He was standing dejectedly at the end of the concrete path which had for so long been the entryway to Scott's house but now was already beginning to feel strange and alien beneath his feet. Staring at the horizon his mom's car had disappeared into he felt the throbbing ache in his arm, an understandable pain when he considered how long he had spent jumping up and down and waving, not allowing his arm to quit long after he'd lost sight of the back wheels.
Scott was gone.
He'd left to the silence of early dawn and Stiles couldn't quite understand how he could slip away so simply. There should be fireworks, a brass band, crowds of people waving and crying into tissues, running alongside the car like a vintage train farewell scene, the whole shebang.
Instead there was Stiles, who tried to make up for the lack thereof with unbounded energy and an excitement that didn't reach beneath the surface.
Scott was gone.
He had begun considering his options from the moment the news was catastrophically dumped in his lap.
It was a phonecall. Well, it was three phonecalls.
He could tell in the first Scott was itching to tell him something, he assumed it was wolf related 'shaving my toes: do I, don't I?' that sort of thing, so he didn't press, just listened to awkward mumblings about his mum's work and Allison et cetera et cetera.
It was the second call that put him on his guard.
The first had ended pretty quickly, most of their phone conversations did, and he'd returned to his homework pleased that he'd managed to get through another conversation about Allison's eyelashes without audibly groaning.
He inwardly groaned, but that was allowed.
He also inwardly imagined what the conversation would be like if he had spidey powers, the only difference he could imagine at this distance was that he would be hanging from the ceiling. But up close and personal he could see a couple of webs to Scotts face, sort of a 'get to the point' incentive, bit counter-productive considering the increased likelihood of mumbling.
The second call was not long after and roused him from world history with a slightly panicked jolt.
Again, though Scott had started this one with "Stiles I need to tell you something...", the mumbling reared its ugly head and Stiles could only barely make out snippets of information which seemed to be about either Melissa's hectic work schedule, which, yeah he totally understood as he heard his Dad slam the door downstairs with a "bed by eleven!" thrown behind him, or a recital of the merits of Pittsburgh being read straight from a guidebook.
In the end he lost patience with the rambling
"Scott, I'm the talker, you're the pretty face. And the body. The popularity, and the good-boy-scout, help-old-ladies-cross-the-street-behaviour. I'm the words. So, you wanna tell me where this is going before I come through your window and throw this phone at your head? I have calc to do.. Or, wait, something with numbers"
he scrabbled under the sheets of doodles that increased exponentially in proportion to the length Scott's voice stayed on the line
"World History! Close enough.. Gotta get my trigger finger on it bro."
"It's... It's nothing Stiles, I'll see you in class."
And that set his teeth on edge, for all of about five minutes once Scott's voice was replaced with the sound of the line.
World History... World History... The world was full of history... Consider that there was a point in time when, with little ability to prove their theories people began associating instances with forces, and associating those forces with each other.
Imagine being the mad man with the apple telling everyone it was falling to the ground because of the same junk dragging us around the orange ball of fire, and the waves crashing at your toes were following the instructions of the big ol' sleepy ball of cheese... Did he have cheese in the fridge? Pops wasn't allowed it but.. man... a cheese toastie right now would be heaven, two cheese toasties, double heaven...
Definitely time for a food break.
His head was ducked in the fridge when Scott called the third time "What's the time Mr Wolf?" "Me and my Mom are moving to Pittsburgh."
It was a verbal drive-by.
His first immediate plan was follow. He did his research, 6th ranking city in the nation for job density, well that explained Melissa's plans to up sticks...
There were undoubtedly a lot less Sheriff jobs bouncing around but maybe his Dad was looking for change of employment scenery?
Plenty of bridges, city of bridges even. Stiles could walk a bridge or two no problem, and maybe his Dad's been waiting all this time to fully unleash his architectural creativity and all he needs is a push from his loving son?
Well, how could he not at least give him the opportunity?
"Stiles..." and it was that resigned tone edged with concern that had him violently backtracking, hands pushing at the air around him, trying to distance himself from the whole idea.
"Whoah, whoah, hey, just a thought. Not even a thought really, a mild musing, a momentary madness. Hey, I know, you have work and I have... Ah, Adderall. And cross-country, I mean, not that we couldn't use a father-son roadtrip, we could hire a minivan and fish, and spit and shave and knock out dry wall, sleep under the stars like the men of yore. But yeah, no, Pittsburgh, bad idea, off the table, never even on the table, don't look at the table it has no idea what you're talking about. I'm gonna go... shower."
And he was out of the room, a mess of limbs throwing himself up the stairs and away from the troubled expression on his father's face.
Ok, so he never saw Pittsburgh as a particularly viable option, but it was at least worth considering, to the point he still found himself plotting scenarios in which he could sneak into one of Scott's moving boxes and start a fresh life out on the mean streets of steel city.
The thing is, Scott needed him too. He did. He knew it right down to his core. Sending a slightly dopey wolf-boy to the other side of America without his full-time carer was a disaster waiting to happen.
Scott didn't seem to see this the same way, though to be fair Scott didn't seem to see anything the same way as Stiles, it was how they worked. Scott's primal concern was the separation anxiety he was currently facing with Allison, which, yeah, sure, was another extremely bad story in wolf news, but was it too much to ask that old Stiles got his fair share of that anxiety huh?
He'd only put his throat on the line how many times for his furry little problem? The least he deserved was a little share in that frown creasing Scott's face, setting deeper and deeper as the days passed.
But he understood. That was reserved for Allison. Allison was his ladylove and Stiles, he didn't even have boobs. If he had boobs it would no doubt be different.
Life would be very different. Very distracting. He'd wear more tank tops... Invest in a whole wardrobe of cleavage attire for all-day entertainment.
But cleavage wasn't going to help this mess, he thought, sitting on his bed bunching his chest together with his upper arms. It would at least make it easier to bear though.
So plan B was Allison. Stiles liked Allison, she was pretty easy to like, and she didn't seem to mind Stiles like the others did. She couldn't up her life and follow Scott either, which must be even harder, he thinks, considering she's always upped and moved to follow werewolves before. The one howler her family is suddenly entirely uninterested in violently killing. Figures.
Allison was another pack add-on, technically, another human in a gang of werewolves tied in by emotional value to Scott. He almost tricked himself into believing they were in the same boat, the same outsiders, until he remembered haltingly Scott wasn't the only member of the pack that held her in their emotional esteem. She had been Lydia's friend from the start, and his eyes didn't deceive that Jackson regarded her slightly more pleasantly than the majority of the student body he outwardly despised, Stiles included.
It struck him slightly coldly that in the space of a year she had managed to create far stronger bonds with a variety of people than any he had ever made outside of Scott. And she was a fight-trained, bow wielding, killing machine from a family of hunters whose alliance created safety for the pack. Suddenly he didn't feel so sure about her getting the same rejection treatment he was gearing himself up for. The pack barely tolerated him as it was with Scott at his side, regardless of the amount of research legwork he could put in and the countless times he spent saving their lives, even his expert sleuth skills and willingness to make the hard decisions didn't quite make up for his severe character defects.
He could just see it now, school would be harder without Scott to sit with at lunch and hang out with outside of class, he had acquaintances, sure, but no one who wanted to spend extended periods of time with him. Lacrosse would suck. At least before he had a reason to sit watching the first line team practice, he was number one moral support, he was not just a cheerleader but an ensurer of safety, keeping an eye on the three wolves who didn't seem to want to challenge their new energies into something simpler like dance, or painting. Now he'd just be a chump in bulky uniform shaking from the cold, or the twitches, probably both. But what would make it harder would be Jackson's enjoyment, his mocking and his glares might actually have an effect now he had no one to glance it off with. It might actually matter now he had known the sweet other side of it where they'd actually been a part of a team together, when Jackson had needed him and sometimes, rarely, even listened to his genius.
And then there was Lydia, he was actually sort of getting on with Lydia. They could be together in the group without her sneering at him. There were even the few, gratifying, rare occasions when her guard slipped almost entirely away and she'd talk to him about her translations and discuss the possibilities and probabilities of different aspects of were-lore he'd researched. (He'd moved past the Hollywood interpretations pretty much everywhere you looked but some of the sources could still have extremely accurate information peppered with utter baloney: he didn't want to ask, but he was pretty sure Scott had never felt the urge to perform ritual sacrifice, nor offer his mother up to Satan)
Sometimes in the dark living space of Derek's ramshackle abode he and Lydia would find themselves sitting together around the best light to read their separate works in amiable silence. They were even considering looking into Wolfsbane properties to work out some sort of effort of resistance. Her manner towards him in the corridors hadn't changed, but it didn't matter then because they had a world outside of that, a world beyond it even. He didn't like to think how it would feel with that gone.
By the time Scott had gone Stiles' faith in plan B was wavering, but, he didn't have any options if he didn't want to eat lunch alone, or spend every night and day rotating between attending school and sitting holed up in his room. So Allison was about to get a whole lotta Stiles' attention, and, hopefully, she'd appreciate the company of her boyfriend's best friend. Hopefully she'd at least be grateful of someone to talk to about it. Hopefully she'd at least be able to put up with his nearby presence. Hopefully she wouldn't mace him.
He knocked, the polite thing to do the first time you drop by someone's window frame, twice even, gentleman that he is. Nothing. Maybe she was out?
Probably off on a father daughter bonding session involving throwing knives and hand-to-hand combat.
Or maybe she was already in the woods, helping the pack from the other side. The thought twisted at his gut as he leaned back against the pane of glass that separated him from Allison's bedroom.
The excited energy that had led him here, well, round about here, began to drain from him.
He'd taken a quick detour by Scott's house before the brand new shiny red Honda in the driveway slammed a painful reminder that he no longer belonged there. Shimmying up onto the porch rafters now would no doubt result in another felony charge under his belt.
Trespassing, breaking and entering, nothing new really but he couldn't imagine Pops would be too forgiving given the up-and-coming elections.
It had been an instinctual reaction as soon as he'd heard the police report on the radio by his bedside to snatch his jacket from the back of his desk chair and head straight up the street to grab Scott along the way.
Code 419, Beacon Hills Preserve. Translated: dead human body in the woods.
Without Scott to run to, he couldn't imagine any better time to instigate plan B.
He hadn't heard anything from his wolfish counterparts but he didn't doubt they'd be all over this already what with their affinity for wooded areas, and, well, mysterious dead bodies.
So he ran to Allison's. Seriously. It was full-bodied, stitch-inducing, fence-hopping running, a risk fraught with perils considering his usual lack of ability to keep his face off the ground when trying to put one foot in front of the other.
All for nothing though if the stoic silence from her room was anything to go by.
He let out a deep sigh, shoulders hunched forwards as he pulled his knees to his chest.
He leaned back again, too far back. It took his brain a few seconds to recognise that the glass he had been aiming to reach had been wrenched upwards and away from the path of his shoulders.
His arms scrambled to find a hold at the frame around him as his right foot caught in the nook of his left leg knocking him further off balance, through the empty frame and straight into a desk piled with paperwork now falling on top of him.
He continued to struggle after his back slammed into plush carpet, he almost had advanced algebra in a headlock before two strong arms managed to pin him down.
"Stiles! Jesus, be quiet!" was hissed into his ear before he was dragged and bodily flung into darkness.
He barely had time to gather his thoughts before he heard an insistent knocking coming from beyond what he coined his 'naughty cave'.
He could hear her gathering her belongings from the floor quickly before responding "Just a second!"
Apparently Allison's mother took her literally as barely a second passed before he heard the door launched open.
"Mom, Jesus, you didn't have to take it off the hinges." A slightly breathless Allison muttered.
"What's going on, Allison, why the mess?"
"I had a slight, ah, pigeon episode."
Even from the safety of his dark, newly rechristened 'cave of protection' his mind's eye could see the sharp pencilled eyebrow raised to a point.
"Yes. A pigeon Mom. It flew in through the window."
Stiles was pretty sure he was in the clothes closet, either that or Allison had a secret man-chamber she threw all intruders into.
Maybe that sleeve caressing his cheek was actually another hapless victim... He checked. Just a shirt.
Felt like a cotton-polyester blend, very soft, maybe he could... Just... No. No cross-dressing, there are limits to his curiosity.
"I heard a crash."
"I fell from my chair. I wasn't expecting an aerial assault on my studying, never mind having to chase a bird from my room with my algebra folder...
Look. Mom. He left this morning. He's gone. These little check-ups aren't necessary anymore."
And, yes, that was a shoe making his left butt-cheek go numb. Awesome.
Who likes walking evenly anyway? Not Stiles.
The pimp lean really gives him that extra kick with the ladies.
God, the shirt was so soft. It was swinging slightly now, tickling his face.
"Were they necessary before?"
"No Mom, of course not. I just thought you'd rest assured now that he's cleared the State."
"I was just checking you were ok, Allison, that's my right as a parent."
Her right as a stick-in-the-ass. Seriously, if he could just get like a blazer, or a t-shirt in this material.
Or an all-in-one adult sleepsuit. Wow. Yes. And a blanket, maybe some throe cushions, a giant human nest of softness.
He heard the door close just as the material came tumbling down around his grip, quickly followed by a handful of it's neighbouring wardrobe pieces.
Allison opened her closet door to find an overly-zealous Stiles rolling in her shirts like a pig in mud.
"Mnpfhhh five more minutes"
"Five more minutes. And you iron them all."
She shut the door and climbed back onto her bed to wait.
It didn't take long for Stiles to stumble from amidst her clothes looking slightly sheepish with a deep flush on his cheeks.
He paused for a moment to disentangle himself from a black long-sleeved piece.
"Sorry, I have, ah, I have a... condition. Cureable only by softness. Your closet met the perfect specifications. There's a reason I'm here, I swear to God."
"What is it Stiles?" Her tone was indifferent but her lips betrayed her, twitching at the corner with a hint of amusement.
"Code 419 in the woods, I'd bet it's all in one piece too. Come on, we gotta hurry, the call came in, like, ages, maybe fifteen minutes ago, factoring in closet time."
He already had one leg out of the window before even stopping to consider her response.
He turned to check the bed, readying himself to convince her with the elegant enticements of blood and gore he often launched at Scott, only to find that she was no longer there.
He twisted further, spotting her behind him shrugging on a leather jacket just as he staggered, one leg still attempting to leave the room, and came face to face with the carpet he'd been pinned to minutes before.
"Come on, you had your five minutes."
She pulled him back up with unexpected force and nudged him towards the window.
"And oh, please be careful, if you don't want my mom to be the one peeling you off the ground."
Stiles definitely did not want to face death cradled in the arms of that firefox woman.
He very gingerly exited the window before shimmying down the support post with practiced ease.
He heard something click above him before Allison's form arced through the air over him and landed silently at his side.
"Ok, you are totally teaching me that. And some of your kick ass karate moves. Call it ninja classes."
She was already picking up pace, heading in the direction of the preserve with quick deliberate steps. He hurried to her side.
"Seriously, I'll get some black lycra, sewing machine, Spidey-suit us up. We can wear them under our clothes, fight crime on the side. Or, I don't know, steal from the rich, give to the poor. Give to the Stiles, to help him pay for his ninja lessons."
Allison didn't reply, simply chuckled, she didn't tell him to shut-up either so that was a good enough sign for Stiles.
"I can't be the only one without some killer moves, people will start to talk."
"Code 419, that's a dead body right?"
"A* on the cop lingo, looks like I can't teach you much in return... Unless you want some tips on ultimate Frisbee? I've got a pretty mean Frisbee swing.
Yeah. One John Doe. Messed up leg. Suspected animal attack. Same old.
Hey, you don't reckon Jackson had a hissy fit? Or Erica.. Oh God I hope it wasn't Erica."
"You think it was one of ours?"
Ours, he took a moment to consider it, ours. His and Allison's or Beacon Hill's?
"..No. Not even, well, no, ok, let's count out Erica... Maybe."
"Stiles! Erica did not maul a man. Say it with me."
"Sure. She gave my cheek a pretty good imprint of my carburetor, but sure, man-mauling has yet to be seen. I emphasise the yet."
She rolled her eyes but didn't move to reassure him.
"Hey, I'm just saying, the girl has a temper. What about Lydia? I mean, if it's true that not only their lunar cycles are aligned... Imagine some guy deciding to push them at the wrong time? Oh God let it be Jackson. Let it be Jackson."
"Stiles, shut up..."
And there it was.
"...We've got to be within their hearing by now, do you want Jackson to..."
Stiles didn't get to hear the rest as a dark figure flew from the tree-line straight into his 147lbs of pale skin and fragile bones.
His head hit the ground with a definitive thud. "Oh come on" he groaned, third time in a row.
"Next time I hear you wishing I was dead I will eat your ass, understood?" Jackson growled before jumping off his limp form.
"Yeah, yeah, big bad wolf. What was I saying, earlier, about the hissy fits? I take it all back. You sir are the epitome of calm and collected. They should name a whale noises CD after you or something."
"Shut up Stiles."
Nobody ever said 'keep talking, Stiles, what an interesting point you're making there, wait, let me stop ranting and raging for a minute so that I can take it all in'.
He was surrounded by fools, hairy fools, underappreciated in his time like Picasso or... Shakespeare.
Him and old Billy, peas in a pod.
"Stiles, be quiet." Dereks voice sounded from a little to the left of his head-ached haze. And, yes, he'd said all of that out loud. Great.
"Come on Billy" Allison smiled as she reached out an arm to help him up. Surprisingly strong yet again.
"You're missing the point, I'm not saying I'm Shakespeare, I just rent a space in the pod. The same one. The metaphor's there. Somewhere. Where are the others?"
"Doing as they're told." Derek growled from, yep, right in front of him. Ok, he was going to just take a nice little step back, or three, four, accidental fourth, and, yep, ass meet floor. Four times in a freaking row.
He looked up at the towering form of Derek Hale, red glazing his Irises as he muttered "What are you doing here Stiles?"
Right. Not supposed to be here. Not called in by Mr Alpha himself.
"Would you believe midnight stroll? Wood-side date? I can offer you secret-nocturnal-wildlife-enthusiast before I'm all out of options."
"I believe the answer you're looking for is 'Stolen police radio'."
"Thankyou, Boyd. Always got my back. Dude, what's with the lurking? Did you always lurk so much as a human?"
As if to drive his point home Boyd slid out from the cover of the shadows, a good ten feet from where Stiles had assumed he was standing.
Stiles was back up again and facing Derek, mentally preparing himself for the face-off to come.
"Hey, we heard about it fair and square ok? It matters to us too, you know, just because we're humans doesn't mean we can't help."
"It's still dangerous Stiles, go home."
"Na uh, we're staying."
"She can stay. You go home."
"What? How is that fair?"
"She brought a weapon, what did you bring?" Sure enough, Allison was pulling a folded contraption out of an ankle strap as he spoke.
"I brought... Her." He sighed, defeated.
"And we're very grateful, now run along." Jackson mocked in a sing-song voice from beside her.
Stiles didn't even have the energy to bite back as he scratched his head and turned the way he came.
A heavy hand found his shoulder and pulled him back slightly to halt his movement.
"I can't let the Sheriff's kid go stumbling straight into danger Stiles."
"You've let me get into plenty of danger a whole bunch of times before."
"Not unnecessary danger like this, Stiles, you can't help here."
"Yeah, sure, whatever, I gotta get home anyway, it's a school night." He chuckled a little half-heartedly under his breath "better tuck your pups in at a reasonable hour Mr Alpha." He threw over his shoulder as he started back home.
That solved it, he guessed. Allison in, Stiles out. Score.
Stiles kicked the jeep a couple of times for good measure, nothing says 'please kindly start to function like other socially acceptable vehicles' like physical aggression. Luckily for him his baby always responded positively to a bit of the rough and tumble. It had been a pretty chilly night and sometimes she just needed a little extra persuasion when it came to warming those poor frozen tootsies. In the same way Stiles had needed more than a little persuasion to crawl out from the mess of sheets and comforter his bed had become to haul ass to school this morning. He'd barely slept. His skin had coursed with a prickling sensation which even the most contorted positions (yes, even the one with his toes in his armpit) had been unable to shake and sooth him to sleep. By the morning the feeling had seemingly settled in his stomach, leaving it aching slightly with what might be dread.
An ache that put him right off his usual sugar-fuelled-taste-ecstasy that other people called cereal (which dragged in a whole different dimension of alarm because Stiles often considered the breakfast bowl his own personal brand of crack-pipe). He sighed as he petted his steering wheel, soothing his guilty conscience with reassuring strokes and whispered apologies to the jeep, sometimes it helped to let her know what she meant to him. It seemed this morning she was going to be fickle though, as halfway through his journey a sudden stop to spare a suicidal squirrel left her immobile for a good long minute.
A minute spent muttering further endearments and apologies, offering prayers up to the gods with his nose pressed to the plastic before him, seriously considering just abandoning ship and skulking back to bed. Fortunately (debatable, said the part of his brain remembering the cocoon he'd been extricated from this morning) she didn't stay down for long and Stiles made a bargain with himself that if he made it through the rest of the day safe and sound he'd take her to a relaxing spa date at the mechanics for a check-up. Any day now.
He took a brief moment to brace himself before opening the car door, stealing a glance towards the bike rack which cost him his footing as he stumbled, throwing his arms backwards to clutch the blue framework behind him for dear life. He froze, one foot stretched out to halt the customary greeting between his face and the asphalt, success. He met the gaze of a slightly startled girl whose path he seemed to have thrown himself into, her look of shock quickly turning to an offended scowl. He quirked his lips into a half smile and tilted his head with a shrug that was meant to portray Who wants to step out in the regular fashion nowadays anyway hey? I'm making an entrance. but probably came out as I'm not entirely sure how this new body works Earthling. He shook it off with a quick nod, slamming the door behind him and heading towards the stone steps leading up to the school, smiling as he recounted the look on her face, as if hurling himself out of his jeep at strangers was common practice... Well, he didn't do it for kicks anyway.
When he arrived at his locker he found Allison standing in front of it clutching a large grocery bag.
He approached warily, realisation hitting him as he began to recognise the familiar misshapen mounds protruding from it. She hadn't spotted him yet, staring off down the opposite end of the corridor, so he followed his instincts and quickly turned a sharp 180°, trying to struggle back through the crowd behind him.
Damn her. Damn her and her unassuming ladyvoice of witchcraft.
"Ohhh, hey Allison, didn't see you there... Hanging out... right in front of my locker...Which I was just walking past because, hey, who needs books?"
"..Stiles? Are you ok?"
"Perfect. Ship shape. On top of my game. Is that for me? You shouldn't have."
"We had a deal Stilinski."
"Ah , yes, but... Seeing as though you got to play detective last night whilst I was sent home without supper I thought.. maybe.. we were.. even?"
His voice trailed off at the stoic expression on her face.
"No half jobs, I want them back good as new!" She sang over her shoulder as she walked back the way he had come, "See you in class!"
Damn her again. He thought before noticing a familiar dash of black amongst the colours filling the bag. Oh...
"So what happened?"
He nudged his desk infinitesimally closer as he leaned forward in a doomed attempt at subtlety.
"You know, out in the woods where the teddy bears had their violent, bloodthirsty picnic?"
"Can we talk about this later Stiles?"
"Awww c'monn I've had to wait a whole nine hours already, and I'm not saying patience isn't my strong suit but I totally have like, an entire list of attributes I'd probably put before it."
"Like the ability to hook my friends up with awesome evening entertainment with the expected exchange of information in gratitude!"
He wasn't whining. It wasn't a whine. There was no ignoring his voice had risen an octave though.
"Ok, ok, just... After class, alright? We can hardly talk about it here."
"At least tell me it was worth it."
She turned and gave him a self-satisfied smile, quirking an eyebrow in confirmation.
"Sweeet." He leaned back with a grin, crossing his arms behind his head in triumph.
"Stiles, is that... Are you wearing my shirt?"
"Shhh! Shhhh" He soothed. "Eyes forward Argent."
Suddenly the board was extremely interesting.
"Ok, come on spill."
They were in the library. Allison had somehow managed to put him off until lunch, using solely facial expressions and pointed glances at his clothing, which had changed slightly from the blue t-shirt he had arrived at school in. After cramming half a pack of curly fries into his mouth with alarming speed Stiles had dragged her through the sparsely populated room and in between the shelves for privacy. To anyone watching he probably looked like an overeager gropey teenager, all things considered he was slightly offended nobody had taken the time peer round the corner and check that Allison wasn't being molested.
He'd have at least taken a casual detour past to check, jeez. Then again, he did most things differently to the rest of the student body.
"Derek thinks it was an Omega attack, he says he can smell traces of them all over the forest."
"Them? As in plural? As in more than one rogue werewolf roaming the trees attacking hapless victims? Great... Just, great. Who was the guy, anyway?"
"They think he was just an unlucky hunter, wrong place wrong time."
"Hunter as in deer hunter or trusted-supernatural-family-secret-passed-down-through-the-generations kinda hunter?"
She responded with a roll of her eyes and a meaningful stare.
"I'm just saying, you know, you gotta be specific with these things or it gets pretty ambiguous.."
"Animal hunter. The type with fur hats and wolfsbane-free weaponry."
"To be fair your kind probably have fur hats too... Joke! Joke!" He cried out as she slapped him on the head with a nearby hardback.
"Argh, you know violence isn't the only answer!" He muttering, feigning hurt.
"No, but it usually gets the point across." She smirked.
"So, how many wolves are we talking here?"
He noted the slight fall of her face before she responded.
"He's not sure.." She half-whispered.
He felt a knot beginning to form in his stomach, reviving the ache that had started his day.
"Not sure because... their scents are all mixed up? Or not sure because..." He already saw the answer in the look her eyes gave as they rose to make contact with his "...there are too many of them."
The knot was starting to feel more like a minute black hole, pulling him in at his core.
"Well, that's bad news."
"Stilinksi!" Coach Finstock's voice echoed off the rows of metal as Stiles entered the locker room.
"YES, SIR!" He barked back with a lopsided grin, it was an unspoken rule that Finstock got more pep when he got his name right, which was increasingly often these days. Who knew?
"We've got a spot in our line that needs filling. Seeing as your batman decided to fly off... Gear up!"
"Batman actually... he more, glides, sir. It's a sort of flukey cape-jump situation." He was already retreating into his office as the words faltered at his back. Stiles shrugged.
"Sweet! First line here I... Wait, what? I'm Robin? Aww man I totally called that!"
He pulled his locker open with more force than necessary. "Or... Oh God." He turned to shout towards the open office door "I'm Alfred aren't I?"
"Gear up, Stilinski! I wanna see you out on that field in five minutes!"
At least Alfred didn't wear spandex. He couldn't imagine wearing spandex as a constant costume plan, probably itches like a mother. Unlike his current attire, which he was having difficulty parting with even for the sweet, sweet promise of actual playtime on the pitch.
"Keep it, by the way."
Those had been Allison's parting words at lunch. He knew there was a reason Scott loved that woman. It was like she washed her clothes in freaking fairy's tears. He fingered the soft fabric, evoking again the memory of last night, trapped in Allisons closet. Before, well.
Before he'd been sent home from the party with his tail between his legs. I mean, come on, if anyone was supposed to be sulking with a tail it was surely the man who sent him packing. Furry know-it-all.
He shrugged himself free of the smooth material, swapping it for the rough texture of his Lacrosse uniform, feeling a momentary touch of mourning before he remembered he'd be crawling back into its arms, tired and aching, after the training session.
He had tried not to dwell on the surprisingly neat fit.
He ran out onto the field to join the others, excess energy abounding due to his minimal expenditure throughout the day. Seriously, without extracurricular werewolf activities he actually felt unusually well-rested. That was about to change, however, judging from the look a certain dirty-blonde wereboy was sending his way. Coach was co-ordinating simple goal-scoring drills, a vaguely safe start, with no physical contact with Jackson seeming necessary in the near future. It could only last so long though, judging by the tinting of hazel Stiles could spot glinting his eye as he turned to face the shot. He was going to pay for those comment about whale noise CDs.
It was five minutes in before Jackson ran over towards Finstock to whisper in his ear. Suddenly he was swapping places with the current defender and Stiles began to hear his heartbeat pounding in his ears, blood rushing past his eardrums as the pace picked up. He shuffled to the back of the queue of boys readying themselves to shoot, earning a cocky smirk from Jackson which screamed too well 'You're gonna get it.' Danny pulled up behind him after taking his shot, he'd barely inched forward before Jackson was tackling full force at his knees. He was his best friend. Things were starting to look pretty ugly on the Stiles front. And to think he could've done band. Or chess club. Anything really. Sport was Scott's idea, an eager attempt to battle his asthma and piss poor popularity in one fell swoop. Thanks a lot bro, really stellar choice. He patted Danny on the arm in what he hoped was a comforting manner as he attempted to edge around him to the back of the queue.
"You'll have to face him eventually, you know." Danny's face wore its usual knowing expression.
"Eventually sounds good, eventually sounds like later. I'm fine with putting pain off 'til later, I'm good with it, actually, helps me sleep at night."
He couldn't describe the rush of relief that coursed through him as Finstock pulled the whistle before Danny could take his next shot. Crisis narrowly averted. Until team play...
"Right, Team play!"
He managed to pull defense, keeping him closer to the goal than he had hoped to expect. Jackson had ensured he was on the opposite team though, and the look in his eyes hadn't waivered all play, he was midfield so there was little to stop him pummelling Stiles from the off. He suddenly envied the goalies padding that was currently layered on Sean behind him. As soon as the whistle was blown Jackson snatched up the ball and made a beeline straight for him.
This was it. This was the end. He was going to die at the ripe old age of seventeen in cheap shorts on school grounds. He shut his eyes and braced himself for the bodily contact that never came. He dared to open his eyes at the echo of a heavy thud in front of him, looking up just in time to catch Boyd pull himself back from a painful looking tackle which had taken Jackson to the ground. He breathed a sigh of relief. Saved by the Boyd.
The bigger boy never looked back, never sent him any recognition of what he was doing, but each and every single time Jackson looked like he was aiming for Stiles, Boyd appeared before in all his six-foot-stupid glory. Stiles had never been so grateful, nor seen Jackson more built-up to the brink of explosion. By the time practise was over he could see clearly the uncomfortable clamp of Jacksons jaw which signified an attempt to conceal canines to anyone able to read the signs.
He was back in the locker room when he felt Jackson seething behind him.
"You don't get to play the game just to duck out from the consequences, Stalinski."
"Yeah, I think in any normal game I'd have taken the hit for the team big boy, but it's sort of cheating when you're made of magic healing flesh and bone, don't you think? I'm a little more delicately put together if you hadn't noticed, so next time maybe think about channeling your anger into a letter. Or poetry? Who knows, just, growl at me in print, ok? It's much more soothing for the soul. And who doesn't like mail, huh?"
Jackson grunted, leaning closer to allow his stare deeper effect on Stiles before backing off. He managed to catch Boyd on his way out and throw him a quick
"Thanks, by the way man" Before he'd ducked into the hall with only the slightest nod of acknowledgment.
It wasn't until practice was over, when he'd settled back into his jeep and was just starting her up for the ride home that the feeling from this morning returned once again. It slowly crawled its way back into the deep caverns of his belly as he followed the eerily quiet road home. So, this was what school without Scott was like.
Sure, nothing terrible happened, and he didn't spend his time curled up in a bathroom stall shedding tears. But it felt empty somehow, like Scott's presence had taken something big with it, something that made the day... enjoyable. He'd muddled through, he thought, but something had lost its charm.
He was lost in his thoughts, staring straight ahead in an attempt to ignore his stinging eyes, when the Jeep made an excruciating howling noise, slowing her pace before stopping completely in the middle of the road. The feeling in his stomach increased ten-fold in response to the sudden prickling of the hairs on the back of his neck.
Teen Wolf is doing terrible, terrible things to my brain. Like forcing me to put Stiles in danger when he's soft a breakable garrgghh D:
Thankyou everyone for all the comments and kudos, you folks are amazing seriously xD Sorry again this chapter took a little while, I hope it's worth it!
"Come on baby, remember our deal." He urged, attempting to rev her back up again.
He was violently twisting the keys in the ignition when he spotted the large dent that had appeared in the front bumper. He leaned forwards, the sheer size of it halting his frenzied attempt to start the jeep up again, squashing his face against the windscreen in an attempt to study it more closely.
The shape seemed to indicate hard impact, maybe with a rock or something equally uneven, but there was nothing in sight to indicate he had crashed. His first thoughts went to how monumentally screwed he was.
His Dad was going to kill him. His Dad was going to kill him and then send him to the garage to get attacked by supernatural creatures and watch his own vehicle commit homicide.
He had a blissful moment of confusion combined with guilt before the growling off to his left alerted him to a more prominent danger than his father's 'disappointment stare'.
A more prominent, hairy danger that was approaching from the side of the road with a mischievous toothy grin complete with A-Grade Stiles-tearing fangs.
The growl was followed by a throaty chuckle as the dark haired wolf approached his side window. It was huge, stooping as it stepped towards him. He pressed down the locks instinctively before inching away from the door. It halted centimetres before the flimsy pane of glass, lowering its head only to arch it back up in one long swing, sniffing the air as it did so.
"Oh, but you're just a little human boy." The voice was startlingly poisonous in its femininity.
He leaned further back, away from the window, drawing his feet up onto his seat as he scrambled across the handbrake.
His first assumption had been a man, supported by the deep laughter and the huge physique, but now that she was close he could pick out features in her face that suggested she was female, the softer jaw, the thicker lashes, though they were quickly marred with a scowl that reduced her face to nothing more than animal.
His throat suddenly felt dry and constricted.
"herrrrhuman yes?" was all that he could utter as she reached out a clawed hand to scrape her nails down the window pane. "But I grew three inches this Summer!"
Smooth Stiles. Those are going down in history as the most embarrassingly uninspiring last words ever.
He froze in place, the scramble to put more distance between him and the door had left him stretched over the passenger seat, a cool breeze tingling down his spine as he made eye-contact with the beast now pressing its nose against the window directly above his head.
"He's human alright, but he stinks of wolf." The voice was deep, rough, more befitting the stature of the female across from him than the lean, gaunt face that rested on his passenger window.
Stiles had a moment of blind panic. He was caught in an improvised backwards crab with a gear stick lodged in his spine, two werewolves blocking the exits and absolutely no previous history of honing his ninja skills thanks to his inability to seal that deal with Allison. He was a seafood buffet, ready to be ravaged right into his vinyl upholstery.
Suddenly it was laughable how ill-equipped he was to deal with this situation. Seriously, he needed a wolf projector attached to his hood to shine into the sky in times of perilous danger. Or a dog whistle.
He was shaking his head, trying to think clearly, logically, to start planning some form of attack. He wasn't about to die with muscle cramp sprawled across his front seat like a wanton teenager in a bad horror film.
His eyes quickly scanned the back in search of anything that could constitute a makeshift weapon, somehow he couldn't imagine his gym bag full of dirty gear was about to do him any favours.
Unless he could somehow stuff a sweaty sock in someone's mouth to earn a little extra time... He started to reach for it anyway (maybe he could carve his cup into a shank?) regretting for the umpteenth time his decision not to buy a personal lacrosse stick.
There was a momentary stand-off during which the wolves simply peered in at him, as if contemplating a puzzle, before the passenger door was wrenched open and he was being dragged from the jeep by the scruff of his jacket, fist gripping a handful of shirt in the motion.
"Whoah, hey, mind being a little less handsy with the fabric dude?" He croaked as he let himself be wrenched into a standing position.
He had been going for cocky, but the dryness in his throat made every syllable sound choked and laboured.
"Seriously," he coughed against the figure he'd been pulled into "It's property of a high-end hunter, she will literally fuck your shit right up if you mess with her wardrobe!"
"Literally...? That's, kind of disgusting." The wolf chuckled as he spun Stiles round to face him, although, he was no longer wolf. The man before him had the same features as the creature that had dragged him, he was wearing the same puzzled look he'd seen as he watched him in the jeep, only altered by the small smirk on his lips, reflecting the amusement in his eyes.
The difference was transformative, literally this time, with the smile in place and the hair and canines carefully tucked away there was little hint of the skeletal face that had loomed over him in the jeep, instead this man was... well, he was beautiful. His eyes were pale and his cheeks hollowed, scattered with stubble that seemed darker than the relatively short crop of hair flicking from his scalp. He features were angular, but in that way defined, drawing his attention along his cheekbones, up to his eyebrows, meeting those light irises again.
The eyes began to shine a bright green shade, a danger warning Stiles was only familiar with, though realisation didn't quite hit him quickly enough as he was thrown forcefully into his own vehicle.
Seriously, he had been hoping never to have to venture close to a car repairs service ever again. But even the smallest of dreams must be shattered it seemed, along with his tailbone if this level of violence was going to keep up.
"Let me keep it simple for you, kid." The female had ventured around the vehicle and was now hovering over the shoulder of the man pinning him. "We want the Alpha. You call him, you get to keep your spleen."
"What if I call him and he doesn't come? Is my spleen still at risk?"
"Oh, Little Red," she tutted, leaning round to tug on his jacket strings "if he doesn't come we're just going to have to gobble you right up." Her voice was sickeningly sweet as she bent closer to sneer at him.
"Gobble. Right. Message received." He nodded. Repeatedly.
Quick succession nodding that continued as he pulled his arms from where they had been instinctively sprawled along the side of his jeep, in a half-hearted attempt to soften the blow as his body was flung against it. He tugged on his jacket as he straightened up, shrugging off the hands that had been pressing him closely to the metal.
To his surprise the male let them fall, hanging loosely at his sides as he watched Stiles. He was just reaching for his cell, located conveniently in his deathtrap clamp of a front pocket when the female snatched his wrist and struck it back against the jeep. She was tutting again.
"Ah, ah, ah, don't even think about it." She sing-sang.
"But you said-"
"I said call him." She snapped with a perfunctory growl which seemed to Stiles' human ears almost exasperated. He was about to explain, in polite, calm tones, the necessity of procuring his cell phone in order to make said call when his attention was wholly occupied by the dull sound of Omega hitting tarmac. He looked over her shoulder in time to watch a huge figure throw its (...claws? Yup, judging by the blood gushing, definitely claws) into the smaller wolf's chest and throw him off to the side of the road.
The female seemed to have lost her interest in Stiles as she launched her ample mass at the intruder, latching onto his back and dragging him towards Stiles. The shewolf screeched as she was sent in the direction of her comrade, yet she landed easily and turned to stalk around the mystery attacker.
The two were matched in strength and speed, their sizes close in height, though she seemed vaster in mass. They circled one another slowly, each calculating their next attack in light of their corresponding power. It was as the shewolf had revolved close to Stiles once more that he saw the stranger's face bathed in the moonlight.
Stiles breathed a sigh of relief. "Boyd you beautiful chocolate man I could kiss you."
The facial expression he got in response was nothing short of stony as the approaching teen muttered "You could try." Before tilting his face to lock eyes with the female and baring his teeth, mouth pink and gaping as he pulled his head back and roared, uncomfortably reminiscent of his Alpha.
They flew together once more, clawing, biting, he could hear flesh being torn as Boyd's teeth flashed dripping blood and fur. He heard once too many the agonised guttural howl that escaped Boyd when she sank her fists into his flanks, sometimes knuckle-deep, before she too screamed in response to his latest barrage of attacks. It was when he shouldered her into the ground, pinning her as his canines scraped along the flesh of her cheek, that Stiles felt a razor sharp grip tighten around his throat. Right. Run. He had forgotten about that.
"We asked for your Alpha, little one" the rough voice whispered at the base of his ear. "Not that this one isn't impressive." He continued as Boyd fought himself free of the female's chokehold.
"But let's see if we can't try that one more time, huh? Before I have to make him come and get you." The last sentence was barely a breath in his ear as the wolf's hand lowered from his neck, only to tighten at his hip and pull him away from the ongoing fight. Stiles turned to face him, ready and eager to do whatever it took to get Derek in the vicinity, Derek and the rest of his badass ensemble. Five wolves vs two, those were Stiles' kinda odds.
He was fortunate at this point to notice the golden eyes shining out from the side of the road. The wolf gripping him didn't seem aware yet, but there was only so long the beta in the bushes could mask their sounds beneath those of the brawling braunys. Only so long before the Omega became aware that snatching-Stiles-time was upon him.
He looked up at the thin face above him, still striking beneath the layers of hair and anger, beauty visible now he'd been shown how to look.
"Okay, I'll call him. Just, let me get my cell."
He reached into his jacket pocket, hoping beyond hope that this plan was not as dumb as it felt.
He was sprinting towards the open road as soon as the Omega's fingers lifted from his waist, darting towards his mouth. He heard a growl of startled indignation as the wolf behind him attempted to claw the sock free from it as swiftly as possible. He looked over his shoulder to see the beast running towards him, face screwed up in anger as he spat haphazardly, no doubt further repulsed by his heightened werewolf senses. Nobody likes a mouthful of sweaty sock on a good day.
The Omega was shaking with rage as he launched at Stiles, only to be tackled himself by the undeniable form of Isaac Lahey, complete with curly Elvis quiff. One day he'd ask Derek why it was their wolf forms chose that particular pop idol's hairstyle to imitate when they changed.
He felt himself teetering forwards with the urge to help the young wolf as he watched the lean outline of the male find his footing and turn towards him, already recovered from the shock of his attack and visibly seething. It was at that moment a hand wrapped around his waist and snatched him back, away from the brawl and his poor, precious jeep. He winced as Isaac went skidding across her hood.
He was thrown into Derek's passenger seat with about as much gentle consideration crumbling brickwork would receive as it faced a wrecking ball. He barely noticed as two figures ran by the door in pursuit of the scrapping.
"There, there Stiles, it's ok Stiles. How about some emotional comfort after your big ordeal?"
"Don't you Stiles me. I was this close to being werewolf fingerfood because of you!" He waved the hand displaying just how close in Derek's face as he climbed into the driver's seat. "Fingers being just the starter snacks! For the main course we'll be serving fresh human meat with a side of my freaking spleen."
Derek kept his features straight as he turned to face him in an irritated shrugging motion "Stiles, what are you talking about?" He deadpanned.
"The- Gah! Beauty and the beast over there threatening to eat me for an audience with the oh great Alpha"
"They threatened you?"
"What, exactly, did you think you were intruding on? A friendly chit-chat with the Sheriff's son about his future plans for werewolf legislation? "
"Look Stiles, I came when Boyd called. I have no idea what I missed, so just, fill me in. Slowly."
"Alright, alright, I was driving home when... Motherfu- they stoned my jeep! Those furry bastards wrecked my jeep!" He threw his arms in the general direction of his outrage.
"Stiles!" And his attention was forcefully snapped back to Derek. "Fill me in quicker than this."
"Okay, yeah, they stopped my jeep. Must've thrown something at the bumper and she just, broke down. Completely. And there was taunting, and then there was violence, and threats of chowing down on my spleen if I didn't call you-"
"So why didn't you call me?" He could sense his frustration building.
"I tried! But when I went for my phone psycho bitch went... well... psycho-bitchy. Guess it was to be expected."
"And then big bad Boyd showed up and the party started, and as you say, he'd already called you, so it's completely reasonable that I then dedicated my time to fiercely protecting my organs."
"You should've called me as soon as they hit the jeep." He was starting the car up now, reversing before launching towards the scene ahead them.
"Sorry I was a bit preoccupied what with the immanent maiming. What was I supposed to do? You're not even on my speed dial man." He grumbled as they swerved past the Betas in the midst of tying chains around the others. "I need a whistle." He muttered.
"You need a what now." The car screeched to a halt. Stiles risked a peek under his eyelashes at Derek's glaring face and instantly regretted it.
"Stupid wolf-hearing" he muttered again, staring out of the window beside him.
"Mention a whistle again and I'll be the one harvesting your organs." He was still staring at him, car firmly halted as he took time out of their journey to glower. Stiles stayed very still, uncomfortably aware of how touchy Derek could be and how these situations always seemed to end in pain for him. He flinched bodily as Derek lurched towards him, hand pulled up as if to slap him with the back of it, instead he pulled away, leaned back into his seat and started the car up. Stiles didn't have to look in the rear view to know he was sporting a smug grin.
"So where are we going?"
"I'm taking you home, we'll talk about this tomorrow." Great. He was in trouble for getting almost mauled by Derek-seeking maniacs. Naturally.
"Wait, what about my jeep?"
"They'll pull it off the road, we'll call a tow in the morning." There was something unsettling in his monotonous tone which told Stiles he had far too much experience dealing with these things.
He groaned. "My Dad is gonna kill mee."
"Stiles, I will kill you if you don't shut up. Just, sit quiet."
He punched his fists out ahead of him in frustration.
"Aww, c'mon no fair." Those final words were greeted with a warning growl that Stiles, for once, adhered to.
He breathed a sigh of relief when he arrived at his front door, no cruiser in sight.
Ok guys, my apologies x a zilliongajillionn for how long it's taken me to update this time!
For some reason I decided to up sticks and move across the Atlantic on my lonesome so everything's been a bit hectic this last month, but I am finally settled and school is all sorted etcetera etcetera so I can finally relax and get back into writing.
Like I said I am so sorry this has taken so long, but I'm working on finishing the next chapter possibly tonight seeing as this is a bit of a let down filler considering your wait... Anyway I hope you like what I got, next chapter brings forth promises of Lydia, and possibly those Jackson answers you've been asking after!
He was peering into the tip of the iron when his father arrived home from work. He didn’t know how long he’d been stood there, contemplating the inner mechanisms of this crafty little machine with one eye squinted and the tip of his tongue tasting the air around him, before a jerked hand movement brought him careening back to awareness. That and the squirt of cool water bursting towards his eyeball as he grazed the spray release button.
He’d been focussed on trying to understand the system, one which allowed the water to remain chilled within whilst evaporating from the hot plate that straightened clothes, that he hadn’t noticed his father talking until his concentration was drawn to the burning sensation threatening to cripple his eye. So focussed in fact that the area around him was now filled with cups and bowls of tepid water he had been methodically transferring to and from the little device. No doubt if he had been left to continue his ministrations the thing would be in pieces strewn across the kitchen by morning.
“Ah, yeah, you’re going to have to go again there pops.”
The sigh was strained but fond, his father’s default response when it came to all things Stiles.
“I’ll make this easy for you kid, the jeep. Where is it?”
“She dad, where is she.” He corrected.
“Don’t dance around the question with personification.”
He sighed, staring down at the iron in his hands in the hope that it might spark a good idea on the spot. He’d been considering what to say to his father since he got home, but his slight distraction had taken two hours? Two hours out of his limited plotting time.
“Don’t even think about lying to me Stiles, I can smell it on you.”
He chuckled at that. The obscene image of his father with fur and fangs jumped to the forefront of his mind unbidden and he risked a glance up to check the severity of the situation.
He was tired. That much was clear. But that much was always clear so Stiles took it in his stride. He was facing his fingers again, imagining extensive intricate scenarios which would explain away the mysterious absence of his jeep, before he considered the likelihood that he was being double-bluffed. He’d left her in the middle of the road after all, surrounded by warring werewolves, no doubt someone had noticed.
“She has had an extremely bad day, she needs empathy and affection.”
He stared back up at his father again, his only response being to raise an eyebrow and stare back expectantly. He took a deep breath, exhaling loudly for dramatic effect.
“I had a spot of engine trouble on the way back from practice, she’s currently resting off-road somewhere pining for me to come rescue her.”
“Yes. Somewhere. I don’t, I can’t remember where... It was dark, I was a little freaked Dad.”
“How did you get home?”
“Erm, Sc-“ He caught himself just too late.
Not Scott. Scott wasn’t his excuse anymore. Crap.
“Derek. I mean Derek. Hale. He was driving by, offered me a lift. He even helped pull her over in fact.”
He shrugged, as if feigned nonchalance would give the words a more casual air.
“This is Derek ‘you might know him a little better than that’ Hale? The same Derek Hale accused of murder?”
Stiles didn’t look up. Fiddling with the watercap as if it had the answers.
“The leather jacket Derek Hale who haunts his own burnt out house like it’s Halloween?” He sighs. “No, I didn’t... I didn’t mean that” but Stiles was already cutting across him.
“No, Dad, the other Derek Hale. Runs the grocery store, wife and three kids.”
He couldn’t quite explain away the snap to his tone.
“Stiles.” And his father was right beside him, tugging on his arm to turn his face towards him. He wore that crinkle in his forehead, brows furrowed together as if trying to untangle the answer. “What aren’t you telling me?”
“Nothing, Dad, I’m just... Yes Derek drove me home. Derek helped me out. Believe me I’m as surprised as you are. I’m just...” He was struggling, the air caught in his chest, his throat was closing up again “I’m just-” he knew his volume was rising but he couldn’t seem to help it “I’m just... trying to understand how this DAMN THING WORKS!”
He’s was staring at the iron again, shaking in his hands before he set it down beside the pile of Alison’s clothes, lost amidst cooling water. He was staring at it like he had been since he clutched it from the back of the cupboard and switched it on, trying to kick his brain back into gear, trying to focus. His Dad’s hand was on his back, soothing small circles before he pulled away, heading for the kitchen drawer. Stiles’ head clicked up as he recognised which drawer.
“Na uh, no way, we’re having pasta and veggies, lots of veggies, your plate is gonna be so green you’ll think it’s a tiny patch of farmland just for you.”
And with that he was clearing the table, emptying the vast array of containers and slapping the drawer in question shut with his hip, imagining for a second he could hear the forlorn flutters of abandoned take-away menus mewing for attention. He cooked and he talked and his chatter gradually began to pick up it’s usual speed, by the time his father was heading up to bed his mind was clear enough to return to the task waiting at the opposite end of the kitchen table, the mound of clothes held an ominous air.
“Come on, you suckers, I got you.” He squinted, holding the iron out before him in a jedi stance.
Four tops down and his eyelids were beginning to droop. The fifth came dangerously close to a scorching so he called it a night and crawled up to his bedroom.
He was stripping off his shirt when he felt the uncomfortable knot return once again, turning quickly, trapped in fabric and slightly panicked. By the time he had wrenched his shirt out of his vision and flung it across the room though the feeling had disappeared again, frightening in its speed. That odd sensation of feeling watched whispered off his spine like it had never been there and for a moment he doubted himself. He tried to shrug it off before crawling into bed with a shiver, senses wary, though as soon as he found a comfortable spot sleep hit him like a brick.
He was woken by a sharp incessant pain in his left ear, bleary eyes taking time to register the fact that his father was flicking him with a queer reverence on his face.
“Up and at ‘em Stilinski, I want you showered, dressed and fed in half an hour or you can walk to school.”
“Huurrngerff” was all he got for his trouble as Stiles tried to roll over and duck his head under his pillow simultaneously.
“I mean it Stiles.” His father warned, Sheriff voice out in full action.
Way too early in the morning for full sheriff his mind registered. Way too early.
He shot up.
“Da-ad! I thought you had the late morning shift!” He groaned as he forced himself out of bed, into his father as he pushed him out onto the landing.
“That was before I had a son incapable of looking after his vehicle.” His father moaned back, mocking in his tone.
“Your son is fine on his bike, Dad, go back to bed.” He continued to push his father towards his bedroom door, though in his early morning state the attempt was feeble at best as his father stood his ground with ease.
“I’ll nap after I drop you Stiles, it’s simple. The quicker you go, the quicker I get back in bed.” He stated, pushing Stiles back towards his room with only slightly more force than Stiles had been exerting “And I seriously doubt that rusty old thing is safe for human testing.”
“Don’t even think about giving your bike a gender.”
Stiles huffed as he wandered back into his room, searching for a towel and feeling guilty deep in his chest.
His torso was under the bed, fingers outstretched towards his favourite plush green towel when he heard the horn out front. He pulled his head up quickly in surprise, jarring it on the underside of his bed and yelping out in pain. He could swear even from this distance he could hear the faintest chuckle from the road outside his house. He ran to the window, looking out to see a sleek dark Camero pulled up in his driveway, the driver peering up from under his sunglasses with an eyebrow cocked. There was a figure in the passenger seat snoozing lightly, chest rising and falling in short, shallow breaths.
He was tracing out the figure of Isaac’s drooping curls as Derek stepped out of the car and started walking towards the front door.
Stiles was running, leaping, bounding over the various mysterious obstacles that often speckled his bedroom floor, heading for the stairs in the vain hope of beating a father already at the door, reaching for the handle. He paused as he reached the bottom step, vaguely aware that one of the obstacles he had collided with was now clinging to his ankle.
“Mr Hale. What can I do for you?” His father’s voice was clipped, controlled.
“I came by to pick up Stiles. I was already taking Isaac,” there was a pause, assumedly accommodating a gesture towards the driveway, “I imagine he could do with the ride whilst his jeep’s out of action.”
His voice was same old Derek, yet his words rang with a more cordial nature than Stiles had ever sensed when they were aimed at him. He’d heard this Derek before though, like the day at the station, the pretty woman on the desk. It was probably accompanied by that hideous grin.
An outrageous thought struck him, Derek better not be hitting on papa Stilinski. There are lines man, lines that can’t be crossed, and his Dad? Yeah, that’s a line that just should not be toyed with.
He found himself squirming uncomfortably just at the thought, irrational in every sense but still alarming as a concept. It wasn’t long before his body was racing into action, inserting himself between the two men.
“Derek Hale! Fancy seeing you here... On my doorstep. At sunrise.” His stare was exaggerated as Derek lowered his gaze to him, smile faltering slightly.
“I was just explaining to your father,” his voice was a shade colder now “about my offer to give you a ride this morning.”
“Your... offer.” Stiles jumped as realisation hit, turning to his father to begin a ranted explanation of why he had failed to mention this earlier. His father didn’t bother to turn to face him as he swiped his hand through the air in a silencing acceptance.
“Drive safe.” Was all he gave to Derek as his began trudging back up the stairs, still in his t-shirt and boxers and seemingly relieved of one less job to do.
“You could have called.”
“I did call.”
They were in the car now, Stiles having fled to get dressed and grab his books in three minutes flat. Four minutes if you counted the time his spent struggling to remove his ankle from a slinky chokehold.
“You could have called at a reasonable hour when you knew that I’d be conscious.”
“I assumed your sleep routine was in keeping with the rest of the world.” Derek’s tone was back to its usual irritated whine as he cut a side glance at Isaac to illustrate who he meant by the rest of the world. Isaac who had been sleeping before Stiles had to scramble over him to occupy the backseat.
“Well, you made an ass out of you. And me. Thankyou for that, by the way.”
But he couldn’t let it go that easily.
“You could have called me last night!” he griped, fully aware of how petulant he sounded “Or text me, I don’t know, maybe warned me when I was sitting in your car.”
“And miss out on a reunion with the sheriff?” He didn’t look at back but Stiles could see the self satisfied smirk in the rear-view. He dragged himself up the back of Derek’s chair, gripping the head rest in frustration as his body shuddered against it.
“You, are a terrible person!” He shouted, catching Derek’s eye in the mirror “He-wolf. Whatever.” He muttered against his ear, scowling at that grin in the reflection.
“And you are under the assumption that it was always my plan to do you this favour.” He emphasised the ‘favour’ with a reciprocating glare. Isaac simply chuckled from his seat beside him.
When Stiles turned his glower towards him however he went silent and shifted to face the window, watching the trees speed by with false fascination. Stiles was puzzled for a moment, trying to suppress the pride that began to itch in response to the feeling of power. Until he turned to find Derek’s own death glare pointed at Isaac, no doubt the true motivation for his silence. Alpha -1 Stiles -0.
“Whatever.” Stiles sighed, leaning so far back into his chair he began to slip onto a horizontal plane, wasting little energy in the half hearted attempt he made to right himself.
Derek seemed content with just huffing his signature exhale and returning his focus to the road. It didn’t escape Stiles’ attention that he seemed to be seizing every opportunity to execute unnecessarily sharp turns, the only purpose of which seemed to be to disturb Stiles’ already uncomfortable positioning.
“Dude, Sheriff’s son in the back cries danger!” Stiles hollered after being so severely uprooted his head made jarring contact with the window across from him.
“Maybe you should try putting your seatbelt on then.” The alpha growled in return.
Stiles took a moment to himself to be thoroughly confused before returning to his seat and heeding Derek’s advice. “I didn’t know you cared.” He mocked once the belt was securely in place, rubbing at his head with a self-conscious hand. Isaac scoffed into the window and Stiles felt a strange fondness for the boy in that moment.
“As you so dutifully pointed out,” Derek answered through his teeth “I don’t want to be the last person you were seen with when the Sheriff finally finds his kid in pieces.”
Stiles raised his head at that one.
“Pieces? Well, thank god I’ve got super-seatbelt on to protect me from you theoretical slice n’ dice scenario” he muttered “Maybe I should bring it to the next werewolf showdown...”
The responding growl was enough to make Stiles’ eyes flicker up, catching Derek’s just in time to witness the red ringing them for a second before it faded away again. Isaacs head was cocked, suddenly less enthralled by the landscape as he felt his alpha’s anger.
“You have to have a deathwish.” He sighed from the passenger’s seat, shaking his head in the direction of Stiles. All warm fuzzy feelings for him evaporated quickly.
“Umm, excuse me!” He gestured emphatically to the seatbelt now clasped against his chest “I am currently the height of a car safety campaign thankyou!” He nodded to Isaac’s unbelted seat before whinging “Hippocrite.” under his breath.
“Were-wolf” Isaac sing-sang, turning back to face the front with a self-assured grin. It didn’t last long as his alpha growled again and he hurried to strap himself in with supernatural speed. Stiles couldn’t help the victory chuckle that escaped him.
“There won’t be any more repeats of last night.” Derek rumbled, wolf mode still clearly switched on. The silence that fell upon the car sent chills up Stiles’ spine with all the things unspoken. Stiles could not leave things unspoken.
“So the rogues- ”
“The rogues have been dealt with.”
It was only then he noticed the rusted splotches on his jacket sleeve, the clothes Isaac had been wearing the night before balled up on the seat beside him, strips carved out of them like shredded rags, the copper scent hinted on the air.
“Dealt with.” He repeated quietly to himself. Sure, Stiles knew the drill, understood the necessity, ‘danger must be eliminated’. But... “The hunter. They killed him?”
Isaac was the one to answer him this time. “Doesn’t seem likely, the hunter was a lone wolf attack. Deaton said the lacerations demonstrated spontaneous movement, like an out of control accident. These guys, they’re more calculating.” He met Stiles’ eye as he spoke, managing to resist flashing his usual smug expression.
Stiles tried not to seem impressed, but Isaac had rolled the words off his tongue like a freaking werewolf expert, bringing forth a sharp reminder of a certain strawberry blonde with similar evaluation skills. Damn it, this guy was starting to grow on him.
“They denied it.” Was all Derek had to contribute.
“But then... You killed them? For what, Jeep damage? They could have paid the repairs, Jesus.”
“They’re not dead Stiles.”
Stiles felt a rush of relief at the words, swiftly followed by his usual bounds of curiosity.
The car remained deathly silent and he threw his arms upwards in annoyance “Come on. What happened? What did they want? What did you do? I think as the victim of their Alpha-baiting I get some sort of free pass to information here! Be honest, why would you adopt the role of designated driver for today if it wasn’t to break some wolfy news to me?”
Derek’s shoulders were hunching as he leaned in to grace the road with his obstinate scrutiny, movements suddenly stiff and limited. Great. Normally Stiles was all for pestering unyielding Derek, but this was stupid o’clock in the morning and he hadn’t even had his daily sugar rush yet. He was about ready to start slapping people when Derek spoke again.
“They were looking for a pack.” His face was still transfixed on the tarmac. “We kindly showed them they are not welcome.”
Stiles eyes flickered down to the crusted brown still speckling his neck. Dude, showering before you carpool should be state law.
“And... they’re not welcome because?” He hadn’t quite forsworn pestering yet.
“I think that’s pretty clear Stiles.” His voice contained barely veiled anger but Stiles didn’t miss the confusion that folded his brow as he spoke.
“Yeah, Yeah, I know, big bad wolves had a rough and tumble, but come on. Two powerful werewolves on your side? That’s gotta be at least worth considering, right? Not that your current raggedy team of outcast bandits isn’t totally ship shape. As a recent damsel in distress I can totally recommend your services all round. But, I mean be serious here, you’ve just lost a member. You’ve got an out of control werewolf roaming the California countryside and not one but two wolves are offering to make up your numbers? Tell me there’s another reason you turned them down.”
“It’s not that simple Stiles, they threatened our pack.”
“Aaaactually I’m pretty sure it was Boyd who bit first, if we’re going down that route.”
“They threatened our pack.” He was starting to sound like a huffy schoolboy.
“Yes, Mr Broken-record, you had a tiff. Isn’t that what werewolves do? Then afterwards you kiss and make-up and hunt deer together, live and let live yada yada.”
“Yeah,” Isaac piped up from the corner, “that’s what werewolves do.”
Stiles was starting to get the distinct feeling something was shooting straight over his head.
“But they chose to target a human.” Oh.
Short but long overdue
"Oh. Right. Hunter rules. That's – an interesting development."
He paused for a moment to consider if he might've crossed a line somehow, knowing how sensitive his current comrades could be about grazing the H-word topic, before deciding just to plough on with the track of his thoughts.
"I mean, ok, yes, killing and maiming innocent humans can definitely be filed in the 'morally questionable big legal no no' category, and believe me there is nobody more invested than me in never coming into contact with those two ever again. I'm just trying to understand your logic here, there wasn't so much of the killing and maiming actually going down in my very human vicinity last night, even if I'm not exactly Mr Innocent."
Isaac coughed out a strangled note of surprise before nestling down into a more comfortable position, nudging his nose along the window frame with a huff of breath which seemed to state I'm abandoning this conversation as he let his eyes slide closed again.
"Unless tailbone fractures count as maiming? I'm pretty sure tailbone fractures should count as maiming." He frowned at that one, did maiming always have to involve the grotesque division of flesh? "Whatever, I'm still here."
The breathy mumble from Isaac's direction could arguably have been the word "unfortunately" muttered into his sleeve.
Or a smothered yawn, these things are often subject to personal perspective.
Stiles' immediate response involved a yawn of his own, rather more obnoxious when accompanied by the drawn out stretch of all four limbs in opposing directions, a stretch greatly limited by his cramped environment. Only one arm really had a chance to pop its joints and he gave up the other as a lost cause when his knee hooked uncomfortably in the back of Derek's seat, jostling it slightly as he relaxed back into the expensive leather seating.
He vaguely acknowledged Derek bristle in response –somewhere in the back of his thoughts as they started to slow.
"I'm trying to see the world through the eyes of the werewolf masterminds," he slurred lazily as his eyelids began to droop "and I'm pretty sure it's the mo' canines mo' moneymentality that's supposed to save lives –right? They didn't split my skull on the windshield first chance they got so I'm thinking they have a similar respect for hunter code... Possibly for hunters... I don't know"
The old H-word cropping up again, had he no control? His eyelids were definitely closed now, no opening them, nope, no, naptime. Stiles was never the best backseat rider outside of life-threatening situations and the soft purr of the engine was doing nothing to counter the exhaustion coming to settle its debts.
"Yeah, you're right, we should just invite the psychopaths in with welcoming arms. You can bake them thank you cookies on behalf of your intact cranium." Derek delivered with recognisable intoned sarcasm.
"Cranium.. Big word for a big wolf" Stiles smacked his lips together loudly. "Big word for a big wolf with ahhhxclusive pack boundaries, huh."
He couldn't stand up in court for it, but he was pretty sure those were the last words out of his mouth before he was being rudely awakened by the sound of his name barked from beyond the edges of his consciousness. What he also wouldn't mention to the judge was how clearly sensitive he was to such an unfamiliar waking tactic, if his proceeding confusion was anything to go by.
He couldn't be held responsible if his body decided while wiping the drool from his cheek to try to roll out of his seat as if he'd somehow mistaken the stick of leather and restricted space for his bed, before he was cruelly choked back into full consciousness by his vindictive belt strap.
"Safety my ass." He managed to gasp out as he recoiled from the merciless grip of his harness assailant, hands grasping at every available surface in a misguided search for the release button.
There it was again, the voice causing all the trouble. They say waking a sleepwalker is dangerous but there are never public service announcements detailing the dangers of waking the spacially impaired when they're trapped in the chokehold of a health and safety nightmare.
"Stiles? What –I don't know what you're talking about, just hold still."
Right. Words in head, words out loud. He never did quite get the grasp of that particular concept, at least not when he was still crossing the shoreline from Lalaland. The Land of Nod? From Derek's response he could conjecture only half of his thoughts had made it to his tongue anyway, a subtle amount that could constitute sleep mumbling to any right-minded witness. He managed to go still after he felt, more than saw, rough hands bat his away from their offensive grabbing positions, eyes still stuttering in their half-closed stage as Derek managed to finally free him with a quick dart to his hip.
"Right, that's where they put them these days." He muttered as he began the tiresome effort of actually taking in his surroundings, leaning forward in a hastened attempt to fully escape the vehicle causing him such pain.
A hastened attempt which brought his so-prized cranium into contact with the granite construction of Derek Hale's jawline.
"Oh my God. Who designed you with those angles? Seriously, consider childproofing your facial features man." He moaned as pain shot sharp and angry from his brow line.
The "I'll bear it in mind" was accompanied with a familiar eye-roll as Derek exited the car in one smooth motion, gesturing for Stiles to do the same as he pulled his seat forward with ease.
Unfortunately Stiles' usual level of vehicle-exiting-elegance was understandably not improved by sleep grog meeting head injury, so his exit involved a more cautious crawling escapade which still brought him careening dangerously close to Derek's shins as he attempted to meet the world outside on all fours. He wondered idly if he could chalk off all of his morning actions as part of a top secret operation dedicated to seeing if Derek's eyes could actually roll out of his skull, as much as you can idly wonder whilst crouched atop a folded car seat.
"Stiles. Out." He heard from somewhere far beyond his current chest level viewpoint, he didn't miss the ensuing sigh though. "Jackson can drive you home."
Stiles managed to stealthily swing his legs around his side and out of the doorframe in what was intended to be a majestic backwards slide from the car. However, when the full momentum of Derek's words hit him his manoeuvre was very much in the 'booty in the air' stage, all majesty quickly lost as his feet hit the ground and he froze bent at the waist.
"Wha-at?" His butt exclaimed at Derek as his head, hidden from view behind it, pulled back violently.
Fortunately, he cut his first break of the day as his forehead narrowly avoided head injury number three, scalp grazing the metal frame as he swung around to face Derek.
Unfortunately he was still bracing the Brokeback position, head now careening over his shoulder like a startled giraffe.
"Jackson's. Driving. You home." He reiterated slowly as he leaned down and dragged Stiles from the car to his feet with more delicacy than he was quite frankly used to receiving at the hands of physical contact with the alpha.
His confusion at the simple act overcame his bafflement for the brief moment it took for Derek to return to his seat and put the Camaro in reverse. His mind kicking into gear just in time to shout
"What –wait WHAT?" at the fading black shape as he drove off to continue his day Stiles-free.
He turned in time to catch the familiar eye roll gracing Isaac's feature this time as he nodded his head towards the school steps and offered a supportive "Ladies first."