It's Scott's first day of kindergarten and he really doesn't want his mom to go. He doesn't want her to leave him. I have to go, honey she says over and over again trying to dry the tears on his face with small kisses. He grabs her arm when she tries to get up, holding on for dear life. What if she doesn't come back? Scott knows that his mom has promised him to come back, and she is always one to keep her promises. Those promises are different, though. They revolve around small things like the toy fire truck he wanted so badly for his birthday or the two bedtime stories his mother reads to him every night before he eventually has to turn of the light for good. What if she doesn't keep it this time? He's heard it all before.
His dad had used to say that he would come back. He'd heard him saying that he promised his mom that this was the last time and that no matter what, he would always come back to her and his son. Until one day he didn't. Promises are only as good as the person who makes them. If they’re made by someone who lies a lot and who makes and breaks them very often, he tells himself, they're not worth much.
He doesn't know if his mother lies. He never knows if anyone lies. The other children always make fun of him for that. They tell him lie after lie - stories about their parents, stories about games they would let him be a part of. He always believes them and he always gets punished for that with laughter and fingers pointed at him. He doesn't like that. He doesn't like it at all. It always makes him cry. Just like right now. He's still crying and his mom is still walking towards the door and he wishes she wouldn't. “Why can't she stay here?” he asks the teacher. The woman pets his head and says, “You'll get over it.” Scott isn't sure about that. “Now go and make some new friends!”
It's not easy to make friends when you can't say anything because you're crying or when you can't see anything because your eyes are filled with tears. It's also not easy when no other child wants to talk to you. They think he's weird, he knows that. None of the other kids are crying. They're all playing, drawing or getting on the teacher’s nerves. Scott isn't used to this noise. It's always quiet at home. It's only him and his mum and sometimes the TV. His mum doesn't let him watch too much TV. She says it isn't good for him. Scott has no idea what's good for him but he has the feeling that being left alone with people he doesn't know is definitely not the best thing that happened to him in a while.
The teacher lies one hand on his shoulder and points to a small carpeted area. Over to one side, Scott sees a boy who's trying to build a toy block tower but who's – frankly speaking – failing miserably. He's crawling around the tower in frantic movements, always looking for new bricks and always hitting the tower with parts of his body he doesn't really seem to have control over. “That's Genim”, the teacher says, giving Scott's shoulder a soft nudge. “He's trying to build a castle and he looks as though he could use the help of a young, brave knight like you.” She smiles at him, and while Scott is still crying, it’s definitely a lot less than before. Sarah takes him by the hand and leads him over to the other boy who quickly notices and stops working on his castle for a second, looking at them with big brown puppy eyes. “This is Scott. He wants to help you. I'll leave you two to it”. And then she's gone and now he's alone with a boy he doesn't know and great now he has to take care of this knight's castle even though he can't even take care of himself let alone stop crying.
“Why are you crying?”, the other kid asks, not looking at him anymore but successfully destroying his castle once again.
“My mom”, is all Scott is able to say, not feeling like going into detail.
“I have a mom too, you know. She's great! She always goes swimming with me and she can draw really great houses. That's what she does all day at the office. Draw houses. My daddy has said that she even drew the house we're living in. Isn't that cool? She drew it and now it's real!” Genim sighed. “I wish my knight's castle would be real as well. Can you imagine that? We could ride horses and wear cool metal stuff and fight dragons and marry princesses. Do you want to marry a princess? I mean it's cool if you don't. You can marry a prince too.” Genim stops and looks at Scott. “You're not saying anything.” It's more like a question than a statement.
“You're talking a lot,” is all Scott manages to say and he notices that he's stopped crying. He also notices that this other kid is probably weirder than himself, and yet for some reason this is good. Somehow he knows that he's needing this weird kid in his life, he just doesn't know the full extent of it yet.
It's their first Halloween together. Actually, it's Scott's first real Halloween ever. It's the first time he isn't alone with his mom but is doing trick-or-treating with another kid and his parents. They're dressed up as knights. Scott and Stiles – as he's learned to call him – are really into these fantastic stories of chivalry and risking his own life in order to save others. Stiles doesn't have a toy sword, though. His dad says that it's too dangerous and that he isn't calm enough to carry something like that around. Whenever they're out of sight Scott gives Stiles his sword and the small boy looks at him with the biggest smile he's ever seen.
“One day I'm going to save Lady Lydia with that”, he says and starts swinging the sword around. Scott has to duck down but he lets his best friend keep the sword regardless of possibly injury. Stiles is happy, he can see that, and he loves it when Stiles is happy. It's a contagious happiness that radiates from every inch of his friends body and makes him smile as well. He smiles a lot more since he's met Stiles, at least that's what his mum has said.
It's the first day of school and Stiles is really anxious - like really, really anxious. He's overheard his parents talking about it, about him not being ready for school because his attention span could cause some serious trouble. It's when they discuss holding him back another year when he's starting crying. He doesn't want to be held back. He doesn't want to have to go to school without Scott. And what will Scott do without him anyway? He doesn't have any other friends apart from Danny, maybe, but Danny has Jackson and Jackson hates them all. The crying helps, though. He knows that his mother can't see him like that. She doesn't want her little Genim to be all unhappy and so he's allowed to go. But now that he's standing in front of the classroom, his hand clinching onto Scott's, he isn't so sure whether he even wants to go. What if they're right? What if he'll cause trouble? He doesn't want to make his parents sad.
Scott looks at him. He knows that something is wrong. Stiles hasn't said anything for at least five minutes and that's more than unusual for him. “Just imagine you're a knight”, Scott says and applies a little bit more pressure to his hand. “Knights are strong and they can do everything they want. And they're really good at learning too, you know. They have to learn to ride a horse and fight with a sword.” It's that moment where Stiles decides that he'll be a knight. That he can do everything he wants to do and that he'll do good and save people. And maybe, at the end of the day, he'll even be Lydia Martin's knight in shining armor, but first he has to enter the classroom.
Stiles is devastated. He tried to be a knight, he really did. He tried to be strong and he tried to concentrate on what's going in his classes but there's just so much going on. There's the teacher talking and the other kids laughing and cars driving by the windows and Stiles really tries to keep his mind where it should be but he can't and he's so sorry. He's so sorry because he's got the feeling that he let his mum down and his dad and Scott and everyone. His sitting in the classroom and he hits his head with his own hand. “Concentrate!”, he commands. “Concentrate, concentrate, concentrate!”
But it doesn't work. It never does.
His teacher, Ms. Pratt, talks to his parents about that and now he's got to see a doctor. He doesn't really like doctors. Sometimes they hurt him. Sometimes they give him injections and take his blood even though he really doesn't want that. They always promise him that it won't hurt but it does, every single time. Not even the candy he gets after the treatment helps. And this time it's different. His dad said that he isn't going to get pricked and that they're not going to take his blood. He explained that this man was a psychologist and Stiles hadn't known what that was and so he had asked Scott and Scott had sad that psychologists look into your head and now Stiles is even more scared. He doesn't want anyone to look into his head. It's his head and how are they even going to do it? It's not like you can just cut open a head and look at the brain. Or can you? Stupid Scott.
The treatment isn't that bad after all. He has to answer a lot of questions and then they put some wires to his head and he has to sit still for a while - which is actually pretty hard. The wires don't hurt, though, and he wishes death upon Scott's favorite action figure for making him so damn scared.
He gets some pills called Adderall and his mom explains that they're going to make him better, more calm and class is definitely a lot easier after that. It's not really perfect but at least better.
It's Boyd Richards, a boy who's one year above the two, who introduces them to comics. They're ten and of course they've heard about comics before but they've never met anyone who's as invested as Boyd is. The boys see him at the ice skating rink one day, sitting all alone on the stands while everyone else is having fun on the ice. Scott is exhausted because clearly he isn't able to keep up with Stiles and his hyperactivity. Plus ice skating is stupid. It hurts his feet and he prefers lacrosse anyway.
They decide to have a break, sitting down next to Boyd, and of course, Stiles can't keep his mouth shut and asks him what he's reading because “it's full of colorful pictures and colorful pictures are great.” The older boy laughs and tells him that he's reading 'Batman'.
“Have you never heard of it?”, he asks a little bit confused but not unfriendly.
“No, no, I've heard of him!”, Stiles blurts out and is jumping a little bit up and down in his seat of excitement. Scott decides that it looks he really, really needs to pee. “Isn't that the guy with the funny black costume and the weird mask?”, Stiles asks.
Boyd laughs again. “I think you rather mean 'Is that the guy who saves all those innocent lives and fights crime?' Because that's what he does. He's a hero.” And that's what catches Scott's attention. He likes heroes, a lot even. He likes people who care more for other people than themselves. Scott has to care for his mom, he knows what it's like. The two of them care for each other, they're there for each other and everything that he's learned from his mother, he tries to give back to Stiles. It's give and take and he really enjoys that.
The two of them get totally obsessed with Batman after that. They read the comics and beg their parents for t-shirts and sheets. Sometimes they even fight a little because when they play all of them wants to be Batman, but eventually Stiles agrees to be Robin. He's a way better Robin than Batman, Scott decides.
They're 13 when Stiles' mom dies.
It's a rushed call from the hospital what Scott remembers most. A quiet Stiles. A broken Stiles. A long night of doing nothing but sitting on Stiles’ bed, Scott's arm around him and no tears coming out of his best friend. There's nothing coming out of him. No sound, no movement. He just sits there and stares. Scott doesn't know what to do except to be there. He can't quite comprehend this whole thing. It was a brain hemorrhage, nothing they could have predicted.
Then, after hours of nothing, Stiles speaks. “It was my fault. I couldn't help her,” he says and Scott starts crying.
One year later, Sheriff Stilinski will tell him that Stiles had to watch her die, that he was playing Lacrosse outside with her when she suddenly fell to the ground and stopped moving. Stopped living.
Stiles is so angry all of the time. And guilty. He isn't able to tell these two emotions apart anymore. They've become his constant companions. He's living in a haze. Nothing matters to him anymore. He's being told that he can't go on living like that. But he's not living, not really. How could he do that? How could he live when his mother isn't able to? What gives him the permission to just walk around this stupid earth and pretend that everything will be good someday and that there are other things that matter to him when his mother can't? She isn't here anymore. She's gone and he's gone with her.
He's felt grief before but not like that. He had grieved when his grandmother had died, yes but he hadn't been in grief like he's now. There's a basic mood, a certain feeling you feel when nothing is happening. It's normal, neutral. And now? Now his basic mood is sadness, is anger and guilt. He isn't happy anymore. Being simply sad – not depressed – is his new happy now.
Scott tries to help him, he knows that. But even Scott can't change the fact that he let his mother die and that he has to live in the house that she has designed. Every wall, every brick reminds him of her and it fucking hurts. He wants to burn every single thing in this house. He wants to see it gone. One day Scott catches him while he tries to set fire to his bed. His best friend throws a blanket over the flame but he doesn't shout at Stiles. He's one of the few people who understands, who doesn't force him to pretend that he feels better. He wants him to actually be better. Scott grabs him by the shoulders, softly, and looks him into the eyes. “Your father needs you”, he says and walks out of the room.
It's weird but it reminds him of something. It reminds him of a phrase someone said to his favorite hero. Gotham needs you. And that's when he remembers. Batman, his idol, has lost both of his parents. He's lost everyone and everything he had ever loved and yet still managed to be the hero, the savior. And for the first time in months Stiles thinks that maybe, just maybe, he could do that too. Maybe he could get better and save himself.
One year later Stiles gets scared again. It's at Danny's birthday party. They're 14 now and of course they're watching movies they're not supposed to watch yet. Stiles sits next to Scott on the couch when suddenly Scott starts to make these weird noises. It's like he's gasping for air. His hand spasms on Stiles thigh and he can feel Scott's fingernails piercing into the thin fabric of his jeans. He doesn't know what to do. He doesn't know what's going on or how to help Scott. All he's doing is starring at his friend, eyes widened in terror. He can hear Danny shouting for his mom, for help, and now all the other kids are staring at him too. It's terrifying. He's supposed to help him but he can't because he doesn't know what's going on. It reminds him of this one time one of their fellow students, Erica Reyes, had an epileptic seizure in the middle class. Is Scott having a seizure? It doesn't look like it. It looks a lot like Scott is chocking.
He sees Danny's mom walking towards them, sitting down next to Scott on the couch. She's telling him to breathe but how is he supposed to do that when it's obviously impossible, when there's no air coming to his lungs? And then remembers. He remembers his mom telling him that his uncle Austin was asthmatic and that he always has to carry an inhaler with him. He was four back then and he had almost forgotten that but now he remembered. “He's having an asthma attack,” he mutters, and Danny's mom nods.
Stiles gets sick and nauseous. He knows that it's possible to die from an asthma attack. Scott can't die. He's not going to go through something like that again. He's not going to watch someone he loves die in front of his eyes again. He's on the verge of a panic attack, feels his own breath going faster and faster but he tries to avoid to, to clear his head. “You have to breathe,” he tells both himself and Scott. Breathing is always the solution. Whether you're having a panic or an asthma attack, breathing is life and life is going to win this time.
He can feel himself calming down and now he's able to lift his hand. He's running his hand up and down Scott's back, carefully and softly. “Breathe,” he says, breathing in and out slowly to show his friend how to do it. “You're going to get better”, he promises him. Just like he got better. “Gotham needs you.” He smiles a little bit and Danny's mom looks at him, confused, but under his hand he can feel Scott's breath evening out. Only a little bit, not much, but it's enough to get him through until the medics arrive.
And then it happens. The biggest test for their friendship. The biggest test for any friendship ever. Scott gets turned into a werewolf and everything is surreal and extremely dangerous. And Scott doesn't even notice at the beginning. Not until Stiles tells him. It's almost embarrassing that he has to tell him at all. But to be real lycanthropy is not really anyone's first explanation. Except when you're Stiles Stilinski.
And now it starts. The feeling sorry and the not feeling good enough. Stiles has always been there for Scott. Always. No matter what it had been. Scott has always had the feeling that he wasn't doing enough for Stiles, that he could have looked after him more after the death of his mum or that he should have spent less time pinning after girls and more time pinning after his best friend. Metaphorically speaking. And it doesn't get better. It gets worse. He has to rely on Stiles even more. He would probably already be dead without him. Despite his super magic werewolf powers.
Being a werewolf brings Scott into constant danger, but what is even worse is that it also brings Stiles into constant danger and he doesn't possess instant healing power. He's just a normal, weak human being and he isn't made for stuff like that but nonetheless he doesn't leave Scott's side. Not even one time. He feels guilty because he can't protect one of the most important persons in his life alone and basically that's what Stiles deserves, to be protected, and he isn't able to give him that and it breaks him inside.