Chapter One: The Station
"Fuck, this is gross!"
It was a good thing that Darcy had worn her worst pair of jeans tonight. She glared at her hand, in the near dark she couldn't make out exactly what she had grabbed, but it was slimy and it smelled absolutely rancid. "Gross, gross, gross," she whispered as she wiped her palm against her jeans.
Her hair fell in her eyes and without thinking she reached up to brush some of the long, dark curls out of her eyes. "Fuck," she cursed again, some of the rotton food was now in her hair. She sighed, "This is what I get for dumpster diving without a hair tie," she whispered, shaking her head.
The damage was done now, she tucked her hair behind her ears, her nose wrinkling at the smell and turned back to the trash at her feet. "California Public Records Act, my ass," she muttered as she bent down, kneeling on top of the trash so that she could shift through the bags.
This was not how she would normally spend a Saturday night, but she had spent the last month investigating a story about how one of the local county judges was taking bribes. She had requested all of his correspondence three weeks ago through the California Public Records Act and on Friday she had finally received it.
They were trying to bury her in bull shit. It was a tactic she had seen before. One of the judge's aides had delivered ten cardboard bankers' boxes to her cubicle at work the day before. She had only needed to go through one of the boxes to know that what she was looking for wouldn't be there. She needed emails between him and defense attorneys, she needed access to his calendar, she needed to know who he was having meetings with. What she got was his daily lunch orders for the last year, a detailed account of everything he had ordered off of Amazon, and his Netflix bill.
Her source claimed that there was evidence. He swore that while the aides were putting together the boxes they would deliver to her, they were also shredding documents. He promised that the shredded proof would be in the dumpster. Her boss, already irritated with how long this investigation was taking, had given her until Monday to either find something or to give up.
And that was why she was spending her Saturday night, digging through a dumpster outside the Beacon County Courthouse.
"Go to college," Darcy whispered to herself, shaking her head as she grabbed another trash bag and ripped it open and stuck her hand inside, looking for shredded paper. She was no longer wary of what was in the bags, she had already stuck her hand in enough rotten food that she was used to the feeling. This trash bag had come from an office, there was no food in it, but also no shredded documents. She threw it behind her and grabbed another bag.
"Get a journalism degree," she continued talking to herself as she grabbed another bag. This one had come from the cafeteria, she could tell the second she ripped it open and the smell and flies escaped into the air.
Something squeaked near her feet and Darcy turned, squinting in the soft light from a distant street lamp. She barely caught sight of a long, hairless tail disappearing under one of the bags she had already looked through. A rat. She shivered and turned away, trying to convince herself that she had imagined the tail.
"It'll be fun."
This was not fun. And it also wasn't what she had imagined she would be doing with her life when she was in college. She had set her sights on Georgetown University when she was a child, a family trip to DC when she was in the sixth grade had sealed the deal for her. In high school she had worked her ass off and between her AP classes, extracurriculars, and classes she had taken at the community college she was able to go to Georgetown on an academic scholarship. Once she had gotten there she didn't stop working her ass off, she graduated in four years with not only a Bachelor's degree, but also a Master's degree, in journalism. Within a week of graduation she accepted a job with the New York Times and moved to New York to cover politics at her dream job.
But less than six months later she was back home in Beacon Hills, California, writing for the Beacon County Register.
How far the mighty have fallen.
At least her boss had let her investigate these bribery allegations. If she hadn't been digging through this dumpster tonight she had a feeling he would have had her at the high school lacrosse game covering that.
She had just reached down for another trash bag when she caught sight of the cruiser lights flashing as a police car turned down the alley and drove toward her dumpster.
"Fucking great!" she whispered to herself, dropping the bag as she turned to face the alley, holding her hands up at shoulder height, palms facing forward.
She knew the drill.
The officers, two she knew very well, couldn't help but grin as they climbed out of the cruiser and approached the dumpster. Deputy Johnathan Ware, who had been around since she was a child, was the first one to speak. "What are you doing out here, Doodles?" he asked, using a nickname that she wished she had left behind in kindergarten. His eyebrows arched as his gaze caught on her hair. "And what is in your hair?"
Darcy reached for her hair, pulling a chunk of it forward, grimacing when she caught sight of the glob of rancid food smeared through the strands. "Cheesecake," she answered all the same. "According to the cafeteria menu they served it on Monday." She turned her gaze back on the two officers. "What brings you two out here?"
The younger officer, Jared Thuma - a boy she had gone to high school with, chuckled as he approached the dumpster. He held his hand out for her to help her climb out. "We got reports of suspicious behavior at the courthouse," he explained as she grabbed onto his hand and allowed him to pull her down to the ground. "Are you writing a hard-hitting exposé on what judges eat for lunch, Darcy?"
"Yeah," Darcy agreed with a sarcastic nod. "The public needs to know."
Her gaze drifted toward Ware, he had reached behind him and grabbed his handcuffs. She sighed, "Come on, Ware," she pouted. "The cuffs? Really? Are those really necessary?"
"Unfortunately, Doodles," Ware told her. He bit back a grin, "You're a dangerous criminal and all that."
"About as dangerous as a kitten," Jared joked with a chuckle.
"Am I being charged with something?" Darcy asked.
"Bull shit," Darcy argued. But despite her argument she had already turned around, her wrists held behind her back to make it easier for the older man to put the cuffs on. Despite this arrest, she counted these guys as her friends. Her family even. "I was in a dumpster. It's not like I broke into the damn building."
"Still trespassing, honey," Ware told her as the cuffs clicked around her wrists. "Read her her rights, Thuma."
"Don't bother," Darcy interrupted, rolling her eyes. "I've been through this enough times before." She glanced at Jared, "Stay silent. Anything I say could show up in court. I can have a lawyer. If I'm poor, you guys will find me one. I can exercise these rights at any time. I understand."
Jared laughed, his gaze cutting to Ware, "If only all of our arrests were this easy," he told the older man.
Ware nodded, "Put her in the back," he ordered, gently pushing her toward the younger officer. Jared caught her arm at her elbow when she tripped over her feet and helped keep her steady. "I'm going to roll down the windows. She smells."
"You smell," Darcy muttered, her lips tugging up at the corners to soften the joke as Jared opened the back door and gently guided her into the seat, putting his hand over the back of her head to make sure that she didn't hit her head.
"Hey, Darcy?" he asked her as he leaned over her to buckle her seatbelt for her. She glanced up at him, an eyebrow raised as she waited for his question. "Remember in high school when I asked you out on a date?" She nodded, her lips tugging up even more. He shook his head, his nose wrinkling at the smell, "This isn't what I had in mind."
"You mean you didn't want to arrest me after I spent the evening dumpster diving?" she asked him, playfully jutting her lip out at him. "Damn. That's my favorite first date activity."
Jared shook his head and shut the door before he climbed into the passenger seat and Ware started to drive away. Darcy leaned forward slightly in her seat, smiling when both men grimaced slightly at the smell.
Did she really smell that bad?
"You guys do know this isn't a legitimate arrest, right?" she asked playfully. "You didn't read me my miranda rights, this will get thrown out in court."
"Yeah?" Jared asked, turning to look over his shoulder at her. "Judge Morehouse going to be willing to do you a favor, Darcy?"
Darcy's lips tugged down at the corners, Morehouse was the one she was investigating, he definitely would not be willing to do her a favor. And she couldn't afford the kind of bribe that would convince him to. Although, now that she thought about it, that would have been the perfect way to get the evidence she needed for her story. She should have gotten arrested and offered the judge a payout to throw her case out.
"Damn, Thuma," she whispered, shaking her head as she leaned back in her seat again. "Where were you five hours ago?"
Ware ignored her question and shook his head, "Relax, honey," he told her. "Your father's a bit busy right now, but something tells me this arrest isn't going to stick." He glanced at the rearview mirror and made eye contact with her reflection, "Lord knows he got you out of worse when you were in high school."
Darcy nodded, "Yeah," she agreed, no longer playful. "After what I did in high school, a little trespassing is no big deal."
Jared glanced at Ware, his eyebrows raised. He was no doubt curious about what they were talking about. Darcy had a feeling that once they got to the station he would waste no time looking up her record. But the joke was on him, she had been a minor and none of the charges had stuck anyway. She had spent the majority of their freshmen year in New York with her aunt while her father cleaned up the mess and when she returned to Beacon Hills as a sophomore there was no record of her crime.
The only thing Jared would find on her police record was a speeding ticket in DC from her junior year.
50 in a school zone.
But in her defense, it was midnight on a Saturday. If there were students crossing the street at that time she would have had serious concerns about their parents' parenting techniques.
The smell got worse the longer it sat on her. By the time they reached the sheriff's station even Darcy was leaning out the window, trying to breathe through her mouth. She had picked tonight because the dumpster was emptied early Sunday morning. While this meant that there was a week's worth of garbage for her to dig through, it also meant that the aides might have felt safe in throwing the evidence away before they went home.
What were the odds that someone would dig through the dumpster on the night before it was emptied?
Pretty high, at least with Darcy around.
"You're going to need a shower," Jared muttered, teasing her as he helped her climb out of the back of the cruiser.
"So are you," Darcy teased back as she leaned her head against his shoulder and rubbed the side of her head against his shoulder, trying to rub some of the rancid cheesecake into his uniform.
"You better stop that or I'll add assault on an officer onto your rap sheet," he told her, stepping away from her with a chuckle. He waited until she had straightened before he reached out, gently closing his hand around her elbow so that he could guide her into the building.
A cheer went up from the two rookies working the desk when they walked into the station. One of them, a fairly new hire - Charlie Clark, pulled out his phone and hit something. Music started to play.
Darcy rolled her eyes and shook her head, "Real funny," she congratulated the young cop. His lips spread out into a wide, tooth-barring grin as he turned the music up even more.
Darcy took a step closer to the desk, but Jared pulled her back gently. "The holding cell is this way," he told her, nodding past the desk. "As you know."
"Me?" Darcy asked, arching her brows at him as she let him tug her down past the front desk. "I don't know what you're talking about. I've definitely never spent any time in the Beacon County PD holding cells."
Jared nodded, "Right," he agreed. The holding cells were at the far end of a long, narrow hallway. On the other side of the hallway were some of the interrogation rooms. One of the doors opened and a man stepped out, followed by another young deputy. They began to walk toward Jared and Darcy. Jared glanced at them for a moment before his gaze landed on Darcy again, "Then how do you explain your name carved into one of the benches?"
Darcy shrugged, with her hands still cuffed behind her back it was more of a quick upward jerk of her right shoulder than a shrug, but it got her point across all the same. "I must have a fan here or something."
"That's definitely it," Jared agreed.
Darcy was about to make another joke, but it died on her lips as they got closer to the man and other deputy. The hallway was narrow, there wasn't room for the four of them to pass each other without running into each other. As if they knew it, both Jared and the other deputy dropped back, away from Darcy and the other man. Jared was still close enough to reach out for her, but he let her walk in front of him. And for a reason she couldn't explain, her attention was pulled toward the man in front of her.
But she wasn't the only one.
He had come to a complete stop in the middle of the hallway.
He was staring right at her.
Darcy's own feet came to a slightly clumsier stop as she stared back.
He was dressed in a tight black t-shirt and jeans. When her gaze met his, his dark eyebrows lifted slightly and he took a step closer to her. There was still a solid seven feet between them and Darcy's chest tightened at the distance, as if it was too far. Her gaze shifted, uncomfortable, as a blush rose to her cheeks and she looked away from his green eyes. Instead it swept over his pale skin, his dark hair, his strong jaw covered in a five o'clock shadow.
He was attractive. Probably one of the most attractive men she had ever seen.
And she was suddenly very aware that she had spent the evening in a dumpster.
Aware of the fact that she had week-old cheesecake smeared in her dark hair.
Aware that she was wearing her worst pair of jeans.
Mom jeans at that.
Her teeth scraped across her bottom lip as she dared another glance at his face. His brows were furrowed as he watched her, annoyed confusion, but as he met her gaze he tried to smile, his lips tugging up slightly at the right corner.
"Alright," Jared sighed, his hand closing around her elbow again as he gently pushed her forward.
The man's gaze dropped quickly to Darcy's right elbow, focusing on Jared's grip on her arm. His smile shifted, his upper lip pulling back in something that was no longer friendly.
There was only one word Darcy could think of to describe it.
His fists clenched at his sides.
Darcy watched, trying not to trip over her feet as he took a breath, his wide chest expanding against his already tight shirt. Another deep breath and his hands relaxed.
One more breath and he started to walk toward them again.
Most people, normal people, would have dropped their gaze, or looked forward, past Darcy as she was walked down the hallway toward the holding cell. But not this man. His green eyes remained locked on her face, watching her as he got closer. Studying her.
The moment they passed each other, she inhaled and was hit head on with what had to be his very pungent cologne. It didn't smell bad, in fact it was a good smell - leather and oak, the woods after a rainstorm, thunder and tobacco.
It set off fireworks and warning bells in her head. Whispered to her that he was dangerous, but she couldn't find it in her to care. She inhaled again, her brows furrowing, he still smelled good, but …
It was too much.
His own brows furrowed, he was past her, but he had turned, still watching her. His head cocked to the side, still studying her. It was as if he was listening for something. Waiting for something. She watched as he took another deep breath, his brows furrowing even more as his gaze moved over her face.
Then, he shook his head and turned away from her and continued walking out of the police station.
Darcy turned to Jared, "Did you smell him?" she whispered as he continued to lead her toward the holding cell.
"Did I what?" Jared asked, his eyebrows raised as he stopped her in front of the cell and rolled the door open. "Smell him?" He shook his head, "Darcy all I can smell is you."
The blush rose to her cheeks again, burning at her cheeks as she stepped into the holding cell. She stayed near the door, waiting until he had rolled it shut and locked it before she backed up, extending her arms behind her back so that they slipped through the gap in the bars so that Jared could unlock them.
He did it quickly and she turned back to him, rubbing absentmindedly at her wrists as the blood began to circulate again. It stung slightly, like it always did. "Who was that?" she asked, her brows furrowing as she turned to face the front of the station. "He was … familiar."
"Derek Hale," Jared told her, following her gaze. "He was three years ahead of us in school, a senior our freshmen year. He left town after his house burnt down. Most of his family was killed."
Darcy nodded, her teeth scraping against her bottom lip again, she remembered that. For a brief, two day period, the police had looked at her for that. She was lucky that her father had been home all day and could vouch for her whereabouts. "He's been gone since then?"
Jared nodded, "Both him and his sister. She apparently came back to town last month. They found her body in the woods -"
Darcy's eyebrows lifted as her gaze shifted to Jared's face. "When?" she asked. "When did they find her body?"
"A few days ago?" Jared asked, shaking his head. "Your dad didn't mention it?" Darcy shook her head. Jared watched her for a moment, "Well, some kids found her body buried outside their burnt house and pointed their fingers at Derek. He was brought in for questioning this afternoon."
He glanced away from her, looking back down the hallway, "If they're letting him go they must have found something that pointed to someone else." Darcy nodded, even in a world where you were innocent until proven guilty, if there hadn't been definitive proof that he was innocent they would have at least held him for twenty-four hours.
Jared shrugged, "Sit tight," he told her, nodding toward the bench she had once carved her name into. "Your dad should be here soon to get you out."
It didn't take him long, Darcy hadn't been in the holding cell for more than half an hour when she heard her father's footsteps as he walked down the hallway toward her. He came to a stop in front of the cell door and sighed, jingling the keys in his hand.
Darcy glanced up at him, and smiled. This was not the first time they had seen each other under these circumstances. His blue eyes moved over her face, looking for injuries. There weren't any.
He sighed again, "You know, when I asked you to come home to help me with your brother, this is not how I imagined you would spend your Saturday nights."
Darcy's smile widened, "But are you really surprised?" she asked him.
He shook his head as he unlocked the cell door and rolled it open. He kept his hand on the door so that when Darcy walked out she had to duck underneath his arm. "Judge Morehouse is not pressing charges," he told her, not that she was worried. "Provided that you drop your story."
"Consider it dropped," Darcy told him with a disappointed sigh. Even if she wanted to keep investigating the judge, her boss wouldn't let her after Monday. It was time to give up.
Her father nodded, "There's a shirt and sweatpants waiting in my office," he told her. It was only now that Darcy realized that he was breathing through his mouth. "Use the shower in the women's locker room. Those clothes are not allowed in my car, you got that?"
Darcy nodded, pausing for just a moment to turn back to her father. "I'm sorry, Dad," she told him softly as she stood on her tiptoes so that she could press a kiss against his cheek. "I didn't mean to cause you any trouble."
He chuckled and rolled his eyes, "Don't lie to me," he told her, still laughing. "All you and Stiles ever do is cause trouble."
Darcy smiled, laughing too, "Then I guess it's a good thing our dad's the sheriff."
And I'm back again! With another new story!
I've been binging on my off weeks from work recently and Teen Wolf made the list.
And I'm a bit obsessed with Derek Hale (and only partially because he looks a little like my husband!)
Anyway, out of all that binging came the idea for this story. I hope you guys enjoy it.
As far as logistics go, I've got about the first eight chapters already written (which brings us to right about episode 4). My original plan was to write my way through the entire first season before I published the first chapter.
But I'm really bad at that. Once I'm super excited about a story I want to share it with you so here it is.
If you enjoy this chapter let me know and I will keep posting. (Who am I kidding? My entire profile on this site are things I write because they're things I would want to read ... I'm pretty self-indulgent that way and will at least finish the first season even if only one person reviews. But for the sake of my own ego, please let there be more than one person who reviews.)
Either way, if you are still here reading this note I hope that you enjoyed this chapter. And I'll see you back here soon (sooner if you guys review!)
Until next time,