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When the World Was Younger (and you had everything to lose)

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Stiles is the cutest fucking thing that any of them has ever seen.  Scott is the only one who isn’t impressed.  Lydia hates herself a little bit for not realizing how perfect Stiles had been back when they were in the third grade together— because those eyes

He’s crying when they find him.  Somehow it makes him more beautiful.  

His clothes are too big, pants pooled around his ankles with a shirt that’s usually baggy on his grown form slipping off one shoulder as Stiles’ lower lip trembles.  Breath hitching with little sobs as he stands there in the middle of the witch’s circle, smelling like smoke and magic and hurt, he stares at them with wide but blurry eyes, terrified. 

“Where— Where’s my dad?” Stiles asks, small voice breaking as he tries to hold back more tears; all of their hearts break a little bit at the sound.  ”Where’s my dad?

"Stiles—”  Scott tries, but Stiles just plows on. 

“He’s a police— police officer, y’know.  He’ll… he’ll kick your butts if you do anything.”  Stiles says fiercely, even though his voice wobbles at the end.  

“Stiles,” Lydia says with a soft smile, bending down to meet his gaze even as he blushes and rubs at the tears in his eyes.  "Stiles, it’s okay.  We’re friends.  We’ll take care of you.“ 

Stiles frowns, sniffles, and his eyes narrow.  ”Where’s my dad?” 

"He’s out of town, Stiles, but he’s okay.”  Lydia says reassuringly.

“… And my mom?”  

Lydia’s expression falters, but then she smiles.  ”She’s not here either, sweetie.  We’ll take care of you.”

Stiles’ lips purse.  ”What’s the code word then?”

Lydia looks lost for a moment.  Of course Stiles father would give him a code word if anything ever happened.  Of course Stiles would be distrustful at his age, with his dad being who he is.  

Scott is the one that clears his throat, cheeks tinged a bit pink.  ”Um… banana hammock.”  

The entire Pack tries not to laugh even as Stiles perks up.  Derek hides a smile behind his hand, and Allison does too, pressing it to Scott’s shoulder from where she’s hovering at his side.  Lydia’s lips twitch.  Isaac is the only one who chuckles openly.  

So of course Stiles’ keen gaze falls on him.  Isaac just smiles, giving him a little nod, and Stiles sniffles again as he tilts his head.  

“You.”  He says decisively, holding out grabby little hands with raw expectation.  "I want you.“ 

The rest of the Pack exchanges looks, frowning.  Scott, like the Alpha and, concurrently, best friend that he is, takes a step forward with a protest on his tongue.  Stiles shakes his head before he can get anything but his name out. 

"No.  He laughed.  He’s the coolest big kid here.  The rest of you are boring bozos.  I want him.”  Stiles insists, eyes on Isaac’s surprised face. 

Lydia straightens up with a frown that’s nearly a pout, hands on her hips as she sends a dark look over at Isaac.  ”Well?  You heard him.” 

Isaac lets out a short, nervous breath of a laugh and steps forward towards Stiles.  ”Um… hi.” 

"Hello.  I’m Stiles." 

"I uh… I know, Stiles.”  Isaac nods, kneeling down in front of the young boy and holding out a hand for him to shake.  "I’m Isaac.“ 

Stiles beams up at him, sidetracking the whole hand-shaking-thing and going straight for a hug.  He nearly trips over his own shirt, arms wrapping around Isaac’s neck affectionately.  Isaac is stunned for a moment before he gently pulls Stiles close, arm strong but careful around him.  

He looks to Scott with a question in his eyes.  Scott shrugs with his entire face, watching with bemusement.  The only one not thrilled appears to be Lydia; she crosses her arms over her chest in a huff.  

"Nice to meet you Isaac.”  Stiles says, arms tightening.  "I’d really like it if you could pick me up now.  I don’t have shoes and my mom says that if I get dirt between my toes I could grow potatoes.“ 

Isaac plucks him off the ground easily, holding him close to his chest, and Stiles all but melts against him.  Small fingers clutch at Isaac’s shirt.  He feels Stiles sigh and relax.  

Not a moment later, the boy is asleep against Isaac’s shoulder.

Standing, Isaac frowns over at Scott, voice soft.  ”Is this normal?” 

"Yeah,” Scott replies, completely unaffected by that pure adorableness that is Stiles Stilinski.  ”He was pretty affectionate when we were little.” 

Lydia casts a scowl between them.  ”Why did he pick you?  He knows Scott, at least.” 

“He doesn’t know any of us.”  Derek replies for their Alpha.  "He’s six years old.  We’re all complete strangers to him. Be grateful he’s trusting one of us— granted, for really strange reasons.” 

“No, that was pretty much Stiles when we were little too.”  Scott confirms.  "Already going to the doctor’s with his mom all the time.  He hated serious people.“ 

Lydia still looks displeased as she turns on her heel, heading towards the roads.  ”Let’s get him to Deaton’s.  I want him fixed.  Like, now.” 

It’s going to take a total of forty-eight hours for Deaton to come up with the reversal potion.  Stiles blinks sleepily at the older man the entire time they’re at the Vet’s office, sticking his tongue out at him only when his back is turned.  He insists on having Isaac at his side the entire time. 

When they finally figure out that he’s going to be fine, they decide to take him to the loft in order to keep an eye on him.  He won’t go anywhere without Isaac’s hand in his even though he has to reach up to hold the teen’s long fingers with his little ones when they walk.  Lydia keeps giving them green looks the whole way there. 

Peter is shocked to say the least.  ”Stiles?” 

Doe eyes narrow up at him, and Peter tilts his head.  ”I know you.” 

"Yes,”  Peter nods slowly, chancing a glance around at the rest of the Pack as if to make sure he isn’t crazy again— that there’s legitimately a mini-Stiles standing right in front of him.  "Yes, you do.  I’m Peter Hale.“ 

Stiles’ expression pinches a bit, but he reaches up with the hand that isn’t clutching at Isaac’s.  ”Nice to re-meet you, Mr. Hale.” 

"You as well, Mr. Stilinski.”  Peter replies with a huff of a laugh, taking Stiles’ hand in his and shaking for a moment before he lets his eyes stray over the large shirt still hanging off of him.  "Would you like something more comfortable to wear, Stiles?“ 

Stiles nods his head quickly.  ”Yes, please.” 

"Wait right here, then.  I’ve got just the thing." 

The second Peter is out of sight, of course Stiles starts tugging Isaac further into the apartment, looking around with wide, curious eyes.  When he trips over his own shirt, Isaac scoops him up again and carries him over to the entertainment area so that Stiles can gawk at the large TV. 

"Anyone else absolutely in love?”  Lydia asks under her breath as she watches Stiles’ little feet beat at the air from where they barely hang over the edge of the couch.  

Allison nods.  ”I am.  I totally am.” 

Why?”  Scott asks, nose wrinkling.  

“Do you see that little bundle of joy?”  Lydia retorts, not looking away from where Stiles is fidgeting next to Isaac, the only still part of him being the hand that’s clinging to two of Isaac’s fingers as he babbles up at the older boy.  ”He’s perfect, Scott.” 

"He’s six.”  Scott insists. 

"Yeah,” Lydia nods, finally dragging her eyes away.  "And perfect.  Why does Isaac get to play babysitter?” 

“Oh, that’s not Stiles with a babysitter.  That’s Stiles with a crush.”  Scott replies, shaking his head.  "Trust me, he’s a beast with babysitters.” 

Lydia snaps her gaze back over to them quickly, watching as Stiles smiles brightly up at Isaac who listens intently while Stiles talks animatedly.  ”That’s even worse.  He’s supposed to have a crush on me.” 

“Not at that age,” Scott snorts.  

Derek just rolls his eyes.  ”I’m getting coffee before this conversation gets any weirder.” 

Scott is quick to follow.  The girls trail after, wanting nothing more than to interrogate Scott all about baby Stiles.

When Peter comes back, it’s just Isaac and Stiles in the room.  Stiles’ feet alternate as they tap out some strange rhythm that only he can hear, and Peter kneels in front of the boy with clothes in his hands and small smile on his face.  Isaac looks at them curiously, but Stiles is the one that voices his question. 

“Why do you have kid clothes, Mr. Hale?”  Stiles asks even as he slips from the couch to take the small underpants from him.  

“Well, I had a son your age not too long ago.”  Peter says softly.  "I kept some of his clothes to remember him by.“ 

Stiles fumbles with the underpants, and Peter takes them from him gently.  Grubby little hands balance themselves on Peter’s shoulders as the older man helps Stiles into the little boxers.  Stiles frowns at him. 

"Is he a big kid now?”  Stiles asks.  

“No,” Peter shakes his head, glancing down at him— they’re about the same height with Peter on his knees like this.  "Unfortunately, he died when he was very little, not much older than you.“ 

Stiles’ frown only deepens even as Peter helps him into the stretch jeans, elastic snapping lightly as Peter tugs them into place.  They’re a little short, but they work.  Isaac watches the two of them with a furrowed brow, and he almost feels like he’s intruding on a sadly sweet moment.  

"That’s gotta be awful.”  Stiles says as he scrambles out of the shirt that’s far too big for him until he’s only in the pants Peter helped him into, skin already dotted with moles.  "My mom’s dying.  Does it feel like that?“ 

"It’s… It’s a very similar feeling, yes.”  Peter replies, holding out the small shirt for him.  

Stiles tugs it over his head easily.  ”I’m sorry, then.  It sucks.” 

“It certainly does, Stiles.”  Peter sighs and then stands.  "Are you hungry?“ 

Stiles nods his head rapidly.  

"Alright.  I’ll see what I can do to get you something.  Pizza?" 

Stiles nods even more excitedly.  ”Please?” 

Peter smiles and heads for the kitchen.  ”I’ll make a call.” 

Stiles scrambles back onto the couch when he’s gone, pressing back up against Isaac.  Isaac hesitates, and then pets easily through the mess of Stiles’ dark hair.  

"So,” Stiles says with a crooked little smile.  "How come all you guys know me, but I don’t know you?“ 

"Um… well, you’re actually a lot older than you are.”  Isaac clears his throat, and Stiles just looks at him expectantly.  "You’re our age, in fact.  But we, uh, we were fighting a bad person and you got caught in the middle of it.  It made you little again.“ 

"So I’m actually a big kid now?”  

“Yes,”  Isaac laughs, nodding his head.  "You’re a big kid.  Kind of.  Not right now.“ 

"Am I taller than you?”  

Isaac grins.  ”No way.” 

Stiles pouts.  ”But I gotta be.” 

“Well, you’re not.  But you’re taller than Scott." 

"Scott’s a big kid?”  Stiles seems to brighten back up at that.  

“Yeah.”  Isaac nods, gesturing to the kitchen.  "He’s the one with the blue shirt.“ 

"That’s Scott?” 

"Uh huh,” Isaac laughs again.  

“But he’s so… cool looking.” 

"Hey!”  Scott calls over to them, head poking out the doorway.  "You sayin’ I wasn’t cool in first grade?“ 

Stiles leans against the back of the couch, chin resting on his hands.  ”Dude, you were lame.” 

"Was not!" 

"Totally were.  You were majorly lame." 

Stiles,” Scott frowns at him, an endearing wrinkle forming between his brows.  

"So you’ve always been a brat?”  Derek asks dryly as he walks back into the room with a mug in his hand, blowing away the heat.  

Stiles sticks his tongue out at him. 

“Stiles, be nice.” Isaac chides, poking him in the side— Stiles flinches and shies away from the touch.  "Are you ticklish?“ 


"Yes!”  Scott grins wickedly from the kitchen.  "Yes, he is.“ 

Isaac is on him in a flash.  He wiggles his fingertips against Stiles’ sides, and Stiles giggles.  He laughs and laughs, and pushes his palms against Isaac’s face as Isaac tickles him relentlessly.  

He keeps going until Stiles is nearly in tears, and they’re all laughing as Stiles shouts at Isaac to get off of him.  He tickles him until Stiles calls out for Scott to save him.  

Naturally, Scott comes to the rescue, scooping him away from Isaac with a chuckle.  ”Learned your lesson?” 

"No name calling.”  Stiles mumbles, but he’s smiling as Scott holds him against his hip.  "Even though Isaac is a big ol’ jerkface.“ 

"Good man.”  Scott kisses Stiles’ forehead, and barks out another laugh as Stiles shoves at Scott’s face and pulls back in disgust. 

“Gross, Scott!" 

"Want Isaac back?" 


Stiles takes a place on Isaac’s lap eagerly.  When Isaac finally looks at the other in the room, Lydia and Allison look like they might be dying inside.  Derek is laughing into his coffee.  Scott plops down next to them and plays idly with Stiles’ toes.  

"Can we watch TV?”  he asks. 

Isaac nods.  ”Of course.” 

By the time the two days have past, they’re all sad to see little Stiles go.  He’s a bit of handful, but he’s raw, unadulterated Stiles.  Stiles pre-supernatural.  Stiles before the loss of his mother.  Innocent and beautiful Stiles. 

Derek likes the quiet way Stiles reads early morning cartoons in the paper with him.  The way he asks questions and sits close to him at the dinner table.  Lydia likes the mooneyes Stiles starts to make after her— though he confesses to Isaac that he’s more afraid of her than anything, that he likes Isaac more— and the way it reminds her of the time before all the chaos that thrives in their lives.  Allison likes the way Stiles plays with her hair, plaiting it carefully and telling her it reminds him of his mom’s.  Peter hates the fact that he’ll have to give up storytime before bed— it seems hardest for him, the entire situation having brought up things for their Pack Elder that none but Derek could have predicted.  Scott doesn’t mind so much, though he does admit to the fact that he misses the way he and Stiles used to be so lighthearted together; there’s something determined in his expression when he says it, like he’s going to bring that relationship between them back. 

Isaac, though, isn’t sure how he feels.  The entire time, Stiles sticks with Isaac.  He sleeps with him, cuddled close against the older boy’s chest.  He jokes around with him and plays with him, excited and adoring.  Stiles is so enthusiastic and honest at this age.  Isaac almost hates having to give all this away, hates knowing that when Stiles is their age again, he’ll go right back to hating Isaac.  Or, at the very least, resenting him. 

The potion does quick work though.  Stiles is small one second, and then he’s sitting on the work table in Deaton’s office with his hands cradling his head, full-sized again, and wrapped up in a sheet.  

He’s crying again. 

Isaac has to bite back the urge to touch him.  Help him.  Offer him comfort.  

“Shit,” Stiles sniffles, scrubbing at his eyes.  "Shit.” 

“Stiles?”  Scott asks, ducking his head as he tries to catch Stiles’ gaze.  "Hey, you okay?“ 

"Yeah, man.”  Stiles replies, and even the humans can hear the lie in his voice.  "I’m good.“ 

He reaches out a shaky hand and tugs Scott into an embrace, holding the contact for a long moment before patting Scott on the back and releasing him again.  Scott looks unsure, hand resting on Stiles’ shoulder. 

"It’s just, um… It’s just a lot.”  Stiles confesses, not looking at any of them.  

Deaton hums.  ”Yes, it will be.  Getting all of your memories back in a rush like that is going to leave you shaken for a bit.  Is your father back from his trip?” 

“Nah,” Stiles shakes his head, wiping at tears that refuse to stop falling.  "He’s um… gonna be gone until the weekend.“ 

"Then I suggest you stay with someone until then.”  

Stiles nods, jaw flexing, and his eyes flick up tentatively, locking onto Isaac’s face.  ”Would you—?” 

“Of course,” Isaac replies instantly, without a second’s hesitation.  "Anything you need.“ 

Stiles smiles, though it’s weak at best.  ”Thanks, man.  But uh… some clothes would be good?” 

They all laugh.  Some things never change.