The Very Definition – Chapter 1

Who knew Oxford had a magic track? No, seriously, there was a track for people who knew about magic, about druidism and emissaries and all the related synonyms for whatever the hell he was. His research while in high school had turned into an obsession that he could make a career out of. Bonus points for his having a spark, apparently, since he was approached by a professor his first day of classes to set up a training schedule.

It had been three years since he left Beacon Hills, his father, and the pack behind. By the time graduation came around he didn’t speak to any of them at all, and his father saw him maybe twice a week. And he was right, college was a fantastic fresh start; here he was finally getting the training and knowledge he always wanted and was denied. He seriously wanted to go back and bitch smack Deaton’s cryptic fucking face and ask him what the fucking fuck?

Bah. He was getting his undergraduate degree in three days and then starting on his post-graduate work. He had already secured a grant — having been accepted into the master’s program — and would be off to Ireland in two weeks to start his research on druidism’s impact on balance in times of war.

Stiles stopped by a coffee shop after he was done with the much needed shopping — the weather in England was not sympathetic to his footwear choices. Lessons refused to be learned in this area. Of course, that’s when the ambush happened.

It was completely obvious, insulting really, and he wondered if they were unaware that London was completely wired to the gills with CCTV or just didn’t care. Maybe they had someone on the inside? What would a hunter on the inside do all day? Wouldn’t he (or she!) be bored without having something to kill or torture?

The man behind him in line tapped his shoulder in irritation, letting him know it was his turn.

Right, focus, Stiles! He ordered his coffee and then in a low voice asked the barista to pretend to need something form the backroom and take the back door out of the shop as there was about to be some violence in a moment. He didn’t want her to get dead.

“Pardon me?” the man behind him interrupted, having overheard. “What exactly do you mean?” The guy didn’t seem afraid, alarmed, or disbelieving. He just stood there in his cardigan, floppy black hair and glasses, and took out his phone. “Are you playing a prank or are you serious?”

And, oh, hey! There’s his owl friend, Merlin, flying around all frantic and warning-like. Things would be so much easier if other people could see his spirit guide. “Oh, I’m totally serious. Those four dudes out there are packing, and I’m pretty sure I’m their target. I’d like to get the few of you in here out of their way before they start opening fire. Also, no idea if they brought friends.”

The man casually looked out the front and then placed his order with the barista, telling her to do as Stiles requested, and to please dial 999 once she’s clear of the building; to tell them men with guns were standing outside the shop and staring inside. At the same time, Stiles noticed that he was typing something on his phone.

“Please tell me you’re not with them. You don’t give off that whole sociopathic I like killing things vibe and I really don’t want to have to hurt you.”

“I’m with the government.”

“Government that helps or the kind that doesn’t?”

“The former.”

“Yeah, okay. You need to get behind that counter now for some cover. And don’t think I didn’t notice you sneaking some snapshots of me, dude. Not cool, not cool at all.”

“What is your name? Why are they after you? And why is that bird trying to attack you as well?”

“Yeah, you can figure that one out for yourself, dude. I’m done playing 20 questions and those guys are done waiting. There’s only one civilian in here now, you, and me. I think they consider that acceptable

casualties. And I didn’t do anything other than exist.”

A moment of silence, and then, “Wait, you can see the owl?”

Stiles pushed him behind the counter along with his bags and turned to face the front of the shop. “Yes, of course I can, it’s right there!”

The four hunters already had their guns up and once they had Stiles’ attention, they started firing. Stiles overturned a table and used it as a shield while dialing the cops himself. It would look suspicious if he didn’t try to do it himself, at the very least.

“Yeah, hey, I’m kind of being fired on by some assholes outside with automatic weapons. Any chance we could get some help here?” He quickly hung up, stuffing it back in his pocket. He started lobbing anything within reach at the men, trying to distract and maybe concuss them. Stiles did his best to keep the firing away from the counter where the other man was hiding.

“Fuck off you fucking assholes! What the hell did I ever do to you? Don’t you have a fucking code?”

“You’re not natural, you freak, nobody will miss you!”

“Tell me something I don’t know, you fucker.”

Sirens could be heard in the distance getting closer. Spotting the sugar canisters, Stiles managed to nail one of the gunmen in the head knocking him out. He threw a few of the larger pieces of glass, hitting a second guy in the leg.

Unbeknownst to him, his companion behind the counter had activated his panic button the moment he had warned about the ambush, setting a security protocol in motion, rescue would be here very soon, probably before the police arrived.

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