They're early enough to practice that even their slow amble is probably going to get them there before anyone else. Even with time-killing side trips to make choice selections from the vending machine, drop off books at their lockers, and listen to Scott wax poetical about Allison. Literally at one point - it's very traumatising.
Only it turns out they're not the first ones to show up after all. The locker room is shut tight, and Jackson is sitting against the wall next to the door, knees pulled up. He's glaring like he thinks he's going to win a competition - and honestly if there was one he would absolutely take home some sort of horrible trophy. He has a cold pack pressed against the back of his head. He looks even more annoyed than usual, which is pretty damn annoyed. Danny's there too, and he mostly just looks confused. Both of them look up when Scott and Stiles amble close enough.
"Finally." Jackson pushes himself up the wall until he's standing.
"What happened to you?" Scott asks, sounding concerned and suspicious at the same time. Which Stiles thinks is a sensible mixture where Jackson is concerned.
"It was a poltergeist," Jackson says angrily, and judging by his expression this appears to be Scott's fault somehow. It's amazing how many of the things turn out to be their fault when they're not around.
"A what?" Scott clearly has no idea what he's talking about. Dramatic reveals are wasted on him.
Stiles leans over his shoulder. "An angry and/or mischievous ghost or supernatural force that throws things around."
Scott's face says that he doesn't like the sound of that at all - and also that he's possibly dubious of its existence.
"It wasn't a poltergeist." Danny's trying to be the voice of reason. Stiles is pretty sure he'd be right anywhere else. But considering everything that's happened in the last few months it's entirely possible that there is an actual poltergeist in the locker room. Which will definitely ruin Stiles's day, and it was going so well. Nothing's tried to kill him for hours.
"It's somewhere in the back, it was throwing stuff around. I got hit." The cold pack is starting to drip sadly down Jackson's neck. "Don't look at me like I'm fucking nuts."
Something bangs inside the locker room, muffled.
Danny looks sideways at Jackson.
"That could have been -"
"There isn't anyone in there," Jackson snaps, as if they'd had this conversation once already, before Scott and Stiles arrived. "And it's not a wild animal, or someone screwing around, and no one left a window open. I'm not stupid." They're kind of drawing a crowd now, and Jackson is trying to combine his love of being the centre of attention with an amazingly non-subtle outing of the supernatural menace. Which Stiles is pretty sure they're not supposed to be outing.
"Jackson." Stiles tries to remind Jackson that they don't exactly flaunt all this crap around, and that people really are going to think he's insane, and that they can't do anything about this if everyone in the whole school is watching, all in that one word.
Unfortunately Jackson doesn't speak Stiles.
"Tell them it was a poltergeist," Jackson hisses at Scott. It's probably supposed to be request. But Stiles has known Jackson long enough to recognise the 'make me look like I'm insane and I will find a way, at some point in the future, to set you on fire.' It's still tempting, because it's Jackson, and who doesn't secretly want to make Jackson look like a complete lunatic? Even Scott's already cracking out the innocent and bewildered look, and he's really good at it. But Stiles knows this is one of those things they don't want to turn into a public spectacle. So he loops a hand round Jackson's arm and starts pulling. Jackson looks furious about being steered but doesn't actually try and stop him. He actually lets Stiles manhandle him.
"Tell us exactly what happened," Scott says.
"I already did," Jackson says tightly. "Ask Danny."
"I didn't actually see much," Danny says, because of course he'd joined their suspicious huddle. "I didn't see anyone throw anything. But there was definitely stuff flying around. It was a little weird." That's the dubious disbelief of someone who doesn't consort with werewolves and hasn't yet developed any sort of measuring stick for weird shit. Stiles thinks he envies him. He's already replaced his stick with a variety of longer and more complicated sticks.
Jackson glares at him, flat accusation of betrayal on his face. Which would have withered anyone else to death. Danny just shrugs.
"It was a poltergeist, it tore off one of the locker doors and tried to take my head off with it." The cold pack has slid down, so Jackson gestures angrily at his own head with it.
"It was a scratch, you can barely see anything." Danny obviously thinks they're all over-reacting, but can't quite work out why.
"Yeah, you can barely see anything now," Jackson hisses in protest. "The fucking thing damn near caved my head in."
"Head wounds always bleed like that." Danny's still trying to be reassuring, whether he thinks they're all insane or not.
Jackson's face slips through angry, frustrated and then miserable, before swinging back to angry again, almost too quickly to follow. Stiles can't help but think, not for the first time, that the inside of Jackson's head is not a fun place.
"Do you even need that?" Stiles prods the cold pack.
Jackson smacks his hand out of the way. Which, ow, really hurts.
"What? I'm just saying, the fact that Scott no longer has to worry about terrible head trauma is the highlight of his day."
"It is," Scott admits with a nod, because Scott understands looking on the bright side. Stiles doesn't think Jackson believes in a bright side.
"Look, you're the ones who turned my life into a supernatural teen drama, so as far as I'm concerned you're responsible. So fix it." He stabs a finger in the direction of the locker room.
Stiles throws his hands up.
"How? How exactly do you expect us to fix it?"
"I don't care." It's clear that Jackson really, really doesn't.
"Why don't you just lizard-up and take it on." Stiles says, because it's not like Jackson ever lets other people's personal drama matter when it's all about him. It's only fair for him to take the boot in the ass for a change.
"I'm understanding maybe a third of this conversation," Danny admits.
Stiles raises both his eyebrows.
"Seriously, Danny doesn't know about your little problem?"
Jackson's teeth come together in a way that no one could ever consider friendly.
"I swear to God, Stilinski, I will murder you."
"So you're fine with him knowing about the potentially angry spirit in the locker room but not about the really important stuff."
Danny's watching Jackson, with a quiet sort of focus. Jackson pretends he hasn't noticed. He yanks open the door, holds it with a foot, then jabs Scott in the chest with a finger.
"Fix it, so we can play, or so help me I will make your life unbearable."
Scott sighs, and he looks only mildly cross about it all. Stiles just knows he's going to have to follow him into the locker room to look for angry ghosts. Can he really not go one day without something strange and unnatural happening? Just one day?
"Fine, ok, we'll take a look. If it's hurting people we can't leave it in there."
This is why he can't hate Scott, even when he's doing stupid things.
Jackson doesn't even say thank you. He just pushes the door shut behind them.
The locker room is kind of a mess, it's also completely silent. Stiles hadn't even considered the place could be creepy before. Even in the dark it's just kind of sad and smelly. But that was before he saw the crumpled locker door and the messy trail of blood.
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure Jackson's head trauma was a little more than 'just a scratch.'" Stiles finds a stray helmet and puts it on. Just in case.
"How do you hunt a poltergeist anyway?" Scott whispers. Which considering the acoustics is probably a lost cause. That and the fact that poltergeists probably didn't have ears. But that's a good question. How do you hunt a poltergeist?
"I think you mostly just wait around until it throws something at you," Stiles offers. "Which doesn't sound very proactive, granted, but I can't think of anything better."
They follow the soft bangs and rustling noises of kit moving by itself, which isn't creepifying at all. Stiles has to tell himself that, because otherwise he's afraid he'll freak out. He dubs this sort of weirdness 'Tuesday,' in the vain hope that he'll eventually get used to it.
The...disturbance? turns out to be centred around the substitute goalkeepers locker. The metal of the door is bending gently, stray kit moving towards and away from it in a rough circle.
Scott proves he has more bravery than brains when he reaches for the handle. Stiles doesn't even have to think about it, he tugs the helmet off his head and puts in on Scott's. Which turns out to be a good move, because the shoe traveling at speed hits the face guard, instead of his face.
The rest of the locker is a creepy, churning mass of equipment, kit, bottles and what look like a bunch of ancient balls. It all goes still after a moment, slumps in the rough shape of a man. Stiles is pretty sure you couldn't have paid him to touch it. Scott pokes it with his foot and it abruptly collapses into a pile of nondescript things again.
They burn it all.
Which is probably overkill, and the substitute goalkeeper is definitely going to be be pissed about it.
But they're still kind of new at this.