This page contains chapter synopses for each chapter of the webcomic How to be a Werewolf. Always remember to assume good faith when editing.
Pages 1 through 13 inclusive.
Just after Malaya Walters deals with a rude customer, Elias Ross enters her family's coffee shop. He freaks her out by sniffing heartily all about her. Recognizing his own unusual behavior, he orders up and leaves. Charlene Masters comments that the full moon is bringing out the weirdos.
At home, Malaya's parents Maria and Elliot Walters leave for a university event after expressing concern about leaving her home alone during the full moon. Her father offers to cover the café the next day for her, then they depart. Elias takes the opportunity and knocks on the Walters' door. After Malaya tells him to leave, he apologizes and warns her about weird stuff going on in town. He talks about camouflage, packs, wolves, and people being killed in the area, confusing Malaya. Elias shows her what they have in common by partially transforming into a werewolf. Malaya, also partially transformed, rushes outside. A watcher in the woods sees her then runs away. After Malaya asks a series of questions, Elias offers to teach her how to be a werewolf since she's never met another werewolf before. Malaya agrees, and they plan to meet at the coffee shop.
After raiding the fridge, Malaya decides to deal with her concerns about Elias later. She heads to bed and crawls beneath the covers. While a wolf howls nearby, Malaya peeks out from under the covers with her eyes are aglow.
Pages 14 through 32 inclusive.
Elias and Malaya meet outside the coffee shop. They head to the university where Malaya's brother Vincent takes classes. Malaya explains she'd like to take classes if she wasn't worried about losing control. Elias is confused; the coffee shop is stressful too. Malaya explains that, like home, the coffee shop is her turf. She's feels safe at the café and at home.
Malaya tells the story of how she became a werewolf. At five years old, she went camping with her parents. Chasing after a squirrel, Malaya ran into a gigantic black dog which bit her unprovoked. She tried to scream but it stared at her and she couldn't move. When she heard her parents' voices, Malaya broke free and smacked the wolf in the face. Her parents found her and rushed her to the hospital. When they arrived at the hospital, Malaya showed them that she was healed. Confused and worried about what the hospital staff would think, they decided to take Malaya's home and keep a close eye on her.
When the next full moon arrived, Malaya was irritable all day and couldn't stop growling when upset. She began to transform when it got dark. She attacked her mother but missed, so her parents barricaded her in her room and waited for moonset. After that night, her parents homeschooled her and made sure to spend full moons together with her. Malaya would get furry but was able to control herself. Elias explains that a pack keeps her grounded. Once her wolf side saw that her parents were there to protect her, the wolf calmed down.
Not long after she was bitten, Vincent was born. Malaya was jealous, and her parents kept them apart when he was little. As he got bigger, they became less cautious. One day, Vincent threw a toy brick at Malaya. She got angry, partially transformed, and slashed him, scarring him even up to now. She felt remorse immediately and ran upstairs. Vincent later forgave her and they became closer as they grew up, with Vincent being protective of Malaya.
When asked what she would do if she wasn't worried about hurting someone, and she explains that she'd try to be a normal person. Vincent arrives, and Elias is surprised that her 'little brother' is an adult. Malaya introduces them and explains that Elias is another werewolf. When Vincent shows concern that Elias is dangerous, Elias is understanding, and Malaya and Vincent go home. Vincent tells Malaya to stay away from Elias because he's dangerous, and Malaya turns on him and says that she's dangerous as well and Elias is the only one who can give her answers. As they walk home, Malaya spots a noisy crow that appears to be watching them. The crow becomes disturbed when it knows it's been spotted.
Elias calls Marin and reports that he doesn't believe Malaya has anything to do with the bodies that turned up. Marin says they can't leave her unprotected, and Elias explains he's working on that, and that her brother is hot. Marisa appears and kisses Marin on the side of her head. Elias heads out to meet them.
Pages 33 through 61 inclusive.
The rude customer returns and tells Malaya to remake his drink correctly, and tells her she obviously has no idea what she's doing. Malaya starts to grow claws, but clenches her fist and stops herself. She makes the drink and sees him off. Malaya and Charlene talk about rude customers. Charlene asks Malaya how long she's been at the shop, and Malaya explains that she's always helped out, and her dad made her part owner on her twentieth birthday. They discuss future plans, and Malaya admits she hasn't thought that far. Charlene says that she moved to Michigan in the winter to see what was so bad about it. She tells Malaya she's from New Orleans and her parents are still there.
Elias shows for their chat, confusing Charlene. Malaya says not to worry, telling her Eli's gay, and he just has a bizarre love of scones. Elias and Malaya talk during her break and go over what she needs to learn about werewolves, such as werewolf pack structure, moon cycles, strengths and vulnerabilities, mythology, hand-to-hand combat, witches… Getting upset, she interrupts and tells him her goal is to learn how to not be hairy and angry one night every month, and to ensure she doesn't mistakenly kill the rude guy. Elias explains he will be teaching her how to be a werewolf, not how to pretend she's human forever. Malaya asks why he's helping, and Elias says that being a werewolf is all he's ever known, and he loves it. He wants to help Malaya be okay with her werewolf nature. And, if his mother ever found out he'd left her alone against the monsters, she'd kill him and teach her herself.
Elias explains werewolf pack structure this way: Werewolf packs are arranged like wild wolf packs and are usually headed by a mated pair and their kids. Elias's pack also takes in outsiders, such as werewolves without packs who blend well with others, or people who petition the pack's alpha for the bite. Malaya says she thought werewolf packs were about fighting for dominance. Elias says that view came from outdated research on captive wolves and is inaccurate. Elias uses his packmate Marin as an example: Marin has only been a werewolf for a few years, but she's older than Elias, yet neither outranks the other. He tells her a stable pack works with the wolves strengths. Malaya asks about becoming an alpha. He explains that you tell your alpha or alphas that you want to make your own pack, and you do it. You either have kids or get some people to follow you, and you're an alpha.
Elias notices that Malaya is unconvinced. She explains she's been repressing her wolf for twenty years. It's like a low-grade panic attack she lives with every day, She admits that she was hoping for an option more than knowledge is power. Elias says that she's a werewolf and will always be a werewolf. Pretending she isn't won't solve anything and could put her family in danger. Malaya says she'll think about it, and she goes back to work.
Later that night, Malaya closes up the shop. She takes out the trash and runs into another werewolf who corners her, partially transforms and tries to scare her. Malaya accidentally throws the strange werewolf into a wall. The werewolf tries again to intimidate Malaya with a roar, and Malaya starts to transform against her will. Malaya pulls out her phone and tries texting someone, but she drops her phone. Painfully completing her transformation, she turns on the stranger. The stranger flees, and Malaya tries tracking Elias by scent.
Vincent, at home, is concerned that Malaya hasn't called a lift home yet. He decides to go see if she needs help.
Malaya finds Elias. She breaks down the front door to the house where he's hanging out with Marin and Marisa. While they debate what to do, Vincent arrives at the coffee shop, and finding Mal's phone calls Elias. Elias tells him where Malaya is and texts him the address while Malaya holds him in the air. Marisa taking Malaya down, but Marin is the voice of reason. Marisa is now concerned with how Malaya found Elias in a warded house. She's worried that Malaya might be involved with the deaths they are investigating. Elias says that Malaya is freaked out but not trying to hurt anyone, and he knows she's not involved. Malaya sets him down, sits on the floor, and slumps in melancholy.
Vincent arrives and gapes at Malaya. She jumps up and hugs him, transforming back to human with his touch. She's shaking and distraught. Malaya explains that a werewolf attacked her in an alley and she transformed, then tracked Elias by his scent. Marisa says there's advanced magic on Malaya, and Marin says something bigger than they realized is going on in this town. Vincent asks why this werewolf only now attacked Malaya, and Elias says that the strange werewolf probably found Malaya by following him. Malaya gets upset and leaves. Vincent says that Malaya does need help right now, apologizes for the door, and leaves. Marisa fixes the door with magic and the three of them head to bed.
The strange werewolf reports to someone named Connie Greensmith, who calls the strange werewolf Aubrey. Connie notes that Aubrey didn't bring Malaya back with her, and Aubrey explains that Malaya threw her into a wall, and she ran away. Connie says that she forgave Aubrey for letting a werewolf live undetected in their territory, but now Aubrey has run away when she specifically asked Aubrey to bring Malaya to her. Connie says that they need Malaya. Aubrey doesn't know what to do, and Connie says she can't help her, that Aubrey needs to help herself. She asks if Aubrey wants to protect her, says that she loves her wolves, and they keep failing her. Aubrey promises her 'mama' she'll try harder then leaves.
Pages 62 through 88 inclusive.
Malaya wakes up from a nightmare about her wolf and finds she has ripped her duvet in half.
Vincent runs into Elias at the Crescent Lake University Library, where Elias is researching how a werewolf could have gone undetected. Vincent thanks Elias for not hurting Malaya, then he offers to pay for the door she broke. He also expresses concern about Elias's motives. Elias explains that Malaya is in a bad situation, and he's in a unique position to help. Also, if he leaves now his mother will hunt him for sport. Elias tells Vincent that he and Marin have been trading off keeping an eye on Vincent's house and the café. Vincent thanks him and walks away to sit with his friend Joy. He makes an inadvertent werewolf pun and Elias texts him about it. They flirt via texts.
Malaya's mother checks on her as she lays on the couch with her hands furry and clawed. Malaya has been lying around like this for days. She explains that every time she thinks about getting attacked in the alley, her claws come out and she can't stop it. She keeps thinking that if the werewolf who attacked her comes back, she fears she'll be too afraid to protect them. She feels paralyzed and useless. Her mother says she'll never be useless, and then she tells the story of how she came to the US.
When Maria was Malaya's age, she traveled from the Philippines to study in the US, leaving behind all her family and friends. Every time she left the dorms, she felt anxious and overwhelmed. She went to Elliot's coffee shop one day, and ended up having a conversation about how strong the coffee was. Elliot tried to apologize, but she explained that it was perfect and just like the coffee back home. Elliot said he roasted all the beans himself. It's been his dream to run this coffee shop since he was in high school. Maria says that if he keeps making coffee like this, he'll have a hard time getting rid of her, and Elliot promises to never stop making it.
Maria tells Malaya that she eventually go used to her new home, and many good things have happened to her since she got here. The new things about being a werewolf are scary because it's new, and she only has to be brave until it becomes an old thing. She says that she knows Malaya is brave, and Malaya says she doesn't feel brave. Maria advises her to stop trying to be a normal human, and work on being a normal werewolf.
Marin asks Marisa to come to bed, but Marisa is busy working on tracking down the spell that's on Malaya. Whomever cast the spell cast it once, over the whole town, and long before Marin got here since she's unaffected. The spell is complicated, and Marisa thinks the spell caster is probably old and experienced. The spell is using something big as a power source. Marisa plans to cast a tracking spell, and bring Eli along to hunt down traces of it around town. Marin says that's a good idea, and asks Marisa to come to bed.
Malaya decides to open the coffee shop, and her father tells her that if she changes her mind, he can take over. She goes outside and finds a mutilated deer on the front steps of her house. Malaya drags the carcass into the woods, where she says some words over it. As she starts to leave, she's confronted by Aubrey and four other people. Aubrey says it's rude to refuse their offer to join their pack, and Malaya says she doesn't want to join. Aubrey says Malaya doesn't have a choice, and everyone prepares to fight.
A loud series of caws interrupts. The bird making the caws land's on Charlene's hand. While Malaya watches in confusion, she says that the strange werewolves can't force Malaya to join. The area around everyone becomes shadowy, and hundreds of glowing eyes look out. Charlene says that the werewolves are insulting her friend by inviting her to join their pack in a lazy way, bringing a poor offering and not sending a formal proposal beforehand. She says that Aubrey is clearly not the Alpha, so acquiring new pack members isn't her business. Aubrey says the creepy eyes don't scare her, but the other werewolves decide to leave. Aubrey follows.
Charlene explains to a confused Malaya that she's a witch, and she bluffed the wolves by creating an illusion. She and Alphonsus have been keeping tabs on Crescent Lake, and Malaya. She had a premonition about Malaya, and decided to come find her. Something weird is moving in the area, and tells Malaya she needs help. She recommends reaching out to Elias.
Pages 89 through 126 inclusive.
An alarm wakes up bedmates Marin Grundy and Marisa Salcedo. Marin leaves and Marisa goes back to sleep. At the coffee shop, the rude customer has returned; he says the coffee doesn't have enough foam. Malaya remakes the drink while talking with Charlene. Marin shows up at the coffee shop and reintroduces herself to Malaya. She orders a latte and says since she and Malaya both live in town, they should get to know each other and hang out. Marin also says that Malaya should text Elias and join him and Marisa in tracking the spell keeping Malaya and the other werewolves hidden. Malaya gives her the Latte on the house, and Marin leaves a twenty dollar tip.
Elias texts Malaya first, and they plan to meet up to track the spell and learn about werewolf things. Malaya asks if Charlene wants to come, and she declines, since she doesn't want to interact with another witch. Charlene explains how witches use magic: they pull energy from the earth, cast spells, and then that energy cycles back to the earth when they're done. Too many people using the same source of magic can cause damage. She plans to tread carefully since she's new in town.
At the creepy house, Aubrey tells Connie that she tried. Connie emotionally manipulates Aubrey by asserting it's her own fault Aubrey failed, not because she hasn't taught Aubrey anything about magic, as Aubrey claims, but because she put pressure on Aubrey and Aubrey isn't much of leader. Aubrey asks why they need Malaya. Connie explains that not only will she die if they don't expand their pack, but none of her wolves will survive if she dies. They are all connected, and that even if they survive Connie's death, they'll be killed by the witches and werewolves Connie is keeping at bay. Connie says that she helped to create Malaya, and now she wants Malaya back. Aubrey leaves, then tells Harvey that they're all in danger.
Harvey talks to the other female pack member in her room. The girl is studying math and having trouble with it. She doesn't want to ask Marcus for help since she's afraid of being seen as an idiot. Harvey assures the girl that she isn't. She tells her that if Connie dies, the werewolves will go down with her. Ginger says that Connie always lies, and Harvey says that since they don't have education, documentation, or last names, they need Connie. Ginger asks about Harvey's parents, and Harvey says that she remembers how they made her feel and her name. Ginger doesn't remember anything.
Elias cooks breakfast and shares with Marisa. They talk about their plan to hunt down the spell, which is not an in-depth plan but more like how they're going to spend their afternoon, wandering the backwoods of Crescent Lake and trying not to get noticed by a powerful witch or her wolves.
Vincent shows up at the coffee shop and helps Malaya clean. Malaya says she plans to leave early since there isn't a big crowd and help Elias with tracking down the spell. Vincent hugs Malaya and tells her how proud he is that she's willingly leaving the house to go somewhere new with people who aren't her family. Malaya says she's also proud since that is the most words she's heard Vincent say together at one time.
In the woods, Malaya and Elias watch as Marisa casts a spell, creating a glowing blue fox that runs off into the woods. The fox is intended to lead them to the source of the spell. Elias says that if they encounter anyone the plan is to run away, since they don't want to hurt anyone, just find out what's going on. Marisa explains that the only witch who was fast enough to match a werewolf's speed was Flora Conradine. Thirty years ago, she was famous in the witch world and was involved with a werewolf, which was scandalous at the time. No one is certain what happened to her. Witches mostly stay away from each other, but occasionally very talented ones become a type of celebrity.
Marisa's blue fox tracking spell pauses and changes into an image of Tim, which likely means he spends a lot of time there. Malaya isn't thrilled with how close this is to her house. Elias wonders if Tim is half-transformed all the time, and explains werewolf 'sides.' Werewolves are not human nor wolves, but werewolves. Each werewolf is different: some naturally gravitate towards their wolf side all the time, others can barely transform. A pack helps a werewolf gravitate towards the middle as they grow up. As a werewolf gets older, their control declines. Their bodies are constantly healing themselves, and as they reach the end of a normal human life, the healing takes over until the werewolf becomes more wolf than human. Elias's grandmother would growl at Elias's older siblings until one day she went into the woods behind their house and changed fully into a wolf. Elias explains that's what usually happens, and then werewolves live a second lifetime as a wolf with the other older members of their pack.
The blue fox spell leads the three to a creepy old house. It's rundown and doesn't appear to be the cleanest. Marisa explains that the house is absolutely covered in magical wards. Elias says the house looks like something out of a horror story, but Malaya says she likes it, and it would look nice if it were fixed up. Elias agrees that if the house didn't look like the Earth was trying to reclaim it, it would look completely different. In the house's yard, Marisa spots Tim. He stares at the three for a while before running at them. Marisa sends her fox spell past Tim and into the woods. Tim chases it until he catches it, and it disappears.
Malaya says that the other werewolves probably live here as well, and that she feels sort of bad for them since no one would choose to live here if they had other options. She doesn't like how close this is to her house. Elias says that if these werewolves killed the people he came to investigate, he won't have any pity. The three decide to run home despite not needing to run for their lives, this was for fun. In a window, Connie watches them leave. She drops into a chair, in pain, and grabs hold of a plant. She sucks the life from it, killing it instantly. Looking to the shadows in the corner of the room, she tells the wolf in the shadows she's not going to win.
Vincent calls Malaya and asks if she needs a ride home. She's home already, and tells him that the outing went well. She's hopeful that she's getting to a point where what she is doesn't scare her anymore. Vincent asks what they found, and Malaya says she'll explain it when he gets home. They say their goodbyes, and then Vincent hears a sound. He turns to investigate but a gloved hand covers his mouth. His phone and keys fall to the ground; the phone breaks.
Pages 127 through 211 inclusive.
Malaya wakes up in the night and notices Vincent's car is missing: he hasn't come home yet. She debates with herself about what to do, and decides to go for a jog into town since something feels off. If Vincent is fine, it's cool, and if he's not, she gets to run unobserved. Outside her house, Malaya notices she can pick out her family's scents, even Elias, so she tracks Vincent into town. After a close call in town, she turns into the university and finds Vincent's broken phone and car keys. From his scent, Malaya can tell Vincent was stressed. She follows it through the woods to the creepy house; she knows the other werewolves took him. Malaya wants to rush in but decides to get help instead. She doesn't want to get them both killed.
Back home, Malaya's parents debate whether or not to call the police, but Eli's 'friend' had told them that magical wards make it so the police would never find it. Malaya apologizes saying if she wasn't a werewolf, Vincent would be safe. Her parents hug her and say that they don't blame her.
Meanwhile, Elias is in their living room talking to his mom, Sara Ross, and asking for help. Sara explains that since she's an alpha, she has to be diplomatic and get Vincent back through the proper channels. If she and her pack storm the house of a small unregistered pack, Ross Pack would look like bullies causing trouble. Elias counters with they have no time for diplomacy, and Sara maintains she can't afford to turn her back on the established order that keeps werewolves from destroying each other. She can't risk over fifty adult werewolves and their families without proof this pack has committed crimes. Elias is scared and says he needs help. He feels like the council or his siblings always come first. Elias asks if he can take Marin and Malaya and get Vincent back without the rest of the Ross pack or involving the council. Sara says that if he does that, it'll look like she's going behind the council's back and breaking the law. She'll have to publicly disavow him—he and Marin won't be a part of Ross Pack until there was an investigation. Her hands are tied.
Marin and Marisa come back into the house from outside; Marisa reports that the wards around the Walter's house and property are done. Marin searched the area, but didn't find anything strange around the house. Charlene comes over and explains that she tested the barriers around the creepy house. Inside the tree line, the spell's energy is sucked away and doesn't return to her.
Elias explains to Malaya and her parents that his mom can't help … yet. If he and Marin try to get him back on their own, they're out of the pack. Malaya's mother goes to lie down, and Malaya's father goes with her. Malaya says that she's going to go get her brother back, no matter how many werewolves she has to take on. The werewolf council should stay out of her business if they aren't going to help. Elias says that she'll get herself hurt and says he'll go, try to sneak in and stealth Vincent out of the house. Charlene says that it's a dumb plan. Elias asks what else the can do and gets silence. Then Charlene offers a spell that will keep him concealed, though it might not work as they near the creepy house. Marin will track him on his phone and be ready in case he needs help. Elias says they can make this plan work.
The plan doesn't work. Elias is tossed down some stairs into the basement where Vincent is tied up. Vincent asks if he's okay, and Elias says he'll be fine after he rests. Tim got in a lucky kick to his head, and it knocked him out. Vincent notices that Elias's hands are chained and covered in aconite, aka wolfsbane. He can't shift when he's close to it, and the silver chains will burn him if he tries. Eli sees that the aconite is taped to the chains. Vincent says it's like a bondage-themed werewolf craft party from hell. This delights Elias, who laughs, but stops when it hurts too much. He says a little internal bleeding never killed anyone. Vincent says that it has.
Elias asks how Vincent recognized the wolfsbane, and he explains that he's a biology major with a focus in botany and agriculture. His parents had a vegetable garden when he was growing up, and they spent summer evenings taking care of the plants. When he was older he took over the garden and experimented with growing heirloom varieties from seed. He grew a big cabbage once. Elias says that he wishes he'd done the whole college thing while picking away at the wolfsbane. His mother had enough money saved for both him and his sister to go to school in state, but his sister wanted to study Marine Biology in Florida. So Elias said she could go, and he'd pass for now. Vincent says that was good of him, but Elias isn't so sure. His mom's been grooming him to take over as alpha since he was young, and he wouldn't have had time for school anyway. He tried hard to get his mother's approval. While his siblings had hobbies and degrees and kids, he focused on being what she needed, and a good werewolf. Elias says that she shouldn't have relied on him, since he can barely lead without getting himself in trouble. Vincent asks if the other werewolves damaged his self esteem before throwing him down the stairs. Elias says they didn't.
Vincent says that it's good Elias's weakness isn't poor self-worth since the werewolves can probably hear everything they say. Elias explains that they can't because there's a soundproofing spell on the interior, which is standard for werewolf families. He can't hear anything outside of this room. If they leave, the other werewolves won't hear them, but they might see them. They plan to get the chains off, leave through a small window once Elias breaks the bars, then run away. Elias claims he hurt the other werewolves more than they hurt him, so the pair has an advantage. Vincent isn't sure he can face the five werewolves again, and Elias apologizes for rushing the rescue. Considering it would have taken days for his mom to find a solution, Vincent thanks Elias for not leaving him in a basement for that long. Elias apologizes for getting Vincent and Malaya into danger, but Vincent shuts that down. Malaya has been terrified of hurting people her entire life and has never had a normal life. After meeting Elias, she voluntarily left the house to go somewhere that wasn't work or home, and he'd be kidnapped a thousand times for that. They sit together quietly for a while, then Elias softly says thank you.
Aubrey, Harvey, Marcus, and Ginger are all in Ginger's room discussing the situation: None of them are pleased about being forced by Connie to kidnap Vincent. All of them have visible bandages covering wounds except for Aubrey. Aubrey says they had no choice, and Marcus disagrees: they can choose to leave. When Harvey says they should leave and let Connie die when the pack bond weakens, Aubrey tells them that if they try to leave, Connie will fight to destroy them before they reach the city limits. Their best option is to get Malaya to join them by coercion using her brother and Elias. Marcus complains that it took all five of them to take down Elias and most of that was Tim, who they left guarding the basement. Tim is asleep leaning on the basement door.
At Malaya's house, Malaya's mother has no appetite. Malaya heads out to the porch where Marin is waiting for them. Malaya can't sit around anymore and says she plans to head to the creepy house to help them. Malaya asks if Marin wants to come, and she explains that she can't. She owes Sara, Elias's mom and her alpha, everything. She can't go against her. Malaya says she understands and won't hold it against her, and Marin says that if Malaya ever decides to lead her own pack, they'd follow her to the ends of the earth.
Back in the basement, Elias is healed enough to escape. First they have to remove the chains. Since Vincent can't touch the aconite, they have to try to pick the locks. Vincent has an idea and looks for a hammer. They crack open the padlocks by bashing them on the side with the hammer. Vincent says he needs something stronger to chain up his bike with. They prepare to fuck up the window and run like hell.
After running through the woods barefoot, Malaya has made it to the creepy house. She focuses and tries to transform, but the memory of her previous transformation scares her. She paces and tries to calm down. She worries that if she stops holding back, someone might get hurt. But she also can't help her brother and Elias while in a human body. Malaya tries to embrace her wolf side, and her eyes begin to glow.
Elias breaks the barred window by ripping it out of the wall. Using his strength still hurts him because of the effects of the wolfsbane. Elias and Vincent try to run, but Aubrey, Harvey, Marcus and Ginger stand in their way. Aubrey says they're not leaving, and Harvey says they don't have a choice. Elias argues, saying that if they stop now the werewolf council will probably not get involved. Marcus explains that this isn't about werewolf politics, it's about survival, which they need Malaya for. They'll keep Elias and Vincent trapped until Malaya joins them. Elias' eyes start to glow and it looks like they're going to fight, but instead he picks up Vincent and runs away. Tim stops him and Elias starts to fight the five werewolves, telling Vincent to stay close. He fully transforms into a werewolf, scaring everyone. They all continue to fight while Ginger stands to the side. Aubrey sees Connie at the window.
Inside the creepy house, Connie is watching the fight. She says the wolves are using too much energy to heal and turns her focus to Ginger. Malaya, still a short distance away from the creepy house, thinks back to what Elias told her about transformation; that it's not about control but giving in. She starts to transform.
Tim charges towards Vincent and bites him on the side. Vincent kicks him away and runs while Tim chases, but Malaya, fully transformed into a werewolf, throws him into a tree. She checks on Vincent and he tells her to help Elias. She joins in on the fight while Vincent watches. After a moment he collapses. On the sidelines Ginger tentatively asks if they could all call a truce while the others continue to fight. Suddenly Ginger is pulled into the air, then collapses back to the ground, unconscious. The others start to collapse as well. Tim charges at Malaya who is standing between him and Vincent, but she enthralls him and he collapses mid-stride. Elias, now transformed back into a human, picks up Vincent and starts to run as trees collapse around them, yelling that the magic is being sucked up. They run away, dodging a fallen tree.
In the creepy house, Connie is lying on the floor, reaching out towards the wolf in the shadows. As she collapses she says the wolf should have left her to die.
Back at Malaya's house, Marisa casts a healing spell on Vincent while everyone else watches. Vincent sits up, clearly doing much better as he says he feels like he's been hit by a bus. Vincent's mother asks if he'll turn into a werewolf now as well, but Marisa explains that the scratches Malaya gave him as a child protected him. Elias goes on, saying a scratch can inoculate humans from being turned. In days when werewolf packs were more war-like, it was used to prevent a pack's humans from being turned. Marisa takes up the thread, saying that since transforming requires magic, Tim could have infected him, but Vincent wouldn't have turned—the infection would have just killed him. Malaya transforms back to human and she and Vincent both decide not to hug, saying the other smells bad. Malaya's and Elias's stomachs both growl loudly, and Malaya's parents go to get some food. Marin and Marisa head home while Vincent, Elias and Malaya go to get changed into clean clothes.
Charlene heads out as well, and Malaya's father tells her not to worry about opening the cafe in the morning. He thanks her for the magic and they have a short conversation about things that aren't not real. Inside, Malaya thanks Elias for helping her family and says he's the best teacher a werewolf could ask for. Vincent gives Elias some pajamas; the shirt has the name of a baseball team on it. They talk about baseball and discover both of them play. Vincent says that when the college team starts up again in the spring, he should come watch the games. Elias says Vincent is handling this well, and Vincent explains that it takes a while for him to process things. If he ever needs anyone to talk to, Elias is there for him. Elias also apologizes for not being able to protect Vincent. Vincent thanks him for saving his life, and for keeping him company in the creepy basement. In the bathroom Elias talks to himself, saying that he's not used to getting thanked this much, especially when he messed up a lot. He notices the pajama pants have Star Trek logos on it. He plans to call his mom and deal with the consequences of saving Vincent. Also, he needs to shave. He decides he needs food now, conversation later. His last words on the way out are that he is so screwed.
Pages 212 through 297 inclusive.
Malaya and Charlene are working at the coffee shop when Elias comes in. They're very busy so Elias offers to help; Malaya offers him food in exchange. He cleans tables until the lunch rush dies down. Charlene notices that Elias's energy is off and Malaya asks him about his talk with his mom. Elias explains that Sara met with the werewolf council to discuss the rogue situation. After hearing the story they formed a subcommittee to discuss a future emergency procedure, completing the dive into a bureaucratic nightmare. Elias is kicked out of Ross Pack until further notice. He's allowed to stay with Marin and Marisa but being his mom's right hand man was his future — he doesn't know what to do with his life now. Malaya offers him a job at the coffee shop, and says Elias is welcome to join her pack and make coffee for weirdos. Elias hugs her. She'll teach him about coffee and he'll teach her more about werewolves.
Charlene says that if Elias is around more, they can work together on the creepy house in the woods. Malaya wonders if they still have to worry about the pack, since they might all be dead now. Even if they are dead, Elias points out they should figure out why the pack was there, if they're connected to other packs, who's causing the magical trouble, so on and so forth. Charlene knows there's a witch in the house. If she can get an item the witch has touched, she might use it to get a vision or two since she can see bits of a person's past and future. She explains that her primary skill is creating illusions, but she gets random visions and can sometimes get more specific ones through objects.
Marisa enters the coffee shop and asks for a coffee just short of strong enough to kill her, and Malaya suggests a drink called "the Mannheim Rocket." Elias asks when her shift is over and Marisa says she'll be off at midnight and has another twelve hour shift tomorrow. She and Elias are still on for shopping tomorrow, and he invites Malaya and Charlene to come along. Charlene declines. Malaya debates going or not since hasn't gone to a store ever since becoming a werewolf. Charlene points out that she'll have two werewolves to stop her if she loses control. Marisa's coffee is finished and Malaya gives it to her on the house. Elias notices she's unconvinced about the shopping and Malaya explains her fears of removing the limits she put on herself to contain her werewolf side--it's both exciting and terrifying. With Marisa and Elias's encouragement she decides to go. Elias gets a text and runs off saying he has a thing right after Marisa leaves for work. Charlene notes that his exit was a bit sketchy.
Vincent is at Crescent Lake University. He feels as though someone is watching him and makes a call. Elias's phone rings and he comes out from behind a tree where he was hiding. He explains to Vincent that he was following him to make sure no one else was. Vincent says that Elias didn't have to hide and asks how Elias knew where he was. Vincent's mom gave Elias Vincent's schedule when he asked her for help keeping Vincent safe. Elias also mentions that Vincent blocked out time on his schedule for sleeping and he thought that was very cute. Vincent is surprised and says that if Elias wants to sit in on some of his classes, he'd appreciate it. Elias agrees, saying he's never been to a college class before.
As they walk around campus Elias says that maybe he could go back to school since he was kicked out of his pack. Vincent is surprised at that and Elias explains that since he broke the rules to save Vincent, he's out. Vincent asks what that means, and Elias tells him it's sort of like if your family said they loved you, then shoved you out the door with whatever money you had, and you can't contact the rest of your family without permission, so you're crashing on a friend's couch since that's the only place you can go without getting in more trouble. Vincent says he can't make it up to Elias for saving him but for now if there's anything he can do, Elias should let him know. For now, they decide to get lunch after class. Vincent's treat, two sandwiches for Elias since he's a werewolf. Elias asks how Vincent knew Elias was following him and Vincent says that either Elias was following him, or he'd come help. Elias says he would come help and beat someone up for Vincent, but that would cost three sandwiches and bail money.
Back at home Malaya changes out of her uniform and decides to run her anxiety off before dinner. She heads into the woods, trying out her werewolf speed and strength. Running is how she can shut out the world for a while, so she's not overwhelmed. She ran to the clearing near the creepy house without thinking. Malaya spots Aubrey and tries to hide behind a tree.
Aubrey can hear her and says she couldn't do anything to Malaya even if she wanted to. She nearly passed out getting up the hill. Malaya is suspicious but decides to stay and ask Aubrey questions. She says that Aubrey has put her family through a lot lately, from trying to fight her in an alley, kidnapping her brother and tying up her friend... Aubrey says that Malaya won't have to worry about her or the rest of her pack much longer. Her mother's dying and they're going down with her. Malaya asks who Aubrey's mom is and how she's mom to all the werewolves. Aubrey explains that her mama is only her biological mother, and she's not a werewolf. Her mother is a witch. Malaya realizes that this is the witch she and her friends have been looking for. She asks how a witch could give birth to a werewolf and Aubrey explains the story of her parents.
Aubrey's mother used to be a big deal in the witching world. She was dating a local werewolf named Thomas and ended up pregnant with Aubrey and Thomas left her. Aubrey doesn't know much about magic but her mother explained that to make a werewolf you need a lot of magic. When Thomas left her the pregnancy took all of her magic and then some. She brings that up a lot, saying that she nearly died just to have Aubrey. Aubrey doesn't know how she turned the rest of her family since she isn't allowed to ask questions. She thinks that her mother probably turned Malaya as well, and that's why Connie says Malaya belongs with their pack.
Malaya asks for an object Aubrey's mother has touched so that they can figure more out about Connie. Aubrey initially declines but switches her answer to a maybe. Malaya asks for clarity and Aubrey asks why Malaya would help her. In a little while they'll be dead and it won't matter. Malaya explains that she wants to help because she's not an asshole and it's the right thing to do. Aubrey challenges her argument and asks what's in it for her. Malaya says that if she helps Aubrey and her pack she'll feel better knowing they won't come attack her family. Aubrey says that leaving them all to die has the same result; Malaya responds that she doesn't want to live near a house full of dead werewolves. It's creepy.
Aubrey appears to accept that logic. She asks what happens if she and her pack get away, what happens to them after living in that house for twenty-four years? Malaya doesn't know and says she has a lot of questions about the future as well. She's scared to go to the mall this weekend so she can't help Aubrey there. Aubrey says that at least this way she'll die with her family and Malaya asks her if that's what her family wants--wouldn't she rather live along side them, even if the future is scary? She says her mother says it's normal to be afraid in the face of new challenges, you just have to be brave until they turn into old ones. Aubrey decides to try and get something from the house for Malaya. She needs to get home since she can feel Mama pulling the energy out of her a little harder. They say goodbye. Aubrey says it's okay if Malaya can't help them and Malaya tells her she won't give up.
Malaya runs into the woods and thinks to herself for a while, remarking that she has bigger problems than shopping.
Malaya, Vincent, Elias, Marin, and Marisa are in a car driving to the mall. Malaya has just finished telling them all what she knows and Marisa is walking through the magic. She asks if Elias ever explained how magic works differently in werewolves. When he says no, she explains it.
Witches get their magic from trees, animals, plants, so on and so forth. Magic flows into the witch, they use it, and they send most of the magic back into the earth. You're born a witch and humans can't access magic at all. Werewolves, on the other hand, are like yogurt. With a little bit of fresh yogurt added to some milk, the bacteria multiply to give you lots of yogurt. To make a new werewolf you seed a bit of magic into a human through a bite. As long as the original werewolf is powerful enough, the magic will multiply in the new werewolf. Every full moon makes that magic a little stronger. Werewolves have an internal reservoir of magic, slowly and consistently upping it's game, just like bacteria in yogurt. There are many ways to make a werewolf or a witch baby but the mother needs to have access to magic. A werewolf fetus needs magic the whole pregnancy, so a witch usually join's their mate's pack so they can all provide magic for the baby. They can't keep getting magic from the earth for the baby, since eventually the earth will cut you off. If you keep taking magic by force, there will be consequences.
They arrive at the shopping mall. Malaya was too distracted by werewolf pregnancy to notice. Malaya says it smells like cheap perfume and french fries, which Elias says is the smell of capitalism. Malaya is still scared but Vincent and Elias both try to make her feel more comfortable. They head into the mall and wander through the stores. There are many pretzel shops. They go into stores to try on different clothes. Elias watches Vincent and Malaya having fun together. Marisa asks him what he thinks of a shirt and Elias says that just because he's gay doesn't mean he knows about fashion. Nearby, Vincent gives Malaya some clothes to try on.
Elias asks if that's a sign that Vincent might swing his way. Marisa says he just told her that gay dues being into fashion is a stereotype. Elias says that was old Elias, who believes many things. New Elias wants Vincent's good taste to mean they can date. Marisa says he could just ask him, which Elias tells her is fantasy advice for a universe where they both aren't hopelessly awkward. The group tries on more clothes.
The sounds and pressure of being at the mall starts to get to Malaya. Her hands start growing fur and claws, and she shoves them into one of the shopping bags, getting everyone's attention. She says she needs a break, somewhere quiet. They all find a corner of the mall that is full of stores closed for renovation. Vincent gives her a pretzel. The only open shop in this section is a pretzel shop. Marin leaves to find some new pants for work and Marisa jokingly says they'll all talk about her while she's gone. Elias says she should tell the story of how they met, and Marisa gets excited when she realizes she can tell the whole story since Malaya is a werewolf who doesn't already know.
When she first met Marin, she had brain cancer and Marisa was a nurse in her ward. Marin never had visitors, so Marisa tried to stop by her room as often as she could. Marin always smiled at her, and one day she asked her to read a bit of the newspaper to her about a case she's following. The tumor makes her vision to blurry to read. Marisa asks if she's a lawyer since the case she's following is a lawsuit. Marin explains that she has a year left til she's done with law school but with her tumor, she probably won't make it. Marisa says she might make it. Marin points out that Marisa knows her odds, and Marisa says she's supposed to avoid being depressing. She asks if Marin always wanted to be a lawyer and she explains when she was little, she didn't think having a job was an option. Eventually Marin told Marisa about her childhood.
Marin has a lot of siblings. Her parents were very conservative and religious. When she was a teenager her parents kept trying to set her up with boys from church so they could court. It never went well. Eventually her parents let Marin go to college, but only a conservative school to major in religion. At college Marin discovered her attraction to women, and since she didn't have any context for being a lesbian, she went to talk to her school counselor. He called Marin's parents. They disowned her.
The school let her stay until the end of the semester. She wasn't allowed to contact any of her siblings, some of whom she helped raise. Marin made a plan--she got a bus ticket, transferred to a state school, got a full ride scholarship and started to study Law. She wanted a major that was difficult enough to keep her mind occupied and one that would help her help others someday. When she got her bachelors degree, graduating with highest honors, no one came to watch her receive her diploma.
After finishing her story Marin notes that Marisa looks sad, and Marisa says that she's bisexual. When she came out her family just shrugged. Marin says it's okay, Marisa counters, and Marin says she's supposed to avoid being depressing when she can.
Marisa kept coming to Marin's room to read the paper after her shift to keep her company. Sometimes she'd read the entire newspaper to her. Marin kept getting worse. When she can, Marin uses her magic to help patients heal faster, treating stuff like scrapes and bruises, but she can't cure cancer. While Marisa read a case to her one day Marin said that even tho she knows she'll never be a lawyer now, she worked so hard and doesn't want to give it up. Marisa explains to the others who are still listening to her story that she's supposed to observe boundaries as a professional. She crossed them for the first and only time, and explained the world of werewolves and witches to Marin, and that turning into a werewolf might save her. Marin agreed.
The next day Sara Ross came by. Marin knew the Ross family her whole life and cast spells for them with her parents when she was little. Sara explained the werewolf bite again just in case, but Marin wasn't very responsive. Sara asked Marisa if Marin could understand her since she wouldn't bite someone without consent. Marin grabbed her shirt and told Sara to do it. Sara told her not to scream and bit her, turning her into a werewolf. It worked, and Sara stayed by Marin's side to keep her transformation both a secret and under control. Her primary care doctor finally chocked her progress up to a miracle and she was discharged after a few days.
Marin made an excellent werewolf, and Marisa only saw her occasionally. As her former caretaker she tried to maintain distance; but they still saw each other at Ross pack picnics over the summer. They danced around each other for a while with Marisa trying to maintain boundaries, but they were both sort of helpless. When Marin graduated from law school, she had a much larger cheering section the second time around.
After the ceremony Marin and Marisa walked around campus together. Marin told Marisa that she liked the pink color of Marisa's bangs and brushed her hand through Marisa's hair. Marisa said she was thinking of dying all her hair pink but isn't sure she's that brave. Marin thinks she is. Marin says she noticed Marisa is keeping her distance, and Marisa explains that she doesn't want Marin to feel like she owes anything--when she asked Sara to help, there were no strings attached. Marin says she wants to be attached to Marisa, and the two kiss.
Marisa concludes her story by saying that's how she has pink hare. Malaya and Vincent stare at her in stunned silence until Marin returns with pants. The two kiss. Malaya says they're cute together and Elias remarks that they're fun to live with but the house could use thicker walls.
Marin says she hopes Marisa only told them nice things about her and Marisa tells her that there are only nice things to tell. Other than the fact she snores and can't cook. Marin asks if one of them should change their last name when they get married and Marin says she will since the last name Grundy sounds like a supervillain name. Monogramming their towels will be easy.
The group tries on ore clothes. Vincent tries on a shirt with a wolf howling at a moon and Elias says he loves it. When Vincent says he should by it, Elias explains he only has enough money for new jeans. Plus he doesn't buy clothes he likes too much since everything eventually gets torn up in the line of werewolf duty.
The group leaves the mall to head home. Elias pauses and points out that he can smell Malaya who is offended. Marin says that she can smell Malaya as well: she smells like a werewolf. She could never tell before. The spell hiding the werewolves in the creepy house and Malaya is gone and Elias says they should check on the creepy house.
Back home Malaya and Vincent say hello to their mother who is grading quizzes. Vincent points out that most of the answers on her current quiz are wrong as Malaya heads into the woods. She finds a mug where she saw Aubrey last time and hopes it has enough of whatever Charlene needs for a vision. She sniffs the air and realizes that she can smell the other werewolves; the spell has worn off entirely. She heads back home, hoping that the others are okay and realizing that she's been around enough werewolves to recognize the smell.
Back at their own house, Marin says she found the wolf sweatshirt Elias liked in one of their bags. There was a note on the receipt that said, "Here. Vincent." Marisa thinks that Eli is in the broke student version of s sugar daddy relationship and Elias blushes while saying that it's not like that. He's just a nice guy, and his friend, who happens to be cute. Marin gets a text from Sara asking if they're all okay with running around in the woods tonight to investigate the werewolves in the creepy house. Elias asks why she didn't text her and if that is also part of not being in the pack. Marin gets an explanation via text from Sara: she didn't know if Marin and Marisa would be free since they have lives and are busy. Alpha-mom burn.
In the woods, Elias asks why Sara is here while Marin carries Marisa. She explains that since Elias rushed in, the weird pack is now the responsibility of the Ross pack--they're also likely connected to the recent deaths. Elias thought he was out of the back and Sara says that technically, he is. She doesn't disagree with what he did, but she couldn't condone it and he's barely being punished. Elias angrily says she kicked him out of the pack and Sara argues that she kicked him out into a house where he'd be taken care of with a friend who has already given him a job. A more authoritarian pack would have been much worse.
Sara tells them that the Ross pack is hanging on by a thread. She has to look that she's toeing the line and she doesn't have enough influence to bend the rules, not even for Elias. Elias is confused since Sara is the alpha of a huge pack of wolves. Sara asks him how well attended the last cookout was. Elias doesn't have an answer and Marin points out it was a long way to drive. Sara says that Ezra and Maggie are off raising families with their spouses. Patty is states away at college, Elias's dad wandered off two years ago to who knows where. She's getting requests all the time from werewolves who have to move and need help negotiating truces with whatever pack claims their new town. She's spread to thin.
Elias wonders if she can tell everyone to move closer, but Sara says she can't ask people to give up their lives. Half the pack joined because the Ross pack reputation is all about personal freedom. Sara has a possible solution--if she can get Ezra and Maggie to formally declare themselves as separate pack leaders, I can put them in charge of the werewolves living closest to each of them. They'd have three smaller allied packs. The problem with that plan is that Ezra and Maggie have families and jobs. They've both been contacting pack members close to them to get their consent but the process is slow going. In the meantime, the Ross pack needs to keep up appearances.
Sara explains that power isn't inherent. It's granted to a leader by the people they lead and reinforced by the recognition of other leaders. Her job as alpha is to maintain the impression that the pack is in working order because the other packs won't hesitate to take that power away. Elias asks why other werewolves would want their space; territory disputes are practically ancient history. Sara tells him that they aren't, the disputes have just morphed over time. Back in the an alpha would gather a large enough pack, violently tear through their enemies until they had space. Now werewolves slowly negotiate, argue, redo boundaries... it's death by a thousand cuts. Sara doesn't know if this version is better or worse or if something in between would be best. She can't show vulnerability to the council.
The four arrive at the creepy house. Marisa can only feel a few wards left. Elias asks Sara why she didn't tell him all this. She tells him that Elias has had a specific role in the pack for the last few years as her ambassador. Sending him tot talk to other packs when she couldn't has been invaluable. Elias realizes that sending him out with full knowledge of the issues would have pushed him to exaggerate or lie to rooms full of supernatural creatures. Sara said they'd sniff him out in a minute. She kept him in the dark to present the pack as strong and functioning. She was going to tell him everything after she and Elias's siblings solved some of the issues, maybe send him on a public relations campaign to clarify everything.
Elias asks if Sara still wants him to be her diplomat and Sara says she thought Elias had a new pack. Elias is flustered and says Malaya's offer probably isn't official and it was all sudden. Sara reassures him that it's alright. Once they figure out this situation and work through the drama with the council, they can sit down and discuss what he wants to do with his future. She tells him not to do anything stupid until she has the political leverage to deal with the aftermath--or to call her and she'll join him.
The four debate whether or not to get closer to the house. Sara wants to avoid fighting so she suggests gathering information while the wards are down and running if things go south. Inside the house, Aubrey, harvey, and Tim watch the four get closer from a window. Marcus watches over a sleeping Ginger.
Sara sniffs the air and can tell that there are werewolves upstairs. Someone is in the back of the house but the scent is obscured. They head towards the back of the house and stand outside the room where the obscured scent is, careful to stay back. Sara says they need to avoid entering the house.
Connie pulls a curtain away and looks outside. Elias, Marin and Marisa jerk back while Sara stands firm and stares Connie down. A dark wolf with glowing eyes appears at Connie's side, shocking Sara. She spins around and covers her eyes, telling everyone to look away from the window. Marin and Elias stand perfectly still, eyes glowing. Marisa tugs on Marin's arm but she doesn't move. Sara says they're enthralled. Marisa says she thought it enthrallment only lasted a few seconds. Most werewolves aren't good at it and can only keep someone calm and lessen the pan when they initially bite someone, but Sara says the werewolf in that house is her mother. She was better at enthralling her pack than anyone Sara has ever known.
Marisa is shocked, and Sara says that her mother ran off years ago. She didn't think her mother was still alive. She can't make Elias and Marin do anything, just keep them immobilized. Sara has a plan but needs a minute; she can feel her mother trying to get her to turn around. It's hard to concentrate. She fully transforms and stands in front of Elias and Marin, then roars, shocking them both out of the enthrallment. Elias pushes Marin to run and they both pull Marisa along. Vines spring up from the ground to grab Sara and green energy siphons from her into the vines. She tears them off and turns back to the window where she growls at Connie in the window before walking away.
Inside her house Malaya is staring out the window as she hears a wolf howl. Her eyes begin to glow.
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