid to learn anything the first time,” Sam scoffs.

Dean stops dead at that and when Sam steps forward, he takes a step back.

“Huh, look at that. Looks like you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but you sure can teach a dumb one,” Sam says.

“Sammy,” Dean says.

“Shut up,” Sam replies, “I don’t want to hear it from you. You’ve had enough say without my input, don’t you think? I’m sick and tired of you trying to control my life. I don’t fucking need you. I’ve never needed you.”

“Sam, I’m not…” Dean starts.

“I don’t want to hear it!” Sam snaps. He stares at Dean, anger darkening his features.

“Give me your gun.”

Dean stills. The four words echo in his brain and he knows what’s coming. He kneels slowly and slides his gun across the floor to Sam’s feet. He doesn’t stand back up. No point. It would just be further to fall.

His gaze isn’t focused on the gun pointed at his head. It’s on Sammy, whose expression is twisted with anger and disgust. Dean is sure Sam can’t wait to rid himself of the scum that’s stained him for too long. Even so, Dean still wants his Sammy to be the last thing he sees.

Sam hesitates. Dean can see him wishing it didn’t have to come to this.

But Dean understands. He knows why Sam is doing this.

“It’s the only way I can be free,” Sam says, more resigned than sad. Dean nods.

He’s looking into Sam’s hazel eyes as the shot goes off.

They both shot straight up in bed, gasping for air.

Dean caught sight of Bobby heading their way before he closed his eyes and tried to calm down. The two of them were practiced. They hadn’t woken up with any more noise than the quiet gasps. But Sam was starting to flip out.

Dean wrestled himself under control, beat down his hurt and betrayal and anger. Sam needed him. He had to take care of Sam, because his brother was well on his way to a full blown panic attack.

“Sam,” he said as he moved over to that side of the bed. “Sam,” he repeated firmly, jerking his head so their eyes could meet. “I’m fine. I’m right here. I’m not going anywhere. It’s okay.”

For a moment, Sam stared at him with wide, uncomprehending eyes. Then he threw himself at Dean. He was sobbing, apologizing, desperately assuring he didn’t mean it and he would never.

Dean sighed and wrapped his arms around his brother, soothing the way he used to when Sam was little and still trusted Dean to protect him from monsters instead of insisting that he could protect himself.

“It’s fine, Sammy,” he said. “I know you wouldn’t do that. It was just a dream. It wasn’t real. It’s okay.” He hushed and petted and soothed until Sam managed to fall back asleep.

Dean finally looked at Bobby then. The other man simply raised an eyebrow, clearly asking what the hell the dream was about. Dean shrugged and looked away.

“Bull-fucking-shit. Whatever it was about had Sam sobbing like a little girl that just saw her first monster, saying he needed you and loved you. That ain’t nothing. What the fuck happened? I know you know because you both woke up at the same time.”

The blond hunter exhaled slowly, but didn’t look at Bobby. “Sam shot me in the head,” he said blankly. “Said it was the only way for him to be free.”

Bobby was silent for almost five full minutes. “Was that your dream or his?”

Dean shrugged. Did it matter?



“You asked Clarke,” Abby said slowly, “If she wanted to ‘toss the ball around.’”

“Yes. And she gave me the same look you’re giving me right now,” Marcus replied, “Then she laughed at me for maybe five minutes and called me, quote, ‘a fucking psycho’. And then she gave me a hug and we played catch in the backyard for an hour. She’s having a bit of trouble in her AP Statistics class, by the way.”

Abby stared at him. Then she laughed at him for maybe five minutes and called him adorably insane. And then she gave him a hug and cuddled with him for the rest of the night.



“What’s a mentalist?”

“It’s like a magician, a con artist, and that really hot guy who’s full of himself but can get you to do anything, all mixed together,” Lisbon said.

Jane raised an eyebrow at her.

“You might as well say I’m a unicorn.”

Lisbon raised an eyebrow back. “You’d like that, wouldn’t you?”

Jane smiled that mysterious smile and turned back to their witnesses.

-3 cases later-

“What’s a mentalist?”

“A unicorn,” Lisbon said, and refused to smile when Jane choked on his tea.



"Aren't you cold?"

"I was, but I fixed it by pouring a little liquor in my cup."

"Why didn't you turn the heat on?"

"I thought I was cold, not the house."

"Yeah, you do that a lot."

"Do what a lot?"

"Assume you’re the problem, not your environment."



“Your child is completely deaf.”

“Goddamn it!”

“Elizabeth!” her husband said sharply.

She whirled on him. “No! I fucking… I always knew. I knew I should have picked sign language instead of Spanish as my language option in high school.”

They all blinked at her.

“Do you know how many times I… I still think about it! Like I’ll randomly think, Man, I really should have picked sign language. And now look!”

She looked at the doctor.

“How long before not knowing sign language begins to affect his development? Like how quickly do we have to learn?”



“Maze told me you were with my mum last night,” Lucifer said.

Dan scoffed. “Unless your mom is super hot, no I was not.”

Lucifer’s eyebrow went up, waiting expectantly for an explanation.

Dan paled. “Please tell me she wasn’t your mom.”

“Blond, blue eyes, vaguely menacing aura that’s hot if you’re into that,” Lucifer described.

“Your mom is Chloe?” Ella asked, with her nose all wrinkled up.

The two men blinked at each other for a moment before both turning to Chloe. Both men were horrified for entirely different reasons. Chloe looked like she wished she could stop existing. They all decided to never speak of it.



“C’mon, Swan,” Killian said, dropping an arm around her shoulders and pulling her close. “Live a little.”

Emma stiffened, her head whipping up to shout at him for daring to touch her. His eyes were twinkling with mischief. She quickly surmised that he’d done it on purpose just to get to her and her contrariness arose immediately.

She lifted a hand and wrapped her fingers around his wrist, keeping him in place. The humor vanished from his expression, replaced by shock. Emma smiled triumphantly at catching him off guard. Killian’s eyes narrowed.

A moment later, he was smiling slyly. Emma had just entered into a game. The problem was she had no idea what the stakes were or who the winner would be.



Emma looked around desperately. She needed someone who could help her without drawing too much attention to them. Her eyes caught on ocean blue ones and held.

Her breath stilled in her throat as time appeared suspended. A man was staring at her, one who embodied tall, dark, and handsome. Emma registered his attractiveness, but what held most of her attention was the voice inside her that spoke as soon as their eyes met.

He’ll keep you safe.

Allowing instinct to rule her in her panic, she began moving toward him. He straightened immediately from the stall he was leaning against and began making his way toward her, with his hand on the hilt of his sword. She couldn’t run, but his long legs were eating up space.

Emma didn’t know what came over her, but when they were close enough to each other, she simply threw herself in his arms. She wanted the feeling of safety her instincts had promised her, knowing just as well that she would be disappointed because they didn’t know each other. But to her surprise, his arms wrapped around her tightly and held her close. One hand was splayed high on her back and there was something else pressed low against her back that wasn’t a hand. Before her curious mind could focus on it, he spoke.

“Aye, lass. I’ve got you.”

His voice made her shiver. The low, gravel tones soothed her beyond belief and she trusted that her instincts had been correct. She pulled away to look up at him and his hand came up to smooth down her hair and tuck a lock of it behind her ear. His eyes consumed her again and she knew he was about to ask who he needed to harm for scaring her. She was beginning to doubt herself, though, and the strange sense of safety she was experiencing with this man.

She was literally running through the streets trying not to let the worst happen to her because of one of the worst men she’d ever met. Emma knew how to handle herself, but even she couldn’t fight off three grown men in a narrow alley. It had been all she could do to escape. When she sent Clarence packing last week, she hadn’t expected that he would be so determined or so cowardly as to convince two other men to join in on the fun, just so he could have what he wanted from her.

Emma thought she heard distant footsteps coming closer and almost whirled to protect her back from those men. The man’s arm caught her around the waist and held her close.

“I’ve got you, lass,” he repeated.

Emma almost sighed in frustration, knowing she’d managed to make her situation even more complicated by whatever insanity had compelled her to trust him moments ago.

Something cold and curved pressed into the bottom of her chin, lifting her face towards his. She automatically pulled back and glanced down to find out what was causing the sensation since it was his arm he’d lifted. She should have been feeling the warmth of his hand.

A hook was what her eyes fell upon instead. Emma froze in surprise. Had she really jumped from the pan and straight into fire?

“Love,” he said. She met his gaze with wide eyes. “I won’t hurt you. I’ll protect you from what you’re so afraid of. I won’t ask for anything in return.”

Emma was so conflicted. Part of her wanted to point out that she wasn’t his love. They’d met for the first time hardly minutes ago. Nothing she could infer about him was good, and she was trouble, much more than he'd probably bargained for, even considering this absurd situation.

Part of her wanted to point out that everyone hurt her. That she couldn’t trust anyone for protection. That nothing came without a price.

But part of her, underscored by her super power informing her that this man was being utterly honest, believed every word that came out of his mouth.

It was too late to make a different bet anyway. She could tell by the way his gaze shifted over her shoulder, the way his eyes narrowed and darkened in anger, that he had spotted her assailants.

Emma sighed and fell into his chest again. His hook pressed into her back as his hand rested on the hilt of his sword.

She had no idea what his excuse would be for his interference, but he might not even need one. She couldn’t imagine that even those morons would risk truly angering Captain Hook.



Mila flopped onto the couch, sprawling across Jolene's lap without warning. She barely managed to snatch her book away before Mila's head met with a sharp corner.

“Let’s just run away to Europe together,” Mila said. Her eyes were dark and devastating. “We’ll find a cozy little home on the countryside and raise sheep and goats together and never have to deal with idiot males ever again.”

“Um…” Jolene said eloquently.

Mila wriggled a little, impatient. “I’ll make sure we have a good library close by or good internet connection or both.”

“Okay," Jolene replied, heart racing. "Let’s run away together."



"I already told you I’m not a lesbian,” Lydia said. Out of the corner of her eye she saw Laura staring at her while biting her lip.

“Is being a lesbian like being gay?” she asked slowly. She wasn’t prepared for the look Lydia gave her.

“Lesbian means the same thing as gay, it’s just specific to females,” she said. “Where did you learn that word?”

“Gay?” Laura asked. Lydia nodded. “My brother.”

The red-head’s eyes narrowed. “Where did your brother learn it?”

“His mate. My brother’s mate actually explains things about humans to him instead of just ignoring him all the time,” Laura said pointedly. Lydia rolled her eyes. “My brother says his mate never stops talking.”

The werewolf frowned when her mate stiffened and an expression of urgency appeared on her face.

“Did your brother find his mate the same night you found me?”

“Yes,” Laura answered warily.

“Have you met your brother’s mate?” Lydia asked.

“No, but Derek has described him many times.”

“Physical appearance?” Laura nodded. “Does he have whiskey colored eyes?”

Laura shook her head and gave a distressed whine when her mate deflated.

“I do not know what whiskey is, but if it is the same color as honey, then yes.”

“Cute nose? Pretty mouth? Long fingers?” Lydia questioned rapidly.

Laura stared. “You know him.”

“Did anyone else in your pack find their mate on the same night as you?” Lydia demanded to know.

“My sister Cora and pack brother Boyd,” Laura answered automatically. She was still reeling from the fact that her mate knew Derek’s.

“A boy and a girl right? Both with curly blond hair. The boy with blue eyes and the girl with brown,” Lydia said.

Laura’s mouth fell open. All of their mates knew each other.



"Wait, so are they going out or not?” Danny asked.

“We don’t know,” Lydia growled. “We thought they were, but then they had a fight or something.” 

“But I'm sure I heard them making out in Derek’s room when I skipped class the other day,” Erica said.

“But then they weren’t talking to each other at the pack meeting,” Boyd said.

“But I swear they were holding hands under the table at breakfast for a little while this morning,” Isaac said.

Danny shook his head. “Only those two.”



She should have been average. 

By all accounts, she was exactly that until her thirteenth year.

Then her frizzy hair became lustrous and silky. Her metal smile gave way to even, pearly brilliance. Her spectacles disappeared into the ether, revealing luminous brown eyes. 

She became hauntingly beautiful.

And learned all the ways in which beauty demanded and caused pain.



He blinked, and then burst into laughter. 

"I've been alive since before any of your great-great grandparents were even conceived. I've watched all of you grow up since you were children. I can't imagine what would make you consider yourselves my elders."

He smiled malevolently.

"Unless you misspoke and meant to say you expect me to listen to my betters."

The room was silent.

His smile grew wider as his eyes scanned the room. 

"I see," he purred.



She quirked a brow at him. “I mean, I’m pretty, but I’m no super model.”

His eyebrows arched despite himself. That… about summed her up, yeah. He’d never heard a girl describe herself like that before. 

She burst into laughter. He stared at her, wondering what on earth she found so funny.

“I’m sorry,” she said, between giggles, “Your face. Your expression could not have more clearly said, ‘Wow, that was so accurate.’”

He felt a flush crawl into his cheeks. If his thoughts had been so obvious, he could only count his blessings that she found it amusing instead of insulting.



Alaric was brought up short as he entered his private rooms.

“I told you we would meet again,” Kane said with a smirk.

“I didn’t think you meant at our wedding,” Alaric replied dryly.

“Oh my, do you happen to have a priest hidden in your pocket?” Kane asked.

“No, he prefers to stay in the closet,” Alaric retorted.

Kane laughed delightedly.



“I’m Chip.”

She raised an eyebrow and started walking. “I usually make it a rule not to question names, but Chip? Really?”

“Yep. My teeth are my moneymaker,” he said dryly.

She stopped. When she turned to face him, her expression was so suspicious he had to truly consider whether he’d committed a crime.

“Are you implying that your parents named you after Chip Skylark?”

“My parents didn’t name me. My sister named me,” he replied inanely, completely caught off guard by her recognition. He made those jokes all the time and he’d never been called on it before. Most people just looked at him weirdly.

“So, yes, then.” She crossed her arms and eyed him. “But the real question is whether you know the song.”

His expression shifted to the distant, dead-eyed look of a soldier reliving memories of war.

“I know the song.”

She laughed and started walking again. “I want to meet your sister.”

“Which one?” he asked.

She laughed harder. ‘Oh god, another one,’ he thought.



“Ouch! Can you do something about this?” she exclaimed stepping away from the stove.

He hardly glanced away from his computer screen. “I think in the battle of human versus hot oil, I’m just as vulnerable as you are.”

She scoffed. “So what if you have skin too? I’m tired of this. Ouch!”



"She's our age and she already has her own house."

"Because she's a wackadoodle who forces herself to subsist on $100 a week."

"She's not a wackadoodle if she has a house."

"She definitely still is. She's just a wackadoodle with privacy."