Oh, man, DO I EVER HAVE HEADCANONS ABOUT LAURA HALE. DO. I. EVER.
She was always going to be alpha, and, like many children who grow up groomed for inescapable authority, I think that fact shaped her in ways she didn’t even realize. Before the fire, she took almost nothing seriously–it all seemed like a joke, compared to who she would be someday, compared to the unavoidable truth that she was stronger, sharper, more capable than almost everyone she interacted with outside of her pack. I actually think that’s part of what drew Derek to Kate, if I’m going to be honest; he grew up with Laura, who had this caustic sense of humor, who looked at reality as something to laugh off, who carried herself with the knowledge that she was a cut above her surroundings. So when he met Kate, with that same bitter humor in the twist of her mouth, with the same cutting laugh, with the same tendency to meet the day with the assumption that it was all a joke, it was easier for him to relate to her than it had ever been for him to relate to anyone before. I think that before the fire, Laura made pocket money by driving to Vegas and using a fake ID and her preternatural attractiveness to get a seat at the high-rolling poker tables. She could smell everyone’s bluffs and hear the excited jumps in everyone’s heartbeat, and it was so easy to take them that it was hilarious, the same way everything else was.
I think she lost that, after the fire. It’s harder to look at the world as a joke when the joke is on you.