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The Price

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To save Beacon Hills, a witch demands “the most potent, powerful emotion in one of your souls. The one thing that makes you want to leap out of bed in the morning, the thing that brings a smile to your face when you think nobody’s looking.  Your raison d’etre will be emptied and left void.”

Because witches are dicks like that, and they feed off things like intent and emotion and energy.

Everyone stalls, but they’re in crisis.  The town’s in danger, and they’re down to their last option.  Stiles steps forward.

“Take it,” he says, almost blandly. The werewolves amongst them can hear a fine tremor beneath the bravado. “You’ll be doing me a favor. I’m better off without it anyway.”

"Stiles…" Scott starts, but it’s done.

He seems no different afterward.  He still loves his father fiercely, he hangs out with Scott in every free moment, he flirts shamelessly with Malia and worships the ground Lydia walks on (albeit with more irony and respect and less blind, childish longing these days, but that had happened long before the most recent crisis).  He plays video games and reads comics and writes school papers on obscure topics to bother his teachers.  Every terrible price the group had feared and expected Stiles to pay seems unchanged.

They’re confused and worried and finally straight out ask him – did he have any secret hobbies or dreams they’d never known about? After all, it had seemed like he’d known what the witch would take from him.  Stiles laughs easily and says that he used to put on a wig and be a secret rock star in his free time, and has given up the music life since the spell.  But he doesn’t give a straight answer.

And finally, after days have passed with no major consequences looming, the group shrugs and moves on. Maybe the witch had lied; Stiles doesn’t seem any different, and he doesn’t seem upset about losing anything, so everything worked out in the end.

And if Stiles spends less time hanging out at the loft and arranging impromptu pack meetings, well, senior year is a busy time for a teenager.  And if he doesn’t needle Derek as much in a crisis… if anything, that’s a good sign, right? It means the pack’s getting along, it means less frustration for everyone, means that things can be handled faster and more easily.

And if Derek feels cold, like he’s lost something intangible and irretrievable and invaluable, he would never be able to explain why.

He didn’t pay a price; Stiles did. And Stiles is fine.