The Usurpers

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Sending them straight to class was super cruel. Stiles could see how much Finstock enjoyed doing that. And worse: he actually forced Stiles to go see the guidance counselor first! Marin Morrell had dark skin, straight black hair and brown dead-fish eyes. She was the kind of person who always answered your questions with more questions. Luckily, she said nothing about Stiles's return and asked very few questions about what he had done while away. She gave him his new schedule and sent him on his way.

Malia and another guardian, Chris Argent (no relation to Gerard or Kate), escorted Stiles to the guardian's gym for first period. Since seventy percent of the people in Beacon Hills Academy were creatures of the night, everyone had to take on a night's schedule. Seeing the sun was a luxury most of them didn't have.

Once there, again all eyes fell on Stiles. He thought it was better to pretend he was a rock-god—although some of the looks he was getting made him rather feel like a circus freak. But hell if he was going to let them intimidate him. He had once ruled this school! Of course, most of the credit was due Scott's status as royal prince, but still...

Stiles scanned the crowd for a familiar face. Most of them were guys. Typical. But one of the few girls caught his eye and he grinned.

"Wipe that smile off your face, Stilinski," she said, faking annoyance. "If you're going to think about me naked, do it in your free time."

A few snorts and snickers broke the awed silence. Erica Reyes was looking good. Her wild blonde hair grew in every direction which made her look a little crazy, but Stiles had to admit it was kind of hot. She set her sexy cat-like eyes on him and everything felt like it was before.

He stepped forward with a shrug. "It's always free time for me, E."

"Well, I guess now as good a time as any," she muttered.

"It's always a good time to think about you naked, Erica," Boyd, another one of Stiles's friends, added.

Malia Tate shook her head and walked off. Chris Argent followed her. As for Stiles, he was glad. His friends made him feel right at home. The instructor barked orders for all of them and Erica picked Stiles as her partner. "Let's see what you've been doing all this time." 

An hour later, she had her answer. "Not practicing, huh?" Erica extended a hand and helped Stiles up from the mat.

"I hate you," he told her, staggering along as the class put the equipment back.

"Well, of course you do. But hey, you're still walking. That's something." She grinned mockingly. Then her face turned serious. "What are you going to do now, Stiles? There's no way you'll be able to take your trials in the spring. Not like this."

"They're making me take extra practice sessions," he explained. "I'll be ready."

"Extra sessions with whom?"

"That girl. Tate."

Erica stopped walking and stared at him. "You're putting in extra time with Tate?"

"Yeah, so what?"

"So the girl's insane! Don't you remember her? She was a foreign student, right? All quiet and antisocial? Barely left her dorm and used to kick everybody's asses? We all hated her, remember? I guess she was so lonely she put on so much extra time and graduated earlier. Man, she's going to destroy you!"

Stiles had the vague memory of the person Erica described. Only he didn't remember her being so... so... well, pretty. Or maybe he had never really noticed her... until now...

The next class covered the essentials of being a bodyguard of magical creatures. The instructor, Adrian Harris, was around his thirties and he always looked pissed off. That look intensified when he saw Stiles.

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