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Fic: Delivering Notices

Delivering Notices
By paburke
Word Count: 700
Cross: Joan of Arcadia and (head-shake) Teen Wolf
Spoilers: All of Joan, some time after Season One, maybe

From the beginning, Joan Girardi knew that this Job would be interesting.  She had been diverted to a Wolf Preserve on her way to deliver a Notice of Demolition.  The disconnect still didn’t make any sense standing in front of the tall, dark Derek Hale and the milling teenagers.  Joan supposed that many people might find Hale to be handsome but she couldn’t see past the soul-rending grief.  Counting the number of ghosts that floated through his burnt-out childhood home, Joan knew that he had reason.

“The condemned building must come down, Mr. Hale,” she told him gently.  “If you don’t do it, the county will and then they’ll claim possession of the land due to neglect.  You have until August.”  Her eyes strayed to the see-through man and woman standing at Derek’s side.  He had the same jaw line and cheek bone structure, she the same coloring and eyes.

Joan knew she was acting like a space cadet already so she didn’t see a reason not to offer the Notice when the male ghost (had to be Derek’s father) held out a hand.  Joan heard the sharp intake of breath from the pack (she had wolves on her mind) at the official paper hanging in mid-air, being unfolded and read.  Joan was the polite kind of lawyer that let everyone read the paperwork, so she turned the face the gasp.  Joan knew her eyes widened and she couldn’t stop her own gasp.  She whirled her head back to the house where she saw a ghost almost exactly like the living man on the very edge of the group.  The rational part of her mind soothed her with explanations like ‘identical twin’ but the instincts honed from a decade of doing His Work warned her of something much more dangerous.  Joan couldn’t prevent retreating back a step.

“Scared of Uncle Peter,” one of the teen said idly, considering the evidence of ghosts right there.  “Smart girl.  I like her.”

Mr. Hale finished reading the Notice, folded it up and offered it to Derek.  The son was smart and desperate, he ignored the paper and grabbed blindly for the being holding it.  There was a half a moment when nothing happened.  Then Mr. Hale vanished and the paper floated to the forest floor.

“You have to let them go,” Joan said quietly.  “Like wolves, nothing good comes when they’re caged.”

Derek was looking at her, truly examining her.  Uncle Peter was edging toward the house with a look of intent.  The older man might tear the house apart with his bare hands.  His ghost doppelganger floated parallel, even if it meant that he left his girls behind.

She offered her business card.  “If the county gives you any trouble, call me and I’ll help out any way I can.”

Derek tilted his head like he was puzzling her out.  His nostrils flared as if smell would give him a clue.

A woman appeared at his side, with the same coloring but a little older than him.  She took the card and smacked it into Derek’s chest.  Sister, Joan was sure.  Again, Derek ignored the paper and reached for his family.  This moment stretched before his sister was forced to dissipate.

“What are you?” the chatty, lanky teen asked.

“A lawyer.”

“No really,” the teen insisted.  “What are you?”

Joan shook her head, not sure how to answer.  “I am a lawyer,” she assured him.

“What else?”

Joan shrugged, feeling uncertain.  “A messenger.”

“That’s not an answer,” the teen complained.

“Yes,” Uncle Peter declared.  “It is.”

The teen shut up, but only for a moment.  “You know, it’s not like we have anything going on this weekend.”

“And summer vacation is almost here,” another chimed in.

Derek looked violated, Uncle Peter furious.

Joan thought about saying something trite like ‘many hands make light work’ but decided against it.  Instead she said, “A pack can bring down animals larger than the individual wolf.”  She knew the challenges of doing things on her own.

Derek frowned again, confused.  He glanced down at the papers at his feet and back at her.  He spoke for the first time since Joan introduced herself, “I hear, messenger.”