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 [C] deny your instincts, deny yourself, @[MALIA HALE]
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135 POINTS EARNED
26 POSTS MADE
The bayou of New Orleans was nothing like the northern California of Beacon Hills. That is for certain.

Peter Hale was lucky to find a tree stump he could recline against—without fear of slime or sludge soaking into his pant legs—while he waited for his daughter to arrive. His feet were bare and muddy, but, otherwise, his attire was meticulously clean. Even as he stood there, he occasionally glanced down and flicked away imperceptible specks of dust, or brushed off invisible dustings of dirt, and examined his fingernails closely. He didn’t do it, necessarily, out of vanity, but rather, out of boredom. If there was one fact that no one ought to forget about the eldest living Hale, it was that he never truly stagnated. Not for long.

He glanced in the direction he expected Malia to arrive from and, not seeing her there, straightened up into a full-body stretch. His feet squelched in the mud. Normally, he would be like any other sane (maybe in his case, “sane”) person and be wearing shoes to walk out in the swamp and forestland, but today he and Malia planned to hunt together. Shoes would be a hindrance they ill required. Besides, he truly wasn’t afraid of getting dirty, and he knew his daughter to be the same.

What a conundrum she was, as it were.

Peter wasn’t straight with Malia as far as it went in regards to her history, though he erred on the side of truthful for near about everything else. Truth be told, he didn’t remember any of it. If Talia (senior) had been around, he might have been able to pester his big sister for the memories… but she wasn’t. He knew she had taken them from him, but he didn’t know why. He highly doubted it had been in regards to his own persona safety; if there had been a danger to whomever he had made his bed with, then surely Alpha Sister would have seen to it he laid in it. Not prevent him from recollecting it. It weakened his stance, to not know a single thing about his own daughter other than she was his.

And oh, how he needed a stronger stance.

Peter watched the city, and the city didn’t take much mind of him. Laura held a grudge, but if Derek or the others had any scruples about his past, they didn’t show it. Most had no idea of what he was capable of; many did not like him, but they didn’t find him untrustworthy. He was no more or less “evil”, or “bad”, than their current leader. He had every intention of taking advantage of that.

You see, when you’re more concerned with the dynamics of a family or two than you are the people you rule and the power you hold, you don’t really deserve what you have. Maybe Marcel had built the city back up after his sire and family had fled, and maybe he had done well to keep each species out of their neighbor’s hair, but just as Peter had seen this leader be precise and act with just the right note of cruel, he had also seen Marcel fiercely intent on a child that was not his own, and a woman he had yet to claim. You could rule and balance your life. It was possible. But Peter didn’t believe this vampire had the ability to do that.

Never mind the obvious imbalance of power. Shun the wolves, trap the witches, and value the vampires most? What about the dozens of hybrids, all with their own tricks and treats? Sure, Peter favored the many flavors of wolves in the city above all, but if he were Marcel? He would do well to hold the reigns to each kind, and to keep each kind as important as the next… even if it meant having to do it behind a figurehead.

Oh, Peter had every intention of changing all this. Right now, it was just a matter of how. And his daughter was as much key to that as anything else. This he told himself, with ever so slight a smile, as he turned towards the familiar scent and sound of Malia coming near. Whatever they achieved today, it would be a boon to them both. The stronger the bond between him and she, the more he could rely on her should he need her to take control of the pack. That was assuming, of course, that he was able to trump Marcel and become the power the city needed. Of this he was less than certain about, but Peter Hale had never been known for lacking confidence. Give him time, and he will come around again to that, too, without surprise.
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Having a father in her life wasn't something that Malia was unused to; she had had a father in her life since the day that she had been born. The only difference between then and now was the father that had helped to raise her had been nothing short of a lie. He wasn't a biological relation to her whatsoever... Just a man that her mother had fallen in love with somewhere along the way that had been wiling to take Malia in as his own child, all in the name of love.

But love was a fickle thing and could change the moment the world did. Todd might once have loved Malia as his own, but once he had been gifted with his own child, the light shone brighter on the fact that Malia was not whole. She wasn't his. Maybe it was his inability to control his anger as she grew up or maybe it was the fact that he wanted a perfect family that was his and not his with a hint of something that belonged to someone else... It didn't matter now, though.

Anything Todd had done or said to her was so far in the past that Malia rarely thought of it let alone remembered it as her past. As far as she was concerned? She was a Hale and Peter was her father. He might not be the most conventional parent in the world... but he understood her and she knew that was because she was his. His blood.

Crinkling her nose as she made her way through the branches and the ferns that reminded her way too much of home, Malia found herself instantly growing accustomed to the sights, scents and sounds that made up the forest. She had spent six years living in the woods back in Beacon Hills... this was hardly any different. In fact, it was far more soothing and comfortable than the city life.

There were some days that the thought of running off to live the rest of her days in the woods was more appealing than she cared to admit to anyone. Days when the challenge of trying to live a normal life were too great for Malia to care to face any longer. It was like being thrust into a foreign country and not being able to communicate with those around you simply because you did not know or understand their language, much like they didn't know or understand yours.

There were so many things that the young brunette didn't understand and it seemed as though everyone around her expected her to be able to learn things at an alarming rate. As if she could take in every piece of information thrown at her on a daily bases and have it embedded into her memory permanently. Even as a werewolf... things didn't work that way. Maybe in smaller quantities, but like this? Never.

With her knee-high flat-heeled brown boots in her school bag along with the sweater that she often dragged along with her just for show, Malia tossed the school bag down at her father's bare feet. Her blue eyes on him as she folded her arms across her chest. "Waiting long?"

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Peter looked towards Malia when she stepped through the foliage and approached him. He may not have spent his youth running wild as another creature, but he was a born wolf, through-and-through. That seemed to help him assign some kinship with his daughter where it would otherwise be lacking—after all, a vast majority of Malia’s youth had been spent in her other form. Thanks to him. No. Thanks to his sister, Talia, the wonderful alpha, the beloved alpha, the best alpha. The leader of the Hales, the one who could temper Deucalion and who was renowned for her levelheadedness in situations when she should have been brash, blunt, strong.

Well, Talia, in the end you were no stronger than anyone else. Who had survived the fire where you did not? You may have taken my memories, big sister, but you did not take my will, and it was always greater than yours, no matter your role in the family.

Psh.

It had been Talia that had taken from Peter the memory of the interlude with the woman that had resulted in Malia. It had been Talia, he could only assume, who had okayed Malia staying with that pathetic man, Todd. He didn’t even know if the other woman was alive—if Malia’s mother was out there somewhere—or not. Todd, the unfortunate scum, was still alive, but could not put forth Malia’s mother’s whereabouts… and had also not granted Peter with the knowledge of who she was. Peter would never ask; it would admit to the fool that he didn’t know, and that would give Todd leverage over Peter. He couldn’t have that.

All that his sister had done had directly resulted in Peter not being able to raise Malia. To know of her existence! Her actions had made it so he had not been able to guide his daughter, to train her, to cultivate her intelligence, and to teach her how to control the wolf within. It was Talia that he blamed for Malia living wild for so long. Now she struggled, lacking the knowledge most children grew up having dumped into their head, and knowing far too much about how to be truly animal. He appreciated the latter; he regretted the first. She ought to have had all the things she deserved to have had given to her as she grew. She ought to have been brought up to be better than Talia, or even, he, Peter could be.

She still could be, this was true… but they had a great deal of catching up to do.

Peter smiled at Malia, then, and shook his head. “Not very.” The sun was still high, and it baked his shoulders through the sleeves of his shirt as he shrugged. A dip somewhere cool and shaded might be in order later. Even this time of year, the weather tended to stay welcoming. Chances are this hunt might even take them plowing through low waters; that would feel good. He gestured over his shoulder at the stump he leaned upon with this thought in mind. “There’s a bit of a hollow in the back of this trunk, if you want to tuck your stuff there. Anything you don’t want to get ruined. We’ll come back for it later.”
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There were very few people in the world that Malia found herself able to tolerate, but her father was one of them. She wasn't sure if it was instinct that she ran on when it came to her biological relation or if it was emotion... whatever the case, he was the one that she felt the closest to since being dragged out of the woods and out of her comfort zone as a full-time-werewolf.

Malia wasn't completely certain that her father completely understood just how difficult it was to try and live amongst others her age that had grown up being social, being educated, being cared for... but he understood her reluctance to join in with those her own age as if she, too, had been. She had absolutely no desire to pretend she was anything like them and so far her father had been the only adult that had respected her wishes, even if that meant being dragged through homeschooling.

As he brought her attention to the hollow in the back of the trunk, Malia's blue eyes peered around him to inspect the area he had motioned to for herself. Not that she didn't trust him, but she was a curious creature at best, if nothing else.

Most that hiked through the woods for any reason whatsoever would have brought some form of supplies or another along with them. A backpack with water, even... Malia had no use for such items. It would be a cold day in hell when she got lost in the woods and even if she did? Malia had spent more than enough time fending for herself to know how to hunt for food and find sources of water.

Still, her shoes and the sweater she wore over her thin top were worthy of being salvaged if only in her own opinion. Her fingers working the zipper of her sweater while her feet kicked themselves out of her shoes simultaneously.

"Do you come out this way a lot?" She doubted it; her father didn't seem like someone who spent most of his time trotting around in the woods but that didn't mean that he didn't once in a while. "Sometimes it's nice." Wrapping her sneakers in her sweater before placing the items safely i the hollow of the trunk, Malia righted herself as her attention moved back to her father. "To not be a person anymore; people-problems suck a lot more than wolf-problems."

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In no uncertain terms could Peter ever claim to fully comprehend the life Malia had lived up to this day. To claim as such would be total arrogance, and while pride was almost certainly a fatal flaw of Peter in many respects, he had enough self-awareness to know what he did and did not know about his daughter. Most of the time.

When it came to Malia, Peter was a little quicker, a little kinder, a little more empathetic. He would win no awards for any of these traits, certainly not as they compared to the rest of the family, but Talia surely had underestimated her brother. Perhaps he wasn’t any less manipulative—nor did he up and cease maneuvering—but if sister dearest’s end-goal had been to keep her brother even-tempered, then perhaps it would have ultimately been better to let Peter keep his memories. And his daughter. She had been wrong.

Peter shook his head at Malia’s question, blue eyes watching her inspect his hiding place with a quiet sort of approval. He folded his arms over his chest, repressing a smile. The young woman was always probing, always questioning. She never seemed to satisfy herself with the answers of others; she preferred to confirm things herself, to satiate her curiosity by her own means. Who wouldn’t be proud of that?

“I prefer the area closer to home, but the hunting is very poor. I think it was depleted of anything truly viable long ago, and has yet to bounce back.” Between the humans around here who hunted for sport, and the wolves that ran amok on a regular basis? Peter would be intrigued to learn the extent of the the impact the constituents of this city had on the local ecosystem.

Poor “Mother Earth”. He could imagine her now, muttering to her affected self: “my son is a cold-hearted gangster and I need a hug”. For it made sense to compare the violent masses to the steel and blood of that life; the wolves, on the other hand, needed the environment as much as their true animal counterparts, but had no reason to regulate it. Wolves were almost always migratory in his experience; the fact the Hales stayed as long as they did in Beacon Hills was rather extraordinary.

He shook himself free of his thoughts, letting his hands fall to his sides. He nodded at Malia, but he didn’t exactly agree: sure, wolf problems were significantly less complicated, but there was something to be enjoyed about the complexity of certain “people problems”. Someday he hoped she would understand and find amusement in learning to play people, to turn them to her advantage. So much of what Peter did for Malia was to coach her into being a better alpha than anyone expected—himself included. Understanding how to finely tune each person and sharpen them into the appropriate tool for the job was a massive part of that. Never make them believe you are exploiting them. Make them want what you want. That was the key, and Malia would have to learn that in time.

Maybe Talia was right to fear what her brother would and could do, had he known everything. Ah, well. She was dead and he was not. Who was the survivor now, Talia? Who had risen above the ashes when everything else was dead and dying?

Peter smiled. “Sometimes it’s refreshing to take a vacation from it, isn’t it? I thought you could use something like that today; that’s why we’re out here.” To run, to hunt, to give themselves over to the animal. They were both born wolves—since childhood they would have known the need to slake the hunger to be as equally wolf as they were human. Maintain the balance. You could hardly deny either side of yourself and expect to remain whole.

It’s too bad most of the area’s werewolves didn’t seem to understand that. They rarely gave in to what they were, and it left them riding unhappily on a razor’s edge.

One hand lifted and gestured at the greenery before them. A smile pursed Peter’s lips together. He invited Malia to begin the hunt simply: “Shall we?”
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It was strange to have lived two lives already in only a matter of a decade and a half; Malia had lived a life with her adoptive family - whom she had thought to be her biological family at that young age - and she had lived a life as a young werewolf hiding in the woods after a tragic accident. An accident that had taken her first life from her and had thrust her into one she was vastly unprepared for.

In a way, this was as much a new life as her previous two had been. Malia was once again finding herself in a situation that was as foreign to her as turning into a werewolf once had been. Everything she was experiencing was for the first time; it had been so long since she had been human that even the smaller things had gone forgotten.

Luckily enough for her, the English language was something she still had a grip on; her thoughts, after all, were still her thoughts even when she had been a wolf. Touch, on the other hand... Every single thing that Malia came into contact felt almost as though it had a new texture than it had before. Even the air around her was colder than she remembered it being back in the woods, but she had to take into consideration the fact that she was no longer running around with a thick fur lining her body; it was only natural she'd feel colder.

As she stored her shoes and her jacket away where she could retrieve the items later, Malia hesitated on the rest of the items that she wore, almost as if mentally debating each one. Things like clothing were still as foreign to her as so many other things lately and there hadn't ever been a single instance where she had found herself running around the woods - hunting in the woods - while fully clothed.

Still, it was the human rules that her father was slowly teaching her that stopped her from storing everything else she had chosen to wear that day. She wasn't a fan of clothing, that much was obvious, but even the jean shorts and light-weight tops she wore to make up for that needed to stay on. A small victory for those who continued to teach her.

This was a first for she and her father; Malia most certainly knew how to hunt but she had never done so while in the company of anyone, let alone someone that she knew. There was a very real possibility that this bonding activity meant something different to him than it did to her... To Malia, hunting was a very primal, bloody activity but she could easily see her father being the type that didn't spill a single drop. Hell, maybe he was even the type that only chased his prey down to let it go again...

There weren't many wolves like then that had as much control as both Peter and Malia had over their werewolf sides. Peter, through years of mastering it, and Malia through a handful and a half of years of being nothing more and nothing less than the thing she was meant to be controlling. She could tap into her werewolf side just enough for some features to shine through much as she was doing now. Her canines elongated and the look on her face became somewhat feral while her eyes flashed an obvious blue that often had most other wolves hesitating simply because they knew what that color represented: an innocent life that had been taken by the girl behind them.

She could also shift completely which was where other wolves struggled. She could become the epitome of the creature she tried to hide from the rest of the world but she wasn't sure what her father's game plan was just yet, even as he gave her the go-ahead to lead the way.

"Rules?" Because people seemed to love rules and while her father wasn't fond of having many of them, even he had fallen victim to that very human expectation.

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Finding out you had a child when that child was well on her way to adulthood had been one of the more bizarre experiences Peter had the pleasure of enjoying—and that’s saying a lot when you considered he had been resurrected from the dead. A man of few emotions, the ones he did have were vehement when it came to this situation. After all, it had been his sister and alpha who had thought it wise to hide Malia’s existence from him, but not so much that she hadn’t arrogantly named Malia with a single letter difference from her own (he was calling bullshit on that being a coincidence) and housed her not even a few miles from Peter’s own home.

Of course, taking Peter’s memory had certainly helped. Alia had excised Malia’s mother so thoroughly from his mind that he couldn’t even figure out where or when Malia might have been conceived. He had to assume Talia had filled his mind with false memories to make up for that which was taken from him, but Talia had done an excellent job of constructing the lies—because, truth be told, all his memories felt real and true and accurate.

How was he supposed to ever figure out Malia’s story if he couldn’t even reliably trust his own? And it was important that he know. Because he could either trust that Talia had done this for his and her own good—which he didn’t—or believe that Talia had chosen to take Malia from him because she thought him too homicidal, too manipulative, too terrible a person to raise a child.

Peter definitely assumed the latter was the case, and without further evidence—i.e. locating Malia’s birth mother—he would continue to do so. He had always known (perhaps believed, but to him this was knowledge) that his sister found him less than appealing, less than trustworthy, less than capable. Perhaps she even had found him disgusting. Peter embodied the fox far more than he embodied the wolf, yes, but he was still more wolf than human. He was the beta hungry for alphadom, but he was especially devious. Sly. He was dangerous. And Talia had always thought him a threat—of that he was certain. So she had done what she could to keep him down, to remind him of his place.

He was convinced Malia’s “kidnapping” was a part of that.

That said, while Peter was passionate, he was also self-contained. He could wait on his rage. Once it was loose, it was difficult to corral again, yes—but until then? He could wait. He couldn’t take any sort of revenge on his sister because she was already dead. He could search for Malia’s mom, or try to dig into his own memories—but he also didn’t want anyone lording the answers over him. So, most days, he set it aside in favor of proving his dead sister wrong and parenting Malia.

Sure, he was unconventional. He did not have the correct self-awareness gene necessary to realize he sometimes prioritized his needs over hers. He was driving by the seat of his pants when it came to making decisions about how she should and shouldn’t be; how he should guide her and when he should back off. She was a wolf, born and bred, in a human world. He had to teach her to mask parts of herself because secrecy drove every vehicle into success. But as one of the most wolfish members of the Hale family legacy, he also refused to let her birthright be denied. She was Hale. She was wolf. She was alpha.

Maybe someone outside Peter’s head would admit he having a child was not the best thing, but so far, no one had bothered to say that. Which was probably wise; he had ripped throats out before, and he could easily do so again.

“Only one: if we see humans, we run the other way.” He did not further undress, because Malia could not (if they did encounter, say, hunters… well, it’d be messy to explain), but they could be as bloody and as violent as they liked. That was the point of this. Giving in to the other side. Letting themselves be free for a while.

He rolled his head around on his neck, shrugging his shoulders and rising up on the balls of his feet for a moment. When he settled, brutally sharp canines peeked past his bottom lip; the irises of his eyes had morphed into a brilliant, glowing blue. A low rumble filled his chest and gave way to a snarl that pulled lips back over transformed teeth. Though not the only change—his clawed hands and feet were weapons in their own right—it was the most indicative of his readiness, and he did not wait for Malia to make the same leap into the lycanthropic mindset because of it. Instead, he took off like a shot, knowing good and well Malia would catch up soon enough.
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Anyone you asked would agree that a child always had a hundred questions a day about absolutely anything and everything they wanted to learn about. It was how a young mind grew; questions were asked and answers were given by those who had them so knowledge could seep into the mind of a child and bloom from there on out.

Malia had been no exception to that as a child. She had had a thousand questions for her adoptive parents ranging from why the world was seen in certain colours to where the bumble bees went at night. There was no doubt that her parents, like any other parents, surely got irritated with the number of questions that Malia had as the years ticked by, but never had they put an end to them.

As a wolf, those questions about how the world worked were quickly replaced by instinct. In fact, the English language was quickly pushed to the back of Malia's mind altogether as the need for survival grew; it had come to her as quickly as those questions had formed in her earlier childhood years.

When Derek had forced her to turn back, it had taken Malia a couple of weeks to shift her mind away from thinking like a wolf - something she still did far too often - to thinking like a person. Most of her questions these days stemmed around where she came from. She knew now that Peter Hale was her biological father and he had been the one to take her under his metaphorical wing, but she still had nagging questions about who her biological mother was.

Peter, like Malia, was a stubborn creature at best and refused to contact his deceased sister - the one who had separated them to begin with - despite Malia's encouragement to do just that. She understood that he wasn't wanting to stoop to such a level, but she couldn't deny just how passionate she was about finding out why her existence had been kept a secret and why her biological father had had even her biological mother erased from his memories altogether.

Today, of course, wasn't about who she might be, nor was it about Peter's deceased family members. Malia knew many considered this a 'bonding' moment between father and daughter but she had a snaking suspicion that Peter was hoping to have her exhaust some of her instincts if only for a few days. She couldn't understand it now, but having a wolf as a daughter instead of a normal teenager was likely fairly taxing on him, especially when it came to trying to follow all the silly little laws that were set in place by Marcel. Malia still couldn't wrap her mind around them enough to understand why secrecy was such a big thing...

She certainly couldn't understand why anyone cared about what humans thought at all, really. That was why as Peter informed her should they see someone out and about during their run - they needed to head in the opposite direction - she had a hard time grasping that. Humans were near the bottom of the food chain, so why on Earth should they run away? If someone wanted to turn her into a fur coat, she could easily win that battle but, again, killing humans was another rule she wasn't allowed to break.

Rolling her eyes, Malia found it a struggle not to ask a thousand times why. A great many people had a hard time tapping into their inner werewolf, but Malia had never found herself subjected to that struggle. If anything, she had a harder time suppressing her inner wolf and keeping it at bay. Nine times out of ten, she truly felt like situations would be better handled or better contained if she were acting as an animal rather than parading around as a human.

That was why she wasn't suited for things as seemingly trivial as school as of yet. Having her eyes flash that magnificent shade of blue when she was feeling overwhelmed by a negative emotion or a raw instinct wasn't something anyone seemed willing to risk when Malia was already struggling with her own coping mechanisms and struggling to catch up to others her age.

Instead, she was home-schooled and was learning more than anyone could possibly have taught her in a classroom. Malia could easily turn into a full werewolf and had never had a problem in doing so. There was always a fear that lurked beneath her confidence. A fear that she, once again, would get trapped in her werewolf form and be unable to shift back but Malia knew she had to have faith in her father - her alpha - because if Derek could order her to turn back, he most certainly could, too.

It was tapping into the wolf just enough to be a wolf without having to take on the true form of one that she struggled with the most. Using her claws, her canines... all without fully shifting. Her father had helped immensely with that, both by training her and by letting her play-fight with Isaac and Liam but the urge to let the wolf take over completely was ever-present.

The young brunette's eyes - much like her father's - flashed that familiar blue. The same blue that signified a life that had been taken by the wolf behind them. He was quicker than she was when it came to other changes; while she wanted to turn fully, Malia had to take a few moments and listen to the quiet just enough to block out the wolf and her own insecurities until her claws and her teeth - while both smaller than her father's - were weapons she had over anyone who dared cross her path that afternoon.

What she lacked in size, Malia always, always made up for in instinct and speed. Even if she didn't know her surroundings like the back of her hand, Malia focused on sound, scent and touch - like the vibration of the Earth beneath her feet when she was too close to a freeway - to map out the quickest and safest paths.

She could hear her father; his heartbeat strong in his chest, his steady intake of breath. It didn't take her long to have him within eyesight as she pushed her body to move faster. Not fast enough to outrun him - even Malia struggled there now and again - but enough to catch up, at the very least.

It was when she was a few feet off to his side that she put more of a leap into her step than a run. At this speed, having someone (or something) collide into you from the side was like getting hit by a small truck, but the good thing about being nearly invincible was... well, being nearly invincible.

Malia's intent was to tackle, not injure. A soft but playful growl rumbling past her lips with a soft nip of a bite against his upper arm. Not a bite that was strong enough to draw blood, but rather one that was firm enough to capture his attention as if the wolf were saying 'tag, you're it' as she turned the tackle into a somersault that had her back on her feet and running out of sight in only a matter of seconds.

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When Peter was young, he had been part of a pack the likes of which few had seen. Though family-based, they were robust and numerous, and so any activity—be it hunting, running, or play—usually had been a group affair. For all his jealousy and narcissistic tendencies, being among your own kind and being allowed to be who and what you were—it was key to a wolf's emotional well-being. Werewolves are like their four-legged kin. They need others of their kind to survive, or they become weak, isolated, and wild in all the wrong ways. Lone wolves don't survive.

Though he rarely, rarely spoke of it, Peter's decade locked in that awful, albeit healing, coma had not been terrible because of his inability to move, or hell, the fact he had been trapped in his own thoughts and nothing else. It had been painful to endure because he had endured it alone. He knew Derek and Laura had lived because they had actually stopped in, you know… once. Possibly. And he had regularly been reminded by the nurses who had bathed him, dressed him, medicated him, and so on—who had obnoxiously filled his already tedious hours with prattle and chatter he couldn't give a rat's ass about. But the rest of his family had been dead, dead, dead.

He had resented his sister for the alpha-dom—that hadn't meant he wanted her dead. A wolf's not a wolf without its pack, regardless of whether that wolf wants to rule that same pack or not. Sure, he had killed Laura for opposing him, but, really… becoming the alpha had been a fortunate side effect. She hadn't agreed to his journey of vengeance; she had wanted to stop him. Peter wanted revenge, and he thought he damn well deserved it after his decade of inaction as a direct result of the incident that spawned the whole dish-served-cold in the first place. He hadn't meant to make himself a lone ranger again, but, hey, when needs must.

So to run with his daughter like this, really, was exhilarating. He could hear the feather-soft thud of her footsteps—ears perked the more that sound grew in proximity to him. Every step of his was carelessly calculated; he dodged trees at the last second, and leapt over divots and holes in the ground right as the balls of his feet left them. To the more cautious and safety-minded, the path he took would be nerve-wracking, but at least one part of Peter Hale had to be counter-intuitive: for all the care he took in executing plans, or awaiting the fulfillment of goals, he was a marvelously wild runner and hunter. This was a man who could attack and fight cleanly, because he had the muscle control for it, but who didn't… because he just didn't want to.

From his right came his daughter, launching into him like a particularly tall and clawed missile. The nip was met with a warning snap of teeth—but there was no real bite in them, either. He was playing. The tackle took them both down, and Peter rolled two or three times before springing from his toes and fingers back to his feet. He lifted his nose to the air; caught Malia's scent; took off running again.

His age and strength gave him an edge that Malia didn't have, sure, but Malia's smaller frame gave her the agility and ability to go where he couldn't. Still, what got in his way, he clawed aside—he wasn't about to find an alternate route if he could just go through. In time, Malia was back in his sights; he sprung at her long before he should have, betting on his own waiting muscles to take him the last bit of necessary distance. He came down on her heels and literally nipped at them, grazing one with his teeth before thrusting himself back to his feet; the attack cost him an arm's length, and put Malia ahead again by a few feet. So he pushed forward, nudging her with a shoulder. Again, not to harm, just to remind his daughter who she was up against in this little game of "come and get me".
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Feeling the bares of her feet against the crunching ground beneath her had Malia truly missing belonging to the wilderness much as she had for well over half of her life. It felt like home, as odd as that might have sounded to someone who wasn't aware of Malia's rather unique situation. Perhaps it might even sound odd to those of those that did know of it.

The day that Peter had collected Malia and had taken her home for the first time had been a bit of a challenge for them both. For Peter, he had never had a child of his own so despite his experience with his nieces and nephew, this was as new to him as any first-time part. The biggest difference there was that he wasn't the proud parent of a newborn baby, but the surprised and vastly unprepared parent of a teenage girl.

Malia, on the other hand... Walking into a home for the first time in almost a decade had been a challenge for her. Nudity had been barred altogether day one. She had had to endure lectures that centered around open windows and CPS, most of which she hadn't even really understood, but she had agreed on shorts that left most of her legs exposed, loose-fitted tops that didn't touch her skin and knee-high socks because despite the arguing against clothing, a lack of a fur coat left Malia always cold.

The lights had been harsh and all seemed to buzz every time the switches flicked them on and the electricity rushed through each bulb. There had been a couple of times that Malia had collected all of the bulbs in hopes of hiding them, as if Peter never would have noticed a serious lack of light in his home... Everything in the kitchen from the coffee maker to the toaster was downright horrifying. Every sound they made had the young wolf's canines exposed through each wild growl. Nights weren't spent cuddled up under blankets on her new bed, but rather fast asleep underneath her father's.

She still slept there some nights, or just outside of his partially open bedroom door. It was natural for wolves to sleep within their pack in case danger decided to creep up on one or more of them so it was more bare instinct than anything else.

Sometimes she wished her father would just forget the human world and choose to follow her way of living, but that didn't seem to be of much interest to him these days which led Malia to cling to her small bit of humanity a little tighter. She hoped to be as good a human as he was, even if most people didn't think he was good at much of anything at all... but as naive and somewhat uneducated as Malia was, she did hold a cockiness many would argue came from Peter. A cockiness that had her truly believing that while he might be the better human of the two, Malia was by far the better wolf.

Malia was light on her feet; she had learned to tiptoe much like coyotes often did in the wild as it had helped her to hunt when speed and strength hadn't been her stronger suits. That, of course, was in the beginning of her time in the wilderness when being a werewolf had been nothing short of new and startling to her. It was a little trick she had held onto when she had mastered speed and had found herself capable of overpowering her prey as she could still often use it to her own advantage.

The warning nip that her father offered her didn't go unnoticed, but it didn't phase Malia in the slightest. She had more than a few lingering scars from warning nips and territorial bites she had received in the past from far less playful creatures and not a single one had ever been enough to dissuade her from whatever little mission she had set herself out on. Today, of course, was no different.

Peter was fast; perhaps faster than Malia was but she was smaller and more slender than he was which worked to her benefit. She could be agile and flexible where he couldn't be and that was something she fully intended to use to her benefit as her father nipped at her heel. She might not be able to outrun him, but Malia's cockiness had her believing wholeheartedly that she could still outmanoeuvre him regardless.

With her father catching up with the younger wolf enough to be able to nudge her slightly off path, Malia let out a soft growl that was both playful and served as a warning that she could just as easily snap back, which she fully intended to do. Not where he would expect it though, no... Malia knew where his skin was most sensitive; the scar tissue that would provide the most discomfort which would work to her advantage. Pinning her father would prove that this was more her domain than his and that she was the force to be reckoned with, not the other way around.

She didn't bite to would or injure, but Malia knew for certain that there was a scar she had left along his side just beneath his right arm from her first few days in his home. It was one of many bites he had endured after accidentally and unintentionally spooking Malia by walking up behind her a touch too quietly or reaching out to her a touch too quickly.

Malia waited for the perfect moment when his arm was slightly raised in his run before her head was ducking down enough to be able to latch tightly onto that single spot. She didn't dare puncture the skin or draw blood; this wasn't a bite to injure him but rather a hope to have his quick, confident strides faltering so she could bring him down just as easily as any other prey - playful or otherwise - she had brought down in the past.

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Pack bonding was a strange thing, especially in a world that lent itself neither to packs or to bonding when there were so many secrets to be kept. Back in Beacon Hills, the pack hadn't exactly hid... they just weren't totally forthcoming with the truth. Still, there had been many human who knew out of hand what that old house in the woods was full of, and that had demanded a degree of respect… right up until they all burned alive, of course.

Here, secrecy was absolutely vital in order to not end up in undesirable places. Peter kept the secret not because he agreed with it, but because he saw no value in pissing off their so-called leader until he absolutely had to. Someday, he and his pack might be strong enough to take on Marcel, but today was not that day. Tomorrow wasn't looking good, either.

Good thing wolves are known for their longevity. And Peter, of all people, could be excruciatingly patient. You try spending a decade unmoving, and with someone else wiping your ass because you can't, and you, too, will learn that waiting is but a small inconvenience on the grander scale of things.

Still, it was vital to Peter that he and his daughter have as many wolf bonding experiences as they did human. That wasn't always easy. The swamps that surrounded NOLA weren't great for hunting, running, or even just convening with other wolves. The Bayou was divided into territories, and the packs there were strict about the coming and goings of others, even though Marcel's rule for dividing the two species up seemed to have negated the worst of the interspecies conflict. Wolves had long memories, which was fair, when you considered the pogroms in the past centuries that had nearly wiped them all out. Pain in the ass, though, if you wanted to have some quality time with your lycanthropic daughter.

Malia's growl was met with a low one of Peter's own, and a baring of teeth. When half-humanoid, it was less obvious, perhaps, as to what was play and what was a serious threat, but the fact Peter hadn't directly lunged for Malia's throat as a show of dominance was a good sign. But Malia wasn't play for peanuts here; when she latched onto his rib cage, he snarled, and dug his heels in. The abrupt change in velocity would hopefully jolt his daughter free, but since Peter didn't want their game to end, he wouldn't initiate a take down just yet. No, if it worked, he'd leap over her and put the pedal to the metal, again. But if not? He would go for the dominance bite.

His and his daughter's relationship was infinitely more complicated than any normal human relationship. He knew his daughter was ambitious, and he wanted to encourage that—but it was also absolutely imperative she know her place in the hierarchy (admittedly right below him) until it was time. One day the Hales would be as impressive and powerful as they once were, and Malia would be the herald of that. .
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There were times when Malia looked to her father and wondered if he was the sole reason her genetic make-up leaned more towards a wolf than a human. Even as a younger child, Malia had been more aggressive than other children her age; she had preferred rough-housing to Barbie Dream Houses. That wasn't to say that she was doomed to fall in the circumstances that she had fallen into; even she could understand that the car accident that had taken her adoptive mother and sister's lives was out of her control.

Still, thoughts of her mother - her biological mother - always kept Malia well beyond curious. It was impossible to know whether or not she, too, was of supernatural orientation. Perhaps she, like Peter, had been a wolf and contributed to that biological make-up. Maybe Peter's line of wolves were more canine than human and it was his genetics that, at the end of the day, were responsible.

He was as much a beast as Malia was, there was no denying that. He relied as much on his natural instincts as she did which was why she was able to bond herself to her biological father more than she had thought she'd have been capable of.

Sometimes she wanted him to tire of her; she longed for him to give up on trying to shape her into someone society wouldn't look twice at simply so she could go back to the way things had been. It was hard to look in the mirror and see the same eyes she had seen while looking into the mirror at the age of eight, yet the face had changed so much. It was more mature, more determined... A stranger with aching familiarity. It was hard to accept that the wolf looking back at her in the reflection of bodies of water she had once sipped from was gone, and that this girl - this human - was who she now was.

There were still pieces of that wolf that lingered, of course. Malia wasn't one to easily take orders; she hadn't lived beneath an alpha in the wild so having one now was taxing on her patience. There was a part of her - quite a large part, in fact - that wanted to prove that she was more dominant than her alpha simply because she had lived wild far longer than he ever had.

As Peter's heels dug into the soft ground beneath him, Malia stumbled. Her grip on his rib cage detaching as she fell into a quick roll onto the ground before righting herself, just in time for Peter to leap over her and take off ahead of her once again.

Having lost her speed and her one-up on her father, Malia could feel that competitive nature creeping up on her faster than she cared to admit. The brunette werewolf wasn't feeling hostile - she wasn't longing to cause harm to anyone, least of all her father - but instinct was quickly plowing over the human nature Peter had been trying to drill into her day after day.

Springing into a sprint after her father once again, Malia's movements were far more determined and far more competitive than they had been. She had to push every muscle harder than she had been just so she could attempt to catch up to her father who had a bit of a lead on her by that point.

With him back in her sight, Malia weaved between trees in an effort to find quicker little paths that might assist her in fully catching up to her father. Logs had to be jumped over, but it hadn't taken Malia all that long to find her way back to the man that had been in the lead.

She felt almost territorial; this was her territory in the sense that it had been her haunting these very woods for years. She knew them better than anyone and had never so much as wanted an alpha let alone ran beneath one. She would be lying if she were to say that that part of her inner-wolf wasn't starting to peek out even if only ever so slightly.

In hindsight, Malia should have taken a leap at her father's legs in an effort to trip him up but she had been too eager to make a move and, instead, made a leap at his back. Her legs wrapped around his lower torso with ease; her growl hot on his neck as she tried to use her weight to twist his body off balance enough to knock him to the ground, though knew almost instantaneously that her weight compared to his would prove this move to be bordering on useless.

OOC: This thread is closed.

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