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Stiles grumbles as he stomps through the Preserve. He'd tried to get Scott to come with him but Scott's too worried about making first line in lacrosse to come out. Scott wants to rest up for practice, as if that will make any difference for a severe asthmatic. But there was a dead body! In Beacon Hills! That kind of stuff never happens here! It's their one and only chance for adventure and the best part is that there's still half of the body somewhere in these woods. Stiles is totally going to be the hero that finds it.

He hopes Scott never makes first line. The only reason Stiles was even on the team was because Scott wanted to. If Scott's first line, then Stiles won't be able to talk to him from the bench and that is literally the only reason Stiles still goes to games. Finstock isn't going to let him play, ever, unless half the team has the plague and Stiles is literally the last player left.

A dog barks in the distance and Stiles scrambles up the slope to get a better view. Lights flash between the trees. That'd be the search party from the Sheriff's Department, with his dad in the lead. Stiles runs forward, hoping to stay in front of the deputies to avoid getting caught, but a leaf-covered branch catches his foot and sends him tumbling back down the slope he'd just climbed.

"Ow." Stiles groans and stares up at the bits of starlit sky he can see through the trees. His back and sides ache from where he hit a few rocks on the way down. His ankle throbs. Hopefully he just sprained it, otherwise getting back to his Jeep is going to be a nightmare.

Stiles sighs and turns his head to the side, only to roll backward with a shout. He shoots to his feet and stumbles a good distance away. He nearly drops his phone twice before getting the flashlight app turned on. Dead eyes stare at him from a naked woman's face. Well, half of a naked woman. She's a young, probably only a few years out of college. She has brown hair and she's very, very naked. And bloody. And gross. He gags.

He switches off the light as soon as he hears a noise in the woods. Had the search party caught up to him? He doesn't see any lights. He can hear a rumbling in the distance, coming closer, growing louder. His instincts are telling him to move, but he's frozen in place, staring into the dark in the direction of the sound.

A whole herd of deer come barreling through the trees. Stiles runs, trying to get away from the deer only to have them overtake him seconds later. One bumps into his side, bouncing him into another and he falls, hard, onto the ground. He covers his head with his arms and curls up as small as he can to avoid getting trampled.

The deer are gone as suddenly as they appeared, racing off into the dark woods. Stiles slowly sits up and stares after them. Luck is definitely on his side tonight. His heart's still racing from the near-death experience. His whole body trembles and he lets out a soft sound that's a mix between a sob and a chuckle.

He found the dead body. He's going to be the talk of school tomorrow.

A low growling pulls his attention away from his impending popularity. He turns slowly, his curiosity forcing him to look while his common sense dreads the answer. There's a massive shadowy shape stalking toward him. It's red eyes glow unnaturally bright. This must be what had scared the deer into a stampede.

"Shit!" He jumps to his feet, intending to run, but he isn't fast enough. The beast—creature, thing, whatever it is—lands on his back, knocking him flat on the ground. He reaches out, grasping at twigs and leaves as he tries to scramble away. Sharp pain pierces his side and he screams.

That fucker bit him!

He kicks backward with his right leg, jerking the beast off him long enough to let him get to his feet. He runs. Trees keep appearing in his way and he pushes off of them, sending him careening through the woods like a pinball. He doesn't stop running, not until the ache in his legs and the burning in his chest force him to either slow down or pass out. He collapses against a tree trunk and risks a glance behind him. There's nothing but darkness.

Stiles releases an explosive breath and slides to the ground. His shirt is ripped. There's a massive, bloody wound on his side. Fuuuuck. He's going to have to go to the hospital and get a rabies shot.

His head thunks against the tree trunk. First, he has to figure out where he is.

"Great," Stiles grumbles. He pushes himself to his feet and winces as movement pulls at the bite. He turns toward what he vaguely assumes is east. Maybe if he's lucky, he can find his Jeep before first period.


Stiles bounces in place as he waits for Scott to roll up to the school entrance on his bike. His head throbs but that's secondary to his excitement. He can't wait to tell Scott what he found.

"Dude," he shouts the moment Scott is within hearing range. "You will not believe what happened last night."

Scott gives Stiles the "I can't believe you" look. "Did you really go out looking for that body last night?"

"Duh." Stiles falls in line with Scott as they head up the steps.

"And you didn't think that maybe whoever killed that person might still be out in the woods?" Scott's eyebrows reach exceptional heights. He turns suddenly and grabs Stiles's arm. "You didn't run into the killer, did you?" Scott paws at Stiles's hoodie. "Are you hurt? Did he attack you?"

"No, maybe, yes, and no." Confusion sweeps over Scott's face. "There was this huge wolf thing and it bit me, but I'm fine, and how remarkable is it that there was a wolf here? I mean, there haven't been wolves in California in like sixty years."

Scott's eyes turn into saucers. "You got bit?" He shrieks, causing several students around them to turn their way. "By a wolf?"

Stiles flails at Scott. "Keep it down. Yes, something bit me, but that's not the coolest part." Stiles's attention is momentarily distracted by a flash of strawberry blonde hair. He turns with a wide smile and waves. "Hey, Lydia." She doesn't even glance his way. Stiles turns back to Scott. "You know, this is your fault. You're draggin’ me down to your nerd depths. I’m a nerd by association. I’ve been scarlet nerded by you."

Scott frowns. "Is that even a thing?"

"Doesn't matter." Stiles waves his hand as they walk to their first period class. "Here's the cool thing." He leans in and drops his voice low so only Scott can hear. "I found the body."

Scott jerks back with wide eyes. "Dude!"

"I know!"

"Did you tell your dad?"

"Kinda hard to do that when I was theoretically home last night. I'm going to go back later and see if I can get the GPS coordinates and then call in an anonymous tip."

They make it to English just before the bell rings. Stiles bites back a curse and grabs at his head. Is it just him or are the bells really loud today? The teacher rants about the body in the woods and how they have a suspect in custody, which is bull because the Sheriff's Department still doesn't even know who the murdered girl is. Then he starts introducing Kafka's Metamorphosis, which is such a crap choice. Stiles flinches as someone's cell phone starts ringing. He looks around but no one else seems to notice and the teacher isn't calling anyone out. Out of the corner of his eye he notices someone outside the school.

There's a girl on the bench out by the curb. She answers her phone and Stiles nearly falls out of his chair as she starts talking. It's like she's right next to him, but that's impossible because he can see her. Way over there. Far away from him and on the other side of a wall of windows. Now that Stiles thinks about it, he can hear a lot of things—the slight wheeze in Scott's breathing, a whole bunch of hearts beating in a cacophony of rhythms, tapping pencils, scuffing feet. He can hear the teachers in the other classrooms handing out their syllabi.

It's too much. He grips the sides of his desk in an effort to ground himself. He can't go into a panic attack right now. Not at school.

The door opens and Stiles's hearing suddenly zeroed in on the new girl walking in the door. Scott's jaw is practically on the floor as he looks at her. She heads right for the free seat by Scott. Stiles palms his phone and sends a quick text to Scott. Give her a pen.

Scott surreptitiously pulls out his phone and then shoots a questioning look at Stiles. Stiles nods to the new girl—Allison something. Scott turns around and offers her a pen. She beams and thanks him. Scott looks like he's going to die of happiness. Stiles, on the other hand, is definitely freaking out.


Getting through the rest of the day is torture, with lacrosse practice as the cherry on top of the shit sundae. He wants to skip but it's the first practice of the season and skipping pretty much means he's off the team. Plus, Scott practically herds him there, going on and on about how he's going to make first line this year.

He winces in sympathy as Finstock sends Scott to the goal. This is going to be humiliating. He rolls his eyes but gets in line with the rest of the team. Scott has never played a day in his life. Neither has Stiles, but Stiles has no ambitions about his lacrosse finesse. To make matters worse, Allison is in the stands with none other than the goddess Lydia Martin. He can clearly hear the two girls' conversation. Allison asks about Scott which is awesome, but apparently Scott is beneath Lydia's attention which is expected. Lydia doesn't even acknowledge nobodies like them.

Scott is so distracted staring at Allison that he takes the first shot to the face, knocking him backward. Stiles winces in sympathy. It's going to be a practice full of pain and humiliation for his brother.

Or maybe not. Once Scott rights himself and puts his head in the game, he actually manages to catch a shot. Then the next one. Then he misses, but hey, he's doing kind of all right. This could be good. Obviously, Jackson shows off because he's a douche, but Greenburg's pitch practically sails right into Scott's net. Then Stiles is up. At least he can make it easy for his boy.

Stiles rolls his shoulders, steps forward, and picks up the ball. He swings and it's like lacrosse is suddenly effortless. Like he's practiced this exact move a thousand times. The ball goes whizzing past Scott and straight into the goal.

Stiles blinks. He scored a goal. Holy hell. Scott beams at him like Stiles just won the biggest prize at the fair.

Stiles shuffles back to the end of the line and twists the stick in his hand. He shouldn't be able to throw like that. Not from this distance. Hell, last season he could barely even get the ball to the net. Something's off and he'd bet good money it's related to his crazy hearing.

Someone prods him in the back and he realizes it's his turn to shoot again. He moves without even thinking about it. Pick up the ball. Pitch. It flies into the net. He shuffles to the end of the line.

"What's with Stilinski?" Coach says. Stiles risks a quick glance over. Finstock is staring at him. There's no way anyone could become magically good at lacrosse overnight. Shit. Finstock knows something's up.

When it's Stiles's next turn, Coach is staring at him hard. Stiles takes a breath and then purposely aims for the side of the net. His ball bounces off the goal post and a couple of his teammates chuckle. Finstock's attention drifts away and Stiles sighs in relief. For the rest of practice, Stiles picks different places to aim—Scott's shoes, the divot in the ground a foot in front of the goal. He makes one of the balls go wide of the net, forcing Scott to chase it. Scott glares at him for that and Stiles shrugs in a sort of apologetic gesture.

At least Scott is doing decent at catching the ball for the rest of the players—except Jackson, of course—so maybe there's hope for him after all.

There's no hope for Stiles. He quits as soon as the drill is over.