Chapter 1: Death on the wind
When he gets the call, Scott’s laying in his bed, wearing only his boxers and trying to forget what it felt like to know he was going to die. Allison’s picture appears on his phone, and he answers without a second thought. Seconds later, he wishes he hadn’t. ”Scott?” The choked quality to her voice has him on edge immediately.
“What is it? What’s wrong?”
A shaky breath is followed by, ”Did you know that Derek bit my mother?”
He almost drops the phone. “What?” All Derek would tell him before he had to leave the vet’s last night was that Victoria Argent wouldn’t be coming after him again. He should have known it wouldn’t be that simple.
”I guess not. She’s um - she’s dead, Scott. The bite killed her. Derek killed her.”
The reality of her words seeps in slowly, almost as though he’s been plunged into an icy river, and the freezing temperatures and the buffeting of the water are impeding his ability to think. “Allison, I - I’m so sorry. What do you need?” He is sorry - not because the woman who tried to kill him the night before is dead, but because the girl he loves just lost her mother, and it’s partially his fault.
”Right now? I need you to arrange a meeting with the rest of your pack.”
“Okay... Is there anything else you need?” He’s still only functioning at about half his regular processing capacity, but he’s starting to get the sense that something is deeply wrong, and there is nothing he can do to fix it.
”Scott, this meeting is crucial. If things aren’t handled very carefully, there’s going to be a bloodbath, so I need you to focus. Can you do that?”
“Yeah, definitely, but what about -”
”Call me when you’ve talked to Derek, alright? I have to go.”
He’s left staring down at his phone in numb silence until he hears a tap at his bedroom window. The noise is loud in his ears, but he barely would have heard it before - before. He scrambles out from under the covers and opens his window to admit a familiar head of curls, followed by the rest of his visitor’s lithe form. “Your heartrate’s elevated, McCall. Something wrong?” Isaac’s trying for his usual insouciant, borderline belligerent tone, but his efforts are wasted by the genuine note of concern and the answering rise of his own pulse. Scott doesn’t know how his missed it before, if Isaac has been right outside his house, which probably means -
“Wait - did Derek -”
Isaac quirks an eyebrow. “Send me to keep an eye on you in your fragile state? Yes, he did.”
Scott scrubs his hands over his face, too mentally and physically drained by the events of the last twenty-four hours to care. “You know what? Fine. I actually need to see him, and it’s probably best if you and the others are there, too.”
He goes from sarcastic to utterly serious in an instant, body tensing in anticipation of a threat. “Why? What’s going on?”
“Apparently when Derek saved me last night, he bit Allison’s mother.”
Recoiling, Isaac asks, “So, does that mean that she’s-”
“No, it didn’t turn her. It killed her.” At this, Isaac pales, and it’s clear he’s being confronted by the same reality as Scott is right now, about how narrowly the two of them escaped the same fate. Until now, the concept of dying from the bite had been just that, but now they have incontrovertible proof. It strikes Scott again what a god-complex alphas must have, to be able to so freely deal out death to some and dominion to others. And maybe he’s had an easier time reconciling with what he has become lately, but that doesn’t change the fact that something fundamental in him despises being under someone else’s control.
Visibly getting a hold of himself, his unexpected guest uses what Scott recognizes as his usual thirst for knowledge as a distraction. “So, what happens now?”
“Now? Now, I get dressed, and we sneak out of the house.” His mom will freak if she comes to check on him and realizes he’s not there, but he’s used to being in hot water with her at this point - he’s had plenty of practice over the last few months. He proceeds to put his words into action and then gestures for Isaac to vacate his room the same way he entered it. As he’s about to follow, Scott hesitates, checking his breathing. It still feels as though he’s trying to force air through cotton, so he grabs his inhaler and stuffs it into his jean pocket, then jumps, landing on all fours beside the waiting Isaac. “Let’s go.”
Chapter 2: Intent
This chapter turned out to be way more emotionally intense than I was expecting, but hopefully it doesn't seem too involved too soon. There's absolutely nothing fluffy or romantic about it, it's just - well, like I said, intense.
Also, I was going to try and keep additional pairings out of this, but the Stiles/Derek element just sort of wants to be there, and so that'll be a part of this now, as well.
Even with all of the jumbled and confused feelings he has in relation to the pack, there’s something comforting about having Isaac at his side as they make the journey to the abandoned subway station. There is a singing in his blood of pack and something else he cannot readily identify, and it helps him work through the shortness of his breath, the exhaustion in his limbs. Scott wonders if it will be this effortless with the others now, and then goes cold.
If things are as bleak as they appear, he will have plenty of opportunities to find out everything he has and hasn’t wanted to know about life with a pack. At least Stiles will be happy. His best friend still soaks up information about werewolves like a sponge - largely in pursuit of Scott’s continued well-being, but also, he knows, because Stiles is completely fascinated with what he has become, and if anyone could be described as having insatiable curiosity, it would be him. Thinking about Stiles and his never-ending quest for knowledge, he realizes he forgot something. “I need to call Stiles.”
Several emotions war with each other on Isaac’s face, reluctant amusement winning out in the end. “You and Stilinski really are joined at the hip, aren’t you?”
Shrugging ineloquently, Scott searches for some way to elaborate. “Guess that’s what happens when you grow up together. Plus, he’s helped save my life - and Derek’s, too - and if there’s anyone I’d trust, it’d be Stiles.”
“That’s good - that you have someone you trust.” For an instant, the yearning on Isaac’s face is naked and inescapable, and then he shuts it away. It leaves Scott feeling as though something is off, sort of out of balance.
He eyes his companion, debating with himself. Finally, he sighs and says, “I’m sorry about what I said last night. About not trusting you.” There’s a pebble in his path, and he kicks it in order to avoid meeting Isaac’s startled gaze. “That was - harsh. And not at all what we need right now, so I’m just - sorry.”
There’s a tenuous quality to the silence stretching between them before Isaac lets out a heavy stream of air and then tells him, “Call your fairy godmother, McCall.”
It leaves Scott uncertain, confused over whether his apology has been accepted or brushed aside, until he takes a tentative sniff at the air around them, and detects only the expected anxiety at their situation, and a begrudging sort of fondness. He blinks and then sniffs again, hoping it isn’t too obvious - he’s improved by leaps and bounds since that day on the practice field, really - and allows the awkwardness in his shoulders to dissipate.
Within seconds of Scott dialing Stiles’ number, his best friend’s voice is there. Either Stiles has some sort of sixth sense for when things in Beacon Hills go epically wrong, and he’s been waiting for this, or he’s just that worried about Scott. Or it could be both. Regardless, the ”Hey, buddy,” sounds particularly anxious, and Scott knows he’s about to make his friend feel that much worse.
“Hey, listen, you need to drop whatever it is you’re doing and head over to the subway station. Allison called me a few minutes ago, and it’s - it’s really bad, Stiles. Like, really, really bad.”
”Why, what happened? Is it Jackson? Did he kill someone else already? Because that doesn’t really fit the pattern he’s been following-”
Scott cuts in, heading his friend’s rambling mental extrapolations off at the pass, because if he doesn’t, there’ll be no getting a word in edgewise. “Stiles. It isn’t Jackson. It’s the pack. Actually,” he sighs, “it’s me and Derek. He bit Mrs. Argent while he was trying to get to me last night.” He has to hold the phone away from his ear for the duration of the panic-driven rant that follows, and he feels his pack mate’s wince more than he sees it.
Eventually, Stiles calms down enough to ask, ”Look, where are you? Do you need me to come pick you up?”
“We’re on Main Street, headed toward the subway.” Which is totally galling, because if he felt better, the two of them could already be there. He’s kind of surprised that Isaac hasn’t suggested that they run, but then again, if he can hear the crackly quality to his lungs, he probably realizes how unlikely that option is for Scott right now. It’s kind of cool that it never actually came up, though, almost as if Isaac knew it would be uncomfortable for Scott if it did. On the other hand, it could have nothing to do with Scott’s feelings at all.
There’s a pregnant silence on Stiles’ end, and then a significant sounding, ”We?”
“Oh - uh, yeah. Isaac’s with me.” He feels weird about the whole thing for some reason, but it’s not like he could keep Isaac’s presence from Stiles for long, especially if he’s going to give them a ride.
”Is he, now? Huh. Hi, Isaac. You can’t see it, but I’m waving at you right now.”
Scott glances at Isaac, who raises a sardonic eyebrow and proceeds to give a casual flick of one hand. “Um, he says ‘hi,’ back.”
”Awesome. I’ll see you in a few minutes.”
Their connection ends, and Scott stuffs his phone and his hand in his pocket, the other combing through his hair ineffectually until, for lack of anything better, he stuffs it in the opposite pocket. He glances up at the dark, heavy clouds and silently urges Stiles to hurry. With every grateful breath of air he takes in, he can smell the immanence of the oncoming storm, and it serves to set him even more on edge than he already is because of the situation they now face.
It must be affecting his companion as well, because he too takes a look at the ominous sky, and says, “A part of me wishes it would just hurry up and pour. It would be better than simply waiting, knowing it’s going to hit eventually.”
Thinking about it, Scott shakes his head. “I think that by the time it does get here, we’ll be glad it held off. We’re not exactly prepared to ride it out.”
“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe we’re tougher than you think.”
Deciding the metaphor has outlasted its usefulness, Scott shrugs and tries to explain what he’s really thinking. “Maybe we are. It just seems wrong to involve the rest of you in a mess that we made.”
“Meaning Boyd, Erica, and me?” At Scott’s nod, Isaac’s lips form a thoughtful line. “But involving Stilinski, that’s fine?”
Frowning in wry irritation and reluctant amusement, Scott explains, “Stiles involves himself, whether I want him to or not. At least this way, I know he’s coming.”
Eyes focused on the sidewalk before him, Isaac seems to struggle with himself for a while. “And have you always taken responsibility for other people’s actions?” He drags his gaze away from the sidewalk and peers at Scott intently. “Or is that a recent development?”
“What do you mean?” He honestly has no idea what Isaac is even talking about, and he’s too stressed to try and dig for insight on his own.
“Well, you keep making it sound like Argent’s mother dying is somehow your fault.”
“Yeah, because it is. If I had been able to fight her off, or if I had actually cooperated with Allison instead of trying to head the hunters off on my own-”
“Did you provoke her?” At his blank look, Isaac tries again. “Did you attack Victoria Argent, or do anything to threaten her?”
“No, of course not - I was trying to keep them out, but I would never -”
“Then how is any of this your fault?” Isaac stares at him, willing Scott to actually listen. “Don’t keep accepting the blame for things you didn’t do. That kind of guilt will eat away at you until there’s nothing left.”
Never really good with words, even at the best of times, Scott isn’t sure how to respond to that. It’s clear that there’s history there, and in the back of his mind, he can see again the scratch marks on the freezer box, and he feels as though he should say something, because deliberately or not - it must be deliberate, actually, because Isaac never does something without intent, whether that intent is apparent to the rest of the world or not - Isaac has just shared something gained through deeply personal experience, making himself vulnerable in a way that has to be uncomfortable, and yet he did it anyway.
He’s about to say something when he hears the familiar sound of his best friend’s Jeep coming up behind them, so instead he says an awkwardly sincere, “Thanks, I’ll - keep that in mind.”