Erica first noticed him when they were five.
Stiles was the rowdy little five-year-old, always bouncing from one foot to the other, he was the one who brought an extra pack of crayons in case anyone forgot theirs, who would hug their teacher's legs before leaving everyday after school--and Erica knew this, because the only father who came after Stiles' to pick their kid up was her own. He was the one to split a sandwich that was already split in half in case any of the other child mentioned they were hungry and didn't have enough money for lunch. He was nice, and he may have been a little restless, but not in the way most boys were at that age. He was different.
Something most kids weren't.
He had been great, and Erica had immediately been captivated by him.
They'd never talked, not really, not because Erica was scared he'd give her cooties but because she was scared of rejection. Stiles didn't seem like a jerk, but Erica was only five and the thought of someone cooler than her not wanting to be her friend hurt more than the (admittedly low) possibility of him saying yes ever happening could make her happy. So she stayed away, admired from afar.
She'd stay like that for years.
She didn't mind, though, because Stiles made her happy just because he was happy.
The summer she turned twelve is when the seizures started happening.
She started to miss school more, sat in the back of the classroom when she actually went instead of sitting in the front like she used to, would sink back so she'd go unnoticed. It's not that Erica wanted it to be this way, she wanted to go out with friends and experiment with boys and be that girl that every boy wanted--the girl that Stiles wanted, but she couldn't do that when she was the poster child of a liability. She could never go out with boys, because what if she had a seizure while they were at the movies holding hands? Or worse--when they were kissing. She was already mortified enough that she had the condition, she didn't want it to relfect on her worse than it already did.
So, she stayed away from boys, told herself that she was saving herself the embarrassment, and them the realization that their date was a total loser. Maybe they'd find their own little personal Lydia Martin--she'd be better for them. Boys didn't want someone like Erica, someone who was sickly and weak, a girl that was so terrifed of what her condition was capable of that she could barely control herself enough not to cry in class. They needed someone like Lydia. Someone who was brave, brilliant, and beautiful.
No one would ever notice Erica. She wasn't a Lydia. She'd never be a Lydia.
And sure, Stiles was understanding, he was too nice for his own good and had grown up with a father figure that had taught him right from wrong--explicitly--and he'd grown up as a pretty accepting person, too, but Erica didn't think Stiles would be friends with that-girl-who-seizes-because-she-has-a-disease-or-something. She wasn't so sure that his nice-guy-streak would extend as far as that.
Stiles didn't have to accept it. He didn't have to accept Erica or her condition or anything about her, really. Erica was nothing to him, had always been nothing to him--hell, Erica had never even been sure that he'd ever noticed her, let alone wanted anything to do with her.
The most embarrassing thing about it, though, was that she always went to Mrs. Riley in the clinic to take her medication so she wouldn't have seizures in class, and she knew that it shouldn’t be something she should be ashamed of, because it was keeping her alive and that was the best thing, for her, and for her family. But it made her feel different from other kids. It made her feel like an outsider.
Erica didn’t need another reason to be an outsider; she’d already had enough.
But then Stiles started coming a few months later, after his mom died.
"You're Erica, right?" He asked, one afternoon when Mrs. Riley was in the other room tending to a sick kid, with some sort of flu. Erica was forced to stay in a different room, almost always, because she had a shitty immune system.
Not that she wanted to see puke or anything, but it just felt like one more kick in the direction of invisibility. She was only twelve, and everything was melodramatic and the world was always ending, but it didn't make things easier, or better, or any of the things that her doctors and her parents had promised her.
It just made it more difficult, made kids stare at her in the halls and whisper about her, made some kids push her into lockers and call her Epileptic Erica, Never-Get-a-Date Erica, Earthquake-Make-the-Ground-Shake Erica--really, she’d heard them all.
Kids were assholes, but Erica eventually had just understood that it was who she was.
But anyway, her heart got caught in her throat and her fingers started to get clammy, kind of
how she sometimes felt before she had a seizure, and she almost was afraid she was about to have one before she realized it was just Stiles . Stiles made her crazy inside, made her think about things that a twelve-year-old girl shouldn't be thinking about, like first kisses and the 7th grade dance coming up, and how Stiles had always looked ridiculously good in red.
"Yeah," She whispered, voice cracking, but Stiles didn't seem to notice, and if he did--which he probably did, because sometimes Erica was convinced that Stiles noticed everything, except for her, never did he notice her--he was nice enough not to say anything--
Stiles was just--nice. Too nice, almost.
Stiles was bouncing his leg up and down, a habit that Erica knew he got when he was too tired of sitting in one place for too long, and it should've been annoying, but it was Stiles so she just found it adorable.
"Nice to meet you," he said, and then kind of flushed, like he was embarrassed about something. Probably that he was talking to her, Erica thought. "I'm Stiles. I don't think--I've ever introduced myself to you. Sorry, about that. I wasn't--avoiding you, or anything, I just don't know what to say. I'm bad with words," he blabbered.
Erica bit her lip on a smile. "That's okay. No one ever does."
Stiles kind of looked conflicted at that, hurt in a way that she'd never seen before, but she shrugged it off--mentally, of course, because Stiles already thought she was crazy, probably, he didn't need another reason.
He looked like he was about to say something, but then Mrs. Riley walked in with both of their medication bottles in hand, and handed them both theirs respectively, along with some water.
"Come back before the day's end, Erica, we have to talk about the new medication your doctor's putting you on," Mrs. Riley said, because she obviously wanted to ruin Erica's life forever .
"Okay," she answered, quietly, glancing over at Stiles, who was smiling at her slightly.
"That's annoying, isn't it? My doctor's always changing my ADD medication on me too." He grabbed his backpack after swallowing his pills, strapping it over both shoulders before waving at her slightly. "See you around, Erica. It was nice to meet you!"
Everyday after that, she'd find a piece of notebook paper on her desk in Mr. Greene's class, a simple piece of notebook paper, folded and tattered around the edges like it'd been folded over and over again.
It was a simple piece of notebook paper and it'd always have a "Have a great day, Erica :-) - G."
She treausred them so much she eventually had to get a box for them, had stuck them under her bed and even though they were always the same, when she was feeling especially shitty on the worst nights, she'd stay up for hours to read them all, because someone actually cared.
And for Erica, that meant everything.
Two days into sophomore year, the letters stopped.
Two days into sophomore year, Stiles started to skip classes more, his grades started to slip a little, and he was perpetually sweaty.
Four days into sophomore year, Erica realized that the letters were done for good.
Six days into sophomore year, Erica had a seizure in class for the first time in months.
Then Derek happened, Derek happened and he promised he’d make everything better for her, that he’d make the seizures stop and he’d make everything change and the one thing in life that Erica had ever wanted was change.
Erica wanted to stop feeling helpless and useless. She wanted to stop being the laughing stock of the school. She wanted to stop being second to Lydia Martin, she wanted to be noticed, by Stiles, by everyone.
Erica wanted what Derek could give her, and even if she wasn’t completely sure that Derek was telling the truth, she bared her throat and whispered, “yes.”
The morning after the bite, Erica knew the seizures wouldn’t return.
She felt strong in a way that she never had, strong and powerful and different.
Derek was there, lurking in the corner of her hospital room, and she almost screamed at him, asking what he was doing here, but she didn’t, she sank back to the sheets, before looking up at him curiously.
“What am I now?” She whispered.
He grinned, feral and promising, eyes flashing red. “You’re a werewolf.”
She almost laughed at the absurdity of it, because werewolves were the nightmares you told your stupid kid brother at night so he wouldn’t be able to sleep, they weren’t real, they were fantasy. But Erica knew Derek wasn’t lying, and it should’ve made her terrified, to think that she was the monster she used to be afraid of when she was younger, what all kids were afraid of, but it only made her swell up, with something that resembled pride.
And maybe a little fear.
But mostly pride.
“Will I kill anyone?” She asked.
She didn’t want to kill anyone.
“No,” Derek answered, more of a snort than anything, and made the move to leave.
“But you could,” he paused at the door, glancing at her over his shoulder, before leaving.
She won’t kill anyone.
But she could.
It made her feel more safe than she’d ever felt in years.
“I need you to distract him.”
Erica rose an eyebrow in Derek’s general direction. “Pardon?”
Derek growled, eyes flashing red, and a part of her wanted to turn belly-down on the floor. She didn't, of course, but she wanted to. “I need you to distract Stiles for a while.”
Her heart thudded in her chest, and by the look that Derek gave her, she knew that Derek had heard it--of course he’d heard it, he heard everything, he heard how Erica had spent the first few nights in her room, hissing and shaking out on the bed, clawing at the sheets, not because she had any reason to, but because she could. Because she had control, something she hadn't had since it was ripped away from her when she was twelve, lying on the hospital bed sweating through sheets after sheets.
Derek shrugged. “You need to hold him off and point him in a different direction. Tie him to a chair. Lock him in a closet. Just make sure he doesn’t get to that ice rink tonight.”
“Okay,” She whispered, because she was still young, she still hadn’t realized that she’d have enough room to wiggle around with Derek, that she could poke at him and prod him and anger him without any serious repercussions.
When Derek found out she wrecked Stiles’ car and knocked him out, Derek had shoved her up against a wall and had told her that taking initiative was careless and stupid and that she shouldn’t rough up a human, much less the sheriff’s son.
She’d pushed back, had stared at him with glowing eyes, and hissed, “you wouldn’t understand,” because he didn’t, and he never would.
Erica didn’t mean to hurt Stiles.
She didn’t mean to hurt him at all.
Derek gave her protection, Derek gave her strength. Derek gave her pride and happiness and things she’d never experienced before--well, things she hadn’t experienced in a long time. So yeah, Erica may have kissed him, may have used it more as a tactic to throw him off, but she’d kissed him, with enough confidence to know that there’d been a 90% chance he’d kiss her back. It was reckless and would probably end in nothing but a pissed off Alpha and her leaving with her tail in between her legs, but Erica--
She wanted control, now. She wanted to stop taking orders and she wanted to shout them.
She wanted it and Derek was the one that she could milk it out of, at least for a couple of seconds.
And it wasn’t like Erica was stupid, she wasn’t unaware, she knew how attractive she was now.
And Derek had never told her, had never told her or Isaac or Boyd, but Erica knew--
She knew Derek had a type, and she was achingly certain blondes were included.
(She was right; even if it only lasted a few seconds, she was right.)
The day in the hallway, when Stiles had cornered her to ask about Jackson’s parents, she couldn’t hide her attraction anymore.
She couldn’t hide how she had spent years yearning for his affection and attention without ever getting it. She couldn’t hide that because maybe she thought that there was a chance that Stiles would want it. She couldn’t pick up scents like Derek or Scott could, because Derek hadn’t taught them that, had barely taught them anything besides basic combat skills, but she could see Stiles’ mouth open in surprise whenever she came around, like he still wasn’t used to how she looked now.
How she would’ve looked if she had never had epilepsy.
“I used to have the worst crush in the world on you ,” Erica says, voice cracking like it hadn’t since before she’d been turned. Stiles had simply blinked at her, like he didn’t believe her. “Yes, you, Stiles.”
And for a moment, for a moment she let herself believe that she’d gotten through to him, that he had seen her for her , for what she’d been trying to to show him all along.
“And you never noticed me,” Erica laughed, after Stiles made no move to say anything, but it was humorless, falling dry in her throat. “Like how you’re not noticing me now.”
After Jackson attacked her, when they brought her to Derek, Erica focused on how Stiles’ heart was beating like a hummingbird’s in his chest, how Erica might even be inclined to call it out of fear, fear for her safety, for her life .
She’d finally gotten his attention.
And it was because she was dying .
“Is she dying?” Stiles asked, sounding panicked and on-edge and Erica would’ve smiled if she could have.
Because he cared.
He showed something for her.
He didn’t want her to die.
“Stiles, you'd make a good batman,” she said, reaching up with a hand to grasp his flannel shirt sleeve.
She didn’t have to look to notice Derek’s glare.
She didn’t have to have a superior senses to smell how angry Derek was.
She didn’t know how she knew, but in that moment, she knew Stiles would never be hers.
He already belonged to someone else.
Eighty-three days into sophomore year, she found a letter on her desk, again.
"Batman always needs some backup. - G"
Erica, despite herself, smiled.